There have been two transitions of power which have passed off in relative peace in Somalia since 2012. What is different this time is that we have Farmaajo, an unprincipled and savage spoiler seeking total power through the barrel of a gun. The vicious attack in the pre-recorded video by the loud-mouthed and uncouth propaganda minister on the heroic stand taken by the leaders of Puntland and Jubbaland (Presidents Said Abdullahi Deni and Ahmed Mohamed Islam 'Madoobe') yesterday represents Farmaaja's hard, roguish character.
A rogue is an outlier, an elephant pushed out of the herd. Animals are rogues when they become vicious and destructive. For humans, rogue once referred to criminals, tramps, or scoundrels. It still carries those definitions but also connotes a dishonest or worthless person. Rogues are caddish, disreputable, and unsavoury, with questionable antecedents and impure intentions.1
The declared goal of Farmaaja's illegal takeover is to overthrow the Constitution and the laws of the FGS and replace them with a dictatorial regime. It is what he has been doing in the course of his expired four-year term. The only other President that overthrew a democratic constitution in the history of modern Somalia was Farmaaja's relative, the late dictator Siyad Barre who in his long reign of terror created a society conditioned by violence and repression.
Farmaajo shares significant traits with the late dictator, and they are not characteristics of heroic struggle of justice against evil. It is that they both seek total power and believe in the idea that 'power grows out of the barrel of a gun'. What does it mean to believe that power comes from the barrel of a gun? It means you believe that the most effective way to get what you want or what you feel you deserve is to murder.
Siyad Barre mobilized and organized people to commit widespread and systematic crimes against humanity in the name of his Kacaanki 21-ki Oktoobar (so-called revolution of 21st October). Farmaajo will do likewise in the name of his illegal takeover of power unless Somalia's International Partners on the ground, as the custodians of the peace process, confront this despot who sees the world in all-or-nothing terms to pursue total power.
Farmaajo's faulty judgements and incompetence, and his serious infractions of the law must now be clear to all. His deceptions and lies repeated flagrantly and intentionally through his propaganda machine, and the hubris which led to the inexcusable failure to plan and prepare for elections to facilitate peaceful and democratic transfer of power will, if taken to its logical end, have tragic consequences.
So intoxicated with the idea of domination and subjugation is Mr. Farmaajo that he has dashed the aspirations of those who had hoped that the new Somalia was moving toward a system of laws and constitution that would allow for the peaceful resolution of conflicts, through politics, covenants and courts. In place of this, a single mad man that shuns politics, covenants and courts has proclaimed that he intends to dominate the people of Somalia and its freedom-loving citizens militarily and that he would rule them through the barrel of a gun, coupled with corruption in foreign money.
The whole Farmaajo presidency, like the one of his clan relative Siyad Barre, had been a con game. The late dictator is no more but Farmaajo, if not resisted now, will return the country to the same ruinous end of thirty years ago. To Farmaajo, the enemy was, and remains, the Constitution of the FGS and, again like the late dictator, any individual or group that stands in the way of his dictatorial ambitions.
It is high time that our International Partners on the ground accept that successful management of spoiler problems in Somalia, as anywhere else in the world, requires the recognition that leaders differ in their intentions, motivations, and commitment, and that these dimensions are crucial for understanding why Mr. Farmaajo is undermining the electoral process.
By his intentions, motivations, and commitment, Farmaajo is a total spoiler whose goals are not subject to change. He suffers from pathological tendencies contrary to the pragmatism necessary for compromise and mutual consent, and the total power he is seeking is a means for achieving his dictatorial ambitions. All of that must be clear to everyone now.
Somalia's International Partners will have to appreciate that when the issues at stake are fundamental, affecting principles of human freedom and democracy or the political and constitutional development of our country, negotiations do not provide a way of reaching a mutually satisfactory solution with a dictator. This is not to say that negotiations ought to never be used. The point here is that negotiations are not a realistic way to remove a power-hungry dictator. Hence the urgent need for all of us to come up with a viable solution to this dilemma lest Somalia reverts back to the 1990s.
Stay tuned for Part II of 'Farmaajo should not be allowed to kill the hope for peace in Somalia'.
1. See Rotberg, Robert (2007) Repressive, Aggressive, and Rogue Nation-States: How Odious, How Dangerous? In Rorberg, Robert J. (ed.) Worst of the Worst: Dealing with Repressive and Rogue Nations (pp. 1-39). Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.