10-12-2020 - - 0 comments

Three courageous individuals have this week aptly countered President Farmaaja's propaganda campaign which is based on deliberate efforts to mislead the public concerning the electoral process. The truth shone out of their words and Mr Farmaajo would be well advised to heed the moral of their stories.

The first was a video (here) that went viral which contained a message from an affable fellow by the name of Suldaan Bayle. Suldaan, Sultan in English, is a title held by a traditional clan leader in many communities across the Somali-inhabited territories in the Horn of Africa. Here's what Suldaan Bayle had to say: "... I say to President Mohamed Abdullaahi Farmaajo: I'm the Suldaan of the Daarood clan; and I am also the spokesman for Somali traditional leaders. My view is that the country's election process is in crisis; and this country cannot withstand a crisis of this magnitude. I say to you, the son of Mr. Farmaajo: sometime ago, you were elected President of this country in a genuine process, worthy of the name. You've been in power for four years and now we're at a dangerous time of great disagreement. We can see there is now two parallel election committees announced, and we know what that means for the country! That will produce two rival presidents. There's a Somali saying: 'the break of dawn cannot be covered by your hands'. If that happens, it is clear that the government and the whole ethical frame that we now have will collapse. So my advice to you is that this should not happen in your hands ... [the same sentence repeated]. Do one of two things. Firstly, remember this: 'one who is not going to unload your burden camel should not load it for you, in the first place'. That is an insightful observation. Secondly, I say to you Mr. President, you've got to safeguard the interests of the country. You're our President, now is the time to protect the country from harm. So [I implore you to] save the country from the looming morass. Under our previous government, I, Suldaan Bayle, worked ... [unclear]. Forget about anything else, if anybody does the tiniest things against ... [unclear] they'd go to prison [on the basis of] the power that I had in this country. That government was easily destroyed. And today, I am an ordinary person doing my errands in the city, and freely moving about, because I have not harmed or hurt anyone in those days. I say it again for a second or third time, if we do not preserve the integrity of our government, the central state will be no more. 'Mist will not become a rain'. The state will easily collapse, and if it collapses, [much more than] honour and integrity will be lost. My advice to you to is to bring together all the FMS leaders. The [anger of] Presidential candidates is very high up in the sky; the country is in a very serious crisis, and you are the President. Do one of two things. I am a Somali Suldaan; and I'm also your Suldaan. Here's my advice to you: do one of two things, Mr. Mohamed Abdullaahi Farmaajo! Number one: bring together the Presidential candidates and leaders of FMSs within two weeks, and come up with a joint programme for the country to go into election. Welcome them with open arms, make a firm agreement with them by [as much as necessary] yielding to their demands so that the country can have an election. If that can't be done, I say to you 'you're in an honourable position today, so do not dishonour yourself', resign. Call together all the FMS leaders, presidential candidates and the international community and tell them to come up with someone to lead the country, and to replace you. The honour and the glory you attain as a result of your decision (to resign) will never be dimmed. Do not take chances with what might happen which could be war and destruction, similar to the one we already saw. And we can [clearly] see now, nobody can stop us from doing that! As they say, 'the break of dawn cannot be covered by your hands'. We can see there is now two parallel election committees announced in the city, and we know that they will produce two rival presidents. What then will happen? Whatever happens will be the most unfortunate thing to happen to us. The country must be healed. The country must be saved. The country is in your hands, son of Mr. Farmaajo, save the country. I say to you again and again, I am your Suldaan, please heed that piece of good advice which I have given you".

In an event where women from communities across Mogadishu gathered on Monday, 7th Dec. 2020, to support the communiqué produced by the recently concluded Consultative Conference of the Union of Presidential Candidates, various speakers condemned President Farmaajo for the way he is handling the election process. I transcribed statements made by two speakers.

In one of the videos I saw (here), a young woman by the name of Deeqo Muxudiin was the first person to speak: "I say to you, [President] Mohamed Abdullaahi Farmaajo: if you're telling yourself that either Somalia will be destroyed or you will rule us [as you please], you're telling yourself a lie. We are not going to destroy our country because of you. Instead what we will do is that we ourselves, women who are gathered here, with no one else accompanying us, will come to you in Villa Somalia and (peacefully) drag you out of it. We can do that because it was us ourselves who welcomed you in the first place and made you a President. The boys [government forces] you're relying for your security are our boys and our brothers. They will not unjustly side with you and shoot at us because they will be aware that what they are doing will be unjust. Not a single bullet will be fired to stop us from reaching you".

In a second video of the same event (here), Luul Mohamed Sheikh Osman made a passionate speech about the looming constitutional crisis if the President does not change course and establish communications with all political competitors for the purposes of ensuring a free, fair and transparent electoral process. Here's what she had to say: "Mr. President, Mohamed Abdullaahi Farmaajo, we were together with you in the last election campaign, and we were campaigning with you in Nairobi. Today, you're claiming that [the government] is being destroyed from Nairobi. Does that mean that when you yourself were campaigning from Nairobi, yours was a just cause? Now that others [your opponents] are campaigning from there, that is an unjust exercise! You told us that you'll be a one term President and that after 4 years, you will leave politics and become a traditional leader to contribute to peace-building in Somalia. I ask you, Mr. President, do your two ears hear your mouth? You are the President who when he came to power, thousands of people took to the streets in every city, town and village in Somalia, and the two former Presidents who preceded you have welcomed you with open arms, what a shame that you are now causing discord and division which could potentially lead to [armed conflict] in society. We are the people who came back home with our children and families, and we will not let you cause a conflict that tears our country apart again. There are now two parallel election committees, and that will lead to the creation of three new Presidents, apart from you, in the city. The country is not your private property; it belongs to us all. We are the mothers, the sisters and the guardians [of the young generation] who the country belongs to, and so we will not accept that you ruin our lives and everything that we have. This number of women that you can see now and more, holding hands, will barge into Villa Somalia to get you. You are no more powerful than anyone else. People are treating you with respect because you are the President. If as President you have no respect for the boundaries set by law, on 8th February 2021, hundreds of women, children and young people will scale up the walls of Villa Somalia to get you without shedding any blood. Have you no shame? (Repeated 3 times). I repeat this country cannot go back to war. We cannot go back to the troubles we saw. We cannot go back to becoming refugees and fleeing from our country again. But the path you're taking us is going to lead us to those same troubles. We were part of your campaign last time round and used to meet at Jaziira Hotel. You're calling us mucaarad (opposition) now! During your campaign, weren't we mucaarad? Everyone has a right to their political beliefs and aspirations, whether they are opposing the government or siding with it. Name-calling to anyone who has an ambition to become President does not help you! All kinds of people want to become a president. Twenty individuals will compete for it and whoever Allah meant to have that position will have it. When you were a candidate for president last time round, you never thought that you would get it that easily! But Allah meant it for you. It wasn't a gift offered to you by some individual. Today, if Allah purposed that you'll become our president again, you'll become one. But do not boast because you're not superior to anyone else. You cannot refuse to talk to people [because that is your job]. When did you last come out of Villa Somalia to go to Mogadishu stadium? People have been gathered there on several occasions and were told that you'd be coming to see them, but you never showed up. You can't even leave Villa Somalia! So how do you want to rule this country for four more years? First, have courage and come out of your hideout. Well, may allah give you four more years [if that is what you want], but first have courage and show yourself to your public and talk to them. But we know that you don't dare to do that. Instead people are called into Villa Somalia so that you can speak to them. You can't go to the stadium; you can't go to SYL; you can't go to the theatre! What then do you want from this country? [One more thing] Do you remember your earlier promises? [Remember saying] If I can't bring about security/stability, I'll take a ride on Amisom's big armoured personnel carrier (APC) and leave. Today, you brought the security situation to a place that is much worse than the one we had before. There's no security at all, and you don't control nothing. If you leave your house today, you have no confidence at all that you'll be back home safely tonight. Mr. President, you have no one to tell you the truth. The people who surround you are feeding you falsehoods. No body wants you [no more] as President. If you think people would still like you to be their president, then have the courage to come before them and put your case forward. Then you will get what your luck brings to you. ... I now want to talk to the Minister of Information and the Deputy Prime Minister. Mr. Deputy PM, and Minister of Information: the people you represent do not want you to be with us. You are with us on your own personal basis. But if you are with us on your own personal basis, and you have no respect for Abdi Hashi [the Speaker of the Upper House], your eldest and highest-ranking official in the FGS, then we'll have no respect for you. You don't expect to be respected by anyone, if you don't show respect to others. Please stop swearing at people but if you don't stop, we'll stand up to you. We Somali women [in Mogadishu] recognize Abdi Hashi as the eldest and the most prominent among you. You want to gang up against him! We won't let you do that."

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