is changing rapidly. Many things have happened since the days
the faction leaders/warlords started talking in Eldoret nine
months ago. The Liberian President/warlord Charles Taylor
left the scene ala Siyad Barre. The Palestinian tide of the
future flows beneath the sands of the desert with the so-called
Road Map to peace, promising peaceful co-existence between
the Israelis and the Palestinians after so much bloodshed
and destruction. Our brothers in Somaliland are managing their
own affairs in a separate entity.
is still crying for peace and stability that appears to elude
it. The world is at a loss to understand why a homogeneous
society, who claim to profess the same religion, tradition
and way of life is unable to reach a consensus for the good
of their country. It is the economy, stupid, as the Americans
prefer to tell their Presidential candidates.
true that we are not endowed with oil, the lifeblood of the
modern industrialized Western countries. But oil exploration
companies reported in the past (just before the anarchy) that
our little country sits upon some of the greatest oil deposit
ever known to men.
reading is correct, one of these oil companies agreed to pay
the government of the day millions of dollars for the exploration
rights. And if oil is discovered, they will pay the Somali
government additional money for each operating well, and royalty
on the oil exported. They said most of the oil deposits in
Somalia is offshore.
report dated 1989, the company also committed themselves to
build refineries that will generate thousands of jobs, which
will help develop the country's economy. All this had great
promise, but the regime of the day was not at ease for obvious
reason. They wrongly or rightly believed that petro-dollars
would put the prevailing autocratic rule in jeopardy-by making
the people economically independent.
of course unrealistic to expect the private enterprise systems
of the West to understand the needs of the native population.
There was one thing all people had in common-greed.
is the truth of this?
have not yet unaccustomed themselves to the idea that the
third world countries are politically mature enough to manage
their own affairs and their leaders are corrupt, and their
decisions will not be theirs, which in many cases is true.
For example, during the Cold War our political leaders had
always received guidelines from the Soviet Union to attack
the Western countries in the controlled newspapers and never
Eastern bloc for their excessive human rights abuses behind
what Winston Churchill called the Iron Curtain. They (our
political leaders) believed that by attacking the West they
could receive financial aid and weapons from the Eastern bloc
countries-weapons with which to suppress the population and
attack their neighbors.
in the Kremlin always insisted that you had to do things their
way, or else
called for is a leader who is willing to listen to the average
men and women, a leader who is free from the virus of tribalism
and clan-worshipping, a leader who can read the minds of the
people, deliver the goods, and answer their concerns.
of leadership that is required is not necessarily the noisiest.
If a leader can encourage the people and help them understand
problems and policies by his constructive oratory, that's
good thing. But it is not entertainment that our people want
and expect from their leaders, nor do they want a lot of false
promises about affluence and wealth. The people have gone
through all this in the past. They expect words with action,
such as respecting law and order and build their own country
have to know the reality of the miserable situation in the
country, and how to remedy it. They should know how to present
our case to the international community. They should free
themselves from insulting each other, publicly and privately.
Diplomacy should be the catchword.
learn correctly, the recent Kenyan elections can teach us
many things about the wishes of the people and the attitudes
they desire to see among their leaders; they have demanded
that the servants of the people must be good servants, efficient
cannot have two presidents and it is important for the warlords
and faction leaders to appreciate that there is no shame in
being defeated in a fair and free election; when two people
stand for one seat, it is inevitable one should be rejected.
Shame enters into the matter only if those who are defeated
in lawfully conducted elections run to the gun or to their
clan, beating the drums of war.
other hand, in a federal system the country could have a number
of governors or provincial premiers (according to the number
of provinces) to run the state in affairs of their own provinces.
The over riding call is that we must first redeem ourselves
by putting the gun culture and clan allegiance away for good,
embark upon nation building, and rejoin the community of nations.
farmers should be allowed to return to their farms and all
other properties, which were expropriated by bogeymen under
the barrel of the gun, should be returned to their legal owners.
The country is bedeviled by its present poverty mainly because
farmers lost their farms to people who knew nothing about
the art of good farming. Hence, the unending man-made famine
in the country.
evident that the heavily-bearded gentlemen and most of the
warlords/faction leaders currently meeting in Mbagathi have
experience and knowledge problems and spend more time preoccupied
with clan calculus of presidential election and ministerial
appointments, and then talk pompously about peace and brotherhood.
By the same token the sponsors of the talks continuously assail
us with rosy pictures about "the smooth running"
of the talks, while in private they curse the Somalis for
"agreeing to disagree," according to our "spy"
at the venue.
At a press
conference, one of the powerful warlords said: "We're
95-per-cent done." Whatever that means, but the remaining
5-per-cent is believed to be one of the most notorious bottlenecks
in our history-clan representations at a new transitional
national assembly and cabinet ministers.
from the big-selling Daily Nation newspaper asked him to elaborate,
he said: "Everyone's trying to do his/her part. It's
a collective effort trying to co-ordinate that effort in the
final stage of the talks. We have taken steps to reduce shouting
matches, acrimonies and hostilities."
about the delegates, including the TNG President, Abdiqassim
Salad Hassan and Mogadishu-based faction leader Musa Sudi
Yalahow and others who walked out of the talks, he said: "Everyone
in Mbagathi is doing his best to bring back all the delegates
who walked out of the talks and we are very optimistic that
they would do so within the coming few days."
into the talks the delegates do not appear to have came to
grips with top priorities and how to curb the lawlessness,
which the country plunged into more than 12 years ago and
still continues unabated.
the civic delegates at the talks complain that enemies of
Somalia are working hard behind the scenes to create more
hostilities between the participants with the aim of re-dividing
an already fragmented country.
people are not made up of fools. What stupidity it would be
for our enemies to assume that, because the people have been
in the Intensive Care Unit for a very long time, they would
easily surrender their sovereignty and existence as a nation.
But they will never be intimidated, no matter what.
is their witness.
By M. M. Afrah©2003,