It’s been one long year-and-a-half since Farmajo’s election on February 8, 2017. Seldom are the times he spoke to the people on the nation’s state of affairs.
His silence has not only been confounding but condescending as well.
Granted he’s not been gifted with the gift of the gap, meaning he’s not been the best of communicators, but, as citizens, we still would like our president to connect with us.
We want to hear and get from him directly on his take on what’s going on in the country: what he’s accomplished so far, the challenges and opportunities there are, how he overcame and/or wants to overcome them, issues outstanding and how he wants to take on them, and what support he needs from us as the citizens of the nation to cover more ground.
With so much going on and lots of that remaining unexplained, Mr. President has been too laid back, too hands-off, too mouth off, to all of. I don’t know how true it is (because I am no fan of national geographic) but Somalis claim the tortoise and turtle (diin iyo qube) raise their young ones by encircling around them. Mr. President should at least take a step further than the tortoise/turtles’ circling around, by attempting something of verbalizing his affection for us as his citizens and how he plans on meeting our needs that he’s taken the oath for.
We need to know about everything going on including the political upheavals in the region and his take on what those changes portend for Somalia–in terms of what we stand to gain or lose, updates on the the gulf crisis and putting it in perspective the consequences and way forward, a-z updates on where we are on transitional tasks, security, socio-economic, reconciliation, and etc.
The more Mr. President remains mum on the issues affecting the country the more fertile, imaginative, creative minds will run overdrive to churn out, spin, and pass around conspiracy theories about Mr. President’s (in)ability and other juicy stuff in a manner that might be detrimental to the health of the nation.
In his state of the nation address, which should ordinarily come every other time, Mr. President should resist the temptation to be overly zealous to pain for us a Disneyland as happens with his speeches at international conferences. He should resist rumbling through highly editorialized scripts that would seem alien to the people and out of touch with realities on the ground.
A good leader is one who has complete and deeper understanding of the affairs of the breadth, width, and depth of the jurisdictional reach of his responsibility, is able to communicate all that in both complex and simplified terms depending on the audience, and above all, is able to put forward well thought out explanations, if not solutions, to the challenges.
Unfortunately, as Somalis, we haven’t had much luck with leaders with such abilities because, maybe, the process for selecting/electing our leaders have not been anticipatory, participatory, and open enough to draw in more candidates with more potential higher caliber than we’ve been open to betting so far.
So, Mr. President please speak up, speak to us and for us, engage with us incredible town halls, inspire us, show us that something is coming together for us (without reminding us that “it’s happening for the first time in 27 years.” Oop! Did I just say that?), instead of leaving us to our devices to figure it out for ourselves.
But if you found the kitchen too hot like hell to handle, then get the hell out and let Somalis search for a better chef at statecraft cuisine.
We see no sense in you finding sense in flying all the way to New York for the UN General Assembly and leave behind a fragmented nation. What would you tell the world? Like Prophet Yunus, you found it easier to abandon and runway from your people because they became difficult to deal with? Lucky there’s there is no whale or was it a shark, to swallow someone aboard Airbus or Boeing. But remember no world leader will give the slightest of care or attention to a leader with a weak domestic base. All politics is local. Spare the nation any yourself the embarrassment and quit going to the UN General Assembly. Your foreign minister’s representation will suffice.
By: Leila Qasim