Looking back, looking forward: Borrowing the proverbial ‘ Hindsight 20/20’

Is the spectre of non-consensus back to Somali politics?

Looking back on when consensus worked for Somali politics.

In 1960, Somalia, as part of the broader African decolonisation struggle, gained independence from two European colonisers.

The non-simultaneous nature of Somali independence meant that the North got its wish from the British days earlier than the South. This demanded politicians in the North and the South of political consensus to realise the Somali republic’s birth.

On July 1, 1960, Politicians from the North and the South delivered through consensus the unified Somali Republic’s birth. The first president of the Somali Republic, Adan Adde, was also born out of a political agreement.

On July 6, 1967, president Abdirashid Sharmarke became the second president of the Somali republic through democratic consensus. Upon assuming office, he appointed Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Igal as his Prime Minister through political consensus.

Looking back on when non-consensus ruled Somali politics with disastrous results.

President Abdirashid A Sharmarke was assassinated on October 15, 1969. Somali politicians failed to build consensus on going forward; this meant the military overthrowing the democratically elected civilian government on October 21, 1969.

From 1969 to 1991, the military government led by Siad Barre refused to operate on consensus with its opposition. From 1991 to 2004 various clan-based militia groups and their underpinning elites declined to sit with one another.

Consensus made a brief come back between 2006 to 2009, 2009 to 2012, and 2012 and 2017. President Abdullahi Yusuf replaced by Sheikh Sharif, and the latter replaced by Hassan Sheikh Mohamud who democratically handed power over to Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo in 2017.

Looking forward- Is the spectre of non-consensus coming back to Somali politics?

Somalia is now without exaggeration on the verge of rolling back hard-earned fundamental democratic principle since 2012- a peaceful transfer of power.

As noted above, in 2017, Somalia witnessed the delivery of essential democratic principle in the form of peaceful transfer of power. However, in 2021, four years from that date, the opposite is happening.

Against the spirit of the essential democratic principle of peaceful transfer of power or working towards one, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo is rolling back hard-earned milestone.

He had failed to prepare the country for the presidential election during his four years tenure. He has been unable to take the lead to guide a consensus-based politics while in office.

Now the country is in a profound constitutional crisis; Farmajo is clinging to power unconstitutionally. If this not stopped by all politicians left, and right, he would send Somalia to 1969 to 1991 and 1991 to 2004 eras, when non-consensus politics ruled Somalia with cataclysmic social and economic outcomes.

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Reader, writer and a student of human history.

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Dr Nuur Hassan

Dr Nuur Hassan

Reader, writer and a student of human history.

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