Politics of Zero-sum game is an impediment to peace and stability in Somalia – Sakariya H. Yussuf


By Sakariya H. Yussuf

Who would have imagined the most strategic country in the world to succumb to violence and state failure for two decades?  Whoever were responsible for those catastrophic historical failures are consigned to the dustbin of history. However, it is worth analysing whether their spirit of chaos and instability is still with us through different acts and characters as Somalia attempts to move forward.

When Somali politicians leave their post or resign, it has become a shameless culture for them to automatically become a poisonous opposition where they give away state secrets, organise political instability and corruption for the sole purpose of inflicting a far-reaching and incalculable damage on the dignity and stability of the Somali nation and people.  This pattern of behaviour has been an impediment to consistent progress for Somalia, creating disunity, suspicion and a picture of a chaotic political environment. It is as though they were in politics for their personal gains rather to move Somalia forward. The concepts of service and public interest are both missing totally.

The concept of constructive and sensible opposition or criticism has never been in the vocabulary of the opposition and for Somalia to go forward there must be systems of governance and procedures to discourage freeloaders of such kind which are wholly unacceptable and a political liability to Somalia at this critical juncture in its hour of most need.

It has also become apparent that the majority of competent political Somali elites across the world have been discouraged to become agents of social and political change in Somalia by the inherent culture of free-loading opportunism in order to preserve their moral fibre, dignity and professionalism as they see working in Somalia as counter-productive to their ambitions. This leaves a good majority of self-centred opportunists (because they have nothing to lose) to take centre-stage and become an obstacle to peace, development and stability, currently both at home and abroad tirelessly in pursuit of sabotaging the little progress made so far.

Within these spoilers are the states in the Gulf and neighbouring countries which have utilised these political opportunists to destabilise Somalia for their geopolitical and strategic aims in the region.  As Somalia is beginning to see a gradual and encouraging recovery, it is as though these countries have made their political priority to derail Somalia, again, with the help of political egotistic self-centred mercenaries/spoilers who have master-minded the art of envy and zero-sum game. These are those that lead in the race to the bottom in every category rather than promote upward national progress.

To improve the political landscape in Somalia, the people, government, civil society and the international community (donors) should be vigilant and take measurable actions against spoilers of peace without fear or favour so that Somalia can develop and rise again in the community of nations.

International conferences for Somalia and donations, UN monitoring reports and political capital are all meaningless without curtailing the source of political turmoil in Somalia which are states and individuals who have seen Somalia historically as a playground for their geopolitical and economic games.

Somalia has gone through a period of turbulence and a dark history that claimed the lives of many of its citizens who paid a huge price. To have spoilers of peace steer Somalia backwards is tantamount to international negligence of huge proportion. Staying silent and observing diplomatic protocols will be a hindrance to the relative progress already made, one which will be difficult to reverse back once the damage is done – back to square one.

The Somalia Government is weak, but the spoilers are weaker because they have no real purpose or direction other than been led by their own egos and greed. In the end, spoilers have no place in Somalia’s progress and prosperity and the Somali people have lost any shred of respect for them. It is time international partners realised they represent no one.

Sakariya H. Yussuf is a social activist and member of the Global Somali Diaspora. He can be reached via: Sakariya100@hotmail.co.uk