Mogadishu (UM) –It was heart-warming to see the picture of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and Dr. Abdikasim Salaad Hassan, one of Somalia’s former Presidents, smiling while exchanging views in Cairo.
The two leaders met on the side-lines of President Farmaajo’s official State visit to Egypt last month, where they also shared a platform during a meeting with the Somali community in Egypt. At the same, on the twitter account of the former President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, a tweet was posted of his own visit to his predecessor, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, during a personal visit to Uganda where the latter resides.
Somalia’s political culture has always been confrontational and unforgiving to the point that all former leaders opted to leave the country upon stepping down from power. This new development of former leaders meeting and discussing the future of Somalia is a most welcome gesture. There is no guarantee or obligation to agree on everything but the de-personalisation of politics will lead to the creation of public forums for discussions and platforms for knowledge sharing.
There has never been a perfect leader of Somalia and nor will there be as the needs of the nation will always be greater than the limited priorities of any government, especially, one like Somalia with minimal resources. However, in all governments there is much to transfer and build on from previous regimes.
Somalia has undergone remarkable transformation from a period of no central government to one which today is working on federalising the nation. During all these distinct periods, Somalia was led by a different leader and each one, in their own way, contributed to the progress enjoyed today by the Somali people. It is therefore very important that a forum for engagement is established to bring together the experience, lessons learnt and knowledge of Somalia’s former leaders.
The sad practice of political desertion on the part of Somali leaders after losing their position must cease immediately. Their contribution to Somalia will be more effective and needed at this point more than any other. On the part of the Government, it is important to engage former leaders to make effective policy choices and interventions as the challenges are always the same. Political maturity and the public interest must prevail over all egos and private interests.