Somali Leadership Lacuna


By: Hussein Warsame

Minnesota, USA


            By early 1991, Somalia had effectively ceased to exist as a State.  Somalia was still without a central government more than a decade after the fall of the last regime.  For the last 14 years there has been 14 conferences held in neighboring countries and elsewhere to create functional government. All these conferences have in one thing common. It is their failure to bring about peace.  The most recent one was held in Nairobi, Kenya.  Talks there involved more than twenty warlords and their sponsored associates as clan elders, and “civil society”.  These warlords who split into two groups, Jowhar Group and Mogadishu Group, left Somalia in a shameless state.  The healing of wounds of Somalis is not a lesser test than creating a central government.  Having a warlord as a president-elect and his rival warlords as the cabinet makes the situation a cat and mouse business.  No one group is better or worse than the other.

            A peace process requires compromise in a fundamental way where all the warlords are losers and winners.  To become a president does not make one a winner if that government does not work.  So, the president needs to become a loser in order to have the peace process compromise finalized.  Remember, we have already assumed that the warlords were all feuding over power and did not elect the president out of goodwill or for the interest of the people of Somalia.  I am in no position to demand his resignation. 

I am, however, merely suggesting he should re-think his leadership style. 

            Frankly, he should replace his former SSDF (Clan based opposition movement) foot soldiers in his inner circle with a well-rounded, more qualified team that represents the make-up of the Somali Society.  By doing this, the president will put aside his own interest (s).  These Warlords’ brutal images will not simply go away because they are the rulers of this divided central government. Competent technocrats and realistic advisors with a great deal of experience will eclipse the leadership lacuna.

            Now, the other losers (warlord-ministers) on the other aisle have lost their bid for the presidency.  They should accept this warlord as their president.  After all, they elected him.  Clearly, none of the groups can out power the other.

            In a nutshell, Somali Diaspora needs to get involved in Somali Affairs in an honest way and without tribal hostility.  Otherwise, Somali people will remain losers and it may take generations to have a central government once again.


Hussein Warsame