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The Gadabuursi Manifesto
2006 has been a particularly difficult year for Somaliland. The nation barely held together against the onslaught of the religious right only to face a fresh challenge from the petty dictatorships that plaques the African continent. The punches keep coming. The year ended with freedom in chains and with the Editor and the Publisher of Haatuf (the central defenders of the nation) behind bars. But the nation keeps standing, swaying gracefully with each strike. In these dire circumstances the Gadabuursi comes to the aid of the nation and offers guidance to its president.
Let the obvious be stated. The election of President Dahir Rayale Kahin was a magnanimous act of national healing and a symbol of national maturity. And for the Gadabuursi it was also a joyous moment of coming in from the cold fringes of political wilderness to its very center. President Rayale became the very first member of the tribe to carry such a lofty title, at least in the modern history of the Somali people. We bristled with pride. We were ecstatic with his delivery of three elections in rapid succession for the benefit of the nation; elections that were judged free and fair by impartial observers. This surely was a feat that has eluded many of the brightest minds of Africa’s political elite and here was one humble Gadabuursi who could deliver it for his nation. We sang his praises and pointed out for all who had eyes to see; look for the grace of God; there goes a righteous Gadabuursi.
These were the golden days, many moons ago, before the tide turned, before corruption found a home in the palace, way before freedom found itself behind bars. At this critical moment the Gadabuursi tribe comes to terms with the moral responsibly of taking an ethical stand when its own son falters, when the line between right and wrong blurs. Silence in this circumstance will be tantamount to a criminal act. In this Manifesto the tribe speaks so that the nation can live out its ideals of peace, modernity and democracy.
(I) On the Myth of the Tribal President
The Gadabuursi tribe is fully aware its fortunes will rise and fall with those of all the people in this nation. The tribe will prosper if the nation finds prosperity. The tribe will have peace if there is peace in the nation. The tribe will have justice if justice prevails in the nation’s courts. And the tribe will suffer injustice, starvation, pestilence, war and death if the nation falls apart. It is that simple and the tribe understands it.
A president serves a state, a nation not a tribe or a clan. The very term tribal president is an oxymoron. It is a myth that has sucked the life out of all Somali societies; it is a monster that we must slay if Somalis are to survive as people. For the Gadabuursi and for the nation the 20-mile heartbreak road between Dilla and Borama should serve as a living testimony for the impotence of the concept of a tribal presidency that lives only in the sickness of the tribal mind.
The Gadabuursi tribe enters into a covenant with the nation that it will not allow this President (the son of the tribe) to appeal overtly or covertly to the primitive irrational tribal instinct to hijack national justice, to cover up corrupt practices or to curb the freedom of the citizens of the nation. The tribe will not allow this president to do to it what Siyad Barre did to the Mareexaan, to the Somali nation and ultimately to his own family. The Gadabuursi have no desire for national suicide; no appetite for the rule of a despot and the death of a nation.
Let there be peace for every citizen, justice for every citizen, prosperity for every citizen.
(II) On Reform, Revolution and the Problem President
We live in a formative era. Our nation, the nation of Somaliland, and its social order of democratic dispensation, are under constant threat. We barely survived a voracious revolutionary movement just to be faced by the nightmare in the making that has replaced it. Both threats were born out of the frustration of millions of our brothers in South Somalia and both have shaken Somaliland to the core. Because, and this is important, because the Somaliland system of governance as it evolved under the leadership of president Rayale in the past few years has weakened the nation like a pillar consumed by termites (sidii UDUB Xar Galay), because the weakened body politic has become too susceptible to adverse encounters of any type.
The mis-government of the nation has turned it into seething pool of explosive conflict, and a breeding ground for revolutionary zest. For those who don’t know already a revolution is not the same as a raid from Somalia or Ethiopia. This may happen but it will be an invasion not a revolution. Somaliland united (any nation united) can stand up to any invasion however mighty. A revolution is a different story altogether. By its very definition it is a radical and violent social experiment. Blood is its normal currency, the blood of those who rule first and that of the ruled later when the violence is institutionalized. A revolution is an internal construct, a homemade product; it cannot be imported or exported. It originates, grows and explodes within the body of a nation. The system in Somaliland is pregnant with revolution and dangerously close to eruption. The drumbeat of the impending revolt is deafening. And the president is deaf. To speak plainly the president is oblivious. To speak plainly the president has become the problem of the nation.
So the tribe warns its wayward son. This is no exaggerated prophecy of doom. Power imposes a peculiar blindness on those who come to possess it. Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena met their end in surprise in the hands of bloodthirsty revolutionaries. Mussolini and his wife met a similar fate in Piazzale Loretto in Milan. They never saw it coming. Siyad Barre had to be smuggled out of Villa Somalia in the middle of a dark night to end his days in the misery of exile. Be forewarned son of the tribe. Be thus advised.
And the tribe also bears good news for its son: Reform. Serious reform will heal the president, and the presidency. It will rescue the nation from the edge of the precipice. Serious reform is the effective antidote to the revolution. And this here, this manifesto is guide to reform. Burying the presidential head in sand like an ostrich would not do the job, futile attempts of placing truth in prison will not do the trick and would surely end up being counter productive. The unjust and vengeful incarceration of Gabobe, the Nelson Mandela of Somaliland and his colleagues will be nothing but become the last straw that will break the back of this presidency. The tribe counsels its son to get the courage of confronting his errors.
The tribe is wise to this: What has been said so far is not what the President is hearing from the court jesters and carpet beggars that surround him. The main job of these parasitic hangers-on is to soothe the presidential ego, stoke his grandiosity and gloss over the errors of his ways. They do that because that is how they feed. They have to keep the tap running. They are not friends of the President. They are friends of the president’s pocket. They are the curse on the African Presidency. And they always manage to disappear on a president the day after.
And the tribe tells its son: Fear not Aweys. Fear not the Aweys inspired. Fear not Yusuf and the memories of the Las. Fear only the intransigence of the human soul that prevents critical self examination. Fear your court jesters and your carpet beggars. Fear your ego, your grandiosity and your inflating sense of entitlement. Fear the enemy within!
Part II will follow
NB The Gadabuursi Manifesto is penned by Dr. Jowhar. It is however the product of collective tribal enterprise. The document represents the silent majority of Gadabuursi opinion both inside the country and in Diaspora. It is an attempt to recruit tribal culture for sustaining life and liberty of all and preventing it from continuing to remain a hiding place for the evil, the corrupt, the opportunist, the hate monger and the murderer. The manifesto is meant to be a blue print for all Somali tribes. Dr. Jowhar and the silent partners he consulted in preparing the Manifesto belong to the Gadabuursi tribe. The decision is to speak truth to power; President Rayale who also belongs to the same tribe.