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Fetsum: What is to be done now?

Fetsum: What is to be done now? Source of Information: Somalia's Transitional Government by Stephanie Hanson, and Eben Kaplan Updated: May 12, 2008 When I released the ANSWER as a solution for the Eritrea’s journey to democracy based

Fetsum: What is to be done now?
Source of Information: Somalia’s Transitional Government by Stephanie Hanson, and Eben Kaplan
Updated: May 12, 2008
When I released the ANSWER as a solution for the Eritrea’s journey to democracy based on Liberia’s experience I felt like few people did not think so because of the ‘difference between the Liberian and Eritrean societies’. That motivated me to research on the Somalian Democracy and what I found is that the anarchic Somalian and the dictatorial Liberian societies were different in many ways within the THIRD WORD definitive circumference but both of them transited to democracy through their respective transitional governments because that is the only way getting there for non democratic third world societies, generically speaking. The transitional government of Liberia was formed by the combined effort of the opposition camp and Dictator Charles Taylor’s regime under the Accra Peace Accord (2003) and that of the Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was actualized in 2004 as “the product of two years of international mediation led by the IGAD, [after] the fourteenth attempt to create a functioning government in Somalia since the end of Muhammad Siad Barre’s dictatorial rule in 1991”. The TFG governed from neighboring Kenya until June 2005 till February 2006, when it met in a converted grain warehouse in the western city of Baidoa.”
According to Lee Cassanelli, a Horn of Africa specialist at the University of Pennsylvania; “Thenegotiators who established the TFG tried to give fair representation to each of Somalia’s clans through the so-called “4.5 formula.” To this effect, “The four major clans—[represented in the TFG  (transitional federal Government of Somalia)] Darood, Hawiye, Dir, and Digil-Mirifle—all received sixty-one parliament seats, while the remaining groups together received thirty-one seats. Despite this attempt at equity, “there were groups that felt they didn’t get their fair share,” says David Shinn, the former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia.”
On January 8, 2007, Somali [interim] President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed set foot in the capital city of Mogadishu for the first time since taking office in 2004. His arrival symbolized a victory by Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) over the Islamic Courts that “briefly controlled much of the country’s territory” at that time in experience. Though international observers had hoped the TFG would bring stability to the war-torn nation after sixteen years of “failed state” status, by mid-2008 experts said the TFG was fraught by internal divisions. Meanwhile, the Islamists have made a strong comeback, with an increasingly radicalized extremist movement holding sway over more moderate factions of the Courts.”
The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia was weak and inefficient.
Michael A. Weinstein of Purdue University writes that “Clannish politics have made many Somalis disenchanted with the TFG. According to Ken Menkhaus of Davidson College, the TFG is currently divided into three wings: one headed by the president, another by the prime minister, and a third by the individuals that controlled armed forces. The last wing is “essentially controlling paramilitaries which are wearing the TFG hat but which are really answering only to their leaders,” The author states the following were the most influential figures in Somalia
“Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed. Somalia’s president from Darood clan.
Nur Adde Hassan Hussein. The former chief police officer and attorney general of Somalia, a member of the Mudulook subclan of the Abgal, which is part of the Hawiye clan.
Mohammed Dheere. The mayor of Mogadishu since May 2007, Dheere controls customs revenues from the port and has his own armed forces. Dheere is a member of the Abgal subclan of the Hawiye clan.”
Apparently the above clan leaders could not stabilize the country as expected. There was corruption and inter-clanish favoritism by the authorities of the TFG. They however hang on resisting the fundamentalist armed groups including the Al-Shabad as much as they could with the help of international forces (US, Ethiopia, etc.) until the TFG completed its mandate to run the Somalian society through the Kampala Accord in 2011.
People can read the Kampala Accord that established “AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE PRESIDENT OF THE TRANSITIONAL FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF SOMALIA AND THE SPEAKER OF THE TRANSITIONAL FEDERAL PARLIAMENT OF SOMALIA MADE IN KAMPALA ON 9TH JUNE 2011” to end the transitional government in favor of a democratically elected government. It, however, worked to make democratic election possible in the Somalian society irrespective of its quality.
The Somalian Election
The transitional government of Somalia helped the society to form a parliament representing all clans in the country following by an electoral committee to manage the process. To this effect,”At a press conference on 1 September 2012, the electoral commission released a ten-point set of criteria against which all prospective candidates for president would be screened. Among the cited conditions were that presidential hopefuls should be at least 40 years of age, a Muslim, and have no criminal history. Candidates are also required to pay a $10,000 registration fee and must have secured at least 20 supporters in parliament prior to running for office. Voting was scheduled to take place on the 10th of the month.”
First round voting in the parliament composed of 271 members: 27 candidates went for election in this round competing for votes from the members of the parliament.
First round voting result: “After the first round of voting, former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed emerged as the frontrunner, amassing 64 votes. Mohamud was a close second with 60 votes. Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali placed third with 32 votes, but later dropped out ahead of the second round along with the fourth-placeAbiquadir Osoble Ali, even though both were eligible to stand in the second round.”
Second round voting result: Only two candidates (Sharif Sheikh Ahmed  and Hassan Sheikh Mahamud) were qualified to run for presidency at this stage of the journey where “Mohamud went on to win the second round, defeating Sharif Ahmed by 190 votes to 79” in September, 2012. “After eight years of transitional governments, Somalia got a permanent government under “Hassan Sheikh Mohamud” [following] the hotly contested presidential election in war-torn Mogadishu.”
Conclusion: Clearly it took two destructive decades of anarchy for the clan-infested Somalian society to accept democratic means of political survival. Each clan used to think of making it to power without election but this hallucination failed to work since the fall of Said Barre and the mistake caused the destruction of that society then after until democracy prevailed in 2012. Immaterial whether both democracies (Liberian and Somalian) were complete answers for their societies, only a transitional government worked in both cases to rectify their social problems at the end of the day.
The fact remains that we can learn from the Somalian experience that the over thirty political parties in the Eritrean resistance can go through first round of votes by an all inclusive parliament that we must form as soon as possible. The most popular candidates can then run for election in the second round of votes under the supervision of an electoral committee that should be formed in the process by agreement.
The question is who would run the nation during this process and facilitate the formation of said parliament and electoral committee until a permanent government is elected by the people in our country and the answer is TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT OF ERITREA. The second question is if any transitional government can work without a strategy and the answer is NO.
At this point in the resistance where the success of mobilization has been proven by the recent activities in the Diaspora (Geneva demonstrations, etc.) and the international community has taken a position on the Afwerki regime, the connecting bridge between our people and the universe is missing from our society, the reason we stopped at that level of achievement. We simply don’t have a formula like the Liberians and the Somalians had to involve the international community in helping us changing our situation towards democracy. Our society and the international community will continue staring at each other from the opposite sides of the river until we Eritreans build that strategic bridge or boat to connect us for concrete action to democracy. As it stands today, the international community cannot help besides extending the sanction and forging a criminal case against the regime like it did against Bashir of Sudan and you know the result (Bashir is still in power). No one can ultimately do it for us except ourselves. Whether we like it or not we have the following choices to expedite our democratic journey:
1)      Following the Liberian strategy for democracy with modification like my ANSWER.
2)      Following the Smalian strategy for democracy with modification.
3)      Following a hybrid strategy from the two experiences.
4)      Making our own original strategy comparable to that of the two societies which in my opinion is very hard to do at the expense of time and continuous suffering of our people.
People install electricity in their countries based on the universal principles of electricity and societies transform to democracy based on universally acceptable socio-political strategies. We need to adopt a strategy that worked in other similar third world societies to salvage our society from the current situation. This is a lot more efficient and faster than trying our own distinct strategy that I have a hard time thinking of. Why not take a readymade universally accepted method of transforming a third world society to democracy instead of searching forever without any idea as in our current experience? How different can it be in the final analysis anyway if we continue hallucinating on this obscure state of mind?
Minus one of these methods (1-3), only time and mother-nature can get rid of the dictatorship, yet at the expense of unpredictable future ahead! Whether we like it or not, we cannot avoid these methods at the end of the day before or after the dictatorship to secure our decent coexistence with ourselves and our neighbors. Once again, the international community has no better choice than the Afwerki regime no matter how much it dislikes it than taking a chance on visionless politicians in the resistance that have a problem with secular democracy and incapable of drafting or accepting a tested strategic journey to democracy. It is not because the international community likes the Assad regime in Syria that it is tolerating it today but because it does not believe the ISIS will do better! So is our situation vis-a-vis the international community and good luck!

Review overview
  • k.tewolde July 7, 2015

    how about using his cousins next door. they are armed to the teeth by the west.Remember! , he did it to wipe out the prolific, broad based, the one that heralded the eritrean armed struggle, the organization that sent him to china to study the ‘red book’. let him taste his own medicine. sometimes you have to dig into what caused the problem to solve the problem. the eritrean youth that was born to the HGDF banner might not know what hit them to end up in disarray across the globe. but some of us who know are still around, watching it all unravel. it hurts! but, what goes around comes around.This might not be the best eritrean specific option, but it is an option. you can’t outrun the Apaches, you die trying. I am just saying..

    • Ketema July 8, 2015

      “how about using his cousins next door. they are armed to the teeth by the west.”
      “let him taste his own medicine. sometimes you have to dig into what caused the problem to solve the problem.”


      The fascist regime has to go by any means possible, but it should be done by Eritreans. Repeating mistakes done by EPLF leaders will only cost more Eritreans lives. EPLF offered the TPLF Badme region, to secure their involvement in kicking out the ELF from Eritrea. Despite that many ordinary Eritreans did not see any problem in doing so. Now, even our young are paying the price for mistakes done by their fathers. That said, we should never repeat EPLF’s leaders mistakes.

      • Suleiman Salim September 8, 2015

        You are telling lies.

  • k.tewolde July 8, 2015

    i agree. “our young are paying the price for the mistakes done by their fathers.” yes ,in principle , it is our problem, and we should solve it ourselves, and the eritrean people will, eventually.the option that i mentioned above is a desperate one, because we are in a desperate situation.this tiny nation is decaying, it is fast depleting the most irreplaceable asset, it’s genuine people!, without it for me, it is barren real state waiting to be enjoyed by foreign adventurers.i am not discounting it , but it took the help of the COI to trigger a mass upheaval in about that young mother who drowned with her beautiful young children in lampedusa, we cried, our hearts bled. but we back went to our respective homes and closed the errie silence ensued.we are in desperate situation.this days ,i am contemplating anything to get rid of this ‘shaitan’.

  • Kokeb Selam July 8, 2015

    Mr Fetsum, great article as usual and please keep it up and God bless you brother.
    Once upon a time Somalia had a leader who died believing that the fabric weaved around the Somali society is so fragile that him alone is capable of holding it together.
    After his disgraced exit and Somalia’s descent to anarchy he exclaimed ‘I told you so. Look! I was sitting in a toilet covering all the ugliness that comes from it?’ He forgot that he was the cause of it all because he failed to attend the problem facing the nation ranging from clan rivalry, to resources misappropriation, to regionalism.
    I will be surprised if the Eritrean tyrant would not say similar but with his customary long dragged, shallow and infantile remark should in case Eritrea faces the same misfortune like Somalia. Thus, it is up to those seemingly irreconcilable forces in Eritrea to tamper expectations and find common ground to arrive at realistic solution that is inclusive, accommodating and self-fulfilling.

  • k.tewolde July 8, 2015

    mother eritrea is in active labor, the pain is long and excruciating , the baby is lodged in the birth canal, slowly making it’s way down. this beautiful baby is in distress ,it’s heart sometimes decelerating, but , it’s coming. are we ready to receive it? is a thought provoking question for every eritrean who is willing to give our mother a lasting post- partum comfort , and relief.

  • yihdego zelalem July 8, 2015

    correction..I meant to say “she had abortion of Egyptian child in 1981” not 1991.

  • k.tewolde July 8, 2015

    a smart answer , from a smart eritrean. i am assuming you are.anybody else?