Radical Change Needed in Somalia

By Sh. Xasan Jaamici

Yes.  There are mixture of feelings regarding the new members of PM Shirdon’s government and how they were selected.  Many of us view this is a positive but radical change from 4.5 to 5 and from big cabinet to small cabinet.  Others believe this selection does not reflect to the expectations of the Somali people and its reconciliation process.

Whatever side you are, I do believe that we must be architects of our change.  Allah will never change today’s conditions unless we do make efforts to change our conditions toward positive.   Allah said: “Truly, God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (Qur’an 13:11)

In my view, in Somali politics, we need a radical change at this time (not religious but political and social) because we have tried to entertain our clan system for the past 21 years though the result was more divisions, conflict, war, injustices and destruction.   The prophet said: “….leave it (tribalism) because it stinks”.   These are the words of our noble Prophet Muhammad.  We must reject all forms of tribalism such as 4.5 because it is the worst form of injustices ever experienced in Somalia.  The prophet Muhammad rejected favoritism based on tribalism but always respected the qualifications and skills of the people.   Usama ibnu Zayd, a companion of prophet Muhammad (PBU), had not yet reached the age of 20 when the prophet Muhammad (PBU) appointed him Chief of the Army.  Usama was the son of Baraka (Ethiopian mother and ex-slave).  Abubakar and Omar were among the soldiers of Usama’s army.   This was radical change although the communities of the prophet accepted the appointment because they viewed Usama as a well qualified person for the position.  Abu Sufyan, the head of all Qureish clan (one of the biggest and largest clan in Arabian Peninsula at that time), was rejected by Emir or President Omar ibnu Khattab to be his close advisor. Instead, Omar ibnu Khattab selected Bilal, a Black Muslim as advisor of the Emir or President Omar ibnu Khattab. Bilal was not Arab, but from Abyssinia. He may have been from Somalia. Bilal was also an ex-slave in Mecca. This was a radical change.  The society of Medina, however, accepted Omar’s selection because it was fair that Bilal should be in that position.   Therefore, the critical question to ask is whether the PM’s cabinet is fairly qualified for the positions they were selected regardless of their tribes.  We should bless them if the answer is yes.  We should give an advice to fix the problem if the answer is negative.

Let us try, the first time in our contemporary history, a small cabinet that all 5 clans are equally represented then move to the next level!  The level we only consider is, who is a well qualified person who can deliver the service regardless of which tribe he/she is coming from.  Thanks to PM Shirdon’s selection which eliminated the destructive 4.5 formula system (Allahu Akbar).  This is the first victory for President Hassan and PM Shirdoon.  Today, at least in Somali politics we have 5 clans where all of them are equal. “Others” clan are equal to every clan. Alhamdulillah and thanks to President Hassan and PM Shirdoon for this effort. This is really the beginning of the first positive step of change they promised.Now, another important question is can we make this government work and give it a chance?  Can you call today your friends and members of your clan in the parliament and ask them to approve this new government?  It is not an experiment; it is a real change-a radical change that is sometimes painful and needed to fix our problems. I know some important clans were not included in the new cabinet but their brothers and sisters are included. The prophet Muhammad (PBU) said (meaning): that a Muslim is a brother or sister of another Muslim…..don’t feel disappointed to each other…” If a brother or sister got a cabinet seat, then assume that part of your body is there and wants you to join and support.  The Prophet said, “A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other.” The Prophet then clasped his hands with the fingers interlaced (while saying that).Inshaa Allah, this new government will overcome all or the major obstacles and that is only if they sit in the driver’s seat.  In addition, our new government members should always be connected to Allah and rely on him all the time.I again make my du’a that may Allah support this new government and give power and energy to fulfill the needs of its people. May Allah show them justice, equality, unity and peace and guide them on how to employ them for the benefit of Somalis and Somalia. May Allah unite all Somalis and bring their hearts together. At the end, we are all brothers and sisters, so we must support each other.  Aamiin.The author is Imam and Director of Minnesota Dawah Institute, MN, USA. He can be reached at E-Mail: xasanjaamici@gmail.com

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