Friday, August 03, 2007

Faisal Waraabe got it right
By Bashir Goth
As Somaliland slides towards tribal fragmentation in the run up to the presidential elections to be held early 2008, there is only one politician who has been correctly reading the signs of the impending doom and warning people against falling into the abyss.

Contrary to his brand rhetorical gaffes, Faisal Ali Waraabe has lately been using his words with caution and precision. At a time when the ruling UDUB and the major opposition Kulmiye parties have descended to their lowest by soliciting support through clan loyalties, Faisal decided to campaign on a national platform and rightly warned against the tribalization of Somaliland politics.

He is the only opposition politician who rejected to capitalize on the current political imbroglio resulting from the arrest of the leaders of “Qaran party”. While most of the opposition leaders in Kulmiye and even MPs from Faisal’s UCID party, including the Speaker of the Lower House, decided to put the cart before the horse, Faisal has again rightly behaved like a responsible and law abiding politician. He pointed out that it was the government’s duty to safeguard the country’s constitution and ensure that all citizens abide by its provisions. He also demanded that the arrested politicians be brought to court without any delay.

Measuring his moves wisely and carefully, he refused to go with the herd mentality of blanket condemnation of every action the government takes.

No one denies that the government has been committing blunder after blunder lately, particularly in its repeated and unwarranted detention of journalists. We all demand that the government should not infringe on citizens’ personal rights and stifle people’s freedom of expression, but it should also be known that as Faisal has rightly pointed out that the government is responsible for the country’s peace and stability. And with that comes obligations to make unpopular decisions and take tough actions on certain occasions.

The arrest of the “Qaran Party” leaders, as unpopular as it may seem to be, comes within the government’s legitimate jurisdiction to deal with situations it deems harmful to the stability, peace and security of the nation.

Regardless of the constitutional debate on the legitimacy of founding a political party other than the existing ones, it is the ABC of democratic systems that any person or group of persons who want to form a political grouping should go through legal registration and licensing procedures. Any attempt to create any form of political organization without going through the proper channels is not only an upfront to the constitution but reeks of sheer arrogance and selfish political opportunism.

It is also obvious from the government’s statements that the leaders of the “Qaran party” were not arrested for expressing their opinions as ordinary citizens per se, but they have been arrested for founding an illegal political party without going through the proper procedures. All that we should demand from the government now is to prove its accusation in a court of law and as soon as possible. It is there and then where the legality of the government’s action should be decided and not through tribal sentiments and emotional outbursts.

Faisal Ali Waraabe is therefore one politician who took the moral high ground by campaigning on national agenda rather than on tribal arrogance, while other big names have fallen flat by invoking old clich├ęs, opening old wounds and trying to bask in retired slogans.

Well, we may argue that we don’t have the best government on earth, but we have to also admit that no government will be good enough for us unless we become law-abiding citizens. For as long as clan loyalties stay above the law, as long as we view the man in the presidency as a tribal chief rather than an elected leader, as long as we support politicians on the color of their tribal flags and not on their national agenda, then we have to know that we cannot escape ending up as another Somalia. The choice is ours and at least we have one political leader who can say: “I told ya so.” Faisal Waraabe has got it right and it is worth listening to him before it is too late. Read more in Awdalnews

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