Fear of Democracy

By Dr. O.A. Egal In Somalia, there are heterogeneous political groups, some agitating for a greater autonomy and others use violence to impose their will. In some places some of these groups believe in tolerance, good neighborliness as well a greater autonomy and self governess by establishing regional autonomous states. They are striving to define their individuality and gain more control over their lives.
Article Keydmedia Online
Fear of Democracy

In some other place we see religious groups, namely Al-Shabab and Xisbul Islam who are fighting for unknown drastic change in society; they use violence and incite hated; their aim is obviously to control territory and dominate other people in the name Islam. It is these latter groups that we intend to consider in this article.

In Somalia, all parties in the political conflict are opposed to democracy, because they fear it. But it is Al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam who openly state that and use violence. The reason behind their opposition to the sovereignty of the people, according to many, is their fear of democracy. Since they do not have the vision and the political agenda to lead the country they choose to rely on violence against the population. For them “it is far safer to be feared than loved”(Nicola Machiavelli, The prince).

The few who dare question the validity of certain decisions are accused of“gaalnimo”   heresy. As a result they are harassed by Al-Shabaab militia and abandoned by their friends for fear reprisals. Others who were thinking of denouncing abuse think twice before doing so.In short, these groups declare the entire populations of the countries as inherently contaminated by unislamic values, and finally they turn on each other, each claiming that other group is not pure Muslim.

In fact, it was after the election of Sheikh Sharif´s government that these groups turned to violence. These groups turned to violence, because they felt power were slipping away. They seem to forget that the leadership crisis was due to lack of democracy. And it will be with us unless we accept that sovereignty is vested in the people. People should be allowed to choose their representatives.

However, the people were terrified by the violence that Al-Shabab practices. Its leaders and militia use fear as means to gain and maintain power. Some of them openly state that they owe or pledge allegiance to Osama bin Laden who hiding in mountains of Afghanistan, after declaring war on the western world.

According to reports, in the territories controlled by these violent groups, there is a semblance of peace; they cause death and destruction to lives and dreams of the population therein. There is a rule of terror and, according to these reports, the people breathe and air of anger and extreme hatred. There are also summary executions without public trial, Part of the international community very often says; let the Somalis sort out their differences”. But what does that mean? That statement conveys a wrong message. It can be interpreted to mean that groups like Al-Shabab are free to violate human rights and commit atrocities against the Somali people so long they remain within the confines of the

Somali territory. Where is the universality of the human rights?
The international community should never condone violence and human right violations. It ought to bring the parties to negotiation table. But before any talks, Al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam should:

a. Renounce violence
b. Stop considering the Somali territory as res nullius
c. Accept democracy (sovereignty is vested in the people).

Dr. O. A. Egal (oaegal@yahoo.com)


Article 21 May 2021 10:14

I read your article on Foreign Policy with keen eyes and interest. While whining from public officials does not deserve response from any sensible citizen of the Republic of Somalia, I felt compelled to counter false narrative with more objective analysis.