Morality and Public Office in Somalia

An exceptional personal moral standard is to be a prerequisite for holding high public office, particularly in the case of those whose task is to serve and judge the morality of others. Hence unfortunately, such high standards are in short supply in Somalia. That has led to diminishing public trust in our state institutions. In the matter of political ethics one of the foremost speakers of the subject unlike Aristotle is the Italian philosopher by the name of Niccolo Machiavelli who, believed that a political leader may be required to behave in evil ways if necessary to maintain his authority and in the case of Somalia’s modern history this led to the disastrous civil war, subsequent collapse of the state.  In my critique of the Somali leadership I argue that ethics has no place in the political context of Somalia, time and again one sees that the Somali politicians are not bound by moral rules as they pursue personal, tribal and rarely national interests.

The invasion of Ethiopia, radicalism, Piracy, corruption and balkanization relates with the lack of moral authority and sincere leadership in our public and political arena. One of the moral tragedies after the state collapse is the tribalization of politics in the country which manifests the representation of the people into 4.5 systems comprising of the tribal sectors of the Somali ethnic. This tribal based representation was not fair in the first place and produced incompetent, self-serving and naïve parliamentarians who later on select through unknown forces a puppet president whilst approving a servitude premier to the president and other interests and the country feels agonized when money and muscle power become the supreme power. This scenario lacks both the ethics of the process and the ethics of policy which shows a total mayhem.

That catastrophic matter was led by nonetheless immoral leaders of warlords, criminals and vile merchants in the last 30 years. The failure of subsequent transitional governments in fulfilling their own promises is due to the lack of integrity, moral compass, values, justice and cleanliness. Islam places those qualities our leaders lack in higher ranks and here we are with all those evil characterizations. Those leaders divided, fragmented, and abused the public authority and that established an immoral culture of public property exploitation.

The culture of looting the country was from post-independence and Barre era but it took its toll in the last 8 years which marked Somalia; transparency index’s 1st notoriously corrupt country in the face of earth. Surely, corruption is a major problem that saps the economic and social progress of the country but the lack of real anti-corruption and accountability campaign merely beyond the mouth of the leaders is highly demanded by the public. The corruption is institutionalized, systemized and deeply rooted in the fabrics and foundations of the state institutions in Somalia.

The public office which is to serve for the country is now seen as a venture opportunity due to the absence of morality, deity and performs in the corruption making process such as political corruption during the motions in the parliament as the legislative branch itself became imaginary entity in Somalia. The upper and lower house of the parliament is theatre for criminals as they come into the seat with bribes of as much as a million dollar of bribe for a single constituent seat from differing parts of Somalia.

Most of those parliamentarians haven’t visited once the regions of their representation and some are merely into the parliament for immunity of their crimes against the Somali people and humanity at large. The people don’t have the modality of electing good representatives which makes any election whether a parliamentary or presidential impossible to happen for the sole reason that it is not fit for the criminals running the state.  

The increasing participation of criminals in the electoral processes is alarmingly to be cautioned in the sense that criminalization of politics is gravely threatening the peace and rebuilding efforts of the country. A clean, fair, functional parliament will be the beginning of a health democracy and ethical politics in Somalia. The country is in dire need of laws such jurisprudences include ethics in government act, anti-corruption act, Accountability act, representation of peoples act (RPA) and many more but all these legalities are incapable of producing any useful results without political will, reform of the justice and policy execution from the leadership.

The Somali people lost all trust and confidence in public service agencies specially the top leadership whether federal member state leadership of Federal government leadership for again the mere reason of proposing unattainable goals and not fulfilling that promise for the country. Eradicating the radical group from the country in two years was not possible but rooting them out of Mogadishu can fair and squarely be reached if collected the political, military, financial, intelligence and strategic properties of the Somali people. These promises are blunt, improper, and mostly lack the emotional intelligence of setting, preparing, communicating and strategically implementing in the land. In the final analysis of this piece I shall conclude by pointing that the moral triumphs and failures of leaders carry a greater weight and volume than those of non-leaders. The central moral issues ethics in the public offices are dealing with the things like authenticity, self-interest, and self-discipline, and moral obligations related to justice, duty, competence, and the greatest good.

These moral failures were burden for all of us for longer time and it depends on us to pose harder questions to those who stand to lead us on many facets of our life for the foremost being his moral stance on politics, economy, diplomacy, reconstruction and federalization and other global question beyond our peninsula as the globalization and geopolitics produces inter-influences to each nations. We have not to trust again liars, deceivers, looters and mostly moral unfit personalities into our precious public offices.

The writer holds MBA and commentates on Somali developments of Politics, Economic and foreign Policy.