Africa and Aboriginal Tuesdays: Why Oppose The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) When There Is No Alternative? by Omar Mohamed Alihashi
Our country has been without a government for 17 years and every attempt to create one has ended in failure. Today the Somali people for the first time in many years have an opportunity of seeing the return of a functioning government that has the support of the international community. The attention of the world is focused on our country again, our people are tired of the sad state that we are in and the political leaders in the country now accept the need for a solution. Simply put, all the right circumstances are in place or as one might say the stars are aligned for peace in Somalia. Realizing this, why should we allow for some people to squander this opportunity for us again? Is it fair for a nation of 10 million people to be held hostage by a handful of thugs driven by selfish interests?
The reality is that those who oppose the Transitional Federal Government have no alternative to offer. They are quite content to see Somalia in the same state of chaos and anarchy that it has been in for the last 17 years. Yes, they may try to present themselves as the saviors of Somalia but in reality they are the destroyers of our nation. Under various disguises and multiple aliases they oppose the return of normality and sense of order to our country. They want to keep us in a state of nature where those who are strong get their way at the expense of those who are weak.
These folks who claim to be a religious movement one day, a nationalist movement the other or tribal militias when their back is against the wall are only interested in one thing: To keep Somalia in the same state of hopelessness for as long as possible. They fight because in a state of hopelessness they are happy, in the anarchy they are strong and in the poverty of the masses they have plenty. The truth is they have nothing in common with the majority of peace loving Somalis who can not wait to see the return of a stable government. They have denied our nation peace, violated the dignity and honour of our people and turned our country into a safe haven for international outlaws. After all this, they have the nerve to present themselves as the saviors of Somalia. Do they really believe that we are fooled by their trickery and deception?
“The Ethiopian Invasion”
They claim that they are against the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) because it is a puppet of Ethiopia. It is no secret that the TFG is closely aligned with Ethiopia and receives a great deal of support from Addis Ababa. However, Ethiopia did not invade Somalia; instead it came in at the request of the TFG. As the sole legitimate authority of the country the TFG has the right to exercise a foreign and security policy that it sees fit. It decides the countries that Somalia will have relations with and those that it will not. One does not have to agree with every decision that a government makes and no one should certainly attempt to overthrow the legitimate authority in a country because one disagrees with its policies. However, these things are difficult to understand for people who reject the whole concept of a government let alone its policies.
The reality is that the Ethiopian argument is a cover for their real motive which is to oppose the return of a government that will establish the rule of law and end the anarchy that currently exists. If it is Ethiopia they oppose then why was the Transitional National Government reduced to being locked down in one of the local hotels in Mogadishu? Would they argue that Abdiqasim Salad Hassan and Ali Khalif Galaydh were puppets of Ethiopia? The truth is that there is no difference between the TNG, TFG and any other government in their eyes because any established authority would make these gangsters illegitimate. These are people who have greatly benefited from the chaos of the last 17 years by establishing themselves at the top of an anarchic society and they will oppose anything that threatens their status. They have no remorse in sacrificing the lives of innocent people in order to continue their strangulation of our country. Ever hear some of the demands being made by these folks? It is simply pathetic.
Moreover, if they oppose foreign troops then why do they continue to create a situation that makes it necessary for the country to need outside intervention? Why did they not volunteer to become the troops that their government needs? Why did they not disarm and welcome the TFG? Instead they twice attempted to assassinate the Prime Minister and sent suicide bombers to Baidoa in an attempt to eliminate the President just to show their opposition to the legitimate authority of the country. They also began assassinating anyone who wanted to see the return of a government and the rule of law. These folks have to realize that the Somali nation will not be a hostage to them any longer. They should understand that Somalia is determined to move forward from this sad period in its history. Working against the wave of hope that is spreading across our country is irrational. Furthermore, arguing that we need to “liberate” our country from Ethiopia misses the fact that our nation first needs to be freed from the forces of darkness that have held it hostage for 17 years. Ever wonder why the nationalist fervor is limited to a few neighborhoods in Mogadishu but not throughout the rest of the country? How interesting!
Advice to the anti-government forces
Your cause is unjust no matter how much religious/nationalist rhetoric you use to portray otherwise. Moreover, you do not have the support of the international community which fully supports the TFG. Despite the cries of invasion and massacre, no country has stepped forward to seriously challenge the TFG and its allies. On the contrary, a United Nations resolution (Resolution 1744) authorized African Union intervention in Somalia. Eritrea, a state sponsor of terrorism is the only country which supports your cause and only because it sees you as a tool in its wider war against Ethiopia. Most of all however, you do not have the support of the Somali people. You do not even have the support of the majority of the neighborhoods in Mogadishu yet you claim to be a mass movement which speaks for all the Somali people. You are not waging an insurgency with grassroots support despite all the comical comparisons to Vietnam and Iraq that you and your supporters make. An insurgency with no mass internal support and a formidable external backer is not much of an insurgency but rather a hopeless struggle.
Therefore, I would advise you to stop sending young Somali boys on suicide missions against well armed and well trained troops. Most of your strength was destroyed when this conflict began which makes one wonder what you can achieve now with your hopeless and desperate tactics which only results in the suffering of innocent civilians. It is clear that you have no military option to back your flawed political objectives. Moreover, you have to realize that Ethiopia is not going to cut and run like the US as it is not a Western democracy where its leader has to worry about public opinion affecting the next election like an American President. Burning corpses and dragging dead soldiers on streets only gives ammunition to the government and its allies while exposing you as savages. Furthermore, the international community has fully committed itself to seeing the return of a functioning government to Somalia no matter how hard you try to prevent it. Most significantly however, the Somali people are now seeing you as nothing more than an obstacle to the peace that our country longs for. The question is how long will it take for you to realize the truth and accept these undeniable facts?
What is the Alternative?
People should ask themselves what would become of our country if we were to lose this chance. Is there really a viable alternative to the Transitional Federal Government? Our country has lost many historic opportunities before and I believe we should not repeat those mistakes again. The TFG is the only and all inclusive option which represents all Somalis, a characteristic no other movement can claim. It is also the only authority that can obtain the support of the international community that our country desperately needs. It is time to stop sticking our heads in the sand and blindly opposing something without understanding the consequences. Our nation is waiting to wake up from this terrible nightmare that has been haunting us for far too long. After 13 or 14 peace conferences, a major UN intervention and a couple of previous governments when is enough really enough? The folks who are opposing the Transitional Federal Government are not motivated by principles or patriotism. They are only interested in continuing the bililiqo, piracy, poverty and backwardness that has become the norm in our country. The reality is if we squander this chance it will be at our peril. It would also be a shame if we let these selfish thugs cost us this historic opportunity.
The author, Omar Mohamed Alihashi, can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. This commentary was published on Garowe Online.
Omar Mohamed Alihashi
Tuesday, April 24, 2007