Samiya Lerew: The 4.5 era will be remembered as the darkest period in our history

As Somalia is planning to hold one person, one vote elections in 2021, Puntland Post has had the opportunity to interview Samiya Lerew, the founder and Chairman of the Cosmopolitan Democratic Party of Somalia.

PP: When and why was the Cosmopolitan Democratic Party founded?

Samiya: The party was founded on May 10, 2015. There has been a hope that Somalia will conduct  party-based elections, and we are determined not to be absent from the political arena.

The logo of the party

PP: Somalia is venturing into a multiparty system after two decades of the notorious 4.5 power-sharing formula that relegates more than half of the Somali citizenry to a minority status. What is the position of CDP on the political marginalisation of Somalis known as ‘Others’?

Samiya: The 4.5 era will be remembered as the darkest period in our history. Predatory system that was designed to create as much resentment among Somali people while creating small groups to amass huge wealth at the expense of societies on the periphery. ‘Othering’ Somali citizens has enabled social Darwinism to take root in our polity. CDP rejects all forms of human degradation. The idea of othering, representation of Somalia as consisting of a number of clans, some in perpetual conflict, suggests a society of relative equals pursuing similar goals, sharing similar interests, engaged in similar activities, living in similar culture, sharing similar language if not same. The opportunity to compete in free and fair elections should never be dismissed as impractical, in favour of the 4.5 system. No Somali citizen should be denied to reach their full potential simply because they were born into the wrong side of clan fence.

PP:  Does CDP have any ideas on how to break the deadlock over the electoral law opposed by some political parties and some Federal Member States?

Samiya: CDPhas no any ideas as to how to break the deadlock. Federal Member States are based on the foundations of 4.5. They do not wish to let go of their good fortune. They think the idea of one person, one vote threatens their very existence.

PP:  Is CDP a member of the Forum for the National Parties? If not, why?

Samiya: CDP is not a member of ‘The Forum for the National Parties’. They have not approached us. Secondly, we have not found any group whose principles strike a chord with us.

PP: Will CDP consider the possibility to collaborate with other parties to form a coalition government if no political party wins an absolute majority of votes?

Samiya: Yes, providing that the coalition moves away from the 4.5 system.

PP: Would CDP support negotiations with Al-shabaab to end the threat of transnational terrorism to the global security?

Samiya: This is a very tricky question. Who is Al-shabaab? Since there are no foreigners among us, who are using the terror group as means of organised crime? We cannot negotiate with an elusive body, but we can and should rehabilitate the youths Al-shabaab uses. 4.5 is the facilitator of terrorism. Without painful injustices the group could not have survived. They exploit injustices that have yet to be addressed in Somalia.

© Puntland Post Monthly, 2020