Debate on the Somali ‘Duopoly’ Rages in Twitter

Mogadishu (PP News) — A Puntland Post story on a comment by Dr Afyare Elmi, Director of Heritage Institute for Policy Studies, on the political situation in Somalia is generating lively discussions in Twittersphere. We reported that Afyare had argued that a failure on the part of the incumbent Somali government to organise elections had resulted in political uncertainties.

Afyare’s inadvertent use of rotation lends credence to the duopoly theory.

“The root cause is that every four years Somalia often has some sort of rotation of power that has not happened under the leadership of the President” Afyare told Al Jazeera. Afyare’s inadvertent use of rotation lent credence to the duopoly theory advanced by Professor Ahmed Ismail Samatar about two Somali clans that take turns occupying Villa Somalia.

“With respect to @afyare_elmi the supposition that Somalia should adopt an alternate presidential system rotating between Darood and Hawiye is not only pure sophistry but regressive given the present 4.5 power sharing structure. Somalia does not belong to two tribes?” tweeted Sharief Zeinulabidin Khalif. In a tweet, Afyare begged to differ:

“This is not about duopoly. They misunderstood it. Argued that of democracy components (rule of law, rotation of power & checks & balances), Somalia had practice of rotation of power every 4 yrs, and VS failed to deliver it. See my publications on citizenship and decentralization.” The root of rotation is rotate. Oxford English Dictionary defines rotate thus: “ to move or turn around a central fixed point.”

It is this difinition of the verb that Muna Ismail has in mind when, in reply to Adam Aw Hirsi, she tweeted: “Rotation’ implies an inherently known pattern of an activity. While ‘changing hands’ refers to something with a new outcome. Of course the ‘duopoly system’ carries anything but change. It was created to ring-fence the positions of President and PM for two specific groups only.”

“Afyare is a Somali intellectual who is not on the record for speaking out against marginalisation of Somali clans known as Others. Heritage Institute, like other so-called think tanks in Somalia, is a mouthpiece of a clan. That Afyare accepted its directorship says a lot about the quality of research by Somali think tanks. They promote the 4.5 system and deprive us of political and economic rights” Aweys Shiikhey, a Banadiri political activist, said.

Somalia is still searching for an intellectual class able to rise above the promotion of powerful clans’ interests and patronage.

© Puntland Post, 2021