Somalia will surely have a new Constitution despite the wish of Fearmongers
Last ditch attempt to block the ‘Roadmap to end the Transition’ has been made by fearmongers, Naysayers , and assortment of TFG ex-officio members, all of them keen of spreading distorted facts aimed at manipulating the public perception, specially targeting the planned Constituent Assembly conference were over 800 delegates consisting of all segments of society anticipated to debate and approve the draft constitution document just completed by the Independent Federal Constitution Commission (IFCC) and the Committee of Experts on 20th April 2012.
Fearmongers use scare tactics to influence public opinion to impede change and progress by disseminating false information about the draft constitution and the planned Constituent Assembly meeting. Naysayers, natural skeptics and cynical people among us, habitually express negativity about the accomplishment of others and are pessimistic about change. Dale Carnegie’s famous quote fittingly describes the nature of Naysayers when he wrote “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, and most fools do.”
These Naysayers often spread blatant lies to oppose anything other people do. In the case of the Constituent Assembly, they assert that the constitution can only be approved by popular referendum, disregarding discernible historical fact that the Somali Republic itself was founded by the 1960 Constitution, approved by Constituent Assembly of only 110 delegates, and a process that took only 29 days, whereby public referendum was held 21st of July 1961, after more than one year. I am quite sure that most of them positive know this historical fact, but implicit forgetfulness and avoiding the truth is their tactic to deceive and manipulate. What could possibly be right with a 1960 Constituent Assembly of 110 delegates then, and what could be possibly wrong with 2012 Constituent Assembly of 825 delegates now.
The beneficiaries of the culture of fear, chaos and mayhem that perpetuated the 20 years of civil war in Somalia are irrationally phobic, and unreasonably fearful of reestablishing of law and order. Their natural paranoia is best expressed by infecting the public through the mass media and utilize assortment of propaganda tactics including repetition tactic (assuming the general public will believe what they hear repetitively), bandwagon propaganda tactic (portraying false perception that most people are against the constitution and YOU must follow the crowd), and playing the clannish card, thinking that Somalis will react as they did in the past. The scaremongers and Naysayers take the public for granted. But what they do not realize is, the people of Somalia have gone beyond yielding to fear and threats, they should learn from Al-Shabab, it doesn’t work anymore! The people and government of Somalia are resolute to see through the implementation of the Roadmap and establish a constitutional order and permanent national government after 12 years of stagnation in transitional governance. Al-Qaeda/Al-Shabab, Warlords, fearmongers and naysayer are in no position to hold a country in hostage and deny the people to pursue its destiny.
Al-Shabab strategists are said to have joined the contra-Constitution bandwagon, convinced that they will succeed to bolster the pro-TFG fearmongers and Naysayers to block and abort the opportunity at hand to establish a new and more permanent national government by derailing the constitution-making process. As publicized by the media, Al-Qaeda of Somalia (aka Al-Shabab) issued an order condemning those who participate in the upcoming Constituent Assembly to death; One Constituent Assembly invitee is said to have been killed in Mogadishu, an act claimed by Al-Shabab. Little did Al-Shabab, the fearmongers and Naysayers know! NO ONE IS BUDGING, NO ONE IS HIDING, AND NO ONE IS RUNNING. All invitees are lined-up ready to give the nation a new constitution that reflects the desires of its people, and their religious and cultural heritage. Fearmongers and Naysayers made their repetitive media hullabaloos; does that scare anyone? No. The people of Somalia have seen it all, heard it all; threats and public manipulation does not have the effect it had ten years ago.
For those citizens of Somalia who want to contribute positively, I urge you to join the thousands who continue to have constructive input; the chance is open until the final vote of the Constituent Assembly is casted. To my colleagues at the Ministry of Constitution and Federalism, as well as the men and women of the IFCC and COE, the people of Somalia will remember you for your bravery and dedication. As Eleanor Roosevelt said “Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.” All Somalis of goodwill, I urge you have your input as this is your constitution, our collective legacy for the generations to come. For all those Somalis of goodwill that support the nations struggle to achieve permanent national government, I urge you not to be discouraged by the pessimists and cynics, and skeptics for they only know how to create doubt and negativity. I leave you with the following quote by Elbert Hubbard:
“To escape criticism – do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” — Elbert Hubbard
The author is a Somali MP, Deputy-Minister (Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation)
This article first appeared in Soomaalo’s Constitution Making Blog