Democratic Values and Direct Elections

We need to appreciate the democratic culture inherent in our culture. Somali culture does not allow suppression of people’s views and speech. We just need to direct that towards the rebuilding of a democratic government.

Four years ago, I was charged with the task of civic education on the constitution. We made short films and radio dramas explaining aspects of the draft constitution. We then aired these episodes on radio and opened discussion. One night as I was driving home from work, I turned on the radio where a lively discussion was going. Each caller to the radio station was expressing their views about the constitution respectfully and was referring to specific articles and what they thought. There was no clannism, there was no regionalism, and there was no gender bias views. This was an all Somali civil discussion on what’s important for us. That was one of my proudest moments.

We need to continue to make steady progress towards democracy. Direct elections will allow all Somalis to hold officials accountable, to vote out of office those who are corrupt, or who fail to put the interests of citizens first. All elected officials should answer to the people. We do that by allowing every Somali citizen to vote.