Pioneering Resignation in Somalia

The resignation of Abdikarim Hussein Guled, former Minister of National Security, following an audacious attack on Parliament by al-Shabaab on Saturday 24 May, represents a small but significant step towards democratic consolidation in Somalia.

For the first time, a senior Somali politician has voluntarily resigned from his position having taken responsibility for his failings.

Known for his close relations with the President, Guled was one of just two Ministers to survive the recent cabinet shuffle, serving as Minister of Interior and Security in Abdi Farah Shirdon’s previous Council of Ministers.

Guled deserves credit for courageously introducing a degree of self-accountability to the political lexicon of Somalia, a quality that has evaded politicians since independence, paving the way for endemic corruption and a wanton culture of impunity.

In Somalia, politicians all too often apportion blame to others, even in the face of overwhelming evidence against them. Insulated in a bubble of elite cacophony, which provides them with an endless salvo of mutual reinforcement, taking responsibility has hitherto been considered a sign of weakness.

Calls for senior politicians’ resignations have been growing in recent months. Most recently, in early May, the President was forced to respond to calls from more than 100 MPs to resign. Guled had faced numerous calls for resignation reaching a peak following the attack on Villa Somalia in February. Until now, political positions have been considered a right, not a privilege, and accountability has subsequently been brushed aside.

Guled’s resignation marks an important departure from this culture. Just hours after the attack on Parliament, Guled tendered his resignation on national television, appearing genuine in taking responsibility for the failures of the security apparatus he was ultimately in charge of. He rightfully emphasized that structural weaknesses in the security services remained inherent.

During Guled’s tenure, al-Shabaab successfully stormed all three branches of the federal government of Somalia. The Benadir Regional Courts, hosting Somalia’s Supreme Court, was attacked in April 2013. In February al-Shabaab managed to force its way into Villa Somalia, coming uncomfortably close to the President on his way to Friday prayers. The attack on Parliament appears to have finally convinced Guled of his ineptitude in the role of Minister of National Security.

While it will come as no surprise to see him return to a senior position in Somali politics before long, it is hoped that Guled’s decision to stand down will serve as a important reminder of the responsibilities that befall his peers and successor.

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One Comment

  1. Avatar Hanhan
    Posted May 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    The resignation of the Minister marks a history in Somali politics and I suggest we view the other side of the mountain which many Somali people and leaders fail to explore the real issue. Finally, in the event of failure what should have been done to have prevented such failures or in the case of success what could have been done to improve on the success.

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