OPINION: Will 2021 See A Sufi Leader Become President Of Somalia?
If everything goes to plan then 2021 will be the first time that the ordinary Somali will be casting his vote to decide who the next President and legislative leaders will be. Somalia´s post civil war political scenario has been influenced by three main players . Religious groups, politicians with a military past and those from the world of business, entrepreneurship and civil society There have been five Presidents in Somalia since the fall of the socialist Siad Barre regime in 1991 and advent of the civil war. Of these Presidents three have been affiliated with Islamist parties which adhere to the Salafism ideology. The immediate former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was affiliated to the Damu Jadid movement which is more influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood philosophy.He identified himself as a Salafi. Former President Shariff Sheikh Ahmed launched his political career from the Islamic Courts Union. He is a Salafi. President Abdullahi Yusuf was from a military background while Faarmajo has a local governments background having being in a top management position in the New York State. Salafism has since the 90s become increasingly influential in Somalia. The Petro dollar from the Gulf states has boosted its spread through funding of projects in the country inlcuding educational facilities. Statistics however indicate that Sufism has the largest adherence estimated at 80% population of Somalia. "If at all we would go by numbers then Sufis deserve the presidency in Somalia and 2022 if we will be allowed to vote we will have opportunity to make this a reality” Mahamed Muse a Sufi adherent that I met in Warsheekh said. However other facts may play in including clan allegiance and financial ability of a candidate as has been in the past elections. The recent merger deal between the Ahlul Sunnah Wa Jamaa and the Galmudug administration officially launched the movement into mainstream Somali politics. "The ASWJ has led by example that adherents of Sufism play an important role in the rebuiding of this country. They have successfully controlled their regions and secured them from Alshabaab. They have displayed leadership” Dr Mustafa Ali a Nairobi based analyst said recently. The 2021 is expected to be a one man one vote the first in post civil war Somalia so if the numbers are anything to go by will the next President be affiliated to Sufi movement or will other factors charter the destiny of this country´s leadership?