SOOMAL: DISPATCHES FROM A NOMAD

Social media enhances Somali incitement - "Fadhi-ku-dirir"

With technological advancement in communications, online fadhikudirir is the new thing

In Summary

•  The Somali State has undergone stage-managed numerous political, security and leadership change since its formation in the early '90s.

• Famous Somalia poet, actor and composer Mahamud Abdullahi Isse Sangub once said that it is extremely hard to lead a population that is as political as the Somalis.

Social media sites
Social media sites
Image: COURTESY

Somalis love chit-chatting about politics in tea shops or under a tree while sipping sweet tea. In the Somali language, they call those meeting points fadhikudirir .

"Fadhi" is a place to sit, and "Kudirir" is basically to incite. So literally, Fadhikudirir means the incitement place. Social media, especially Facebook is fast transforming the Somali fadhikudirir into an online battle.

"With technological advancement in communications, online fadhikudirir is the new thing now embraced by Somalis further complicating incitement," journalist Ahmed Yusuf said.

 

These days it has become so common for people to speak out their minds and posting their recorded videos online. With Facebook live, it is even better as it has made it easier to do a live video streaming about anything you wish to talk about.

PUBLIC INTEREST

Most of the Somali Facebook videos are politically motivated and often tend to be targeted at either questioning a political move or simply highlighting an issue of great public interest. 

These days,  even Somali women, especially those in the diaspora, are becoming very active and animated on social media contrary to their laid back conservative culture. Facebook is fast transforming into a fightbook.

Famous Somalia poet, actor and composer Mahamud Abdullahi Isse Sangub once said in reference to the Somalia political crisis that it is extremely hard to lead a population that is as political as the Somalis.  I am sure he had fadhikudirir in mind. 

What he basically meant was that Somalis are very hard people to tame, manage or lead. In short, he was sorry to their leader or President because in reality, that man has the hardest job on earth.

TALK OF THE CITY

Well, that is what I noticed in my recent visit to the Somali Federal State in Ethiopia. Political discussions are the talk of the city in most of its countless tea and coffee shops where people gather to relax and talk politics. The current point of discussion is mostly about a recent power-sharing within the ruling Somali Democratic Party.

The Somali State has undergone stage-managed numerous political, security and leadership change since its formation in the early '90s. Interestingly, all Somali Presidents appointed to lead the State have been jailed after serving their term or sometimes even stripped off their power midway through their term.

Ethiopia is a Federal Republic made of 14 l states, including the Somali State or Ogadenia as is widely known. Ethiopia is a parliamentary democracy where citizens only elect members of parliament. The party with the majority in parliament picks the Prime Minister to lead the nation. 

The ruling party, Ethiopia Peoples Revolutionary Defence Force (EPRDF) has been in power since 1991. Somehow, the Somalis are not part of the EPRDF ruling elite in Ethiopia which is only made up of the Amhara, Tigreya, Oromo and the Southern Communities. 

RULING ELITE

The Somali population also don't get to choose their President, who has always been picked from Addis Ababa the capital of Ethiopia, because the Somalis are not part of the four States that are members of the ruling EPRDF party.

The Somali State's ruling party the Somali People Democratic Party (SPDP) recently elected new officials. Former Chairperson who also sloop doubles up as Ethiopia's Finance Minister Ahmed Shide Mohamed was re-elected back with current President Mustafe Muhumed Omar also elected Deputy.

National elections are scheduled for next year in the country, although many say it is highly unlikely due to the ongoing ethnic tensions, in the Somali region the election will be important as other political parties like the Ogaden National Liberation Front  (ONLF) are expected to take part.

This means fadhikudirir and especially the social media fadhikudirir is likely to be extremely busy in the Somali region.