The last two years were tough to humanity in general given the COVID-19 complications, the resultant fatalities, and restrictions. But thank God, 2021 fared better than its predecessor as many countries opened up and hence economy- although still struggling- reignited. Here in Kenya, the country saw much ease and greater recovery in the later part of the year. School-age children resumed classes, physically this time, but still under careful and cautious environment. Any child with the slightest flu-like symptoms was asked to stay at home. International schools continued to offer a hybrid learning/teaching modality. In other words, a blended approach where students could attend classes in person and still those from either vulnerable or extremely prudent parents, could get connected remotely at the comfort of their homes.
Back home, there was no much restrictions in the first place and the pandemic continued to hit periodically but all along slightly. In one month, you would see high mortality rate, but the unfortunate reality is the absence of reliable pathological diagnosis. No one knows for sure the cause of such deaths, but one would assume it is related to the global pandemic. Imposed restrictions failed to work in this part of the world even in the peak of the disease.
The new ‘Omicron’ variant, however, sent shocking waves, pushing many western countries to reimpose containment measures, some aggressive, regressive, and selectively applied to certain countries. Nevertheless, scientists finally confirmed that this variant is so contiguous but, plausibly for the relief of many, less disastrous.
Furthermore, glad that I became double-jabbed mid last year; and booster shot will soon be rolled out. Yet, as much as I understand that vaccine is a lifesaving necessity, I am still not a big fan of the series of jabs as some are now even talking about a fourth shot. It turns out as open-ended thing, not to mention vaccine nationalism and all the associated disparities.
In Somaliland, local council and parliamentary elections took place in May 2021. Both elections delayed and incumbents overstayed, some over 15 years. Combining the two elections was a good move, strategic and probably saved millions of dollars from personal, communal and national coffers. However, the outlook of the new parliament is not inclusive and doesn’t look good. It has no single women parliamentarians, zero representation in some regions of the country and still worse, the vast majority of the new MP’s hail from one block, effectively rendering representation, legislation, resource allocation and accountability not only compromised but badly skewed. The winner takes all approach isn’t healthy and poses a serious threat to social cohesion. An immediate structured remedy, possibly towards revised legislation is needed to offset election fractures.
Nonetheless, still there were heartening and inspiring takeaways from this election. The landslide victory of Barkhad Batuun, a candidate from traditionally marginalized community, is a testimony to changing attitude, a long overdue ethical reparation to past eras and moral failings. Equally, Abdikarim Mooge, the current mayor of Hargiesa’s sweeping victory, with a youth-focused, non-tribal platform ushers a new era where personality, leadership and individual quality matters most.
Similarly, at a personal level, this election was like no other as the largest number of acquaintances, distant relatives, close friends and former classmates, all vied for different seats both at parliament and local councils. This means my engagement or at least the perceived involvement was much greater than all previous voting.
Brink of war
The situation in Mogadishu was close to brink of war in April, following intense and almost violent disagreements between president Farmajo and prime minister Roble. This came after Farmajo audaciously tried to extend mandate for two additional years. This, however, was met with strong resistance to the level of an armed one. The country has never been so close to a bloody civil war for decades than those tensed and unpredictable days. Hundreds of residents left their homes and moved to the relative safety of other areas within Mogadishu. The prospect of an all-out civil war was never greater in those days and people in Mogadishu were slightly spared from another deadly civil strife. Concerned citizens and other political stakeholders, both domestic and foreign players exerted pressure on parties, urging them self-restraint and to avoid bloodshed and work towards a peaceful resolution. This has somewhat worked, but the conflict is back, fear is still real, and this could develop into a full-blown violence unless local sustainable solution is reached, credible elections are held, and power is handed over or legitimacy earned through legal and consensus-based avenues.
Back in the sky
As situation improved, I started once again to fly and visit many different places for personal and work-related trips. Interestingly, for the first time in many years, I spent quality time with my family for 15 consecutive months- a very unlikely and unimaginable scenario for a person like me- a frequent traveler, with a roughly two and sometimes triple trips in a month. Yet, with all the hassle and inconvenience associated with travel, I was still longing for this moment; being in the sky, closing my eyes for around 10-15 minutes, for a much-needed self-reflection and refreshment- a ritual I maintained lately each time I fly.
To this end, I flew to Rwanda and spent splendid days there. See the Rwanda reflections in this link https://wardheernews.com/soo-rogaalcelinta-ruwaanda/. I also visited Addis Ababa, Mogadishu (twice), Hargeisa, Garowe, Borama, Berbera, Gabiley, Sheikh and Buroa.
Once every two years, the family and I travel back home to spend quality time with family members and friends. But this time, the visit came after nearly 15 months, I have not traveled, mainly due to COVID-19 restrictions. Normally, I visit my mom particularly once in two months, but this was an exceptionally prolonged absence. Finally, I was so excited to be back home and grateful to have spent there a restful and joyful break. See this link for the observation during my stay there http://horusocod.blogspot.com/2021/08/fasax-iyo-fiirsasho.html.
At a personal level, I continued to do pretty good stuff, professionally and socially. Likewise, I maintained my self- discipline of reading as much books as possible, producing aftermath book summaries and occasionally publishing articles and short stories. This year, I have been reading with a Kindle; and have experienced a renewed enthusiasm on written work. Thanks to my nephew Abdihakim Omar for sending this device.
Finally, I remain grateful to the Almighty Allah for granting us good health, peace and prosperity and equally looking forward to a much more peaceful, healthier, prosperous and blessed 2022!
By: Abdirahman Adan Mohamoud