Now that the political campaign season is well under way, what kind of political leadership does Somaliland need?
In order to determine what kind of political leadership the nation requires, lets first establish how leadership is defined. The term ‘leadership’ was first coined in the early nineteenth century[i], and refers to ‘the dignity, office, or position of a leader, especially of a political party’s ability to lead’[ii]. To delve more into what political leadership entails we must refer to the renowned Greek Philosopher Aristotle, one of the most authoritative scholars on Political Philosophy, and teacher of Alexander the Great amongst others. The quest to identify who would make the best and most effective leader is as old as civilsation itself. As such to determine which of the three Presidential candidates has the best qualities of a political leader, we ought to refer to Aristotle three artistic proofs. According to Aristotle we must all first become good followers before we become good leaders[iii]. A leader must intimately understand the needs, struggles and aspirations of his[iv] society, and once in office a leader must keep abreast of the same plight, concerns and development of the people he serves. In order to become a political leader, one needs certain modes of persuasion to convince audiences. For Aristotle there were three: ethos, pathos, and logos[v]. The ethos is the ability of the individual to convince others of his moral character and credibility; the pathos is the ability to connect and move people emotionally; the logos is the ability to give solid reasons for particular actions and, therefore, to move people intellectually. In our modern times by this definition, Gandhi (Asian), Winston Churchill (European), Abraham Lincoln (American), Nelson Mandela (African) and our very own Mohamed Ibrahim Egal were all great leaders who possessed all of the above.
In today’s political climate, we have three presidential candidates who all have their own distinct qualities. Whether we agree or believe that they are worthy of these descriptions of themselves or not, in the eyes of the Somaliland public, they are played out as followed. Mr Muse B. Abdi, the ‘Mujahid’ who has fought for the liberation of the Nation and has gone through all the trials and tribulations since Somaliland re-gained its independence, with deep roots in Somaliland’s fabrics. Mr Abdirahman A. Cirro, the ‘Diplomate’, a level headed former Speaker of Parliament who campaigns for change. And Mr Faisal A. Waraabe, the ‘Unconventional’, seasoned opposition leader who understands the needs of the people, with his ultra-Socialist Scandinavian vision for Somaliland.
From what we have seen so far in the election campaign, who do we think has employed the leadership modes of persuasion in line with Aristotle’s Ethos, Pathos and Logos artistic proofs? Although the official campaign period is very young, I think it’s very safe to assume the direction of the last couple of weeks has been anything but persuasion politics – but rather alienation and tarnishing opposition leader