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Ikran Haji Daud Warsame: The Maverick Politician Who Took The Horn Of Africa By Surprise
By Saad I. Samatar, M.A. MLIS, Minneapolis, MN
When the Constitution was completed on the Seventeenth of September in 1787, I was not included in that "We, the people …." -- Barbara Jordan, in speech to the House Judiciary Committee Hearing (1974)=
Ikran Haji Daud Warsame The Maverick politician who took the Horn of Africa by surprise was not included in the Constitution of Somaliland or for that matter Somalia=
Calamities, complex issues and unforeseeable circumstances thrust great leaders from obscurity and into the limelight of politics and public service. Societal pressures push them to act and take their place in the sun. Visionary leaders who changed the world were brought into the attention of the world by unforeseeable events and spontaneity. They come to the forefront of societies and the front lines of events at the hour of need, when their people need them to take over and lead.
The British colonial racism and oppression of India gave the world icons like Mahatma Gandhi. The dehumanizing policy of segregation (Apartheid) of the former white racist government of South Africa gave to the world the great legend, President Nelson Mandela. "N'Kosi Sikelel' I Africa" (God Bless Africa)
In the same token, Ikran Haji Daud Warsame was put forth into the limelight of politics by the Somaliland project, one of the few glimmers of hope in a continent plagued by recalcitrant despots, inept dictators, warlords, disease, lack of opportunity and despair.
Ikran H. Daud, the daughter of a prominent Somaliland business man, community leader and religious personality, is seen perhaps, as a front runner of a new species of politician in the Horn of Africa. Ikram's spontaneous arrival in the political scene may be the beginning of new era in the Horn of Africa. This earth moving change, that put the Horn of African politics up side down, may be the start of new dawn, breaking out for the long suffering Horn of Africa. It may be a radical beginning of a great time of hope that may come for the people of this long suffering region.
According to some Horn of Africa observers, Ikran may the beginning of a new hurricane or tectonic plate shifts of change if you will, for more transparency, accountability and responsibility in government. How about if it is a sign of a new trend just taking shape in the most unexpected of all places - Somaliland? How about if this is a prelude to other much more inspiring and uplifting phenomena’s that may coming in the future?
For political optimists, this new young breed of politicians spearheaded by Ikran and others may be the beginning of a new Horn of Africa. One that could be known for democratic ideals not despotic dictators, respect of human rights not human rights abuses, transparency not secrecy, the rule of law not chaos and warlords, and optimistic and educated citizenry not poor, desperate and uneducated masses.
Is this another episode of the on- going revolution or the work- in progress, if you will, in the Horn of Africa, which has long ago started in Somaliland?
This is the first time young women succeeded in a real, fair and a free election in the history of this strategically located but troubled religion. This is a region which has seen more than its share of viscous violence, clan schism, ethnic warfare and genocidal despots such as the late Siyad Bare of Somalia, Mangistu of Ethiopia, Charles Taylor of Liberia and others. This is a region which desperately needs a radical realignment of itself.
For quite awhile I was reading and hearing the news of Ikran's courage, resilience, her devotion and dedication to effect change of the status quo. I have been inspired by her fearless quest to change a world dominated, shaped, led and destroyed by men in this case some Somali men. Needless to mention her unquenchable push for justice, the poor, women and the downtrodden has inspired many people in Somaliland and beyond.
IIkram's Swing in the United States:
Her recent visit to the United States started with an invitation by SOPRI group and attended a three day International Women’s Convention hosted by the International Republican Party (IRP), she also had the opportunity to go to the White House and met with the President of the of United States Mr. George W. Bush and the First Lady Laura Bush, (a fellow Librarian) this was both a great opportunity and an inspiration for the Somaliland Diaspora community in particular and other people of Somali descent in general.
I had the opportunity to participate in one of her engagements in the Twin Cities area. A reception hosted by the Somaliland community was held in the Hennepin County Library in Brooklyn Center, MN. In that reception, I listened to Ikram's uplifting message of hope. She gave us a crash history course highlighting Somaliland's emergence from the civil strife, the grass roots reconciliation between the people of Somaliland without outside help to the political transformation and the transition to the party systems politics. She walked us through all these complex stages with candor, class and patience.
This maverick women, politician, civil rights leader, human rights advocate, the champion for the poor, women, children and the down trodden reminded me of the late, Barbara Jordan of Texas, the first black women who won a seat in United States Congress since the reconstruction of the 1880s. I could also see too many similarities between Ikran and the late preeminent icon of the civil rights movement in America Ms. Parks. Though divided by geography, time, space and generations, both of them came to the political scene at the right place and the right time. Both of them stood for the rights of the little people and the voiceless. Rosa Parks came to the scene in 1955 and Ikran came to prominence in 2005.