With just 2 months before Somalia's August 20th presidential elections, the candidates' campaigns have been mostly driven by personalities and vague promises. In a country struggling with vicious realities and attempts to solidify peace reconciliation, many Somalis are utterly disillusioned with the candidates and dismayed at the choices before them. At the heart of the matter is a sense that most candidates lack distinctive platforms, solutions or real hope for change. Of the long list, very few present an inspiring choice for the deprived masses that were held hostage for years by incompetent leaders.
Somalia has not had an effective government since 1991, when militias overthrew a longtime dictator, plunging the country into chaos and anarchy. After decades of warfare, the country has been undergoing a national reconciliation process, with its Transitional Federal Institutions currently implementing the Roadmap for the End of Transition in Somalia, spelling out priority measures to be carried out before the current transitional governing provision ends in August. As the mandate for this frail and dysfunctional government expires in 2 months, renewed international interest along with ground gains by African Union troops came to sight, creating a momentum crucial for the future of Somalia. Many hopefuls see this confluence of factors as the greatest break for peace to take grasp in Somalia. To seize this historical moment however, requires a capable leader; one that can foster unity of purpose and agreement on basic values.
Though I’m disappointed by familiar faces stamped with corruption and mishandling of national assets in the long list, I came across a candidate who differs much from politicians that we became accustom to. His credentials stem from a combination of grassroots experience, knowledge and expertise in a broad range of development issues. After working for 20 years in the private sector and as civil society activist, Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed Abdi Hashi vows to reform the root of the failed country's problems; political leadership and governance. “I want to genuinely serve the Somali people,” is what he told the hopeless and the non-consulted masses as he toured various districts of the torn capital last month.
Through his platform, Dr. Abdirahman envisions a political strategy that can steer us away from this state of helplessness and into a mechanically integrated society that would create a social structure of consensus and unity. Below, I'll detail the candidates stance on several vital themes through several events that I attended in Minneapolis along with information provided by the candidate.
Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed Abdi Hashi has a PhD in economics with specialization in monetary and international economics from George Mason University and two master’s degrees in applied economics and finance from John Hopkins University. For his undergraduate studies Abdi went to Pace University in New York with a major in accounting. In the 1980s in New York, he worked for PriceCoopersWaterhouse and Citibank at their headquarters. He also worked for the Investment Banking firm, Salomon Brothers in New York, where as a senior financial analyst he provided economic reports to traders in New York, London, and Tokyo. From 1989 to 2004, he worked for the World Bank, where he was a treasury operations official in the assets & liability management unit, responsible for managing the Bank’s $115 billion balance sheet portfolio. Dr. Abdi is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a member of the American Economic Association (AEA).
Security and Judicial Sector:
Training and equipping the Somali national military and police forces in the first two years can make it possible to take full control of the country, and allow AMISOM and Ethiopian forces to begin the process of winding down their operations in Somalia.
Dr. Abdirahman welcome the recommendations of the civil society presented recently at Istanbul II conference, stating that the AIMSOM forces should be re-hated to become a UN peacekeeping force with the addition of armed forces from Muslim countries to counter the narrative and propaganda of Al-Shabaab where AMISOM is described as an invading foreign and non-Islamic army.
To further secure the peace, stabilize the country, and maintain effective law and order ordinance, the institutions for the judiciary branch and correction facilities must be rebuilt through capacity building, as well as the active recruitment and consultation of highly qualified Somali jurists living throughout the world.
Economic Recovery and Development:
To consolidate the peace in Somalia after all the missing territories are recovered and to strengthen stability, it is important to create jobs for the unemployed men and women throughout the country – particularly the youths who are part of Al-Shabab or other religious or militia groups – in the construction of major infrastructure projects as well as the rehabilitation of government buildings, schools, and other structures. To accomplish this objective, the government can assist in these unemployed Somalis by equipping them with skills through vocational and apprenticeship workshops that will train them as electricians, masonries, carpenters, mechanics etc. Security forces such as the police, military, and correctional facilities could also absorb those youth that demonstrate the aptitude and temperament suitable for those institutions.
Dr. Abdirahman believes in cooperating with the rest of the world community as stated in the United Nations’ charter and conventions. The Somalia he envisions is one that will respect and support all human rights conventions and the rights of people to self-determination, self-governance and peaceful co-existence. Furthermore, Somalia will abide by and respect all treaties and conventions entered by previous Somali governments. With regard to the regional organizations and neighboring countries, Dr. Abdirahman strongly believes in a Somalia that supports and maintains peace and stability and that all disputes should be resolved through dialogue and mutual respect.
In the light of the devastation, destruction and suffering that the Somali people endured during the last two decades, the nation and people of Somalia deserve to adopt and implement a new constitution in a process that is transparent, inclusive and deliberative. Dr. Abdirahman believes that the new constitution could be based on the 1960 constitution that was approved on a referendum in 1961. As peace and stability is further consolidated in the near future, Somalis from all walks of life in the country and outside would have a precious opportunity to participate and give their input in a process similar to those adopted by many countries recently which involves a combination of educating the public about the major issues the constitution entails and the different forms of government that are feasible. Given how critical this political and social contract is and the intimate ways it will govern and affect the daily lives of all Somalis, the country cannot afford to rush and adopt a new constitution hastily and without genuine deliberations.
Our dissatisfaction with our politicians does not just derive from their incompetence's that translates into never ending internal conflicts but also from their dishonesty and corruption. Somalia ranked #1 in 2012 transparency international's corruption perception index. In August the Somali people have an alternative. The distinguished accomplishments above, clearly demonstrate that Dr. Abdirahman has the required knowledge and expertise in a broad range of development issues and the courage and capacity to lead. It’s time to demonstrate that Somalia has innovative, efficient leaders capable of putting the country's best interest at the forefront of their agenda.
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