Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Somalia Eroding Governance: The Case of President Hassan’s Second Term

By Dayib Sh. Ahmed

Somalia’s once hopeful path towards good governance appears to be eroding under President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s leadership. This concerning reality aligns with the principle espoused by Theodore Roosevelt: “No man who is corrupt, no man who condones corruption in others, can possibly do his duty by the community.”

President Hassan Sh. Mohamud

President Mohamud’s administration, initially seen as a symbol of progress, is now grappling with accusations of violating public trust through nepotism and cronyism. These practices blatantly disregard meritocratic principles, undermining the legitimacy of government appointments and raising doubts about the power sharing and fair allocation of resources.

President Mohamud’s administration has raised concerns about nepotism, as evidenced by the prominent roles occupied by his family members. These include close relatives and clan members like his daughter, son, niece, and in-laws, along with others from his clan. This concentration of power within the President’s inner circle extends to conducting sensitive government business. A recent example is the undisclosed diplomatic mission to Nairobi undertaken by some of his close clan members, including the acting foreign minister and national security advisor. The purpose of this trip, reportedly mediated by Kenya, was to address the recent agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland regarding Red Sea access

The fact that individuals with familial and clan ties to President Hassan Sheikh are at the forefront of discussions regarding such a pivotal issue underscores the perception that tribal affiliations hold significant sway in decision-making processes within Hassan Sheikh’s administration. Rather than prioritizing the interests of the nation as a whole, there appears to be a propensity for key decisions to be influenced by familial and tribal considerations. This not only undermines the principles of meritocracy and equal representation but also fuels perceptions of nepotism and favoritism within the corridors of power.

As aptly noted by Ahmed Ibrahim in his WardheerNews article, President Mohamud’s leadership appears heavily influenced by his familial and clan ties. “In the corridors of power, where decisions shape nations and alliances, President Hassan Sheikh has made a move that reverberates far beyond the walls of Villa Somalia. A case in point is the lack of fulfilment of three ministerial positions, that include the ministers of Foreign Affairs and Internal Security, leaving vacant when Somalia is facing a foreign and security threats.” This revelation serves as a stark reminder of the concerning dynamics at play within Somalia’s political landscape, raising questions about President Hassan’s role as a tribal elder rather than the leader of a federal nation.

A prime example of this troubling trend is also the appointment of President Mohamud’s daughter, Jihan Hassan Sheikh, to the critical position of Senior Advisor on Foreign Affairs. While familial ties hold significance in Somali culture, such crucial government positions demand adherence to established legal frameworks. Appointees must demonstrably possess the qualifications and experience necessary to effectively discharge their duties. Ms. Sheikh’s reported lack of relevant experience raises concerns about potential violations of fiduciary duties and breaches of public trust.

Furthermore, President Mohamud’s alleged preoccupation with consolidating power within his family circle and clan, evident in the reported micromanagement of government affairs, constitutes a worrying deviation from his constitutional obligations. Such actions potentially breach the fiduciary duty owed to the Somali people by prioritizing personal and clan interests over the collective good. This fosters internal divisions and weakens national unity, hindering progress towards a united and prosperous Somalia.

In the midst of Somalia’s struggle for good governance, the words of Thomas Jefferson resonate deeply: ‘When once a Republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying any of the growing evils but by removing the corruption and restoring its lost principles; every other correction is either useless or a new evil.’ As we witness the erosion of governance under President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s leadership, Jefferson’s wisdom serves as a stark reminder of the urgency to address corruption and restore Somalia’s founding principles. Only by dismantling the current state of corruption and embracing transparency, meritocracy, and accountability can Somalia chart a path towards a brighter future.”

As Ahmed Ibrahim rightly emphasizes, Somalia deserves leaders who exemplify competence and a commitment to serving the entire nation, not a select few. President Mohamud’s administration must prioritize transparency, accountability, and inclusivity to regain public trust and pave the way for a future built upon the rule of law.

Moving forward, Somalia requires a fundamental shift towards a meritocratic system where appointments are based on demonstrable qualifications and experience. Robust anti-corruption measures and a culture of transparency within government institutions are essential to rebuild public trust and ensure adherence to fiduciary duties. Furthermore, promoting inclusivity through fair representation of all clans and regions strengthens the social contract between the government and the governed.

The international community can play a vital role in supporting Somalia’s journey towards good governance and sustainable development. This includes capacity-building efforts to strengthen democratic institutions, promoting best practices in public administration, and holding Somali leaders accountable for their actions.

In conclusion, Somalia’s path to a brighter future necessitates a collective effort from its leaders and its people. By embracing the principles of transparency, meritocracy, and accountability, Somalia can overcome the challenges that have plagued its governance and emerge as a beacon of hope for the African continent. President Mohamud and his administration must demonstrably prioritize the Well-being of all Somalis and commit to upholding the fiduciary duty owed to the nation.

Somalia’s path towards a brighter future hinges on a collective effort to dismantle the obstacles hindering good governance. President Mohamud’s administration must prioritize meritocratic principles by establishing independent commissions to oversee appointments and ensure qualified individuals lead the government. Theodore Roosevelt aptly captured the dangers of unchecked power, stating: “The dull, purblind folly of the very rich men, their greed and arrogance, and the corruption in business and politics, have tended to produce a very unhealthy condition.” Somalia must heed this warning by strengthening anti-corruption measures, including an independent anti-corruption agency and robust whistleblower protections. Furthermore, fostering a culture of transparency through open access to information and regular audits is essential.

Equally important is building a truly inclusive government. Somalia’s current political landscape, marked by a dysfunctional parliament shirking its duties, cannot effectively represent the needs of all regions and clans. Genuine power-sharing mechanisms and ensuring equitable access to resources are cornerstones of inclusive governance. The international community can play a supportive role by providing capacity-building assistance to strengthen democratic institutions and promoting best practices in public administration.

By embracing these recommendations and recommitting to transparency, meritocracy, and accountability, Somalia can overcome the challenges that have plagued its governance. President Mohamud has a critical opportunity to course-correct, uphold his fiduciary duty, and lead Somalia on a path towards a brighter future. This will not only benefit Somalia but serve as a beacon of hope for democratic progress throughout Africa.

Dayib sheikh Ahmed (Faracadde)
Email: [email protected]

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Related articles:

1) President Hassan Sh. Mohamud: The veil of corruption and family centric administration By Ahmed I

2) An open letter to President Sheikh: Urgent call for national unity and focus on key security threats By Mohamed Ali


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