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Two cornerstone issues for the new government of Somalia

WardheerNews commentary

Most Somalis agree on the need for establishing peace, security, creation of a strong national security and a government made up of competent and qualified people. These were also the promises made by Mohamed Farmajo in his presidential campaign. Therefore:

1) The very idea of bringing back former ministers of previous administrations into the upcoming cabinet is hair-raising. These former  ministers have been tested and miserably failed in their previous positions to provide security, stimulate the economy, and demonstrate leadership skills.

Isn’t it mindboggling that people like Abdihakim Faqi, who served twice as defense minister without distinction and is well remembered with non-other than his bizarre promotion of warlord Indho Cadde into the rank of general in the Somali National Army,  is now in Mogadishu actively campaigning to be given a high national security position in the next cabinet?

President Farmaajo (right) and PM Kheyre

Equally puzzling is the notion of bringing back Mohamed Mukhtar, former minister of petroleum, who was widely accused of signing shoddy treaties with foreign companies without the parliament’s approval, not to mention being disqualified for Jubbaland parliamentarian election after engaging corruption to purchase a parliamentarian seat in Jubbaland. Will Mukhtar’s return be a change for the better?

And there is the talk of the return of Mohamed A. Ibrahim (Farkeeti), who presided the ministry of finances, amid widespread corruption and its inability to pay or even feed its security forces weakening morale and the war against the extremist militant Al Shabab.

PM Kheyre reiterated several times that the time of corruption and nepotism is the thing of the past and the new government as President Lincoln once said will be “a government of the people, by the people, for the people would address the needs of the masses and the long standing challenges the country faces. So it will be an incumbent upon the President and the PM to heed the wishes of the Somali people who are longing for a good governance and competent leadership.

2) The idea of including members of the legislature in the cabinet  is also problematic (double dipping) in several ways. It comingles two separate bodies—designed to check and balance each other—into one, weakens accountability, and engenders structural conflict of interest.

Somalia is currently experiencing widespread drought and famine that has adversely affected more than 6 million people. It is ironic that Somalia’s envoys to the U.N and European Union  now in Mogadishu (for long period) when they should have been in New York and Belgium, respectively, advocating for comprehensive, well-thought out humanitarian rescue operations in the country. Can’t they do their job?

The above-mentioned two issues are crucial in saving Somalia from a cycle of bad governance and humanitarian crises. It is paramount that the new government, under the leadership of President Farmajo and Prime Minister Kheyre heeds to them, if they are committed to change and reform.

The next cabinet is likely to be unveiled by the end of this month, and the country can’t afford another political culture based on business as usual.

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