Somalia: An open letter by concerned citizen to incoming Prime Minister
Dear Sir or Madam
I am writing in reaction to the removal of outgoing Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed who, according to me vacated the post as charismatic leader and was ousted in parliamentary no confidence vote on Saturday.
Regardless of- clan you belong to, gender you hail from and religious sect you favor-you have huge if not widest tasks in hand to overcome the scale of challenges ahead, and at the same time you are expected to heed messages by fellow Somalis like me.
I have a few words to say and I hope the incoming Prime Minister of Somalia will be reading this letter in full.
First, I should remind you of the critical days ahead for Somalia where vicious cycle of deadly conflict, severe lawlessness and more recently piracy reigned through. I acknowledge, what we saw in the last two decades of chaos will always be something to be borne in mind.
In 1991, when armed opposition toppled our country’s long-standing military government, many clapped their hands to express joy over the incoming years, however thousands sooner died from protracted conflict, and eventually opted for endless exodus.
As of today, Somalia is rated first or second in public sector corruption, hunger and chronic insecurity.
When it comes to terrorism, terror has radically taken roots in Somalia and beyond by ravaging the already-suffering Somalis not only those in south-central regions but also families in northeastern state of Puntland.
True that Al Shabaab militants vacated key springboards wedged between Puntland and the extreme south where Kenyan Defence Forces (KDFs) are battling Islamist insurgents, yet the threat, and the magnitude of Al Shabaab attacks are imminent, looming and strategically organized in an evenhanded manner.
On gender-based violence, to my surprise United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea said in confidential report on October 13 that in 2014 alone 2,703 cases were dealt with service providers of which 529 cases were rape, 226 cases were sexual assault, 1,518 cases were physical violence, 95 cases were forced marriage, 234 cases were denial of resources, opportunities or services, and 101 cases were psychological emotional abuse.
Somalia appears to be heading into the ring as the weakest economy on the continent, for example the appreciation of US dollars against Somali shilling left Somali households more destitute ,and legal note printing plants are not today in place for central government to tackle this phenomenon which is detrimental to the lives of millions.
Above all, the issue of federalization is sticking matter that needs to be addressed very soon. Your predecessor Mohamed achieved success in building two federal states-Jubaland and Southwest state-in line with bottom-up approach but you still have a long way to go in the realization of vision 2016 which signifies the country’s legible timetable towards election by 2016.
Puntland initially set international presence condition for talks with Mogadishu-based central government, followed by a 12-point agreement on October 14; nevertheless the bilateral consensus lacked key points including deals with commercial hydrocarbon exploration companies, and participation in Federal government-Somaliland dialogue.
Separatist administration of Somaliland and Puntland are at loggerheads over the ownership of Sool and Sanaag which have been a flashpoint for armed conflict that lasted nearly 15 years as a result of split in loyalty by native residents between Puntland, Somaliland and the newly formed mini-state of Khaatumo.
Keep your nose to grindstone
Though he fell from the grace-I explicitly tell you -it is the President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud who calls the shots and supposedly steers Somalia towards another status untill September 2016, the date in which general elections would take place in the country.
Second, personally without taking sides in the recurrent infighting in Somalia, allow me to say you have a lot to learn from past removals of government heads- you need to cut the ground from under Damjadiid’s [the need blood wing] feet in the first place and weaken the influence of the president in the formation of inclusive and accountable government shortly after your appointment.
Third, shake off the tag, that Somalia is facing the most dangerous times in years and step in for the eradication of rampant corruption at government offices, more specifically take a look into the matters surrounding theft of public funds in the highest monetary authority.
Fourth, shore up support for your plans in the parliament and cabinet as well.
Fifth, concentrate on pressing ahead with radical measures to keep menace of Al Shabaab at bay, and appoint a police chief who is capable of at least securing soft and key targets in Mogadishu.
Sixth, during your tenure of office, your government should closely cooperate with negotiating Somaliland delegation on the Turkey-brokered bilateral talks.
Seventh, durable and more comprehensive deal with the leading pioneer, Puntland is far from over, henceforth at first implement the 12-point agreement and proceed to the next round of domestic talks.
Once and for all, in democracy this is what it should be because your job is to paddle your own canoe, often sail close to the wind and promote positive image of democratic, stable and peaceful Somalia.