It is not the critic who counts;
This piece attempts to objectively gauge the Prime Minister’s achievements and performance as perceived by many Somalis, the International community and other assessment processes. The rationale of this evidence based analysis is to demonstrate and showcase his huge achievements which have won him local and international admiration. It is however sad to realize that some Somalis are not aware of these wonderful achievements. As a proud citizen of Somalia, I trust it’s my responsibility to illuminate these achievements of the Prime Minister, Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali.
In order to update our scholarship on this important front and understand the genesis of the National Roadmap which is the brainchild of the incumbent Prime Minister, we should perhaps revisit and touch on the first meeting on the adoption of the Roadmap which came to realization barely two months after the Prime Minister took office in July 2011. This simply reflects his dynamism and unshakeable enthusiasm to move the country forward from its current Transitional nature to permanent government. That first meeting which was held in Mogadishu from 4 to 6 of September 2011, was well attended by all the relevant Somali stakeholders and approximately three dozen stakeholders from the international community also participated in the proceedings, including: regional organisations, namely: European Union, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, League of Arab States and Organisation of the Islamic Conference to set the scene for the adoption of the National roadmap. It spelled out the four key tasks that the Transitional Federal Institutions, supported by international partners, must complete before the 20th of August 2012. The Four strategic elements of the Road Map as you are familiar with, are (a) Reconciliation and Political outreach (b) Completion of the constitution making process (c) delivery of good governance structures and (c) security.
Presenting his policy statement on the adoption of the Roadmap and how his Government turned some challenges into opportunities, the Prime Minister, Dr Abdiweli Gaas stated: ‘’Since 2000, successive transitional governments have been presented with shopping lists of deliverables numbering close to 20, from security, peace, good governance, DDR, health care provision, the building of civil administrations on and on. The list was too long, too unfocused and too unrealistic for it to be built into workable benchmarks. Our strategy in consultation with other stakeholders was to streamline the deliverables into manageable and realistic goals and encapsulate them with complimentary policy directions matched by clear timelines through a concisely mapped out Road Map.’’
Now for the sake of brevity and eight months on after the first Consultative Meeting on ending the Transition in September, 2011, let us now review what the Prime Minister has achieved in this very limited period and in the process examine the country’s preparedness to end the Transition on 20 August 2012 as set out by the Prime Minister in his policy statement.
As presented in the 2nd Progress report of the Technical Committee of the Roadmap which is composed of the TFG, regional entities, ASWJ, and regional organisations including IGAD, EAC, AU, AMISOM, League of Arab States, EU and UN, in February 2012, there has been significant progress in some areas of the Roadmap. In the summary of findings, it is clearly stated that 84% of the identified tasks are on track or have been fully accomplished. Besides, other notable successes include the efforts by the TFG under the leadership of the PM to reach out to a number of regional administrations, the Garowe constitutional conferences, the consensus reached on federalism, the system of government and electoral system; the London Conference, the Galkayo agreement; the Constituent Assembly which will provisionally adopt the new constitution and the selection of the new federal parliament. I will touch on all these issues later in my discussions.
On the Security benchmark, there has been notable improved peace and stability in Mogadishu and the newly liberated parts of Somalia. The Somali Police and National Security Agency continue to conduct regular patrols across Mogadishu to strengthen law and order. Checkpoints around the city have also increased. Life is rapidly returning to the city with massive new buildings and reconstruction projects springing out all over the city. The famous Lido and Jazeera beaches are packed with fun lovers chilling out in one of the most beautiful and best beaches of the world as regularly documented in many media outlets. Moreover, the Somali National Security Forces together with Amisom and forces from the friendly state of Ethiopia have succeeded in pushing Alshabaab out of Mogadishu and areas of South Central Somalia, including Gedo, Juba, Bakool, Hiiraan and Galgaduud. The Transitional Government of Somalia is also working with International partners in the European Union, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, League of Arab States, Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the United Nations to help these areas recover from long periods of instability and insecurity. While acknowledging the continued threat from Al-shabab and potential rise of warlords in these newly liberated areas, the Prime Minister said: ‘’We must show them- and quickly – the benefits of stable and inclusive government or risk spoilers moving in to exploit the absence of authority.’’ He also outlines his vision for a viable National Security Force for Somalia: ‘‘We have developed a 3-year National Stabilization and Security Plan (NSSP) that envisions the rebuilding of our army, our police force and our justice institutions, as well as the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of our youth so that we can turn these youth actual citizens of a peaceful country.’’
On the Constitution benchmark, the 2nd Progress Report on the Technical Committee on Implementation of the Roadmap also highlighted the notable success in the finalization of the draft Constitution which is in the final stage, including the numerous consultative meetings with stakeholders on federalism and other contentious issues. These consultations were held at the first and second Garowe Constitutional Conferences in December 2011 and February 2012. Moreover, the international community remains engaged on Somalia and united behind the Roadmap. The last five months have witnessed a series of high-level meetings to consolidate ideas and support Somalia. The 21st meeting of the International Contact Group (ICG) on Somalia was held in February in Djibouti. The London Conference on Somalia also took place in February, 2012. The meetings have injected new momentum into the political process and served to focus on the underlying causes of instability in Somalia. Currently, massive preparation are underway for the convening of the Constituent Assembly which will provisionally adopt the new constitution in May, 2012 and the election of the new federal parliament with delegates across the country now flocking to the capital city.
The Prime Minister explained his model of engagement on this very important benchmark in a letter addressed to the Diaspora community when he said,‘Let me remind you that it is necessary for societies that have undergone protracted conflict to examine their social and political arrangements and begin dialogue on a renewed and revised social contract. Thus the constitutional making process under way would be a parallel process and tool for conflict resolution and reconciliation as the various stakeholders in our society publicly debate about fundamental and foundational issues-fundamental rights and the state, systems of governance, the relationship between the center and the periphery and the desirability of devolution and decentralization so that governments become responsive to citizens including those who reside in rural communities.‘’
On the Outreach and Reconciliation benchmark, on 7 January, the TFG through the leadership of the Prime Minister publicized its approach and plan for outreach and reconciliation and stabilization in newly recovered areas. Since then, the TFG has reached out to a number of regional administrations and stakeholders. In particular, the Prime Minister held eight consultative meetings with parliamentarians and cabinet ministers from Hiraan, Gedo, Lower and Upper Juba, Bay, Bakool and Galgaduud. The focus of these meetings were to jointly discuss on the best way forward to establish functional local governance structures supported by stabilization programs in these areas. Similarly, Senior TFG ministers plus community elders and other members of the civil society have visited Dhobley in Lower Juba, Garbaharey in Gedo, and Baidoa in Bay region. The purpose of all these meetings was to engage in reconciliation activities, generate strategies for stabilizing the newly recovered areas, with a focus on institutionalizing civil and law enforcement authority. According to its plan, the TFG‟s priorities in newly recovered areas include: promoting social reconciliation and setting up local political administrations; restoring law and order and justice; containment of heavy weapons followed by comprehensive DDR; restoring humanitarian relief distribution; repatriation of IDPs and refugees; and provision of basic services. The TFG plans to develop guiding principles and priorities for the reconciliation process at both district and regional level. The implementation of the plan envisages the establishing of a National Steering and Coordination Committee to plan and organize these initiatives. This Steering Committee has been established and is operational with meetings held regularly in Nairobi and Mogadishu. Besides, there are plans to harmonize the TFG and IGAD plans.
Defining his approach on this third benchmark, the Prime Minister, Dr. Abdiweli Gaas explains that "Social reconciliation is a necessity if we are going to find a way to get past the abuses and atrocities of the last 20 years. The Somali people need to rebuild the trust that has been lost in violent conflict, resource conflicts, clan rivalry, religious ideology battles, etc. On the national level, we have been active in bringing together the TFG, regional administrations such as Puntland and Galmudug, and Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa to sit down and agree to support the Roadmap priorities and process. We are also encouraging local communities in various regions and districts to kick start local governance and local economic development.’’
Similarly, remarkable success has been made in implementing the tasks indicated on the fourth Benchmark of Good Governance. According to the second Progress Report on the implementation of the National Roadmap, an Implementation Support Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister has been established to assist and expedite delivery of Roadmap tasks. An Anti-Corruption Commission has also been established by reviving the 1968 Anti-Corruption law and re-instituting the former Bureau of Investigation and Anti-Corruption. On 21 January, the Prime Minister announced the appointment of nine Interim Commissioners of the Bureau for the Investigation and Anti-Corruption, based on the 1968 decree. The decree will need to be reviewed by legal experts to help improve and modernize it. Recently, to get his Anti-Corruption message loud and clear, the Prime Minister fired two of his Cabinet ministers for alleged corruption activities.
On the other hand, the report highlights the detailed discussions held with representatives of TFG ministries and institutions on their revenue collection systems and ways to improve them. Analysis has been conducted by officials from the Ministry of Air, Sea and Land Transportation and Ports and the immigration department of the Ministry of Interior and National Security on revenue collection at Mogadishu seaport and the fees earned from issuing passports respectively. Additional staff and trainers have been provided to the Ministry of Finance to help them improve revenue collection by developing new and improved systems and training personnel from both the Ministry of Finance and other line ministries on their implementation.
Again, on this important pillar of the National Roadmap, the Prime Minister of the Somali TFG underscores his serious commitments when he categorically hit the point with a candid message: ‘My government has been committed to the strengthening of Somalia’s public institutions as well as the transparent management of our public assets and finances. We are committed to putting in place system wide sturdy integrity institutions that can glue bak the compact between the citizens and public institutions. Towards that goal, we have overseen the streamlining of the revenue collection system and have prepared our 2012 budget that was approved by the Council of Ministers in December 2011. We have revived Somalia’s Bureau for Investigation of Corruption and we plan to turn it into a robust anti-corruption institution. My government has also initiated a proposed Joint Financial Management Board that will ensure the channeling of both public financial management and international aid efficiently and effectively towards social and economic dividends to Somali citizens. We cannot allow a handful of selfish individuals to sabotage the future of all of Somalia anymore.’
At the recent, International London Somali Conference, we witnessed the support and backing of the National Roadmap by the International Community as covered in Article 5 of the Communique ‘’We agreed that the Transitional Federal Institutions’ mandate ends in August 2012. There must be no further extensions. We welcomed the agreements that chart the way towards more representative government: the Transitional Federal Charter, the Djibouti Agreement, the Kampala Accord, and the Roadmap. We welcomed the progress represented by the Garowe Principles, endorsed the priority of convening a Constituent Assembly, and emphasised that the Assembly must be representative of the views of the Somali people of all regions and constituencies, and that women must be part of the political process. In line with Garowe II, we agreed to incentivise progress and act against spoilers to the peace process, and that we would consider proposals in this regard before the Istanbul Conference in June.’’
Also at the London Conference, the British Prime Minister praised the achievement of the Somali TFG Prime Minister, and reiterated his commitment and support for the National Roadmap as a model catalyst to move Somalia to stable pastures and prosperity, and warned against the spoilers of the consequences of their action. On a similar note, the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton reaffirmed her Government’s policy of supporting the benchmarks of the National Roadmap and complimented the TFG under the leadership of Dr. Abdiweli Gaas for the huge achievement and progress accomplished thus far with a direct and clear warning to the spoilers and their supporters.
In his speech at the London conference, The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon praised the TFG under the leadership of the Prime Minister for its hard work in implementing the benchmarks of the National Roadmap, and reiterated the continuous support of the UN towards this endeavour. Likewise, all the regional Head of States including President Museveni, President Kibaki, Prime Minister Zenawi, President Ghelle who were present at the London Conference reiterated their strong support for the Prime Minister and assured their commitment to the successful implementation of the National Roadmap. Also regional and International organizations including the Arab League, IGAD, AU, EAC and OIC echoed similar message of support and commitment to the Prime Minister’s policy strategy.
Finally, allow me to share with you a moving and strong appeal by the Prime Minister addressed to all Somalis at this critical juncture of our history when he said: ‘’ The Somali people find themselves perched at a crossroads. Ahead of us are two paths – one will lead us out of our state of perpetual transition towards a brighter future. The other will lead us back to where we came from, in a circle, and we will continue in circles, heading nowhere. My government is working hard on ensuring we take the first path, and we need all the support of every single Somali, in the country and in the Diaspora. We must work together and invest our energy, our resources and most of all, our imaginations in our collective future. Together we must re-imagine, re-invent and reconstitute the failed state that was ours and knit back together the various parts of this whole that we collectively and so cavalierly destroyed a long time ago. It can be done with the right frame of mind, and with your help.’’
Fellow citizens of Somalia, the aforementioned are just few of Prime Minister Dr. Abdiweli’s achievements if not the tip of the iceberg. It is therefore the moral responsibility of us (intellectuals) to enlighten our people of his achievements and most importantly depict how he is perceived by many Somalis and the international community.
The above research based analysis indicate that we have a Prime Minister we can be proud of because of his steadfastness, dedication to duty, sense of discipline, development oriented and a man of good faith. In the most challenging of environments, he has proven his pacifist ideology by welding the people together, blurring the lines between the various Somali clans, Above all, he has taught us that vendetta, vindictiveness and retributive justice will only embellish abhorrence in our society.
Thank you Mr. Prime Minister for saving Somalia. History will remember you.
Said Haji Ulusow is a Political Analyst based in Washington DC. He can be reached at E-Mail: email@example.com
- Letter to the Diaspora by Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, the PM of the TFG
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