In lieu of our annual review of the year’s past happenings, we share with our readers the following report card. Comprised of two interrelated evaluations, one for the President and the other for the sitting Prime Minister is a high level review of the problems and prospects associated with these two leaders.
In the case of the PM, we would expect our readers to take this report card as a probationary evaluation due to his short term in office, and look critically at what he has done so far, what he could have done, or what opportunities afforded to him that he missed. On the other hand, we would give the president a final judgmental evaluation as to what we think regarding his open record during his tenure.
President Sharif Ahmed’s Report Card
When Shaikh Sheriff Ahmed was elected the president of the
A run-away culture of corruption in Mogadishu dimmed the hope to bring Somalia back sooner. As we recall, there was a report which the international Crisis Group authored in Feb 2011 and was covered widely first by the Associated Press (AP) and then by the rest of the international media, which uncovered institutional corruption in Mogadishu and inside the TFG. Food aid has become a big business, especially for some of the president’s close allies. As such, a close ally of the president, Mr. Abdulqadir Enow, was accused of apparently staging a hijacking of his own trucks in order to sell the food aid, estimated at $ 200 million, in the black market according to the World Food Program (WFP). Mr. Sharif had personally written to Banki Moon, the UN Secretary General, pleading him not to revoke Enow’s contract.
Prime Minister Dr. Abdiweli’s Card
The current Prime Minster, Dr. Abdiwali Ali, was appointed to the post in June, 2011, after his former boss and fellow expatriate from Buffalo, New York, Mohamed Farmajo, was forced to resign. Dr. Abdiwali is either Johnny come late to a situation that is already sick to the core, or someone who, owing to lack of charisma’ missed the biggest opportunity to help Somalia come out of the black hole.
The first missed opportunity was his failure to establish a cabinet of his own choice. Most of the sitting-cabinet members were handpicked by President Sheikh Sharif and Sharif Hassan, Speaker of the Parliament. Both of them did so by relying on their surrogates and the vacating-members of the Farmajo cabinet. In this unheard bizarre horse-trading arrangement in selecting cabinet members, it was a reflection of how ineffective Dr. Ali’s cabinet has been. One therefore can’t help but wonder why the PM did not fight to select a cabinet of his own that would execute his agenda.
What could and should the PM have done is more of a theoretical issue now since the sitting cabinet members are as much entrenched in their jobs as he is in his. The question that most ask is whether the sitting cabinet members are loyal to the PM and his agenda, or to those former ministers, most of whom have unbounded loyalty to the ousted PM, Mr. Farmajo. Cognizant of the weakness of PM Abdiwali, Mr. Farmajo has not ruled out a political comeback that would further weaken the PM and engulf the country into a political quagmire.
Some may call the inability of the new PM to seat his own cabinet as a missed opportunity at best and a sign of weakness in its extreme form. The fact that the PM has not accomplished any meaningful objective about the road map to which his office was charged is a direct result of the dysfunctional working relationship between the PM, the President and the powerful Speaker of the Parliament, Sharif Hassan.
The tussle that exists within the TFI could not have been clearer than this last September, when three separate delegations, each with its own agenda, visited the Diaspora and Washington’s power corridors (that is PM, Speaker of the Parliament and Mr. Mahiga, the Tanzania-born head of the UNPOS). Each delegation was travelling on its own accord and without any coordination of each other.
1. The worst famine the country has had since in recent history;
PM Abdiwali’s open campaigning for Kenya and Ethiopia to invade his country represents a colossal mistake of his own making. He in fact had eroded any glimmer of legitimacy that he could have had as PM. How? When Somalis compare him to the founding fathers of this troubled nation (Adan Abdulla Osman, AbdulRashid Sharmarke, AbdiRazak Haji Hussein, Egal and others), they seem to be bewildered about the PM’s lack of an iota of patriotism.
The combined weight of these factors and the PM’s leniency to give in to more assertive competitors already led to the pronouncement of this PM as one of the least effective leaders so far to hold this office. Adjectives that come to mind about Dr. Ali are as follows: ineffective leadership quality, lack of assertiveness and absence of patriotism. In his case, education apparently, has been of little use to him, as was captured by Osman Hassan, former UN official and BBC broadcaster:
His absence from Mogadishu, when the consultative conference, part of the Roadmap process, indicates misplaced priorities on his part.
We urge the PM to exploit the afore mentioned challenges and show serious leadership in owning his office for the remaining six short months left of his term.
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