By Abdisalam Garjeex
We have been waiting to see Somalia in peace for over thirty years. Since 1991, the collapse of the Siyad Barre Government, we’ve kept hope alive. In the heart of the true Somali patriot that torch for reconciliation and unity still burns, however, the question that remains is for how much longer?
Many Somalis including myself have been enthusiastic to return to their motherland – unfortunately, there is nothing to return to. It makes no sense to uproot yourself once again and claim that you want to participate in rebuilding the state, when most stakeholders and leaders aren’t sincere and intend to commit all sorts of treasonous acts just to line their own pockets. We are like the Palestinians, in a sense stateless, stuck in refugee camps in either Jordan or Lebanon for decades, resigned to the notion that they may never again return to their homes. However, a marked difference should be noted between us and the Palestinians. Mainly, that they have been displaced by a ruthless enemy, whereas we have wholly managed to do this on our own. Through instability and tribal warfare, inflicted by none other than ourselves we’ve become both internally and externally displaced.
I’ve seen some of my friends return from visits back home high in optimism—yet I still consider any sustainable change happening in Somalia mostly a pipe dream.
Country in Turmoil
The moment the civil war started, all signs of governance went with it. All public services such as schools, hospitals, and power facilities shut down. Personal and public properties were either confiscated or destroyed and there were so many lives lost. Naturally, a state in such disarray makes itself quite an easy target to be plundered of her natural resources and for her sovereign boundaries to be encroached upon by foreign and neighboring countries. Even after many reconciliation conferences, the result was only a formation of a weak and nominal government headed by groups affiliated by clan and their religious politics. An artificial form of federalism is what reigns, which consists of state governments headed by presidents and their unscrupulous cronies. The ink had barely dried yet they began doling out control of the land and sea ports. Twenty-thousand foreign African troops now guard the Palace and the few vital facilities we have left and if they were to leave today, we’d be out of the game again—stateless. Remember that in the last decade alone, we have seen three successive governments fail to unite the country or return even a semblance of order. So it’s unlikely that the current administration will fare much better although the sincerity is there.
However, the worst case-scenario would be due to the political wrangling between Gulf States that spilling over into the rest of Somalia. Different interest groups have sided with the main rivalries. The Gulf States have created their own armies in Somalia which have a greater influence than anyone. The position of the Federal Government became weaker as member of the Parliament and Regional states challenged their authority. Traders and Businessmen controlled the economy and refused to pay taxes and marginalized the central authority. Even the Mogadishu Municipality decided it needed to play a bigger role and has also attempted to join the bandwagon in claiming its independence as Benadir State. So given those circumstances, what is there even left to govern?
DP World has caused a political crisis; the Government of Kheyre has rejected the Berbera Port agreement signed by Somaliland, United Arab Emirates and Ethiopia and declared a breach of Somali Sovereignty while Somaliland as self-proclaimed state is adamant to go ahead with Port and Military base agreement. Puntland signed a similar agreement with UAE, giving over Bosaso Port. UAE & Qatar corrupted Somali officials with bribes and the leaders surrender the territorial integrity and dignity of the Somali people.
The Prime Minister and the Speaker are at loggerhead.
A motion to oust Jawari (the speaker of the Parliament) is underway; a new police force took over the parliament. It will likely end up the speaker resigning or being impeached. The Farmajo Government is in no way different from previous administrations. Political in-fighting and corruption is the norm. You wouldn’t expect any change for the remaining time of this presidency
What You Must do to Win
The Farmajo Government has the good will of the population as has been seen in his latest visit to Puntland and Galmudug, where huge crowds came out on the streets to welcome him. He should capitalize on this opportunity by strengthening security. Particularly, by building a force of fifteen-thousand policemen recruited from all regions, trained, paid, and taken care of.
Declare Mogadishu as a City Which Belongs To All
Mogadishu has to become a neutral city for all Somalis and be returned to its former glory. Security has to improve to a level where every citizen can walk safely on the streets and in neighborhoods anytime of the day. Furthermore, gun ownership should be outlawed and only be carried by those authorized to do so. All properties looted during the civil war should be returned to their rightful owners based on whatever documentation or other proof that remains to these assets. Finally, rule of law and the court system have to be reestablished in all districts and surrounding areas.
We have to fight against all dark forces; this includes the rich businessmen, Al-shabaab insurgents, and parliamentarian and former Government officials in cahoots with regional leaders as these are the individuals that are united by the conspiracies to undermine and overthrow the Government. The regional state leaders should work under federal law and not cross the boundaries by signing international agreements with foreign entities, such as the leasing of ports or giving away military bases to foreign armies. All these matters must be left to the Federal Government alone.
Tax Collection and Anti-Corruption
Our country is blessed in the sense that we are resource-rich and strategically-located. In order to enjoy these resources and rebuild our infrastructure and public services, we absolutely need to be generating taxes. Mogadishu’s sea ports and airports can be a big source of revenue for the government budget if proper management takes place. This income can be used to pay the salaries for security personnel and government employees. A consistent fight against corruption and greed has to be waged and won.
It’s not too late to implement some of the above recommendations; three years is an ample time to organize elections, solidify security, and create a sovereign and stable state. If we didn’t heed these warnings, we will likely repeat the same old approach and Somalia will remain in the doldrums.
Gulf States will provide coffers full of money for the next election, so they can have their lackey on the top spot of our Government leadership.
Ashburn, Virginia (USA)
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