by Muhiyadeen Jayte
Thursday, April 13, 2017
We as decent Somalis welcome the recent new political dispensation in Somalia and any genuine measures to foster good governance. On the other hand, Somalia has been plagued by corruption scandals which have left millions of public funds allegedly misappropriated or lost. The ongoing mega corruption scandal which has rocked the last government has been the subject of numerous articles in the local media. The latest systematic scandal is the disappearance of millions of both public and donor funds as documented in the latest report by Fartaag Consulting firm, although it appears this new government is saying it is none of its business and it is business as usual. Of course, it is business as usual as we witness the recycling and reappointment of the old corrupt officials who have been the right-hand men and inner circles from the former corrupt government. No wonder Africans are poor because its leaders have chosen that path!!
This is a perfect capture and a testimony of what the South African anti-corruption guru Greg Mills said in his book: Why Africa is poor and what Africa can do about it, wherein he ascertains that the reason why Africans are poor and why corruption thrives is that ‘’Africa is in the business of canonizing thieves and sanctifying and celebrating the wrong people while it vilifies our good men and women’’. In a nutshell, Somalia is poor because it is poorly governed.
This is pathetic, but we trust that together, the noble citizenry of Somalia is not as immobilized and toothless as the ruling circles contemplates. Organized, we have the energy and zeal to put to an end to this unbearable and disgraceful corruption which is terminating the political anatomy and soul of Somalia. We salute Abdirizak Fartaag for his recently published nationalistic report titled: ‘’Breaking point in Somalia: How state failure was financed and by whom’’ which thrusts significant questions that sadly remains unanswered.
We also commend the concerns and fears of millions of decent Somalis about the horrendous mutilation which corruption has inflicted on the very fabric of Somalia, leading to the inevitability of state failure based on all the current gloomy indicators.
Although PM Khayre was never a decent choice for the Premiership of Somalia as his name was tainted with accusation of corruption and has been personally implicated in a corruption investigation by the UK Serious Fraud Office and the UN Monitoring Group, yet for the sake of the benefit of the doubt and the genuine desire of Somalis to move forward, we accepted him.
Now, let’s call a spade a spade here. Just few days ago, PM Hassan Khayre issued an ordinance on time keeping for all the government employees. Similarly, it has been reported that during last Thursday’s weekly cabinet meeting (5th of April) PM Khayre prevented ministers from getting access into the hall who failed to arrive on time. Although this was a commendable step in the right direction, we would like to address in this brief opinion the opposite realities of some of the corruptive and bad practices of the PM himself:
· Unlike his predecessors, the PM himself has not been using his official office space since he was appointed as a prime minister, instead he has unnecessarily relocated himself to Uganda House near the President’s office with his new team and has been operating from there ever since. The ‘’official’’ reason for this sudden relocation is that the PM feels the current official OPM (Office of the Prime Minister) space is simply not up to his ‘’standard’’ and needs immediate renovation that is costing over $300,000 which has been donated by the Turkish government. We have to stress here the OPM was fully renovated in 2015. What defies common sense here is that this massive scam is taking place when the PM himself has been preaching his gospel of anti-corruption and good governance. Again, at a time when Somalia faces the worse drought in decades. Shame on you PM Khayre!!
· What is then the point of wasting $300,000 on unnecessary renovation and issuing timekeeping ordinance when your own employees at the OPM have not been paid for over four months just like their counterparts in all other government institutions?
· It is obvious from this policy flaw that he is being advised by his new and inexperienced ‘team’’ who do not have a clue of what has been/is going on in the country.
· Reliable sources at the OPM confirm that the PM now signs off all payments before it goes to Ministry of Finance, paralyzing the day to day government operations yet we have Somali Financial Information Management System that supposedly records real-time government income and expenditure in more detailed line items. Although, he totally lacks any experience in public administration, the PM has been criticized by his former colleagues as dead-end micro-manager during his brief tenure as Director of the Norwegian Refugee Council. It further exposes and cements the rumours of his dictatorial tendencies and lack of understanding of government protocols. Sadly, the PM wants to re-invent the wheel and plunge back the country to Victorian times.
· PM Khayre, just to update your scholarship while you were away in the INGO world this country has moved forward from twelve years of transitional governments to fully fledged federal status in September 2012 with modest modernization of government institutions attained. We have no reverse gear!!
· To add an insult to an injury, PM Khayre has appointed and imposed on the OPM an inexperienced good friend of his from Norwegian Refugee Council with no clue of public administration as his Senior Financial Advisor – Mr. Abdirahman who also stubbornly wants to re-invent the wheel paralyzing the basic functions of the office. Rumours have it that Mr. Abdirahman is also the de facto minister of finance bringing with him the NGO mentality of the ‘’Lords of poverty’’ just like his boss Khayre.
· Ever since relocating to Uganda House as his office, PM Khayre has choose to operate outside the bureaucracy of his own office sidelining the existing OPM employees who have both the experience and expertise, instead bringing his own team of inexperienced and myopic former NGO colleagues and friends at the expense of state resources. It is like we are observing a new unprecedented phenomenon of ‘’citizen (Khayre’s new team)/denizen (old employees at the OPM)’’ divide. Perhaps, a new discourse for students of Somali social policy. This is just sad!!
· ‘Yeelkadeedee’ as the Somalis say in this kind of depressed episode, despite having imposed his ‘’new incompetent’’ army of technocrats on the OPM, we have noticed a number of poorly written official correspondences in both English and Somali signed by the PM himself and this miserably is an insult to the highest executive image of the OPM.
On a final note, successive governments have failed to deliver on their mandate and policy agenda that they had set up themselves due to tribalism, nepotism, favoritism, sect-ism, and regionalism and sadly what we are observing and experiencing now is a complete reincarnation of the same old destructive recipes and malpractices. This is a bad start and an indicator of what is to come. As citizens of Somalia, we are observing and recording everything as history is a noble judge.
Will PM Khayre heed?