Cancer and Paralysis. The twin afflictions facing Somalia.
Somalia and its people are in a state of acute despair caused by the Cancer of Corruption and Paralyzed by a deep distrust in the integrity of its political leaders. Here we are, just weeks before a new governance structure is to be put in place, learning about serious illegal and unethical allegations against the current leaders of our nation. Persons are named, amounts of monies are unaccounted for, and accusations (Within and Without the TFG Administration) abound.
CORRUPTION. On this issue, mere denials are insufficient. These cannot erase the stain on our national character; they cannot bleach away the stench of a decaying system of political leadership. In all corners ofthe globe where Somalis currently reside, these independent reports of Wholesale corruption are the main topic of conversation and debate as Somalis hang their heads in shame and embarrassment.
Somalis are so consumed by these undefended charges that issues such as the “Roadmap”, the “Constitution” or the “Elections” assume secondary importance. Reactions of ordinary Somalis include: “In the light of the recent suffering of the Somali people, unconscionable corruption is akin to the rape of the motherland”. These unaccounted amounts must be explained and reconciled. lf this issue is not resolved, any future Government will be viewed with suspicion and international entities that insist on immediate political accommodations will be viewed as accessories before, during and after the fact. Somalis are asking “How can the Somali Government and the International Community build a house for the future on a foundation of rotten timber?.
PARALYSIS. On this issue, Somalia for decades has not experienced a “Government of the People by the People”. Government derives its power from the collective will freely expressed by the people. Any Government that is formed Without the collective will of the people and which does not earn the faith and trust of the electorate will surely fail. The longer this Paralysis of mistrust lasts, the more difficult social and economic reconstruction becomes.
The allegation of financial misconduct directly focuses on the efficiency of the daily functioning of the Government particularly in the area of Public Financial management. This issue is not new. The Government was advised previously of the critical importance of this issue. One fact is clear and indisputable. The Somali population including the diaspora and the international community agree that the Public Financial Management in Somalia is woefully inadequate and in need of bold and surgical decisions.
Further, While it is almost impossible to totally reverse the damage done by these allegations, the following suggestions are put forward for consideration and action.
- There must be a complete explanation for the allegations of missing monies. Any evidence of theft or misappropriation of public funds must be prosecuted and punished.
- Anyone convicted of such offences must be barred from holding public elected office.
- All future holders of political office must be required to make a complete declaration of all personal assets (both national and international) on an annual basis. Serious sanctions must be imposed for non-compliance.
Further, the entire system of Governance needs to be reassessed. It would seem that in the absence of ethical standards, the cycle of corruption and mistrust would continue to haunt Somalia. l would recommend that a Code of Conduct be drafted, ratified by Parliament and should apply to all persons that Work in the public sector.
The absence of functioning institutions invites political interference and mischief. Institutions are meant to regulate the behavior of persons; instead we see evidence of persons regulating institutions. This is unacceptable in a healthy democracy. Past advice on this and other issues were unheeded; however it is not too late to take corrective action.
Finally, it seems that there is a rush to put a government in place; if We proceed in haste, we will repent in leisure.
Mohamed Abdi Mohamed, CFE