Somalia: A Year of Progress!
by Mohamed “Dudishe” Abdulle
Friday, September 13, 2013
This piece is a response to IPS’s “Somali President Rides Through a Bumpy Year.”
IPS quotes HIPS Director, Abdi Aynte saying the president has failed to deliver in his first year. IPS has highlighted President Hassan’s Six Pillar Policy: security, stability, justice, economic recovery, and service delivery as a failed ambitious policy.
Alshabab’s top commanders have accused each other of destroying their organization. Ibrahim Afghani and Omar Hammai (Al-Amriki) are both dead. Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys has surrendered. It is a fair conclusion to say Alshabab is weaker now than a year ago.
It is also a fact that the Mogadishu security is better now than it has been in the previous administration. Everyone can agree the new Chief of Police General Abdihakim Dahir Saaid is doing far much better job than his predecessor. We often hear when things go wrong, but not when they’re goingwell. The security apparatus in Mogadishu led by President Hassan and Prime Minister Shirdoon have been working hard thwarting and dismantling terror operations.
Somali Diasporas from all over the world are returning to Somalia & particularly to Mogadishu in record numbers. That says much about president's security plan, which is one of the Six Pillar Policy. Terror attacks are world phenomena and not unique to Mogadishu. They take place in the US, in the UK, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Hargeysa, and in Garowe. It's a challenge that we all hope we must prevail.
The economy is doing much better now than a year ago. We are experiencing ore construction now in Mogadishu than any time in the past 20 years. The construction boom is not limited in Mogadishu, but in all over Somalia. The demand of suitable land is exceeding the supply and home prices are sky rocketing from Kismayo to Borame. We’ve all heard that the best investment in Somalia today is in construction, which is a thrivingbusiness. A booming construction business is a sign of a healthy economy.
Corruption and lack of sufficient revenues have been cited as part of failed governmental policies. No one can eliminate corruption within 12 months. For the first time in 20 plus years, Somalia will have an Auditor General; the administration has recently posted an advertisement for an Auditor General position. It is a sign that this administration is not going to tolerate corruption.
Critics argue that all these economic recovery signals will be short lived if security situation deteriorates. As noted earlier, we can all agree security is improving and these positive economic outlooks will look better if all of us support Somali economy. Cynical commentaries on the economy do not help but hurt the markets.
An argument has been raised that the president has divided Somalis into clan fiefdoms. It is true Somalis are divided. But you can't fault the president on that. Everyone knows Somalis have been divided into clan fiefdoms long before President Hassan took office. It's naïve to think that Somalis were in peace & harmony before Hassan Sheikh took office.
We have come a long way!
There are challenges. There are shortcomings. Granted, the president needs to do a better job to work well with regions, especially with Puntland. The president has been dealing fairly well with Somaliland, Hiiraan, Galmudug, and Ximan & Xeeb. He has fumbled and finally turned the corner with Juba & Gedo. He seemed to have taken Bay & Bakol for granted and is now an issue he must tackle as quickly as possible. Khaatumo State has the most credible grievance against the administration. Fear of exacerbating the Somaliland issue and further infuriate Puntland administration should not neglect the Khaatumo State.
But it has only been a year!
Romans did not build Rome in a day or in a year. Rebuilding takes time. After more than Twenty years of darkness, it’s understandable that we are impatient and rushing to the light we see at the end of the tunnel. But we ought to give the president a chance to deliver.
It is too unfair to prematurely give the president an “F” for all of his efforts.
Mohamed “Dudishe” Abdulle