Today from Hiiraan Online:  _
Galkayo’s Corrupt Authority is a Threat to Puntland’s Stability

by Abdirahman Alas
Friday, July 09, 2010

Before the election in January 2009, the government of Puntalnd was in shambles, corruption was rampant, piracy has emerged, the rule of law has collapsed, Las’anood was lost and the region was on the verge of total disintegration.  There was great fear that the escalating disorder was about to set off major mayhem similar to that in the south.  Poor leadership was the crux of the problem and particularly General Adde’s despicable administration was to blame for the major part of the crisis in Puntland.

General Adde had committed two major mistakes that ruined his leadership. First, he became submissive to Colonel Yusuf’s self-centered ambition (supported Yusuf financially and militarily to become Somalia’s president on the expenses of Puntland); secondly, he failed to dispose of the incompetent and corrupt personnel that took office during Yusuf’s term.  Galkayo particularly has become a lawless city as Yufuf had intentionally condoned corrupt and thugs to run all government offices; paradoxically Adde has reinstated Yusuf’s ill-fated policy.

Things have started to improve piecemeal with Dr. Abdirahman’s administration mainly in transparency and accountability.  His major achievements include the dismissal of corrupt or inept ministers, governors, mayors, law enforcement officers and replacing them with more competent and trustworthy individuals.  Taking over Puntland Intelligence Services (PIS) was also a remarkable move.  PIS is known to be a villainous force believed to be a product of US Africa Command (AFROCOM) operation. These courageous administrative reforms have instigated immediate recovery.  For the first time, Puntland has a transparent budget; government payroll is under control and embezzlements of public money

have been fettered; some institutions have started to provide services and public trust is convalescing.  Assassinations of government staff and public figures have ceased with the reorganization of PIS force.  Under new city council and mayor, the city of Galkayo has shown some improvements.

These are herculean efforts that will be remembered for Dr. Abdirahman. Despite administrative progress, security remains to be a major concern.  There are imminent security threats that can potentially derail the ongoing progressive endeavors or jeopardize the stability of the whole region. These threats come from various fronts – Gallkayo’s rogue authority, latent but noticeable religious militants, heavily armed clan militias, pirates and fraudulent individuals who view disorder as a lucrative opportunity.  The religious militants are like a dormant but volatile volcano that can erupt at any moment.  Clan militias and pirates wreck havoc in many communities and particularly in Mudug region.  If these threats are not addressed seriously and puntland’s law enforcement institutions remain feeble, dire consequences are inevitable.

The recent fiascos in Galkaio airport was a stark test to Dr. Abdirahman’s leadership.  Galkayo airport authority has captured 17 billion shillings of illegal currency brought from Mogadishu by two women from Galkayo.  There are different rumors regarding how the women got the money, but the truth of the matter is that the money is illegal and if circulated will jeopardize Puntland’s weak economy and security. 

Puntland’s highter authority immediately ordered the money to be returned to where it came from; the local business community and the public angrily demanded the money to be burned while armed militia representing the two women threatened the authority to release the money for circulation or face violence. The incident has disrupted the airport services for two weeks. No administration should accept such a brazen robbery and disorder. Disregarding the rule of law, thugs who are in charge of the airport have released the money.  Puntlant authority should not relent until they recapture the money and those who brought it or released it are brought to justice.

This is not Galkayo’s first subversive act against Puntland’s stability. In the past, many serious criminalities have been committed in the name of authority or clan and no one was brought to justice.  Galkayo needs serious administrative reforms.  There is one alternative to contain this chaos – there should be zero tolerance for any infringement of the law (the Al-shabab model is exemplary).  Individuals, groups or clans who try to destabilize the society for their own interest must be restrained by force.

That is the duty of the government of Puntland and not the civilians of any city or region.  Puntland administration needs to work on two things - the mindset to take risk actions and establishing capable law enforcement

apparatus to do the job.  It is either you crash these evil forces or they crash you.

Abdirahman Alas
[email protected]