by Ali Osman
Monday, February 23, 2015
The Somali government has not implemented a single initiative to fight corruption, while bid-rigging, bribery, embezzlement, extortion, nepotism, price-fixing, protection rackets and vote-buying are all taking place at government branches and institutions.
Development and donor money that would have built schools, and paid teachers are squandered by corrupt officials. Aid money from UN, IMF , USAID and other non-governmental organizations are not building schools, roads or hospitals but are being used to build mansions. Millions of dollars destined for education, health, and good governance are directly stolen or unaccounted for.
Thousands of young people are not going to school and are roaming the streets aimlessly. The youth unemployment hovers around 90%. Thousands who graduated from universities are without jobs. Again, the millions of dollars for development projects that would have created jobs are appropriated to shell companies that exists only in paper.
You hear at corridors of government and international agencies words like “Qayriinkanooguqaybi” “Meeshudufan ma leedahay” “dhacdhac ma jiraa”. What this means is, the development money is divided between the one awarding it and the one that supposed to implement the project. The project will never be started or they will find an existing scam project and call it funded. There is no audit or the auditor is part of the thievery. The development funds are going in to a bottomless bit.
Why government is not concerned? The simplicity of the question can be deceiving, the people in the highest office of government; The President, the Prime Minister and The Speaker of Parliament want the corruption to continue.
There is a simple solution to corruption but government seems to be unable to deal with it. The government could have:
· Paid civil servants a salary that is enough for their needs
· Created laws that punish corruption
· Monitored corruption practices in government and Aid Agencies
· Punished those found to have committed acts of corruption.
· Created anti-corruption commission
The laws against corruption are not there, there is no corruption monitoring commission and certainly no one is being punished for engaging in corruption.
If the President, the Prime Minister, and Speaker of Parliament are sincere in eliminating corruption, why corruption is perpetrated under their watch while the Islamic Courts were able to eliminate within few months?Or terror group like Al Shabab can eliminate it from their areas of control?Because the checks and balances needed to enforce a western inspired legal system is not being instituted and the moral and religious personalities of the Islamic tradition is missing.
The corruption has now gone retail. Courts, police, passport offices and military are demanding greasing. Bribery in the courts is forcing citizens to go to Al-Shabab courts to deliver fair and swift verdict.
The unchecked corruption is not only creating a humanitarian catastrophe but also a huge national security. When you have huge number of youth with no schools to go and no prospect for jobs, and Al Shabab and ISIS recruiters are awaiting in the wings, this is a recipe for disaster. It will in fact create the next extremist group ISIS to capitalize the utter neglect and criminality of the government and NGO monitoring officials.
People of influence have a moral responsibility to show the real sources of extremis before poor and desperate Somali youth are mowed with hellfire missiles.If corruption is not addressed as the chief cause of extremism, we will never be able to control extremism and the world will remain a dangerous place for all.