by Ali OsmanThe eve of his selection, the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud stood before 10 million hopeful nation and told them “my first task is peace, stability and the supremacy of the rule of law”. PresidentMohamud added, if I feel that I will not deliver that promise, I will hand the power back to the nation.
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Two and half years later, on February 24, 2015, the outgoing commander of the EU Training Mission Somalia (EUTM-Somalia) General Massimo Mingiardi told reporters in Brusels “Without basic housing and equipment for Somalia's soldiers, the EU's military training mission in that country will fail to achieve its long-term objectives”.
The general Massimo added "For example, during the last course we administered to 100 soldiers; not one of them received a uniform. They attended the course in civilian clothes - and flip-flops! If we want to see any improvement, the only path before us is to provide them the equipment they need for training as well. We're also trying to help the Somalis rebuild their MoD [Ministry of Defence], but without more money I don't think we can achieve the desired results. One of my first priorities would be to re-build barracks, which would enable the soldiers to better control the armory."
So what happened to that presidential grand strategy of peace, stability and supremacy of the rule of law? Can the Federal Republic of Somalia reach peace and stability if the 100 soldiers that were sent to EU Training Mission are without uniform and wearing flip flops? What about Military barracks, food, supplies and transportation?
Last week US banks totally halted sending and accepting remittances (Xawaala) because the Somali Government failed to establish functioning banking system. The halting of remittances by US banks have a devastating results for the millions who depend on it. But, make no mistake, the problem is not the US, but the failure of the Somali leadership in establishing a bank that can deal with international payment system. The Hawala agencies are also to blame and have in the past contributed to this financial chaos by lobbying against the reestablishment of a formal baking system.
Can Somalia reach progress if there is no single national bank that can deal with the world banking system? Can Somalia collect taxes if the national asset in communications and finance are hostage for rogue agencies that want to have iron grip on the national asset without paying their tax dues?
The military is still in tribal lines and has not been integrated as a uniform national fighting force. Why the military of the Federal Republic are not integrated as a national army? What is the hold up in integrating the army forces? and who is behind keeping the defense forces in this scandalous tribal formation?
Suicide bombers are shredding people in our capital, hotels and markets every few days. The parliamentarians, government officials are being assassinated. Who is running the country? Where is the security apparatus?
The Somali budget for the 2015 is estimated to be at $216 million plus $ 1 billion is projected from the donor community.
At the Somalia Conference held in London British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged over US$279 million to help rebuild Somalia’s armed forces, police and judiciary.
On 18 September 2014 the United States pledged $5 million additional funding to the UNSOA Trust Fund to address some of the immediate requirements of the Ministry of Defence and Somalia National Army.
The government of Denmark has pledged 200 million kroner for the year 2015-2017 for Somalia to strengthen the national judicial system.
With all these pledges and funds ? Why the Somalia’s armed forces, police and judiciary are not priority one? Are they not the only source that will ensure peace and stability and the supremacy of the rule of law?
The military is without uniform, without barracks and ill equipped. The police are equipped batons against suicide bombers. The judicial has no teeth and is not independent to investigate or press charges against corruption.
It is a travesty and catastrophic failure that the officials at top of both branches of government have not projectedthe leadership necessary to take the country forward.