7/19/2024
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Rebooting the Fight for a Corruption-Free Future
By Mohamed Mukhtar Ibrahim
Thursday June 27, 2024

 

The Somali government's recent efforts to combat corruption faced a setback in May 2024. The acquittal of high-ranking officials cast a shadow over its anti-corruption strategy. However, this moment should not be viewed as an insurmountable defeat. Instead, it can catalyze a renewed and even more effective fight for a corruption-free future.

A central pillar of this renewed fight is a robust and independent anti-corruption body. This commission must have the legal authority to investigate and prosecute corruption cases without succumbing to political influence. Granting the commission greater autonomy in selecting cases, conducting investigations, and securing convictions is crucial. This could involve reforms that ensure a transparent selection process for commissioners, shielded from political appointments. Additionally, bolstering the commission's investigative resources and prosecutorial powers will allow them to build stronger cases and secure convictions.

An effective anti-corruption effort is only as powerful as its workforce. Attracting and retaining a team of talented investigators and prosecutors is crucial. This requires competitive salaries commensurate with the role's importance. However, financial incentives alone aren't enough. Cultivating a culture of integrity within the commission is essential. Additionally, providing continuous training and development opportunities equips the team with the latest investigative techniques and legal knowledge.

Somalia doesn't have to reinvent the wheel. Studying nations that have successfully curbed corruption can provide invaluable insights. Examining the structures of these agencies, their investigative strategies, and how they fostered public trust can serve as a blueprint for Somalia. Countries like Hong Kong, with its independent anti-corruption commission (ICAC), offer a compelling example. The ICAC's focus on high-level prosecutions and its transparency and public engagement initiatives can be a model for Somalia to adapt to its specific context.

It is not practical to fight corruption in a vacuum. The fight against corruption in Somalia must also address the root causes that enable it to flourish. The current 4.5 power-sharing formula, which divides political power among four major clans and a minority group, has been criticized for hindering meritocracy and fostering nepotism. By prioritizing clan affiliation over competence, this system creates opportunities for unqualified individuals to hold positions of power, where corruption can easily take root. Dismantling this system and establishing a merit-based system for appointments can significantly reduce the incentive for corruption, as individuals will have to rely on their skills and qualifications to secure positions.

A Marathon, Not a Sprint

Eradicating corruption is a marathon, not a sprint. The recent setback in Somalia serves as a reminder of the journey's length. However, by implementing these strategies and fostering a culture of integrity, Somalia can move towards a future where public trust thrives, and corruption has little room to take root. By learning from past experiences, adapting to changing realities, and empowering both the public and anti-corruption agencies, Somalia can create a brighter future for its citizens.

Mohamed Mukhtar Ibrahim
[email protected]


 





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