Leadership in Somalia- A Shortcut to Richness. By Abdisamad Hared

Published: November 26, 2012

Somalia is a country with no powerful government since the fall of Mohamed Siyad Barre’s regime in 1991- the last Somali president -. Mohamed Siyad Bare was a great leader and left a remarkable legacy behind him. Some people criticize his regime but we believe No one is perfect except Allah. Mohamed Siyad made this country one of the most respected country in Africa in terms of education, health, development and military power. After the collapse of his regime, the country was divided into parts by warring functions and most of the intellectuals and other vulnerable people such as children, mother and elders fled from the country to safer places since they are not part of the fighting groups.

The country and the people then become victims of all types of evils. All foreign interference became easy and politicians became interest oriented. The clan based divisions rated the highest ever seen and fragmentation of the country started. This made possible to all individuals, organizations and governments that have direct or indirect interest in Somalia to carry out all their plans without getting caught by laws. The emergence of this kind of terrible event coincided with the lack of genuine and trustful leadership in the country. All attempts to stabilize the country were not successful because of the internal division, outside intervention and incapability of the leaders.

The Arta (Djibouti) conference in 2000 was the first reconciliation effort to restore peace and establish a government in this war-torn country. Most of the Somali political parties, civil societies, Diasporas, Somali intellectuals and other international organization and governments ware among the participants. It was a conference organized and hosted by a friend country, but unfortunately instead of reconciliation and reunification of the divided people, the leaders opted to take the advantage and localize the government as well as standing up with some of the warlords, depositing their ill-gotten gains in foreign bank accounts for self-enrichment and building beautiful houses outside of the country while perpetuating brutal civil wars in southern part of the country. Not only the government leaders were profiteering but all the local and international organizations working in Somalia ware among the traders who ware collecting blood money from the instability. This war profiteering is continuing in Somalia until today.

Recently, the United Nation has issued a report on the widespread corruption and mismanagement done by the top officials of the Somali government including the president, the prime minister and the speaker of the parliament. For instance , Ministers selling visas and signing dubious deals, misusing revenues, covering for organized crime and piracy, selling weapons and diverting food aid are just a few of the practices taking place within the governments . The scathing report stated that “systematic misappropriation, embezzlement and outright theft of taxpayer funds have become a system of governance in Somalia”. The U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea listed various examples of money intended for Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) going missing, saying that “for every $10 received, $7 never made it into state coffers”. similarly, A report commissioned by the World Bank published in May found that” 68 percent of TFG revenues in 2009-10 were unaccounted for”. The report also said “The Monitoring Group’s own investigations confirmed the involvement of senior TFG officials in the misappropriation of millions of dollars of domestic revenues and foreign aid”.

The U.N Monitoring group quoted from a senior official involved in the interim government’s finances “Nothing gets done in this government without someone asking the question: ‘Maxaa iigu jira (What’s in it for me)?’”.This is true and its well-known phenomena in this country particularly among the leaders and managers of any organization.

Today, in Somali, being a manager became an opportunity for everyone to seek for self-enrichment and a place to make money. No one is thinking about what interest is in it for the people for a particular project but instead they think about what interest is in it for me. No matter what the consequences are. For instance, you may see a local NGO distributing an expired food or medicine or a businessman selling low quality products or a doctor bargaining on a severely injured person and saying “if you can’t pay this amount take this person out of my compound and let him die”. If you are in charge of a particular post, the only thing your fellow might suggest is “ ka fara qabso inta aad hayso jagadan” which means “steal as much as you can during you time in office” and of course you have no option since all your workmates and friends are doing the same. He is not seen as a wise man for anyone who becomes a manager and does not build a beautiful house for his children.

Nevertheless, this tragic phenomenon, showing how deeply corruption is rooted in the Somali leadership, is only part of the total mess and injustice in the country. To restore decent ethical values and social justice within the Somali community as a whole and its leadership in particular, a strong justice system that is capable of prosecution must be established otherwise things will go from bad to worse in the future.

By: Mohamed Abdisamad Hared

University lecturer Xareed26@hotmail.com



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