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Issue 451 -- Sept 18- 24, 2010
How To Bring Institutions Back To The Right Track In Somaliland
By: Prof, Abdikarim Ahmed Hersi
After the historic power hand over of the previous government and the subsequent cabinet nomination by the newly elected president his Excellency Mr Ahmed Mahamed Mahamoud( silanyo). Then it seems that things(political atmosphere) have started to cool down due to appointing novice individuals in high posts and this made some of the peoples’ political spirit and hope for a better change commence fading away, where as others are eagerly waiting what the next steps are for the eight year long expectations and promises. As a result of this, I have tried to find out more about what the folks are expecting from the new government and I have discovered some important points that worth to be considered by the policy makers in order to maintain the high approval rating and popular support prior the election from so many heterogeneous civil society segments united by only one thing “ the change that Kulmiye and its leader has promised during and prior election period”.
Hence here are the most important points that people want to see from the new government and some recommendations that I felt worth to be given in order to achieve what the people are expecting from the new government:
1) Share with the public about what the new ministers want to achieve.
The new government should make public their strategic plan and explain through the media what they are expecting to achieve and how they want to reach their target plan and also set up timing for their activities or programs by using the baseline information that they inherited from their predecessors. Such kind of openness proves transparency and gives chance that citizens make check list and evaluate achievements of cabinet members and see if they are on the right track or not.
2) Establish public and government dialogue environment
The government and the ruling party should maintain contact with the civil society and inform how they want to bring institutions back on the right track and how they want to fulfill the change they promised. The best possible way to do these are media interventions by the president and the party leaders in regular bases. Such kind of interventions should be intended to raise public awareness about pros and cons of every major decisions that the government want to take.
3) Consolidate State Authority
After years of neglect and weakness, the consolidation of state authority is imminent and the government must put in place the requisite legal structures and administrational reforms that foster the application of good governance system in the country. Applying good governance empowers government institutions and at the same time, cultivates economic growth and sustainable development
4) Fight with the corruption
Corruption(historical habit in the previous governments) – the abuse of entrusted authority for private gain – represents a major hurdle on the road to social and economic development and kills all attempts of adopting good governance. Corruption is multifaceted and many dimensional and it can be vaguely classified into the following categories; bribery, embezzlement, fraud, extortion, favoritism, and nepotism. These elements run counter economic growth, chase away foreign investments and neutralize all forms of good governance. So the next step of the new government has to be fighting with Corruption by applying three elements – prevention, identification and sanctions for corruption.
The best way to tackle corruption is to prevent its occurrence by putting the following elements in place:
· Avoid appointing people with corruption history in important places
• Access to information, including financial figures and other key
Information to regulatory bodies.
• Involvement of civil society organizations (social partners and NGOs) in the national monitoring processes;
• Use of external, independent appraisal agents in evaluating programs
• require adherence to national and international procurement and recruitment rules;
• Raise awareness about corruption among the people and particularly civil servants.
The use of a number of procedures and tools to verify information that may
Uncover potential mismanagement and corruption. Nevertheless, it is acknowledged that some of the best information regarding irregularities comes from members of the public who identify and inform concerned authorities.
· Set up a mechanism to identify corruption.
· Establish check and balance system in all administration echelons.
· Make phone desks and suggestion boxes where people report if they have been asked bribe in customs and in any other important offices.
Sanctions have to be inflicted to all those involved in corruption and steps are:
· seek temporary suspension of public officials or agents of auxiliary and
Intermediary bodies while the allegations of irregularities are being investigated;
· seek the removal of public officials or agents of auxiliary and intermediary bodies in proven cases of irregularities and corruptions;
· Black-list individuals involved in proven mismanagement and/or corruption of the financial mechanisms.
· require the recovery or reimbursement of the amount that have been embezzled.
5) Canalize International aid
The other important task expected from the president and his team is to come up strategy of canalizing international aid or supports from International organizations. As everybody knows there are so many UN and international NGO’s organizations working in different fields in the country, so the government should convince these organizations work closely with the different ministries and invest projects according to the national priority plan.
6) Establish business friendly environments
Create legal and policy conditions conducive to business and international investments, strengthen infrastructure that will underpin market systems and links to private sector value chains, particularly transport.
Prof, Abdikarim Ahmed Hersi; member of the steering comity of ECOSOCC, AU (economic, social, and cultural council of the African union) which is an advisory organ to the African presidents and the African union commissions.