|Home | Contact us | Links | Archives | Search|
Issue 487 -- 28th May- 03rd June 2011
Open Letter To The President Of Somaliland
By Ahmed Aideed
It is with great respect and demonstration of support that I write you this open letter. I am sure you have received similar epistles from your fellow citizens since you took the reigns of power. I am also sure that since then, you have discovered quite a number of ailments that seem resilient and might be slowly gaining acceptance as failing that can be persevered with.
Your Excellency, it will be foolhardy for me to write a long letter and assume that you or any one near your ears will have the time or inclination to read what may sound as a critical missive. I will therefore go straight to the issues, which as a citizen of this celebrant young nation, humbly opine require your attention.
Your Excellency, first and foremost, your emphasis on academic qualification in your selection of your cabinet was spot on. It was a major step forward and a clear statement of your intent to move the country into a confident future. However, in spite of this, the re-organization of the government was not radical enough to create the positive impetus that you evidently wanted.
Your Excellency, to stop the creeping lethargy in your young administration, I will recommend the following steps:
1. A complete and deep re-organization of the government. This may include a reshuffle or not. But the important thing is to clear the chaff from the grain. It should however, include a radical public sector reform. It is time the numerous young graduates from Somaliland universities and abroad be given an opportunity to map out the way forward for their country. The old civil servants should be ease out, ghost workers cleaned from the public payroll and fresh blood injected in.
2. In the reorganization, every position should have clear mandates and performance indicators that will determine their annual renewal. Ministries that have not produced formal ministerial policy statements should be given a reasonable timeframe to do so. There should be a clear separation of function especially between policy and administration. Otherwise we will continue to see ministers who are acting as ministries.
3. The re-organization should not be limited by the constant fixation on fiscal constraints. I advise the creation of the required structures and positions for effective governance and development. Requisition of support and resources either internally or from the limited outside supporters will then be based on such clear capacity needs. The alternative is perpetual transfixion and recycling of failed structures and their accompanying ideas and limited externally determined organizational support.
4. There should be a rebalancing of the national goals away from the obsessive quest for international legitimacy to equally important issues that incidentally will indirectly contribute to the sought-after legitimacy – poverty alleviation, the rule of law and internal security.
Mr. President, there is an extreme need for a working judicial system that can stand alone from the omnipresent customary justice system and an economy that is not solely dependent on filial transfers from abroad. At the moment, justice is only available for those who can take recourse to traditional system as the courts are but filthy corruption dens. The informal transfer heavy ‘welfare state’ however commendable, should not be the only source of livelihood for the nation.
Our cultural institutions should act as the reinforcing support system rather than the only available institutions that assure our citizenry of justice and livelihood. We should build institutions that can stand alone for sustainable posterity. It is time we plan for a national economy that can allow employment rather than depend on archaic exports portfolio and dwindling transfers.
Your Excellency, what you have is a very lonely position that required informed ruthlessness with a clear vision and goals. The alternative is just another presidency whose legacy will be just another peacefully elected president in a state that never was.
For the sake of all fellow compatriots, I am wishing every success and health and pray that you will leave the office when the country is better than it was.
Allah Bless all those who are working for peaceful co-existence and decent living.