Oodweyne News - Latest Somali News Update

The First 40-days of President Muse Bihi Abdi

Although it is too early to assess President Muse’s administration, there are telltale sings that could give us a hint about where his administration is heading to. So far, President Muse’s administration signals positive improvements. If these positive trends continue in every aspect of his administration, President Muse will not only sow the seeds of progress and development, but he will surely outperform his predecessors (except Presidents Egal—the Father of the Nation). The following paragraphs will highlight these positive developments that President Muse has undertaken so far.

The new cabinet

President Muse’s new cabinet has changed Somaliland’s political landscape in many profound ways though it has its shortcomings. First, the overwhelming majority of his new cabinet is composed of youth. This new trend has challenged the longstanding Somaliland political culture of appointing retired-old-men in political positions. People used to think that retired-old-men are suitable for political positions since they have more “experience.” Fortunately, this belief has been repeatedly proven wrong since the so-called “experienced” retired-old-men failed to lead, bring new ideas, or change anything. I think that is why President Muse has realized that we need new, fresh and modern ideas. Second, the new cabinet shows Somaliland youth that they can be appointed to higher political positions if they acquire higher education and improve themselves.

Although the cabinet has the above-mentioned positive aspects, it also has its shortcomings. One disturbing shortcoming is this: some of the ministers are hardy educated. They do not even have a high school diploma, let alone college or university degrees. This means that these uneducated ministers do not have the required education or experience to run for a ministry. I think one of the reasons that the President has appointed these uneducated individuals is simply to reward his supporters.

Another shortcoming is something that I have suspected. It seems that all the miniseries are those who will tell him what he likes rather than what he needs to know. In order to be effective, the President needs someone who can openly express his/her opinion; someone who can correct him when is wrong; someone who disagrees with him, etc. But a “yes” men/women agrees with the President with everything, even when the President is wrong—which is disaster.

 

Halting the horrendous land-grab

Land-grab has been the norm in Somaliland. Countless individuals have enriched themselves by grabbing public lands illegally. That is, they have acquired large pieces of land by bribery, intimidations or other illegal means. And the best time to grab lands illegally is during the transition of governments. But President Muse halted all public land transactions until further notice from his administration. One of the crucial lands that the President halted includes the economic zones of Ber-bera Port and Airport. These areas are very crucial for the safety and economic activities of the Port and the airport. Some of the individuals who grabbed these economic zones illegally were trying build and transform these areas as quickly as possible. But President has intercepted their highway robbery. This is very crucial step forward and everyone—supporters and oppositions alike—welcomed this move.

Terminating minister of presidency

During President Silanyo’s term, the minister of presidency became extremely powerful to the extent of literally controlling every aspect of the executive branch. Many people were convinced that the minister of presidency was even more powerful than the president himself, which was accurate in many different occasions. This created confusion within the government. But President Muse abolished the position of “minister of presidency” and replaced with Chief of Staff with less power. This is also great leap forward.

 

Ministers and the media

President Muse prohibits his ministers from talking to the media, except the minister of information. This is a tremendous step forward. The ministers in the previous government used to compete with one another for media attention. Every minister desired to use the media in order to become “famous.” This created many problems in previous government. For instance, the then Minister of Public Works and Transport appeared on TV to talk about health issues in Burao city and Minor disputes between a passenger and Fly Dubai. Ministries of health and civil aviation, respectively, got upset about this meddling of their ministries. This creates confusion within the government and among people. But President Muse has ended this confusion as well.

Ministers and clan conferences

Many people admire President Muse’s decision to prevent his ministers from participating in their respective clan conferences. This helps ministers conduct their assigned duties without being pressured by their clan elders.  That is, the new ministers would not feel to please their clan elders in order to hold into their political position. They would not be accountable for their respective clan, but they will be accountable to Somaliland citizens. To end this kind of regressive political culture is also a very crucial step forward.

President’s travel and businesses activities

It had been the norm for Somaliland to close all main roads of the city when the president is departing or arriving. In previously governments, when a president is traveling or returning home, all roads used to be closed at least couple hours prior to president’s departure or arrival. For instance, if the president is scheduled to depart 11:00 A.M, all roads were closed from at least 9:00 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. This pointless practice used to hinder business transactions and other daily life activities. President Muse puts an end to this unnecessary practice as well. No one has noticed President Muse’s recent travel to, and return from, Djibouti and Ethiopia.

President’s “welcome back” party

Whenever the president returns home, almost all the ministers, the mayor, traditional leader and many others used to wait for him at the airport to greet and welcome him back. Then the ministers would accompany the president to the president residence. After few rests few hours, the president, his cabinet and others used to go to a fancy restaurant to have a “welcome back” launch. This was absurd and meaningless. President Muse ends this practice as well.

I wish that President Muse will continue to change every aspect of his administration.

Abdi Hussein Daud

Minneapolis, MN

He can be reached at: abdihdaud@yahoo.com