HARGEISA, 5 August 2009 (SomalilandPress) – On 1 August 2009, the Transitional Parliament has thrown out the ‘maritime misunderstanding’ between the TUG and the Kibaki Government in Kenya. Out of 347 Members of Parliament who were sitting at the time ¬¬¬334 have rejected the ‘misunderstanding.’ This is an astounding victory for the Somali people. It is also a victory for President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and the Speaker Aden Mohamed Nur. However, there is the making of new heroes. Our Parliamentarians who voted on their feet to flush ‘the misunderstanding’ out are without doubt heroes.
No government can expect support if it betrays the nation. We are very pleased finally the TUG had come to its senses to stop the ‘maritime memorandum of misunderstanding’ which has caused a lot of consternation to many Somalis. This means, we will support the government when it is doing something right. We will oppose them when they betray the nation and we will tell them when they are wrong.
One fact which did not receive the publicity it deserved is the involvement of Norway in this treachery against our nation. The ambassador of Norway was present at the Kenyan Foreign Ministry where the TUG ministers were enticed. The involvement of Norway can only signal one thing alone. Everybody knows Norway is the leading nation on offshore drilling. For that reason, the presence of Norway ambassador alone should have made the ministers run for the exit.
The ‘maritime misunderstanding’ is a testament of our nation’s loss of respect in the eyes of other nations. When a nation has remained stateless for long it loses respect and becomes fair game to all. Our nation has been on a long leave of absence from tending its interests. A broken door invites intruders also amoral individuals can take advantage of a nation stateless for long.
Nonetheless, our nation is indebted to Norway for other reasons. Like many nations which took in our people fleeing from conflict, Norway is home to a large number of Somalis. Our nation is grateful for that. However, we did not anticipate Norway to take part in a treachery to hand our coast to our neighbour. It was wrong of Norway to move behind the back of our nation to drill our coast for Kenya.
Ould Abdalla, the UN representative who is acting as the unelected President of Somalia was one of the participants. He should be ashamed of taking part in this treachery against Somalia. He is wrong to act as though Somalia is a no-man’s land which belongs to no-one.
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It is no wonder a corrupt person always believes everybody is corrupt. We know in the civil war climate, sometimes we are dealing with strange breed of individual Somalis but nothing can prepare you to see persons whose belief in clannism has been stretched beyond belief. Nothing you say may help the correction of such individuals but one must never give up on people. The following mundane points may help inform such persons that the world is not the dark dungeon they live in.
• It is individuals who serve in government not their clans.
• It is individuals who commit corruption not clans.
• Every individual has a unique experience of life and different upbringing.
• A nation consists of individuals from different cities, towns and cities.
• Every Somali has the right to be employed by the government of his country.
• Criticism comes with holding public office.
• The public have every right to criticise their government or their officials.
• Criticism of individuals in government is not criticism of their clan.
The build up of a corrupt culture
In Somalia, a corrupt culture has built up which gives the wrong message that to serve in government is to enrich oneself and amassing ill-gotten wealth. Corruption is a deadly malady which eats away the fibre of any society and reduces the quality of life in any nation. The question is how to tackle corruption? There are two types of corruption which we must root out from our governance if our nation is to succeed and regain the respect of other nations. One type of corruption arises from human need. A responsible government should address this type of graft by paying its employees (politicians and civil servants) decent wages to live on.
The second strand which arises from greed is the worst virus of corruption. This deadlier type of corruption can only be kept away by the establishment of mechanisms. When we have a government fit for purpose only one tightly audited office should be allowed to handle all money matters to pay for wages, fund for projects and pay for all other government expenditure.
The ploy to loot Somalia
We know attempts are afoot to create an unholy alliance to create a society where the wealth of our nation is robbed at will in cahoots with foreign individuals. We shall neither tolerate nor accept the creation of a society similar to the corrupt culture which has denied the people of oil rich nation Nigeria, basic necessities such as running tap water, electricity, free education, health care and other tasks of a responsible government.
It is worth mentioning that after spending $16.5 billion on electricity alone by the former Obasanjo government, Lagos, the capital of Nigeria has at best, a few hours of power every day. $16.5 billion can provide electricity not only for one nation but the whole African continent. This is not the future we envisage for our nation. We need to remind certain individuals that our society is different. Because of our nomadic roots ours is an open society where nothing is hidden and everything is on the open.
Only together we can fight greed
No matter how wealthy they grow, there are individuals who are born with inextinguishable greed. The suggestion to establish a ‘Green Line Zone’ in our capital similar to the one in Baghdad is a well-known ploy to siphon wealth donated to Somalia into the deep pockets of individuals and foreign experts.
Enrichment comes from engaging in enterprise
The Somalis are by nature gifted with entrepreneurial skills. The Kenyans and the Ethiopians would tell you the entrepreneurial skills of our people and the benefits (mainly of entrepreneurial skills) they had from the influx of our refugees to those countries. Our people have no shortage of ideas, motivation or initiatives to better their lives. Nonetheless, it was ignorance which gave birth to the malfeasance which encouraged corruption to take root in our society. This must have sent the wrong message that enrichment comes from serving in government. The best way to enrichment is through the activities of the private sector. A capable Somali government will also allow public servants to engage in activities outside government which can generate income provided there is no conflict of interest.
We seek a better future for Somalia
When we argue for a better future, why does anyone argue about the mistakes of the past committed by less educated generation and long gone leaders? Shouldn’t we be drawing a line under this past or is it the past what we want? What we seek ¬¬is a clean government which on one hand pays its civil servants well and where probity is not the exception but the norm. Without accountability, Somalia shall remain the basket case it has become.
Look no further! We need to be on the guard of our nation. Somalia needs our vigil. The sharks who thrive on endemic corruption are circling. It is incumbent on us to fight against the attempts to establish a corrupt system which eats away the fabric of our society, the quality of life in our country and the standing of our nation. I urge all Somalis to join in the fight for Somalia against greedy individuals who are acting as though Somalia is a broken camel in the middle of nowhere which belongs to no-one. Our people who have gone through unimaginable suffering deserve better!