Somalia needs highly talented individuals NOW -

Talking Point By M. M. Afrah

 “Freedom without civility, freedom without the ability to live in peace, was not freedom at all.
                                          Nelson Mandela.

Mr. Mandela knew what he was talking about. In Somalia, it is time for honesty and the ability to live in peace. Recently a cabinet minister of the homeless federal government told Yemeni journalists that Somalia would stand on its own feet again, “very soon” politically and economically. Fancy words but as empty as overturned Haan of water on the sandy beaches of Lido and Jasiira! When one considers that the promised funding from weary donor countries, many of whom have their own hidden agendas that is a reasonable expectation, because a minor misinterpretation or misunderstanding could instantly cut off the aid. Nabad-gelyo!

Financial handouts from donor countries are temporary band-aid and the recipient countries must relay on themselves—hence, the need to exploit our own natural resources for the good of the country and people. One of the top priorities is to rebuild the country from ground zero. For a starter, all the destroyed government infrastructures, including Villa Somalia, the Presidential Palace, should be rebuilt and renovated for the new federal government to move in. Young Hussein M.F. Aideed, please take note.

Somalia is and was always synonymous with the cap in hand, or what the Western media describe as a “basket case”, and it would continue non-stop unless people exploit our natural resources, and that anyone who calls himself President or Prime Minister would be running a penniless government till doomsday. The Simple question is: “who is responsible for the never-ending chaos and the drowning in obtuseness? Pause for a moment and wonder why the warlords and the petty politicians always agree to disagree on trivialities. “It is the economy, stupid,” as the Americans used to say during the depression of the 1920s.

Similarly, conventional wisdom tells us if the president of a country is running around for fear of what was dubbed as “Crossing the Mogadishu Line,” that country is doomed to go belly up again. A signor United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) official coined that phrase after the so-called Somalia Syndrome.

With all due respect, I, as a senior citizen, urge the President to face the people he was supposed to lead as the President of the new Federal Republic after more than a decade of mayhem and chaos. Mistrust, unfounded rumors, mainly emanating from the local grapevines (Fadhi ku dirir), suspicion and clan worshipping lie at the root of Somalia’s failure to return to the community of nations since 1991.

Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf deserves to give the Somali soldier a good name. Where is the Somali soldier’s gallantry with which he faced Mengistu’s horde and the massive Soviet and Cuban killing machines in 1977 at Jigjiga, Karamardha, Godey and Shilaabo with only a short gun?

Deployment of armed militia from Puntland in Jowhar or anywhere else in the South will only trigger off a renewed civil war and more bloodshed never seen before.

Your shoes were made for walking, over to you, Colonel.

Consider carefully for a moment. This is not a country without natural resources, but needs a talented Somalis, especially those returning from abroad with their expertise, magnetism and charisma to exploit the riches of our country, but the main ingredient is peace and stability without which no progress can be achieved. Admittedly, some returning Somalis have made inroads in the fields of trade, light industries and communications under dangerous circumstances, but what the country badly needs are people who are versed in exploiting the dormant mineral resources in the country. As for foreign investments, they should accost investors and developers, for example, from the People’s Republic of China, Japan and Malaysia.

Of course, not everyone can go back home, notably those clowns who perpetually tortured people suspected of anti-revolutionaries at the notorious Godka torture chambers and members of the kangaroo courts as well as the crack Red Berets and the dreaded NSS, not to mention Hangash, the military intelligence.


The question that still bugs me is whether there was any effort made by the Mogadishu wing to integrate their effort into coherent reconciliation strategy between the two opposing sides or whether they were merely ad hoc and uncoordinated initiatives. The 100 parliamentarians and cabinet ministers led by the Speaker of the Parliament describe their effort as constructive and in line with the original plan.

Yes, they brought into play a robust challenge by going to the capital listening to people. That’s where you see how people live their lives, what their problems and challenges are, and you can get a direct answer from them as how they think some of these problems can be solved. The main object was to provide safe environment for the new federal government to function, and to restore law and order. After all, it was some of these faction leaders, now cabinet ministers and MPs, who armed the militia in the first place, put the string of illegal road barricades, and caused devastation in the once beautiful country.

Omar Hashi, the spokesman of the Mogadishu group, said the President and his Prime Minister lacked adequate understanding of the operation to clear Mogadishu of the militia gunmen, and hence worked against it rather than joining them, and are merely concerned with their own personal safety.

Nevertheless, one has the right to ask why the Mogadishu group were too slow to dismantle the most violent roadblocks in the heart of the city who still exhort money openly from the people at the barrel of the gun—under the very nose of the group.

Meanwhile, the inhabitants continue to struggle to lead a semblance of normal life in impossible circumstances. The human touch by the brave women of Mogadishu and the civic societies should not be relegated to the gutter.

The worst thing for a politician to do is to use people when they need them then all of a sudden disappears until they need them again.

Now back to Somalia’s natural resources. A 1984 report by an American oil exploration company in Mogadishu says that Somalia, with its longest coast in Africa South of the Sahara is sitting on a massive offshore oil deposit. Now, all our own prospective oil explores and engineers require is the use of the latest technology in development of proven oil fields. In addition, they would need several rounds of negotiations with various technology providers across the world. As the 1984 American exploration company located the enormous offshore deposit, the focus should be on offshore technology. At the same times our vast marine life must be protected from foreign crooks, by using force, if necessary—let the foreign media cook their own nasty headlines! The people will eventually prevail.

By M. M. Afrah©