A new Somalia is here and our people are brimming with levels of optimism and public support not witnessed since before the state’s disintegration in 1991.
In the month since his victory in the presidential election, H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has received more endorsements across Somalia and messages of goodwill from international partners than all of the presidents who have come before him over the past 26 years.
8th of February thus marks a new beginning for Somalia. On that date, President Farmajo earned the mandate of the parliament, and inspired confidence among Somalis across the country and in the Diaspora. Soon after, the Prime Minister gained overwhelming support as the parliament voted unanimously to approve his nomination. There is a newly revived hope that the Somali government will be able to deliver basic services of security, health, and education, and that it might reform our economy too.
Now, what do Somalis expect from our President and the PM? For a start, people expect the PM to select a competent and professional cabinet of technocrats who are equipped to work toward fulfilling the expectations of the people. Without political parties in place, people demand a cabinet that will represent the country’s various interest groups, while also prioritizing the common interest of peace and prosperity for Somalia above all else.
So far, most Somalis seem pleased with the ongoing process whereby all key stakeholders have been consulted prior to the selection of cabinet members. This inclusion will lead to the selection of genuine, charismatic, and pragmatic leaders who understand the needs of the people and who are best suited for the job.
It is not practical for every MP to expect that he or she will be selected, and it is not in the interest of the Somali people for MPs to put their cabinet aspirations above national unity. Now is the time for all MPs to look at the bigger picture and accept the cabinet that will be presented by the PM.
Our country cannot afford any more delays caused by political infighting. On the urgent to-do list of the President, PM, and Cabinet is a humanitarian and security response to the devastating drought that has already affected 6 million Somalis; and the restoration of peace and stability in Somalia via the defeat of Al-Shabaab and reconciliation with communities. To do so, it is essential that Somalia build professional, trustworthy, and representative security forces that will be accountable to the people whom they should serve and protect.
Economic experts within the cabinet will need to devise strategies to revive the economy and create jobs, increase investment opportunities, and foster an environment that will favor further business development. And politically, our government needs to quickly move to finalize the review of the provisional constitution, implement federalism and ensure fair power and resource-sharing mechanisms, facilitate the establishment of political parties, and ensure universal elections by early 2021.
The new cabinet is expected to articulate the President’s, and all of Somalia’s vision – a secure, stable, and prosperous Somalia at peace with itself and its neighbours. Above all, it is imperative that the new cabinet understands the importance of engaging with communities so that the public remains at the center of all decision-making mechanisms. Effective government requires a close relationship between the government and its people. The government must be responsive to the needs of its citizens. As Somalis we have proven to have the power to overcome the most formidable challenges and to withstand great hardship.
Now is the time to harness our courage, our strength, and our determination. Now is the time to improve security and stability so we build a path to prosperity. Public Awareness Campaign initiatives require an immediate attention, as it is paramount to maintaining the public support, confidence and above all transparency mechanism and good governance implementation.
Farmajo’s election has given us reason to be hopeful about our future. With this optimism comes momentum, and a limited window of opportunity to break the cycle of chaos and violence. Peace and stability is possible in Somalia. The time is now! Let’s not waste the opportunity.
Abdirahman Omar Osman (Eng. Yarisow)