May 15, 2007

US frustrated with Somali government

Jendayi Frazer, the top US diplomat in Africa, blasted the Somali government (Arabic) for its incompetence, doubted presidents Abdullah Yusuf's ability to lead the country and called for some senior government officials to be sacked, great. It isn't a secret that the TFG cabinet is a mockery, none of the ministers have adequate experience for their positions, they were elected just because they were there or had the gun at the time. There has been so far three cabinet reshuffles and the president once requested ministers to resign because he had a feud with the prime minister. The prime minister himself was a vet and later an aid worker, with almost no experience in government.

When I asked a senior government official why they haven't got competent ministers? after all, there are many capable and experienced Somalis in every field who worked in a previous Somali government or even in other governments, he said that the parliament passed a law that requires all ministers to be MPs first. That's a serious problem because the quality of the MPs is really bad, only those who were able to hang around Kenya for two and half years, the time the reconciliation conference took, became MPs. If you can hang around for that long you must be unemployed (and probably unemployable).

I'm not surprised that Jendayi Frazer finally spoke out, this government has a chance that none of its predecessors had; international community support, African troops on the ground and full control over Mogadishu. President Abdullah Yusuf (a military man) is known to dislike those with strong personality and more credentials that himself but he knows he has to get competent people in his government quickly, to succeed.

The infighting within the government, many of whom are former warlords, and their lack of any vision for the future of Somalia are the two worrying things about this government. So far they managed to mishandle everything, even aid to those who fled Mogadishu. What's required now is simply to let aid workers and the UN to do their job and resettle the people in Mogadishu.

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