بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Specifically Merciful
Security and the Judicial Sector
Securing the peace will be the first priority of the new government we will form, if Allah deems so, and we prevail in the upcoming presidential election of August 20, 2012.
I strongly believe that this critical task can only effectively be secured by the Somali armed forces. AMISOM as well as the Ethiopian forces in partnership with the Somali military achieved significant victories in recovering large regions of the country. Consolidating the peace and re-establishing law and order in these recovered territories will be the most pressing issue for the new government.
It is imperative that Somalis and their international community friends do not squander these hard-won successes through ineptitude and lack of resolve and determination. Training and equipping the Somali national military and police forces in the first two years can make it possible to take full control of the country, and allow AMISOM and Ethiopian forces to begin the process of winding down their operations in Somalia.
I welcome the recommendations of the civil society presented recently at Istanbul II conference, stating that the AIMSOM forces should be re-hatted to become a UN peacekeeping force with the addition of armed forces from Muslim countries to counter the narrative and propaganda of Al-Shabaab where AMISOM is described as an invading foreign and non-Islamic army.
To further secure the peace, stabilize the country, and maintain effective law and order ordinance, the institutions for the judiciary branch and correction facilities must be rebuilt through capacity building, as well as the active recruitment and consultation of highly qualified Somali jurists living throughout the world.
Political Reconciliation and Agenda
The country is currently in a politically and economically precarious position in large part due to the consequences of famine and prolonged long civil war during the last two decades. Equally destructive and devastating has been the perversion and misuse of Islam for violence and political purposes. Therefore, in order to build a peaceful and politically stable Somali society in the future, my government will give a high priority to a genuine national political reconciliation and will start the process of taking head on many thorny political issues that have been unattended to by past domestic and international political initiatives.
Among these difficult political issues are: if Somalis adopt the federal system of government, how many federal states the country will have and how many districts a given state will have? How soon should national census be undertaken to determine the number of legislative seats? How will the natural resources of the country be shared? These and many more contentious questions should be addressed at the earliest time. The international community can facilitate and play a supportive role, but only Somalis can resolve these politically charged issues.
If my candidacy is successful, insha Allah, I will strongly support the establishment of local administration in each region by working closely with the traditional leaders and other civil society organizations of that region. In addition, my government will be committed that each region gets their fair share of the reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will be undertaken in rebuilding our country.
Economic Recovery and Development
To consolidate the peace in Somalia after all the missing territories are recovered and to strengthen stability, it is important to create jobs for the unemployed men and women throughout the country – particularly the youths who are part of Al-Shabab or other religious or militia groups – in the construction of major infrastructure projects as well as the rehabilitation of government buildings, schools, and other structures. To accomplish this objective, the government can assist in these unemployed Somalis by equipping them with skills through vocational and apprenticeship workshops that will train them as electricians, masonries, carpenters, mechanics etc. Security forces such as the police, military, and correctional facilities could also absorb those youth that demonstrate the aptitude and temperament suitable for those institutions.
To fight effectively the piracy problem and address the underlying economic and security problems, my new government will undertake a comprehensive economic program that will create jobs by tapping into the fishery and other marine resources of the country that are currently illegal exploited by foreigners. I will commit the necessary resources in cooperation with other friendly nations adversely affected by the piracy problem. Furthermore, I pledge the new government will aggressively fight the illegal dumping of toxic waste materials in Somalia’s shores and will seek the assistance and cooperation of the international community in this effort.
The old notion, prevalent in the minds of many Somalis, that employment opportunities are predominately available in the government or public sector, needs to be changed. Opportunities in the private sector will dwarf by far those that will be created in the public sector. Somalis are highly talented entrepreneurs and have successful enterprises in Kenya, East and Central Africa, North America, Europe and the Middle East. In Somalia, there are many successful enterprises in telecommunications, money transfer, and the import of all types of tools and consumer goods, as well as construction materials. The return of capital and entrepreneurs from abroad will contribute greatly to economic growth when stability takes hold in the country.
Equally important will be the dramatic positive impact on the economy from the tens of thousands of Somali professionals in all fields of endeavor who will also be gradually returning from overseas, bringing with them the energy and drive, capital and skills to provide all kinds of services to Somalis; they will also have significant purchasing power from the wealth they have accumulated abroad over the years. Returning capital will come from a variety of sources such as businesses, savings, investments, pensions, and other streams of income from social programs many in the diaspora are entitled to in the Western countries they currently reside in.
There is an important role for the government to play in promoting economic growth. My government will focus on four important areas it is well suited to, and where it can make the greatest contribution.
First, the government could undertake large infrastructure projects that will turbo-charge economic growth by building roads, ports, airports, power stations and agricultural infrastructure projects that will facilitate investments from business enterprises.
Second, the government will boost earnings from the Somali livestock industry (Somalia is the world’s biggest livestock exporter) which is Somalia’s largest export hard currency earner, by making funds and credit available on favorable terms from a development bank exclusively targeting this important sector of the economy. In addition, the government could provide free veterinary services and dig water wells in Somalia, and support expansion in the existing livestock markets in the Middle East. My government will also assist by opening up new markets for the Somali livestock industry abroad.
To promote the livestock industry, my government will give a priority in creating an electronic livestock exchange with up-to-date information on the various prices of sheep, goats, camels, and cattle in different regions of the country and overseas. Availability and access to current market prices will empower Somali livestock raisers and traders to maximize their earnings. Ever since the collapse of the central government in Somalia, exporters of livestock have been the victims of various kinds of manipulation by dubious Somali livestock traders as well as by shady importers in the Middle East who always give the short end of the stick to decent and hardworking Somali livestock raisers. My government pledges to be supportive, forward leaning and committed to make a significant difference in looking after the interest of Somali livestock raisers.
Third, my government will champion the interests of Somali businesses in East and Central Africa by opening more markets for their products and services. This would take the form of joining organizations such as the East African Community (EAC) common market and entering into new bilateral trade agreements with other countries in the region and the Middle East. Again, similar to the adverse effects on Somali livestock raisers stemming from the lack of government in Somalia, Somali businesses in East and Central Africa are severely disadvantaged in protecting and expanding their businesses. The more successful these businesses are, the more capital will be available for existing businesses and industries in Somalia and for the creation of new businesses, which would possibly also lead to attracting increased foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country – a key factor in the success of many newly emerging economies around the world.
Finally, my government is committed to make significant improvements in the social wellbeing of the Somali people by investing in education, healthcare, and clean water. The best resource any country has is its people. Providing conditional cash payments to poor families to ensure children can go to school and get nutritional meals and regular heath checkups has been empirically proven in many developing countries as the most effective way to fight poverty and realize the full potential of all citizens. Knowledge is a cornerstone of development, and its importance is increasing in an age of accelerating technological change and globalization; it is a public good that underpins economies, polities and societies, permeating all aspects of human activity. Therefore, my government will give high priority to elementary education and get started on setting the country on the path of becoming a knowledge society.
Most Somalis and the world at large know that Somalia is considered as the most corrupt nation in the world. Whether this assertion is accurate or not, there is no question one of the hallmarks of the TFG is corruption, incompetence and ineptness. The World Bank report released during the Istanbul II conference in May 2012 explicitly detailed how corrupt the TFG is. The end result of this prevalent corruption has been the loss of confidence and trust by the Somali people in the leadership of the TFG. Key components of good governance are transparency, accountability and financial integrity.
One of the principles of good governance is accountability. My government recognizes that corruption in all forms is an immense obstacle to the fight against poverty. I also recognize that one way of combating corruption is to have systems of accountability established in all government ministries and agencies.
One of the highest priorities of my government will be to urge the Constituent Assembly to pass an anti-corruption statute and establish an Anti-Corruption Commission at the earliest possible date. Furthermore, I am committed to immediately establish an independent government internal auditing office and establish a national public accounting system.
I pledge also to make the government budgeting process transparent so that all Somali citizens can see how their taxes and other sources of revenues are spent and prioritized. To further gain the trust and confidence of the Somali public, I pledge that the president, prime minister and members of the cabinet will declare their assets before taking office and that the salaries for all levels of government positions will be publicly disclosed including those of the president, prime minister and members of the cabinet.
Resettlement of Refugees
I am committed that if elected by the grace of Allah, the new government I will form will give high priority in assisting the hundreds of thousand Somalis who have been suffering at the refugee camps in Kenya, Ethiopia and the millions internally displaced in the country. We will undertake a comprehensive resettlement program with the cooperation of UNCHR and other international organizations involved in refugees and internally displaced people. The guiding criteria for resettling refugees and internally displaced people would be to ensure that resettlement program is done a manner that is sustainable that will economically and socially integrate them to the rest of the Somali society.
Internationally, we believe in cooperating with the rest of the world community as stated in the United Nations’ charter and conventions. Somalia will respect and support all human rights conventions and the rights of people to self-determination, self-governance and peaceful co-existence. Furthermore, Somalia will abide by and respect all treaties and conventions entered by previous Somali governments. With regard to the regional organizations and neighboring countries, Somalia strongly believes in supporting and maintaining peace and stability and that all disputes should be resolved through dialogue and mutually respect.
In light of the devastation, destruction and suffering that the Somali people endured during the last two decades, the nation and people of Somalia deserve to adopt and implement a new constitution in a process that is transparent, inclusive and deliberative. The new constitution could be based on the 1960 constitution that was approved on a referendum in 1961.
As peace and stability is further consolidated in the near future, Somalis from all walks of life in the country and outside would have a precious opportunity to participate and give their input in a process similar to those adopted by many countries recently which involves a combination of educating the public about the major issues the constitution entails and the different forms of government that are feasible. Given how critical this political and social contract is and the intimate ways it will govern and affect the daily lives of all Somalis, the country cannot afford to rush and adopt a new constitution hastily and without genuine deliberations.