Somali government oversees 12 months of legislative reform
Unemployment hits 4.9%
12 months after the appointment of a new senate, the Somali regional government is set to receive an award from the Khalifa for exceptional political transparency and representation. The success of this new senate comes after the near total collapse of the Somali regional government due to infighting and accusations of corruption and cronyism.
The history of Somalia is one of the more complex stories in the Muslim world, beset with years of anarchy, societal dysfunction and political instability. It experienced a brief moment of socialism in the late 70s into the 1990s before descending into civil war in 1991. This civil war saw Somali fragment, with the creation of Somaliland and Puntland in the later stages of the war. It took until 2000, with the assistance of the UN, that a transitional national government was established to attempt to rebuild Somali and bring dignity back to the Somali people. Beset by tribalism, foreign money and corruption from powerful individuals intent on ensuring Somali remained broken, the transitional national government was never successful in establishing a peaceful or prospers state.
It wasn’t until 2040, after the re-establishment of the Khilafa, that Somalia was restored to its former glory. Under the guidance of the Emir al Mumineen, the Khalifa ordered the Army to occupy Somali, demilitarise the population and repair infrastructure while Somaliland and Puntland were also formally dismantled and numerous members of the ruling party imprisoned for corruption. Following the reunification of Somalia, a regional government was established and while initially successful, government ministers continued to vote and act based on clan loyalties without showing any regard for the Somali people or wider long term opportunities. Furthermore, political instigators unhappy with the change in status quo attempted to bring violence back to the country. Maaxi Ali Jim’ale, son of Ali Ahmed Nur Jim’ale, former Hormuud Telecommunications CEO was accused and found guilty of financing the murder of an imam in Bosaso for speaking out against the corruption of certain Somali families.
To rectify the situation, the Khalifa met with students at the Mogadisho Institute of Technology (MIT) in an open session to hear their grievances and ideas. Fatuma Amin is an electrical engineering student at MIT. Originally planning on skipping the event, her mother convinced her to attend:
I was going to leave early to meet my friends for dinner but hooyo told me she would kill me if I missed an opportunity to meet the Khalifa. To be honest, me and most of my friends are completely demoralised with the political process in Somalia. It’s run by a bunch of old men who are more interested in fighting over their clans than managing the country. Most students were telling the Khalifa to fire all the old men and hire only young people but he left early so I don’t think he was interested in hearing what we had to say either.
In fact, it turns out the Khalifa was listening and a week after the open session the entire senate, all 80 voted members, were summarily ordered to attend a sitting session where they were fired. A secondary investigation later revealed that 15 senators were engaged in corruption. There cases are still ongoing. To replace them, the Khalifa called for new members comprised from a strict set of guidelines:
- Between the age of 21 – 35
- 50:50 male/female split
- Not from the diaspora
- No tribal allegiances
In the 12 months that followed since the new senate was established the Somali government has undergone a dramatic transformation. With greater political representation and no political factionalism Somalia has seen a number of positive changes in the region. The quality of education in the country has improved with the opening of two more universities in the north. Healthcare has expanded with the Ayan Hirsi Ali centre for the criminally insane now treating people from all around Africa. Infrastructure spending has grown and a new train line has been built that travels between Kismayo, Mogadisho, Galkayo, Bosaso, Berbera and Hargeisa. The crime rate is at an all time low too due in part to the unemployment rate finally dropping below 5% and also the implementation of free education for students.
Maymunah Cisse was working in weapons manufacturing when her parents suggested she run for senate:
I did it more for a laugh than anything else. I had just started a new job designing artillery when I heard the Khalifa sacked the entire senate. Seeing all those old men complain on TV was probably the best thing that has happened to this country in my life time. To say I was surprised when I won the nomination is an understatement, I hadn’t really made any preparations and had to explain to my employer why I was leaving so soon.
Despite all the changes though the last 12 months have been truly inspirational. SubhanAllah, to think that all it took to fix this country and bring power back to the people was to make a few old men unemployed. I can now say that I’m proud again to be a Somali and I live knowing that future generations will build on the legacy we created.
Despite all the successes 12 months on, many of the original senators are still disgruntled. In a small tea shop tucked away inside Bakaara market Abdirahman Xasan sits with other senators from his tribe and chews khat, an illegal narcotic that remains popular amongst the older generation.
They refuse to accept Somalia is better now than when they were in power and believe the younger members of society have failed to treat his generation with the respect they deserve. Unemployed and living off his wifes salary, Abdirahman represents a group within the Somali community that, by refusing to adapt to modern standards, appears to be going extinct:
The young people have no idea what they’re doing. We built this country. I used to have an office overlooking the ocean, can you believe now I have no office? Can you believe it? Waxaa na haysto mashaakil, the shabab are a real disappointment.
Meanwhile the Somali regional government pushes ahead. With plans to develop wind turbines off the north eastern horn in conjunction with the completion of the Fatima Jibreel Institute for Renewable Energy, senators are expecting a significant work load over the next 12 months. Like many other countries, the success in Somalia is a reflection of the monumental possibilities that can be achieved when people work together towards a common goal and put their differences aside.