5. Cut ties with the Arab League
Revolts, sectarian strife, collapsed states, and potentially a new front in the War on Terror in the traditional Maghreb region–these are the images that define the Arab World today. When Somalia joined the Arab League in 1974, the cash-strapped Siad Barre regime sought to benefit from the fuel subsidies and unconditional grants offered by wealthy member states. That was 1974, when peak oil was taken as a myth, and a time when military strongmen projected confidence in the strength of their states. The Arab World in 2013 is the sight of dwindling resources, frail regimes, and the impending doom of water scarcity. While Somalia has always been a minor basket case in the Arab League, the League will soon be a serious burden to Somalia.
4. Sell off natural resources
The benefits of sovereignty have still not been fully appreciated by Somali leaders. The country is now a full and legally-empowered member of the United Nations. Even during the violent and uncertain transitional period we witnessed serious interactions between major foreign companies and the Somali government. Within months of the Transitional Federal Government ousting terrorists from the capital Mogadishu in 2007, the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company had struck a deal with the Somali government. But as the first month of 2013 closes, there has not yet been any serious news of President Mohamud courting foreign energy interests. Somalia cannot rely on conditional handouts forever, it must be a priority of this new government to seek independent sources of income.
3. Limit the influence of inner circles
From advisers to ministerial officers, it seems that everyone in Mohamud’s political circle has been given presidential authority. Late last year, a minor adviser to the president declared that all post-1991 exploration contracts were to be annulled. And just this week, it was announced that the information minister had been bestowed the power to name regional governors for all of Somalia’s 18 provinces. It’s alarming to see that anyone with even a minor acquaintance with President Mohamud inherits his powers.
2. Reform the security forces
Banditry has reached its highest levels since the 1990s in some of the regions under the Somali government’s control. Even districts just beyond Mogadishu have become havens for renegade security forces. Checkpoints are rampant in every district manned by Somali personnel, and security has deteriorated to the point that AMISOM peacekeepers have had to protect the public from the men sent to protect them.
1. Engage in reconciliation efforts
Aside from a post-campaign apology made to victims of Siad Barre’s bombing campaign in Somaliland, Mohamud has not made any effort to reconcile any of Somalia’s major factions or region-states. The current regime in Mogadishu has been characterized by their unwillingness to engage Somali actors, instead opting to ignore the reality on the ground in hopes that it may eventually disappear. The biggest obstacle to reconciliation is the absence of a property return policy in Mogadishu. The president has yet to even address the issue the ongoing criminal occupation of private property, which has prevented thousands from returning to the capital. Already, segments of the population have abandoned Mohamud’s government in favor of fomenting a new political framework which addresses their concerns.
Kamil Kusow, DN Contributor