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Somalia’s minister of the year 2010

25 October 2010 SMC 

In the face of a rising Islamist insurgency, the newly appointed Prime Minister of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG), H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmajo) is grappling with putting pieces together to form a new cabinet. Therefore, the question arises from here is that will he be able to select technocrat individuals that can make a difference to the current situation?

Farmajo on 18 October 2010 stated that he doesn’t believe in 4.5 formulas and even went as far as stating the 4.5 formula is not written in any where. Yes, it is true the 4.5 formula is not written in the Charter, but the composition of the 550 parliamentarians is based on the 4.5 formula. All previous cabinet posts were selected on this formula. Some viewed the new PM would want to ignore the formula and choose his cabinet members without due regard to this formula. On 19 October a day later Farmajo was forced to issue statement clarifying what he said on 18 October. Farmajo gave assurances that he will appoint his new cabinet based on the 4.5 formula.

Farmajo should pass his first test of getting at least 276 MPs votes before he can be sworn in to the position of the PM. On Thursday, 20thOctober 2010 the speaker of the parliament closed the session without MPs casting their votes due to unexpected squabble which made it impossible to continue the session. Some MPs in the parliament were distributing a copy of Farmajo’s thesis, which created tension among MPs. Some of the MPs argued that Farmajo views towards Digil & Mirifle as minority are unacceptable. The 4.5 formula Digil iyo Mirifle are not considered as minority.  The President during his speech to the parliament on 20 October, strongly defended Farmajo’s thesis, stating let us look forward and hold him to accountable on what he does from now on.

Farmajo will also need to pass his second test, which is getting again the vote of parliamentarians after he appoints his cabinet and produces the government program for the remaining period of the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs). Farmajo will need to recruit the best people that he can trust occupying cabinet posts.

I have known Abdirahman Omar Osman (Eng. Yarisow), Somalia’s Information Minister for 10 years and I am happy to share my views on him with you.

He is an active member of the current cabinet in Somalia. He has tremendously reformed the revenue collection system during his portfolio as Treasury Minister (August 2009 to July 2010). One of his achievements during this period includes the following:

  • He recruited young graduates to the ministry;
  • He broke new ground by introducing Inland Revenue collection at Ex-Control Afgoie;
  • He has been instrumental in streamlining and auditing the revenue collection system. More then three occasions he led a team of auditors to the port of Mogadishu.
  • He executed the first ever published data on revenue collection and management;
  • In a remarkably short time, he dealt with challenges and put the activities of the ministry back on course;
  • On two occasions customs department at the airport captured more than 3 million US $ black dollars. This shows how customs are vigilant to smuggling of illegal items;
  • He was an active member of the ministerial financial committee, which made difference to the financial management of the country;

When Abdirahman Omar Osman (Eng. Yarisow), Somalia’s minister of Information was appointed on 3rd July 2010, his welcome was notably warm. He has since made progress in his new portfolio. Some of his achievements during this period include the following:

  • Enhanced the Government’s reputation and by any standard his performance has been excellent;
  • Introduced on-going and regular press releases on issues that are important to Somalis as well as to the International Community. Within 3 months the ministry of information has issued more than 30 press releases;
  • He showed strong leadership during Ramadan offensive by Islamists; He was quick to respond, and provided accurate information to the world.
  • He took part many interviews with international television outlets and radios at world stage, in particular during Ramadan offensive;
  • Enhanced programs on Radio Mogadishu;
  • Re-launched Somali National News Agency (SONNA);
  • Introduced special programs on Islamic lectures addressing all the negative campaigns of Al-Shabaab;
  • Under his leadership the government continues to stand by simple principles of free speech and media independence;
  • He encourages and defends all Somali journalists in the country;
  • He has invited a minister from Puntland to Mogadishu and introduced Agenda for Change in Somalia Media Landscape;
  • He is in the process of establishing the first Mass Communication College in Garowe, Puntland.
  • He is in the process of introducing short-wave system to Radio Mogadishu;
  • He has the first time implemented face-book and live streaming on Radio Mogdishu;
  • He is transformational leader and when it comes to getting things done, all you have to do is to ask the staff of both ministries that he led during the last 14 months or so.

By any standard, his performance has been excellent. He is among the most dynamic ministers in the cabinet. He demonstrated understanding of the current challenges and he has a vision to overcome current mayhem. On a regular basis he makes direct outspoken comments of the Armed Opposition Groups that are bent on destabilizing the country.

I do not think that many readers will take issue with my choice of Eng. Yarisow as Somalia’s minister of the year 2010. when we look at his tremendous impact in the context of bringing peace and stability in the country and the need to encouraging young energetic, intellectual, technocrat, motivated leaders among our decision making body. What is more, most of fellow ministers hold him in high esteem and consider him as one of the best ministers in our history.

Equally, if he is given the chance to serve his nation for a third time in the capacity of a minister, I am sure that he will deliver much more on the given portfolio.

However, minister Eng. Yarisow is faced by two possible threats, cutting the number of the cabinet posts and the 4.5 formula power-sharing in Somalia politics. To leave him out in the upcoming ministerial reshuffle will undermine the pursuit of cadre building in the transitional machinery.

By Mohamed Hassan

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