A major source of corruption within Somali leadership circle codoned by the UN.ţ
By Abdullahi Jama
The Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2006 was intended for specific purpose of ruling Somalia by proxy while concurrently annihilating one section of the Somali community that posed threat to Ethiopia’s perceived interest. The TFG of Col Yusuf provided only the groundwork for a sordid servitude and a seasonable vassalage as the drumbeats of the so called “global war on terror” were echoing loudly.
Having foiled that trap, the Somali people fell into another. The Ould-Abdalla engineered coup of Djibouti III which has a principal aim of using Transitional Federal Unity Government (TFUG) as `cash cow` to reap maximum benefit from foreign aid, particularly the Arab money-the only foreign aid that doesn’t go through UNDP’s murky channels.
Although the Saudi leaders have so far resisted such calls, particularly after Yusuf-Gedi scam in 2007, the news of Somali conference in Saudi Arabia resurfaces again in the media (HornAfrik 9/12/2009). This generous Arab money has long been a problem for Somali politics misusing the fraternal relationship between Saudis and Somalis.
Somalis relationship with Saudi Royal Family is deeply rooted not only in Islamic faith but they share common history of cooperation since Somalis were close associates of King Abdul Aziz Al Saud in his successful bid for the reconstitution the the Third Saudi Dynasty in 1902-1932. Thus, before his death Ibnu Saud (as he was often called) recommended his sons to look after the Somalis. The successors of Saudi throne fulfilled that recommendation to a variety of degrees from King Faisal who eagerly assisted Somali government in its war with Ethiopia in 1977 with over $350 million dollars of grant to his successors that followed a similar path during Mohamed Siyad Barre regime and after state collapse in 1991.
However generous and good intentional may be, the Saudi money has been a major source of corruption in Somalia since 1970s coinciding with their newly found stratagem after the oil shock of 1973 in which King Faisal used oil as weapon. An event which actually changed the political and financial landscape of the Middle East.
The most dreadful record of Saudi cash injection in Somalia in recent years was paid to President Abdiqasim Salad Hassan’s TNG with over $50 million, followed by the infamous National Reconciliation Conference chaired by Ali Mahdi in 2007($10 million) and the daylight robbery of Ali Mohamed Gedi and Col Abdullahi Yusuf-roughly estimated at $32 million.
The sheriffs and their Boss Ould-Abdalla have been engineering this project for long time and it is probably one of the reasons Mr Ould-Abdalla is stalling to vacate this office after expiry of his term in August this year. All eyes point to Saudi money that these venal kleptocrats intend to seize it, in the name of assisting the Somali people.
Although my hope of influencing Saudi policy is dim, it suffice to tell Somali audience and whoever is interested to know about this coming scam-that Saudi money has done more harm than good in the past, and will only enrich few people since there is no mechanism to ensure fair dispersal of these funds.
The reason why insecurity persists in Somalia’s south is not lack of money; it is lack of legitimacy of the current Transition al Government which is seen as flawed in the eyes of Somali people.
There is no doubt that Somalia is need of aid, but it needs security more than anything else. And, that can only be restored by a legitimate national government which is able to win over the trust of it people and relies less on coercive power.
Mr Ould-Abadalla’s well published claim that the problem is about extremists toppling a legitimate government does not hold any water. There may be extremists but, the real problem that made the government powerless to confront the extremists is lack of popular legitimacy.
The way forward, however, is a credible homemade Somali government that is neither opportunistic rent-seeking (as Sheriffs do) nor religious fanatics (as some of the insurgents do).
Abdullahi Jama, Somali Peace Activist