Somali presidential election, which has seen much delay, is now set for 15th May 2022. Experts believe that the conduct and results of the forth coming elections will have a consequential ripple effect in political, economic, and social aspects of Somalia and the bordering countries in the greater Horn of African. Closely to 40 candidates are vying for the occupancy of Villa Somali and will table their policies to parliament on the 11th, 12th and 13th of May. The widespread Euphoria that welcomed Farmajo to office in 2017 is long gone. The huge expectation of change has diminished. There is a mix of anxiety, skepticism, and hope. Somalia more than ever, needs a visionary, a competent leader who will be ready to work from day one, bring back the excitement and deliver the much-needed reforms. In all these considerations, Hassan Ali Khaire is second to none.
Hassan Ali Khaire’s decisive actions as prime minister left an indelible mark in the hearts of the people of Somali. He instituted reforms in the justice and security agencies, reformed the financial sector and actively engaged young generation in governance. Firstly, with a vision of a stable and calm Somalia, Khaire focused on securing Somali. To achieve this, he created ‘The transition plan’ which stressed the ‘local delivery’ as a key component and recognized that a purely military solution wasn’t viable. Following general acceptance, he courageously implemented radical actions that awoken the much needed, yet always elusive reforms. For instance, he oversaw the removal of 10,000 ghost soldiers and created a foundation for a chain of command in the military.
Secondly, as his senior economic advisor, I noticed that Prime Minister Khaire, always fraternized young Somali to the discomfort of Somali leaders. He built nine Sports Stadium spread across all Federal Member States, including the most modern stadium in East and Central of Africa – the Mogadishu Stadium. His influence across the youthful national constituency is deep, thus, many Somalis opines that Khaire, will definitely bag a large share of the young and progressive members of Federal Parliament. Equally important is the fact that powerful figures coalesce around his focus on youthful energy, which is seen as the future of Somali.
Young Somalis, have no interest in further instability – they want peace and tranquility, so that they can go on building their lives like other citizens in other parts of the world. They believe in ‘Walaaltinimo’. They are nationalists. They are patriots. They believe in one indivisible Somali! Only Khaire guarantees this.
Khaire’s rise from a refugee to a global business executive speak volumes about his competence. His policy reforms in the Somali economy and insistence to the international community to work on securing Somali’s busy trade channel forms rich legacy he left. Besides, he actively advocated streamlining of global development and aid structures, especially for fragile states. He insisted, always, that the people of Somali had embraced a new dawn and it was only fair that the international community waived debts to help unlock concessional financing and attract foreign investment. Khaire committed to a set of programmes such as poverty reduction, building an inclusive economy, and improvement on debt management. Global financial institutions praised Khaire’s effort at economic reforms, allowing Somalia to qualify for nearly $5bn debt relief programme.
When Khaire becomes President of Somalia and is sworn into office, he will have lots of challenges to overcome. First and foremost, Khaire promises to confront the instability and loss of public trust caused by delayed elections. To achieve this, He will build a formidable Somali security team that can take care of Somali internal security needs even as the African Union Transition Mission in Somali (ATMIS) gradually transfers security responsibilities to Somali nationals. The process is a delicate decision-making process which needs an all-inclusive and bipartisan dialogue. I believe, Khaire is widely accepted as the man with the nature and safe hands upon which consensus can be negotiated.
Stable states have independent functional justice system, where everyone operates within the dictates of the law and have confidence in it. Khaire is keen to ensure a new constitutional dispensation which will guarantee an independent judiciary comprising of a constitutional and a supreme court and prioritize establishment of Federal Judiciary system and training institute for capacity building. He will institutionalize the purge against corruption by establishing an anticorruption law.
On infrastructure, Khaire will invest heavily in access roads and modernization of transport, actualize growth of renewables and sustainable use of resource, develop Somalia Water supply strategy, construct responsive sewerage systems, implement proper spatial planning, build and equip modern hospitals as he shown during COVID-19 challenges and delivered with distinction, he also established establish robust ICT networks. As first priorities, Khaire is serious in reinvigorating the national electrical grid which is in dilapidated state. In matters youth development infrastructure, Khaire will operationalize skills development training centers, regulate higher education and align funding. On revenue growth, Khaire will build on the revenue management reforms he initiated as part of Public Financial Management (PFM). Khaire will revitalize, operate and maintain essential infrastructure services whose aim is to improve stability and set foundations for social, economic and sustainable development. He is promising tight control, transparency, and accountability in the use of public resources.
Lastly, the people of Somali want a unified, stable, and prosperous country, where each individual has an equal chance to work and achieve their dreams. All these policy areas have been widely discussed by the people of Somali. They have been a concern in previous elections, and they form key issues on 15th May election. The Euphoria and excitement that propelled Farmajo into office in 2017 has decayed. His intention to stay beyond past the election date has made matters worse and eroded any gains he had created. The people of Somalia lost trust with currently militant style system. On 15th May, the promising youthful figure, Mr. Hassan Ali Khaire, a graduate of Herriot-Watt University, will hopefully be sworn in as the new occupant of Villa Somali to deliver the Somali dream.
Abdighani A. Jama
Senior Economic Advisor, Office of the Prime Minister 2015-2020
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org