In Somaliland, corruption is found almost everywhere, and now is considered one of the highest corruption rates in Africa that increases the poverty rate of Somaliland people. Corruption has been an epidemic and daily practices during the outgoing administration of President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Silanyo) and his team.
According to the Somaliland National Corruption Perception Survey in 2013, the perception of corruption, high number of the respondents 76.6% believed that corruption is common or popular in public institutions. However, the extensive corruption in Somaliland society has been institutionalized, become customary and accepted as an informal part of everyday life. Thus, I personally acknowledge that corruption is a systemic and endemic while government officials and the general public often do not view corruption as a crime and everyone is engaged in corrupt practices due to a culture of impunity, which is sustained by low pay for the civil service, minimal job training, lack of anti-corruption laws and lack of enforcement mechanisms for punishing corruption perpetrators.
Following this situation, On April, 2017, the out-going president had a meeting with Anticorruption agencies of the National Good Governance and Anticorruption Commission (GGACC), the auditor General of the State and the attorney General ordering to start investigations about any government officer proved to be corrupt and embezzling the public properties. The president ordered these authorities to redouble work during the transitional period of his government whereby the most of the government officers particularly the ministers are gossiped to be looting the government assets since they are believed to be going out from the government if Muse Bihi Abdi is elected as the new president from Kulmiye in Somaliland.
The former head of the anticorruption Tsar resigned after the president’s order for new investigations on corruption claiming that nothing could be done now as the time is very limited and his resignation from the office was hastened from the knowledge that his duties and responsibilities were untenable at that time since he has been lacking the political commitment from the office of the president since the commission has been established. However, many people believed that the presidential call for these agencies has nothing to contribute the fight against corruption since the term of the president was going to expire and evidences showed that corruption is remnant in the country.
In a highly competitive contest between Waddani Main Opposition Party presidential candidate, Abdurrahman Mohamed Abdilahi (Irro) and the new presidential candidate for the ruling party- Kulmiye, Muse Bihi Abdi, the fight against corruption was one of their issues in their political party platforms. Mr. Bihi won over 55% of the national votes cast in Somaliland regions in November 2017. the citizens have given their votes to new president after he made clear that his new government will be fighting against corruption although, fighting corruption has been one of the words people liked to hear from their candidates during the election campaign.
All candidates have been hitting the nail on the head that bringing recognition, the fight against Corruption, unemployment, injustice, inequalities, wealth distribution and improving the poor infrastructures and security have been the most important issues that the candidates were focusing on.
In several meetings, the new president has held with some of the social sectors including, lawyers, doctors and some of his party campaigners, vowed to combat corruption and bad administration in his new era. Somaliland people are expecting that the new government will be putting on the fight against corruption on his new government’s most important priorities in order to make the state affairs function and maintain the law and order to be respected during his term in office which will be instigating the country to recover from more economic losses.
Since some days to go to the inauguration ceremony of the new president, I am here to propose that the National Good Governance and Anti-Corruption Commission to be present in all the ministerial handover ceremonies for out-going and incoming new ministers in order to safeguard on the assets and the properties to be transferred. The commission has collected a lot of important documents from the government ministries and agencies including all fixed and non-assets, however, if such proposal is made by the new president, it will be the first step taken towards the combat of corruption by the new president.
In conclusion, the new government is expected to carry out Anti-Corruption policies by giving a political willingness, and energy to the supreme audit institutions including the Good Governance Commission, the Auditor General and attorney General because corruption in Somaliland has been further exacerbated by the absence of a strong political commitment from the last two government administrations led by president, Dahir Riyale Kahin and Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Silanyo) respectively.
Hence, I do believe that the country is going to a new era as the new president announced for the first time that fighting corruption is one of his top priorities knowing that it has also been a big pillar in Kulmiye political manifesto of 2017-2022. For this purpose, the president is anticipated to do changes in the anticorruption agencies by empowering them and nominating new blood of experienced personnel into the supreme audit institutions including the Good Governance Commission, Auditor General office and Attorney General and Accounting General of the states as well as strengthening the completion of the Public Financial Management reform (PFM) that has been ongoing for a long period without any achievement.