BREAKING NEWS

A two-day consultative meeting organized and conducted by officials of Puntland Ministry of Interior, Federal Affairs and Democratization at Rugsan Hall has ended successfully today in Garowe. The meeting was well attended by the members of Puntland Technical Committee for Federal Negotiations, TCFN, Director-Generals of Puntland various ministries, Head of UNDP Area Office as a guest speaker, PUNSAA, individual organizations representing Puntland civil societies, university representatives and other prominent personalities in town.

In the course of the two-day event, major presentations on governance, Somali Federalism, constitution-making, strained working relationships between Puntland and Federal governments, in particular, and between Federal Member States and Federal Government, in general, were conducted. Debates on issues that followed presentations were lively and substantive.

Of particular interest were the critical roles played by members of the TCFN in articulating subject matter issues in the expansive agenda of the meeting, covering all aspects of the federal power-sharing, fiscal federalism, with special emphasis on areas of conflict and tension in federal institutional structures.

Some prominent participants of the meeting, while acknowledging these difficult relations with the current administration of FGS, and noting the historical nature of these working relations between successive Puntland governments and FGS, have recommended and called for talks on establishing clear New Working Protocols between FGS and FMS as the only way to untangle the current political stalemate. Others argued that the disputes are based on constitutional grounds which FGS kept ignoring or violating them, and until FGS returns to work within the framework of the Provisional Federal Constitution, there is little flexibility or interest from Puntland Government  to talk about talks with the Central Government. Many, however, acknowledged that the current gridlocks will sooner or later end up in negotiations. Puntland administration should be prepared to set out its conditions and priorities now.

PDF Breaking News

A great event of Puntland Diaspora (Puntland Diaspora Forum, PDF) is about to kick-start in Martisoor Hotel in Garowe, Puntland State of Somalia. Said Abdullahi Deni, Puntland State President, is expect to open this Diaspora Summit. PDF Event in Garowe, attracting important Somali personalities and professionals from all over the world, is already turning out not only to be a full house, but also a ran-away convention event.

REPORT ON HSM-DENI GAROWE TALKS

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (HSM) intends to visit USA, and he is expected to come up with consensus of the Federal Government and Federal Member States on security architecture, debt relief, among others. Initial reports on the meeting said it was getting tough and HSM could remain in Garowe until Sunday.

Yesterday HSM had arrived Garowe at unusual low profile official reception by Puntland Authorities, and encountered even pockets of anti-HSM public demonstrations along Garowe streets.
President Deni was reported to have insisted on revision of all legislations by the Federal Parliament not endorsed by the Federal Member States and resources sharing, among other things. It is tough negotiations.

Stay tuned.

Post Script:

President HSM also plans to meet with officials and managers of Coastline Exploration Limited (formerly, SomaOil) in Texas. HSM had met with W. Richard Anderson, the CEO, in Istanbul, Turkey, recently during the President’s visit there.

ATTEMPTS TO MARGINALIZE PUNTLAND AND IGNORE ITS PROMINENT POLITICIANS WONT CUT

WDM EDITORIAL

If you think the title of this short article is bit too strong or even biased towards Puntland, stay on your lane like a few others before you, until you learn this fact of Somali politics in the hard way. But, aptitude to change and learn new stuff like common sense is not so common. Puntland State is a major historical part of Somalia with rich cultural heritage of governance and traditions that symbolize ideals of liberalism and tolerance. The State had paid huge sacrifices to re-instate the failed government of Somalia, losing men, minds and material to realize the objective.

Somali politicians who ignored lessons of political history had never been successful. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (HSM) will suffer the same fate, barring fundamental changes in his working relationships with Federal Member States, and especially with Puntland.

Today’s low profile reception for President Mohamud in Garowe by Puntland authorities was not even felt by the residents in town beyond the inconveniences of police temporarily closing some roads to the traffic upon HSM’S arrival. Citizens relate to their leaders based on the common understanding of whether they have champions for people’s causes and issues, or not. HSM doesn’t enjoy even the benefit of the doubt in that regard, given the negative double political perception he had earned in his two terms as president of Somalia. Is HSM redeemable?

Have your say.

SOMALIS CARE MORE ABOUT INTER-CLAN MARRIAGES THAN DEFENDING THEIR OWN CLAN TERRITORIES

The wedding ceremony for Ms Suban Hussein Khalif Haji Jama Attosh and Mr Qalib Barud, hailing from Majertaine and Dhulbahante respectively was held in Beerta Barako at 22 Km off Garowe City yesterday afternoon. Eminent traditional leaders from both Harti subclans were present to give their blessings to this important traditional event. A dozen of Puntland Cabinet ministers were invited, among many prominent personalities in the crowd. Someone was wondering why Puntland President wasn’t there too.

This event attended by people of diverse political opinions and travelling from different regions and even from continents makes one wonder why they couldn’t put their acts together to liberate and unify Puntland regions, some of which are still occupied forcefully by Somaliland Administration in Hargeisa.

Yesterday’s spirit of union in attending this family event is a clear demonstration that Somalis care more about their family relations in inter-clan marriages than defending their own territories and securing their freedoms. Generally, this could be true for Somali clans, who raise livestock and inhabit in semi-desert, keen to forge ties with other clans because of scarcity of water and grazing areas for their herds, just in case these relationships would bring benefits when desperately needed.

Certainly, yesterday’s wedding ceremony for Suban and Qalib was well attended.

Congratulations!

WDM BREAKING NEWS

A LOYAL LiEUTETANT OF FARMAJO GETS COOL RECEPTION IN GAROWE TODAY

Gamal Hassan, a member of Roble Caretaker Cabinet has received cool reception at Garowe Airport today. The Federal minister of Planning and International Cooperation was on his way to Dhahar in Sanaag Region from Mogadishu to seek re-election.

The poor relationships of Puntland with former president Farmajo have spilled over to this incident, where a number of arrests were reportedly made among a group of persons trying to welcome the minister at Garowe Airport. Despite this incident, officials of Puntland Administration had received Gamal Hassan on arrival at Garowe Airport, put into VIP Hall with his vehicle at doorsteps.

Observers said the minister was targeted for his real or perceived anti-Puntland Government position or sentiments within the Federal Government understood as representing the views of Farmajo towards President Deni’s Administration. The most harmful to the minister’s reputation in Puntland, however, was his reported resistance to the construction of Gara’ad Port on the shores of Indian Ocean in Mudugh Region of Puntland State.

On his way to Dhahar via road, Minister Hassan had had lunch in his honor with Boqor Burhan in the town of Qardho, Karkaar Region. He did receive a warm welcome, though, in Dhahar, his constituency.

The incident in Garowe today involving the minister’s arrival may create hard feelings between Garowe and Dhahar for the way forward. But, given the fact that it is election campaign time, similar incidents should be better avoided in the future.

(This BREAKING NEWS has been updated since posting.)

GAROWE HOTELS RISK BANKRUPTCY

By Ismail Warsame
Opinion Columnist

They aren’t competitive as they aren’t viable business in a small city hosting occasional influx of conference participants. Given their frequent vacancy and unacceptable low occupancy, one would expect that they become competitive in their price ranges and rating. That isn’t happening.

Nowadays, they have been hit hard by frequent travels of the State President to overseas trips and Mogadishu meetings for election-related issues. There is business in Garowe to keep the hotels occupied when the President is available in town. That is what makes Garowe different from any other town in Somalia – it is exclusively political town that can’t sustain itself economically without the full presence and operations of the Government of Puntland.

To attract customers, and especially those seasonal visitors when the weather is favorable to Garowe, hotels should revisit their pricing lists and develop short and extended stay packages to draw patrons in from other parts of Somalia and neighboring countries of Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. Price ranges of $15-$100 aren’t competitive in this town, given the fact that most hotels here rarely secure half-full occupancy. Recommended price range is $6 – $25.

WDM has been receiving briefings on the issue. It has been confirmed that Puntland Government had direct influence on hotel accommodations’ high prices and costs of food through heavy taxation on goods and services. Here all hotels in Garowe are struggling to stay open. Hoteliers and the two levels of the government should talk over the issue and come up with an appropriate settlement. If that doesn’t happen soon, more Garowe hotels will follow the example of EYL PLAZA to close

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HOW DELAYED NOMINATION OF PUNTLAND NEXT BATCH OF SENATORS AFFECTS GAROWE CITY

By Ismail Warsame
Opinion Columnist

Garowe is experiencing shortages of parking spaces and hotel accommodations due to unprecedented influx of candidates, political lobbyists, clan elders, influence-peddlers and spectators of election campaigns. As far as one remembers, there have never been such huge crowds engaged in idle chatters in Garowe before. Paradoxically, they have no say in the decision-making process. Garowe is relatively a small town that cannot handle both the annoying auto- traffic jams and election campaign money that requires extraordinary lunch and dinning tables and banquet spaces, on the top of housing needs of large number of invited guests from other Puntland cities and around the world within the Puntland diaspora.

[Dear reader, while you are here, consider supporting WDM blog by subscribing to it. Send your request via WhatsApp # at +252 90 703 4081 or email at ismailwarsame@gmail.com.]

There is a great deal of anxiety here among many candidates trying to squeeze themselves into the list of 11 senators-to-be. The State President, Said Abdullahi Deni, who decides upon the fate of unprecedented number of senate aspirants, is keeping his list of names close to his chest, not allowing any leaks on his wishes or intention to come out publicly. Surprisingly, he doesn’t consult with anyone in his selection process. In business, public service and in the world of politics nobody gets a job without vetting and going through an interview. Perhaps, Somalia adheres to lower bar standards based on political loyalty only that is deduced from gossipping groups and chat sessions.

It also shows that one man can keep a secret against the backdrop of the story that Somalis have no secrecy. The news blackout by the Presidency of Puntland on the date of release of the much expected list of senator-nominees have created a situation rife with rumors and wild speculations on who would be in that elusive list. This political situation and the system in which a legislator is selected exclusively by one official begs for answers from Somali population for the sake of their continued survival in a viable nation-state.

The political tension waiting to explode into violence in Dusa-Mareb, Galmudugh, conflict in Beletweyne, Hirshabelle, and arrests of businessmen associated with candidates and banning of opposition candidates to come to Baydhaba, Southwest State, are all indicators that the prevailing electoral process in Somalia isn’t only wrong, but also too dangerous to sustain.

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SO, HERE WE COME AGAIN

By Ismail Warsame
Opinion Columnist

Editor’s Note

Puntland members of the outgoing Federal Parliament have been pouring lately into Garowe hotels, each one seeking another chance to remain and represent Puntland in Mogadishu. They face huge challenges to get renominations this time around, partly because of their poor performance and abysmal legislative records in Mogadishu, not to mention about their incompetence and proven misrepresentation of their constituencies. There are wild stories of sub-clan infightings among them, and some were reported to have been bragging about how they have succeeded in marginalizing the political chances of certain sub-clans in some regions of Puntland. These are the  kind of representations Puntland had been able to send to Mogadishu. This story is as sad as it gets. The problem lies mainly in the lack of strategic policy formulation of the State of Puntland towards promoting Puntland local and national interests.

Puntland outgoing members of the Federal Lower House were among those who had participated in the recent illegal attempt to extend the mandate of Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo to two more years as President of Somalia. When doing this, they all knew that their constituency, Puntland, was against that unconstitutional extension. Regardless of their ill-advised course of action, they have come here to campaign for re-election. That is because they know that there is no accountability for wrong-doing in Somalia’s corrupt/tribalistic political system – there is no shame here.

Kindly read the article below to understand deeper the core of the problem:

PUNTLAND REPRESENTIVES ARE FOOTBALL TEAM WITHOUT COACH

Garowe, April 17, 2019

Puntland is a state [twenty-three -edited] years old with people as old as the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, but have no strategic plan towards Somalia or how to deal with the rest of Somalia. An Amazing story to tell, you would say. Puntland successive governments had never thought of its urgent need and constitutional mandate to work out a permanent state strategic plan good for the thinking and operations of every Puntlander in Somalia and worldwide to follow and keep in mind for generations to come: be it a member of the Federal Institutions or Puntland officials attached to a foreign or international entities or an individual living or working in a global village. It is really a common sense to do so if she cares about the well-being and progress of the state, her people and position in Somalia and beyond.
Do the federal officials and MPs representing Puntland in Mogadishu have a strategic plan to follow on Somalia and Puntland issues? How does Puntland government expect them to operate, under which guidelines other than the constitutions and their individual gut feelings do they carry out their mission, tasks and responsibilities?
Sending Puntland Representatives to Mogadishu without a plan of action, thinking or guidelines is like sending Puntland Football Team to Mogadishu without a coach. To use my friend Abdi’s football analogy, “It is like sending a team of untrained Puntland camel boys to play ball in Mogadishu”.
Moreover, Puntland State is also a mother having kids there, who has properties and interests in other regional states of Somalia as well. How would our representatives in Mogadishu, Kismayo, Baydhaba and Dusa-Mareb takle with issues of common and Puntland interest? What are the Puntland channels of communication with those supposed to be looking after her interests in those regions? Is Puntland operating blindly in the dark, or she has no idea of what I am talking about?
On the internal affairs, you would say, there is nothing wrong with Puntland State except it is caught up and locked in bad governance that prevents her from moving foward in building strong state institutions, not to mention about her playing a leading role in Somalia’s reconstruction efforts.
That is good as long as you think that good governance includes elimination of corruption and changing the permanent perception by some of its constituent regions that it is a state dominated by a few privileged clans, doing away its persisting vulnerability to insecurity and lack of economic expansion and business investment, low and poor quality of education and skills training, absence of constructive engagement with the leaders of fedgling Federal Government.
Reasonable Puntlanders are OK with this thinking. But, is that all Puntland State and her people could do to build a bright future for her next generations?
I would say with confidence that Puntland State is frozen in time and space. Let me give you some examples. Puntland Government has the same salary scale for its personnel as we started 23 years ago. Puntland Government uses the same clan/regional power-sharing arrangements for the selection of members of the House of Representatives as we launched it 23 years ago. Puntland Government fell back to rely on clan militia forces for its security, which we had moved away 23 years ago. 23 years ago Puntland had an independent judiciary, independent parliament, independent auditor-general and independent accountant-general. None of above Puntland institutions of government are independent today. It is a big deal and alarming facts to ignore. This is a critical factor, among many, that Puntland President has absolute executive powers in the absence of checks and balance (Madax-ka-Nool).
What to do about the situation? Good question! Let us debate objectively without any attempt to spin. Let me start with my take of things here with a by-line from Garowe. First of all, let us find out areas we can begin work right away:

  1. To fight corruption and maintain law and order, restore the independence of those institutions cited above.
  2. Have a competent, transparent and independent public service commission right away.
  3. Establish state strategic advisory board or commission that act as government think tank or experts on working out strategic plan for Puntland.
  4. Puntland regional clan power-sharing arrangements for indirect selection/election had hit dead-end. Let us begin democratization process right away, starting.with local elections first.
  5. Streamline state departments to eliminate redundancy, duplications and inefficiency. Make a smaller government by cutting down cumbersome bureaucracy.
  6. Know that the Finance and security sectors are the Achelles Heels of Puntland State.
    The current Administration of President Said Abdullahi Deni is on the spot and hot seat to deliver on his election promises to avoid the bad legacy of his predecessor. People of Puntland have no alternative but to rise up against corruption and mal-administration of their public affairs. They have to meet the challenges of the moment.
    Finally, it was said by others before us, who too had been there that people get the leaders they deserve. This insight and wisdom is still true as it was then. People may give their leaders initially the benefit of the doubt, but not a free hand to a politician to do whatever he wishes to without making sure that he or she must be held accountable to the people individually and collectively.
    One good thing about the people of Puntland is that they never give a 2nd chance to their leader, let alone a bad one. If President Said Abdullahi Deni wants to come back to power in Puntland, he could so by popular vote through democratization process starting right now. [This article has been updated since posting in April 17, 2019.]

Read also https://ismailwarsame.blog/2019/05/24/puntland-reps-vs-ssc-reps-in-constituency-representation/

SEASONAL OR PHONEY HOTEL BUSINESS IN GAROWE?

There is a growing tendency towards building and opening new hotels in Garowe, Puntland, Somalia, continually. The imitation or modeling of this hospitality industry one after another is intensive here. Occupancy is at minimum with many of the hotels in city empty. That is because hotel occupancy heavily depends on the presence of the State President in town, many anxiously waiting for his return to Garowe once he is shortly unavailable.

This is one of the factors that critics call Puntland successive administrations “Madax-Ka-Nool” or a government by one figure head. Nothing moves here without that figure, the biggest employer in town, after private small businesses. Since many of Puntland residents are unskilled due to poor educational background and total absence of vocational training, it is easier for them to seek government jobs through recommendations to the State President, who has the sole power to hire without the need for personnel screening or vetting candidates through professional and security agencies. That is why hotels in Garowe are built upon unsound business propositions with duplications upon duplications of typical Somali imitation from the other guy or the neighbor, to accommodate these government job hunters or in pursuit of favors from the State officials. Occasionally, Garowe hotels are lucky to host dignitaries and delegations from South-Central Somalia. Nobody visits Garowe hotels from Somaliland or Djibouti. Puntlanders, though, are frequent guests in Mogadishu, Hargeisa and Djibouti, for business and pleasure.

Garowe isn’t familiar yet with the idea of guest-housing called BnB (bed and breakfast lodging). They don’t build furnished apartments for rent. Since the city was historiclly one of backward towns in Northeast Somalia before the foundation of Puntland in 1998, luckily acquiring capital city status, locals are trying their best to catch up with lost time and lack of economic resources in the past. They are now taking advantage of Puntland’s Madax-Ka-Nool situation. Like Mogadishu does in Somalia, Garowe is privileged to siphon in more than its fair share of Puntland’s economic resources and benefits of the State that come with being the Capital City.

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PUNTLAND VIP SECURITY PROTECTION OVERDO

Residents of Garowe are the most patient people on earth, enduring the public inconveniences practised by authorities for years. It so happens that the State President, or more often, the Vice President attending an event in a public place in town seizes and seals off the entire area with unproportional security forces. Patrons reluctantly and patiently turn around and go home sadly. The protocols and related security departments couldn’t fix this problem since the foundation of the State, mainly because of the fact that the bosses are fond of seeing their presence and power felt by the public repeatedly.

Ironically, those who are now perpetuating this overzealous VIP security protection turn into ordinary human beings overnight when voted out or replaced. Right now, sitting near my table at hotel lobby is a former Puntland Minister of Public Security. He is alone without a single security guard. But the new comers or replacements go into same cycle of abuse of power or showmanship once installed.

This VIP security protection showmanship is happening tonight at Grand Hotel in Garowe with Puntland Vice President in attendance. I have been told that the whole security fuss and public inconveniences so created is about a school graduation ceremony. I also know that residence of the Vice President isn’t far off from the hotel – it doesn’t require carloads of security personnel to occupy forcefully and seal off the entire area. Why does it need such a show of force by a civilian administration in every event in town? I think it is more than ignorance. There is a dimension of public abuse as well. All they need here is a well trained and efficient police force to maintain law and order in such events. Puntland doesn’t need individual collections of personal bodyguards that would disappear with that VIP of the day once he goes away.

Next time you hear blaring car siren along the road in Garowe, don’t think it is an ambulance transporting a sick patient to a hospital emergency – it is the either the President or Vice President owning up the public highway.

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PUNTLAND: SHOWCASING INSECURITY IN TOWNS

Do Puntland authorities understand why zonal security rating is lower in Garowe than in Hargeisa? The reason is that Garowe showcases guns and technicals (battle wagons) in town. Puntland Capital City looks like dangerous war zone. Authorities should learn addressing security issues without the display of tools of intimidation and fear.

UN HQ in New York and that of European Union in Brussels require international workers not to stay overnight in Garowe without permission from them, while these same workers are allowed to bring their families with them to Hargeisa and spend time in town without security escorts for shopping, sightseeing and entertainment. There is a night curfew (from 6 pm) in place for internationals staying overnight in Puntland urban centres.The perception of security fear created by Puntland authorities in Garowe doesn’t exist even in dangerous Mogadishu, where expatriates do the bulk of their businesses, staying in as long as it takes.

Puntland authorities create a perception of insecurity in Garowe and other peaceful towns to unintentionally lower secutity rating in Puntland. This artificial exercise by busy bodies should be curtailed. The pattern also indicates that authorities do not understand the other soft means of keeping peace: intelligence and use of plainclothed security personnel. Visible guns in public view create the impression of fear and insecurity in urban centres. They must kept invisible, but ready in discrete stations, just in case.

Historically, the epidemic of the spread of acquiring bodyguards in Puntland State was initiated and used by former cabinet members, Hassan Abshir Farah Waraabe and Ali Ismail Abdigir, two former officials of Siyaad Barre Regime, against resentments by others.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/somalia

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PRIVATE BUSINESS SECTOR SERVES BETTER IN FAILED STATE OF SOMALIA

They are competitive in quality and fees for services. They are also responsive to patients’ concerns and enquiries. Here, there is an atmosphere of feeling of ownership unlike in the case of public institutions.

For me, it was particularly gratifying to host a guest from another country, who needed some labtests. I took him to Qaran Hospital in Garowe, Puntland, this morning. They were quick and professional.

The services provided by private sector business is the reason Somalia couldn’t die to sustain life and livelihoods of her people amid state failure and harshest environmental and security conditions in the country. In the absence of a central authority in Somalia, decentralized system of regional governance (federalism) had given rise to better opportunities in public service delivery and working environment. There are lessons to be learned here by those, who didn’t know what they were talking about in the debate on Somalia’s governance.

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ANNOYING ANIMAL HERDS IN GAROWE TAKE OVER BUILDINGS AT NIGHT

I was driving yesterday evening along a rough road infront of Golis Telecom HQ in Garowe, when I had noticed the entire building and its surroundings were taken over by goats like hungary locusts over a field of plantation. The local government of Garowe should revise its city council membership to consider electing some persons representing the undeniable numerical superiority of herd-resident population in Puntland Capital City, unless the existing members of the City Council consider themselves as representatives of the interests of growing population of herds here.

There are either no city regulations  governing the mess that had been created by huge influx of herds into Garowe, or nobody cares to enforce such city by-laws. Now, goats loitering in Garowe City outnumber its human residents. Under these circumstances, there is a need to establish organizations for animal rights. The abusive owners of these invading herds too should lawyer up because there will be soon lawsuits against against them for turning the City into animal zoo with impunity.

There are no veterinary/medical centers in the entire city of Garowe for the welfare of huge number of goats and sheep lazily loitering at gates of every building to the inconvenience and annoyance of every citizen in town. Goats and sheep deliver their babies out in the streets with nobody caring for or looking after them. Vehicle drivers find it difficult to move around the city without crushing into flocks of herds blocking driveways and roads. Earlier, one commentator wrote that Garowe City couldn’t hire the required municipal workers for garbage collection because goats do that job for them to relieve the city of extra budget burden the City Council may otherwise allocate.

This is a dystopian world frightening every civilized person. Puntland State ought to intervene and do something about the ongoing animal cruelty, bad culture of the owners of animal herds in town, and poor job performance of the Garowe City Council in abysmally failing to regulate the chaos caused by roaming and trespassing herds.

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Goats gathering at front gate of Golis HQ in Garowe at night
Goats gathering at front gate of Golis HQ in Garowe at night
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THE STORY OF DHAWEEYE

When we wrote and posted this story years ago the service was relatively new, and some overseas readers didn’t believe the story was real. We feel it is now worth reposting it. Enjoy reading it.

DHAWEEYE or Uber Taxi Service is a very strange phenomenon to Garaad Abdullahi Ali Eed (RIP), one of the most respected Tradional Leaders in Puntland. Garaad Eed who is staying in Garowe these days shared his experience with the new services the other day.

The Garaad wanted to go somewhere in the city in a hurry. He couldn’t wait any longer for his chauffeur- driven vehicle. He decided to take a taxi. His young helper recommended and volunteered to call an Uber service instead. The Garaad couldn’t understand the lad’s advice, but gave him the go ahead anyways with the call.

Within minutes drove in a nice and luxury medium-sized Salon to pick up the Garaad. A clean and nice looking young man was sitting behind the wheel.

Seeing how young the driver was and conscious of and concerned about his own safety and security, the Garaad had reluctantly boarded the car together with his helper.

Upfront and immediately before he drove off, the Dhaweeye kindly offered a fresh and cold bottle of camel’s milk to the Garaad. Surprised at this unexpected courtsey gesture from the strange driver, the Garaad politely declined the generous offer. The Garaad, however, felt safe and comfortable during his short journey with the new service of DHAWEEYE.

Dhaweeye or Uber service is a very convenient taxi service widely available in all major Puntland cities. There is even DhaweeyeApp downloadable on the Internet.

Welcome to globalization!

The world needs to adjust to new realities and reform in Somalia, says PM

Prime Minister Shirdon with Puntland President Faroole (Photo: Courtsey of Garoweonline)

His Excellency Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon today urges the international community to take note of the changed situation in Somalia and adjust their policies accordingly. In a hard-hitting editorial in The National, the leading English language newspaper of the Middle East, the Prime Minister calls on Somalia’s international partners to modify their policies to fit the new circumstances of “a fledgling democracy taking the first steps of reconstruction and development”:

“For years our international relations have been conducted on a one-way basis, invariably on a humanitarian level. That model is now an anachronism and must change. We are a sovereign government… and the outside world needs to start treating us like one. It is no good criticising our lack of government capacity and then funding NGOs to execute projects while sidelining government institutions altogether. This merely perpetuates a cycle of dependence, denies us the learning experience and ensures government capacity remains limited.”

In a wide-ranging editorial entitled “Somalia replaces extremism with a programme of reform”, the Prime Minister emphasises the recent security gains that have brought Al Shabaab to its knees. “To be discussing policing, tax collection and judicial reform in Galgadud, a region that only recently was a no-go area ravaged by extremists, gives you an indication of how far we have come,” he writes, commenting on last week’s Listening Tour to the regions, in which the PM also signed a landmark deal with Ahlu Sunna Waljamaa and facilitated the establishment of local administrations.

“Only recently we could barely move safely inside our own capital.” The Prime Minister also highlights the vigorous legislative activity within the government and parliament. “Laws are the foundation of a functioning state,” he writes, noting the forthcoming parliamentary votes on legislation governing human rights reform, judicial reform, and district and regional authorities reform.

“We will also be passing legislation restructuring the police and security forces, creating specialist anti-terrorism, anti-piracy and anti-trafficking institutions, governing the Central Bank, assisting refugees and providing legal aid.”

Perhaps nowhere is reform so critical as in policing and the judiciary. “Judicial reform is one of our greatest priorities,” the Prime Minister writes. “Nothing underlines the need to reform our police and judiciary more than the decision to send a rape victim and the journalist who interviewed her to prison. Yet that regrettable verdict was a symptom, not the cause, of the problem, a lack of the rule of law.”

The Prime Minister concludes with a call for strengthened partnerships adapted to the new realities. “The need for partnerships with our international friends, which the world will see at the London Somalia Conference in May, has never been greater. We know that we cannot do it alone, but there is no turning back.”

source: AMISOM MEDIA MONITORINGPrime Minister’s Media Office