Opinion:Is Somali Diaspora community greedy for political power?

Mareeg.com-Somali Diaspora is largely viewed as disobedient school-dropouts, turned into taxi drivers abroad hence trying to look for the heights of political position in Somalia.

It was after the 2000 when the international community and the government of Djibouti established the first TFG government in Djibouti city after the civil war in 1991 when the word “Diaspora community” was first ever heard in Somali politics.

The government of by then which was lead by President Abdikassim Salad Hassan gave the so called Somali Diaspora community 15% share from the parliament, cabinet and other important high ranking government positions but unfortunately they couldn’t take up the offer due to the signs of the civil war which was still fresh in the country particularly in the capital Mogadishu.

Soon after the Abdikassim Salad Hassan transitional government, Somali Diaspora community activism in the politics came into limelight as one of the most actively driven agenda among the community in the country.

At the time the government was weak and had no control over large part of the country even important government institutions such as the airport and military bases and even the presidential palace were in the hands of powerful war lords.

In 2004 Embagathi conference hosted in Nairobi, Kenya in which Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed was elected as the next president of the transitional federal government of Somalia, Diaspora community were offered 15 percent again in the formation of the new government.

This time round so called Somali Diaspora community in the cabinet had the advantage over their local counterparts due to the fact that they possessed foreign passports of the countries they sought refuge after the civil war; this made them very easy to attend international conferences and functions on behalf of the government of Somalia unlike local their local counterparts cabinet.

Zakia Hussein a Somali Diaspora who is currently researcher and program officer at Heritage institute believes that there are three types of Diaspora community who returned to the country.

She says that there are those who only come back to take up political positions, then they are those young professionals who have decided to return with genuine belief that they can contribute to the development of the country and finally they are those who may or may not have technical skills but returned to make better living for themselves.

There is this normal trend among those offered chances at government particularly ministerial post, it is absurd to note that majority of Somali Diaspora community in the government live in luxurious hotels in the Mogadishu at the expense of the crippling government which depends on the support of the international community and the donor funding from well wishers.

On the other hand their families live in abroad in the name of refugees but spend like kings in an environment that symbolizes the international community efforts to bring back peace and stability in Somalia as illusion,

because one might be right to say what is need for the Somali Diaspora community representatives in the government to talk about how to end insecurity that does not affect their family?

‘’Summer jobs’’

There is this widely used word among the Somali nationals that is commonly referred to various government officials and institutions those run by Diaspora in particular.

What really happens here is that each and every Diaspora government official employs Diaspora in his office i.e. cabinet ministers.

And when he /she absconds the office also Diaspora employees too, leave and thus the name summer jobs.

And then they retreat to their original oversee homes mostly in Nairobi and London until the next so called summer jobs which is mostly 6 to 12 months contract.

The last four Prime ministers who served the country were from the Diaspora some of them did exceptional contributions as far as the recovery of the country’s lost glory is concerned while others who had ambitious strategies didn’t survive the waves of tribal allegiance politics.

There is no doubt that the Diaspora played an important role in taking their part in reconstruction however we can’t also rule out the few political hungry members in Somali leadership whose roots can be tress back to the Diaspora community.

Hassan Ali Gesey

Director of Dalsan Radio