Thursday November 29, 2018 marks the first 100 days since Mustafa Omer was nominated as President of Somali Region.
Many people are asking what has PRESIDENT Mustafa Omar so far achieved?
Here is the summary of his main achievements :
• The appointment of the new administration at regional, zonal and Woreda level was finalized with ease. Candidates were mostly selected based on their level of education, experience and clean record.
• Reform of judicially & criminal justice system to regain the trust of people on the judiciary, prisons & the police. Consequently, many judges were retired, and senior prison and police officers accused of abuse were replaced and detained.
• Reform and of the dreaded Liyu police and the replacement of the force’s core leadership
• The successful conclusion of negotiations between Ethiopia and ONLF and the end of the rebel group’s two-decades old armed conflict with Ethiopia. This led to the return of ONLF fighters to the region recently.
• Started negotiation with Oromia regional administration, appointing senior members of his administration led by the vice president Ahmed Farah, to show seriousness and commitment to end the border conflicts between two brotherly communities of Somali and Oromia regions.
• Tour of SR zones Shabelle, Korahey, and Jarar, and the launching of several projects including extension of Gode Hospital and water pipeline to Gode town; construction of bridges in Lasdankeyra of Korahay; and a plan to fix power outages in Degahbour town and extend the city’s hospital, among others.
• Restoration of free trade within the region and the removal of the monopoly system which existed during Abdi Iley’s era and enriched few elites.
• Initiated the ongoing reform of the ruling ESPDP party.
•Visited IDP camp in Koloji and launched plan to reintegrate the refugees back society.
• Open up the Somali region to international NGOs.
• The stability of the region is not 100%; yet the situation is improving and is far better than when Mustafa came to power.
• Lobbied the inclusion of the Somali region’s ruling party ESPD to be included in the ruling coalition EPRDF. The request was approved and only waiting some formalities and procedures to be finalized.
• Sense of ownership and Somaalinimo reestablished; the original flag and the Somali Region State’s (SRD) correct name reinstated.
• Freedom of speech restored; most of the people can speak their mind openly, debate their disagreements unhindered.
• Finally, the new administration closed down all torture chambers including the infamous jail Ogaden and turned it into museum.
What is so special about the president’s first 100 days?
The short answer is that nothing is very special about it, but it gives some hints on how the president is ambitious, committed and would likely be successful in the remaining period of his administration. The idea is that presidents are likely to be most effective right after they take office, when they are usually still popular with the public. In addition, lawmakers have a lot of reasons to cooperate with a new leader. If presidents have any major legislation they want to pass, they often try to do it at the very beginning of their first year in office.
Nonetheless, unlike previous presidents in Somali region, president Mustafa’s term is only one year until next election are held and it’s extremely difficult to make a drastic changes in a such short term after 10 years of power of abuse, massive corruption, human right abuses and total disregard for the rule of the law, and the undermining and dismantling of every government institution so as to allow one man to rule and run the government like his own property.
Notwithstanding, to mend all these anomalies and rebuild government institutions cannot be done overnight. In fact, building and operating successful public institutions is a perennial and long-term challenge for the regional government. The complexity of this challenge is compounded by the volatile condition of the region, where human security, social cohesion, political stability, and economic activity have been dislocated.
Yet, despite the daunting odds, prioritizing some public institutions such as the law enforcing institutions, like the judiciary, police and other security organs may effectively deliver results and earn legitimacy in the eyes of the people, and rebuild their trust and forge resilience in an otherwise fragile context of the region.
Even so, rebuilding Somali region and making its institutions stand on their feet will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days or in the life of this administration. Perhaps not even in our near future. But let the journey begin.