Less photos, more focus Mr. Prime Minister – UM

Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre at a function in Mogadishu.

Mogadishu (UM) – Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre is a very busy man. In fact he may be the busiest Prime Minister Somalia has ever seen because he seems to be doing every other Minister’s job. Education, Finance, Security, Defense and even Foreign Affairs are covered in the span of a single day by the Prime Minister. The poor Deputy Prime Minister is nowhere to be seen either. Most would assume that the Somali people will be proud of this energy but they are fed up just like the Ministers the Prime Minister overshadows and undermines in their roles.

The most recent Minister to resign, Dr. Maryan Qassim, joins the former Minister of Defence in giving up on working with this government which she claimed to be dysfunctional and losing its way. Much of the blame for this, whatever the faults of the Minister herself, lies with the Prime Minister for confusing and interfering with the role and mandate of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs during the aftermath of the Zoobe attack for which his Government’s security failing are to blame.

The role of the Prime Minister is to lead the Cabinet in fulfilling the agenda of the Government of the day. He must be visionary, inspiring and able to direct and hold his Cabinet together. The agenda is clear and the Prime Minister understands it well. President Farmaajo has said many times that this Prime Minister was selected because of his understanding and commitment to achieving his priorities. However, the Prime Minister’s direction and leadership of the Cabinet is absent and, at times, it seems he himself is hijacking their roles for simple pointless popularity when he should be empowering them.

Nabad and Nolol, cannot be built on erratic and popular nationalistic speeches which continues to sideline real action. The Prime Minister has spoken too much and delivered too little. This is not acceptable given the grand promises made by this administration to the Somali people before the elections.

It is a fact that Prime Minister has taken more pictures than necessary presenting himself as a reformer than actually delivering this in policy or practice. The Prime Minister must learn from the events in Zimbabwe this week: one man shows built on weak foundations do not last no matter how strong they appear.

Symbolism, which this Government has become obsessed with, is only useful once. After this, the Government needs to get on with the process of governing and delivering so that tangible meaning can be attached to the initial symbolic acts or promises to establish and build on its credibility.

The Prime Minister must stop surrounding himself with friends that tell him he has been sent to save the Somali people because they are misleading him. This includes certain Ministers that always hang around him without purpose when they should be fulfilling their duties to the people. Prime Minister Kheyre needs to professionally staff his office, sack the incompetent political appointees, get rid of the hangers on and turn the office into one which reflects the best of the nation. If the Prime Minister does not do this, he will not be able to smile his way through the next crisis. And it will be soon.

The resignation of the second Minister from the Prime Minister’s Cabinet should be a wake up call for him. All the alarm bells should be ringing loudly in his head now if they were not before because he cannot expect to survive if another Minister abandons him.