Road blocks for Tubaha angering the public

Road blocks for Tubaha angering the public. Photo courtesy: PM's Twitter

Mogadishu (UM) – The Tubaha (Roadmaps) meetings are meant to organise government and make planning and delivery better according to those who participate in them. They used to happen many days a week at the Prime Minister’s office but now it has become mobile across Mogadishu.

Some Tubaha meetings have started to be held in different Ministries and according to an insider source it is to boost public confidence. But it is not having this effect.

“I like the government to work across the country not just Mogadishu but everytime the Prime Minister moves all the main roads are locked down,” said Said Abdi a shop owner who says he lost business twice in two weeks for almost half a day because of Tubaha meetings in nearby Ministries to his business location which he asked not to be disclosed. “The soldiers shout and swear at people and force us to watch them hang around while the Prime Minister chairs meetings.”

Other business owners have voiced similar concerns about road closures as the Tubaha meetings are on going. Some mentioned that one of the goals of Tubaha is to develop the economy and connect the people and government but the actions of the government and the security forces make this difficult.

“The government can meet as many times as it wants. It is always in meetings anyway but closing roads, abuse of the public by security forces and the loss of business is something the Prime Minister has to be told about,” said Safia Mohamed, a street vendor. “Road closures mean less business for someone like me who make a small daily living to survive.”

Tubaha supporters say that it is important to hold meetings in different Ministries to show the public confidence and increase civil service accountability. However, they did concede that the closure of roads and heavy security presence hurts these objectives.

“The government wants to show it is working but sadly to do this it must secure its meeting venues and temporarily inconvenience the people,” said an adviser at the Prime Minister’s office who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The majority interviewed by UM have said that Tubaha will not improve their weak confidence in government until the government delivers for them.

“Even if Tubaha meetings were held on the moon they have no value until the people benefit,” said Hussein Hashi, a postgraduate student who works with his father in their grocery store part time. “Those of us who have to make a living in these tough conditions don’t want road closures for igu sawir meetings that has no value for my life.”

“The road closures are sudden and the traffic creates more insecurity and fear for the drivers and people who use the roads,” said Salaad Isse, a security officer. “We need better security and transport management. If one of the cars blocked in traffic by the Tubaha meeting meant people will tragically die.”