Mogadishu (UM) – In a week long interviewing process UM has learnt that most interviewees feel that the government spends too much time on wasteful visits outside the country.
“Every week either the President, PM or the Speakers is away and many more MPs and Ministers are on the plane to somewhere else,” said a Policeman that guards the airport.
Although there are no available statistics, most interviewed felt that the excessive travel of the government officials was either for pleasure or unnecessary meetings. A few pointed to the fact that the PM has taken his wife with him to the World Bank fragility meeting and the President took his wife to Uganda for the AMISOM Summit.
“Who is paying for the wives tickets? The small money we have can’t be wasted like this,” said a street vendor in Mogadishu. “The government’s wants us all to pay taxes but they are spending it like this.”
When President Farmaajo was elected he promised to spend more time at home but this has not proven to be the case so far.
“The President has official functions he must attend and so far he has only gone on important visits that he had to,” said Mohamed Ali, a student. However, the Prime Ministers visit to the UAE and the current one to Washington were the most criticised by the interviewees.
“The UAE visit was just wrong. The current one on fragility to Washington is unnecessary because the PM has a Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs. What will it do if he is doing this job?,” asked an employee of a government Ministry who did not want to be named.
The interviewees all expressed their anger with the number of people usually accompanying both the President and PM on visits. Both the PM and President have made it a habit to allow Ministers to tag along on official visits despite then having duties to fulfill at home.
More than half of the interviewees pointed to the fact that on his first visit to Davos Switzerland, the PMs chief security officer, disappeared and is now said to be seeking asylum somewhere in Europe.
The interviewees argued that the travel of government must be restricted to only those that were absolutely necessary. They also suggested that an annual public report be conducted on government travel, it’s cost and outcomes.
“The goverment must be accountable because it is using our tax money. We need a functioning government not one that is on holiday in Nairobi or elsewhere,” said an angry newly qualified medical doctor. “We need to know where our Government is and what their trips are achieving for us.”