From a watchman guarding a premise that later headquarters the ministry he heads
Hon. Suleiman Yusuf Ali Koore has stated that he was quite contented and happy that he was today a cabinet minister charged with the docket of the information ministry whose headquarters are at the premises housing Radio Hargeisa which he used to guard three decades ago, as per duties in line with the then national youth services policies, during the defunct Somalia regime under Siad Barre.
According to an interview the Information, Culture and National Guidance minister had with the BBC Somali service earlier this week, Hon. Koore recalled the hard living conditions that prevailed then while noting that they were contented with against all odds since the situation was similar countrywide.
He observed that of all national duties that he had ever undertaken in subsequent or successive governments and administrations, the present one was the most endearing and sentimental one to him given the nostalgic emotional irony it evoked.
He said, “It is quite humbling to see that I’m today a cabinet minister at a place whose premises I used to guard as a soldier watchman”. He was trying to underscore how striking humble beginnings was in shaping an individual’s life.
“During those days it was quite shameful for the youth to beg as paupers hence the populace strived to work had in every field of struggles for livelihood”.
The minister recalled that the compulsory youth policy then was for the induction into what he termed as the national projects support programmes which required that upon completing the secondary education they had to undergo the couple of year’s military training (initially he said it was a half a year’s course) hence they were then deployed to public chores in wherever necessary, whenever imperative.
It is under such scenario that Hon. Koore was deployed as a watchman guarding Radio Hargeisa in 1984, and in his words, they had to brave chilly nights and were at stand-by in the mornings ready, to embark on other duties given or assigned.
“I used to stand guard at night braving chilly nights and then teach pupils in schools during the daytime”, he told BBC radio. He said that he would serve for six to seven months in a row, deployed elsewhere, only to be returned to Radio Hargeisa after three months or so.
The minister disclosed that despite the fact that the meager remuneration of the then 120 Somalia shillings salary, that was his first instance pay, catered for basic necessities as clothing and house rent, decent food was had to come by. He said they lived on a cup of tea and a sconce in the mornings.
He however pointed out that the dire living conditions did not daunt them at all since the general situation was then a scenario which was more or less similar countrywide.
Hon Suleiman Koore who is a senior ranking professional soldier has since held top notch posts in Somaliland such as the manager of the National Printing Agency, a member of parliament and a cabinet minister in different ministries.
By M.A. Egge