THT: When President Muse Bihi Abdi won the presidency of the Republic of Somaliland, the consensus of Somaliland people was under the impression and believe that his government would be a replica no different than its predecessor administration about to be replaced – the ruling Kulmiye party that has been in power over the last 10 years leading to 2017 as he is a piece and parcel of it.
During that particular 10 year period of Kulmiye reign and definitely to some extent prior that as well, the nation’s wealth has been plundered indiscriminately by cabinet members and their henchmen. It was common at that time – like in many Western countries – setting up creative vehicles appearing legitimate ventures tackling a problem but merely used for diverting a nation’s resources.
The scale of corruption at that time can be imagined from the speech given to BBC Somali Service by the former Somaliland Minister of Water Development – Saleiman Yusuf Ali-Kore – on how Xumboweyne Dam project looted
The term “Handarab” literally means “Door-fastener” in Somali. It was coined by propaganda machinery critical of the administration of President Muse Bihi as soon as it took office, when they sensed his new approach as to curbing the corruption and realized the business would not be conducted as usual.
In broad sense, Handarab-ism refers to loose policies and principles – encompassing all aspects of governance – laid down by the new administration of President Muse Bihi when it took over the leadership of the country
Policy details concerning its core components and contents have never been presented by the President as a blueprint for his administration but the radical changes in the functioning of government right at the onset of his presidency are a testament to its intent.
Overall, this policy has reignited the authority of the government over all major revenue generating services that have been prematurely outsourced to the private sector, and the President himself has assumed the responsibility and the role of the Chief Financial Officer by micromanaging all appropriations and spending to ensure that public funds are neither wasted nor misappropriated.
After securing a hard lock on the state coffers, his second move was to change the culture of cabinet members by demanding that they should not act as a mouthpiece always defending his administration against allegations of their clansmen but rather focus on efficiently attending to their portfolios. It further altered and weakened the privileges enjoyed by the nation’s business community classes, tribal, and civil leadership in the arena of government interactions by eliminating the exclusive red carpets and preferential treatments always available to them.
Zaki Maki – a Somalilander living in Minneapolis, MN USA – astonishingly defined it as:
“It’s so profound and should be articulately framed and taught in Somaliland schools of economics. One might write an entire book about this concept. Remember the political unofficial economic term named after late US president Reagan – Reaganomics”
This policy has rooted out the exploitation of sycophants and tribal chiefs that were an impediment and disruption to the system of government in the country.
Rescinded the permits of Flydubai and AirArabia airlines that were operating in the country under the sponsorship of individual citizens rather than striking agreements with the Somaliland Aviation Agency.
Established the “National Service Agency – Shaqo Qaran” that fills the federal government jobs in a just and transparent process.
Stepped up coordinating the implementation of DP World Berbera Port Management and Operations DEAL by establishing different committees for different projects
Made Somaliland’s Office of General Auditor an independent agency that is beyond the reach and influence of executive branch interference and intimidation.
Provided funding for Somaliland’s 2021 Joint Municipal and Parliamentary elections slated to take place throughout the nation on May 31. 2021 to the tone of US$15 million
Terminated contracts with exclusive clubs and creative vehicles designed to siphon the nation’s wealth such as Berbera Oil Group (BOG) involving the lease of Berbera Oil Terminals, Somali Risk Management (SRM) & Epass that were in charge of Security and Parking Service at Egal International Airport, and finally the private entity managing Vehicle Registration and License Plate Services.
Time for Somaliland people speak up and give credit where credit is due. President Bihi reserved the trajectory of the successive Somaliland administrations that were holding the nation as a hostage to a special interest groups for so long by taking back the administration to where it serves the needs of the public and takes stock in the development priorities of the country.
Ahmed J Yassin
Clinical Laboratory Professional
Jacksonville, Florida USA