Dear Mr President,

Puntland Diaspora Forum (PDF) extends to you warm congratulations on your recent successful election. The celebration around the country on this event was a sign that Somalia is ready for a change and the hope is that your election will herald the beginning of that change. Expectations are high and time is short. We are sure you are receiving plenty of advice from well wishers on the steps you should or shouldn’t take in order to lead the nation to the promised peace, stability and social justice. We are aware that you are deliberating on the one and only one constitutional decision that is exclusive to you: the choice of a Prime Minister. We pray Allah to guide you to the right decision.

The creation of a truly national army must be a high priority for the government in order to take over the security of the country from the African troops. For a national army to be created, the recruitment must be carried in every State of the country. Equal numbers of mixed recruits from the various States must be trained in different regions so that at the end Somalia will have an army that is not only drawn from all over the country, but also trained together in different regions of the country. Given that the national army is a federal army, the recruitment and training must be under a federal government program.

Mr President, Somalia is a federal republic by the choice of the people. In order for the government to succeed, it must strengthen the federal system of governance. The Federal Government must serve as the glue that holds together the nation and work together with the various member States to achieve national unity and stability. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Federal Government to assist the various States to achieve their development goals. 

There is great expectation that you will respect the Constitution. Once you exercise your constitutional right and appoint an honest and competent Prime Minister of your choice, you will give him/her the freedom to choose his/her cabinet and the time and space to carry out their duties without fear or favour.

Somalia is a State with a written Constitution, which is the law of the land. As such, the actions of all the branches of the government must be compliant with the Constitution.  We hope that you will expedite the formation of the Supreme Court that will check on the other branches of government and adjudicate on constitutional issues. This will avoid every political disagreement ending up in parliament with a call for a vote of no confidence.

Mr President, the current parliament is expected to be the last to be elected on a pre-appointed electoral college. The expectation is that in four years the country will have its first one-person-one-vote election for fifty years. Your government is expected to pave the way for that historic moment by putting in place all the prerequisites for such an election, such as the ratification of the Constitution, the establishment of political parties and, if feasible, carrying out a national census.

It is important to seek international financial assistance for development, but it must be coupled with extensive self-reliance in achieving developmental goals.  You are aware that nations don’t develop other nations. The only time history recorded this phenomenon is after the Second World War when the US government massively invested in the reconstruction of Germany. But the real development Germany reached was internally driven. Somalia is not Germany and may not attract reconstruction funds of great magnitude, but the friendly nations may be willing to assist Somalia with small development funds. The Somali people are capable of standing up to the development of the country when they see an honest government that is engaged in changing the country for the better.

Finally, a nation’s sovereignty is not complete unless it can feed its own people. Droughts, such as the severe one that is affecting various parts of the country now, are natural phenomena that cannot be controlled, particularly in countries like Somalia which mostly depend on rain for water and for pasture. But famine is almost always man-made either deliberately or through negligence and lack of preparedness. Droughts can develop into famine with little or no warning and dealing with it must not be left to international relief agencies. Self-sufficiency in food must be high in the priority of the government. There is sufficient arable land between the two rivers that could feed the entire nation and beyond. Self-sufficiency in food also decreases the dependency on outside handouts.

Mr President, we wish you all the best and we would like to reassure you that PDF will give you all the support it can in order to achieve peace, stability and good governance.

 Puntland Diaspora Forum (PDF)