Mogadishu, 26 July 2017 – The Federal Government of Somalia has conducted a successful community dialogue with hundreds of Somali Youth, University Students, Women, Elders and members from IDPS.

Nearly two hundred people attended and some of them asked questions to the Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia, HE Mahdi Mohamed Guled (Khadar), Minister of Defense HE Minister Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed and the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, HE Abdirahman Omar Osman (Eng Yarrow). The programme was live on a number of Media outlets.

The Deputy Prime Minister addressed the public complaints and their connection with the govern-ment: “You have seen the Prime Minister answering questions by the hundred of the public who contacted him by email, not only that, but because all the public cannot access the internet, we are proposing establishing a new method of letter boxes for public advise and complaints to be placed at every ministries, District Centres. We’ll collect those letters and address their concerns.”

“You should know that the government is fully alert day and night and is committed to protect the rights of its citizens both internally and externally. You witnessed recently nearly 120 prisoners re-leased from the neighbouring country of Ethiopia after the Prime Minister’s visit to Ethiopia twice discussing their release. That shows you how concerned we are of the Somali citizens wherever they are. We are now working on the release of upto 118 prisoners in India, the Minister of Justice and the National Prosecutor will travel to India on 1st August, we signed a bilateral deal to be signed by the minister of justice and the foreign minister is working on. We’ve hired an Indian lawyer for 118 prisoners to defend them. The trial will be held soon. In the deal, we included a clause that will allow the prisoners to be handed over to us for them to be tried here. We’ll continue on the release of our citizens in foreign jails.” Said Deputy PM, Mahdi Mohamed Guled (Khadar).

Most of these people have never joined a discussion programme where government officials were presented and welcomed the opportunity given to them by the Organisers (Wadajir Radio Pro-gramme Team under the ministry of information, Culture and Tourism).

The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, HE Abdirahman Omar Osman (Eng. Yarrow) said that the main aim that his ministry has held this public consultation is to boost the relationship between the federal government and its citizens. This community dialogue that is televised live is the first of its kind, we plan to continue it. He requested that the citizens fully engage with these programs and participate by giving their advice to the government.

“The prime minister, his deputy and the ministers have launched an accountability programme. Every institution will be accountable to the citizens. The government officials are fully prepared for such accountability. A good example of government and citizens cooperation has been witnessed during the drought that hit Somalia recently. Thanks to assistance from the public, you can see an improvement on security of the capital. The government finance management has been improved and corruption is being fought tirelessly. With all those achievements or much more to be done with the support of the Somali citizens. We’re ready to listen to your advice and new ideas. We’re a government by the public for the public.” said Information Minister, Eng. Yarisow.

The audience’s questions were wide-ranging from security including the welfare of the army, taxes, employment and rights, women empowerment, road blockage, government official selections, IDPs living in former government properties including former military camps, quality of university education, unfair judiciary system, problems met by auto rickshaws in Mogadishu.

The comments made live in the programme and feedback after the programme mentioned that it is the first time they felt being engaged in a public consultations where audience openly expressed they opinion and asked questions as they liked with honestly answers from the government representatives. Some of them requested the continuation of the programme.

The Defence Minister’s answer to the Mogadishu Road Blocks was as follows: “There is a need for road blockages in parts of Mogadishu, there are places where we extended the blocks and area where we removed them all together. We’re not proud to be blocking road, in order to control the city’s security we’ll need to push them further and further. For example, the night Pizza hotel was attacked with the blast, the Noah vehicle used passed through unblocked smaller roads avoiding the security check points, the new concrete stone we put in place are for protecting the people. It should not be misrepresented and we would advise the public to understand this.”

“Please picture it as a security blockage and do not picture it as a blockage causing problems for the public. Be part of it and understand it as such… We’re working for you, our safety is your safety, your security is our security. When each of us takes his/her part, we will not need any concrete walls to block roads.” Added the Minister of Defence.

There were occasionally applause for the Deputy Prime Minister and the Ministers in their answers to questions by the public.

The public participation has been high with a fair share of the time given to the audience. The pro-gramme that run over 1 hour and 30 minutes while some of the audience wanted to continue their questions but there were limitations of time.

Members of the audience appreciated the opportunity given to them. The Minister of information called it a very successful programme.

The Wadajir Radio Team collected views during and after the programme that will broadcast in the next programme of Wadajir. We had social media presence.

Kindly see the live stream at the link below:
https://youtu.be/T5lSiz6xVaM

Ministry of Information, Culture & Tourism