World must back stability in Somalia
September 24th, 2013
11:51 AM ET

World must back stability in Somalia

By President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is the president of Somalia. The views expressed are his own.

The deadly attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi has reminded the world that terrorists don’t respect national borders, and people everywhere have a stake in stability and security in East Africa.

As my government marks its one-year anniversary as Somalia’s first democratically-elected administration in more than 20 years, we have made considerable progress, including driving the terrorist al-Shabaab network out of our capital, Mogadishu, and major cities and towns all around the country, as well as reforming our public financial management systems.

But the terrible assault in Nairobi underscores why the international community must continue to support state-building in Somalia. This is the message that I am bringing during my visit to the United States, including meetings with senior administration officials and members of Congress, as well as an address to the United Nations General Assembly.

In many important ways, our nation is pulling itself together after two decades of civil war. With the assistance of the African Union’s brave peacekeeping troops, we have weakened al-Shabaab while making great strides toward resolving inter-clan disputes and sharply reducing offshore piracy.

However, as we have seen in Nairobi, terrorism remains a potent threat both to Somalia and to the world at large. The United States has sacrificed blood and treasure to combat terrorism and eliminate poverty and disease in Africa. I am here to express my gratitude and to explain that much still must be done.

More from CNN: Help Somalia fight roots of piracy

Now that a stable, credible and legitimate government is in place, the international community is coming to our assistance. At a just-concluded conference in Brussels, attended by representatives of the United States, Japan, China, and the Gulf countries, as well as the nations of the European Union, donors have pledged $2.4 billion for economic, security and political improvements in Somalia. We are grateful for this generous support.

Amidst all our challenges, including not only terrorism but also our precarious food security and the fact that more than four million children are out of school, Somalia faces one unnecessary obstacle: an unwarranted and unsubstantiated report on our country’s public finances by the U.N. Monitoring Group. This report could continue the collateral damage of years of war and instability: preventing international investment and aid from reaching Somalia and helping our people.

The report is inaccurate. It was written without asking our government for information. It blames our administration for conditions that existed before we took office and which we have taken strong steps to correct. And it reflects a not-so-subtle contempt for our country, as if its authors believe that Somalis are inherently incompetent and untrustworthy.

In order to obtain an accurate and informed review of Somalia’s public finances, as well as recommendations for reform, Somalia commissioned a study by a respected team of attorneys and forensic accountants from the United States and Britain, with specific experience in investigating allegations of fiscal corruption. Contrary to the U.N. Motoring Group’s charges, the investigative team accounted for all of the central bank’s disbursements, found no instances of malfeasance at the Central Bank and declared, “There is a credible system in Somalia to document government cash flows.”

Moreover, as noted by the team, our government has taken meaningful steps to reform our public financial management institutions, with the assistance of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and many others. We have improved our cash controls, moved to modernize our payment systems, published the first annual, bi-annual and quarterly reports in more than 20 years, recruited financial professionals for responsible positions, and conducted a strategic planning process that will target public resources to the most important priorities for security, the economy, education, healthcare, and infrastructure.

The international community can rest assured that, as the investigative team reported, Somalia does have a functional public management system, rooted in law and procedure, including a system of internal controls on government spending. Let me be clear: Every payment request from Somali government agencies must be routed through the Ministry of Finance and subject to a series of internal reviews and approvals by the Accountant General and other staff at the Ministry and Central Bank.

To be sure, it takes more than one year to repair more than two decades of damage. Therefore, the investigative team has proposed a series of steps – which our government has accepted and endorsed – to further improve our financial reporting and management systems.

There is still much work to be done. Our government is doing everything that we can to eradicate corruption and move forward towards reconciliation and reconstruction. For the sake of 10 million Somalis, who have suffered so much and are working so hard, I ask the entire international community – especially the United States – to help us to obtain the tools that we need to rebuild our country.

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Topics: Africa • Aid • Somalia • State-building

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. bocknobby


    Giving this puppet president a platform for one-sided analysis and comment is a disappointing move by Zakaria and company. True, the sort of pap that one might expect from CNN but we have come to expect better from GPS.

    Follow the money, folks. A little critical analysis of Kenya's invasion of Somalia might be nice . . .


    September 24, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Dennis

      Who's puppet do you suppose he is? Was the election rigged?

      September 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
      • j. von hettlingen

        Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has only been president for a year. It's too earlier to tell, whether the academic and civic activist could translate words into actions. It's a daunting task to reunite a country divided into a de-facto independent north and a south still partly controlled by the al-Shabab Islamist militia, while rallying the support of the rival politicians whom he beat to the presidency. He made a reasonable impression and deserves all the help his country needs to function again.

        September 30, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • maryam

      At least he is appreciative of help unlike some people. At least he is trying to help his people. It appears he is trying to lead the country in many different areas-fighting terrorism, trying to help the country economically and educationally which would be better served by eradicating the terrorism. It sounds like he cares about the children and the people very much. I understand that fighting terrorism also catches innocent people in the middle. He isnt a puppet if he is there to serve his people. Are you a supporter of radicals? Perhaps you dont like the government, but they are a better alternative to radical Islamists. Dealing with those extremists, and forming a Democratic government will allow you to vote him out if youre displeased. But Islamists using violence on the government or on innocents, will only prolong the problem and bring more retaliations from MORE people. Retaliations that you should blame on the terrorists, the radical Islamists who create the problems in the first place. The biggest problem in the world today is radical Islam.

      While the majority of Muslims are good people, they need to march in the streets denouncing these radical Islamists loudly and clearly. They need to continually teach their children not to join up with them, and teach them that one religion isnt superior to other human beings, that we are all equal in the Creators eyes. Radical Islamists are destroying their own faith. many people are leaving the faith because of the fact that they are trying to change its peaceful path. Good Muslims do not want to see attacks on other faiths or non faiths, on no one. Those who want to force their radical agenda on the rest of us are only setting themselves up for failure. Muslims need to denounce them loudly and clearly by the millions. Look at those who come to the streets in hatred and violence at an entire country of people over what ONE man did in a video or cartoon. That was shameful, for the majority of the people in those countries are also good people. If you can gather the crowds playing the blame game on an entire country, you can certainly gather the crowds to denounce your own extremists. Until you all show them that you denounce them, deplore them, until you can acknowledge that THEY are the problem for fighting, violence and retaliations, only THEN can you begin to fix your problems. Too many people blame others because they are cowards to blame their own and admit their weaknesses within their groups. Its okay to admit faults, it takes a bigger, braver person to do so than to blame others.

      Kenya and every other country of the world have every right to intervene and help countries who need it when dialogue doesnt solve the problem, and when the radical Islamists are killing innocent people in large numbers, and want to do the same to others, then they have crossed the line of humanity. They are trying to manipulate with causing fear, they are using hatred and violence to control others. They are destroying Islam, and those who are silent about those Islamic terrorists, are only allowing it.

      If millions came out in the streets to denounce them, show them there is no room in society for them, then some of them will back off.Muslims themselves are THE BEST weapon against radical Islamists. Keep it peaceful and show them that Muslims all around the world want to get along with everyone. Non Muslim countries have opened their doors to many impoverished and other Muslims in many ways, but non Muslims do not feel welcome in Muslim countries and will not go there, because they see the burning of churches and the poor treatment of minorities, and the violence within. Do you want these bad types of people to represent your faith? Because THIS is what some people in the world see sometimes.

      EMPOWER yourselves, prove to the rest of the world you care about them by coming to the streets peacefully by the millions to denounce these terrorists who are hurting us all, and are hurting Muslims the most, even if they are not the victims physically at the time, because they are tarnishing the pride of of those who believe in a peaceful Islam at all costs and they are giving a bad image to the world on the faith itself because too many Muslims are not defending their minorities, and then they blame others for retaliations that are started by problems with radical Islamists. Accountability for ones actions is difficult when extremists of one faith think all of the world needs to be like them in their faith. We are not judged by our faith or non faith, we are judged by our actions here on earth as individuals. To all extremists~Looks to me that if these extremist truly believe in a kind and loving Allah, then they should get on their knees asking forgiveness for their hatred and violence from their beloved Creator, "Allah" and from all of us on Earth who are Gods children too. If they truly believe in "Allah" or a creator, they know well that Shaytaan is hateful and violent, therefore they walk in HIS path, and they SHOULD know that Shaytaan is the one who will embrace them in the end.

      September 25, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  2. sand

    the kenya attack was great these islamic high warriors cutting down the filth.

    September 24, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • maryam

      The world needs to ignore them, not publish much news about them, but go after them fiercely. Muslims need to come out by the millions, peacefully and denounce Islamic extremists, perhaps put you in the middle of their protest stampede. Love life, dont hate on others. You will be judged by "Allah" by your individual actions as well as your hateful words or violence. May Shaytaan, Satan, greet you soon since you follow HIS path, not Allahs kind,accepting, loving path.

      September 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
  3. Chris

    He wants money. Stability in Somalia isn't the world's responsibility, it's the responsibility of Somalians.

    September 24, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Hanni

      I agree with you Christ I wish we would have some leaders thinking the way you are thinking. Its his responsibility not the other countries but he is using this because other world leaders are not thinking correctly.

      September 25, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
      • maryam

        Poor countries do not have the means or ability to ward off such violent extremists. If they are able to infiltrate one country, they will go to the next, might be yours.

        September 25, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
  4. Hanni

    He is not a Somalia President, do you know that only crap of so called Somali tribe leaders elected him. Now he is requesting assistances to feed his criminal tribal arms. I am Somali and 100% support what Kenyan arm is doing in South Somalia but he against it because he doestn't want peace to happen. His main reason is to get western money period. Look Puntland and Somaliland they created their own armies and defeated terrorists in their regions with out any assistances. Do you aske your self why those sick South people still fighting each other and supporting these terrorist, evil people ? I think this is the time that western countries say we are not giving you free money go I do what other regions of Somalia are doing and tell your tribes to solve their problem and stop supporting the evil terror group in your back yard.

    September 25, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • maryam

      You are Somalian, then I see your point and I do not walk in your shoes. People of the west may not understand the total atmosphere going on. However, I think he is a better alternative than the extremists taking over or hijacking your elections like they do in many places. At any rate, I hope all countries are able to dissolve themselves of radical Islamic terrorism, its a huge threat to THE WORLD, and some countries dont have the capacity to defeat it. Im surprised to hear you say that Somalia does.

      September 25, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  5. Adan

    He has made great strides in the fight against terrorism and piracy, both of which are at an all time low while the capital city of Mogadishu is relatively peaceful – so peaceful that the diaspora are returning and investing, embassies are opening up, business and construction are booming – while national reconciliation conferences by his administration are paving the way for national normalcy. He has toured the country and welcomed by immensely appreciative population. His one year administration provided exemplary management with extraordinarily remarkable dividends.

    September 26, 2013 at 12:54 am |
    • Hanni

      Adan are you day dreaming? Which Mugdishu are you talking about? Is it the one which has daily explosions, rappes and killing civilian? Wake up their is no peaceful in Mugdishu or the south Somalia. On the other hand, his one year administration make stronger terrorists groups and his forces are rapping women in the refugee comps. Give me break ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      September 26, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
      • Michael

        Let me start by asking Hanni do you even live in Somalia

        September 27, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  6. Hanni

    Michael I don't live in Somalia but I know the facts about Somalia, and what I wrote is 100% correct. If you wanna know more about any issue just don't listen only the bias media. Do your own research whether its Somalia or what is going on around the world. So do the math.........

    September 27, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
  7. Michael

    How can you make this presumptions and say that your fact are 100% correct with you not even being the country and it is easy to criticize something but for you to do that is absolutely wrong and the reason I say this is because Somalia have been in civil war for more then 20 years which has destroyed the countries infrastructure without it how can the president try and rule the country without building it first and we all know building will cost money. Please to being naive

    September 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
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