In Somalia, President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed's government will soon appoint an anti-corruption czar to help root out wrongdoing ahead of the president's move to increase revenue generation. This comes after a second cabinet meeting Thursday since the government's relocation from neighboring Djibouti, where the new president was duly elected by parliament. The cabinet also decided to continue with reconciliation efforts involving opponents of the government, including Islamic hard-line insurgent groups like al-Shabab. Al-Shabab has refused to recognize the new administration, describing it as a plot by western countries. The insurgents have vowed eventually to take over the country through violence. Abdisalam Guled is the spokesman for the Somali prime minister. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that the new administration aims to earn the support of all Somalis ahead of its effort to rebuild the country after at least 18 years of ineffective government.
"One of the agendas was financial issues or revenue issues and how the government can create revenues to rely on itself, what we have, and what we don't. To use the resources that we have and then to know exactly what we cannot cover. Second was to appoint an anti-corruption commission, which stresses much on the need to fight corruption and the need to come into being immediately. This is a very important in Somalia because fighting corruption has not been done for many years. And the other issue was the full implementation of the peace process and reconciliation, which is what this government is about," Guled pointed out.
He said the new government seems to be enjoying support from ordinary Somalis about how the new administration will embark on rebuilding the country.
"The government's main priority is finding ways of making possible the things that people need and how they can depend on each other. This has gotten very positive feedback from on the ground after there was a big demonstration in the capital, Mogadishu in support of the government and the peace process. The other issue is the security problems in the capital in terms of how to make the country and Mogadishu a better place to live," he said.
Guled said there are armed groups in the country that the government would have to bring to the negotiating table in order to make the capital safe.
"When you are talking about the security in Mogadishu, the most important thing is that there are two armed groups. One was the armed group that was opposed to the previous government and the Ethiopian troops. The second group was the government troops or soldiers. They are not together so far, so there is the need to bring these two different groups under one umbrella. It's what the government is focusing on, and this is what most Somalis are demanding. The prime minister and the president met local respectable elders, and people demanded through them the need to bring these armed groups together to maintain peace in the capital. So the government has been listening to them and is making sure these armed groups are brought together under a single umbrella," Guled noted.
He denied claims by most people that the insecurity problem in the capital and other areas is insurmountable after al-Shabab threatened to continue its offensive.
"In Somalia the situation is different as probably the world sees things here. In Somalia things can sound impossible and untouchable and cannot be reached. But when you are on the ground in Somalia, everything is possible if you take the right approach and see the right people and act at the right time. So of course, there are people who are working on that issue and that agenda to make it very easy. The elders who are mostly respected in the society in this country are working day in and out to make things understandable and workable for the ordinary people to bring about peace," he said.