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Weekly Statement : Progress of the Somali Government

By Tajuddin
In Local News
Nov 8th, 2014
Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed  Mohamed is received at Baidoa airport by security officers from the Somali National Army, Somali Police Force and AMISOM on 4th September 2014.

Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed is received at Baidoa airport by security officers from the Somali National Army, Somali Police Force and AMISOM on 4th September 2014.

Mogadishu ( DIPLOMAT.SO) – The Minister of Information, Mustafa Duhulow, today addressed the media, providing an update on the progress of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) over the last week. The Minister discussed various issues: the progress of Operation Indian Ocean; parliamentary approval of the closing accounts of 2013 budget; the agreement between Somalia and Italy; progress on Human Rights; the rebuilding of airports in Somalia; the development of Mogadishu Seaport; the fight against Female Genital Mutilation; Somali Pop Idol; further development in the Media Sector; and the progress of the Stabilization Process.

The Minister of Information began by speaking on the progress of Operation Indian Ocean: “Operation Indian Ocean continues to progress very well as forces are continue to recover areas from Al-Shabaab. On 4th November, after heavy fighting, Somali forces supported by AMISOM recovered areas near Kismayo in the vicinity of Jubba River. Mursal Gedi, who led the forces, stated that Somali forces had killed 10 Al-Shabaab militiamen during the fighting that resulted the capture of Wirkooy, Far-Waamo and other towns.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the parliamentary approval of the closing accounts of the 2013 budget and of the Agreement between Somalia and Italy: “On 3rd November 2014, the Parliament discussed the closing accounts of the 2013 budget as submitted by the Ministry of Finance and the agreement between the Ministries of Defense of Somalia and Italy in relation to military cooperation. On 3rd November, the parliament, in its 5th session, held its 7th meeting with 156 MPs present.

The Speaker of the Parliament, Mohamed Sheikh Osman (Jawari) chaired the meeting. After discussion and debate the parliament first voted on the agreement between Italy and Somalia for military cooperation. 134 MPs voted yes, 3 voted no, and 5 abstained. Therefore, the parliament passed into legislation an agreement that will allow the Ministry of Defense to receive capacity building support for Somali National Army. The parliament then, after discussion and debate, voted on the closing accounts of the 2013 budget as presented by the Ministry of Finance. 135 MPs voted yes, 4 voted no, and 15 MPs abstained. Therefore, the closing accounts of the 2013 budget were approved as accurate accounts by the parliament, which helps the Ministry of Finance in its efforts to establish transparent and accountable systems.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the progress of Human Rights in Somalia: “On 3rd November, Khadija Mohamed Dirie, the Minister of Women & Human Rights Affairs opened a 5 day seminar in Mogadishu to discuss ways to develop and improve human rights in Somalia. The aim of the seminar was to stop all practices that engender violations of human rights, in particular those that affect vulnerable groups such as women, children and the disabled. 70 participants from regions of Somalia were present including representatives from civil society groups and women’s groups. AMISOM and UNSOM representatives also took part the seminar. Issues discussed included on best ways to stop the practice of the female genital mutilation and other violations of the human rights of women. Representatives from AMISOM and UNSOM who spoke at the seminar praised the efforts and the development in human rights in Somalia.

Khadija Mohamed Dirie stated that Somali leaders are committed to stopping all human rights violations, in particular those that are aimed at women, and the ministry is very pleased at the leadership shown which will help us to increase our efforts to support vulnerable groups in Somali society. The country’s success and prosperity depends on how we tackle human rights violations and, more importantly, how we respect every citizen, which are the rights accorded us in our provisional constitution.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the planned rebuilding of airports in Somalia: “The Minister of Transport & Aviation attended a two day seminar in Nairobi to discuss the rebuilding of airports in Somalia. UNSOA and UNSOM facilitated the seminar on 4th – 5th November 2014. The aim was to look at the evaluation carried out by the Ministry of Transport, which involved officials visiting over 80 airports in Somalia with a view to starting the rebuilding of these facilities.

The Somali Ambassador to Kenya was also present in the seminar. Said Jama Ali Qorshel, emphasised the importance of rebuilding airports to create jobs for young people, which in turn can boost the economy of the country. These airports will also help travellers, as some of the regions do not currently have airport facilities. Participants established a committee consisting of 11 representatives from the Ministry and the UN who will work the agenda to start the implementation of projects to rebuild the airports. Participants also established a committee of 4 officials that will visit Mogadishu on 12 November in order to install lights at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport so that aircraft will be able to use the airports during the hours of darkness.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the development of Mogadishu Seaport: “The Turkish Al Bayrak company that manages Mogadishu Seaport published its first monthly management report. The Director of Al Bayrak, Mustafa Levent Adali, stated that there has been a huge development in every aspect as shown by Al Bayrak handing over to Somali Port Authority the amount of $1,582,000, the FGS proportion of the port services (revenues of the Seaport) for that month. In addition, the tax collection of the seaport by the customs department of the Ministry of Finance increased. The increase of seaport services came while the company has reduced the service charges on goods passing through the seaport. Mogadishu Seaport will soon be modernized and it is expected to collect even more revenues which will help to stimulate the recovery of the national economy.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the debate on stopping Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): “On 5 November, Ridwan Hirsi Mohamed, the Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Religious Affairs, opened a 3 day seminar to discuss the urgent need to stop FGM.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs organized this important conference for religious authorities and intellectuals. The focus of the course was how religious leaders can help the public awareness campaign on FGM. After long discussions and a great deal of research it was agreed that all participants needed to work together to end the suffering of girls and women as a result of FGM. Religious leaders stated that the practice of FGM has no basis in Islam and that Islam doesn’t allow girls to be subjected to FGM. Religious leaders also promised to consider the issuing of a Fatwa in the near future after wide discussions with all stakeholders in religious groups. Sheikh Yusuf Ali Aynte, Sheikh Abdulkadir Somow and Sheikh Omar Herow were among those who spoke at the event and they all agreed and encouraged the Federal Government of Somalia to take a leading role in campaign against FGM, while at the same time consulting with religious leaders and all stakeholders in society so that such violations against girls can be stopped.

Religious leaders stressed the important of public awareness on this issue as the Islam prohibits violations of the dignity of women and girls, and FGM has no place in Somali society. The Deputy PM requested religious leaders to play their role to convincing society to stop the FGM. “We want to completely stop the FGM in Somalia and we call on everyone to support this and to seek advice from religious leaders as some people are still confused about traditional practices and religious practices.”

The Minister of Information spoke on Somali Pop Idol: “On 1st November 2014, the Ministry of Information sponsored Somali Pop Idol and four young people competed in the singing competition. Three former singers were the judges who looked at the performance of the four young people including their voice, dancing, words used in the song and how these words inter-related, as well as the appearance of the performers during the singing. Waberi band was entertaining the audience during the competition as well as encouraging the four young singers. The Independent Judges for the singing competition were Shimali Ahmed Shimali, Abdirisak Gedi Akhiro and Mohamed Abukar Angazi. The four youths taking part the Singing Competition were Miss Umi Sharif Ahmed, Mr Aweys Mohamed Said, Mr Sadik Sharif Mohamud and Mr Mohamed Ahmed Share’o. Somali Pop Idol has a long history and it was a well-liked program: most of Somalia’s famous singers came up through the Somali Pop Idol competition. The aim of the program was to develop and enhance young talents in the Arts, particularly singing, but also poetry, dance, music and other forms. The judges deliberated their decision and as a result Mohamed Ahmed Share’o was awarded 90 out of a possible 100 points and was therefore the winner, Miss Umi Sharif Ahmed came second with 67 with Sadaq third and Aweys fourth.

The Ministry of Information has committed to holding the program every month and calls on all young people with a talent who want to enter the Arts to register themselves to see whether they can become the future famous singers of Somalia.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the development of the Somali Media Sector: “I visited the AMISOM Public Information Workshop in Djibouti on 5th – 6th of November at the invitation of the Commander of the Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, US Army. As a keynote speaker I provide an update on the development of the Somali Media and how the Ministry of Information is advancing coordination and messaging between the government and the population through the media. I raised the importance of better coordination and partnership between AMISOM, the US Government and the Federal Government of Somalia. I also updated them on the role of SNTV and Radio Mogadishu with regards to publicizing the success of security forces in the battle with Al-Shabaab and how religious leaders are coming together to counter Al-Shabaab and terrorist narratives. I had a very productive meeting with the Commander, Major General Wayne W. Grigsby Jr and officials from the US State Department and the US Embassy in Nairobi to discuss the ways in which they can support media sector development in Somalia and how the Ministry of Information is committed to developing the media sector in Somalia, including the private media. I also discussed the urgent need for us to expand Radio Mogadishu’s reach to all the areas recently recovered from Al-Shabaab.”

The Minister of Information finally spoke on the progress of the Stabilization process: “Security institutions have been conducting house to house search operations in Mogadishu, which have been hugely successful. So far the security forces have successfully captured members of Al-Shabaab who were preparing for a campaign of terrorist attacks in Mogadishu. As a result of tip-offs from the public, some of the houses were found to be hides for guns, bombs, and explosive items intended to harm members of the public and to cause terror in the capital city, Mogadishu. Security forces thanked public for their continuing support in the fight against the terrorists. Security forces also thanked people who cooperated willingly during the search of their houses. The Federal Government of Somalia is committed to bringing peace and stability back to the country and we call on people to continue supporting the security forces so that the public can enjoy peace and prosperity, which in turn will boost the economy of Somalia and provide jobs for young people. Without security there will be no peace and prosperity, so security is the key to a better life.”

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