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|A Capable Woman Takes Over Foreign Affairs But New Finance Minister Unlikely to Fight Corruption|
Hargeisa (SL Times) - The President of Somaliland Republic, Dahir Rayale Kahin, reshuffled his cabinet on Thursday.
The reshuffle saw the reappointment in their previous positions of Interior Minister Ismail Adan, Defense’s Ismail Omer Adan and Planning’s Axmed Haji Dahir, while Edna Adan formerly Minister of Family Affairs And Social Development was transferred to the ministry of Foreign Affairs to replace Mohamed Saeed Gees who will now assume the position of Minister of Fisheries. Only two new ministers have joined the cabinet so far. They are Mohamed Hashi Elmi, a founding member of the SNM and former Mayor of Hargeisa, who was named as the new minister of "Commerce and Industry", and Awil Ali Dualle, a one-time military officer and diplomat, now appointed as Minister of Finance.
Mr. Rayale has won a lot of praise from Somalilanders for appointing the capable and hardworking Edna as foreign minister. With her skills in persuasion and her remarkable ability in articulating the cause of Somaliland in a way understandable to foreign interlocutors, Edna is expected to make a difference in how Somaliland will pursue the issue of diplomatic recognition.
Edna is the founder of the Edna Maternity Hospital in Hargeisa, a project she has funded with her entire life savings and pension income earned from working as health officer for the WHO for many years.
But hopes for the new cabinet to rid Somaliland government institutions of rampant corruption have been dashed by the appointment of Awil Ali Dualle as the country’s new Finance Minister. Mr. Awil, a British military school graduate had served as Siyad Barre’s Ambassador to Uganda and Kenya. As one of Siyad Barre’s cronies, Awil had shown "little hesitation in acquiring money often through ruthless means," a person familiar with him recently said.
During Egal’s presidency, Awil wanted to be appointed as Somaliland’s representative in Kenya, but Egal turned him down. According to Abdi Aw Dahir, a former minister under Egal, the late president knew Awil well and didn’t trust him. Awil’s appointment as Finance Minister is seen by observers as proof of President Rayale’s lack of stamina in routing corruption out of the government.
Known locally as Mr. Clean for his zero toleration of corruption and indiscipline at work, Mohamed Hashi Elmi is a perfection-obsessed workaholic. His most recent achievements included the building of Hargeisa Municipality form nothing to an effective institution (1995-1996). Many residents of Hagreisa agree that his successors as Mayors failed to keep up the high standard of municipal services that he left behind, let alone beat his record of achievements. The fact that the local government of Hargeisa is still functional today is partly due to the system he had installed and put into practice. By bringing Hashi on board, an architect by profession who turned into politics at the end of the seventies, President Rayale is seen to have made a smart decision. But many people have been disappointed that Mohamed Hashi was not appointed in one of such positions as Finance, Public Works, Planning or MRR&R where they believe he could have been more effective and useful.
The reappointment of the two ministers of Planning and Interior in their previously held positions has also drawn a lot of public criticism. Both men have been described as lacking the necessary qualifications for running their respective ministries.