Politics and Money Pose Problems for Somalia’s Government

Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is missing millions of dollars, and may soon be missing even more if it does not resolve its political infighting.

Regarding the money that’s already missing, it appears to have disappeared into a fog of corruption:

Somali politicians are returning from Arab nations with briefcases of cash, and a Somali government watchdog report obtained by The Associated Press found that more than $70 million of it is missing instead of being used to fight terrorism, piracy or hunger.

[…]Somalia’s prime minister told AP the government is trying to be more transparent by working from a budget and making records public.

In a 22-page report due to be released Wednesday and obtained exclusively by AP, Fartaag documented cash payments that came from Libya, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and other donors in 2009 and 2010 totaling more than $75 million. Only $2.8 million was accounted for by the government. He based his report, which was written for the Somali government, on interviews with politicians who witnessed the payments or received money in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital.

Fartaag said in his report that the Somali government is missing more than $300 million once internal revenues from the port, airport, khat trade and telecommunications are added to the Arab millions that have vanished.

Regarding the money the TFG may not get, the UN is threatening to halt payments to Somalia unless the TFG can straighten out its internal political disagreements:

Somalia’s leaders survive solely on international support, but instead of using that money to fight the Islamist militants who rule much of the country, or the innumerable pirates who cruise Somalia’s seas, they have recently paralyzed the government with bitter infighting, disappointing Western donors and most Somalis with their passivity and lack of progress.

Representatives of the Security Council met with Somali officials here in the Kenyan capital, after visiting Sudan earlier this week. They held a news conference here Wednesday, during which they offered stark warnings, as they tried to push Somalia’s leaders to work together.

“The bickering has to stop,” said Mark Lyall Grant, Britain’s representative on the Security Council.

Read on for more about the infighting. In brief, the dispute between the TFG’s president and the speaker of its parliament concerns when elections will be held (this August or next August) and who will win.

International frustration with the TFG has been high for months now, and the UN’s ultimatum underscores how far the tension has risen. Reports of corruption, meanwhile, will certainly not help the TFG’s credibility whatsoever.

The ball now seems to be in the TFG’s court. We will see whether the TFG can resolve the looming electoral crisis, or whether the conflict between the TFG and its international partners will escalate further.

7 thoughts on “Politics and Money Pose Problems for Somalia’s Government

  1. Do you think all that missing money could be use to finance piracy activities?? Could these corrupt officials be also pirate investors??

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  7. With the current problems of hunger, lack of sufficient natural resources, and conflict between other surrounding countries, how is it that the political leaders of Somalia use the money for personal benefit rather than for the aid of the people they represent. Do they realize that if they allow for the destruction of their people, there will be no source of economic revival because there will be no people to spend money and keep currency circulating? Yah, there may not be much money being recycled through the citizens of the country as of now, but if the political leaders keep deciding to use the money for themselves and not benefit the welfare of those who need it most, there wouldn’t be enough people surviving in the country to actually deem the region a country. It probably would be wise for the UN to halt the loaning of money to government officials until there has been a change of officials either through election or through the structural replacing of officials through a higher power if any of these economic, political, or environmental problems wanted to be fixed.

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