A report by the Heritage Institute of Policy Studies (HIPS) has painted a grim picture of President Mohamed Abdualhi Farmajo performance, two years of his term.
In a study examining the performance of the current government, the institute says the government has effectively used traditional and social media to portray a rosy picture of its work, but by our assessment, it has barely met a quarter of the benchmarks it set for itself.
"However, we are taking the extraordinarily complex working environment and meager resources into account, and giving extra credit for some of the achievements, mainly on the economic recovery pillar", read part of the study.
"Two years after Farmaajo came to power with a plethora of promises and exceptionally heightened expectations, the Somali people should understand how their government is performing in a way that goes beyond the 280 characters of Twitter or the pretentious Facebook photo ops favored by the government to demonstrate its successes".
in the study titled "Farmaajo's Presidency: A scorecard for the first two years and the prospects for the remaining two", HIPS says that its midterm appraisal shows that, while the president's campaign pledges remain largely unfulfilled, his administration made some achievements in the face of unprecedented, mostly self-made, crises
In continued, "halfway through its four-year mandate, the performance record of the government, assessed against its own program presented during the London Conference on Somalia in May 2017, is far below expectations. Looking ahead, the government needs to revisit its core promises, particularly regarding inclusive and stable politics"
HIPS argues that without creating a broad, stable, and consensus-based dispensation among key stakeholders (the member states, opposition parties, business leaders and civil society), the government won't be able to achieve much, particularly the high priority tasks still pending such as tackling insecurity, finalizing the constitution and agreeing on an electoral model for 2020.
"Failure to fix Somalia's politics will result in the government being shackled by the combined forces of its detractors and opportunistic external actors who stand to gain from its failure".
They howver noted that the Farmaajo administration has also been able to mobilize the public behind the government in a way that previous administrations were unable to do. And although the fever pitch enthusiasm of the Farmaajo brand is demonstrably waning, the government still retains strong support among segments of the public who believe that the president has good intentions, even if he falls short on delivering them.
" That is good for Farmaajo but not for the country. Somalia needs a leader who can turn things around quickly, especially on key issues pertaining to security, governance and holding free and fair elections".
The only strand with any tangible progress is the review of the provisional constitution. There has been quantifiable progress in widening the scope of consultations with diverse actors from civil society though these are largely PR-oriented and lacking in any results. Consultations have also taken place in some of the federal member states and this is encouraging given the otherwise acrimonious relationship between the two sides.
Also worth noting is that a review of the constitution cannot take place without an agreed-upon amending formula which does not yet exist. On the need to deepen the federal system, the government has also failed spectacularly.
" Confrontation has been the permanent posture of the government, ultimately forcing the states to form the Council of Interstate Cooperation (CIC), a loose entity designed to fend off the hegemonic ambitions of the federal government. In recent months, the CIC has lost two of its key figures including its chairman, Abdiweli Ali Gaas, the former President of Puntland, and the former president of the Southwest state, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden. The latter resigned under duress and the federal government's subsequent domination of the process to replace him was widely condemned as a farce". Noted the research.
It also reported that the government has not yet reestablished the National Security Council , in part because it was reluctant to empower the member states whose leaders had been members of the previous council under President Hassan Sheikh. The NSC is designed to be a high level strategic platform where policy decisions concerning the security sector are made.
The institute also faulted the government for "rushing to auction off oil blocks without first putting in place strong oversight and transparency mechanisms. The fact that the prime minister used to be an executive of Soma Oil, a company with checkered past, is more than enough of a reason to worry about the deal"
They also observed that the government has been unpersuasive about why it is rushing to present the offshore seismic data collected from the Indian Ocean by Soma Oil and marketed by Spectrum SA.
" This firm has been paying the salaries of the petroleum ministry for years and is also given the opportunity to explore some of the blocks - another glaring conflict of interest. For all its talk of fighting corruption and transparency, this process is fraught with self-serving ambiguity and has the hallmarks of conflict interest. The government's handling of Somalia's natural resources is a stain on its credibility as a guardian of Somalia's natural wealth despite FGS leaders' 'see no evil, hear no evil' pretentions".