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Scandal and Controversy at Ministry of FA & Somali Embassies: How a Lack of Leadership is harming the Country’s Reputation

In his reelection speech, President Hassan Sheikh of Somalia promised to change the country’s foreign policy in line with his campaign slogan, “Somalia at peace itself, and the world.” However, seven months later, it is clear that Somalia’s foreign policy is in disarray. President Sheikh is widely viewed as a pathological egotist with grandiose fantasies, overconfident, self-centered, and obsessed with power.

Due to a lack of qualified foreign policy advisers, President Sheikh has made careless decisions that have seriously harmed Somalia’s geopolitical interests. Rather than considering the country’s or the Somali people’s future, he is only concerned self-centered, and protection of power. This self-serving approach has made him unpopular with many friendly nations, and his intention to impose a self-centered policy has made him an unreliable ally.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has become divided, with each department vying for power without clear leadership. Some senior staff members have reported that “there is no longer any coordination among the staff and that head departments are increasingly engaged in clan-based rivalries.”

Ali Bal’ad, the Minister of State, has taken over control of the ministry and has the power to make important decisions like hiring and firing people without consulting the ministry. Bal’ad is a close friend of the President Mohamud but lacks experience in foreign policy. He attends bilateral meetings on the president’s behalf. In fact, President Mohamud has replaced his foreign minister and is now in charge of the majority of the ministry’s duties.

Corruption has also played a major role in the disarray of Somalia’s foreign policy. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was recently suspended after being discovered selling land that belonged to the ministry.

The crisis surrounding Somali embassies abroad has also reached a breaking point, with numerous controversies and scandals plaguing the country’s diplomatic outposts. In Moscow, the Somali embassy has been turned into a base of operations for the well-known Chechen mafia group knows as Obshina.  The Somali government has been urged by the Russian Foreign Ministry to recall its ambassador and address illegal activity-taking place at its diplomatic post.

In a shocking turn of events, the Somali ambassador to Canada and his 12 children have requested asylum in the country, all the while claiming to represent for the Somali state. This unprecedented move has raised serious questions about the ambassador’s loyalty and the state of Somalia’s foreign policy.

According to reports, the ambassador was caught by the Canadian Mounted Police (RCPM) engaging in illicit activity while using his residence as the Somali embassy. This misconduct has caused embarrassment for the Somali government and has led to calls for the ambassador’s immediate recall. It is unclear at this time what the Canadian government’s response to the asylum request will be.

In Ethiopia, senior staff members of the Somali embassy in Ethiopia have been involved in a physical altercation that required the intervention of Ethiopian security forces.  It is deeply troubling that an ambassador or acting ambassador with the necessary authority to handle such crises is not present at the embassy. This lack of leadership has left the embassy vulnerable to infighting and instability, Corruptions hindering its ability to represent Somalia and engage in diplomatic efforts.

The Kenyan government has reported a major controversy involving the Somali ambassador and his deputies to Somalia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to reports, the controversy arose from disputes about money and business, leading to the expulsion of two senior members of the embassy staff for engaging in illicit activities.

As a result of this scandal, the Kenyan government has ceased interacting through the Somali embassy and is now speaking directly with the capital city of Mogadishu.

This development is a serious blow to the credibility and effectiveness of the embassy, and raises concerns about the state of Somalia’s foreign policy. The controversy in Kenya is just one example of the many issues facing Somali embassies abroad, and it is imperative that the government takes decisive action to address these problems.

For Example, the Somali embassy in Nigeria has reportedly transformed into a mini-market that is used by questionable businessmen to export both legal and criminal goods. According to sources, the embassy, without then funding of Somali Government has superior facilities compared to those of other industrialized nations, in part because underworld criminals support its operations in exchange for exploiting the embassy’s diplomatic immunity.

There are also similar issues at the Somali embassies in South Africa, Malaysia, EU-Brussels, and India, Senegal, Oman, France and Pakistan.

In recent months, Somali delegations, including the president and ministers, have made several visits to countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Turkey. However, these visits have been marred by a lack of coordination with Somali embassies in the host countries, whose job it is to facilitate such visits.

This lack of coordination has made Somalia’s officials appear inept and irresponsible in the eyes of the receiving countries. It has also hindered the ability of the embassies to carry out their duties and effectively represent Somalia on the international stage.

If the president does not trust the ambassadors appointed by the previous president, it is important that he takes action to replace them with individuals he trusts. However, this must be done without causing irreparable damage to the institutions he has sworn to protect.

The president has a responsibility to ensure that the country’s foreign policy is functioning effectively and that Somalia’s embassies abroad are able to represent the country in a professional and competent manner.

The lack of transparency and accountability in the ministry has allowed for the abuse of power and resources, leading to scandals at embassies around the world. The corruption within the ministry and embassies has damaged Somalia’s reputation and relationships with other nations, hindering its ability to effectively engage in foreign diplomacy. It is important for President Mohamud  to address and combat corruption in order to improve the functioning and reputation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

If President Hassan Sheikh wants to leave an enduring legacy, he must reorganize the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, appointing professional officials with the best-learned, erudite, efficient personnel who are committed to the country and hold patriotic views.

He should implement an apolitical merit system to ensure that the Public Service operates impartially in accordance with government policies. Rewarding inept, corny, and naive individuals for important foreign policy positions will further erode Somalia’s foreign policy and strategies.


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