Thursday, August 8, 2013

Breaking news: President Hassan Sheikh wished Somalis a happy Eid and handouts for the poor from the better off!!

In his special Eid day speech, President Hassan Sheikh urged the “better off” Somalis to "give and share with their poorer neighbours so their children can also celebrate Eid"...Ahh, how thoughtful and touching is this?!

What is odd about this kind of emotive and thoroughly useless gesture, apart from the fact that the good will only last as long as the cameras are rolling, is that Somalis do not need a reminder from the President or anyone else to be charitable, they genuinely give and share even when they have very little! Save your valuable airtime Mr President and tell us something useful.

Secondly, Dear Mr President, emotional blackmail does not feed mouths and will not detract from your inability to come up with solutions to poverty and if there are that many poor children in Mogadishu (let's not even talk about the rest of the country you are not in charge of), it is top of your list of duties to create jobs for their parents so they can feed them. On a special day like today, I was hoping you will give us real good news or keep silent, the way you normally do on most important national issuesToday I expected news of your detailed plans on how you are going to tackle poverty, create jobs and support entrepreneurship so no child has to depend on handouts for survival or to celebrate Eid. And your time frame to deliver on these.

Do you know how many children can be fed by the cost of your London/Istanbul/Tokyo conferences jet hires and entourage alone? While we were busy killing each other for the past 22 years, the world has changed beyond recognition and just in case you haven’t been keeping up with the technological advances, there are amazing new ways to participate in conferences and meetings across the world without stepping out of Villa Somalia and wasting the little money you have! Skype and google video conferencing, webinar, video streaming are just a fraction of the tools available to you. Does your young and capable staff at Villa Somalia share these tools with you? I doubt it, free trip to Europe and America is why most of them are working for you, just saying.  

I am aware the task facing you is daunting and a condition created by lawlessness for over two decades can not be reversed in a year in office and I am sure you meant well by that speech but it was a letdown of the poor in Somalia. They deserve more from their President than asking their better off neighbours to throw something at them on a special day like today!

Shame on you, Mr President! 

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