Remarks of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia Michael Keating on the occasion of the inauguration of HirShabelle President Mohamed Abdi Waare
Prime Minister, State Presidents, Ambassadors, distinguished colleagues, friends, citizens of HirShabelle.
Allow me to begin by congratulating you, President Waare. May I wish you every success in bringing security, peace and prosperity to the people of HirShabelle.
This ceremony is taking place when the country is still reeling from the twin bombs in Mogadishu on 14 October. This unprecedented tragedy has affected every community, every family, every Somali.
The response to the attack has been an inspiring demonstration of unity, starting with the bravery of first responders and local people, and embracing civil society, the Benadir and Federal authorities, federal member states, NGOs and business, the diaspora and international partners.
The deaths of so many people must not be in vain.
This moment of national solidarity can be used to advance the agenda that all Somalis so badly need and deserve: to counter and defeat violent extremists, to strengthen national institutions that can provide basic services to people including justice, health and education, and to create jobs. In other words, to improve security, in its broadest sense.
The attacks came at a time when Somalia has been making remarkable progress. Mogadishu is being transformed for the better. The federal state architecture has been put in place. The recent electoral process resulted in a peaceful transfer of power, and plans are afoot for universal elections in 2020/21. A national development plan and a national security architecture have been agreed.
We need to improve the quality of life and prospects for millions of men, women and especially young people. Two out of three Somalis face a daily struggle to get enough to eat, with no security in terms of livelihoods or access to justice. This is unacceptable.
Somalia’s progress and the federal government’s agenda for change have attracted a high degree of support from the international community. We must maintain this to invest in security, institution building, revenue generation, economic development and drought response.
But the key to progress is not external support. It is Somali leadership and ownership, as well as determination to resolve conflicts and differences in a peaceful manner. It requires all Somalis of good will to come together to defeat those who use ruthless violence to achieve ideological goals.
We can honour the victims of 14 October by working together in a spirit of unity to accelerate human security for all Somalis. Political leaders have an opportunity and responsibility to role model this, whether they are in government, civil society or the private sector. The common good must override factional and personal interests.
Aan wada hadalno waa aan Heshino.