U.S. and U.N concerned about corrupt transition in Somalia
NAIROBI [Radio RBC] :World leaders from Africa to the U.S. and Europe said they are growing increasingly concerned that intimidation and corruption are marring the selection of a new Somali parliament, a task still unfinished less than a week before the government’s U.N. mandate expires.
The U.S. Embassy said in a statement Tuesday that it shares the concerns of the African Union and U.N. over “multiple credible reports of intimidation and corruption” in the selection of the country’s new 275-member parliament.
James Swan, the U.S. representative for Somalia, continued with his list of concerns: “Inadequate representation of women and in some cases reports of former warlords who are being nominated by their communities.”
Since 2004, Somalia has been represented by a U.N.-approved leadership structure called the Transitional Federal Government that mostly controlled only small parts of Mogadishu.
The government has accomplished little, but because African Union and Somali troops pushed al Shabab militants out of the capital last year positive momentum is building.
But the U.N. mandate for the government expires Monday, and Somali leaders still must nominate a parliament that will in turn vote in a president.
That looming deadline — and the messy process of naming a parliament — appears to be making world leaders nervous about Somali power brokers’ ability to make decisions that are in the best interest of the country.
A report commissioned by the U.N. finalized in July said that systematic misappropriation, embezzlement and outright theft of taxpayer funds have become a system of governance in Somalia.
Ugandans celebrate first gold medal
KAMPALA — Uganda’s only medal winner at the London Olympics cried tears of joy as he was welcomed home by hundreds of people delighted by the African country’s first gold since the 1972 games in Munich.
Stephen Kiprotich’s victory in the men’s marathon race also was Uganda’s first medal of any kind since the Atlanta Olympics 16 years ago.
Unknown to most Ugandans before he won in London, Kiprotich returned home a star Wednesday. He was ushered through the VIP lounge of the Entebbe International Airport and shadowed by politicians.
Within hours of arriving, he was whisked away for a “state breakfast” with Uganda’s president.
Lawmakers are considering a motion to declare Kiprotich a national hero, and $100,000 has been collected so far in a fundraising campaign for his benefit.