Much of the money designated to rebuild a country synonymous with the term “failed state” has gone straight into politicians’ pockets. Last year, the government had a budget of $246 million. Just $0.8 million of that was designated for health spending, despite Somalia’s myriad problems including soaring maternal mortality rates (one in every 12 women in Somalia dies in childbirth), dearth of functioning hospitals, and collapsed sanitation infrastructure, which allows preventable diseases like cholera to run rampant. Meanwhile, the prime minister and president’s offices each received nearly $5 million in the budget, Reuters reported.
The political will to which Hogendoorn refers is evident in the Somali people. Already, hundreds have taken to the streets to demonstrate their outrage, condemn the attack, and show solidarity with the victims. Mogadishu is crowded with people lined up to donate blood. Volunteer nurses and medical students are rushing to hospitals, and informal groups have formed to support search and rescue operations.
The government and civilians are actively responding to stymie the destruction and prevent further loss of life in under-resourced hospitals, though Mohamed Moalim, the permanent secretary of the ministry, said that the facilities lack sheets, blankets, medical equipment, food and water.
The bigger picture remain ambiguous, however. Right now, the Somali National Army exists in name only. The aforementioned billions of dollars authorized for army recruitment and training have been poorly organized as the countries leading the charge only recently reached a coordination plan after years of spending.
In April, at a conference in London, the Somali government’s proposal for a “National Security Architecture,” a blueprint for the construction of a complete security force, was greeted as a watershed moment, and met with the approval of international funders. It laid out deployment targets for the army, navy and police, established a chain of command, and set milestones, including due dates for an accurate tally of all the members of the army, navy, or police, as well as a payroll system and legislation on countering violent extremism.
But little progress has been made. Instead, things seem to be spiraling. There's been increased bloodshed within the ranks. Nine people died in a fight between the military and police in September. In June, five people died and 14 were wounded when soldiers fought over food aid distribution in Baidoa, a town south of Mogadishu.
In addition to the physical fighting, political tension has been on the rise in recent months as federal states tussled over the national government's neutral position on the Gulf standoff. Last week, both the army chief and the minister of defense resigned, for reasons still unknown. Since the bombing, Somalia’s Internal Security Ministry spokesman has left office, though rumors in national media say he was fired.