By CHARLES ONYANGO-OBBO
The Turks, too, are respected. They rebuilt the Mogadishu airport; constructed a new hospital complete with elevators have repaired schools, and their charities do the best work in Mogadishu .
When Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Mogadishu last year, he came with his family and ministers.
Unlike UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Britain’s Foreign minister William Hague, Erdogan did not travel in Amisom armoured cars weighed down with a helmet and bulletproof jacket (as indeed we too were). Nor did he stay in Amisom’s heavily fortified base compound.
Somalis like what they see from the Turks. Not surprisingly, the most popular name for newly born babies in Mogadishu recently is Istanbul. And the name for a rich man who helps the needy is Turk.
It is a long way to go, but in the five months that Amisom has firmly taken control of Mogadishu, it is remarkable how much renovation and building is taking place.
Today, parts of Mogadishu have a very Nairobi-like or Kampala-style problem – one hour plus traffic jams.
Somalia exports more banana than any other East African country. Despite two decades of war, Somalis still have more livestock per capita than any other country in the world.
And it exports more frozen beef than Tanzania, Uganda, or Rwanda.
Somalia is still nasty and brutish. But it is not yet a totally lost cause.