Somalia: Beyond the Wind of Change.


Halkaan ka akhri

Somalia: Beyond the Wind of Change

 After sixty years of independence and twenty one years of misery and political chaos, people expect to see what the new wind of change contains for Somalia`s future, should Somali people cease the control of their destiny?

Since the central government collapsed in 1991, Somali people have been attempting to find a way out from the political chaos that prevailed the country, actually all reconciliation conferences were arranged by foreign countries and the Somali public had never been allowed a single chance to shape and control their destiny even the current transitional federal government (TFG) has  been established in Djibouti in early 2009, and sheikh Sharif was elected as a president …(A moderate Isamist and former rebel).

 Now the countdown starts for the current TFG led by Sheikh Sharif, who would supposedly leave the presidential palace in August, 2012. The TFG has adopted a new road map which contains the following Benchmarks: 1-security, 2-Draft constitution, 3-Outreach and Reconciliation, 4-Good governance, so far the TFG did not achieve any of these targets due internal political row and lack of good governance. How a government which is too weak, corrupt, divided and disorganized and unable to mount a claim beyond Mogadishu, could rescue a country at the edge of a total destruction. Is there any future for the “Road Map”?

Somali people tired and despaired from these fruitless, and exhaustive international efforts aimed at restoring peace and stability to their beloved country, and would rather prefer to get the chance to determine their destiny independently. Political critics fix the blame at the feet of the regional and international interventions which led the county to be safe havens for the international terrorism and the lucrative piracy business.

Different Approaches to tackle Somalia’s Conflict

Nothing worse than manipulating the truth when it comes the foreign interventions which devastated Somalia and endangered its existence, for the last two decades the international community has been pioneering in the invention of different approaches to tackle Somalia’s long standing issue and as part of the political approaches to get grass-root level solution for the long standing conflict in the horn of African nation; the controversial “4.5” power sharing formula has been adopted among the Somali clans, where “4” stands for the major clans and “0.5” stands for the minor clans. The 4.5 formula originally emerged from a previous reconciliation conference held in Djibouti in 2000.

Some political analysts may argue; that the sovereignty of the country is at immense danger with the foundation of more than 20 separate new mini-states, including one of the drought-stricken area incongruously named Jubaland, or Azania, have sprouted up across Somalia, most of these regional states are established by the Somali diasporas and remain to be briefcase states, others heavily armed, and all eager for international recognition and the money that may come with it, or is it because we are romantic about federalism or is it motivated by the “Road Map”. Or are these all miscalculations which led Somalia into its “status quo” going to dominate ever the country’s future.

The latest international effort to pacify Somalia is going on in the United Kingdom, where British government has opened a public discussion among the Somali community in the UK at Chatam House, though the agenda of this conference starts officially On 23 February, where senior representatives from over 40 governments and multilateral organizations will come together in London. The aim is to deliver a new international approach to Somalia.

The United Kingdom has now decided to host a conference on Somalia. Prime Minister David Cameron said in his speech to the Lord Mayor’s banquet on 14 November 2011 that Somalia ‘…is a failed state that directly threatens British interests. Tourists and aid workers kidnapped, young British minds poisoned by radicalism, mass migration, and vital trade routes disrupted.’

Contradicting efforts. The new road map calls for ending the transitional period and the recently concluded Garowe meeting, which was scheduled to formally do so, has produced another four years of the transitional period and institutions. The announcement of the London conference comes in the midst of this confusion. Despite this, one of the British officials addressing at the Chatam House Somali Discussions, said; “We are not going to set up a parallel initiative, we are going to enrich and amend the existing Djibouti initiative”.

Would this international dynamic approach solve the Somali conflict? Or would it change the political trend?  Abdi Dirshe, a political analyst believes that the country is moving towards more divisions and perhaps the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are at greater danger than ever before.

Human rights violations and the impunity

The violence against the civilians is sustained by impunity for those responsible. It is quite clear that civilians are deliberately targeted by all sides to the conflict with targeted killing, rape, arbitrary arrests, unfair trails, gender violence, discrimination, in-discriminated shelling of civilian residential areas  and air raids.

 The UN Independent Expert (UNIE) on the Situation of Human Rights in Somalia listed as human rights abuses: “summary executions, including beheadings of innocent people, amputations, flogging, whipping, forcible marriage of young girls to militiamen, use of civilians as human shields, imposition of the strictest dress code on women and prohibition of the use of public mass media, and the bans imposed on listening to music and public gathering, all with lack of due process.” International human rights observers accused all parties to the conflict of indiscriminate attacks, deployment of forces in densely populated areas, and a failure to take steps to minimize civilian harm.

Civilians in Somalia are like a candle which is burning from its both ends; all parties to the conflict target them with harms. Taken all together there is a crucial need for a serious and impartial investigation to bring all perpetrators to the international justice to ensure a full civilian protection and break the silence over the human rights abuses which come with the new wind of change.

Elias Adam

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