The UN has been appointing its ambassadors to Somalia since the nation in the horn of Africa plunged into chaos and lawlessness. All those appointed envoys were career diplomats who had experiences to navigate the mission they were assigned to but from Mohamed Sahnoun to Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, ambassador Augustine P. Mahiga seems to be a man with a vision to come up with concrete steps that can lead Somalia out of the mess of this prolonged chaos for over two decades.
These assessments on the Mahiga's performance are not merely approximation of personal views but based on practical realities and results in which he proved during the short period he was in office as the representative of United Nations for Somalia. The current UN representative to Somalia has got along with the tempo of the conflict with the right technique which includes interaction with the Somali policy stakeholders with a clear vision of minimising any form of conflict within them and creating a platform for reviving the nationhood mentalities among Somali political decision makers, civil society and the civilians.
Less than 18 months in office, ambassador Mahiga achieved to diplomatically sell the cause of Somali issue at international stages not only among UN representatives in Roosevelt Island of New York but in other regional forums which resulted Somalia to be again on the eyes of the international community and that the protracted conflicts in Somalia is currently regarded as an international dilemma which is the outcome of a paranoiacal containment strategies being applied to resolve Somali problems but perversely has only led to elongate the problems and thus the current situation entails collective and comprehensive approaches to achieve sustainable stability in the country.
His appointment to be the UN man to Somalia did not come at a blessing time but commenced at a rough time when leaders of Somalia's transitional government were at loggerheads and any anticipated progress was crippled by the squabbles among the senior leadership of the transitional authority but ambassador Mahiga successfully pacified within the government and marginalized sources of conflict at the top leadership which then has led to tangible and real developments on the ground which out of question matters most of Somalis.
The prototypical and exemplary steps that Mr Mahiga has taken to achieve ultimate conflict resolution and reconciliation measures includes inclusion of all stakeholders in the reconciliation processes and broadening the political spectrum to all categorises of Somali society to achieve common understanding among Somalis and establishing mechanisms that can lead Somali back to stability and durable peace.
Based on lessons learned from previous experiences, if it was not Mahiga's unique capabilities of dealing with internal opportunistic organs that always intend to destabilize the country, even the current TFG would have short-lived and not survived and the future hope of Somalia's pacification could have taken into a wrong and counterproductive direction. It was not so easy to reconcile the leadership of the transitional government but ambassador Mahiga succeeded it through the right options which he discovered with insight which is so vital and enhanced TFG's capabilities to deliver the mandated mission before the expiry of the its term which is less than 9 months ahead.
A country that was ridden by two decades of conflict, mass corruption, lack of accountability and transparency and undoubtedly great impediments against peace promotion initiatives to engineer remedial strategies appears to be a daunting task but the magnitude and visionary approaches pursued by ambassador Mahiga had won the trust of Somali people both in the country and the diaspora and is widely believed to be among the best options on the table to solve Somali problems.
Many Somali scholars, intellectuals, elders, women and youth were fed up with the recurrent and vicious in-fights in the TFG's legislative and executive branches. A parliament that holds its general assembly forums only with tensions and ministerial cabinet that is in a regular competition and disagreement with the parliament were frequent appalling news that was constantly coming to the hearing of the Somali general public but it was ambassador Mahiga who has ended this mess among the TFIs with acceptable and common sense based resolutions.
One of the most outstanding developments which Mahiga set about are holding key but internationally backed Somali meetings inside the country particularly in Mogadishu which is always given a bad image in the media. "It was like a long waited dream when the first consultative meeting was held in Mogadishu because Mogadishu was branded with many unlucky names like no-go zone area, ghost city, world's most feared city not only by elements of international community but also even to the some Somalis like leaders in Puntland but it was the UN envoy who proved that, that perception was wrong and this guy is the right man for the mission to direct Somalia on the path of governance, his efforts and record stands clear" said a civil society group leader based in Mogadishu. This view illustrates the perception of the Somali public and that the UN approaches spearheaded by ambassador Mahiga are pleasing the majority of the public.
It is common that in Somalia that there are always groups who oppose even to the very positive developments they themselves need but almost every vital part of the society repeatedly stresses that Mahiga is on the right track in the search of resolve to the Somali crises and the most debated issue on the streets of Mogadishu these recent days are the "roadmap" which the UN office headed by Mr. Augustine Mahiga is assessing with the transitional government to end the transitional period and many encourage that this roadmap must be pushed ahead no matter what hurdles may lay its way. Although some opportunistic and power maniac individuals already started inflammatory comments to hoist disputes with the purpose of crippling this meeting or averting its goals for the benefits of their individual gains, yet the UN envoy maintained the roadmap process to its vision and reiterated that the roadmap is beyond personal gains and is meant to save Somalia therefore its necessary that all Somalis think for the common future.
"I am very optimistic that your presence here is a major landmark and milestone. Civil society is the bridge between political differences. The power is in your hands - help us," the UN Special Representative for Somalia, Dr. Augustine P. Mahiga said during the opening of second phase conference of the road map in Mogadishu which shows the processes of these meetings are not externally influenced but owned by Somalis and it is Somalis who have the rights to dictate its terms but for the common interest. The consultative meeting is not also a power brokering forum for the powerful political leaders but is more broadbased in which almost all segments of the Somali people are well represented and the outcome of this meeting would be a major achievement of stabilizing Somalia.
At the first time in the history of Somalia's reconciliation and consultative conferences, the roadmap has definitive dimensions which show it is not a replication of previous attempts. The roadmap has four thematic pillars of - security, constitution, outreach and reconciliation &good governance which indicates its comprehensiveness and to be benchmark rather than talks and power sharing setting compare to previous national resolution attempts for Somalia.
The Somali people today strongly believe that the roadmap is the only viable option that can end the transitional period without power vacuum in the country and can produce a representative government which has the legitimacy to govern and able to decide Somalia's future directions through democratic principles and more prosperous future based on universal values. Hence, it's worth mentioning that ambassador Mahiga attested to be the right man for the mission as the representative of the United Nations for Somalia therefore it is paramount that the international community under the UN umbrella and the regional blocs to continue supporting the momentums built through the leadership of Augustine P. Mahiga to help Somalia achieve stability which benefits the regional and global security.
By Mohamud. Ciilmooge PhD.
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