Recent developments in the Somali peace process show positive signs of hope and optimism for the future; but there are still problems and challenges that seriously need to be addressed. To demonstrate its legitimacy and effectiveness to the world the government should relocate to Somalia on schedule at the end of the month and it is of paramount importance that this deadline be respected.
The momentum of this important occasion should not be lost at this junction in the history of Somalia when millions of Somalis, both at home and the Diaspora anxiously await for the reestablishment of a functioning recognized government, which would occupy its rightful place in the family of nations. Despite the present challenges, this cherished goal should be within our reach sooner than later.
We welcome the decision of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to relocate to Somalia at the end of this month. The TFG has also given its approval to the deployment of foreign troops in the country under the auspices of the African Union and IGAD. This is indeed a crucial and timely decision, which should be commended. Preparatory arrangements for the relocation are already in progress. Following the visit of a team of parliamentarians to Mogadishu led by the Speaker of the federal transitional parliament, the TFG has also dispatched fact-finding missions composed of Cabinet Ministers to Mogadishu and other regions of the country to assess the security situation and report their findings to the government.
The steps taken by the TFG and parliament are further reinforced by the mission from the African Union, which is currently on an official tour to Somalia to assess the situation, and meet with the regional authorities and civil society leaders. These missions have been warmly welcomed and received full support from the Somali people.
Generally, the popular reaction to the government initiatives has been positive and overwhelmingly supportive. There are however, a few warlords in the TFG cabinet who are still dragging their feet and are strongly opposed to the deployment of AU/IGAD troops to protect government locations, guard ports and offices, train new national army, police force and help disarm the militias. Opponents to the deployment of foreign troops like Ato and Yalahow, who hold two prominent cabinet positions seem to be out of step with the policies and decisions of the government of Prime Minister Geeddi.
This twin evils of Ato & Yalahow are individuals who do not represent any constituency and are accountable to nobody except their misguided egos based on their absurd claim to Mogadishu being their new home turf, alla gang culture that places prime value on turf ownership. Their main objective is to maintain the status quo and continue to profit from their own economic and political power that they acquire from war and conflict.
This is why they have formed an unholy alliance with the so called Mogadishu Islamic courts to sabotage the TFG and exploit the civilian population, in order to undermine the peace process and derail the last hope of the Somali people to establish a government and bring a lasting peace to their nation. This is wrong and unacceptable and is in violation of the principles and the provisions of the Federal Transitional Charter. The intrigues and manipulation of detractors and opponents to the Nairobi Somali peace process cannot succeed and will surely be doomed to failure.
One of the most important issues in the security agenda of the TFG is disarmament. This is a fundamental condition for the establishment of peace, reconciliation and reconstruction of the institutions of the Somali State. As we are aware, Somalia has been without central government for almost 14 years; the possession of guns has become a part of everyday life. It will be a daunting task to disarm both organized militia headed by warlords and the hundreds of freelance gangs who roam about the streets of Mogadishu. These militias should be disarmed, and demobilized immediately if an environment of peace and security is to be established in the country.
To achieve such an objective, there should be a focused plan that could include the following:
- The TFG and the Federal Parliament should formally and strongly demand from its member warlords to bring peace and security to the areas under their control and confine their militias to designated camps.
- The militias should be disarmed and rehabilitated. Those who qualify and wish to be part of the National Security forces may be allowed to do so. Others should be provided training in new skills and employment opportunities as appropriate.
- UN and AU should form a monitoring committee that would include high level Somali officials who will advise and provide technical assistance in the process of demobilization of the various faction militias.
- The TFG, through the AU and IGAD, should formally request the UN Security Council to convene an Emergency Session on Somalia with special emphasis on the Security Situation and reconstruction needs.
It is gratifying to note that Prime Minister Geeddi has presented an allocation and security plan and budget request of $77.3 million to the recent donor’s meeting in Nairobi. The donor countries have in turn demanded from the TFG to first move to Mogadishu before such funds could be released. In view of the gravity and dimension of the challenges the TFG currently faces, particularly in the area of security and disarmament, the international community should respond positively and expeditiously to the government’s appeal for support.
While we are aware of the conflict situation in Somalia is primarily the responsibility of the Somali people, we should also emphasize, however that the support of external international partners is vital for the timely relocation of the TFG, and the establishment of an “effective and functioning” government in Somalia.
As the TFG begins to operate in Somalia, we expect that the international community will abide by their commitment to respond positively and generously to the pressing needs of the government and people of Somalia at this critical and difficult transition. We at WardheerNews sincerely hope that the relocation of the TFG to Somalia will be smooth and peaceful and wish the President, the prime minister, the government and Parliament every success in their commendable endeavors for restoration of peace and stability in Somalia.
In a previous editorial, dated Feb. 7, 2005, WardheerNews has recommended that the government figure out an alternative city if Mogadishu warlords pose a threat to the move back of the government to the city. We more than welcome the statements coming out from the President’s office, and the cabinet that Baydhabo City was chosen as a temporary seat for the government until security permeates for a full return of the government to Mogadishu.
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