Be Aware of Quick Fix Federalism By Abdi Hosh April 6, 2014
The former of Minister of Constitutional Affairs during the last Transitional Government, Abdurrahman Hosh Jibril brings a debate about the contested federalism that Somalia is dealing with. Mr. Jibril, who is now an MP in the Somali Parliament discusses the both camps, proponents and opponents of Somalia's federalism. As the author rightly states, Federalism is a governance model agreed upon by then stakeholders in 2004 in Embagathi, Kenya, reflected in the 2004 Transitional Charter and subsequently enshrined in the current Provisional Constitution. Mainly, it was the unpopular warlords who brought this form of governance to Somalia without any input and consensus from the Somali people.
The author begins his article with the current political crisis in Bay region whether the community in that region will formulate an administration that is based on six regions or three regions, and he asserts that the genesis of these conflicts are centered around opposing views on governance configurations for these regions, and most particularly on competing interpretations of the federating process articulated under the Somali Provisional Constitution, which was adopted in August 2012. There are nine recommendations that Mr. Jibril contributes after long discussion about the undefined and confused federalism that seems a never-ending issue unless a popular referendum is held, and Somalis are given the opportunity to choose on how they want to rule themselves.
Mass arrests make our borders insecure By Maina Kiai April 11, 2014
Maina Kiai, former Chair of Kenya's Commission on Human Rights argues that it is crucial that this violation of the law [referring to the terrorist activities] is fought using the law or there could be no difference between the state and terrorist. The author resembles the tactics that the Kenyan government uses now as the tactics of the British colonial regime during the Mau Mau uprising that led to the killing, torturing and detaining those who were alleged Mau Mau sympathizers with impunity. According to the author, these tactics were fully intended to cause fear and despondency.
"And now" Kiai claims, "the Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto regime has come full circle, repeating the same tactics as the British colonial regime, this time focusing on the Somali and Muslims in a blanket condemnation of two entire communities." The author contends that these tactics in supposed reaction to the ongoing terror attacks border dangerously close to state terror. The former Chair of Kenya's Human Rights Commission concludes with an observation that the very people who have screamed themselves hoarse about being innocent until proven guilty for crimes against humanity, including mass killings, forced displacement and rape, can treat communities as guilty until proven innocent?
Al-Shabaab and the Party Balloon Effect
In his latest piece on Somalia, the former Somali Envoy to the United States, Abukar Arman, unfolds some complexities in the Somali affairs. He begins with his observation by stating that in recent weeks, Ethiopian-led AMISOM, together with the Somali government forces have captured several strategic towns previously ruled by al-Shabaab....and there was not much resistance there; and that is hardly surprising since, in the past few years, that has been al-Shabaab’s favorite tactic- melt or move, depending on geographic and clan dynamic.
But how the militant group can eventually be defeated? According to Mr. Arman, defeating them would require a grand strategy made of thoroughly coordinated political, humanitarian, military and economic plans in order to effectively prevent any vacuum or post liberation zero-sum politicking that seldom benefits Somalia. This, while creating space for dialogue. This is what the author attempts to frame as "what then."
What is "missing" from the Somali leadership side? Mr. Arman suggests that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed must embrace the reality that the only viable leverage they have is to cultivate trust within the Somali people, who, as a result of decades of exploitation, are sick and tired of always being the expendable pawn.
A Mission for "Economy?"
The prevailing perception is that peacekeeping missions are first and foremost intended for life saving, and working on mission that has set goals for short term and long term. AMISOM forces have been risking their lives in Somalia for the last seven years, but its mission is not yet accomplished.
However, in some cases, a peacekeeping mission can be a mission for economy, and this article may reveal this sentiment. By reporting his conversation with the soldier, the author writes, "unlike the general belief that the African Union Mission in Somalia is there to finish off Al Shabaab and pacify the country, he was there for his own benefit and that Al Shabaab’s destruction was the least of his priorities." By directly quoting him, the soldier told the author that he doesn't want to defeat al-Shabaab, and he would rather scatter them to prolong his mission. On the other hand, AMISOM spokesperson rejected the claim that the "soldier" made, and confirmed that AMISOM is in Somalia to restore security and defeat al-Shabaab.
Political Infighting Threatens Somalia's Government
January 13, 2014
This report by irinnews provides a comprehensive analysis on how the political infighting takes down the Somali government. The agency states that as Somalia’s new prime minister, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, gets ready to announce his new cabinet, analysts warn that the fragile Somali administration could come unstuck if further conflicts hit the executive. Ahmed assumed office on 26 December following a no-confidence vote against his predecessor Abdi Farah Shirdon 'Saa'id' on 2 December.
“The removal of the former PM [Prime Minister] Shirdon has, in fact, created a loss of credibility, because internal political crisis has been a norm for Somalia's transitional governments since the year 2000,” Abukar Sanei, the director of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research, a Somali think-tank, told IRIN by email. “The expectations of the people from this ‘permanent government’ was to avoid internal political clashes, and move the country forward in the peace-building and state-building processes.”
By Abukar Arman and Afyare Abdi Elmi December 11, 2013
CfPAR's Editorial Note
Anyone who follows the Somali politics is more or less confused on the way the "politics" is maneuvered. This has been the case due to, among other factors, the leadership, and the lack of cohesiveness/clarity of the document is used as a guideline for a scrambled country like Somalia. The political woes that result the "no confidence vote" against outgoing prime ministers, and the appointment of new prime ministers have been the case for the last twelve years. And in fact, there is nothing grantees that this will not be the case in the near future.
However, in their co-authored piece, Abukar Arman, the former Somali Envoy to the United States, and Professor Afyare Elmi, who teaches at Qatar University, attempt to propose an alternative for "the endless cycle." The authors assert that the root cause of thegovernment's short lifespan is a systemic dysfunction deeply embedded within the constitutional structure and political culture of the elite. There are two options that the authors suggest. One, change the endless cycle by strictly following the parliamentary system that the constitution prescribes, and two, change the parliamentary system and create with one that is consistent with the prevailing political culture that embraces a presidential system.
With four reasons to back theirposition, Arman and Elmi embrace the second option, which is to reverse the gear and adopt a presidential system.
Two UN Workers Slain in Somalia April 7, 2014
Reuters reports that a Briton and a Frenchman working for the United Nations were shot dead on Monday, April 7 at an airport in north-central Somalia, officials said. A U.N. mission spokesman said it was not clear who was behind the killings, but one witness said the pair were attacked by a man in a police uniform while they sat in their car at Galkacyo airport.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the U.N. Security Council both strongly condemned the attack on Monday and called on Somali authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice. In February, al Shabaab attacked a U.N. convoy with a remote-controlled bomb, killing at least seven Somalis, but no U.N. staff were hurt in that attack.
UNHCR's Concerns over Mass Arrests in Kenya April 9, 2014
BBC News reported last week that nearly 4,000 people across the country have been arrested in raids over the past week, and police say 447 of those are still in custody in the capital. The targets of these arrests were included women and children. They were taken to a sports stadium and various police stations to be interrogated and for their legal status to be checked, correspondents say. On the other hand, on April 4 and 8, 2014, Human Rights Watch visited Pangani police station in Eastleigh and found hundreds of detainees packed into cells designed to accommodate 20 people. Detainees had no room to sit, and the cells were filthy with urine and excrement. In a Press Release produced by the Human Rights Watch, it called the Kenyan government to halt its crackdown on Somalis. Abukar Sanei, Director of CfPAR tweeted on April 9 stating that being a Somali doesn't justify for Kenyan authorities to round up thousands of Somalis without any evidence of crime.
Somalia's Effort to Build a Cohesive State
In his video conference with the UN Security Council, ambassador Nicholas Kay, the UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Somalia, said that the best hope for peace and stability in Somalia, the Horn of Africa and beyond remains a united, secure and federal Somalia. Ambassador Kay warned that after a series of attacks against high-profile targets in Mogadishu, insecurity in the capital city poses challenges for Somalis and their international partners. On the other hand, Mr. Kay underlined for the Security Council that the political dimension of state-building and peace-building is equally vital this year. Even though the international support, which sometimes is not as it should be, is very important for Somalia's progress in state-building, internal political struggle mostly caused by power and resources' struggle will not be helpful for the peace-building process let alone the state-building process in Somalia.
Al-Shabaab's attack in Buulo Burde
A week after the capture of Buule Burde, a town in the Hiiraan region, by AMISOM and the Somali forces, the militant group, al-Shabaab carried out a suicide attack at a hotel crowded with army officers and was followed by an assault by gunmen leaving several dead," according to a report by AFP.
Al-Shabaab military spokesperson, Abdul Aziz Abu Musab told AFP that the attacker of Buulo Burde was a 60-year-old man who came from Norway, and named him as Abdullahi Ahmed Abdulle, a Norwegian national of Somali origin. As the objective set by the Somali government and AMISOM is to launch a massive campaign against the terrorist group in 2014, the latest suicide attack is described as "a retaliation for a new offensive to root them out of areas of the war-torn country still under their control."
According to the government spokesman, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet decided Wednesday to commit up to 20 soldiers to the mission. The move needs parliamentary approval, which it is expected to receive. Even though Uganda was where the EU used to train the Somali forces since 2010, the EU mission moved to the Somali capital, Mogadishu, in December 2013. The long term peace and security in Somalia lies on the Somali forces though efforts and sacrifices paid by the AMISOM forces cannot be underestimated.
UNSOM Signs Agreement with the S. Government
UNSOM Signs Agreement with the Somali Government An agreement between the Somali Government and the United Nations was signed in Mogadishu on 26th of February, 2014. The agreement, which contains eleven chapters, is a guideline that defines the relationship between the United Nations and the Somali Government. Such agreements like this one, if it is well defined and every entity knows the do's and don'ts, may further help the state sovereignty. As some foreign officials who are now based in Somalia may take for granted to engage with everyone, it is very crucial for the Somali Government to have clear guidelines on this issue so that the actions of those foreign officials may not cause any damage to the state sovereignty.
AMISOM Supports the Government's Position
AMISOM Supports the Somali Government's Position As the undefined "federalism" continues, and will continue to take Somalia into more deep political crisis, the Somali Government disassociated itself from the process of the formation of another regional administration in southern Somalia. Among the basis of the argument of the Somali Government is that "the federalization is a government-led process." However, AMISOM supports the position of the Somali Government on the issue. A Press Release issued by AMISOM states that the likelihood for rival leadership emerging with the potential to cause conflict and undermine the Government and AMISOM military expansion and stabilization activities is real.