Thursday, February 23, 2012
A major conference on war-ravaged Somalia that has become a global
threat for harbouring extremist groups starts in London on Thursday.
The conference comes at a time when the international community
is optimistic the country is slowly regaining stability and normalcy
following the success of the African Union Mission in Somalia and the
Kenya Defence Forces to wipe out Al-Shabaab militia in most parts.
President Kibaki, who is leading a high powered
Kenyan delegation, is among world leaders — including UN Secretary
General Ban Ki-Moon, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Ethiopia
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi — at the meeting hosted by UK Prime Minister
President Kibaki is scheduled to give a report on KDF operations which started in October last year.
On Tuesday, US Special Representative to Somalia
James Swan welcomed the conference, saying it was an occasion to
galvanise high-level international attention on Somalia.
He said the US supported the agenda to address key
issues including support for AMISOM and Transitional Federal Government
security forces; political reforms to end the transition and local
administration and stabilisation programmes.
Also on the agenda is improved transparency and
accountability; enhancement of counter-terrorism and counter piracy
measures; a re-affirmed commitment to humanitarian response; and
refinement of international architecture to guide future collective
efforts in Somalia.
But speaking from Nairobi on Wednesday, a section of Somalia
leaders led by MP Awad Ahmed Ashareh dismissed the London conference
saying Somalia Parliament was not properly consulted.
Mr Ashareh questioned the UK and international
community’s renewed interest on Somalia after “watching as locals
suffered in last 20 years”.
He said the international community should have
given top priority to strengthening Somalia national security forces,
establishment of a marine unit to fight piracy and illegal fishing on
Somalia waters, strengthening transitional institutions and ensuring
leaders adhered to transparency and accountability.
Britain, Mr Ashareh added, should further have helped end dumping of toxic in Somalia waters by western countries.
Mr Ashareh also dismissed the recent meetings in
Garowe, Puntland, saying the agreements reached there on how the country
should be governed when the term of current government end in August,
Somalia leaders agreed during the meetings to form a federal government with huge powers at the apex.
Somalia has been a focal point for US and European
intervention since the late 1970s during the so-called Ogaden War of
Since 1991, Somalia has struggled to achieve national unity and representative government.
In recent months a drought and subsequent famine in large sections of
the country has worsened the already long term problems of food deficits
and water distribution