Peace has broken out and Somalia needs goodwill to blossom
Monday, June 03, 2013
Somalia and Kenya have a shared history, heritage, a common border and an Indian Ocean frontage. The neighbours have found themselves facing a common enemy in Al Qaeda that, for a short while, bolstered local militia Al Shabaab.
And although a coalition of forces from the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu, African Union Mission to Somalia ( Amisom) and Kenya Defence Forces neutralised this threat, the region paid a huge price in economic terms, and saw hundreds of thousands forced out of their homes.
But then again, it is only a neighbour who can get to you quickly enough to answer a distress call. Kenya and Inter-governmental Authority on Development ( Igad) did just that. At the end of that civil war, Mogadishu has a popularly elected administration and that country is once again receiving serious attention from the international community as the next investment destination. In this regard, there have been many congregations addressing Somalia’s immediate as well as long-term needs.
From the first London conference, the Istanbul Conference, various stakeholder meetings in Nairobi and at the UN general assembly, and, now, the conference in Yokohama, Japan.
While Somalia is suffering teething problems and is struggling to regain her footing, there are many honest people determined to ensure peace, democracy and governance are entrenched, and a federal government to stabilise the nation through functional structures.
There is need for President Hassan Sheikh Mahamud to reassure Somalis scattered through the Diaspora, as well as the refugees camping in northern Kenya that peace has broken out and that their country needs their services now more than ever.
The desire and resolve to unify the war-ravaged country so that all players respect the letter and spirit of their new Constitution. The recent declaration of a new leadership in Jubaland is just one such example.
Jubaland that covers the three regions of Lower Juba, Middle Juba and Gedo and is towards the south of Somalia has seen six different players declare their claim to the presidency of the area.
We have it from good authority in the highest offices of the Somalia Government, such as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Fawzia Yusuf Adan, that there is no obvious division about the status of Jubaland. In fact, the only discussion that should be taking place is how to have a more inclusive administration with a grassroots or downward-up administration rather than a top-down.
There has also been strong denial of any rift between Mogadishu and Nairobi over Jubaland. Further to this, there has been no Motion by Farah Abdikadir, Minister for State in the Office of the President, or any other Somali MP to file such Motion to censure activities of the Kenya Defence Forces and Amisom in Kismayo.
There are more pressing matters of resettlement of refugees, getting basic structures available, defeating Al Qaeda, jump-starting the economy so that the two nations, and indeed, all development partners can return the Federal republic of Somalia to its glory days.