by Mohamud M Uluso
The parliamentary coup in progress in Mogadishu has eclipsed all other important topics in Somalia. The critical issues that deserve in depth examination include the relevance of Djibouti Peace Agreement (2008), the development and implementation of comprehensive strategy for peace and state-building, the foreign-driven constitution-making process and uncountable gatherings, the massive displacement of people from their country into overcrowded refugee camps in neighboring countries, the daily killing and wounding of innocent civilians by foreign and local forces, and last but not least the 2.4 million Somalis in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
Friday, April 01, 2011
Instead of military coup, today we are experiencing a parliamentary coup launched to seize unchallenged power within the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) of Somalia. The Transitional Federal Charter (TFC) expressly prohibits any term extension for TFG.
Days after the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) issued a press statement on the end of the transitional period on August 20, 2011, the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) authorized an exclusive extension of TFP term. The African Union (AU) endorsed the authorization. On February 3, 2011 the Somali Parliament extended its mandate for three more years while it has blocked the same treatment for the other two TFIs- the president and Cabinet because IGAD did not authorize an extension for them. The United Nations and Western Countries publicly decried Parliament’s action and called for immediate reversal. So far, TFP refused to backdown and reverse its provocative unilateral decision.
Although TFG is an inept Government, this arbitrary action on the part of Parliament defies politics of reconciliation and constitutional legitimacy. Thus, Somalia has fallen under parliamentary coup without legal remedy to redress. This is an overstretch of the responsibility and power allotted to a parliament in a parliamentary system of governance and constitutes unprecedented level of abuse.
In this time of political engineering in Somalia, the Speaker of the TFP, who recollects the standing directives of IGAD on Somalia, has made a deal with Ethiopia. The thrust of the deal is to create another nominal National Government, which lacks public support and all government characteristics. Probably notorious figures will lead the new nominal Government. The ultimate goal is to feed long term chaos and hopelessness for definitive disintegration of Somalia.
Large number of Somali intellectuals who anticipated that kind of unacceptable outcome has expressed their strong condemnation and opposition against Ethiopia’s interference in the internal affairs of Somalia. The abusive and imperialistic attitude of Ethiopia against Somalia could energize negative forces in the Horn of Africa.
The dependence on foreign powers and forces is the main cause behind the coup and political infighting. The UK Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham said that political infighting is higher priority of TFG than reconciliation and the delivery of services to Somali People. The foreign powers and forces comprise the United Nations through United Nations Political Offices for Somalia (UNPOS) and UNDP, Uganda, Burundi, Ghana, Ethiopia, AU, IGAD, AMISOM forces, and key members of the international community. However, Ethiopia holds the most influential power.
On March 10, 2011, after a day long meeting on a comprehensive Strategy for peace and stability in Somalia, the Security Council issued a Presidential Statement under the symbol S/PRST/2011/6. It noted that the transitional period will end on August 20, 2011 and regretted that TFP has extended its mandate without carrying out necessary consultations and reforms. It urged the TFIs to refrain from any further unilateral actions. Nevertheless, there were clear differences in the statements delivered by countries and organizations.
For example, the AU Representative disclosed that AU, IGAD and UNPOS are joining their efforts to implement AU decision, which calls for the elections of the Speaker of Parliament and the President, reform of parliament and an adoption of a new constitution. The Representative of Ethiopia, who spoke on behalf of IGAD and fully subscribed to AU statement, has strongly defended the extension of TFP term in order to avoid political vacuum. Furthermore, Ethiopia demanded the imposition of naval blockade, no fly zone over Somalia, and effective implementation of sanctions on spoilers. All these measures are intended to further complicate the realization of peace and state building in Somalia.
The United States, France and United Kingdom deplored the unilateral extension of TFP term and played down the expectation for an extension of TFIs term beyond August 20, 2011 without agreed-upon roadmap. The TFIs have been advised to engage a constructive and transparent process of consultations with regional partners, SRSG and key supporters in the International Community to identify a realistic way forward that advances a comprehensive strategy for reconciliation and lasting peace.
China and Russian Federation remained silent on TFP’s term extension but stressed the importance of national dialogue and cooperation with International Community through United Nations and Regional Organizations. Both countries proposed a formulation and implementation of a comprehensive strategy for peace, security and development in Somalia. China Representative has outlined the five pillars of the proposed strategy, namely: (a) effective promotion of political reconciliation in Somalia; (b) strengthening the capacity building in the security sector; (c) the promotion of economic and social development; (d) fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia; (e) support for the leading role of the African Union. The Russian Federation assigned the leading role to the TFIs.
The Speaker of Parliament ,who has the full backing of IGAD and AU under Ethiopia’s influence, has rebuffed all calls to revisit the unilateral extension of TFP term. US Government, UN, France and UK could soon be forced to succumb to the will of IGAD and AU because African forces are in the front line for the war against terrorism in Somalia. The AU High Representative to Somalia, Jerry Rowling, former President of Ghana, has expressed his support to TFP term extension. Also, President Yuweri Museveni of Uganda whose military forces protect TFIs in Mogadishu, praised independent minded leaders of Africa and saw the frustration of western wishes and pressures as an admirable act. Regrettably, the post transitional political dispensation of Somalia appears messy and disastrous for the people of Somalia.
Mr. Mohamud M Uluso