by Ismail D. Osman
Monday, June 18, 2012
Somalia is finally heading to the right direction with the wind of peace beginning to blow in Mogadishu (the city that has suffered most), thanks to our African soldiers from Uganda, Burundi, and the generous financial support of the US and European Union. More importantly, the unconditional commitment of Turkish government to helpingSomaliahas certainly played a great role in reviving the Somali spirit.
On August 20, 2012, Somalia is scheduled to move away from a transitional government to a more stable one. This marks a great opportunity for Somalia to come back as a respected partner in the international community. Nevertheless, there is a lot of task ahead explicitly the need of achieving a safer transition that will embrace the creation of a quality parliament leading to an election of a respectable speaker and a president.
One of the negative aspects of the road map is that its implementation is exclusively left to the six signatories. So far 2 of the road map signatories have officially declared their candidacy to run for the office of the president. These are the very same people who handpicked their own clan elders to assure their loyalists dominate the new parliament. This move completely eliminates principled and qualified citizens from joining the parliament. In a legal term this is considered “a conflict of interest” and in some countries, such as USA is punishable under the law.
The public supports fully the implementation of the roadmap, but it must be improved to make it transparent, inclusive and accountable. The roadmap was initially signed in September 2011. Its signature marked the isolation of parliamentarians, who may have been unease to the ongoing peace process. The public’s position on this issue is divided, though the majority would agree that the parliamentarians were doing more harm than good to the country. One thing most Somalis find troubling, however; is the power granted to the six signatories allowing them to design the roadmap process as they deemed appropriate. At the 1stand 2ndGarowe meetings several important issues were decided and included in the Garowe principles, such as the creation of independent electoral commission (IEC) with regional and international observers; this was secretly removed from the roadmap principles.
In the Addis meeting of May, 2012 the signatories revealed a rather controversial ruling- to remove IFCC/CoE members in the constitutional drafting process and replaced them with a technical committee made up of loyalists of the road map signatories. This creates public mistrust in the process and will eventually derail it. It was a rush decision and apparently an oblivious one as this will only intensify the canard perception of the public regarding the draft constitution.
In a democratic system every citizen has the right to elect and be elected, but in the current roadmap, the signatories are given a freehand to manipulate the process, control the outcome with no proper checks and balances.
The absolute power granted to the roadmap signatories may signal the recycling of the old guards. This is utterly unacceptable and the international community and UNPOS should not allow it to continue. As the opportunity for a better and brighter future of Somalia is in the horizon, people are anxious, and are seriously concerned the dream of peace might not come true. If this regional/international endeavor to save Somalia fails, violence and instability will rise again in Southern Somalia. There is an urgent need to create a process that is transparent to circumvent predictable outcome that is corrupt and painful.
As a closer observer of the Somali politics and a long time human right activist, a quick fix of the implementation of the roadmap is the only way out of this mess. Here are some corrective actions that must be addressed quickly before it is too late.
1) The process must be made transparent, inclusive and accountable
a. This can be achieved by creating an independent commission or committee (IC) that would include the former Prime Minister of Somalia Mr. Abdirizak H. Hussein. Its members should comprise respected Somali educators, politicians and elders. Moreover, international observers such as USA, AU, IGAD, EU, Arab League and Islam countries should be represented to assure transparency.
2) Fake clan elders must be removed immediately.
3) Anyone attempting to manipulate or obstruct the process should be included in the spoiler list.
4) No special treatment should be given to roadmap signatories anymore.
5) The selection of the MPs should be monitored and carefully scrutinized by the IC.
6) The speaker and presidential election should be transparent and void of corruption
Ismail D. Osman
The writer is a political analyst and chairman of the Somali National Council based in theUnited States.email@example.com