Somali Canadian Diaspora Alliance (SCDA)
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
The international community is once again failing Somalia by knowingly offering a tacit support to the on-going clan reconciliation conference while ignoring factual evidence and published opinion papers and case studies by conflict resolution experts and scholars on peacebuilding who share the view that Somalia needs a genuine and inclusive political reconciliation among conflicting parties. A genuine reconciliation between the contesting parties, namely the Asmara based Union of Islamic courts, free parliamentarians, the TFG, civil society groups and Somali Diaspora groups that will bring about a power-sharing government, which will pave the way for fair elections to take place at the end of the TFG term in 2009.
In spite of abundance of resources and expertise at its disposal the United Nations is conned by the inept leadership of the TFG into believing that Somalia requires clan reconciliation. The TFG had a choice to either end the Ethiopian occupation and hold a genuine political reconciliation or exploit ethnic and clan cleavage to hold onto power. Regrettably, it chose the latter by calling for snake oil clan reconciliation. This dubious and fraudulent clan reconciliation is merely a way of sustaining the status quo or as Dr. Weinstein predicted in the article Somalia’s compromised reconciliation conference the deepening devolutionary cycle.
As predicted rightly so, signs of failure are becoming visible earlier than envisaged when considered the following contradictions and faults with respect to the on-going clan reconciliation
a) Many clans have rejected outright from participating such conference
b) Many clan elders have protested against the flawed process of selecting clan representatives
c) There is widespread allegation of conference organizers taking kickbacks from potential clan participants; the asking price is $100 as reported by Shabelle radio.
d) Only TFG loyalists are invited from the civil society and Somali Diaspora outside of Somalia.
e) There have been increased insurgent attacks on the conference site and target killings of TFG supporters. Consequently, participant turnout is very small
f) There is no clear agenda items presented to the conference participants, and there were reports of clans hijacking the daily agenda by condemning each other of past wrong doings. In fact this clan conference may serve the opposite of its stated objectives by reviving healed old wounds and thus creating new clan hostilities.
WRONG DIAGNOSIS A RAISON D'ÊTRE FOR WRONG PRESCRIPTION
Due to their lack of analysis and proper diagnosis of the conflict the UN and EU are committing an erroneous mistake in backing and shoring up funds for a clan reconciliation that will not bring about any fruition to the Somali conflict. As clan hostility completely diminished and at this stage of the conflict Somalia is yearning for genuine political reconciliation as Elizabeth cousins rightly points out in Peacebuilding as Politics “what drives armed conflict at the start of a war may cease to be the principal issue by the time the war is over, particularly when wars last for years”. In fact clan rivalry inter alia may have started the Somali civil war, but clan hostility has completely ceased since then and is substituted by ideological differences among the contesting parties. In this context we can learn from past case studies in El Salvador and Bosnia are two good examples that bear semblance to Somalia. In the case of El Salvador land reform was an issue that mobilized support for the rebel forces at the start of the war, yet it became far less pressing issue at the end of the civil war due to agrarian flight to the cities. Similarly, in Bosnia ethnic hostility ceased once the population has been regrouped into homogeneous enclaves. The UN and EU must have known that the Somali conflict has equally evolved in a way that makes retrospective attention to clan reconciliation (as a root cause) unnecessary and even counterproductive and hence they should have offered a prescriptive solution that is reflective on the current conflict progression stage - emphasis should have been placed on a genuine political reconciliation rather than heeding and financing to the on-going sham clan reconciliation orchestrated and proposed by this inept TFG leadership.
Given the UN and EU failure in concocting a workable mechanism for real reconciliation, the Somali Canadian Diaspora alliance still believes that the international community can play a role and do more to help the Somali people by first demanding the immediate Ethiopian withdrawal from Somalia, investigate the genocide and war crimes committed by Ethiopian troops, and start the deployment of neutral peacekeeping force as Ethiopian presence is obstacle to any potential reconciliation conference. Immediately stop financing this sham reconciliation and initiate the process of engaging both parties in the conflict by organizing mini-peace conference in a neutral venue preferably in Sweden, Norway or Finland to lay the ground work, such as the terms of reference for a real power-sharing mechanism.
Somali Canadian Diaspora Alliance is a Coalition member of North American Somali Diaspora Network and is committed in collaboration with other coalition members of the umbrella in finding ways out of the current Somali crises. Somali Canadian Diaspora Alliances advocates the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops as a precondition for a viable reconciliation that will bring about a durable peace and development in Somalia.
For further information please visit our website www.somalidiasporaalliance.com
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