December 11, 2009
Quest for peace and effective State in Somalia
By Mr. Mohamud M Uluso
Somalia has been placed in intensive-care with ‘death counseling’ physician at its bedside. Expected medical prescription is euthanasia. Multiple destructive groups with different objectives contributed to its ailment. Only mobilization of critical mass of citizens with their real leaders can avert the dreadful end of history of Somalia.
This article advocates the launch of Somalia Citizenship Defense Movement (SCDM) with the goal of mobilizing three quarters (3/4 or 75 %) of citizens led by their real leaders for the formation of Somali State that not only has de jure legitimacy but more importantly has de facto legitimacy in order to defend and protect the security, dignity and sovereignty of all citizens. Somalia is different from Kenya, Liberia, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia for understandable reasons so it must help itself. The claim that a Government exists in Somalia is to deprive the Somali people of the opportunity to quest for peace and effective State in Somalia.
The tragic situation in Somalia has solicited the US Government to develop a fresh strategy that first and foremost would aim to defeat terrorists, pirates and reverse the precipitously worsening humanitarian situation. However, experience shows that external strategy formulated on interpretations and conclusions worked out by external actors will overlook issues pivotal for the internal political dynamics of the Somali people who will ultimately bear the consequences of ill-conceived policies. Therefore, while transnational factors dominate the Somali crisis, it is imperative that the Somali people search solution from within.
Jeffrey Gettleman noted how it is exceedingly difficult to identify who the country’s real leaders are, if they exist at all and as he put it how Somalia is a political paradox-unified on the surface, poisonously divided beneath. His knotty suggestion is that the entire national psyche must be rebuilt. The scramble for the creation of “Regional States”, civil war and Islamic wars all are the result of widespread sense of alienation among communities whereby fragmentation is seen as solution.
Recent National Reconciliations of Somalia have created many problems. First, it is the creation of Transitional Government in conformity with 4.5 clan formula and landed in Mogadishu without public support, power and influence beyond small area of Mogadishu. Second, the elected leaders of Puntland and Somaliland were neither members nor subordinates of the Transitional Government. Third, Somaliland and Puntland were encouraged to continue on their separate path. Fourth, the International Community supports contemporaneously and independently ‘constitutional processes and state or capacity-buildings’ in Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland. Fifth, Ethiopia overtly or covertly controls the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, Puntland, Somaliland and other Somali Regions. Sixth, AMISOM forces destroyed the lives and livelihood of the entire Mogadishu residents for the excuse of protecting less than 100 ‘politicians’ most of them from constituencies under autonomous authorities in an area of 3 km. These problems have deepened social anger and sense of vengeance. The people of South Central Somalia became taxpayers and victims of fictitious Transitional Government.
The mission of Somalia Citizenship Defense Movement would be to motivate the Somali clans to open political dialogue among them and discuss the past, present and future of Somalia, particularly the issue of Somali Citizenship. Consensus on the Citizenship issue should pave the way for transformation and transition to a society governed by rule of law. The wisdom of solving the Somali problems consists in the increase of confidence in Citizenship benefits and the decrease of reliance on clan solidarity. Injustices, nepotism, fear of “others”, corruption, dishonesty, hypocrisy, religious factionalism, allegiance to foreign interests have sullied the morale, conscience and sense of patriotism of Somalis.
Challenges to Somali State Formation are:
The division of the country into Somaliland, Puntland and South Central Somalia. The latter is divided into 8 areas.
The flagrant and persistent abuse of political power for personal, clan or group gains and lack of checks and balances mechanism and absolute contempt for truth.
The USA-led war on terror perceived as attack on Muslims. This sentiment has gained much credibility in Somalia when the US Government supported the Warlords’ Alliance, Ethiopian invasion and its self-righteous interference in the internal political affairs, AMISOM’s unpopular military operation. Ashley Elliot and Georg-Sebastian Holze observed that “as the majority of the world’s states remonstrated against ‘international terrorism’, elements of Somalia’s political elite were queuing up to declare their country a potential haven for terrorists. The phenomenon-one party attempting to de-legitimize its opponents and garner support through accusations of terrorism has become a vital currency of power in Somali politics since 9/11.”
The Islamists’ clashes and lack of vision and wisdom. A Muslim scholar lamented: “the greater challenge for Muslims in the future is not in living with the West but in living with ourselves and securing human dignity and well being for all.” The armed Islamists, designated as terrorist organizations or radical Islamists, adopted angry character, bunker mentality, and tactics of indiscriminate destruction and killing of innocent people. Islam spread to 1,627.61 millions in all over the World through individual conviction, free choice, and responsibility. In Rwanda, after genocide, huge number of Christians converted into Islam because small minority of Muslims saved them not by force but by conviction and choice from other Christians.
The absence of link between representation and constituency.
The Political elite in power in ‘Somaliland and Puntland.’
Ethiopia’s organized campaign against Somalia as irredentist or terrorist safe haven country for its hegemonic agenda. Failed Somalia as a neighbor of Ethiopia under autocratic regime will remain vulnerable to destabilization and civil war.
The many faces of Diaspora that have created external confusions and complications.
Somali Corps coached and sponsored by foreign powers for their political game and who see everything in the eyes of their foreign sponsors.
The UN’s self serving Transitional Administration.
Ethiopia promotes building-blocks approach based on clan territory. This has perceptibly raised support for Islamic State. With different emphasis Brownyn Bruton and Peter Haldén suggested Community-Development and Nascent States-System approaches respectively. Peter Haldén, considering the wide cleavages among clan-families, argues for dismemberment and extinction of Somalia in favor of nascent States-system. He cited the following reasons:
Different Somali clans have assumed different positions towards certain issues like Ethiopia, Islamists-cum-terrorism, and form of Government. Similarly, Brownyn Bruton has noted that disagreements over the form of Somali State, type of judicial system and the independence of “Northern Regions of Somalia” prevent talk about the existence or formation of Somali State in this time. Her suggestion is bottom up process controlled by local communities.
All clan-groups except clan-group (Hawiye) have attempted to establish a ‘purely’ regional entity.
The greater sense of community and commonality developed in Darod clan-family did not develop in Irir (Hawiye, Isaaq and Dir) clan-family. The transparency of clan influence helped stability in Somaliland.
However, the best approach is the one that responds to the culture and long term strategic interests of Somalia. Small territories under different sub-clans or Islamic factions will deepen social division, institutionalize relationship between sub-clan or Islamic faction and territory at the expense of citizenship territory and will weaken Islam’s attraction. The failure of ethnic based federal experiment in Ethiopia and the challenges faced by Puntland should be cautionary tales for Somalia’s elite and people. The concerns related to powerful central authority can be alleviated by a broadly agreed framework for equitable distribution of resource and participation in the political power.
South Central Somalia recovering from Warlords’ devastation has been thrown back into abyss by the existence of the Transitional Federal Government, Ethiopian invasion, the war on terror and armed Islamists opposition. Nevertheless, it is critical that the people of South Central Somalia find ways to achieve cessation of hostilities, and start communication within and across with other regions.
The people of Somaliland have established a system of governance applauded internally and externally. As fate has demonstrated, the survival, security and prosperity of the people of Italian territory of Somalia is inextricably linked with Somaliland’s fortune.
The leaders and people of Somaliland (former British Somaliland) were instrumental in the union of the two Somali territories as symbol of their fervent nationalistic spirit demonstrated by late Haji Farah Omar. In fact, on April 6, 1960, Somaliland legislative Council decided the unification three months before Italian territory became independent. The politicians of Somaliland have invested efforts in unification and the political dynamics in Somalia as proved by the election of His Excellency late Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal as Prime Minister of Somalia.
Without prejudice to the right of people of Somaliland for secession on the basis of self determination right or of remedial right for the injustices subjected to in the past, the present and future generations of Somali descendants deserve explanations on the fundamental causes of the dissolution of Somalia which would mark the end of Somali nationalism.
Somalia is threat to the regional and global security. Therefore, a peaceful dispensation of Somalia’s future is a win-win solution for all and leaders and people of Somaliland can be instrumental again in the revival of Somali nationalism, restoration of peace and formation of legitimate political entities within the boundaries of Somalia.
The establishment of Puntland State as clan-based territory has provided not only peace but also homeland, pride and hope for its people. It has also established a parameter, signpost for national political reconciliation and discourse, the concept of citizenship identity and form of state formation which means institutionalization of clan identity and politics. It has been reported that Puntland has new constitution while a new flag and new anthem are under preparation. This is road to complete secession supported by majority of Puntland Elite.
The above described alienation process is why there is an urgent need to launch a Somalia Citizenship Defense Movement for the revival of Somalia if possible. Social grievances, widespread unemployment, poverty, humanitarian crisis, piracy, terrorism, socio-economic development, and foreign interference throughout Somalia can only be addressed effectively under a functional State of Somalia.
Mr. Mohamud M Uluso