Let deal on Somalia be turning point for country
Monday, September 16, 2013
The launch of a New Deal for Somalia in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday – under the auspices of the European Union – is very important not only for the war-torn country but also for its neighbours, particularly Kenya and Ethiopia.
The event is expected to endorse the pact between Somalia and the international community that will enable the country to move faster on the road towards peace and prosperity. It may not be too much to hope that the people sitting around the conference table will remember that the normalcy they see in Somalia was made possible by the huge sacrifices made by Kenyans. That to defeat Al-Shabaab, Kenya has had to pay the ultimate price by losing some of its soldiers and spend a fortune deploying its armed forces.
Although it is true that other African countries such as Uganda and Burundi had sent troops into Somalia before Kenya, it is noteworthy that they were concentrated around key installations in Mogadishu and left Al-Shabaab to control the rest of the country, including its key seaport of Kismayu.
Equally noteworthy, the European Union, the host of today’s meeting, confined its military presence to guarding its shipping interests in international waters while it left the job of destroying the pirates’ hideaway to Kenya and other African troops working under Amisom, the African Union Mission to Somalia.
The expectations from the conference are, understandably, very high. But they are achievable in the medium and long-term provided there is enough good will from all the stakeholders.
In short, the conference will set out a clear political vision for Somalia’s future, set agreed development priorities and establish financing mechanisms and ways to ensure that aid is delivered effectively, and those entrusted with it are held accountable.
But the bottom line is that Somali people hold the key to their own destiny and must assume the rights and obligations of a sovereign state, taking both ownership and responsibility for their own future.
It is time for the real Somalis to stand up.