by Prof. Liban A Egal
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Somalia's upcoming permanent government is supposed to be a model for national reconciliation and good governance; the so called signatories, largely made up of former militia members, intellectual Diasporas, and members of Puntland and Galmudug states. Instead, these corrupt leaders have been quick to set aside their differences in favor of future power sharing, where the bitter pill of sovereignty is bypassed, and the result is mere legal fiction. Apparently, doing so helps them to strategize in how to share the potential spoils in post-transitional government, and on signing away the country’s future, in return for personal financial gain.
The new regime will be established as planned in August 2012, which according to the grand design of the international and regional stakeholders is a fait accompli. The preparations for presidential and parliamentary elections are proceeding on schedule, with voting expected to take place on 20thAugust 2012. The international community called this process “Somali owned to pull the country from the brink of ruins.” If such predicament fails, a trusteeship would entail a new enhanced form of international responsibility, where locals remain partners in any arrangements (multilateral joint venture); further, taking control of the new predicted source of revenue, oil, etc.
Unfortunately, TFG has misused the time to make things worse, by pre-selecting and handpicking their Member of Parliament, through village chiefs and tribal elders to dictate the country’s future. Somalia’s corrupt leaders and politicians have found it easy to outmaneuver the UN and the international community in the conduct of what locals call business as usual. Despite claims that they are struggling for peace, democracy, and reconciliation, these leaders and their cohorts continue to use the country's institutions for personal profit.
The best option would be a radical intervention assigning a UN force, led by an elite career diplomat with strong military credentials, to disarm local fighters and the general population in Mogadishu at large prior to elections, build a working bureaucracy, monitor democratic elections, and establish the basis for lasting peace.
The conforming approach for helping Somalia's classical failed syndrome does not work without pre-disarmament and genuine reconciliation. Healing Somalia requires a comprehensive long-term strategy; not a quick fix. Obviously, a wrong prescription of political reform, with little thought of its cumulative consequences, was given to Somalia by the international community. In fact international actors should be involved for ten years or longer on Somalia's stability. A new approach will also require indigenous political institutions and frameworks that draw in all interested parties including Somaliland.
The output indicator predicts even if one of the few respectable candidates wins the presidential election in August 2012, there is little chance that he will be able to rectify matters. And if AMISOM and IGAD start to wind down their peacekeeping mission after the elections, as it currently plans, delegating some of its efforts to Somali police and army without appropriate administrational training, functional law courts, and police stations, the most likely outcome will be a resumption of chaos and recurring of civil-war. To have a chance of success, the election efforts and its smooth transition must take the city’s fragile security dynamics into account.
Mogadishu could currently be described as a war zone, because TFG cannot guarantee law and order throughout the city, its citizens are victims without suffrage, and there is no diverse council that monitors or assures the fair selection of new MPs and fair election in the parliament. Al-shabaab’s paranoid forces are integrated with the Somali National Army without counseling and rehabilitation according to force commander General Abdulkarim Yusuf -Dhaga-badan ‘ Alshabab are the most feared who are capable to execute covert missions and targeted assassinations while they operate under Somali National Army helmet. If unleashed by their non-ideological leaders (members of TFG), it can create another psychological havoc and destruction in Mogadishu.
Mogadishu’s cost of living has risen across the board, as commodity prices, real estate values, construction materials, hotel rates and other goods and services. All these cosmetic changes, brought by an influx of Diasporas hoping for better future, are temporary. Despite all these changes Mogadishu became 35% IDP centers, where orphan kids receive one meal a day, sniff glue to stay away from hunger, and foreign aid is considered a fat cow.The new phenomena is a wave of supporters from these IDP centers, collected from different districts which are hired to rally behind every presidential contender without the intension of supporting the contender’s view of political agenda or ideology but just for that day’s fees and meal.
Somalia suffered through fighting for almost a generation, lacking honest competent leaders but also office administration professionals and bureaucrats.
There are fewer handfuls of people who are educated or trained for effective government work. Somalia’s war today, often mistakenly understood as tribal, is actually a regional war with internally competing politically vested interest group’s combating each other for support from neighboring governments. A healthier, more stable and secure Somalia would benefit everyone in the region and around the world.