UNSOM steers Somalia into political abyss

By IndepthAfrica
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Dec 22nd, 2013
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On December 2, the UN Secretary General (UNSG) submitted a second three-month report on Somalia to the UN Security Council (UNSC) since the establishment of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) on June 3rd in accordance with resolution 2102 (2013). On December 10, the Special Representative of the UNSG, head of UNSOM, Ambassador Nicholas Kay briefed the Council on the report.
The assessment and performance information contained in the report is far from indicating progress in peacebuilding and statebuilding objectives. Oddly enough, there hasn’t been so far any noticeable alarm, concern, and discussion among the Somali leaders about the negative message the report delivers.
For example, the report reminds the international community that the president and the federal government did not honor their commitment to ensure “due process” in handling the cases of alleged rape and sexual violence. Although the stories in the report point to different conclusions, the federal government is praised for “the promotion of national reconciliation and outreach initiatives countrywide.”
UNSOM is now at the driver’s seat of Somalia and is aggressively forcing the formation of federal member states against the roadmap provided in the Provisional Constitution. This move steers Somalia into political abyss.
Jubba Interim Administration
The report makes clear that the Addis Ababa agreement and Mogadishu Reconciliation Conference, supervised by the foreign minister of Ethiopia are deals between the Federal Government and Ahmed Madobe. With no consequence, the report notes that Digil and Mirifle clan leaders have unequivocally rejected the Addis Ababa Agreement as “unconstitutional” and called for a conference to establish a federal member state of six regions. However, the voices of opposition against the Addis Ababa Agreement remain drowned by a new slogan of Ambassador Nicholas Kay, which says, “The UN will continue to back the voices of hope, not despair, of opportunity, not crisis.”
Actually, the adamant UN support for the implementation of Addis Ababa agreement, which lacks legal and political legitimacy, generates crisis and despair. Ambassador Nicholas Kay touts Jubba Interim Administration as a model for the formation of other federal member states on an accelerated track. He and a UN Integrated Constitutional Support Team are giving briefings on federalism, fiscal federation and wealth sharing to the leaders and officials of the federal government to support state formation. What it is more astonishing is that the political, diplomatic, logistic, and financial support withheld from the federal Government for lack of accountability, transparency, and of political inclusiveness has been eagerly offered directly to Jubba Interim Administration.
Political, security, and economic situations

Besides Al Shabab terror, the report describes political tensions and volatile security situations existing in all parties of Somalia: Mogadishu, Kismaayo, Baydhabo, Puntland, Galmudug, and Somaliland. It mentions the increase in criminal activities like illegal checkpoints, extortions, and military abuses in Mogadishu and Kismaayo as well as serious tension (diplomatic relations frozen) between the Federal Government and Puntland. It also notes the clashes between Somaliland and the self-proclaimed “Khatumo State” or the tension over the disputed regions of Sool, Sanaag, and Cayn. It has not been reported any advancements in the security and protection of the citizens and the fight against Al Shabab.

The report emphasizes as priorities of the federal government the review of the provisional constitution, formation of federal member states, the holding of national referendum on final constitution, and a political election by 2016. What it is not clear is the aimed territory and people and the fate of the “permanent federal government of Somalia,” established to deliver state functions principally security (end of Al Shabab terror), institutional building and public administration, rule of law (justice), economic recovery, and international engagement.

The attention of UNSOM and UN Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA) is dedicated to the support and welfare of AMISOM forces. In three months, UN facilitated the rotation of 7,440 AMISOM troops. Without the federal government authority, major security infrastructures are going on in the area of Mogadishu Airport, Jaziira, and Ballidogle Military Airport.
There is complete mismatch between the rhetoric and actions with regard to the support of Somali National Army (SNA). The report lists Youth Rehabilitation Centers for disengaged fighters and the delivery of 1,000 protection equipment and computers provided by the government of Japan to the police force. UN establishes a trust fund to provide a non-lethal support to SNA forces engaged in joint operation with AMISOM. It reviews previous plans and working groups.
The report clarifies that the $2.4 billion pledged in Brussels is a combination of past and new funds. To compete with the World Bank and African Development Bank Trust Funds for Somalia, the UN launched its multi-partners trust fund. The report interpreted the resignation of former Central Bank Governor, Yussur Abrar as a positive development because it highlighted the urgent needs to “reform” the corrupt public financial management of the federal government.
UNSOM
The steps followed to establish UNSOM can be a model for institutional building in Somalia. With mandate, structure, budget, and leadership in place, UNSOM recruited 54 permanent and temporary international staff and 18 national staff. It is headquartered in Villa Somalia, seat of the president of Somalia. There are offices in Garowe, Baydhabo, Kismaayo, and Beletweyne to establish direct contact with local population. Somaliland refused UNSOM office in Hargeisa. In collaboration with AMISOM forces, well-equipped special 410 guard unit will protect the safety and security of UNSOM personnel.
UNSOM plays the key role of coordinating all international and local political, security, development, governance, and humanitarian activities in Somalia, excluded Somaliland. It models on Paul Bremer Iraq Administration. Ambassador Nicholas Kay envisions “a new political dispensation” for Somalia.
Human rights abuses
The report states that following the failed assassination attempt on Ahmed Madobe in Kismaayo on 12 September, at least 20 men were reported missing. UNSOM acknowledges that Raskamboni militia was responsible for extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and the ill treatment of civilians of non Ogadeni origin in Kismaayo.
The report also highlights the continuation of enforced eviction of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mogadishu, including orphaned children, single women heads of households, visually impaired persons, without prior planning. This inhumane government action has increased human rights violations against vulnerable groups.
Humanitarian situation

The report estimates that 3.17 million Somalis are in need of food assistance. International donors funded only 48 percent of $1.15 billion consolidated Appeal Process of 2013. The widespread insecurity situation in Somalia is a major obstacle to the delivery, access, and impact of humanitarian, economic recovery and developmental assistance.
The report unveils UNCHR pilot project for voluntary repatriation of 10,000 refugees in Kenya camps. Humanitarian agencies and Somali refugees are distressed by the consequences of the tripartite agreement between Kenya, Somalia and UNHCR for the repatriation of Somali refugees in Kenya. The consensus is that the ratification of the tripartite agreement was premature and heartless.
Observations

UNSOM has set aside the provisional constitution, delegitimized the federal government institutions and marginalized large segment of the Somali population. Ambassador Nicholas Kay took over the leadership and responsibility of forming regional states through financial incentives, diplomatic pressure, and exclusion. The leaders of the Federal Government chose to go along with UNSOM’s move.
The aggressive plan to form clan based federal member states repeats the mistakes for which Africa suffered years of civil and intrastate wars because of disputes over nations divided by arbitrary borders. The “clan federalism” policy after the collapse of the Somali state aims also to deny Somalia of an effective national government and to suppress Somali nationalism but the policy has already caused unintended consequences.
President Ahmed Madobe of Jubba Interim Administration (Somalia has multiple presidents) has now officially formed his government, including foreign affairs Ministry. The Ministry for internal security has ordered all non-supporters of Raskamboni led government to leave Kismaayo immediately; otherwise they will face unspecified punishment which could include death or disappearance.
Similarly, the leaders of Hiiraan region ordered all non-owners of the land to leave the region immediately. The Somali citizens, non-owners of Puntland, are considered refugees or guest people. The fighting in the Lower Shabelle, Hiiraan, and Middle Shabelle could be partially fuelled by the same ownership sentiments in Kismaayo, Belet Weyne, Puntland, Khatumo, Hargeisa, and Mogadishu. The concept of Somali citizenship is nationally and internationally disdained.
In a TV Interview, Eng. Faysal Ali Waraabe, opposition leader of Somaliland has sounded alarm about the spread of clan territory ownership struggle as an obstacle to Somaliland’s statehood. He advised his fellow Somalilanders to prepare for the new challenge brewing in Sanaag and Sool.

Mr. Mohamud M Uluso
mohamuduluso@gmail.com

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