London Conference stripped Somalia of its indivisibility, sovereignty and polity

The communiqué of February 23 Conference on Somalia, dominated by the International Contact Group (ICG) and the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia fell far short of all expectations. The promised new approach or step-change by the British leaders to tackle the root causes of insecurity and lack of functional government responsible for the inexorable decline of 20 years in Somalia did not materialize. Concretely, nothing in the communiqué responds to the solution of the well described dreadful situation in Somalia, a country suffering for wars and natural disasters. The reason is a matter of conjecture.

The communiqué listed operational tasks before a national polity capable of pursuing the interests of the Somali people is in place.  This means that South Central Somalia became subject to the alien paradigm of Prof Stephen D. Krasner, who in his paper titled “troubled societies, outlaw states and gradations of sovereignty” argued that alternative institutional arrangements, such as trusteeship and shared sovereignty must be legitimized if international threats are to be reduced and the prospects for individuals in troubled societies improved. This view seems operationalized through the New Deal of Engagement with Fragile States adopted by the Conference.

In blatant contradiction to the statement that “decisions on Somalia’s future rest with the Somali people,” which is true, the London conference decided for Somalia and stripped Somalia of its indivisibility, sovereignty and polity. The participation of the conference by several delegations from Somalia for the absence of a national leader who represents the voice of Somalia before the international community did undercut Somalia’s common cause. The invitation of the ousted Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan under Ethiopian pressure was also a snub to large segment of the Somali population and show of Ethiopia’s veto power over Somalia.

The Communiqué, released before the conference took place, failed to take into consideration most of the suggestions made by members of the Somali communities, of the opinions of many international leaders like Mary Robinson who emphasized the humanitarian consideration over military actions and President Ismail Omar Ghelle who strongly advocated for the top priority of funding Somali forces over AMISOM forces, of the Guardian editorial strongly suggesting the consideration for disengagement and of other international experts.

With political mastery, to deflect any criticism from the humanitarian activists, UK addressed AMISOM funding outside the conference. On Feb 22, it has pushed through the UN Security Council a resolution that increased AMISOM forces from 12,000 to 17, 731 with the annual budget of $ 550 million. Reimbursement for lost or destroyed equipment during the fighting is extra budget. Kenya complains about the rejection of $ 10 million requested for its navy while it received from UK $ 15 million with no string attached. The humanitarian assistance offered during the conference could be intended to mitigate the expected human disaster due to the escalation of military operations in Somalia.

The communiqué ignored to reaffirm the territorial integrity, sovereignty and unity of Somalia. Also, it remained silent about the illegal fishing and dumping of toxic off the Somali coast, the indiscriminate shelling and killing of civilians by UN supported forces and the frequent Ethiopian military incursions into Somalia.

Out of the 26 paragraphs of the communiqué, only 7 paragraphs contain new information. The important tasks spelled out in these paragraphs are the followings:

1.        Endorsement of the unpopular UNPOS political process based on making new constitution in the midst of civil war, regional secessions, social distrust and foreign interventions. The constituencies of the new constitution are not defined. The Switzerland government is the major backer of the new federal constitution. This is unprecedented political misjudgment.

2.       End of the Transitional Federal Institutions in August 20, 2012. The communiqué leaves out what will follow but the list of activities detailed in it foretells a standby arrangement.

3.        Introduction of parallel Somali political processes at the national and local levels. It is not clear the relationship between these two parallel processes.

4.       Establishment of a New Stability Fund. Local areas will be supported based on the new deal for engagement with fragile states recently adopted in Busan and on the stabilization strategies prepared by both IGAD and TFG.

5.        Confirmation that Somaliland is not part of Somalia or of TFG. On February 23, 2012, Somalia ended to exist internationally. Over the next three years, Somaliland will receive directly from UK about £105 million for promoting prosperity, tackling poverty and consolidating progress on stability and democracy.

6.       Adherence to shady agreements like Djibouti Agreement, Kampala Accord, Roadmap and Garowe principles I and II. These agreements violate the Transitional Federal Charter and obstruct genuine political process.

7.        Establishment of a Joint Financial Management Board (JFMB) in conflict with the Transitional Federal Charter and any national Constitution. JFMB reinforces the lack of transparency and accountability because Board members are foreigners. International and domestic resources are regulated by different rules and principles. French Republic, United Kingdom, European Union and the World Bank are the initial members of JFMB. The President, the Prime Minister and the Minister of finance of the TFG will initially represent the TFG on the JFMB. This arrangement violates the Somali constitution and domestic laws. JFMB will usurp the establishment of the offices of the Ministry of Finance, Accountant General, Central Bank and Auditor General. JFMB operates only in South Central Somalia. A functional government can fight corruption.

8.       Commitment to support the Regional Maritime Capacity Building Initiatives. Somalis are not aware any of these initiatives developed and funded for European maritime security.

9.       Establishment of a Regional Anti Piracy prosecutions and intelligence coordination centre in the Seychelles for Somali Citizens. From this plan transpires the time-span assumed for the continuation of the Somali crisis.

10.    Implementation of the Financial Action Tasks Force’s recommendations on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism. Without having responsible functional Somali Government in place, this decision could endanger the lives of millions of Somalis for suspicion or precautious justifications.

11.     Collaboration with the Global Counter Terrorism Forum and other international and regional bodies.

12.    Implementation of Mogadishu Recovery and Stabilization plan. This is very much needed plan but it could be used against national needs and goals.

13.     Implementation of Djibouti Code of Conduct and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Somalia as the most failed state in the world lacks the authority and capacity to implement this responsibility.

14.    Establishment of a “Core Group of Engaged Countries” that would drive progress in support of UN, AU and IGAD efforts.

Some of the unanticipated issues in the communiqué are the pre-concluded anti-piracy agreement between UK, Seychelles and Somaliland, the revival of EEZ issue overwhelmingly rejected by the federal parliament, the quick approval of the increase of the AMISOM forces with their financial support before conference, the concession for the secession of Somaliland and the formation of the core group of engaged countries responsible on Somalia in the foreseeable future. The Somali people are oblivious to the substance and meaning of the plans and programs decided on their behalf by the International Community and written in English. The wide gap of information, needs and interests between the international community and the Somali people will erode public confidence and support critically needed as precondition for Somalia’s prospect for peace and stability. 

Somalia’s socio-political problems, culture and experience are significantly different from many failed states. Yet, it shares with them the fundamental need for governance. My expectation from the London Conference was a focus on strategic measures to rebuild Somalia’s failed state at national and local levels throughout Somalia on the basis of new approach which encompasses the following four points:

1.        Change of the current failed strategy of IGAD/UNPOS with its attendant constructs like Kampala Accord, Djibouti Agreement, the Roadmap, Garowe Principles, and Addis Ababa Agreement between Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama and TFG.

2.       Call for the appointment by the Security Council of powerful, credible international leader with transparent political agenda for State building in Somalia.

3.        Call for Somali National Accord which deals with reconciliation, peace and State formation in Somalia as the mandate of the Transitional Federal Institutions must end on August 20, 2012.

4.       Pledge for the disbursement of at least 10 billion dollars in the next 4 years specifically for State Building. Humanitarian assistance will decrease as peace and hope expands.

Divided Somalia into fiefdoms enters another era beyond its control. Nevertheless, there is always hope for better future.

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One thought on “London Conference stripped Somalia of its indivisibility, sovereignty and polity

  1. Somalia’s Roadmap Conspiracy unveiled in Garowe.

    Holding a Somali conference in Garowe, the capital ofPuntlandStatewas high praise for the local population and opportunity for all Somalis to engage a genuine national reconciliation.PuntlandStateduly represents the interests of one sub-clan of one of the 4.5 Somali clan families. However, the population ofPuntlandStatehas no responsibility for the flaws and self serving outcome of a conference organized to promote externally driven agenda that conflicts with national reconciliation and ownership, transparency, accountability and sovereignty. Apart from the gaffes, strange and contradicting statements displayed during the opening and closing remarks, the conference ended peacefully and politely but it opened multiple doors wider for foreign influence and dismemberment ofSomalia. The hard to seize solution is true commitment to “Somali national vision” based on widely accepted reconciliation, shared interests, values, and truths for restoring new national identity.
    The Garowe Conference- dubbed the First Somali National Consultative Constitutional Conference was exclusively organized, funded and controlled by the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS). It is far from the truth to say that the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) conveyed the conference. As a matter of fact, UNPOS made the hasty convocation of the conference scheduled on December 21-23, 2011 through a press release 022/2011 issued on December 19, 2011 after the Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan has been ousted from office on December 13, 2011 with 280 and later with 287 votes. Furthermore, the selected participants were merely invitees to the conference opened by the President of Puntland. Finally, the agenda and the official document of the conference, certified by the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN for Somalia Christian Manahl, were exclusively written in English.
    A systematic analysis of the Garowe document (Garowe principles) reveals abuses of national sovereignty, political manipulations and disregard of the provisions of the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC). The document contains threats and intimidation. Paradoxically, the signers including the ousted Speaker urged (ordered) the parliament to respect the Kampala Accord which violates the TFC and thus the legislative power. In addition, they requested the international community (IC) to take punitive action against any member of parliament and by extension any Somali citizen for any action or statement interpreted as derailing the implementation of the mysterious roadmap never submitted to parliament for approval. Out of the four elements of the Roadmap, the IC and Ethiopia are keenly interested in the introduction of clan based federal constitution for ending the current failed transitional period and inaugurating another 4 years transitional period with its causes of failure built in. Consequently, UNPOS’s mandate will automatically be extended for the same period.
    The document exempts the top TFG leaders (President, Prime Minister, ousted Speaker and his two deputies) from no confidence motions, scrutiny, criticism and accountability for the exercise of their public responsibilities or power. TFG leaders and their appointees enjoy the power to rubber stamp the new federal constitution and act without legal checks. They are free to intimidate and arrest anyone they want, ignore parliament and good governance practices. AMISOM forces execute their orders with alacrity. Anybody who opposes the Garowe Principles, Kampala Accord and the Roadmap will be labeled as spoiler and could face personal risks or end up at theInternational Court. This unprecedented fraudulence would belittle the integrity of the United Nations and IC.
    Tied with the illegal suspension of Parliament’s activities for a month, the Garowe document has put the parliament out of business from December 14, 2011. The document assumes that the current parliament cannot take legislative resolution action in the last six months before the end of its term. The end-term date has been moved from August to June 15, 2012. Premeditatedly, the Kampala Accord of June 9, 2011 has unequivocally disabled the parliament in advance. TFG is unconstitutional Government taken over by UNPOS.
    As I mentioned in my article[1] on the draft constitution back in September 2010, the Speaker was trusted partner of the IC on the constitution-based initiative for a transition to a new transitional period. His removal legally from office shocked the IC inNairobi and forced UNPOS to announce the date of the Constitutional Conference in Garowe despite many issues were under discussion. The Speaker with no parliament in session will remain IC partner.
    The Roadmap transferred the powers of the Transitional Federal Institutions provided in the TFC to six persons called stakeholders– three mentioned in the TFC (President, Speaker, Prime Minister) and three added without plausible justification (Presidents of Puntland, Galmudug and an alternating representative from Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama). Therefore, all decisions prepared by the UNPOS under the guidance of the United Nations Department for Political Affairs (UNDPA) are or will be rubber stamped by the six persons. The UNDPA is led by UN Under-Secretary General B. Lynn Pascoe ofUnited States, Assistant Secretary General Tayè-Brook Zerihou ofEthiopia, assisted by experts well versed onSomalia. The continuous deterioration ofSomalia’s political situation and the outcome of Garowe conference should persuade the Department’s leadership to seriously reconsider the direction of its efforts onSomalia.
    In Garowe, the six persons passed constitutional principles without prior authority, public consultation and with palpable conflict of interests. The dictated constitutional principles are:
    v System of government based on federal clan system with undefined hybrid of constituents.
    v Formation of National Constituent Assembly of 1,000 members appointed by the roadmap stakeholders with the authority to approve the clan based federal constitution. Its life time will only be 15 days.
    v Conformity of the Federal Constitution to thePuntlandStateConstitution.
    v Establishment of bicameral legislative structure: (a) Upper Chamber with unknown members of the unknown federal states and regional administrations and (b) Lower Chamber called federal parliament with 225 members of whom 20% will be women members. The 225 MPs will be selected through different processes on the basis of clan representation formula of 4.5 for 4 years term. Strangely enough the clan representation and substitution will not be described in the Constitution. This clause of hide and condemn clan affiliations but religiously practice clan discrimination is odious and unpatriotic and contradicts the role of the Traditional Leaders.
    v Formation of 15 member interim electoral commission appointed by the familiar stakeholders of the roadmap and empowered to evaluate and approve all 225 MPs nominees. The commission overrides the clan rights as primary constituents of theSomaliState. The practical purpose of the commission is to keep the selection process under the control of the stakeholders and IC as it has happened inDjiboutiin 2009. This kind of controlled process will defeat the emergence of legitimate State inSomalia.
    v Nomination of MPs by recognized traditional leaders (by whom?) assisted by qualified civil society members. This is an anomaly in the Somali culture because the traditional leaders have the responsibility to consult with their clan and sub-clan members.
    v New federal parliament will be sworn on June 15, 2012 but its term will commence on August 21, 2012. The current parliament is for all practical purposes dissolved now.
    v The document decrees thatSomalilandis part of the Federal Government of Somalia. The lack of participation ofSomalilandin the future political process will vitiate the Garowe document.
    v The Garowe document is final and will not be submitted to parliament for ratification. It controls the federal constitution in preparation, and binds the next parliament and Government during the coming 4 years transitional period.
    The process outlined in the Garowe document is replica of 2002-2004 and 2008 processes. The next 4 years transitional period would be another precious time wasted.Somalia’s roadmap conspiracy is unveiled in Garowe.
    In conclusion, there is resemblance between UN (IC) and Al Shabab approach for establishing governance inSomalia. Both ignore the sovereignty, interests, and legitimate representation of the Somali people for the consideration of higher purpose of Allah in the case of Al Shabab or of Chapter 7 of the UN Charter and of the building block (clan based federalism) wanted by Ethiopia and Kenya in the case of UN (IC). Al Shabab sought the help of foreign fighters to implement its governance model inSomalia, while the stakeholders of the Roadmap created by UN (IC) rely on the support of foreign forces (AMISOM) to claim authority. Both approaches forebode bleak future forSomalia.

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