to go back to the first peace conference in Djibouti
in 1992 to examine the antics of the warlords and
their hell bent record to keep the status quo, come
what may. The result of subsequent peace talks (14
of them) is shameful; time after time the interests
of the Somali people were subjected to the power hungry
of the warlords.
the latest Mbagathi talks many people in Somalia and
in the Diaspora begun to feel some hope of saving
the country from farther destruction-a glimmer of
hope at the end of the proverbial tunnel. But with
the tide running hard against the warlords, and when
they felt the real instrument of power appeared to
them to be on its last legs, they, instead of offering
some concession, walked out of the talks in a huff
as they did on previous peace talks. Obviously, their
crime record prevents them from agreeing on anything.
occurring just when the future of the country was
finally looking promising.
is back to square one.
warlords this was not enough. They decided to hold
a parallel meeting of their own at Jowhar, insisting
that their grievance must be addressed or else…
Or else what? It was an extremely difficult position
for anyone to deal with, but IGAD Foreign Ministers
meeting in Djibouti unanimously declared that the
third phase of the Mbagathi talks must go on and called
the "defiant ones" and stake holders to
return to the talks.
things worse in a nation already ravaged by war, natural
and man-made disasters, fresh consignment of weapons
entered the country from Ethiopia in violation of
a 1992 U.N. Security Council Resolution 733 arms embargo
on Somalia. Was this coincidence? The answer is yes.
WHY NOW? Once again, the danger of renewed fighting
is clearly looming high over the captive population.
To dish out a resolution is one thing, but to vigorously
enforce it is another.
we expected to think of this mockery of a U.N. resolution?
Obviously, the arms embargo itself is half-hearted
approach, but one which leaves the people of Somalia
to once again pay a heavy price in terms of human
lives and properties. No wonder the United Nations
failed Rwanda and Somalia.
misfortune and Somalia has been there. Endless war
and any thinkable disasters. Those Somalis still living
in the country have almost already given up any hope
for peace and the rule of law. They have been desperate
for a long time. Every single day is a fight for survival.
the country came under the shadow of a bunch of brutal
warlords and their militia gunmen who imposed their
own interpretation of "gun rule." They have
been blamed of stealing everything that's not nailed
down and destroyed a series of the very few water
and electricity systems available. During the last
14 years or so they have burnt out large field areas
in Somalia's bread basket between the two rivers,
forcing the poverty level below even the $1 US which
the U.N. estimated a city dweller had to live on each
American Congressman was quoted by Newsweek magazine
as saying that: "people who dragged the dead
bodies of American soldiers through the streets are
definitely not hungry."
this was barbaric, stone age, caveman's version of
punishing your foe. But this was the act of one of
the clans in the capital who became furious after
half a dozen of Cobra helicopter gun-ships murdered
their respected elders with a dozen of TOW missiles
and "smart" bombs. The elders were meeting,
ostensibly, to dislodge General Aideed and open peaceful
dialogue with the United Nations and the Americans,
according to a lone survivor. "This was the result
of intelligence screw-ups on the part of the American
and U.N. officials in Mogadishu. Lack of co-ordination
and intelligence sharing was the main stumbling block,"
a top Pentagon official later admitted at an impromptu
press conference in Washington, D.C.
was a total fiasco," according to Washington
Post newspaper. It is the old maxim that says the
right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing.
later, Amnesty International recorded human rights
are daily and systematically brutally offended by
killing or kidnapping innocent civilians in broad
daylight. This is due to the fact that the militia
had not been paid since their godfathers have been
meeting in Mbagathi 17 months ago and needed ransom
money to appease their daily craving for the narcotic
drug Qaad and cigarettes. I am not surprised and I
don't blame them.
inhabitants of this poor country once more have to
expect a devastating attack by the same warlords,
a.k.a. war criminals who destroyed the country and
maimed the people, as they have done during previous
high points in conflicts-this time with newly acquired
hi-tech weaponry from a neighbouring country, according
to a recent report by the inept U.N. weapons monitors.
give the enemies of peace and stability what they
want, and the Somalis will again be thrown into lawlessness
and the warlords will be replaced but perhaps by another
that is no better equipped to solve the country's
problems. A vicious circle is perhaps the right portrayal.
put, what little hope there was for a peaceful settlement
in the ongoing Nairobi parley was crushed by the boycott
of a number of warlords and the escalating military
action in many parts of the country. Article 30 of
the selection of parliament remains contentious and
those who walked out of the talks concluded in their
statement of withdrawal: "THAT THEY WOULD STAND
BY THEIR DECISION TO HOLD THE THIRD PHASE OF THE TALKS
WITHIN SOMALIA" (the capitalization is theirs).
to believe-and you can call me a naïve-that commonsense
dictates that those who were alleged to have tempered
with Article 30, if proved true, after the Charter
was signed, should come forward and explain in a language
approaching English why they did what they did without
first consulting with the signatories?
Kiplagat, who initially came with a clean record of
professionalism and diplomacy, after replacing Elijah
Mwangale at the warlord-dominated Eldoret conference,
raised our expectations and is now in a position to
answer this question. Mr. Kiplagat has the responsibility
to establish a threshold of credibility. But now it
seems he had lost the ball.
the first step would be for the United Nations Security
Council to set up special war crimes tribunal, like
the ones in The Hague and Arusha to try the Somali
warlords for the crimes they committed and are still
committing against the Somali people since 1991. The
second step would be to disarm and demobilize the
militia. The third step would be for the international
community to assist the Somali people elect their
civic leaders in a fair and free election to restore
law and order, and last but not least national reconstruction
community should not shut their eyes and ears about
Somalia-hear no evil and see no evil. I have a feeling
that the world community has sworn Omerta, the Mafia
code of silence after the Americans and the United
Nations pulled out of Somalia in 1994 after their
Operation Restore Hope imbroglio.
is a bumpy road and the stopwatch is ticking, but
there's a future for everyone, including those who
allege that the country is sanctuary for international
terrorists, not forgetting that there are terrorist
cells in London, Paris and Washington, and none of
these are manned by Somali nationals. Also not forgetting
that none of those who struck the twin towers of the
World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in
Washington, D.C. were from Somalia.
M. M. Afrah©2004