Posted by: africanpressorganization | 19 April 2010

Letter to the members of the Somali Diaspora (No. 24)

 

 


 

 

Letter to the members of the Somali Diaspora (No. 24)

 

 

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 19, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — As-Salaamu Alaikum,

My warmest greetings to you all,

1. The arrival of Spring, currently taking place in many of your countries of

residence, generally brings a renewed sense of optimism for the future. I hope this

regular update to the Jaaliyadda finds that feeling rekindled in all of you when you

think of your homeland and where it is headed because there are quite a few positive

developments.

2. The implementation of the Government’s agreement on 15 March with Ahlu

Sunna wal Jama’a continues. Meetings with all parties have been underway in

Mogadishu with discussions centering on ways to move forward on the security front

including plans for the integration of the ASWJ military elements, numbering 2,000,

into the TFG where appropriate and for collaboration in the area of governance.

3. As I said last month, this is a good step forward especially for those in the

central regions and the Somali people should call for the agreement to be

implemented quickly. This agreement is a departure from past practices of viewing

the situation as a confrontation where there is a winner and a loser. This is not the

case here. The move by Ahlu Sunna wal Jama’a to join the TFG has been a show of

patriotism and dignity that demonstrates, more than any words could, the will to offer

some hope to ordinary Somalis. Things are changing and it is more evident than ever

that those who continue the violence no longer have an alibi and cannot hide behind

the veil of war.

4. Again, I hope that the agreement serves as a perfect example that all Somalis

should join the peace process. This would help to address fundamental issues just as

their brothers in Puntland and Somaliland are doing. The progress there is noticeable

and has been made by themselves alone. The TFG and the Puntland Administration

signed an agreement on 12 April to harmonize an accord which, in its first phase, was

signed by both sides on August 23 in Galkayo. In essence, the agreement obligates

both sides to take steps towards combating piracy and strengthening law and order on

land and at sea which would have critical social, economical and environmental

outcomes including better security and job creation.

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5. In Somaliland, the Code of Conduct has been signed by the Chairmen of the

political parties and all parties have reaffirmed their commitment to abide by it. The

issuance of new voter registration cards will begin the second week in May 2010.

Somaliland continues to give priority to discussion and dialogue over violence.

6. On the security front, training by the European Union Training Mission in

Uganda is scheduled to start in May of an initial 1,000 recruits. This training will also

be an opportunity to integrate some of the ASWJ troops into the TFG, as well as offer

some places for troops from other regions to train along side their TFG counterparts.

Training of national security forces has already taken place in neighboring IGAD

member countries. The Somali National Security Force now has around 10,000

trained personnel and the Somali Police Force will be around 7,000 by 1 July. These

are necessary operations and the Government should be seriously and immediately

supported by the International Community to help equip these troops and pay their

stipends during this transitional period.

7. The Constitutional process has also advanced since I last updated you. An

Induction Workshop for the Independent Federal Constitution Commission (IFCC)

which took place in Djibouti from 4 to 23 March 2010 has mapped out concrete ways

to drive forward the Constitutional process. The Commission extended its

participants from 15 to 30 and reached an agreement on the outline of the structure of

the IFCC. Members of the Parliamentary Constitution Committee (PCC) and IFCC

also set up a joint committee to pursue matters of coordination between the two

bodies and adopted a unified work-plan which includes a media and public

consultation strategy. The first consultative draft document should be issued by the 1

July 2010 which, by no coincidence, happens to be the 50th Anniversary of Somali

Independence! In fact, 2010 has been declared the “Year of Peace” in Africa by the

African Union. It is also the “Year of Africa” as the continent celebrates fifty years of

independence for 20 African nations, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte

d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan, to name just a few. Many

of these countries are still struggling, but they are developing and functioning.

Somalia can get to there too. This is why I implore the international community not

to give up on Somalia, though that opinion is always lingering.

8. In fact, the International Community will be represented by some 40 countries

showing their support for Somalia at the next International Contact Group meeting on

21 to 22 April. Hosted by the League of Arab States, it will be held in Cairo and will

provide another opportunity to look at the progress made and agree on ways forward

in the peace process. I will, of course, provide you with more details following the

Conference.

9. I would also like to take the opportunity to mention the much-talked about

“offensive.” The Government has been preparing for quite a while an offensive to

address, in particular, security in the capital. This offensive covers three aspects:

political, security and the economy or job creation. In this respect, the offensive has

already started with action taken in the all three areas simultaneously. The agreement

with ASWJ broadens the basis of the Government; integration and training of the

Somali Forces with a strong role played by the European Union, the United States and

the African Union is in motion. Finally, related to job creation, rehabilitation and

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reconstruction of infrastructure and private enterprises provide activities that are part

of the offensive long announced by the Government.

10. So far, I have provided a brief summary of positive developments, but the

recent move by extremists to force 14 radio stations in Mogadishu to stop airing

music or face dire consequences cannot be ignored. Intimidating and threatening the

public, the media and aid workers is not in keeping with Somali heritage or culture

and an infringement of basic human rights. Somalis are known and admired for their

reverential views of poetry, artistic performances and music. Furthermore, besides

entertainment, the media provides an essential service to Somalis by informing them

of the latest news and events. Keeping Somalis from knowing what is happening

around them is another form of oppression.

11. I must add a final comment on the unnecessary disputes within Parliament.

They are a distraction from the essential activities and responsibilities of the

Government, Parliament and the leadership and precious time should not be devoted

this counterproductive activity. I hope that the positive developments that are taking

place will diminish the role of those elements that continue to make the Somali people

suffer. We all know there is a long way to go, but let us take heart from what has

been done and continue to push forward.

Yours Faithfully,

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah

 

SOURCE 

United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS)


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