Editorial: The Garowe Principles and the way forward in Somalia 25 Dec 25, 2011 - 3:29:54 PM
GAROWE ONLINE EDITORIAL |
Somalis from different clans and different regions intermingled, discussed, negotiated and eventually agreed to a set of principles that will guide the political and constitutional development in Somalia for the coming years.
There can be apology for victory. It comes to those whom Almighty Allah bestows His Mercy and His Honor upon.
TFG President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed [left] and Puntland President Abdirahman Farole at Garowe Conference
The Somali National Consultative Constitutional Conference (21–23 December 2011) was held in Garowe, the capital city of Puntland State. The signed document, aptly entitled the Garowe Principles, is a historic record that will be referenced in future political developments in Somalia. In short, the Garowe Principles serve rightfully as a set of steps that guide the constitutional process in Somalia.
What happened in Garowe this week was incredible as far as the political turmoil with which Somalia is associated is concerned. Inside Somalia, a high-level conference was held – with Somali leaders and dignitaries debating openly and freely among themselves, with no foreign interference.
Our praise goes to the Puntland Government for hosting this conference and to the Puntland public for generously welcoming their fellow Somalis. We commend the brave step taken by the visiting delegations from Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP), the Galmudug authority and Ahlu Sunna group. Somalia today needs a process that consolidate political and security gains, but our war-torn country does not need any more meaningless political wrangling.
Furthermore, we praise the key role played by Puntland security institutions and particularly the soldiers and police officers of Puntland State – who stood guard, day and night, to prevent terrorist attacks – even as Al Shabaab terrorist group issued public threats against the Somali national conference in Garowe. It is unfortunate – yet satisfyingly revealing of people’s inner intentions – that certain Somali websites reported AMISOM peacekeepers were in Garowe to secure the conference venue. Aside from 10 soldiers traveling with the TFG delegations, more than 600 police and soldiers who partook in security in Garowe and at the conference venue (Puntland State University) were Puntland government forces.
What is truly remarkable is the spectrum of debate and discussions during the constitutional conference. Somalis from different clans and different regions intermingled, discussed, negotiated and eventually agreed to a set of principles that will guide the political and constitutional development in Somalia for the coming years.
Yes, indeed Somalis have met in Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Djibouti, Cairo, London, and other world capitals before. But what is remarkable is the epoch-making conference was held inside Somalia for the first time in 20 years in an atmosphere of peace, respect and understanding.
What is more remarkable is that, when the delegates were bogged in negotiations, leadership emerged and a compromise deal was reached – purely among Somalis. Yes, the international community is frustrated and disappointed with developments in Somalia – insecurity, humanitarian crises, terrorism and piracy, poverty, illiteracy, disease. But today, the international community has a renewed faith and opportunity to glance at Somalia through a new set of eyes. Somalis are more than able to talk among themselves and to work out their differences in a civilized and respectful manner.
The political dispute in Mogadishu among the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) was created simply to oppose the conference being held in Garowe. Perhaps the world forgets, but we Somalis know that clan hostilities persist and the genocidal maniacs who massacred civilians, mothers and children since 1991 are today Members of Parliament. They want to retain their parliamentary seats because they have the cover of legitimacy to protect them from war crimes prosecution. It is natural that such warmongers oppose parliament reforms – as the Garowe Principles declares the reduction of the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) from a bloated 550 MPs to 225 MPs, a reasonable number for Somalia’s 8million population. One wonders: is it any surprise that the MPs who have engaged in fistfights inside parliament this month in Mogadishu are led by Mogadishu’s notorious warlords – Yalahow, Caato, Xaaran-ku-naax, Seeraar, just to name a few.
The cover of legitimacy and immunity from prosecution, as MPs, will fall apart as of mid-2012. The taste of justice is the air.
So they opposed the conference to be held in Garowe. But now that the conference was held and ended in success with the signing of the Garowe Principles, the opposition camp – led by Mogadishu’s bloodthirsty warlords – will now try new tricks.
But the doors are closing in fast. The TFP unanimously ratified the Kampala Accord in Sept. 2011 – as such, the Roadmap process and the Garowe Principles are borne out of the Kampala Accord, which extended the mandate of the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFI) in Somalia. It is the Kampala Accord which gives the TFIs legitimacy today.
The international community wants to see results in Somalia. Yet, the spoilers are relentless in their efforts to derail every attempt at consolidating national peace and security. Indeed, as the world focused on the war against Al Shabaab terrorist group, we forgot about the warmongers and spoilers within the TFIs, who are attempting to destroy the system from the inside.
All the resources spent in Somalia will go to waste if the international community remains unable to take strong actions against spoilers.
On the Garowe Principles, there is need for cautious celebration. More importantly, there is need for us all to remember fellow Somalis who are dying, who are starving, those who are facing daily intimidation and death threats, those in refugee camps, and those suffering at the high seas as they escape their homeland in search of a better life.
The Roadmap process is ambitious with clear timelines and benchmarks. So far, Somalis have been able to keep up with the requirements of the Roadmap – showing commitment to a cause. However, with spoilers running free and the availability of an unregulated sensational media, there is growing risk to derail the ongoing peace process.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon’s visit to Mogadishu on 9 Dec 2011 and UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement of an international conference on Somalia, scheduled for 23 Feb 2012, emphasizes the growing international interest in Somalia. But the time to act robustly is now, not only in the ongoing campaign to defeat Al Shabaab terrorists and piracy gangs, but also to act robustly against spoilers of the peace process.
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