Monthly Archives: May 2014

Hyena’s Justice

Hyena’s Justice.
Hyena rules

The Somali justice system is shambolic. After the country’s seat in the UN was reinstated, the new Somali government did not make justice its priority. Assuming that clan justice would provide some sort of rough even-handedness whilst neglecting a vital part of governing institution. The new Somali government is riding high on a horse called 4.5. Appointed judges, court clerks and law enforcers are comprised of individuals who have no experience in the judiciary system and yet are expected to conduct justice as they see it fit. This has lead to wide spread power abuse: carpet bagging, arbitrary arrests and arresting innocent people without warrant. Young men have been charged and incarcerated only for their bullet-riddled bodies to be found dead in the dusty streets in the outskirts of Mogadishu. Dangerous criminals are released from jail on the pretence that the law has not been written yet, therefore there is no article which finds these men guilty of terrorism charges. These terrorists have walked free.

Rape crimes have gone through the roof. President Hassan announced one morning that rape had become punishable by death. This law was passed without the consultation of a council or fellow MP’s but instead was made in the manner by which the country is accustomed; with the mentality of dictatorship. This had very serious implications. Before the death penalty had been imparted, young rape offenders who had been named and shamed as a rapist had been punished by their elders and clan members. The new law, however, meant that an entire clan would protect any rapists within their midst as it was not acceptable for them to lose a male life. As such, men are now more confident to rape women because they know their next of kin will protect them from the death penalty. President Hassan’s own law backfired; he would have been well advised to consult with elders both male and female and the law enforcers, before passing a law without any idea of possible ramifications. In Somalia, female elders are more reasonable and rational individuals but, sadly, their opinions are overlooked and pushed aside by both the Somali government and UNSOM.

On the other hand, it is difficult to provide justice for all when the governing system itself is based on 4.5 unjust systems. The way we see this odious political system, was that Somalia was sinking in an ocean of civil war. The international community, for peace sake, has turned a blind eye on the fact that the warring clans are united in ostracising the “cadaver eaters”.
Other groups who are peaceful and productive were included in the marginalized groups of people. These people are the Reer Xamar, Beizanis, Reer Barawe, Bajuni, Jareer weyne and numerous other clans who did not engage in the civil war. The dominant clans were given the green light to abuse the people they see as ‘abuseble’. The clans abused at will and nothing held them back. The 4.5 governing system opened a can of worms. Not only has the International Community agreed to push aside the law-abiding, hard-working, productive and peaceful people of Somalia, but the International Community goaded the dominant clans rather unwittingly to ‘out-bad’ each other. It is not a rocket science to figure out that something that is rewarded gets promoted.
Many peacful clans are now given no choice but to face extinctioon or fight back. it is sad the UNSOM has abdicated its responsibility on this issue. UNSOM has to take the minorities on board for Somali peace and reconciliation. I spoke to Eng Yarow Sharef Aden following his attendance at Chatham house on the 9th of May 2014. He stated his concerns and the following are his points:-

1- Reconciliation has to be the first priority because without genuine reconciliation nothing can be done to deal with insecurity.

2- To define the Somali nationality in clear manner. (Somali nationals are only those in the Somali Republic) and not the Somalis living in the neighbouring countries

3- Justice from grass-root level.

4- Inclusiveness in security forces, where all clans are equally represented

5- Disarming off all Somali clans and gangs.

6- Creating an atmosphere of trust between civilians and government security apparatus.

7- Rehabilitation of militants in responsible manner.

8- Formation of local administrations from the grassroots (Bottom up approach), with inclusiveness, justice and fair manner.

9- Repatriation and relocation of refugees and IDPs has to be implemented with cautious to avoid land disputes that can lead to civil war.

10- International community to support the security initiatives by working closely with the Somali Federal government.

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Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Somalia


African solution for African problem?

By Abukar Arman



Abukar Arman posted another magnificent article exposing the folly of an “African solution for an African problem”. This slogan might be romantically poetic but its real effects devastate lives in Somalia and keeps the western players in yet another quagmire. Mr Arman dissects this slogan quite intelligently.

“Somalia: African solutions for African problems?
Interventions from neighbors have not brought Somalia the promised peace.
Last updated: 09 May 2014 11:23 – Aljazeera

Abukar Arman
Ambassador Abukar Arman is the former Somalia special envoy to the United States and a foreign policy analyst.

AMISOM’s forces have only complicated Somalia’s security situation, argues Arman [Reuters]

One of the most potent intoxicants in Africa today is the canned phrase “African solutions for African problems”.

While “ASAP” is an acronym that connotes a timely and efficient result, most if not all, operations that are veiled with the romantic motto, have proven that they are not indigenously conceived, funded or driven.

Since this phrase entered the African lexicon in 2007, it has proved to be of no substantive value to the continent or its people. Contrary to what it was originally intended, the phrase has been taken hostage by domestic political sloganeers and foreign elements eager to advance zero-sum interests. It also became the ideological impetus that helped establish multi-national African forces such as AMISOM.

As is clear in Somalia, this kind of politico-military system – especially when neighbouring states are directly involved – routinely contain or “solve” a problem by creating several newer ones that perpetuate dependency, exploitation and indeed subjugation.

“When one asks a powerful neighbour to come to aid and defend one with his forces…These forces may be good in themselves, but they are always dangerous for those who borrow them, for if they lose you are defeated, and if they conquer you remain their prisoner,” forewarned Niccolo Machiavelli several centuries ago.

In Somalia, not only did our current leadership, and that of the last decade, fail to heed the aforementioned warning, they obediently competed and outperformed each other to prove themselves as unyielding loyal subjects. It is clear that no Somali can pursue a political career in his own country without first getting Ethiopia’s blessings. Already, Ethiopia has installed a number of its staunch cohorts in the current government and (along with Kenya) has been handpicking virtually all of the new regional governors, mayors, etc.

Byproduct of vicious fratricide

Recently, while reading on poverty, I came across the anthropologist Oscar Lewis’ (controversial) theory “the culture of poverty” in which he argues that while poverty might be systemic and generational, it fosters unique self-perpetuating value system that ultimately becomes engrained in the poor person’s way of life.
Witness – The Mayor of Mogadishu

People who are altered by that attitudinal phenomenon commonly have “a strong feeling of marginality, of helplessness, of dependency, of not belonging. They are like aliens in their own country… (and) have very little sense of history”.

I could not help but reflect on our own self-defeating, self-perpetuating predicament.

As in Stockholm syndrome, a good number of the Somali leadership have become emotionally and politically bonded with the very power that abused them and fuelled enmity between them (off and on) since the seventies.

Capitalising on that psychological advantage, Ethiopia has managed to get the exclusive right to set up an embassy inside the Villa Somalia (government compound), independent “consulates” in Somaliland and Puntland, and independently operating intelligence command centres in each of these balkanised political entities. To further complicate matters, Ethiopia has signed independent “military treaty” with each of these political entities.

Yet, the current leadership – as those before them – seems content with such arrangement. That, needless to say, motivated Kenya to follow the same effective strategy – isolate the centre from the periphery, and lure the latter entities into deals that they can’t refuse.

Exposing the lame ducks

Only a few weeks into the Ethiopia-led (AMISOM) military operation, the UNSGR warned the next violence that targets the UN may force it out of Somalia.

“I am deeply conscious that if we make a mistake in our security presence and posture, and suffer a significant attack, particularly on the UN, this is likely to mean to us withdrawing from Somalia,” said UN Special Representative Nicholas Kay.

To underscore his message, he adds this: “There are scenarios in which if we take further significant losses, then that would have a strategic effect on our mission.”

Was this a reckless telegraphing intended to implicitly dare al-Shabaab with a “Go ahead, make my day; force us back to Nairobi” message? Or was it a cryptic warning intended to preempt the Ethiopia/Kenya tag-team from getting too creative in their covert operations intended to manipulate facts on the ground?
Inside Story – Somali refugees : threat or victims?

While you ponder, consider adding this into your calculus: The UN deliberately bypassed AMISOM when it commissioned a Ugandan contingent of over 400 Special Forces to guard its facilities and staff. This particular contingent is neither officially part nor does it take any orders from AMISOM. Why?

Because, the controversial implanting of Ethiopia and Kenya into AMISOM has changed its dynamic from a peacekeeping force into a political vehicle.

Ambassador Kay is too experienced to make haphazard security-related statements. He was well aware of what he was saying and where he was saying it. He affirms that awareness in his presentation. Between the lines he was signalling his frustration with the Ethiopia-driven AMISOM, and how he and UNSOM ended up biting the dust. I have argued before that the Ethiopia/Kenya and US/UK interests are in an imminent collision course.

Musical chairs and revolving doors

Though the next election/selection is more than two years away, the usual suspects of mostly political conformists who are devoid of any transformative ideas or strategies are already in their hysterical manoeuvring and counter-manoeuvring routine. They are dutifully eager to demonstrate their capacity to perpetuate the status quo.

Intoxicated with the rhetoric that our “good neighbours are making self-sacrifice for us” these politicians are determined to hinge the future of our nation on the question of “Who would be the next president and the next prime minister?” rather than “What new vision and strategy would these individuals bring in order to help heal or repair our broken nation?”

Against that backdrop, on May 5, over 100 MP signed a non-binding resolution demanding the resignation of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud or face impeachment.

Make no mistake, Somalia is held in a nasty headlock by a neighbourhood tag-team unmistakably motivated by zero-sum objective. It is their so-called African solution (not so much of the extremist group al-Shabaab) that is setting the Horn on fire.

Against that backdrop, our IDPs (Internally Displaced Politicians) continue on their respective pipedreams. Of course, where there is no vision, neither strategy, nor political will and continuity matter.

Ambassador Abukar Arman is the former Somalia special envoy to the United States and a foreign policy analyst.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.”

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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Somalia