Center for Peace and Democracy (CPD)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Rebuilding Somalia Focus of Three Day nairobi Meeting

In Nairobi, a three-day meeting got underway today to plan the reconstruction and development of Somalia. More than 100 representatives of Somali groups, donors, the World Bank, NGOs and the United Nations are taking part.
The Somali Joint Needs Assessment, or JNA, aims to form a five-year timetable for reconstruction beginning in 2006. Among those attending is Somali Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Abdirizak Osman Hassan. From Nairobi, he told English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua that he has high hopes for this week’s meeting.
He says, “This is a model. This is something that Africa has never done, simply because Somalia is a unique case. And that uniqueness is offering to us all an opportunity to do something perfect. That is participatory. That is people-driven planning and at the end of that exercise we expect when we have a final document, which contains the needs of reconstruction and development of the country, we will take it to a donor conference which is planned to take place in Rome, Italy, next year, sometime in June or July. And we hope we will succeed to present a convincing document that can be accepted by the donors.
”As for Somalia’s immediate needs, Mr. Hassan says, “Many, many – the priorities are many. This country in the last 15 years had total destruction. Social service completely destroyed, infrastructure basically is non-existent. Public institutions do not exist, so we have to start from scratch. Security and law enforcement institutions are not in place…they are priorities.
”Solving these problems will require the cooperation of the various Somali clans, who have been at war on and off for years. Nevertheless, he believes they’ll cooperate. “100 percent. You know, when we went back to Somalia, when our relocation took place…we found Somali people throughout the country want two things. One is peace, second is government.”

Source: VOA New

The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "the Center for Peace and Democracy in Somalia (CPD)"

American company to fight pirates off Somalia

NAIROBI, Nov 25 (Reuters) - The Somali government has signed a two-year contract with an American marine security company in a bid to end an upsurge of piracy off the lawless Horn of Africa country, officials said on Friday.
Waters off the coast of Somalia are considered among the most dangerous in the world. Pirates firing rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns earlier this month tried to board a U.S.-owned cruise liner about 100 miles (160 km) off the Somali coast.
New York-based Topcat Marine Security Inc. signed a deal worth more than $50 million with the Somali Transitional Federal Government in Nairobi to escort ships plying Somali waters.
Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Gedi, who witnessed the deal, said his government recognised the damage caused by pirates and hoped Topcat would help end the piracy menace."The agreement signed today will defend Somalia's territorial waters, defeat the pirates," Gedi said, "The government wishes to express its dismay at these abhorrent actions.
"Peter Casini, Topcat's head of research and development, said once in operation his company would target a mother ship used by the pirates to launch attacks on passing vessels."We will end the piracy very quickly, there is no question about that," Casini told reporters. "There is a ship that is launching small ships 75 to 100 miles from the shore, our goal is to take the mother ship."The International Maritime Board has said that after two years of relative calm, 32 pirate attacks had been reported in Somalia since mid-March.Somalia has been without a central government since 1991, when rival warlords ousted Mohamed Siad Barre.
Source: Reuters
The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "the Center for Peace and Democracy in Somalia (CPD)"

Stabilizing East Africa

For centuries, East Africa has seen many unnecessary wars that were based on border disputes, religious affiliations, and lack of fair governance in the hands of self-proclaimed leaders who subjugated the public to indecency.

Our grandfathers, fathers, and ourselves have waged wars against each other on border and religious disputes and it appears, unless of course we put in place a reasonable and long-term solution to these wars, we will pass the tragedy that has long consumed our people to our children.

I have attempted in the following paragraphs to uncover the solutions that may lead to a lasting solution to East African’s nightmare of endless and meaningless wars that have consumed the region, with some commentaries to each subject before I pen my suggestions.

Border Disputes: So many East Africans who would have contributed much to the region and continent at large have perished in the hands of ‘border disputes’ while leaders who couldn’t add any value to the lives of those under their rule used the issue of ‘border disputes’ as a cover for their lack of meaningful leadership. For instance, the continent, especially East Africa, has been and continues to be a victim of starvation, disease outbreaks, and uneducated societies that have devastated each other with wars based on lack of resources. Governments in East Africa have done very little to address all issues, but rather, are delighted to go around the world, begging for free giveaways which they most often reroute to personal bank accounts in donor countries’ banks, while the rest they use to buy arms and ammunition for the purpose of ensuring they reign in power.

Ethiopia and Somalia have waged the most devastating war East Africa had seen, while now, little Eritrea which has been in war for the last 40years seems divined to wage yet another unnecessary war with Ethiopia over some mountainous land that can hardly support life for livestock, let alone humans. What has any of the three countries gained from those wars? One might answer with, ‘Eritrea’s independence’. But, couldn’t Eritrea’s separation from Ethiopia have been gained through meaningful and peaceful means? Or would Eritrea’s ‘independence’ from Ethiopia have ever materialized had the Soviet Empire not collapsed and abandoned its former agent in Ethiopia, Mr. Haile Miriam?

I think Eritrea’s ‘independence’ had little to do with successful wars it waged with Ethiopia but the collapse of the Soviet Empire which gave way to the fall of Ethiopia’s Marxist Leader, Mr. Haile Miraim, and the Western World’s commitment to disengage the Soviets from East Africa. As such, I think, the end result of Eritrea’s 30year war with Ethiopia was nothing more than colossal loss of human life and ruined economies on the people of East Africa, regardless of on whose’s side. However, had the government of Ethiopia been a democratic government where the people elected the leadership, I think, such wars of protest would have not been necessary.

Today, we have the leaders of those militias who costed the peoples of the region much pain and sorrow who are, themselves, becoming dictators, and waging unnecessary wars within the people.

If the people of the region are allowed to self-govern, I am absolutely convinced, there will be no environment for wars to be waged, because, leaders who can’t resolve disputes through mediation and public counsel will be voted out. It is a fact that the peoples of East Africa are far too tired to see another war, or wars, being lit in the region.

However, some of the governments of East Africa, for instance of the dictator in Eritrea, who continuously denies the people of Eritrea the right to vote, will lead wars for the purpose of disguising his inabilities to contribute to the daily lives of the people, as has been done by the leadership of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who has, to surprise and dismay of many, transformed Modern-day Ethiopia to a more just and peaceful nation under one God. God of Peace.

Religious Affiliations: While most of the world, especially the early religious world of the Muslims, the Christians, and the Jews regarded Ethiopia’s contribution and tolerance of religions, modern-day religious ‘leaders’ from around the world have, for a good number of centuries now, ignited religious wars within the one country that has long been just to all Prophets and prophecies. The ancient history of Ethiopia is filled with justice for all, regardless of religious affiliations. For instance, it was the late Prophet Muhammed, CW, who dispatched his early followers to ancient Ethiopia so that they would be save from persecution in the hands of their enemies who wanted to persecute them. I, for one, think we owe to the land that has always been just to people of all religions.

Early Muslims found save shelter in Ethiopia; early Christians found comfort and acceptance in Ethiopia; and early Jews have found a save heaven from persecution in the hands of injustice.

Now, is it fair that modern-day world, especially the Muslims and the Christians, should, as they have done in the last few centuries, set the peoples of East Africa against each other for religious dominance? Why is it that the rulers of the West and Middle East support one group of people against another when the majority of the people of the East African Lands engulfing Ethiopia , and their ancestors, have long been just towards each other and to God’s religions? Or should they have a right to arm or finance one group against another? And finally, what is in it for them, whether the people of East Africa believe in one religion, or another, or even none?

Isn’t life ‘a living in the moment’, rather than the endless and fact-lacking world of the heavens that are nothing more than stories that were passed down to us over the centuries, with the instructions to ‘believe as you are told or else risk going to hell’?

I know of no hell outside of the life I have spent in the refugee camps as a youngster, or that which the innocent child in East Africa is in today. Why do I have to worry about another hell that is beyond my reach, when I have one right in my hands: Starvation, wars, pain and sorrow, and lack of justice in East Africa. What is it that the next world will deliver that I must wait while so many innocent children are starving, dying, and becoming victims of injustice and all its companions?

God doesn’t dictate upon the people of East Africa, so, why shall a man be able to do so? In fact, God has ALWAYS been kind to the people of East Africa, I think, and has depended upon them to deliver save shelter to those in need of shelter, whether they be the early Muslims, Jews, or even Christians.

For the likes of the people who chased the early Muslims to send unjust religious leaders to East Africa for the purpose of imposing upon the people while God and Kings have given them absolute right to freedom of religion is, I think, a disgrace to the religions, God, and the Ancient Kings of East Africa. As such, the ‘right to freedom of religion’ must be protected by modern-day East African leaders, under all just circumstances.

Fair Governance: It would be far too premature for me to argue wars that have long inflamed the region were all too premature and had no physical ground. When people are oppressed and victimized to all that is indecent, they, more often than is necessary, resort to violence as a means to ease or eliminate their pain and sorrows. As a result, many wars in East Africa, the last being the wars that overthrew the governments of Mr. Siad Barre, and Mr. Haile Miriam, were based on the need for people to self-govern in a just and democratic environment. However, such wars must not reoccur with the only means to safeguard against recurrence being the establishment of democratic governance of the region where people are bestowed with the power to elect their leaders in a save and democratic environment, or else the region will always be in turmoil, thus, denying the people of the region normal life and progress.

I propose the following to combat the chronic wars of East Africa:

1) - East African Peace Task Force located in the smallest country in the region (mainly Djibouti), and whose function would be to Guard against and prevent:

a) Regional wars between the countries of East Africa;

b) Civil wars within the various countries;

c) Religious wars in the region, regardless of the country;

d) Development and introduction of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), and

e) Undemocratic government(s) that would deny people their birth right to live freely and elect their leaders

2) - East African Supreme Court which would be based in Somalia, the most volatile State in the Region’s history, which would:
a)Protect against, Investigate and Rule on all regional disputes between the countries;

b)Investigate and Rule on all crimes against the peoples by any government in the region, including voter irregularities, denial of the rights of freedoms of religion, civil expression of thoughts, and rights of property;

c) Rule on and regulate the rights of people to practice free market business while safeguarding against monopoly business practices in the region;

d) Protect and enforce, through the State courts, the right of every child to be schooled properly and without any government or parent interference, and thus ending the Nomadic lifestyle as is most often practiced by Somalis;

e) Poses authority over all Supreme Federal Courts of the East African region,

f) Serve the East African Peace Task Force with the necessary legal mandate to act on behalf of the peoples of East Africa, when necessary and

g) Put cap on arms spending by the various governments of the region while setting increased expenditure limits for education, health care, and economic development for each country, thus overseeing the development of the peoples of the region.

Arte Moalin III email: carte@core.com

The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "the Center for Peace and Democracy in Somalia (CPD)"