Tag-arkiv: TFG

Civil society in Somalia

Conflict is the common denominator for Somali civil society. Many Somalis are dispersed as Diaspora or refugees. Young people in Somalia have no experience of nor interaction with the state and its institutions as conceived in a democratic society.

What civil society?

I sometimes wonder if there is a civil society in Somalia – a society which is civic by nature and has a deep patriotic feeling for the motherland. What happened? Why have they melted away when it was time to stand by their commitments as genuine civil society organizations?

Contestation for power and resources between sets of war-lords within the country on one hand and international ‘outlaws’ on the other has heightening insecurity, environmental degradation and poverty lowering the life expectancy levels for the populations.

In the implementation of the roadmap, the UN-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) have sought to legitimize its power by consulting different groups within society:

  • Religious leaders
  • Clan elders
  • Business community
  • Diaspora
  • Youth groups
  • Women groups
Empowerment of civil society
The participation of Somalia civil society is essential for the peace process. Earlier attempts at constituting a functioning government acceptable to all Somalis have failed because it failed to represent all Somalis.
The latest advancement in engaging the ordinary Somali citizen is an “Umbrella civil society” to cooperate with:
  • Transitional Federal Institutions (TFI)
  • Puntland and Galmadug administrations (regional governments)
  • Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’s (ASWJ).
This development was the outcome of a meeting facilitated by UNPOS, United Nations Political Office in Somalia (Nairobi) and UN Special Representative for Somalia, Dr. Augustine P. Mahiga in Mogadishu on 28 November 2011.
Citizen opinions matters
The members of civil society present at the meeting with the TFG endorsed the four pillars of the Roadmap:
  • Security
  • Constitution
  • Outreach
  • Reconciliation and good governance
They also gave their recommendations for the roadmap, which concerned:
  • Financial support to implement security programmes
  • respecting the timeframe set for Roadmap’s completion
  • Establishing a Constituent Assembly to provisionally endorse Constitution
  • Supporting efforts to reform Parliament
  • Establishing Reconciliation Committees and conferences
  • Enacting anti-corruption legislation

Overview: Peace efforts in Somalia

Many believe that peace in Somalia comes with the establishment of a fully functioning government. The instrument for change is a roadmap designed to end the rule of warlords and restore much needed national institutions to Somalia.

UN-backed roadmap to ensure peace and stability

In august 2011, a UN-backed roadmap to end transitional rule in Somalia was set in motion. The roadmap sets out a series of tasks to be completed by next August. The goal is the constitution of a central government acceptable to all the Somali people.

Among the tasks set out in the roadmap are improvement of security, drafting a constitution, national reconciliation and good governance. And the people entrusted to implement these tasks are part of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TGF).

The TGF is internationally recognized as the official government of Somalia, but beyond the capital, Mogadishu, the TGF has no control over its territory and few means of delievering basic services to the Somali people.

Roadmap unites different parties

The roadmap was agreed upon by an alliance of regional transitional administrations:

  • The Transitional Federal Government
  • The Transitional Federal Parliament
  • The self-declared semi-autonomous regions of Puntland and Galmudug
  •  The group known as Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a

The participation of these parties in the peace process offers great opportunity for stabilizing the country. The roadmap, along with the withdrawal of the Islamist armed group Al Shabaab from Mogadishu in August may be the best chance for peace in years.

The TFG has made many attempts to end its transitional rule. Since 1991, 17 attempts at constituting a central government have failed – mainly because of lack of popular support.

Support from the international community

A number of international partners have commited themselves to the peace process by facilitating cooperation and collaboration among the Somali parties. These partners include:

  • The UN
  • The EU
  • The Arab League
  • The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

But ultimately, it is the Somalia people who must step up and play their part in bringing about change and lasting peace.

“The peace process will only work when the Somali people own it and push it forward,” stated Augustine Mahiga, the UN Special Representative of Secretary-General for Somalia in a statement.