Somali Canadian Diaspora Alliance (SCDA)
Monday, April 30, 2007
The TFG has acknowledged in its proposed reconciliation document that the current Somali crisis demands a political solution, as military victory rarely offers any kind of resolution. In this proposed Road Map to Reconciliation document, the only positive item found is the admission and acknowledgement by the TFG that a political solution to the Somali crises requires an open dialogue and reconciliation. By reviewing and analyzing this publicized reconciliation conference, several observations can be made. First, this is no more than an exercise on the part of the TFG to tell the EU and AU that it is heeding in principle their advice and acting on their demand to hold a reconciliation conference.
Conceptually, the terms “reconciliation” means reconciling conflicting parties, and the process of undertaking such reconciliation requires bringing all the stakeholders on to the reconciliation table in this case, the TFG, the UIC, members of the TFG who voiced their dissent against the TFG policies, women’s organizations, and members of the civil society. In addition, the design and the planning of the conference must be open and transparent and its agenda must be set collectively by all the stakeholders and facilitated by a neutral independent third party.
Oddly, this proposed road map to reconciliation agrees in principle the aforementioned reconciliation Mechanism- it states in paragraph 4 on page 7 of the road map to reconciliation document that “Somali stakeholders shall be responsible for the design of the different stages of the governance and reconciliation process and should shoulder the responsibility of carrying out the outcomes of the process”. This sounds very positive, as it highlights important theoretical aspects of reconciliation approach.
Nevertheless, when examined analytically the framework for undertaking such process of incorporating all the stakeholders into the reconciliation process, it becomes obvious the process is flawed right from the outset, as the TFG excluded the design and planning stage of the reconciliation conference from other stakeholders. This is not a genuine reconciliation process, as authentic reconciliation requires the participation of all the stakeholders in setting and designing the process of the reconciliation. On the contrary the proposed road map to reconciliation assumes a top-down approach in which the members of the National Governance and Reconciliation Committee (NGRC) and its secretariats are appointed by a presidential decree, this is a major contradiction, when you consider the fact that the document states on the one hand the importance of conference ownership by stakeholders and on the other hand a party to the dispute in this case the TFG exercising its authority on setting the agenda and making decisions of who participates in the conference. In our view, this is no more than a stag game, and can easily degenerate into a situation evocative to prisoner’s dilemma, whereby stakeholders would prefer not to participate in such lopsided conference when the stakes are high, yet one party to the conflict is left to exert its authority on a major reconciliation conference.
Surprisingly, this Road Map to reconciliation document is full of contradictions and misleading information intended for securing funds rather than undertaking a real and genuine reconciliation conference. Here are points of contention, and they are many.
THE TFG CONTENDS CLANS NEED TO BE RECONCILED
In the first paragraph on page 8, the document states that the National reconciliation Commission shall be responsible to facilitate inter and intra-clan reconciliation by providing space and suitable environment within the congress. We believe such statement doesn’t reflect the reality on the ground and is intended to hoodwink the international communities. There are many contending forces in Somalia that oppose the TFG for political and philosophical reasons. For example, within the TFG there are close to hundred Members of the Parliament who hail from different clans and sub-clans, who have major philosophical differences with the policies of the TFG and view the TFG as a pawn on the Ethiopian chessboard. Similarly, the members of the UIC were not affiliated with one single clan but were loose alliances of different clans, and they have succeeded in creating a secure and peaceful environment in a short period of time. There are many other stakeholders such as Somali intellectual elites, Somalis in the diaspora, women’s groups and civil society whose vision for their country are drawn from their nationalistic ideals and oppose the Ethiopian occupation in their country. In hind sight, it is misrepresentation of facts to suggest the proposed road map will reconcile clans and preclude all the other stakeholders from the reconciliation process, when it is clear that the clan warfare has marginally diminished for sometime now.
Similarly, the Road Map Document puts forth the following two objectives as the expected outcome of the NRC
a) Declaration on the cessation of all hostilities and commitment to peace
b) Adoption of nationwide verifiable mechanism for disarmament of the population.
It is our opinion that the first objective could easily be achieved if the Ethiopian government completely withdraws its troops from the country and neutral peace keeping forces are deployed. The second objective contradicts to the government’s earlier statements and its subsequent actions to forcefully disarm the Mogadishu residents that resulted in the EU to call for war crimes investigation; It is like putting the cart before the horse, if the proposed reconciliation was to facilitate a verifiable disarmament mechanism nationwide, then why the TFG was trying to forcefully disarm only the Mogadishu residents before such reconciliation was even embarked. It is the TFG that erred in using force to disarm only the residents of Mogadishu before any agreement on disarmament was reached and hence the TFG is fully responsible for the Mogadishu atrocities. In this context, this proposed reconciliation will not achieve its first objective as the animosity towards the Ethiopians and the TFG militias have substantially increased among all Somalis, subsequent to the havoc wreaked on residents in Mogadishu by the Ethiopian bombardment on residential neighborhoods in the capital city of Mogadishu.
FUNDING FOR THE CONFERENCE
After examining the proposed funds for the conference, it becomes obvious that this document is more like a grant proposal rather than a road map to reconciliation, as the projected funds for the conference is estimated at 32, 000, 000.00 and the number of potential participants are estimated at 3000, and the last five pages of the document is dedicated for the details of the expenditure of the conference, yet all these expenses are questionable. For instance establishment of NRC facility is projected for 6, 000,000.00 (six million), where as the real reconciliation activities is projected for less than a quarter million, it is incongruous that the amount planned for public relations and entertainment equals the amount for real reconciliation. Hence it is our opinion that the TFG has inflated the number of potential conference participants as well as the funds required to undertake the proposed conference and offered misleading expenditure figures on item by item.
Irrefutably, this proposed Road Map to reconciliation is just a fig leaf for deceiving and defrauding funds from the international communities, such as EU, and the Arab World. We believe the current TFG leadership is inept, cynical and morally reprehensible to be left alone in charting out a genuine reconciliation conference as clearly reflected by this proposed road map to reconciliation. A real and genuine reconciliation requires the courage to accept differences and sit down and negotiate with your staunchest rival, more than that it requires commitment and compromising with your adversaries.
We, the Somali Canadian Diaspora Alliance urge the international community not to be deceived in funding the proposed conference, unless and until all stakeholders are allowed to participate in the initial planning and designing stage of such important reconciliation conference. A genuine reconciliation requires the input of all the participants. We also urge the international community to demand the complete and unconditional withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia before any reconciliation takes place.
Somali Canadian Diaspora Alliance is a coalition member of North American Somali Diaspora Network and is committed in collaboration with other coalition members of the umbrella in finding ways out of the current Somali crises. Somali Canadian Diaspora Alliance advocates the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops as a precondition for a viable reconciliation that will bring about a durable peace and development in Somalia.
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