Somalia's problems will not end with changing seat of Parliament
To revive the
Somali peace process, the first in-country session of Parliament
is planned to take place on February 26 th in Baidoa, 250km
south west of Mogadishu , the capital. This looks like good news
until one considers the implications. The change of the
temporary seat of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) from
Jowhar to Baidoa could open the door for contest by other towns
for the mobile seat of government.
dangerous precedent that could undermine the legitimacy of
leadership and more divisions. From the onset, the interim
leadership was expected to adhere strictly to the reconciliation
Charter during the transition period, climaxing in democratic
President Abdullahi and Speaker Sharif Hassan were elected,
donor countries said that they would only recognize if the TFG
operated from Mogadishu . On December 29, 2004, a group of
intellectuals concerned about the extended presence of Somali
government in Kenya wrote to the Prime Minister, Mohammed Ghedi,
pointing out that government relocation was not only a security
issue, but also a political. They suggested means of speeding up
the relocation from Nairobi to Mogadishu .
debate, which encouraged the group to organise a five-day
meeting from December 30, 2004 to January 4, 2005 in Nairobi .
Following the discussion, the group wrote to the President, the
Speaker and the Prime Minister, recommending gradual relocation
of the government to Mogadishu . They suggested that the
President, Speaker and Prime Minister launch an organised
political and public relations campaign by engaging MPs,
prominent political leaders, warlords, civil society,
traditional leaders, business and religious communities to
secure public support and international assistance.
Unfortunately, the government opted for another route to the
provincial city of Jowhar .
surprising is that some leaders want security guarantee in
Mogadishu when the masses have been living in insecurity for 15
collapse of the Somali State in 1991, the country was divided
into 18 regions and 92 districts. Today, we have Somaliland and
Puntland administrations and Southern regions. The country is
awash with arms in the hands of militias and criminals because
of the anarchic situation that persisted for so long.
to the physical destruction of infrastructures, the civil war
and poverty, Somalia is literally in a shambles as a country. To
restore order requires national vision and well-developed
political strategy that attracts both domestic and international
Some of the
advantages of relocating the government to Mogadishu? Apart from
adhering to the Charter- include the consolidation of political
reconciliation, speeding up diplomatic and financial support by
the international community, higher potential revenue generation
for the government, avoidance of duplication of costs for
availability of sufficient public utility premises, including
access to seaports and airports, increase public trust in
government commitment to share burden with the people and
implementation of immediate tasks in the Charter.
encouraging fact is that Mogadishu is the only place in the
country where, despite all security concerns, opposing groups
and views coexist with relative peace and freedom of expression
cities, the government will be a guest of one sub clan or one or
group of warlords that would control it. This is unlike
Mogadishu where MPs criticize warlords and do not pander to
million people are living in Mogadishu . Moreover, the majority
of the estimated 350,000 internally displaced people and 50
percent of Militias are in Mogadishu . Therefore, Mogadishu is
where the priorities of TFG are.
is a former Cabinet minister and governor of Central Bank of