SOMALIA NATIONAL RECONCILIATION CONFERENCE
EC Somalia Unit n (o) vib
Weekly Sitrep no. 20 (Covering from 05th to 11th July, 2003)
Contents: Political developments, Security,
IGAD and the International Community, Civil Society,
The Somali National Reconciliation Conference which was in deadlock for quite some time following the plenary debate to discuss the charter, on Saturday 5th July eventually resolved the impasse. This followed after prolonged consultations among the Somali Leaders who remained divided into at least three opposing camps. After they failed to agree on a common position, the Chairman of IGAD Technical Committee, Amb. B. Kiplagat submitted a compromise proposal to the four main groups attending the peace process, namely the Transitional National Government (TNG), SRRC, Group Eight and the Civil Society Organizations.
During discussions at the plenary, it became clear that the open issues referred to the number of parliamentarians and the involvement of politicians in their selection Some sources within the political groupings argued that the inclusion of politicians would create havoc while others saw it as an opportunity to bring on board important personalities. Finally, the leaders, with the help of IGAD Technical Committee and IPF, agreed to resolve the differences. According to conference sources, the SRRC and TNG made compromises to accommodate each other’s requests. The TNG accepted the number of parliamentarians proposed by the SRRC while the latter approved the inclusion of politicians as requested by the TNG.
The agreed points were presented to the plenary by Amb. Kiplagat in the presence of IPF members. Delegates expressed their support to the agreement by standing up and chanting. Dissenting voices were overshadowed by the overwhelming support for adoption. Approval of this last report represents a step forward in finalizing Phase II of the conference being the last requirement the consolidation of all the endorsed reports. In the meantime, preparations for the Phase III have started.
All the Somali political groups remained engaged in consultations and showed commitment to the process by making possible compromises. Moreover, support from delegates to their agreement reinforced that commitment.
The dissenting voices towards the agreement came from the TNG President who denounced it publicly, and Musse Sudi Yallahow who questioned the legitimacy of the agreement given the absence of “key personality” during the signature. As a response to the complains by the TNG president, Dr. Abdiqassim Salat Hassan, 93 TNG officials including parliamentarians and Ministers led by the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Assembly defended the agreement made by the political groups and their position as the official delegates of the TNG in the peace talks.
Political leaders, Col. Abdullahi Yussuf and Hussein Aidid left for Yemen and South Korea respectively. According to reports from reliable sources, Hussein Aidid was invited by the World Inter-Religious Council. The purpose of Col. Abdullahi Yussuf Ahmed’s trip is yet to be known to us. Dr. Abdiqassim Salat Hassan left for Maputo to attend the African Union summit while Mohamed Dhere of Jowhar Administration who was away for sometime returned to Kenya. Those still in Somalia are Musse Suddi Yalahow, Barre Aden Shire of Jubba Valley Alliance and Gen. Morgan. The latter have however representatives in the discussions.
The Somaliland administration reacted to the agreement made in Mbagathi that also envisages for an immediate dialogue with Somaliland to be launched. In their statement, the Somaliland traditional leaders said that agreements coming from Mbagathi can neither bond them nor compromise their stand as an independent and separate entity, specially since Somaliland has no representative in the talks. Amb. Kiplagat, in a press statement, clarified that the peace talks aim at reconciliation for Somalia.
The political aspirants are flexing their muscles and beginning their campaigns to win the support of the delegates. Campaigning is however affected by the fact that it still not known who will be voting for the post. So far the overall number of the presidential contenders is 43, from which a reduced number is already emerging as stronger than the rest.
The suspected killer of Dr. Hussein Mohamed Nur was captured according to the reports from the Core Group in Mogadishu. The exact cause of the killing is still unknown but some sources indicate that it was a simple robbery. Civil society condemnation of crime continues with the establishment (and already functioning) of community-policing groups.
A brutal interclan fighting took place for two days in Awle and Towfiiq locations about 200km North East of Galkaayo. According to reports by IRIN, clashes resulted in the death of 43 people and over 90 wounded as well as hundreds displaced. The conflict is said to have been caused by revenge killings, though the two clans are also fighting for water and grazing rights. The availability of heavy weapons in the area has exacerbated the conflict but by Thursday 10 July a local mediation committee was being establish to try to sort out the problems.
The IGAD Accreditation Committee has started preparations for phase III, whose exact date is yet to e announced.
International community’s stand
The Italian Special envoy for Somalia, Amb. Carlo Ungaro, informed Novib Mbagathi Discussion Platform on 5 July that he is impressed by the move made by the Somali delegates. On the 351as agreed number of parliamentarians he said that the international community would have been more comfortable with the proposed figure of 315, but an increase of 36 parliamentarians is not of great concern. Asked about the unity of the international community in the talks, he said that in his 40-year diplomatic service he has seldom witnessed such a unity. During the same discussion, Mr. Faisal H. Al Sheikh, special assistant to the African Union Special Envoy for Somalia was positive about the progress and so was the US political assistant for Somalia, who was also present at the plenary session.
Voices of support to the agreement have been also raised at the African Union summit in Maputo, Mozambique. According to the Foreign Minister of Djibouti, the government to be formed would have general support.
Flight ban lifted
The Kenyan Government decided to lift the ban on flights to Somalia on 8 July, following pressure from humanitarian agencies.
Special Envoy’s mission
The Chairman of IGAD Technical Committee, Amb. Kiplagat left the talks for the African Union summit in Maputo, Mozambique. Reports added that he would then proceed to Saudi Arabia to receive pledged financial contributions to the peace talks.
The International Community and the peace talks
The International Community remained engaged in consultations around the Somali peace talks. In that context, the IPF met with the TNG Prime Minister Hassan Abshir Farah on 10 July.
Support from the Traditional Leaders
The Somali Traditional leaders attending the peace process in Mbagathi gave their support to the agreement achieved on 5 July. The group of five traditional leaders representing the main clans engaged in the peace process thanked the IGAD Technical Committee and the IPF for their relentless support. The traditional leaders also express their support to the formation of a broad based Government for Somalia.
Some women have expressed their concern about the limited quota agreed upon for women participation, 12%. They felt that this was an attempt to undermine and ignore their role in the socio-economic development of the country. One of the Somali political leaders interviewed by the Novib Mbagathi Discussion Platform shared the concern of the women and agreed to play his part until significant representation is allocated to them.
Reaction from medical practitioners
A fully charged gathering mourned the death of Dr. Hussein Mohamed Nur. The gathering was organised by 52 civil society organisations as a reaction to the increased insecurity in the city of Mogadishu. Those who spoke in the demonstration included the renown Somali composer and poet Mohamed Ibrahim Warsame “Hadrawi” who said that he was mourning the death of the doctor and was impressed by the concerns and reactions of the people of Mogadishu. Other speakers included artist Hussein Abdulle Derow, Madina Mahamud Ilmi and Dr. Salad Farah Gutaale, who spoke on behalf of the Somali doctors.
The Core Group from the Southwest regions of Somalia Sahan, reported in its update that the improving security situation in that region could be affected by reports of militia re-organization towards Kismayo. As a result, roadblocks are reappearing. The Core Group has obtained authorization from regional leaders to undertake activities to join the ongoing Peace March. Targeted areas for activities are Bay and Lower Jubba region.
Responding to the issue for discussion in our last week report, the Core Group collected views from its constituencies which supported for the number of parliamentarians to be 250. The argument behind this is based current economic and management constraints. As for the selection of the parliament, they supported traditional leaders superiority in the process and for parliamentarians to be chosen not only among delegates currently in Mbagathi but also from the country. Many of those interviewed, according to the Core Group, thought that the selection of a government system should be done through a referendum.
Miscellaneous (Workshops, forums, lectures and seminars)
A post-war trauma-counseling seminar organised by the Mennonite Mission began in the venue of the peace talks on 9 July. The seminar is to last for three days.
Prof. Abdi Ismail Samatar presented a lecture in a workshop organised by concerned Somalis on 10 July. The lecture, entitled “The IGAD Peace Process: the Betrayal of the Somalis” assessed the ongoing Somali peace process. The lecture reviewed the various actors active in the process in view of their neutrality, transparency and fair management capacity. Performance was deemed relatively low in most cases and recommendations for dramatic measures were made. Recommendations include the removal of Frontline States from the management of the process, the replacement of IGAD’s Special Envoy, an increased and more serious commitment by the international community (moving from facilitation to mediation), a balance between power and legitimacy during the reconciliation process (i.e. participation by both political and traditional leaders) and inclusion of all communities and clans based on a more realistic approach.
The resource center
The civil society resource center provides both typing, photocopying and Internet services to the participants of the peace conference and in particular the civil society. The services facilitate communication and correspondence to Somalia, Diaspora and within the peace process actors.
The use of the facilitates in this reporting period was as follows:
Issues for discussion
Important civil society activities are currently taken place in Somalia, how do you think that those could influence the peace conference?
In a more general framework, how does Civil Society position itself vis-à-vis the decisions recently made at the conference and the formation of a government? What would Civil Society’s role be if a final agreement were reached a government put in place as a result of this process?
Prepared by: Khalif Hassan Ahmed
Information and Documentation officer