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Supported By

EC Somalia Unit

Oxfarm Netherlands

Weekly Sitrep no. 25 (Covering from 09th to 15th August, 2003)

The conference progress and where the challenge lies
The political progress and the differences, where can we build on?
The civil society efforts gaining grounds
The consultations among the mediators and the International partners
The Italian and British delegations
Progress on the Hadrawi Peace march.
Message from the Core groups conciliatory.

Political Developments
Conference progress
The plenary debate on the charter that continued for 4 days covered up to 55 articles. The first three days witnessed informal groupings and bitter words that was seen by some including Italian Special Envoy to Somalia, Amb. Carlo Ungaro as normal and happens in a democratic parliamentary debates. The fourth day was calm compared to the previous days but the attendance was limited. In the four days of debate the challenges included the relationship between the State, regions and the districts, disorder in the charter structure, absence of reconciliation between the conflicting groups, disparities between the English and the Somali version as argued by many of the delegates and insufficient explanation on some crucial areas. Many of the contributions on the article of presidential tenure of office was focused on introduction of check and balances to limit the powers of the president and/or the executive to have the approval of the parliament. Amb. Kiplagat agreed that there are repetitions in the draft and suggested to the plenary to choose four to five lawyers to work with Dr. Githu of Kenyan constitution Review Commission and his staff just to rearrange the document without introducing new ideas. He finally suggested to the session a number of names as experts. There were no dissenting voices on the suggestion.

The issues of agreement included that: the charter has repetitions and its structure is disorderly. Many of the disagreement are attributed to the loopholes in the document and the articles on the executive need re-drafting and to be organized. General suggestion to have experts to improve technical quality of the text.

The plenary was convened on 13th August, to share the developments of a meeting between the International observers and IGAD Technical committee for pausing of the peace process to ensure inclusivity. According to Amb. Kiplagat the move is meant to ensure that those who want to leave are convinced to stay and others who have already left are brought back on board. Some of the political leaders who spoke reacted and expressed their dissatisfaction with role played by some of the international partners. Though some critique the proposal there were others who agreed the relevancy of inclusiveness but were weary of the discourse. Those who spoke were far from the usual shadow boxing and clearly accused some diplomats within the main external actors for Somalia as derailing the peace process.

Political progress
The opportunity inherent in the dissenting voices
The dissenting voices have not shown rejection of the peace process in its entirety rather voiced their concern on the management and other issues. There are windows of opportunity that could be built on and influence their return. There is a general feeling that reconciliation among the groups could be counter-productive and promote common ground for understanding to pave the way formation of an all inclusive government. How, requires technical and decisive approach but if it begins all the other groups are likely to follow suit.

Reconciliation efforts beginning
Following a meeting convened by Hawiye traditional leaders in Grand regency Hotel on 11th August, 2003 it was recommended that a technical committee be formed to reconcile their rival groups to pave the way for promotion of unity and fruitful outcome from Mbagathi. In that meeting it was noted that the role of selection of parliament be left for the traditional structures in consultation with the political leaders. In a press release made by the chairman of the mediation committee, Mr. Aden Abdi Isse ( Grasso), lauded the IGAD mediation efforts and the relentless support by the international community. The committee referred to the selection of parliament whose case was reflected in the agreement signed by Somali leaders on 5th July that gave the powers to the political leaders and hence observed the recommendation given on 11th August, 2003 at Grand Regency as likely to bring difference between the traditional leaders and the political leaders. The committee asked the Somalis in general to work harmoniously in restoration of the lost nationhood. Finally they assured that the committee will work in reconciliation and in particular among the Hawiye clans.

Political differences
The TNG hanging on both balances
Since President Abdiqasim Salad Hassan returned home from Nairobi, Somalia's parliament has held serious sessions in Mogadishu about the fate of the Somali peace conference in Kenya and the government officials still remaining there. According to the reports from Mogadishu the Transitional National Assembly on Saturday started their vote of no confidence against the speaker of the National Assembly and the prime minister with 127 members. According to the reports from Mogadishu the members of parliament have voted in landslide against the speaker and the prime minister an issue contested and denounced by the two in a press conference held in Mbagathi the venue of the peace talks on 13th August, 2003. In his statement, Abdalla Derow Issack discredited such attempts and argued it contradicts the Transitional National Charter whose provisions are clear in such a situation. Here the challenges are the provisions for vote of no confidence and who can replace a member of parliament who are based on clan formulae. Within the same day the president of the TNG has held a press conference in which he officially deprived Hassan Abshir Farah from his title as the prime minister according to the law, sources said.

Even though these votes of no confidence have been casted on Saturday, still many people argue about the legitimacy of such move, because many of the MPs in the session were new ones who were only a few days back been sworn in as MPs to substitute those still attending the Somali conference in Kenya. According a politician from outside the TNG circle who requested for anonymity, the attempts made by Dr. Qassim is the last kick of a dieing hyena.

The current vacuum where the tenure of the president and the parliaments ends at the sometime is seen by the delegates in conference as a lesson for the emergent authority from Mbagathi and reflected their recommendation to move apart the lifespan of the president and the parliament.

In another development, the majority of the G8 were absent from the last day of the plenary and the session on 13th August to share the advise of the International community in pausing the peace process. Though there is no an official statement from G8 but there is informal expression of discontent in the management of the peace process. One of the political leader from Mogadishu, Musse Suddi yallahow protested and walked out from the peace talks but is still in Nairobi. According to the reports his stay came as a result of an intervention by both domestic, regional and International actors. As part of the interventions expected in the period of the pause, those who abstained from the ongoing deliberations and others remaining in Somalia will be focused and brought back on board. Among the signatories of the agreements on cessation of hostilities only Col. Barre Aden Shire of Jubba valley Alliance is still in Somalia. Badges for phase three number of other political factions who were not part of the leaders committee were given out.

Apart from the clash in Bay region reflect in our last report there are no show downs in Somalia in this reporting period other than reports from sources Mogadishu on the killing of a close confident of Dr. Abdiqassim Salat of TNG. The man, col. Abdullahi Dhahan together with seven others from both sides of the actors involved in the exchange of the fire. The exact cause of the incident is still unknown.

The Somali Civil Society awareness campaigns

The awareness campaigns by the civil society organizations in Mogadishu gained ground and promoted confidence on the public in Mogadishu to avert some of the vices that victimized them.

IGAD and the International Community
The consultation between IGAD Technical Committee and the International Partners
The IGAD Technical committee and the International partners met and discussed promotion of inclusivity to complete the remaining journey of the peace process with representation of all stakeholders. In that effect, the Kenyan Ambassador to Somalia, Amb. Mohamed Abdi Affey together with others flew to Somalia to influence the return of Dr. Abdiqassim Salat and others to join the peace talks. According to Amb. Kiplagat, few groups will not be allowed to hijack the peace process."

The Italian and British delegation arrived
The Italian Assistant Minister for Foreign affairs arrived in Kenya the past few days and had meetings with some of the Somalia groups. Likewise a delegation from the British government arrived and made similar undertakings. The British government funded the uplinks to enable the listenership in Somalia and other related areas to enhances an awareness on the peace process.

Civil Society
The Hadrawi Peace March
The Hadrawi peace march coordinated by Peace and Human rights network that began 13th July is planned to end on 20th August, 2003. The mission covered many towns and regions in Southern Somalia including Puntland. According to the reports from PHRN officials with the mission, the communities of all the areas visited welcomed the team and harmoniously shared experiences with them.

The peace march was set to achieve the following objectives:
" Advance the use of innovative, non-adversarial methods of resolving conflict issues and promote action based what unites individuals and groups not what separates.
" Awareness creation to conflict issues through poems, drama and public speaking in public forums.
" Encourage citizens to take up peace activities that espouse values of cooperation and interdependence.

In the long term the peace march is expected to achieve:
Consolidation of trends towards stability; reconciliation efforts should continue thus providing momentum to further peace marches in the peace building process. This will be the beginning of a process that will take time and energy.
Increasing civil society participation; communities must continue to be actively engaged in governance issues to bring about durable peace.
Women's role; women, are now having great voices and should be encouraged to be part of the peace process.

Core groups
Most of the responses coming from the Core groups in Somalia and Diaspora are focused on the plenary debate on the charter. The feedbacks includes appreciation to the international community for their support to the peace process and advises to the Somali political groups to remain engaged in the peace talks and begin compromise and restrain emotional influences.

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:
" Internet 90 users
" Typing 40 users
" Photocopying 1000 copies
" Fax not submitted

Issues for discussion
The international community advised the peace process to be paused to ensure inclusivity and some Somali political groups reacted with misgivings. To your opinion what do think is the best way to legitimacy the ongoing deliberation of the charter and get the support of all the stakeholders.

Thanks for the interest and patience!

Source:Khalif Hassan Ahmed
Information and Documentation
Officer Novib Somalia/Mbagathi


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