SOMALIA NATIONAL RECONCILIATION CONFERENCE
EC Somalia Unit
Weekly Sitrep no. 25 (Covering from 09th to
15th August, 2003)
The conference progress and where the challenge
The political progress and the differences,
where can we build on?
The civil society efforts gaining grounds
The consultations among the mediators and the
The Italian and British delegations
Progress on the Hadrawi Peace march.
Message from the Core groups conciliatory.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Women's role; women, are now having great voices and should be
encouraged to be part of the peace process.
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
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