Friday, November 30, 2012
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Looking back at Somalia in the 1960's tribes was influential but no way near as influential as it is today. The big tribes, Hawiye and Darod, were always going for Presidency in Somalia simply because of their size and sheer dominance, not because what they can bring to Somalia and their political experience. It was once rumoured that when the British left Somaliland in 1960, they had advised Somali leaders to give important and decisive roles to the Muse Carre sub clan, who originate from the Isaaq Tribe. This was completely ignored by the 'big tribes' and they began to isolate the Isaaq tribe. Amongst other isolated tribes was the Gadabursi (Samaroon) tribe who were barely recognised by the rest of Somalia. With all this tribalism happening in the 1960s and onwards, separation and violence in tribalism was inevitable.
The Isaaq Tribe who originate from North Western Somalia, now known as Somaliland, are the third biggest tribe in Somalia. They settle in large urban areas like Hargeisa, Burco and Berbera. They worked very closely with the British Colonists in the 1920-60's to make a better and more peaceful Somaliland, which was eventually successful before joining alliance with the Somali Republic. The areas which they settled in was never recognised and developed by the Somali Government. Instead it was seen as an area that should be completely ignored because the Isaaq people live there. It only took the Isaaq people a few years to regret joining alliance with the Somali Republic because they never knew they were going to be isolated like this.
The Hawiye tribe, who have most of its people in Southern Somalia, are the second biggest tribe in Somalia. They settle in large urban areas like Kismayo, Mogadishu and Barawa. They have been the most dominant tribe in Somalia in the last 60-70 years and hold the most prestigious roles in the government today. Five of the last eleven presidents of Somalia have been from the Hawiye tribe, which demonstrates their authority within Somalia.
The Darod tribe, who reside from so many different parts of Somalia and even parts of Ethiopia, are the largest tribe in Somalia. They hold all of Ogedania (Eastern Ethiopia) which belong to the Darod clan, Ogaden. They also hold Puntland, an autonomous state in Somalia which is occupied by the Majerteen, Warsangeli and Dhulbahante clans. They occupy the biggest regions in Somalia, Sanaag, Sool, Mudug, Bari and parts of Cayn. The most recognised and probably the most hated man in Somalia, Siad Barre, comes from the Darod sub-clan, Marexaan.
If you look closely each and every single self independent state in Somalia is based on the most popular tribe and/or clan. Puntland for example, majority of its inhabitants are Darod who live North-East Somalia and do not have a good relationship with its neighbours, Somaliland, who is mainly Isaaq inhabited. Then you look at Somalia, which is mainly occupied by the Hawiye tribe.
The reason why Somaliland broke away from the rest of Somalia is completely understandable and unquestionable, but Puntland's reason for claiming self-independence is utterly shambolic and this is why tribalism is becoming a cancer in Somalia. Not very long ago, people from the region of Awdal were looking to claim self-independence from Somaliland calling itself 'Awdalland'. They consist of the Gadabursi tribe and believe they are being treated unfairly by Somaliland so they believe it's clever and right to try and break away from a country that's developing extremely fast. These moves by tribes needs to be identified and sorted out as soon as possible because this can have dramatic effects on Somaliland and Somalia very soon.
Somaliland broke away from the rest of war ravaged Somalia as early as the 1990s and started to get itself together and form a new country which is what its people wanted at the time and still want. Somaliland broke away from the rest of war-torn Somalia for many different reasons but the main one is how the people from that region were treated by past governments of Somalia. Siad Barre worked hard on ruining the lives of Isaaq people and killing them off, this has had a huge impact on Somalia today. One thing people cannot do is compare Somaliland's self-independence to Puntland's one. Somaliland's reason to break-away is very deep and has emotionally detached reasons. Somaliland now uses Puntland as a buffer zone from Somalia.
From as early as the 19th century, tribalism existed in Somalia with the Dervish State, led by Muhammed Abdullah Hassan. He was known to many around the world as an iconic leader for Somali people and led them to fight off the British colonists. But the people of Somalia know that he was an extremely tribalist leader who only recruited people from his tribe and isolated the rest. This shambolic behaviour has been ignited again by the people of Somalia in the 21st century which really starts to raise attentiveness on how Somali's are towards each other.
Tribalism has been an illness and disease that has lived in the Somali culture for more than a century, but what people from Somalia and Somaliland do not understand is that this nauseating culture in which we embrace is only killing our people and making us hate one another. All you have to do is look at Puntland and what Awdalland tried to do to see what decades of tribalism has done to Somali people, it's quite literally separated all of Somalia. Now people within Somalia want to be self-independent because of their tribes and the numbers within which they have and this will lead to people claiming their tribal names over what they really are: SOMALI'S.
One way of killing off tribalism is Somaliland encouraging other tribes such as Hawiye to become politically involved in Somaliland's government and help make decisions. If this happens then there will be a balance in Somaliland and maybe there might be a spread in different tribes occupying Somaliland. But at the moment, each tribe sit in their own 'Country' which will lead to future wars over boarder line controversies. Hopefully this catastrophic and cancerous culture will soon die and Somali people can live peacefully amongst each another. But in the mean time, all we see is tribalism going to a new level in the next decade or so.
Monday, November 26, 2012
Posted By Blogger to SAMOTALIS at 11/26/2012 05:27:00 PM
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Friday, November 16, 2012
ADDIS ABABA, 16 November 2012 (IRIN) - As Ethiopia's massive dam-building plans continue to cause disquiet in downstream Egypt, new research suggests there is sufficient water in the Nile for all 10 countries it flows through, and that poverty there could be significantly eased as long as access by small-scale farmers is boosted.
"We would argue that physically there is enough water in the Nile for all the riparian countries," said Simon Langan, head of the East Africa and Nile Basin office of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), at the Addis Ababa launch of The Nile River Basin: Water, Agriculture, Governance and Livelihoods [ http://cgspace.cgiar.org/handle/10568/24746 ] published by the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food [ http://www.waterandfood.org/ ].
"What we really need to do is make sure that there is access to this water. Poverty rates are about 17 percent in Egypt but for five of the upstream riparian countries it is more like 50 percent. So, this access to water is very important," he added.
According to a media advisory promoting the book, the Nile "has enough water to supply dams and irrigate parched agriculture in all 10 countries - but policymakers risk turning the poor into water `have-nots' if they don't enact inclusive water management policies."
While better seeds and tools play a key role in boosting agricultural productivity, access to water is even more important, said one of the book's editors, Seleshi Bekele, senior water resources and climate specialist at the UN Economic Commission for Africa.
"The higher water access you have the less the poverty profile... This is not only in comparison between Egypt and upstream countries: within Ethiopia itself, 22 percent less poor were observed in those communities who have access to water," he said.
Access "means that girls can go to school, instead of fetching water from distance that could take hours," he added.
Smallholder farmers, who rely on rainwater to irrigate their crops, could similarly benefit from policies that give them greater access to water in the Nile basin.
The book calls for investment to adopt agricultural water management (AWM) policies, which include irrigation and rainwater collection, so that water-scarce parts of the region are able to grow enough food.
Bekele says improved AWM, seen as key to economic growth, food security and poverty reduction, must be better integrated into the region's agricultural policies.
"It is tempting for these governments to focus on large-scale irrigation schemes, such as existing schemes in Sudan and Egypt, but more attention must also be paid to smaller, on-farm water management approaches that make use of rainwater and stored water resources such as aquifers," he added.
According to IWMI's Langan, "There is enough for the current need, 5.6 million hectares irrigated. The plan to expand to 10 or 11 million hectares. there are questions if there is enough water to do that if we use the water in the same method we do now under the same management."
Call for greater cooperation
The experts also called for greater cooperation among governments of the basin countries.
Egypt and Sudan are still not on board the Nile River Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) [ http://www.internationalwaterlaw.org/documents/regionaldocs/Nile_River_Basin_Cooperative_Framework_2010.pdf ] signed, after years of fruitless negotiations with Cairo, by six other riparian countries in 2010 in a move to revise the terms of colonial treaties that awarded Egypt and Sudan control over the bulk of the river's waters. The six states particularly object to the veto one treaty gives Egypt over upstream Nile projects.
"The CFA makes it clear that no state will exercise hegemony over the Nile waters and their allocation, or claim exclusive rights," Nile expert and author Seifulaziz Milas wrote in a recent article published on the African Arguments website [ http://africanarguments.org/2012/10/03/ethiopia-nile-waters-diplomacy-and-the-renaissance-dam-%E2%80%93-by-seifulaziz-milas/ ].
"The launching of the CFA in May 2010 was a shock to Cairo, which had previously thought it could be blocked. The shock was all the greater as in the same week that the CFA was launched, Ethiopia's [now late] prime minister inaugurated the Tana-Beles Project on the Beles river, a tributary of the Blue Nile," he added.
Concern over new Ethiopian dam
More recently, Cairo has expressed concern that Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam - due for completion in 2015 - would reduce flow into Egypt, 95 percent of whose water comes from the Nile. Addis Ababa says Egypt's 55.5 billion annual cubic metres of Nile water would not be affected. A panel of international experts is due to deliver its findings on the dam's impact in May 2013.
"Today, as in years past, utilization of the Nile remains strikingly inequitable," Ethiopia's Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a recent statement [ http://www.mfa.gov.et/weekHornAfrica/morewha.php?wi=596#596 ].
"Ethiopia, which contributes over 85 percent of the river's flow, makes no use of it; Egypt, which contributes nothing, continues to argue in favour of its continued status as primary beneficiary. Egypt still justifies this lopsided allocation of use on the basis of obsolete colonial treaties that Ethiopia neither signed nor supported. With all notions of fairness and law in its favour, it is no surprise that Ethiopian governments, past and present, have refused to accept the Egyptian position," the statement added.
Despite the heated rhetoric, major conflict over the Nile is avoidable, according to Bekele.
"I don't think there is any reason to go to war... there is a way to manage the water, in fact to enhance cooperation and to bring more regional integration, for example through power trade and agriculture productivity, " he said.
ADDIS ABABA, 15 November 2012 (IRIN) - Tensions have been simmering over several months between Muslims and the government, with thousands holding demonstrations in protest at the government's alleged interference in religious affairs; the government has blamed the protests on a small group of extremists.
Around 60 percent of Ethiopia's 84 million people are Christians; Muslims make up about one-third of the population, according to official figures. Religion-related clashes have been rare in the country, but unrest over the past several months has led to several deaths and dozens of arrests. IRIN looks at the causes of, and fallout from, the protests.
What sparked the protests?
The leaders of the protests, which began in December 2011, accuse the Ethiopian government of trying to impose the al-Ahbash Islamic sect on the country's Muslim community, which traditionally practises the Sufi form of Islam. Al-Ahbash beliefs are an interpretation of Islam combining elements of Sunni Islam and Sufism; its teachings are popular in Lebanon. Said to be first taught by Ethiopian scholar Abdullah al-Harari, the Ethiopian Al-Ahbash teachings are moderate, advocating Islamic pluralism, while opposing political activism.
In December 2011, the state moved to dismiss the administration of the Awoliya religious school in Addis Ababa. In July, police dispersed an overnight meeting at the school on the eve of an African Union heads of state summit, and arrested several protesters and organizers of the meeting, which police officials said did not have a permit.
Those behind the meeting, an "Arbitration Committee" of 17 led by prominent religious scholars, said they wanted to dialogue with the government but insisted they would continue legitimate protests to oppose its continued interference in the administration of the religious school and the election of members of the country's supreme Islamic Council.
They accuse the government of dictating elections to the council, which concluded [ http://www.mfa.gov.et/news/more.php?newsid=1370 ] on 5 November, and favour the Al-Ahbash Muslim sect.
Temam Ababulga, a lawyer representing activists who led the protests - some of them are currently behind bars - says they are appealing to a federal court to cancel the election and its outcome, on the grounds that the elections were not conducted in accordance with the council's by-laws.
"The opposition to Ahbash at this time is not theological. the protesters oppose... that the regime is sponsoring the movement, providing finance, logistical support and allowing it to use both the Islamic Council and the state institution in its proselytization," said Jawar Mohammed, an Ethiopian analyst now studying at Columbia University in the USA.
"Ahbash has been in Ethiopia since the 1990s and has peacefully coexisted with the rest of Islamic revival movements," he added. "The confrontation came only after the government invited the leading figures from Lebanon and started aggressive re-indoctrination campaign."
What is the government's response?
The government denies that it is violating the country's constitution by meddling in religious affairs. Addressing parliament on 16 October, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said: "The government is not and would not interfere in the affairs of any religion in the country."
At the height of the protests in mid-April, then Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died in August, told parliament that "a few extremists are working to erode the age-old tradition of tolerance between traditional Sufi Muslims and Christians in Ethiopia," and stressed that they would not be tolerated by the government.
"The government... has made a number of efforts to encourage engagement with the protesters and has, for example, also done all it can to support the matter of elections for the Islamic Council," said a statement [ http://www.mfa.gov.et/weekHornAfrica/morewha.php?wi=684 ] by the government in response to Amnesty International's allegations.
"It is true that some members of a `protesters committee' have been arrested following violent protests, but it is completely misleading to suggest that this `committee' had been `chosen to represent the Muslim community's grievances to the government'. This `committee' was not chosen nor elected by anyone... It was, in sum, a small, self-appointed committee of protesters whose support in the community at large, as the recent election clearly demonstrated, was minimal."
Increasing Islamic militancy in the region - Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania have all witnessed increased Islamist activity - is of concern to the Ethiopian authorities, who say they are facing growing threats evident from the discovery of the first Al-Qaeda cell in the country; 11 people have been in an on-going trial, suspected of being members of an Al-Qaeda cell and accused of planning terrorist attacks.
What are rights groups saying?
The USA has added its voice to accusations that Ethiopia has been interfering in the religious affairs of its Islamic population and wrongfully arresting people. Addis Ababa has on several occasions rejected these charges.
"Since July 2011, the Ethiopian government has sought to force a change in the sect of Islam practiced nationwide and has punished clergy and laity who have resisted," an 8 November press statement [ http://www.uscirf.gov/news-room/whats-new-at-uscirf/3860-press-statement-uscirf-deeply-concerned-by-emerging-religious-freedom-violations-in-ethiopia.html ] by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom - a bipartisan federal government body - said. "Muslims throughout Ethiopia have been arrested during peaceful protests."
Amnesty International [ http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR25/016/2012/en/f77e6342-5d69-4ed9-b595-c23fd2e3cb3d/afr250162012en.html ] has also accused the Ethiopian authorities of "committing human rights violations in response to the ongoing Muslim protest movement in the country". The organization said the police was using "excessive force" against peaceful demonstrators.
Human Rights Watch says it is deeply concerned that Ethiopia's government has repeatedly used terrorism-related prosecutions to clamp down on lawful freedom of speech and assembly.
"Many of these trials have been politically motivated and marred by serious due process violations," Laetitia Bader, a Human Rights Watch researcher on Ethiopia, told IRIN via email. "The Muslim leaders and others, should be immediately released unless the government can produce credible evidence of unlawful activity. The fact that many of the detainees have been in detention for over three months without charge does raise questions about the existence of such evidence."
Rights groups also say journalists covering the protests are being increasingly harassed. In October, police briefly detained Marthe Van Der Wolf, a reporter with the Voice of America as she was covering one of the protests at the Anwar Mosque, and according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), told to erase her recorded interviews.
"Ethiopian authorities should halt their harassment of journalists covering the country's Muslim community and their intimidation of citizens who have tried to speak to reporters about sensitive religious, ethnic, and political issues," CPJ said in an October statement. [ http://www.cpj.org/2012/10/ethiopia-briefly-detains-voice-of-america-correspo.php ]
The government denies violently suppressing the protests, and says "one or two of the protests were extremely violent (with police killed)."
Activists and rights groups are concerned about references to "terrorism" in the charges. "The charges contain similar allegations used to prosecute dissident journalists and opposition leaders in the past few years... the leaders of the Muslim protest are just the latest victims of the regime's war against dissenting voices," said Jawar Mohammed.
"In fact, many of the Muslim scholars and spiritual leaders being accused of such conspiracy to create an Islamic state have written and publicly spoken advocating against any form of extremism, emphasizing that Ethiopia is a multi-faith country where secular state is indispensable for co-existence," he added. "The irony is that these Muslim leaders, many of them, are followers of the Sufi tradition and have a proven track record of actively fighting against infiltration of the community by extremist elements."
What is the extent of the protests and violence?
The demonstrations have continued for close to a year, and show no signs of abating. During Eid Al Adha celebrations in late October, tens of thousands of Muslims took to the streets to celebrate the holiday; after the prayers, they staged protests. "We have nothing to kill for. but we have Islam to die for," read some of the protesters' banners.
The arrest of an Imam in the Oromia region back in April led to clashes that left four dead, while the country's federal police clashed with protesters at Addis Ababa's Grand Anwar mosque on 21 July.
In October, in the Amhara Region, three civilians and one police officer were killed when protesters stormed a police station where a religious leader was jailed, said Communication Affairs State Minister Shimeles Kemal. On 29 October, federal prosecutors charged the jailed activists and others with terrorism; a group of 29 people are accused of aiming to establish an Islamic state, undermining the country's secular constitution.
How might resentments play out?
In a report [ http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/africa/horn-of-africa/ethiopia-eritrea/b089-ethiopia-after-meles ] released shortly after Meles's death, the think tank International Crisis Group warned that the new government would find it difficult to deal with grievances in the absence of "any meaningful domestic political opposition".
"Resentments would likely continue to be turned into ethnic and religious channels, thus undermining stability and, in the worst case of civil war, even survival of a multi-ethnic, multi-faith state," the authors said.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
|Somaliland: 17 Universities Registered Nationwide|
|Monday, 12 November 2012 19:08|
By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Media houses have been disallowed from advertising for unregistered universities.
The ministry of education has instructed bosses of all media houses to coordinate with the department of higher education in order to ensure that they only post advertisement for registered universities.
A press statement released by the Director General of Higher Education Mr Kadar Ahmed Diriye, the ministry of education informed that despite the multitude of universities operating in the country only 17 are registered.
The DG said that the ministry has a policy on higher education that is geared towards ensuring the quality of education as well as the institution itself which is established through registration.
Said he,"The education ministry is only able to monitor those institutions of higher learning which are duly registered and licensed"
The ministry which reiterated the importance of media houses cooperation named the following institutions of higher learning that are duly registered and which media houses are allowed to advertise for,
No Name of Institution and Location
1. Amoud University Borame
2. University of Hargeisa
3. Gollis University with Campuses in Burao, Berbera & Hargeisa
4. Admas University College Hargeisa
5. Burao University Burao
6. Nugal University Las-Anod
7. Eelo American University Borame
8. International Horn University Hargeisa
9. Addis Ababa Medical College Hargeisa
10. Tima'ade University Gabile
11. Hope University Hargeisa
12. Sanaag University Erigavo
13. Abaarso Tech University Hargeisa
14. Alpha University College Hargeisa
15. New Generation University College Hargeisa
16. Edna University Hospital Hargeisa
17. Bader College
While this is the first time for the ministry of education to publicize such a list it is imperative that the government act expeditiously as pertains to the other many universities where thousands of Somaliland youths are currently pursuing their studies.
The quality of education offered by both the registered and unregistered universities as well as the instructors need proper monitoring by the ministry's Commission of Higher education thus ensure that we do not produce graduates who are academically half-baked.
Despite the fact that all the regions have at least one university thus ease of access to higher education, the courses offered remain suspect considering that we are graduation over 2000 fresh jobseekers of whom approximately 10% are absorbed by the local market with the rest left to waste time in coffee houses or endanger their lives while pursuing illegal immigration in the Sahara desert.
Of the 10% who manage to find jobs immediately around 5% are science based graduates mostly medicine while the rest are business and administration graduates. With these figures it is obvious that the ministry needs a rethink on how to entice more Somalilanders in the pursuit of science based studies and decrease the over 75% that pursue business and administration thus an overflow.
It has become fashionable for citizens to complain that expatriates are occupying positions which rightfully belong to locals but what is not mentioned is that the expatriates are here because their particular skills are not available in the country because the multitude of institutions are in competition to provide business administration and ICT courses only.
We need polytechnics that provide not necessarily degrees but diplomas and certificates in studies pertaining to Nutrition, Mechanics, Draughtsmanship, Clinical officers, Plumbing, Electronics, Accountancy, Secretarial, etc. these are the jobs that drive a nation forward.
Meanwhile why is the Marine University in Berbera not registered not to mention Lucy University and Somaliland University of Science & Technology-SUTECH both in Hargeisa?
What of the very suspicious one year old SAVANAH University in Burao which has also opened a medical facility that employs expatriates only both as medics and tutors?
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Thursday, November 8, 2012
|Somaliland Journalists: New Media Law Ends Freedom of Press in Somaliland|
|Wednesday, 07 November 2012 10:10|
By: Staff Writer
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) - The Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA) is worried that the recently passed law for the National Intelligence Agency by the two houses of the Somaliland parliament may have a negative impact on the freedom of Somaliland's independent media.
In a statement released on November 6, 2012,SOLJA calls on Somaliland president Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo to amend article 7 paragraph 11 of the new law, which states that NIA has the right to censor the media equipments. SOlJA's Chairman Hassan Mohamed Yusuf believes that this will give a chance the NIA to censor the independent media, which is opposite to the Somaliland national constitution as well as the Somaliland press law, which the president promised to implement during his campaign in the election in 2010.
SOLA also claims that more than 100,000 Somalilanders have lost their lives to have a freedom of speech and self determination. ''If the president of Somaliland signs this law accepting the censorship, he will be remembered the man who burried the freedom of speech after twenty years of independence.''
SOLAJA calls on countries friendly to Somaliland, as well as human rights organizations in the world, and independent media watch dog organizations to encourage the president of Somaliland to amend this law of censorship.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
By: Yusuf M Hasan
MOGADISHU (Somalilandsun) – A new administration has been inaugurated in Somalia
The prime minister of Somalia Abdi-Farah Shirdoon 'Saeed' has announced a 10 member cabinet of ministers that includes the first woman to hold the post of deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs.
The ten ministerial appointments are:
1. M/s Fozia Yusuf Haji Aden –Deputy Prime minister and minister of foreign affairs.
2. Abdilahi Abyan Nuur- Minister of Justice and religious endowment.
3. Abdihakim Haji Mahmud Fiqi- Minister of Defence
4. Abdikarin Hussein Guleid – Minister of Interior and National Security.
5. Mahmud Hasan Suleiman- Minister of Finance and Planning
6. Abdilahi Ilmooge Hirsi- Minister of Broadcasting and Information
7. Abdirizaq Omar Mohamed – Minister of Natural Resources
8. Muhdin Mohamed Kalmoye – Minister of Public works and Reconstruction
9. Maryan Qasim – Minister of Development and social Welfare
10. Mahmud Ahmed Hasan – Minister of Commerce and Industry.
This cabinet of ministers which is also very small as compared to past ones and includes two women happens to be mainly composed of new faces thus a sure sign that president Hasan Sheikh Mahmud is intent on a complete facelift.
This intent was originally discerned by the president's appointment of Prime Minister Shirdoon who is himself a new face in the country's political and public administration scene.
The appointment of interest here is that of M/s Fozia Yusuf as deputy premier and foreign affairs ministers. While she is the first woman to hold those posts in the history of Somalia she also happens to be originally from Somaliland where her political designs were nabbed after her NDB party was denied approval to contest imminent local council elections.
Somaliland: No lip service on Sovereignty, forces, logos, emblems ironic
Editorial Somaliland Press
Yes, it is truly so far so good for the directions and steps taken by Somaliland Forces, especially the police sectors.
We indeed have gone a long way since the Ina-Gurey days. However what is upper most in the minds of real patriots, as concerns our security apparatus, is the fact surrounding the emblems and logos of our forces.
Is it not quite shocking that as day in day out, month after month, year after year, and up-to now, two decades later, when we see a new flag or uniform (belts), we only see the sickly Somalia regime's security forces' dressing logos and emblems! Is it not the main thing our parliamentarians, ministers or forces commanders should have long ago dealt with, and seriously at that?
How then can we be held serious and not seen as to be giving lip service to our re-assertion of independence? How then can we top up and seal the last cork of our jubilation if not by discarding the most sensitive logos of the former Somalia regimes?
Why should the old emblems be a cross to carry whence it ain't ours?
If we changed the money, national flag, passport and national emblem, why not those of the logos of our security forces?
Does it cost more money to paint our police vehicles with new logos? With all respect due and with all senses and nerves of unblemished real patriotism, we ask the departments concerned to see and deem this matter as the national security one it is and, please, to do the necessary.
Ironically, one look at the caps, belts and vehicles of our security forces and the mind races back to the dark ages hence renders teeth to grind with charging.
On the other hand we stand by the forces in commemorating and celebrating their 19th year auspicious occasion since re-establishment.
At the same time we commend them on the noble work they do tirelessly with stark patriotism without grumbling.
In the same breathe we call upon members of the public and the government at large to help them such their tasks may be eased.
Wouldn't their morale be boosted a thousand folds with new logos and emblems?
Yes, we believe so.
By M.A EGGE
Friday, November 2, 2012
MOGADISHU/NAIROBI, 1 November 2012 (IRIN) - Already struggling to access sporadic humanitarian assistance, internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Somali capital Mogadishu are also facing eviction by returning landowners and unscrupulous camp "gatekeepers" who siphon away what little aid is received, a new report says.
"When [insurgent group] Al-Shabab gave up control of the Somali capital, militia leaders, politicians and influential landowners re-consolidated their control over various parts of the city. This control extends to the displacement camps where international humanitarian assistance is directed," notes the report, Gatekeepers and Evictions: Somalia's Displaced Population at Risk [ http://refugeesinternational.org/sites/default/files/110112_Gatekeepers_and_Evictions%20letterhead.pdf ], by Refugees International (RI).
"On site, camp 'gatekeepers,' connected to these local powerbrokers through a complex network of influence, regularly demand a portion of the aid that displaced people receive as 'rent'."
While some gatekeepers provide security in exchange for payment, others treat IDPs "as commodities for their own personal gain", the report says.
Lack of management
RI says the gatekeeper system emerged from "remote-control" service delivery, in which international humanitarian agencies provided assistance through local NGOs, during the years Mogadishu was highly dangerous to operate in.
A June 2012 report by the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea found that aid agencies working in Somalia "encountered a variety of sophisticated strategies to attract, control and divert humanitarian assistance". "The most pervasive and subtle of these involved the role of IDP camp managers and district officials as 'gatekeepers' to control physical access, manage aid resources and prevent effective monitoring of the use of aid," it found.
Aid agencies say despite the withdrawal of Al-Shabab from Mogadishu in 2011, several militia groups continue to operate in the city. This insecurity and the lack of organizational structures within the camps continue to make it difficult to provide a steady stream of support.
"Access to the IDPs remains difficult because of poor security, and humanitarian services are there but irregular. IDPs are coping by setting up bases in several settlements to access all services," Kilian Kleinschmidt, deputy humanitarian coordinator for the UN in Somalia, told IRIN.
"One major shortcoming has been the lack of management and administrative structures within the IDP settlements, many of which are controlled by unscrupulous NGOs and gatekeepers, who may divert funds and supplies [intended for] the settlements. Some have even been known to set up fake camps, organizing for people to be there when aid agencies are visiting when in actual fact no one lives there," he said.
"Our shelters, which we build ourselves, cannot even protect you from environmental factors like wind and sun, let alone provide our security. Besides this, it is overcrowded, and one is not even able to get enough space to cook or boil water," said Asha Ahmed, an IDP in Mogadishu.
Healthcare in the camps is also hard to come by. "My womb is in critical condition after I gave birth to a dead infant earlier this year, and I am fearing that this may affect my other subsequent pregnancies," Amina Osman told IRIN.
Thousands of IDPs recently demonstrated in Mogadishu to demand better service provision and housing.
"The demonstration was about long-standing issues, and the IDPS are right to express their feelings. We hope that once the [political] transition comes to an end and the government falls into place, humanitarian issues will not be forgotten," Kleinschmidt said.
"There needs to be a joint effort between line minsters, district commissioners, political leaders, humanitarians and other key stakeholders to ensure sustainable provision of services to the IDPs in Mogadishu."
He stressed the need for proper policy on IDP settlements, without which humanitarian action would continue to be "sporadic and unpredictable".
There are no concrete population statistics on the number of IDPs in Mogadishu, but a 2012 survey by the International Committee of the Red Crescent estimated that the number could be as high as 400,000, with 15 percent being urban poor originally from the city.
"IDPs are living in very bad conditions with few humanitarian standards met. We had hoped that many would return after the end of the 2011 drought, but that has not really happened since many of the IDPs found livelihoods in the booming city," Kleinschmidt said.
"When AMISOM [the African Union Mission in Somalia] took Afgooye [a town 25km west of Mogadishu] in February, many of the IDPs there moved to Mogadishu; many of them have joined the IDPs within and on the outskirts of the city."
Better aid monitoring
The RI report also highlights eviction as a major problem faced by Mogadishu IDPs.
"As Mogadishu develops, businessmen, returning members of the Somali diaspora and government officials are all seeking to reclaim land where IDPs have settled," it states. "Both Somalia's new government and its donors must ensure that any urban planning and development takes into consideration the impact on IDPs."
The report urges the UN and international NGOs to increase their presence in IDP camps and improve their monitoring of aid delivery, recommending that donor nations increase their funding for monitoring and evaluation. It also says the new Somali government "must hold local officials to account for the theft of aid and prevent any forced evictions of displaced persons or communities that violate international humanitarian law".
Kleinschmidt noted that several UN agencies and international NGOs were increasing their presence within Somalia. He said 14 UN agencies and NGOs have started reorganizing one of the largest and most notorious IDP settlements, organizing the services' shelters in a structured manner to promote ease of access.
"Now that most of the city is fairly accessible, mapping of settlements and service provision is ongoing. while an interagency effort has begun profiling the city's IDP population to better understand who they are," he said.
Improving security in the camps is also crucial for the expansion of humanitarian assistance. "Security is a precondition for the provision of services. We need stronger policing around the camps. AMISOM police is working with local police to address the issue of militias in the city who are responsible for insecurity. The return of the rule of law is crucial. UNDP's rule of law programme, in cooperation with the humanitarians, is trying to ensure that security in IDP settlements is provided by police," he said.
"The solution is not to pour more food and supplies [into the city] if they are not going to reach their intended beneficiaries but to change the security and governance paradigm," Kleinschmidt added.