Friday, September 28, 2012

Caynaba News Fatahada Wabi Shabeele iyo Beledweyne

SOMALIA: Dangers for journalists grow as new government takes hold

SOMALIA:  Dangers for journalists grow as new government takes hold

MOGADISHU, 28 September 2012 (IRIN) - The situation of journalists in Somalia is becoming increasingly precarious as the country struggles to put behind it years of lawlessness following the recent successful election of a new president. [ ]

"So far, 13 journalists have been killed and 19 others wounded this year, and the killings may continue if something is not done promptly," Abdirashid Del, a senior member of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), told IRIN, noting that political transitions often heighten security risks for journalists in Somalia [ ].

Two more journalists were on 27 and 28 September killed by armed men in Mogadishu, according to reports, which were confirmed by NUSOJ. The dead included a sports journalist with the web-based and a correspondent attached to the Saba News Agency.

The deaths of journalists in Somalia, in targeted assassinations and explosions, have largely been blamed on Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab militants.

"Al-Shabab may be part of the problem, but I cannot categorically say that they are responsible because we are not a court that can decide what happened. There is a need for more investigations to ascertain who is involved and why this is happening [at] such an alarming rate," Del said.

"Although we think that [the] government has not been involved, [the] security responsibility lies on them because protecting the lives of the people is one of the primary functions of the government," he added.

Most dangerous place

On 20 September, three journalists were killed and five others wounded after two suicide bombers targeted a popular restaurant in Mogadishu's Hamer Wayne District.

The following day, radio journalist Hassan Yusuf Absuge was shot dead near the station's offices in Mogadishu's Yaqshiid District.

"I thought about abandoning my job or leaving the country to a safer place like Nairobi or Hargeisa [capital of the self-declared republic of Somaliland], but I changed my mind after colleagues advised me to stay. Imagine losing four journalists in two days!" Hussein Abdulle Mohamed, a radio journalist, told IRIN.

"When your colleague is killed, the biggest question is: who is next?"

Abdulllahi Mohamed Ali, also known as Suldan, told IRIN that he would continue working as a journalist in Mogadishu despite getting injured and losing close friends. "Death is inevitable and everyone has a pre-destined time [to die], whether you are in Washington or in Mogadishu."

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) ranks Somalia as the most dangerous place for journalists to work in Africa.

 "We do not know our enemy. We are just like cornered sheep in a pen. Somebody comes at the time of their convenience and slaughters one after the other," said Suldan, adding that the future of the media in Somalia cannot be viewed separately from that of the country. "There can never be a green branch on a tree when the tree has no stem."

Government-run media houses have not been spared. "We experienced [a] much more dangerous period when we could hardly move because Al-Shabab was ruling most parts of the capital. I was fully aware of the dangers I was facing when I joined Radio Mogadishu. I came here because I wanted a platform where I could help the country," journalist Abdifitah Dahir Jeyte told IRIN.

Defying intimidation

Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulle, a journalist with the newly launched Radio Goobjoog, urged journalists in Somalia to remain impartial while operating in a hostile environment where big stories mean big dangers.

"There is a big question mark on the future of the media in Somalia because the line between impartiality and bias is being increasing blurred," he said. "The government tells us that we cannot remain impartial when it comes to issues of national interest while Al-Shabab tells us that we can never be impartial between the right and the wrong. The time when a journalist could report all sides of the story is gradually disappearing."

During Al-Shabab's occupation of Mogadishu, broadcasters were even banned from airing music, an edict they responded to with some irony [ ].

Despite the 2011 announcement of the withdrawal of Al-Shabab from Mogadishu, the Somalia capital has remained dangerous [ ]. But this has not affected the vibrant print and broadcast sector there, with at least 20 radio stations operating in Mogadishu alone.


Reacting to the latest killings, Human Rights Watch (HRW), in a 24 September statement [ ] urged the new government to adopt measures to provide better protection for journalists.

"Somalia's journalists have long topped the lists of targets by all sides during the country's brutal civil war," said Leslie Lefkow, deputy director of HRW's Africa division. "The new Somali president can act to end this horrific pattern by ordering prompt and serious investigations into these killings."

According to HRW, Al-Shabab told the media that their supporters had carried out the 20 September attacks but claimed they did not order it.

Warsame Mohamed Hassan, a Banadir Region deputy mayor for security affairs said, "Journalists are among the invaluable people we are losing to Al-Shabab, and we will do all we can to protect not only them but all Somali citizens as well."

No perpetrator has ever been prosecuted for killing a journalist in Somalia; CPJ's 2012 Impunity Index [ ] lists Somalia among countries "where journalists are slain and killers go free."



Thursday, September 27, 2012

Somaliland Business Fund to Launch in London

Somaliland Business Fund to Launch in London

SBF better futureSomalilandsun- The Government of Somaliland and the World Bank are jointly hosting the launch of the Somaliland Business Fund at the Radisson Blu Portman Hotel in London on October 2, 2012, at10:00am - 2:00pm.

The Somaliland Business Fund aims to mobilize the creative energy and resources of the private sector to strengthen private enterprises, increase incomes and create new sustainable employment opportunities and thereby improve the lives of Somalilanders.

This event is targeting prospective entrepreneurs that would like to learn about the support provided by the Government of Somaliland and the Somaliland Business Fund to new investors.

RSVP is required by September 30, 2012.

The Somaliland Business Fund website [] provides information about the objective and selection criteria in the application process.

Below is the invitation and the agenda of the event :

The Government of Somaliland and the World Bank Invite You to the

Launch of the Somaliland Business Fund

Tuesday - 2 October 2012

Radisson Blu Portman Hotel

22 Portman Square

London W1H7BG

10:00-10:05 Welcoming Remarks

Najeeb Hashi, Project Coordinator, The World Bank

10:05-10:15 Introduction of the Somalia Private Sector Development Re-engagement Programme

Michael Engman, Senior Economist, The World Bank

10:15-10:45 Trading and Investing in Somaliland

Saad Ali Shire, Minister of Planning and Development, Government of Somaliland

10:45-11:15 Business Registration and Licensing Reforms – Introducing One Stop Business Centres

Abib Ahmed Ali, Director General, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Government of Somaliland

11:15-11:45 Introduction to the Somaliland Business Fund: Accessing Finance for Investment

Denis Dunn, Fund Manager, Somaliland Business Fund.

11:45-13:00 Open floor: Q&A

13:00-13:10 Closing Remarks

Tom Croft, Somalia Desk, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

13:10-14:00 Halal Light Food and Mingling

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

AFRICA: Religious leaders rally for environmental conservation

AFRICA: Religious leaders rally for environmental conservation

NAIROBI, 25 September 2012 (IRIN) - Faced with environmental degradation that threatens the livelihoods of many people in Africa, a group of 50 religious leaders met in Nairobi earlier this month and pledged to take concrete steps to mitigate the effects of climate change.

In Kenya, the Anglican Church, with an estimated five million followers, committed to increase the country's forest cover by 10 percent over the next four years, and to promote soil conservation in 100,000 households.

The Hindu Council of Africa, with an estimated 1.7 million followers, pledged an environmental audit ofits buildings. Other pledges included the development of tree nurseries and adoption of green principles to save energy, made by the Qadiriyyah, Nigeria's largest Islamic sect and the Anglican Province of South Africa, respectively.

The leaders, drawn from Muslim, Christian and Hindu faiths, launched an action plan to be implemented over the next seven years, which includes, among other things, developing workshops on environmental conservation, ending the use of plastic bags, conducting trainings on sustainable land management and rainwater harvesting, and promoting the conservation of forests.

The leaders came from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Together, the three faiths have an estimated 184 million followers living in some of the world's poorest regions, where people are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

One Earth

The three-day meeting, themed 'Many Heavens, One Earth, Our Continent' was organized by the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group and funded by the World Bank, the US Agency for International Development and the Norwegian government.

Mounkaila Goumandakoye, director and regional representative of the UN Environment Programme, said, "We could be more successful, we could be more relevant to the needs and aspirations of the continent, we could have more impact in all African countries, if we can work with you [the faiths] hand-in-hand. Working with religions will go to the top of United Nations Environment Program agenda in Africa."

Religious groups have often played a role in environmental conservation. In the US, for instance, acoalition of Christian and Jewish groups are promoting an end to the cutting of old-growth forests and to commercial logging in public lands [ ] while the Oxford Biodiversity Institute has partnered with the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) and the World Database on Sacred Natural Sites to map religious forest sites globally for conservation [ ]. Religious groups own an estimated 5 to 10 percent of forests globally.

The close attachment of some religions to water and forests, experts say, make it easy to engage them in environmental conservation.

"People use forests as shrines, and rivers and lakes and, particularly, trees have been used as symbols of power by many religions around the world. They have a genuine interest in their conservation," Bethwel Murunga, who teaches African religion at Maseno University, told IRIN.

Martin Palmer, the secretary general of the UK-based ARC, which works with religious groups in environmental conservation based on their core teachings, beliefs and practices, said religious groups are a critical force in conserving the environment.

"We are realistic, but also optimistic. This cannot be done by the faiths themselves, but I can [say they can do] two-thirds of it. We have asked our partners, the World Bank, World Wide Fund for Nature, the Norwegian government and [others], to come here and see where we now need help," he said.



Saturday, September 22, 2012


New York, Sep 21 2012  7:10PM
The Security Council has strongly condemned yesterday's bombings in Mogadishu, adding that it is "deplorable" that ordinary Somalis are being targeted after the important gains made in recent weeks in completing the country's transition.

Suicide bombers set off at least two explosions at a popular restaurant in the capital on Thursday, killing at least a dozen people, including journalists and police officers, according to media reports.

The attacks, which were condemned as "cowardly and senseless" by the top United Nations envoy in Somalia, come in the wake of a series of landmark steps over recent weeks helping bring an end to the Horn of Africa nation's eight-year political transition period.

"After Somalia has taken such an important step in completing the transition, it is deplorable that ordinary Somalis have again been targeted by those who do not wish to see a more peaceful Somalia," the 15-member body said in a <"">statement issued to the press.

"The members of the Council underline their resolve to support Somalia in its efforts for peace and reconciliation," it added.

Council members also extended their condolences to the victims and their families, the newly-inaugurated President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and the people of Somalia.

Also today, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it is closely following the situation around the Somali port city of Kismayo as thousands of residents flee in anticipation of military activities and new clashes.

So far this month, more than 10,000 people have fled from Kismayo fearing the resumption of fighting, a UNHCR spokesperson, Adrian Edwards, told reporters in Geneva. Movements substantially increased on Monday and have been continuing since, and some 7,500 people fled the area in the past four days amid growing tension.

The majority of those displaced are heading to villages in other parts of Kismayo district as well as villages in the neighbouring Jilib and Jamame districts. Some are also moving towards Mogadishu and Dadaab refugee camps.

"According to our partners on the ground, most of those fleeing Kismayo say that they are planning to return as soon as the situation stabilizes," <"">said Mr. Edwards. "There are reports of sporadic militia attacks and looting. The displaced also fear being caught in the crossfire and possible reprisal attacks by armed groups operating in the town."

Despite recent advances in Somalia's peace and national reconciliation process, after decades of warfare, the country is still dealing with the impact of the Al-Shabaab militant group, which has been pushed out of Mogadishu but still controls some areas, primarily in south-central regions, including Kismayo.

Earlier this week, Kenyan military troops serving with the UN-backed African Union force in Somalia (AMISOM) assured the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, that they will endeavour to reduce the potential of civilians being hurt during their operation in Kismayo.
Sep 21 2012  7:10PM

Friday, September 21, 2012



MARXUUM  Faysal Cumar Mushteeg

Anigoo ku hadlaaya magaca Xafiiska La-taliyaha Madaxweynha ee Dhaqaalaha, Ganacsiga iyo Maalgashiga, waxaan
dhambaal tacsi ah u dirayaa ehelka, tafiirta, qaraabada, xigto iyo xigaal, iyo shacbiweynaha Somaliland Geerida Naxdinta leh ee ku timid fanaanka weyn Marxuum Faysal Cumar Mushteeg, oo ku geeriyooday Hargeysa shalay 20/9/2012

Allow naxariistaada ugu dambi dhaaf Faysal, Allow dambigiisa xasaanad ugu bedel, Allow naxariistaada ayaa janada lagu galaa ee albabada Fardows u fur, Allow ehel, asxaab iyo qaraababa ka yeel kuwa samra, marxuumkana u duceeya. Aamiin. 

Axmed Xasan Carwo
La-taliayaha Madaxweynaha ee
Dhaqaalaha, Ganacsiga iyo Maalgashiga

Metro police charge Somali Muslim woman with attempted terrorism.

Somaliland: Saudis Accept pre-1991 Somali Passport

Somaliland: Saudis Accept pre-1991 Somali Passport

Amb Rashid Garuuf says Saudis accept green passport & SL one L set for e-systemBy: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Pressure on the Government of Saudi Arabia bears fruits.

Citizens travelling to the holy city of Mecca for Hajj (Pilgrimage) will use the pre-1999 Somalia passports issued before Somaliland reclaimed its sovereignty.

This revelation came via a statement issued by the Somaliland Representative in the USA Ambassador Rashid Garuuf.

The government of Saudi Arabia had recently announced that it recognizes only the new TFG Somalia passport dubbed "Abdilahi Yusuf" thus entry refusal for pilgrims using either the Somaliland or the pre-1999 Somalia passports.

The Saudi decision raised much clamor with some even at ministerial level suggesting a boycott of this year's Hajj in protest, while others urged caution and the use of the TFG one, a suggestion that heightened the clamor further.

According to Amb. Garuuf the Saudi about-turn came after the administration of President Silanyo undertook intense negotiations with Riyadh where the Saudis were informed of the impossibility of Somalilanders travelling with a TFG passport.

The Amb Garuuf statement from Washington read:

This is to inform on the political stance and decision of the Government of Somaliland as pertains to the use of the Somalia TFG passports and repercussions.

He also informed that the government of Saudi Arabia has accepted the pre-1999 Somalia passport as valid travel document for Somalilanders attending the hajj.

The entire position is as:

1. The administration of the president H.E Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo hereby informs prospective pilgrims to use the pre-1991 Somalia passport.

2. The use of the pre-1991 green passport is now valid


New York, Sep 20 2012  5:10PM
The top United Nations political official for Somalia today condemned suicide attacks in the Horn of Africa nation's capital, and called for the country's progress towards stability to remain on course.

"I strongly condemn this cowardly and senseless attack. These acts of terrorism cannot reverse the recent achievements that Somalia has witnessed – such incidents can only reinforce the determination of the Somali people to reject violence and engage in peaceful resolution of conflict," the  Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), Augustine P. Mahiga, said in a <"">news release.

According to initial media reports, suicide bombers set off at least two explosions at a popular restaurant in Mogadishu on Thursday, killing at least a dozen people, including journalists and police officers. So far, reportedly, no group had claimed responsibility for the blasts.

After decades of warfare, Somalia has been undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with a series of landmark steps over recent weeks helping bring an end to the Horn of Africa nation's eight-year political transition period. These steps included the adoption of a provisional constitution, the establishment of a new parliament and the selection of a new president.

"This attack coming at a time when the people have resoundingly welcomed a popular process towards attaining more legitimate and representative institutions is an affront to the will of the Somali people and an attack on the return of normalcy to Somalia," Mr. Mahiga said. "We will not let the hard-won momentum towards stability be affected by such events."

The African nation is still dealing with the impact of the Al Shabaab militant group, which has been pushed out of the capital, but still controls parts of Somalia, primarily in its south-central regions.

While the efforts of Government forces, supported by troops from the UN-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), have led to Al Shabaab militants withdrawing from open combat in Mogadishu, the use of roadside bombs, grenades and suicide bombers still take place.

In addition to expressing his condolences to the families of those killed and wishing a rapid recovery to the injured, Mr. Mahiga also called on the perpetrators of the attacks to abandon practices that inflict "enormous suffering" on innocent civilians and show no respect for human life.

"UNPOS reiterates its support to the Somali people and is determined to work closely with the new administration in order to support Somalia on its course to peace and stability," the Special Representative added.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


New York, Sep 19 2012  1:10PM
Kenyan military troops serving with a UN-backed African Union force in Somalia will endeavour to reduce the potential of civilians being hurt during an ongoing operation, according to the top United Nations humanitarian official for the Horn of Africa country.

"Today, Kenya's Minister of State for Defence assured me that the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) would do everything possible to minimize the impact of their ongoing military operation on civilians," the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, said in a <"">news release.

"The Minister also told me that the KDF would help ensure humanitarian access to all people in need," Mr. Bowden added after his meeting.

The humanitarian official had met earlier Wednesday with Kenya's Minister of State for Defence, Mohamed Yusuf Haji, and its Chief of Defence Forces, General Julius W. Karangi, to discuss the protection of civilians during ongoing military operations near Somalia's southern port city of Kismayo.

Despite recent advances in Somalia's peace and national reconciliation process, after decades of warfare, the African nation is still dealing with the impact of the Al Shabaab militant group, which has been pushed out of capital, Mogadishu, but still controls parts of Somalia, primarily in its south-central regions, including Kismayo.

In addition, UN humanitarian agencies and their partners have been helping Somalis deal with the impact of drought, as well as the after-effects of famine in some areas; while famine was officially declared over earlier this year, many Somalis are still in desperate need.

Along with Somali Government troops, the UN-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) – under which Kenyan military forces in the country now serve – has been engaged in an intense offensive against the Al Shabaab, making inroads in some of the areas surrounding the capital. According to an AMISOM news release issued on Wednesday, troops from its Kenyan contingent have captured a string of towns leading to Kismayo.

Following reports of Al Shabaab militants fleeing the port city, AMISOM has called for calm among Chimayo's residents, with its Deputy Force Commander stating that the African Union force's objective is "to liberate the people of Kismayo to enable them to lead their lives in peace, stability and security."

The Deputy Force Commander also appealed to humanitarian agencies to come to the aid of the people fleeing Al Shabaab-controlled areas, and said that AMISOM troops "stand ready to facilitate any efforts to ease the suffering of the population."

In his news release, Mr. Bowden noted that while humanitarian actors remain neutral and strictly independent of military and political processes, they rely on all sides to gain access to those in need.

"I welcome Kenya's assurances and reiterate my call for all parties to the conflict to make every effort to minimize the impact of conflict on civilians and to allow full humanitarian access to all people in need," the humanitarian official said.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the number of Somalis receiving life-saving aid has more than doubled since July 2011, when famine had been declared, with more than 1.6 million Somalis now receiving food assistance, and 1.7 million people able to access clean water.
Sep 19 2012  1:10PM

Somaliland: Presidential Pardon For Convicted Food Aid Looters

Somaliland: Presidential Pardon For Convicted Food Aid Looters

Hargeisa,)-The Somaliland Presidency has given a pardon to two men convicted by a Hargeisa Court of the theft of food aid. The two men were arrested at the same time as the former governor of Marodi Jeh region, Ahmed Omar Abdillahi "Hamarje" and the former director of Resettlement at the ministry of Rural Development and Resettlement, Ahmed elimi Yare. All four men were indited on the same charges and convicted together.

However, whilst Hamarje and Ahmed Elmi languish in prison, the two pardoned men, Ahmed Mohamed Gelle "Timo'Adde", who is from the same community as the Somaliland minister for the Presidency, and the alleged power behind the throne, Hersi Ali Nuur, and Abdi Shakur, have both been given a pardon and released last night.

The second released man, Abdi Shakur, was the owner of one of the warehouses used to store the looted food aid. All four men were sentenced to eight years in prison.

The case of the stolen food aid, intended for the poor people of Somaliland, was one of the most shocking cases of corruption the country. Although, many analysts believe that Ahmed Hamarje and Ahmed Elmi were, allegedly, scapegoats for a larger as yet unnamed person or persons involved in scandal.

The pardon and release of the two men takes place prior to their appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


New York, Sep 18 2012  1:10PM
The Security Council today expressed its determination to work closely with the new institutions and offices of the Somali authorities, and encouraged the new President to appoint an inclusive, accountable Government.

Somalia has taken a series of landmark steps in recent weeks to bring an end to the Horn of Africa nation's eight-year political transition, including the adoption of a provisional constitution, the establishment of a new parliament and the election of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as President.

In a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council stressed the importance of the new Somali authorities developing a programme to define post-transition priorities, and underlined that a national referendum on the provisional constitution and general elections should take place within the term of the current parliament.

It also underlined the responsibility of the Somali authorities "to support reconciliation and deliver effective and inclusive local administrations, and public services to the people," and that these initiatives must be complemented by the expansion of rule of law institutions to areas recovered from Al-Shabaab insurgents.

The 15-member body also strongly condemned the grave and systematic human rights violations perpetrated by many parties, including al-Shabaab, and emphasized the need for accountability for all such violations and abuses.

In addition, the Council reiterated its support for the UN-backed African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and called on all partners to support it as well through the provision of funding for troops, equipment and technical assistance.
Sep 18 2012  1:10PM

UGANDA: Patients go private as state sector crumbles

UGANDA: Patients go private as state sector crumbles

KAMPALA, 18 September 2012 (IRIN) - Free healthcare is, in theory, available to everyone in Uganda but in practice, the state system, where thousands of doctors' and nurses' positions are unfilled,  is so run-down that patients are increasingly turning to private facilities.

The crisis in the public health sector has led to threats by members of parliament to block next year's budget unless the government finds an additional 260 billion Uganda shillings (US$103 million) to recruit staff and upgrade dilapidated health centres.

"We need to bring in some money to stop the deaths of mothers," said Sam Lyomoki, who chairs the Parliamentary Social Services Committee. Uganda's high maternal mortality rate, at over 430 deaths per 100,000 live births [ ], has led activists to sue the government [ ].

According to Lyomoki, the health sector accounts for 8 percent of government expenditures, barely half of its obligations under the 2001 Abuja Declaration [ ], in which African leaders pledged to spend 15 percent of their national budgets on healthcare.

"Really serious, serious action" is needed, according to Diana Atwine, director of the country's Medicines and Health Service Delivery Monitoring Unit.

John Okwonga, the health inspector in the northern Amuru District, which has a single state-employed doctor for a population of 234,000, said, "Most of the health units in villages are understaffed. They do not have enough health staff to diagnose and administer treatment to people who are ill... The health centres run out of drugs.

"Do you think it's easy for a doctor to come and work in such a place, without accommodation, medical equipment, and supporting staff?" he asked.

Paying for free care

Corruption is widespread, according to the Medicines and Health Service Delivery Monitoring Unit, which noted in its 2011 report [ ] that, despite the free healthcare policy in public hospitals, several facilities were found to be "charging patients even for basic services".

"When you come for treatment, the doctors will say the hospital is out of drugs, but they will direct you to a clinic where you can buy the drugs," recounted Kimulula Semanda, a resident of Wakiso District in central Uganda. For his child's supposedly free medical consultation, Semanda had to pay the doctor the equivalent of $10.

"Those who can afford to normally go to private clinics for treatment," Okwonga added.

Private healthcare providers account for 46 percent of all health facilities in Uganda, according to government figures [ ].

"The fact of the matter is, the private sector is a lot more efficient than government," said Ian Clarke, who chairs the board of Uganda Healthcare Federation (UHF) [ ], an umbrella group of health companies and associations.

"You can take the same amount of funds, and you can probably make the delivery much better," he added.

Imperfect private healthcare

But not everyone is in agreement; a study [ ] published in PLoS Medicine in June found no support for the theory that the private sector was "more efficient, accountable or medically effective" than the public sector in low- and middle-income countries.

And the standards of care can vary wildly: In Uganda, the amorphous private sector includes private clinics, large hospitals, drug shops and traditional healers without one specific oversight body.

The authors of a 2010 study [ ] on public and private healthcare in rural Uganda found that private providers played "a major role in health care delivery in rural Uganda", but noted that there was a need for a policy to address "quality and affordability issues" in the sector.

Clarke says the UHF is looking to introduce cross-cutting ethical standards and begin self-regulating so that it can ensure patients a reliable level of care if they go to certified facilities.

A third way

While the for-profit health industry is a boon to middle- and upper-class Ugandans who can afford the services, it does not address the needs of the country's poorest. Some donors, looking to circumvent public healthcare shortcomings, are investing in not-for-profit private practitioners to help reduce their costs and improve their services.

"The critical end of this is to ensure service delivery... [so] that the lowest person will be able to access health services," said Tadeo Atuhura, the communications specialist at Strides for Family Health [ ], a US Agency for International Development-funded organization that offers performance-based contracts to private health facilities in areas where  government services are lacking. The subcontractors are provided with incentives to reach specific health targets and reduce costs so more of the population is able to visit private facilities.

Strides funding has allowed Suubi Medical Centre, based in the Lake Victoria fishing village of Busu, to expand rapidly - eclipsing the basic health services offered at the local government health centre.

One of the centre's patients, 17-year-old Kate Namuloki, went into labour two months ahead of schedule, a spontaneous delivery caused by a bout of malaria. The government health centre has been without a midwife for more than a year, so to deliver in a fully staffed government facility she would have had to travel from for more than two hours over unpaved roads.

Instead, she delivered her daughter at Suubi; her grandmother sold a duck to pay for the delivery, which cost about $4.

Stanley Kwiri, a laboratory technologist, started Suubi in 2011; he said he is offering 11 different services with the funding from Strides, including the antenatal, delivery and postnatal care that the government health centre down the road cannot. He even helps supplement state programmes, providing government teams with transportation when they go out for routine immunization campaigns.

Dr Christine Kirunga Tashobya, the public-private partnership in health desk officer at the Ministry of Health said subsidized private healthcare could also help ease the pressure on public health facilities. "You could say if people who can afford [private healthcare] go to public facilities and get free services, there is leakage of public resources to people who could afford to look after themselves," she said.

The government has even encouraged the growth of the for-profit health sector by allowing health workers in public facilities to moonlight in private clinics. Tashobya said without this policy, the majority of doctors, nurses and midwives would opt to work in higher-paid private facilities, leaching the public system of the limited health workers it does have.

Fixing public healthcare is key

But according to Margaret Mungherera, president of the Uganda Medical Association, a professional association for health workers, this is already happening; she says high rates of absenteeism at public health facilities are caused by health workers "running around trying to supplement their income" by working at private facilities where they can command better pay.

Speaking alongside Lyomoki during the announcement of parliament's plan to block Uganda's pending budget, Mungherera she said the only lasting solution to the country's health system woes must involve lifting the salary freeze on current health workers and finding the money to recruit new ones.




New York, Sep 18 2012 11:10AM
The values that unite humanity are coming under increasing strain, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned, while arguing that a better world was within reach if people are willing to work, dream and pray for it together.

In his remarks last night to the service held at the Church of the Holy Family in New York City to mark the opening of the sixty-seventh General Assembly, Mr. Ban conceded that the tenets of peace, human rights and development are being tested by ongoing worldwide political and social tumult.

"Conflict continues to claim the lives of innocents from Syria to Central Africa to Afghanistan. In all regions, communities are facing economic hardship and political uncertainty," he said, noting that both global unemployment and intolerance are also on the rise.

"Perhaps it is easy for some to despair at these tests," he continued. "But I am a believer. I believe we can rise to the challenge. And I know you believe that, too."

Mr. Ban told those gathered about a recent day trip which took him first to the mass graves of Srebrenica and then on to London for the opening ceremony of the Olympics – a startling juxtaposition which, he said, showed him "the world as it was, and too often still is and the world as we know it can be."

"I resolved that the road from Srebrenica must take us to a world that is more civilized, more accountable, and more humane," Mr. Ban added, stating that despite current events and widespread conflict, a better world was nonetheless attainable.

"I believe it is out there for all the people of this Earth to grasp if we labour and dream and pray for it together."

The Assembly's sixty-seventh session opens today and will be presided over by the incoming President, Vuk Jeremic of Serbia.
Sep 18 2012 11:10AM

SOMALIA: Suspected cholera kills a dozen in south

SOMALIA: Suspected cholera kills a dozen in south

MOGADISHU, 18 September 2012 (IRIN) - A suspected cholera outbreak has killed about a dozen people in the southern Somali village of Hoosingo, in the district of Badade in Lower Juba, say government and health officials.

"One of the biggest problems we have is that we do not what this disease is," Adan Ibrahim Dhaqane, the Hoosingo Village commissioner, told IRIN by telephone.

"Schools, madrasas [and] restaurants are all closed to prevent the disease from spreading," he said.

Dhaqane said that at least 19 people had died since the outbreak started on 5 September, with 12 others sick. "We call [on] the aid agencies to help us in the following areas: provision of a steady supply of medicine, [the] identification of the disease and the setting up of health centres. We have no hospital, no MCH [maternal and child health centre] and no other health facility, simply tents."

According to a recent Somalia emergency health update [ ] by the UN World Health Organization (WHO), some 12 deaths and 107 cases of the disease were reported between 5-13 September, the majority of them being children above the age of five.

Abdimalik Sheikh Mohamed spoke of his daughter's death from the disease. "My daughter Sadia, five, was the first person to die. It was 5 September. She started vomiting and in a few minutes she was gone," he said. "There is not enough medicine and the village is remote."

Hoosingo is located about 100km from the Kenya-Somalia border town of Liboi and is not served by any health facilities, notes the WHO update, which expresses concern about the increased risk of a widespread cholera outbreak in Lower Juba Region and along the Kenya-Somalia border.

"Suspected cases have [also] been reported from Waraq, some 70km from Liboi. These areas [Hoosingo and Waraq] are transit points into Kenya, hence the risk of cross-border transmission," stated the emergency health update.

Insecurity in parts of the Lower Juba region has rendered some areas inaccessible. "With the ongoing conflict and subsequent population displacement and disruption of the existing health service access points in the region, the risk of sporadic cholera outbreaks in the Southern zone cannot be excluded," notes the WHO update, urging health and water and sanitation partners to remain vigilant and report any suspected cases of the disease.



Monday, September 17, 2012

Somaliland people are facing leadership worry

Somaliland people are facing leadership worry

There are also many Human rights groups who visited Somaliland in June 2012 in which researchers interviewed government officials, opposition leaders, civil society activists, local analysts, and victims of human rights abuses.

An Open letter to

Somaliland House of Elders

Somaliland House of Parliament

EU office in Somaliland

AU Office in Somaliland

UNPOS office in Somaliland

Somaliland Elders

Somaliland Islamic scholars

Somaliland Civil Society

Somaliland Women Group

Somaliland people are facing leadership worry.

It is true that the administration of Somaliland president MR Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo has committed human rights violations and is planning to generate a dangerous electoral crisis.

The people of Somaliland are looking forward to participate in the upcoming local government election on 28 November as Somaliland Election Committee announced; however there is a great risk that the small nation may lose their unique asset which is stability, for the reason that Somaliland’s current government has often exercising injustice decisions and lack of clarity of who is doing what.

Unfortunately, it is also a fact that the Somaliland people will go to the elections without registration. People will just go where ever they choose and cast their votes; there is also no doubt that this deprived election process may create disagreement and instability.

Somaliland’s government has helped create a measure of stability and democratic governance even as Somalia has remained mired in armed conflict. But Somaliland’s gains are fragile and currently under threat.

The administration of President Silanyo has regularly flouted human rights by putting ordinary innocent people in prison like Traditional Elders King Osman, King Rabi, and Governor of Marodijex Region Ahmed Hamarji, Direct General of Somaliland, Minister of Rehabitation, Reconstruction and resettlement Mr Ahmed Ilmi Barre, Vice President Advisor Mr Osman Said Jama, and many other Somalilanders.

Somaliland has spent 21 years trying to build stability and democracy, but all its gains are at risk if the government continues to undermine the rule of law “The electoral crisis has laid bare the need to create functioning government institutions that will respect human rights.”

There are also many Human rights groups who visited Somaliland in June 2012 in which researchers interviewed government officials, opposition leaders, civil society activists, local analysts, and victims of human rights abuses.

Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 after the demise of Somalia’s last functioning government. Many countries are working with Somaliland however no country has yet recognized Somaliland. In addition, many international investors are interested in investing in Somaliland, however the underprivileged government leadership and lack of recognition damages the trust of external investors.

The international actors always continue to engage more deeply with Somaliland and press Somaliland’s government to respect human rights and the territory’s emerging democratic norms, and provide assistance tailored to bolster key government institutions, the media, and civil society.

In recent years the Silanyo administration has regularly treated the opposition-controlled legislature as an irritant, refusing to respect its role in the legislative process or in overseeing opaque government expenditures. Little has been done to build the capacity of the nominally independent judiciary; the lower courts are often incapable of applying the law while the Supreme Court has acted as though it is entirely beholden to the president.

Government actions in violation of domestic and international law have directly infringed upon the rights of Somalilanders, many Somaliland people who visited to Somaliland this year said.

The last few months the Imprisonment of local journalist became part of Somaliland’s daily activities and the Silanyo administration has also circumvented the courts and trampled on the rights of criminal defendants by relying on a “Justice System” that is entirely under the control of the executive and that have no right to act as independent Judiciary.

The local courts and high court sentence and imprison Somalilanders, including people accused of common crimes and juveniles, without any presence of due process. They regularly sentence defendants en masse on the basis of little or no evidence after truncated hearings in which the accused are given no right to speak.

But patterns of low-level harassment targeting journalists, opposition activists, and others are the most common. On numerous occasions government officials have detained, usually for brief periods, individuals who have publicly criticized the government or provided press coverage deemed to be unfavorable. In March 2012, there was a very surprising incident when the Former Director General of Somaliland Foreign Affairs Mohamoud Raage resigned his position as DG and accused his Minster DR Mohamed Abdullahi for Stolen Public Fund and using Minister’s budget for his personal interest, unfortunately, the CID detained Mr Mohamoud in the country (Restriction of Movement) without Court Process and this case never come to court hearing.

Somaliland’s precarious situation in the region has deterred Somalilanders from protesting loudly when their rights are abused for fear of damaging their territory’s hard-won stability and its quest for international recognition. Many Somaliland people argued that they are effectively “hostages to peace” – unable to confront Somaliland’s deepest problems effectively for fear of upsetting the fragile balance that has kept the territory from going the way of Somalia and other countries in the region.

The repeated unjust decisions in regard to appointing and dismissing the government high positions threaten also the foundations of its emerging democratic system. “Somaliland is currently at a dangerous crossroads, 21 years of progress towards democratic governance and general respect for human rights will either be consolidated or endangered, depending on President Silanyo’s next moves.

The factors which may create severe instability is when the Somaliland Government decide to preplan or preselect which party will win the upcoming local elections where they already exclude UDUB Party and Nasiye Party from competition by using government Budget and illegal dictions reached by Registration election Committee.

Many Somaliland people are arguing that the upcoming election is almost a waste of time where the Government executive committee has already decided that The Ruling Party Kulmiye, The Speakers Party Wadani and Former Somaliland Vice President’s Party Xaqsoor should win the election, where the reality on the ground shows different since Umada, Reys, Wadani and UCID are the most popular parties across the Country.

Finally, There is concern about health condition of Somaliland president and the involvement of his Wife Aamina Jirde’s in the country’s decision making process and the role of his Minister of presidency Mr Hirsi H Ali Hassan who has very little knowledge in term of leadership and management, above and beyond that he has a history of engaging and involving gang violence and promotion of instability during previous government ruling time.

Considering all above information, we are voluntarily recommending that Somaliland Elders, Traditional People, House of Elders, House of Parliament, Civil Society, EU, EGAD, AU, and international community should seriously consider the future of Somaliland nation and its absence of transparence leadership.

Mahad Saalah Hassan

Somaliland Human Right Movement ( SOHUR)

Sunday, September 16, 2012



The top United Nations envoy in Somalia on Sunday hailed the inauguration of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as a "new era" for the war-scarred nation and pledged the world body's continued support to help it move forward.

"This is another great day for Somalia and the Somali people," said Augustine P. Mahiga, the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS).

He said the inauguration of the new President -- elected a week ago -- marks the end of the transitional period and the beginning of a "new era" for a country that has seen tremendous strife over the past several decades.

The election marked the culmination of a series of landmark steps to bring an end to the country's eight-year political transition that also included the adoption of Somalia's provisional constitution, the establishment of the New Federal Parliament and t
he appointment of that body's Speaker.

"As the process moves forward," said Mr. Mahiga, "the UN Political Office for Somalia will continue to stand with the President in addressing key immediate tasks, including stabilization of newly recovered areas, ensuring the integration and stability of the security services, delivering basic services to the Somali people and building a viable judiciary system."

Just two days after his election, the new President survived an attack on a hotel in the capital, Mogadishu, where he was giving a press conference. UN officials, including Mr. Mahiga, condemned the attack, stressing that such attempts to thwart the progress made so far will not deter the Somali people's determination to move forward.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Somalia: A Memo to President Hassan Sh. Mohamud

Somalia: A Memo to President Hassan Sh. Mohamud

Your election as the president of Fedeal Republic of Somalia has delivered the strong message that Somalis want a change, not the status quo. The challenges your presidency will face are similar to those faced by your predecessors. Two key political themes will surely be corner-stones for the government the prime minister you will appoint will form: good governance and reconciliation.

Somalis everywhere will be heartened by a message about good governance- that the government's coercive power will not be used to violate human rights of citizens or to embezzle public funds. A part of this message emphasising the solid foundations on which the new government will build- successful autonomous administrations- will drive home the two messages that all post-1991 Somalia's history is not about war and man-made famine, and that government power will flow from periphery not from the centre to inspire trust in the representativeness of public institutions.

Reconciliation was a recurrent theme in every government formed since 2000 when the first transitional administration emerged following Djibouti-sponsored Reconciliation conference in Arta district. No Somali government has looked at successful reconciliation efforts in Somalia for inspiration. By making it clear that the terms of reconciliation will not be determined by you or a future government, your presidency will be able to appreciate past reconciliation efforts spearheaded by Somalis in different parts of Somalia as model for new reconciliation efforts.

Durable reconciliation outcomes were initiated by political leaders who used clan militias as a means to achieve political ends. Any new reconciliation effort ought not to be separated from human rights violations.

People who occupy properties or farms unlawfully do not need to be reconciled with lawful proprietors. If such a distinction is not made your reconciliation efforts will follow an alliteratively familiar pattern- 'Xaq maannu rabno, xal baannu rabnaa' ( No to redressing wrongs, we are seeking solution). In short, good governacne ( maamul-wanaag) and reconciliation ( dib-u-heshiisiin ) ought not be made empty slogans under your watch.

Liban Ahmad


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Feds ID anti-Islam filmmaker who sparked protests

Feds ID anti-Islam filmmaker who sparked protests

(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - Federal authorities have identified a southern California man once convicted of financial crimes as the key figure behind the anti-Muslim film that ignited mob violence against U.S. embassies across the Mideast, a U.S. law enforcement official said Thursday.

Attorney General Eric Holder said that Justice Department officials had opened a criminal investigation into the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other diplomats killed during an attack on the American mission in Benghazi. It was not immediately clear whether authorities were focusing on the California filmmaker as part of that probe.

A federal law enforcement official said Thursday that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, was the man behind "Innocence of Muslims," a film denigrating Islam and the Prophet Muhammad that sparked protests earlier in the week in Egypt and Libya and now in Yemen. U.S. authorities are investigating whether the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya came during a terrorist attack.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation, said Nakoula was connected to the persona of Sam Bacile, a figure who initially claimed to be the writer and director of the film. But Bacile quickly turned out to a false identity.

A Christian activist involved in the film project, Steve Klein, told CBS News that Bacile was a pseudonym, and he told The Associated Press that Bacile was Christian. Klein had told the AP on Tuesday that the filmmaker was an Israeli Jew who was concerned for family members who live in Egypt.

Klein said he didn't know the real name of the man he called "Sam," who came to him for advice on First Amendment issues.

Klein said the film's financial backers are an anonymous group of Christians, Jews and Muslims with ties to the Middle East, CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports. The film itself is amateurish, shot outside Los Angeles on a very low budget. Several actors told CBS News they only saw their scenes. They were horrified and frightened by the end result.

"I pray now for the family that lost, you know, that lost their loved ones, and I'm praying for the madness to stop," said Cindy, and actor who spoke to CBS News on the condition that only her first name be used.

In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the film is "disgusting and reprehensible." She called it a cynical attempt to offend people for their religious beliefs but said the U.S. would never stop Americans from expressing their views, no matter how distasteful.

Still, she said the film is no justification for violence or attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel.


New York, Sep 13 2012  6:10PM
The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, today condemned in the strongest possible terms yesterday's attack on the hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia where the country's new President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, was giving a press conference and which resulted in one death and several injuries.

"President Al-Nasser expresses his deepest sympathies and condolences to the families and Governments of the victims of this attack," according to a statement released by his spokesperson that stressed that the act violated international law.

Initial reports indicate that three suicide bombers dressed in Somali uniform attempted to enter the Jazeera Hotel, which reportedly also serves as Mr. Mohamud's temporary residence, while he was speaking to the media and meeting with the Kenyan Foreign Minister, Samuel Ongeri.

The insurgents were intercepted by security forces and were killed before they were able to enter the hotel, according to a news release issued by the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS). A number of Somali security personnel were injured in the attack, and one soldier serving with the UN-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) was killed and three more wounded.

In his statement today, recalling his joint visit with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Somalia in December 2011, Mr. Al-Nasser called on the international community "to intensify their support to the fledgling administration in Mogadishu and to the people of Somalia who have been seeking peace and security for many decades."

Yesterday, Mr. Ban also strongly condemned the attack and Mr. Ban's Special Representative and head of UNPOS, Augustine P. Mahiga, noted that this "atrocious" attack came only two days after a milestone vote where the Somali Parliament overwhelmingly and transparently elected Mr. Mohamud as President.

The President's election marked the culmination of a series of landmark steps to bring an end to the country's eight-year political transition. Those other steps, over recent weeks, included the adoption of Somalia's provisional constitution, the establishment of the New Federal Parliament and the appointment of that body's Speaker.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Somaliland: Open letter to the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques

Somaliland: Open letter to the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques

Saudis should accept SL passport
By: Omer Hussein Duale

Asalam Aleikum,

DOHA (Somalilandsun) - Greetings to you, Your Majesty, I would like to send this open letter to you direct, and ask you to allow the people of Somaliland to travel to the Holy Places of Mecca and Medina, for the Hajj season with their country's Passport which is protected by their government and not like any other Somali Passport which can be forged. This Passport is first approved by the President's office, and later issued by the Immigration Department, and that is the fact that it had never felt in the hands of those malicious forgers, since 1991.

We travel this Passport to Europe, America, Africa and the Far East, but our brothers in Arab countries are reluctant to allow for reasons beyond our comprehension. Hajj is the right of every Muslim on this earth to perform, and we seek that right from your government. Politics Sir has nothing to do with the order of Almighty, the Allah, who ordered every able Muslim to perform this if he or she is capable, as directed by the Holy Quran.

Your majesty, Somaliland is not like any other Somali entity that your country has known in the 20th century, but it's the country that the followers of Prophet Mohamed [Sallalaahu Alayhi Wasalam] crossed to Abyssinia in the fifth year of Prophet's mission [that is to say: 1,428 years ago]. The point or place they crossed to Abyssinia is the old town of Seyla, which is situated far North West of Somaliland, and the first Masjid of two directions [Qiblatayn] is present until today. The two peoples of Somaliland and the two Holly Haramayn are not new to each other, but their relations go back to 1630, when Grand Sharif of Mecca was the ruler of both Hijaz and Somaliland. Therefore, we should have relations better than this. We very much hope that the people of Somaliland will receive better consideration from your country by the order of your Majesty, in view of the long history and geographic proximity that we share, that warranty to have special relationship.

Your Majesty, my people fought shoulder to shoulder with your grandfather, the great King Abdul-Aziz, during the time he was carving out a nation from the disparate tribes of the Arabian Peninsula, and I personally met some of them in Qatar some 35 years back. Another very important fact we share is that, 99% of the Saudi citizens of Somali origin are from Somaliland, which emboldens us to proudly request your Majesty to consider this humble request.


Omer Hussein Duale,

Doha - Qatar

Analysis: Zimbabwe - crisis over?

Analysis: Zimbabwe - crisis over?

JOHANNESBURG/HARARE, 12 September 2012 (IRIN) - At the height of Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis in 2002, seven million people were in need of food aid. A decade later, the numbers of people in need has climbed down to a million, though it could go up by another 600,000 in 2013.

Still, two of the country's biggest donors, the EU and the US, and their implementing partner, the UN, say Zimbabwe is on its way to recovery and development. The EU has announced that it is scaling down its humanitarian assistance.

The decision should come as no surprise, reckoned the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO). The department "has progressively decreased" the funds allocated to Zimbabwe, from about US$18.9 million in 2010 to around $12.6 million in 2011, then to approximately $6.3 million in 2012, said David Sharrock, the European Commission's spokesperson on International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

Needs remain

Yet the decision comes amid a drought that the World Food Programme (WFP) says that will leave one in every five rural household in need of food assistance next year.

NGOs also warn that a tense stand-off between government coalition partners ZANU-PF and factions of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on a new constitution - critical for holding free and fair elections - could lead to violence.

Meanwhile, the coalition government, formed in 2009, is cash-strapped. Newspapers reported last week that the government had turned to South Africa and Angola for help with a $400 million shortfall in its budget. [ ] Finance Minister Tendai Biti was quoted saying the country needed the money to fund the 2012-2013 agricultural season, annual bonuses and a possible referendum on the new constitution.

"Unexpected events will continue to require intermittent and targeted humanitarian assistance until the country's economy more fully recovers," Hillary Renner, a US government spokesperson told IRIN. But the US government is "optimistic that the large-scale 'humanitarian emergency phase' of Zimbabwe's history has passed".

Donors switching tracks

The latest data from the UN Financial Tracking Service (FTS) shows that the December 2011 consolidated appeal for more than $268 million for Zimbabwe has received little more than half that amount.

Donors, cash-strapped themselves, have begun to examine the effectiveness of continuous, large-scale aid interventions, said an aid worker. "With the incessant crises [like the Horn of Africa last year and Sahel this year], they have to now look at interventions relatively. Then Zimbabwe does not seem like such a major crisis."

An early warning official pointed out that even the food crisis in Zimbabwe is "not really that serious" compared to the several millions in need in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa.

Sharrock explained that the EU's funding has gradually evolved from large-scale emergency response to "smaller and more targeted assistance focusing on the most vulnerable groups and aiming at improving the population's resilience." Or as one aid worker put it, seeing "how much value you can get for a stretched dollar."

The EU has moved from funding only emergency food aid to funding nutrition, health, water and sanitation, and protection programmes. FTS data show that the health and education sectors are better funded than last year, but agriculture programmes are worse off.

Sharrock hastened to add that the EU was not aware of the emerging food crisis when the funding allocation was made last year. "However, the situation is linked to chronic food insecurity and is not likely to result in a severe food emergency characterized by high acute malnutrition rates and above-average mortality rates," he said, adding that the EU is assessing the possibility of providing assistance.

NGOs like World Vision say it is difficult to categorize the situation in Zimbabwe. "In a complex context like Zimbabwe, it is not either 'emergency' or 'development,'" wrote Edward Brown, World Vision's national director in Zimbabwe, in an email to IRIN. "In fact, it can be both at the same time. Disasters can be highly localized, and economic growth may only happen in specific areas." The NGO is focusing on both short and long-term solutions.

Brian Raftopoulos, a Zimbabwean academic at the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, echoed this idea, saying, "You cannot say that Zimbabwe is in an emergency or development phase - it is not one or the other."

Aid in Zimbabwe is about maintaining a balance between "continuing to scale-up service delivery, particularly in the social sectors, while enhancing national systems in these sectors", said Alain Noudehou, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Zimbabwe. The focus is on "sustainable recovery", while the "general humanitarian situation in the country had remained stable".

Political developments

Although the EU is reducing its humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe, its development aid policies to the country are being reconsidered as long-imposed sanctions are suspended.

European governments placed targeted sanctions on the leadership of ZANU-PF, then Zimbabwe's ruling party, after flawed presidential elections in 2002. Two kinds of sanctions were used, "restrictive measures" and "appropriate measures", said Piers Pigiou, the project director of Southern Africa for the International Crisis Group. Restrictive measures included a travel ban and asset freeze on President Robert Mugabe and over 100 senior party officials, while appropriate measures suspended EU aid to the Zimbabwe government under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement. [ ]

Since 2009, the EU and its member states have provided Zimbabwe with $1 billion in development assistance, though none directly to the government.

But since the beginning of this year, "there has been a paradigm shift" in the EU's relationship with Zimbabwe and ZANU-PF, said Pigou. In July, the EU suspended the appropriate measures, sending the message, "let's try and breathe some life" into this stand-off, as the sanctions had not been effective in making ZANU-PF reform, Pigou explained. Rather, they had been used as "propaganda" by the ZANU-PF, which portrayed the sanctions as an effort to cripple the country. "[The EU] can no longer allow ZANU-PF to win this propaganda war."

The EU was also responding to repeated calls from the Southern African Development Community - which has been trying to normalize relations between ZANU-PF and the opposition - to remove all sanctions. "With the suspension of the appropriate measures, the EU is also now telling SADC, 'We trust you with the process.' So the ball is now in SADC's court," Pigou said. In July, the EU also indicated it was willing to remove most sanctions targeting ZANU-PF members and allies should they hold a credible referendum on the constitution.

Still, the EU has not yet reinstated development aid to the government, taking a wait-and-see approach to the recent developments.

Pigou pointed out, "Should the country slip back into a crisis, in the absence of a free and fair elections, [with] violence next year, the EU can easily revoke the suspension."

Catherine Ray, the EU's development spokesperson, said the EU suspended the appropriate measures after being "encouraged by the steps taken by the Inclusive Government to improve the freedom and prosperity of the Zimbabwean people."

The move will hopefully "add to the positive momentum and encourage further reforms in the preparations for credible and peaceful elections," she added.

Although the coalition government does seem to be making progress, many fear that the ZANU-PF has not really reformed. The US government has begun to laud the recent progress, but it has not revoked its own sanctions on direct support to the government or travel restrictions on ZANU-PF officials.

In its World Report 2012, Human Rights Watch acknowledged that Zimbabwe had made "significant progress in improving the country's economic situation and reversing the decline of the past decade", but also said human rights activists and journalists continue to be intimidated and that laws are being used selectively to restrict and harass them.

Reactions in Zimbabwe

The political situation - combined with the scale-down in humanitarian aid - has caused concerns.

Should humanitarian aid actors withdraw, food aid could be used as a "political weapon" by ZANU-PF, especially during elections, which will likely be held next year, Abel Chikomo, executive director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, said.

The same concern was reiterated by Japhet Moyo, secretary general of the labour federation Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. He said that with no support systems in place, the elderly, unemployed and others could fall victim to the use of food as a political weapon.

"The government is bankrupt as it cannot support the welfare system, which is why we find the decision [by the EU] very puzzling indeed," said Moyo.

Meanwhile, the food crisis in Zimbabwe is deepening.  Last week, the country's National Early Warning office said parts of the country could be affected by yet another dry spell during the coming planting season, and urged farmers to sow varieties of maize that take longer to mature.

Alfred George Bango, a retired civil servant from Sontala Village in Matabeleland South Province, reported, "There are no pastures for our livestock to graze. We are receiving a 50kg bag of maize from government once every four months, which is not adequate, but other villagers are surviving by borrowing food from neighbours. A large number of people eat only one meal a day."

EU's Sharrock said the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe, "though still fragile, has stabilized considerably since the political crisis and socio-economic breakdown of 2008-2009 - which resulted in widespread violence, a major food crisis and a large-scale uncontrolled cholera outbreak with many deaths."



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Somalia: The Safest City

Somalia: The Safest City

This country is well known for its efforts to promote study of the sciences, making the reasonable wager that once the number of professionals trained in the sciences hits a critical mass, we'll begin to see technological progress.

On these people shall be built the much vaunted 'knowledge-based economy'. These leave us social scientists feeling a bit like step-children. We're the fallback option for those who have little aptitude in physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics. If you can't be a physicist, you can try your luck at being a historian.

For those who step-children who did social sciences, some comfort can be taken in the fact that if current trends continue they will soon become a scarce and very valuable resource. This 'science first' policy is going to make us all rich. There is one field of study that does not fit neatly into either the science or social science boxes. Statistics.

Dealing with the raw data and coming up with the figures themselves could be considered science but from that point on it enters the subjective territory of social sciences. There is a demand for context and rightly so as a statistic without a context is one without meaning.

Last week, I landed on a document put out by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime [UNODC] that set out the homicide rate for nearly every country in the world. The standard measure is the number of people murdered per 100,000 people in a given country.

Just looking at our immediate region the numbers for 2008 were an interesting read. The most violent countries in our region were Uganda and Ethiopia with 36.3 and 25.5 homicides per 100,000 respectively. Next time it is said that the DRC is one of the deadliest places to visit in Africa, it should be noted that at 21.7, it is just as safe as Burundi and safer than Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania (24.5).

Rwanda topped the East African Community as safest with 17.1 with Kenya as runners-up at 20.1. In the wider region, if UNODC is to be believed, Somalia has the lowest homicide rate with a paltry in 1.5. This figure is cited for 2008 when Al-Shabaab was taking on all comers not last month when things had become considerably quieter.

So you see that a statistic without context does not tell the whole story. It will not say that there is hardly any law enforcement in Somalia, where it exists few homicides were reported to it because Somalis rightly perceived that there was not much it could do and that as a majority Muslim country, the dead are buried within 24 hours affording very little time for reporting or investigation. All it will say is that 138 homicides were reported and that translates to 1.5 homicides per 100,000. Somalia by this measure is just as safe as Algeria and Morocco and even safer than Canada [1.8]. Kigali is a crime-infested haven by this measure. We would all do well to pack our bags and fly to Mogadischu.

Somaliland: Liyuu Police Massacres Civilians

Somaliland: Liyuu Police Massacres Civilians

Even camels fear the Liyuu police"We had nowhere to take the injured who were loaded on wheelbarrows" M/s Fatimah Hussein

By: Yusuf M Hasan

HARSHIN (Somalilandsun) – The Hargeisa group hospital is flooded with injured people from the Ethiopian town of Harshin.

According to hospital sources, some of the patients brought in the morning are suffering serious bullet wound injuries.

The injuries occurred after the Liyuu police run amok in Harshin town killing 17 residents and injuring 28 others through unprovoked brutal use of heavy weapons.

The paramilitary force, which is under the control of Ethiopia's Zone five Somali region president, started its massacred of Harshin Civilians by killing four people and arresting a yet established number, whose whereabouts is still mysterious.

Following the wanton killings and arrests residents armed themselves and managed to evict the Liyuu police killer unit from their town.

Early Tuesday a column of ten armored vehicles entered the town and the heavily armed paramilitary soldiers started spraying machine gun bullets injuring 28 and killing another 13 civilians most of them women and young children.

According to elder Ali Mohamed Aden, it is suspect that the figure of dead and injured is much higher because the town is empty after residents escaped to seek safety in various directions.

"We do not know what raised the wrath of the hated Liyuu police against the peace loving residents of Harshin" Said elder Ali.

Information received by Waheen and from an eyewitness M/s Fadumo Hussein; indicate that the massacre ensued after five residents armed themselves to defend the town against the Liyuu police that had just killed a local religious teacher.

"Once the Ustadh (Teacher) was killed a heavy battle ensued between five residents and the killer unit which escaped after another four killings," said M/s Fadumo.

The homemaker, who managed to escape with some of her children after the Liyuu police returned with fury, said she counted 28 injured before she run away from the town less her husband and two children whose whereabouts are unknown.

Said she, "I counted 28 injured people loaded on wheelbarrows and 17 dead before I left the town"

M/s Fadumo Hussein added that before she escaped the injured laying in wheelbarrows could not be assisted since paramilitary officers with fingers on their guns triggers were stationed outside every house in the town"

"Even making a telephone call became impossible"

Despite the large number of killer police guarding the houses, unyielding determination by some residents resulted in the collection of the injured and subsequent cross-border transport to Hargeisa group hospital where they are receiving treatment.

By the time of going to press the situation is stable following the arrival of a large number of troops dispatched by the Ethiopian Federal government in Addis Ababa.

Though it is yet to be made clear on the reasons behind the massacre perpetrated on Ethiopians of Somaliland origin by the tribal Liyuu police, it remains to be seen what the international community would react.

For perusal of past transgressions and similar acts by the Liyuu, police visit

Rome's Ponte Milvio bridge: 'Padlocks of love' removed

Rome's Ponte Milvio bridge: 'Padlocks of love' removed

Broken hearts: The lovers padlocks are being removed to protect the bridge

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Thousands of "love padlocks" on a Roman bridge are being removed with bolt-cutters in order to protect the ancient structure.

Couples have been decorating the Ponte Milvio bridge on the river Tiber with locks for several years.

They are meant to symbolise the locking of hearts, inspired by a story described in a novel.

The city council said rust from the locks, which hang off chains, is harming the fabric of the bridge.

The custom is inspired by a book by novelist Federico Moccia in which a couple place a bicycle lock around a lamppost and throw the key into the Tiber.

The gesture was meant to symbolise the couple eternally locking their hearts together.

It took off and clusters of padlocks can be found near other landmarks in other Italian cities.

It is not the first time city authorities have stepped-in to break the locks apart.

Last year the council started a round of padlock cutting after complaints from residents that it equated to vandalism.

In 2007 the then mayor of Rome introduced a 50 euro (£40) a fine on couples found attaching padlocks to the bridge.

The BBC's Rome correspondent, Alan Johnston, says many people in Rome like the custom, and the writer behind the trend has said the locks ought to be left alone.

Somaliland: Potential Capability to Help Solve Somalian Problems

Somaliland: Potential Capability to Help Solve Somalian Problems 
 Mohamoud Arrale 

Amid the fresh jubilation of the momentous presidential election on September 10, 2012 that Prof. Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud has won over 70% margin against Shiekh Shariif in the second round and the promising political future of Somalia on the horizon that has inspired many hopefuls, at least in the way the election process has been conducted and the locality it has taken place (Somalia at last), I would like once again to resubmit this article (published widely on various websites in July this year) to further seek the attention of the new president of Somalia and the international community to look closely the case of Somaliland and its potential capability to help find a lasting solution to the HORN OF AFRICA's prolonged political problems that needs to be healed once and for all with mutual realization and by balanced justice without prejudice.

‘'Somaliland has the experience, the venue, the security and it can commit itself to finding a lasting solution to Somali problems. However, it needs the international community's empowerment,'' the Somaliland people urge.

Somaliland: Potential Capability to Help Solve Somalian Problems

On the onset of the article, I would like to highlight briefly, to my best recall, the melt down of the Somalia dignity and an unprecedented events that unfolded after the late Siyaad Barre's regime has got ousted by the rebel forces in 27 January 1991.

The collapse of the Somali Government in 1991, regardless of the past, was the eventual upshot of the country's disintegration into several, mostly clan based, administrations with conflicting political aspiration - the footprint of a failed state: first Somaliland (former British Protectorate) broke away from the rest of Somalia (former Italian colony) - not without a reason.

Just after the late president, Mohamed. S. Barre, was thrown out of Mogadishu, Mr Ali Mahdi took the opportunity to grab the vacant presidential seat - a preset operation - without being elected by the general public or the leaders of armed rebel forces of SNM (April 1981), USC (1989) and SPM (March 1989) who literally forced Siyaad Barre to flee and toppled his regime after their meeting at Balliguble, the SNM base, on Aug 7, 1990.

Mr. Ali Mahdi's inapt and hustled action has enraged the people in the North (Somaliland) and the leaders of the rebel forces, notably General Aideed, and thus further contributed to the escalation of the war in Mogadishu, after said Barre's flee. It has also prompted Somaliland to disaffiliate from the South without waiting further development of the situation in Mogadishu. At this point the country took two different and opposite directions.

On November 17, 1991, The south which was relatively stable prior to 1991, (Somalia - as it was called before 1960) begun to follow to a turbulence path which displaced millions and claimed the lives of thousands of people as well material damages and resulted in famines and diseases that could be blamed to all actors that involved in the confrontations in Somalia, whether their intentions were sinister or sound act.

The military operations by the UN, the AU and neighbouring countries until present and the numerous reconciliations held for Somalia as well as the lavish financial aid by the west and the other international community including the Arab countries to Somalia (the South) proved ineffectual and have achieved little to change the course of Somalia.

Those efforts, despite proven ineffective, still are being continued in Somalia with the same strategy that based with external influence to nurture the same mayhem that always takes a different shape and breeds a different and new adversary to fight with. - A rolling program of the initial problem.

In fact, the direct involvement of the Somalia's affairs by the International Community or by any stakeholder only extends the problem within the Somali Society. If the problem in Somalia is left to the Somali people without interference, they could decide their way out in a reasonable time may be with less human cost than we experienced now. The UN and the African countries intervention to Somalia is a project with many beneficiaries which has no specific completion date, because of the financial gains for those involved outweighs the real solution.

The people in the North (Somaliland) took different approach than the Southern Somalia by a) reconciling the clans in the North-west of Somalia, after years of civil war prior to 1991, and b) declaring on 18 May 1991 their withdrawal from the Union of Somalia that had unconditionally happen in 1 July 1960, after Ali Mahdi has announced his government in Mogadishu. The people of Somaliland, now around 3 million, formed a government with a constitution, parliament, house of elders, new currency (Somaliland Shilling) and flew its own flag - satisfies all the requirements of a sovereign country.

The successive Somaliland administrations systematically started, despite some hindrance, the process of stabilizing the country by demobilizing all armed militias and forming a national army and a police force as well as fostering the democratization process that the country is going through now. Since then four presidents were replaced of which the last two were democratically elected by the people and the power was transferred smoothly by the incumbent presidents to their successors.

As Somaliland is not yet recognised by the international community and it cannot secure proper economical and political relation with the other nations, It has been reliant on its limited resource with the minimal external assistance for the past two decades of its being, unlike Somalia, by achieving its physical development that has fascinated the international media and given the commendation of being a model of hope in Africa.

In contrast to that positive image of Somaliland, the Southern Somalia has plunged into troubled water as further divisions of the country surfaced in the form of fiefdoms based on tribal influence or warlords.

One of the first tribal based administrations that split from the south in 1998 is the semi-autonomous administration of Puntland (Majeerteenia in territory wise). Puntland is a stable area, to a certain extent, although it has infested by pirate operations, a major financial source to that area in terms of the scale of ransom received by the pirates for their catches, or the financial aid to the authority in Puntland by the donor community for fighting the piracy in their coasts. Besides that, Puntland is far better than the rest of southern regions in the development aspect.

The maritime piracy hosted by this enclave costs nearly 7 billion dollars to the international trade according to a report by One Earth Future in 2011. This cost is footed by consumers of the commodities (including the Somali people) that transported via on this risky route as the price of commodities, transport charges and insurance of sea transport on the high risk waters went sky-high not because of the current financial crisis in the world market but mainly of the piracy in the Horn of Africa. As reports cited, the Somali pirates operate in the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and off the coast of Oman.

Puntland suffers the consequence of the pirate presence in their areas as calculated assassinations to government officials and to prominent community elders and spiritual leaders and foreigners by armed gang oven took place for reasons connected to piracy associated with some political and tribal retaliation in Puntland towns. However, if this practice continues it will invalidate the fair stability that exists in Puntland.

As a rival economical and political region to Somaliland, the Puntland administration devised a destabilising strategy for Somaliland by claiming Sool and some parts of Sanaag regions, an area that Puntland is much interested in to get hold of it simply because of an ancestral link rather border connection as of colonial borders in Africa.

In addition, Puntland has a potential interest in drilling Nugaal valley well located inside the border of Somaliland which first drilled by ConocoPhillips in 1989 by giving a concession to Red Emperor Resources along with Dharoor well in Puntland. This is the root cause of the dispute between Somaliland and Puntland.

The Abdullahi's federal governments of Somalia (October 10, 2004 - December 29, 2008) put into effect that strategy of detaching Sool and Sanaag districts from Somaliland for reasons that can be associated with mineral and petroleum interest for Puntland benefit as Abdullahi him-self was the founder of Puntland administration in 1998.

However, this border dispute tact was a tool for Puntland and Somalia TFG, though with different aims but analogous to have a case in suspension for a possible recognition of Somaliland or by creating insecure environment within Somaliland for political reasons. A similar tactic was adopted by some close regional governments, as in the case of Ethiopia, to disturb the new government of Somaliland lead by Mr M A Mohamoud Silaanyo for a minor rift or temporary misunderstanding between the two the administrations In Hargeisa and Addis Ababa which is now restored.

The Ethiopian government through the Somali Self Governing administration in Jigjiga supported and offered a facilitation and security arrangements to some high profile Diasporas members who hailed from Sool region and Buhoodle district of Togdheer region to convene at Taleh village of Somaliland in January 2012 and announced an administration named Khaatumo state of Somalia which the Somalia's TFG also had a hand on the establishment of this group as this group opposes both Puntland and Somaliland claims of Sool and Buhoodle.

At the time the TFG and had some issue with Puntland regarding with Somalia's political Roadmap. However, this group who mainly consists of diasporas individuals is now seems withered by the Somalia-Somaliland dialogue as Somaliland government has now changed its previous strategy of segregating itself from interacting with Somalia's political discourse.

Nevertheless, the international community was also less generous to the case of Somaliland, they have only offered a cold shoulder and left the Somaliland's bid for recognition to decide by the African Union who have their own internal problems and some of them even have an interest on Somali people's untidy political affair or may not even like seeing an internationally recognised Somaliland next door as it might be a threat to their economical position in the Horn as in the case of Djibouti, though it has shown now some leniency to Somaliland case and some co-operation begun between the two governments.

On the other hand, the world has kept Somaliland in a corner until recently in terms of the magnitude of financial assistance that the donor countries and the UN organisations spent to Somalia for the past twenty years with little improvement on ground. Somehow, Somaliland has strived with this financial negligence by the international community and, with little in the budget; the people of Somaliland did mind their business and built their own country both in the public and the private sector infrastructures.

The people of Somaliland not only helped their country but participated in the assistance and the reconciliation of the conflicts in Somalia. It is worth to mention the efforts that Somaliland made when the power clash erupted in Puntland between Jama Ali Jama the late President Abdullahi Yusuf of Somalia TFG - then the president of Puntland who completed his term in November 2001 and recaptured the power from Jama Ali Jama in May 2002.

The forces of Jama Ali Jama and Gen. Ade Muse Boqor who came from Canada to support Jama were defeated and Gen, Ade and his men fled to Somaliland.

With hospitable treatment, the then president of Somaliland, Mr Daahir Riyaale gave the Gen Ade and his men a refuge before they returned to Puntland with the help of Somaliland arbitration by sorting out the difference between the general and Abdullahi Yusuf who finally agreed to form a power sharing government in Puntland in May 2003.

Somaliland only did this charitable decision Just to uphold the stability in the Horn. Mr Ade later became the President of Puntland after Abdullahi won the presidency seat in the transitional government of Somalia in Nairobi in October 2004. However, neither Gen. Ade nor Col. Abdullahi returned the due favour to Somaliland people; instead they did the opposite to Somaliland: Armed the Sool and Buhoodle community against Somaliland.

Similarly, Somaliland gave a home to a large internally displaced people from the South of Somalia who fled from the surging wars in their regions. Moreover, it donated nearly one million dollar to the drought and famine stricken people in Mogadishu and Dhadhaab (Kenya) refugee camp in September 2011. A Somaliland delegation consisting of government ministers and civilians has taken that assistance to Mogadishu and Dhadhaab for distribution.

In fact, many Somaliland poor families were in need of that assistance but justly those in Mogadishu were lacking of security and shelter more than those in Somaliland and that is why the people of Somaliland and their government took that timely decision. It was a wise decision which has captured the attention of the world which usually reports a help from external donor to Somalia but not ever reported a help from Somali people to Somali people of that magnitude as in this case.

After 21 years, Somalia and Somaliland sit together, face to face, at a technical level and discussed to clarity their future relations without the presence of a third party during the course of the discussion in Chevening House, UK, on 21 June 2012. Within two hours of the meeting the two sides reached an agreement that the facilitating committee were not expecting, in fact the notion that was in place was an expectation of confrontation by the two sides and that was proven wrong. The outcome of that meeting was again ratified by the two presidents of Somalia and Somaliland in a similar setting in Dubai on 28 June 2012. A new lesson that the international community learned from the Somali people: With their own affairs they can agree if the platform and the opportunity are given to them.

However, everything has a secret ingredient that makes the taste and the texture of the matter in question; the secret ingredient that restores Somalia's existence is with Somaliland. Now, it seems that Somaliland is ready to participate in all the political discussions that could rightly shape the future of the Horn of Africa.

Therefore, can the international community empower Somaliland to help Somalia? Somaliland has the experience, the venue, the security and it can commit itself to finding a lasting solution to Somali problems.

Mohamoud Arrale