By Mohamud Uluso – October 30, 2014
The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the United Nations Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) are frantically engaged in put-up job for the first Ministerial High Level Partnership Forum (HLPF) Conference on Somalia scheduled to take place in Copenhagen, Denmark on November 19-20, 2014. The agenda is to review the implementation of Somali Compact of the “New Deal for Somalia,” signed in Brussels, Belgium on September 16, 2013 between the FGS and the International Development Partners (Donors). The FGS and UNSOM would brag loudly about the delivery of new “Somali clan Federal territories map” with a possible repetition of diplomatic cacophony and disgraceful representation image that happened in Brussels, Belgium in 2013. FGS represents implicit clan called Mogadishu.
The Somali Compact formalized two way contracts: Contract between the FGS and the International Donors and contract between the FGS and Citizens of Somalia. It fostered “country owned and country led” vision and priority plan in partnership with international donors to restore sovereign, united, stable, and democratic State legitimately capable of governing Somalia. But, New York University researchers analyzed the misconceptions, complications, evasions, and mishandlings that stymied the Somali New Deal in monitoring brief of July 2014.
Out of the blue and in variation to the five goals of Somali Compact – legitimate politics, security, justice, economic foundations, and revenue and services- the FGS started the drumbeat of “Vision 2016” based on: (1) Review and completion of the provisional constitution, (2) formation of federal member states touted as interim administrations, and (3) Political Election in 2016. The Somali people are confused about the linkages and sequence between the three tasks and the distinction between “Vision 2016” vis-á-vis the five goals of the New Deal for Somalia and the provisional Constitution. The FGS botched the ownership and leadership of the New Deal Initiative. Thus, UNSOM seized the ownership and enforcement of “defiled Somali Compact.”
Brussels Conference snags
Events before and after the signing of the Somali Compact have undercut the significant benefits of the Somali Compact. For example, before Brussels Conference, the federal government committed the fatal mistake of signing unconstitutional agreement with Raskamboni Militia so that the later represents Jubba regions. The agreement undercut the core aim of the Somali Compact intended to strengthen public confidence in the representation and legitimacy of the federal government. Then, Somalia and Eritrea UN Monitoring Group (SEMG) published 2013 report which detailed endemic corruption of the federal government and caused donor backtracking.
Immediately after the signing, some participants of the conference noticed the slipping momentum. One of the participants was Mr. Jibril Ibrahim Abdulle, Executive Director of Center for Research and Dialogue (CRD) who explained the signs of missed opportunity and expressed concerns about the future commitment. In an interview with Somali Channel on September 17, 2013, Mr. Jibril pointed out the Somali delegation led by president Hassan Sheikh left Brussels few hours after the conclusion of the conference without leaving behind high officials for further discussion with donors for understanding donor priorities, aid modalities, and counterparts.
Next, Yussur Abrar, governor of the Central Bank of Somalia, appointed days before Brussels Conference for confidence building with donors, resigned with a bombshell resignation letter that bolstered SEMG corruption claims. The allegations of Yussur Abrar still persist and continue to gain credibility.
The New Deal did not change the old aid mechanisms and behaviors of international community towards Somalia. The ill feeling of the Somali people towards the International Community has been expressed by a traditional leader in Baidoa who reminded Ambassador Nicholas Kay that colonial power (British) divided the Somali people into five territories and now UNSOM divides the independent Somalia into clan territories in conflict with each other. Tensions and grievances are running high in Jubbaland, SouthWest, and Central regions for the erratic and imperious behavior of UNSOM and FGS.
So far, there have been three High level Meetings on the implementation of the Somali Compact. The first one was held in February 2014 in Mogadishu. President Hassan complained about unfulfilled aid pledges and appealed for quick release of financial support.
The second one was also held in Mogadishu in May. This time, Ambassador Nicholas Kay delivered a stern speech and advised the federal government to produce a master plan with timetable for the delivery of vision 2016. He scolded the federal government for not providing “Puntland” and “Jubbaland,” strong presence and voice in the bodies of the Somali Compact. He blatantly told the Federal government that it is difficult to mobilize resources from donors before the establishment of Financial Governance Committee.
The third High Level Meeting took place in New York in September. President Hassan dropped his complaint about unfulfilled pledges. He said that “Somalia’s transformation has been hard-won through a dual strategy of securing the country from terrorist extremists and state-building. Both strands have been made possible by substantial financial, military and technical international contributions.” For accomplishments, he declared the liberation of 3 million people in 9 towns and 6 regions from Al Shabab, the establishment of Aid Coordination Unit and Somali Development and Reconstruction Facility, the appointment of new governor, deputy governor and board of directors of the Central Bank, the formation of financial governance committee, the rehabilitation of 35 KM road and flagship projects in Jowhar and Marka districts.
Sources indicate that more than 50 percent of the $2.4 billion pledged in Brussels Conference for the period 2014-2016 has been already spent, while the Federal parliament, the media, and the people of Somalia are waiting to know the beginning of the inflow of pledged billion dollars. In partnership Compact for mutual accountability, trust in international community is not less important than trust in federal government.
Copenhagen Conference snags
Incidentally, three explosive events took place before the upcoming HLPF conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. First, in addition to the troubles of Jubbaland and Southwest States, the unconstitutional Garowe Agreement between the federal government and Puntlant State cancelled the agreement for Mudug and Galgudud State and announced a State with one and half regions instead of the constitutionally mandated two regions. According to some sources, Ambassador Nicholas Kay defended Garowe Agreement by saying that Majeteeren did not take Habargidir land and scoffed the complainants.
Second, the publication of 2014 SEMG report which ratchet up the accusations against the federal government for massive corruption and violations of UN Security Council Resolutions. The federal government is having hard time to comply with accountability and transparency in public financial management and foreign contracts. The financial institutions became major hindrance to Statebuilding and Somali Compact.
Third, on October 25, 2014, Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed made cabinet reshuffle that affected close allies of President Hassan, Minister Farah Abdulkadir who is transferred from Justice and constitution to Livestock, forestry, and wildlife and finance Minister Hussein Abdi Halane put under strong surveillance. President Hassan immediately issued strongly worded order annulling the Prime Minister’s reshuffle decree. This highlights the long simmering problems within the federal government leaders despite their disingenuous tries to hide the truth about their broken personal relations. The clash confirms the negative public opinion on the “disowned” federal government and Amin Amir’s cartoons.
No doubt, UNSOM and the FGS will repeat the abovementioned put-up job for accomplishments. They will not warn the international donors about the tense situations potential for violent conflicts brewing among Somalis because of faltering Statebuilding process. The Somali public is conscious about the mismatch between the rosy public statements of FGS leaders and Head of UNSOM and the reality on the ground. Somalia cannot afford to be hoodwinked by rhetoric or wander between multiple strategies and agendas that have less relevance to their daily plight, political crisis, and bleak future. The Federal Government and the International donors should match their words and responsibilities with their deeds in secret and in public. Peacebuilding and Statebuilding is noble mission.
(*) The author, analyst Mohamud Uluso, can be reached directly via mohamuduluso[AT]gmail.com