We Can End the War in Somalia
SOURCE: New Vision
By Major Ba-Hoku Barigye
Going through the internet-based media daily, and especially since the 11/7 tragedy in Kampala, one gets a sense of despair on the long Somali conflict. The feelings and signs of frustration and hopelessness are visible.
Conspiratorial theories have been weaved by "experts on Somalia" to deceive and convince the world that the Somali one is a special conflict. Good thing though is that sane voices of reason and hope still exist. I subscribe to this school of thought.
The Somali conflict may have some uniqueness, but conflicts have occurred in Africa and elsewhere and have been resolved. Liberia, Sierra Leone and South Africa are the most vivid examples that had bloody conflicts that were ended.
The "experts on Somalia" will quote all types of sources to justify their theories.
Most of the formulators of these conspiratorial theories may have never set foot inside Somalia in the first place. Their theories are based on hearsay and lack of in-depth analysis, and board on the absurdity. Such theories ignore one fundamental fact: Somalia is a threat not only to itself and the region, but to the world.
The theories range from abandoning the Somalis to their own schemes, mischief and fate; to maintaining the status quo where the current repression and oppression can continue and humanitarian catastrophe is looming; to "constructive disengagement" where ties with the TFG and AMISOM are cut.
This theory itself ignores two vital facts:
(i) TFG and AMISOM are the only forces working towards bringing genuine national political, social and economic rebirth, reconciliation, peace and stability to Somalia;
(ii) the Somalis have not been able to sort out their problems for the last 20 years, what guarantees are there now that this miracle will happen?
And so, the flamers of these theories target either the Somalis themselves or those who are genuinely and honestly on the ground working for and supporting peace efforts or their partners. They aim at dissuading them from the noble tasks or frustrating their efforts. They want to demonise and demoralise those who are committed to bringing change to Somalia. The most targeted victim has been AMISOM.
AMISOM is the only force capable of challenging the armed violent groups, especially al-shabaab and Hizbul Islam, from ascending to power in Mogadishu. These groups' intentions, shrouded in mysteries and false confidence to capture power have been thwarted with heavy casualties on their side for over the last three years by AMISOM. June/July of last and this year have been specifically significant. Such losses have often times led them to halt their operations and withdraw from Mogadishu.
It is also known that the two groups are well known to be on the payroll of international terrorist networks and other spoilers. All these groups have ganged up to discredit AMISOM's pro-people approach and achievements.
It is not common to witness such sacrifices for peace, especially in such conditions as those experienced by AMISOM troops. Our approach puts smiles on many a Somali face.
We give free medical care to over 12,000 people per month and over 1.8 million litres of clean water to the Somalis who live near our camps. Who will help consolidate such efforts so that many more smiles are seen on their faces?
The jealousy and envy in some circles have driven the anti-people forces and their allies to craft and launch a hostile propaganda campaign against AMISOM.
The campaign is designed to promote and garner domestic and international support for their extreme ideology.
They also aim at discouraging any further deployment of AMISOM troops and scare away any potential troop-contributing country.
Their intention is also to deny support to the Transitional Federal Government.
These groups have been evolving into a more overtly internationalist organisation. Al-shabbab announced its alliance with al-Qaeda on February 10.
Such an alliance has undercut some of its appeal and support base within Somalia. Their hard line interpretation of Islam (i.e. imposing religious uniformity on Somali society at the expense of traditional clan structures and beliefs) does not resonate with many Somali citizens. In addition, their brutal operational tactics, especially suicide bombings and roadside bombs targeting civilians, have caused public outrage and alienated supporters even in their strong (strangle) holds.
The stabilisation of Somalia must, therefore, be resisted by these forces at any cost.
All peace-loving people of the world must show resolve towards ending the Somali war. Failure to resolve this conflict is not an option.
The UN, EU, US and many partners continue to provide logistical support to AMISOM.
The genuine experts on Somalia should, therefore, help in providing suggestions and proposals on how the suffering of the Somalis can be ended. Together we can put an end to the theories of the "experts on Somalia" that condemn the Somalis to endless conflict and vanity.
What plans can be put in place to rehabilitate a society that has been so fractured and whose three generations have known nothing else but war and violence? What can be done to avoid a recurrence of such a situation not only in Somalia but anywhere else in the world?
How about the criminalised economy (including piracy), attendant greed and cynicism, and above all, impunity and violence against the weakest?
We all owe it to the innocent and deprived majority Somalis, humanity, posterity and ourselves.
As for those of us who have listened to their cries and felt their miseries, shared all including our blood with them to make their dreams come true, we will wait to see whether the time, effort, blood, sweat and tears will change life for the greater majority of the Somalis. But we are confident that this will happen soon rather than later.
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