African Union High Representative for Somalia,Ghana’s Jerry John Rawlings says the lack of proper implementation plans has in the past hindered the success of peace agreements made on the Somalia crisis.
President Rawlings said such plans also lacked the necessary resources, arbitration and monitoring mechanism to ensure that the accord was fully implemented.
Speaking at the 10th meeting of the African Union Panel of the Wise inAddis Ababa on Thursday, President Rawlings said: “the reconciliation conferences were often hijacked by individuals who had no real connection on the ground and who were bent on keeping the real actors out of the process. As a result, the reconciliation conferences were turned into power-sharing conferences and political wrangling among the top leaders in the successive Transitional Governments became the norm.”
The former President who was speaking on the theme, “Building peace in Somalia: Lessons Learned, Constraints and Challenges” stated that: “As Africans, we must speak with one voice and redouble our efforts to bring the Transitional Federal Institutions to agree on actions to prepare for the elections, ensure that the Transitional tasks will be implemented in the new Transition and that the TFIs adopt an overall road map to end the Transition that started in 2004.”
The AU High Representative called on the United Nations and other organisations assisting with the peace process to double their efforts. He lamented that thoughSomalia is facing a huge humanitarian crises brought about by a prolonged drought, the support coming in was not significant enough to avoid a major human catastrophe.
Find below the full text of President Rawlings address.
Remarks by the AU High Representative for Somalia
H.E, President Jerry John Rawlings,
Former President of the Republic of Ghana
Panel of the Wise Meeting
12 May 2011, Addis Ababa
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, allow me to express my pleasure to be here in the middle of such distinguished personalities known for their stellar leadership in their respective countries and on the continent and for giving the remarks opening the debate on Somalia.
As you are all aware, I recently accepted the appointment by the AU Chairperson, H.E, Dr Jean Ping to serve as the AU High Representative for Somalia. Since then, I have spent time meeting experts, diplomats working on Somalia and most importantly Somalis to try to understand the intricacies of the Somali conflict. I admit that I am still not an expert and when it comes to Somalia, everyday is a lesson!
The theme today is Building peace in Somalia: Lessons Learned, Constraints and Challenges. I will not attempt to give you a History lesson on the conflict inSomalia but I will share with you some of my observations since taking my responsibilities.
The 2008 Djibouti process, which has the support of the international community, is the 16th attempt in the broader process of political settlement and peacemaking in Somalia, which began almost immediately after the outbreak of the civil war in 1991.
It builds upon the achievements of the earlier efforts but the challenge, as always, is to cement the gains that have been made, and to draw others into a constructive dialogue and out of a cycle of violence.
The question is why all these efforts have not yielded any tangible results? From our observation, the various peace attempts were not Somali owned, inclusive and there was always questions surrounding the legitimacy of some of the participants.
Secondly, the reconciliation conferences were often hijacked by individuals who had no real connection on the ground and who were bent on keeping the real actors out of the process. As a result, the reconciliation conferences were turned into power-sharing conferences and political wrangling among the top leaders in the successive Transitional Governments became the norm.
In addition, once an agreement was sealed, it lacked an implementation plan, the necessary resources and arbitration and monitoring mechanism to ensure that the accord was fully implemented.
The situation was further complicated by the fact that all the reconciliation conferences happened in a regional context where external actors would use the processes not only to further their own agenda but also to wage proxy wars in Somalia.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Djibouti Peace Agreement did not escape this cycle and we are once again at risk of reversing the gains recorded in the last two years.
The prevailing political developments, the challenging security situation and deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the country, in spite of our collective efforts requires that we further intensify our efforts inSomalia.
As Africans, we must speak with one voice and redouble our efforts to bring the Transitional Federal Institutions to agree on actions to prepare for the elections, ensure that the Transitional tasks will be implemented in the new Transition and that the TFIs adopt an overall road map to end the Transition that started in 2004.
We must also mobilize the necessary resources to allow the new Institutions to function. It is unimaginable that a Ministry with a yearly budget of 12,000 USD/year can be expected to deliver on its mandate. We cannot expect the Government to deliver on the Transitional tasks, provide services to its population and address the numerous challenges facingSomalia when State institutions have completely collapsed. In a fluid situation likeSomalia we need assistance that is flexible, predictable and timely for the Government to efficiently execute its mission.
In the end the overall objective is to give back the peace process to the Somali people so that there can be genuine reconciliation. The scourges of Piracy and Terrorism are only the symptoms of a conflict that has dragged on for too long.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
AMISOM which has been doing an excellent job on the ground must be fully supported. AMISOM is not only a regional affair; it is first and foremost an African affair! Other African countries are not doing enough not only in terms of providing troops but also other support.
We cannot expect AMISOM that is inSomalia on behalf of the International Community to deliver on its mandate when we do not have enough boots on the ground and other enablers and multipliers.
The United Nations responsible for world peace must do more! According to a UN official, the United Nations is only providing 50 percent to the AMISOM forces when they would otherwise support them 100 percent if the troops had blue berets. That is why we need to continue pushing for a re-hating of AMISOM forces.
Your Excellencies, Ladies andGentleman,
Somalia is now facing its worst humanitarian crisis in decades. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, are sure to perish unless more international relief comes quickly. I recently called on donor nations and multinational organizations to establish immediately an emergency trust for aid inSomalia.
The humanitarian agencies in charge of assistingSomalia are not doing enough and to be frank, it doesn’t make sense to support certain United Nations agencies that are not producing much on the ground while others are doing the heavy lifting with little resources. Your support in this endeavor would therefore be greatly appreciated!
Let me say a few words about the current debate about the end of the Transition. As we focus on the end of the Transition on 20 August 2011, we must continue to encourage the leaders of the Transitional Federal Institutions to prioritize dialogue because it is through an agreed process between the Executive and the Parliament that we will end the current political paralysis over the elections. We must concentrate our efforts on a win-win situation and avoid a zero-sum game that would make it difficult to achieve key tasks in the new Transition.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentleman,
Let’s make no mistake, though the majority of Somalis agree with us that the current crisis is a major threat to the existence of the Somali people, the region and the international community in general, there are some who would like to current situation to continue.
Some politicians in the Government find this state of affairs lucrative while the status quo also allows extremists to mobilize for religious wars indefinitely, collect revenues from the 8 regions they control and avoid difficult decisions that come with administering populations. The International Community must send strong signals to the spoilers that sanctions are available and ready for use!
Finally let me conclude by saying that the Somali crisis is very much part of broader regional conflict complex. Tackling some of the issues plaguing the Horn of Africa would go a long way to creating a more conducive regional environment to resolve the Somali crisis.
I thank you.