Since 1977 until present, the Somali people were in the middle of different kinds of wars and violent conflicts. As usual, violent conflicts originate from human insecurity such as exclusion, lack of access to resources and power. Poverty or lack of alternative economic opportunities, competition for natural resource, and tribal domination are also aspects that exacerbate conflicts in Somalia. On the other hand, lack of good governance, creates lack of respect for the rule of law, social exclusion, and intolerance. All the above factors can be identified as the fundamental causes of the various and prolonged conflicts in Somalia.
Somalia has all parameters that indentify the characteristics of a failed state. Its human insecurity emerged when social disorder arose within the former government’s systems and expanded to tears apart the government bureaucracy, institutional rules, and lastly it rip apart the normal cohesiveness of the Somali social structures, and their traditional livelihood systems, that survived many generations and preserved the uniqueness of the Somalis and their territory in the horn. The conflicts in Somalia created mistrust among communities, neighbours; and it built distrust between the affected Somalis and their governments, specially the latest before 1991. Due to the above-mentioned reasons, along with lack functional governments and administration in the last two decades, caused also Somali people’s exodus influx and migration inside and outside of the country. As a result, many of these immigrants died before they reached to their destination, and others are in interim refugee camps, waiting to get sponsors to go to the western countries. Many others are in overseas jails as they are illegal immigrants with no proper documents and visas to show. Their real figures and locations are mainly unknown. The most recent statistics of displaced Somalis cited UNHCR in a repost on January 2012 is as below:
Category Total number
Internally Displaced People in Somalia: 1,356,845
Total population in Somalia who are at risk or of concern: 1,365,183
No. of Refugees outside Somalia (who are seeking asylum) 1,099,806
Total Somali population at risk or of concern 2,464,989
Although Somalis claim that they are homogeneous people, who speak the same language, and practice the same religion, did not manage to resolve their differences; instead, they immersed themselves into deep devastating, and lethal conflicts, which divided the country in to opposing groups. Nevertheless, for the last 22 year, many Somali who migrated to the west exposed to live in multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious countries such as Canada. This teaches us, despite of differences, people can live under the same flag once they have good governance systems, civil society mobilization, and available opportunities for the people to prosper.
Among the Somali presidential candidates of 2012, Dr. Abdurahman M. Abdullahi “Baadiyow” is number one candidate who can stabilize the Somali internal security and can put the pieces together to re-establish Somalia and assist the country to get back on its feet. Establishing the Internal Security of Somalia, embrace some of the barriers that failed all the previous government (from the last 30 years) failed to surpass. To break these barriers, it requires commitment, quality leadership, good governance tools, and public support in order to reach long lasting and healthy solutions. In addition, Somalia requires new vision, and strategies that could maintain government policies effectively implement. The government should immediately promote acceptable, decent moral/manners, cultural and religious sensitive mechanisms, to alleviate such awkward and evil conditions that the country is facing.
The future government of Somalia must focus on disabling all structures that fuel conflict. It must move beyond functions of maintaining and terminating ongoing military activities, such as ceasefire, demobilization and disarmament. It should move to implement in sustaining and training of the existing army forces, recruiting new army forces, re-employment and retraining most of the former Somali army men and women, who are willing and able to contribute. In this process, every Somali citizen must be eligible to participate in the new army, once one did not commit crime against humanity, or against the country. Through the re-engagement, the old army can enrich the expertise of the new Somali army forces in general; it may help the government to build an effective and efficient Somali military, police and security forces that will safeguard Somalia and its people from internal and external threats.
The government should work on the elimination or reduction of the major factors that contribute to conflict and human insecurity in Somalia. The realization of these strategies will improve the peace and stability, it will prepare grounds to create conducive environment for future peaceful and transparent election, and will allow conducting a genuine election monitoring process.
Other important issues that future government should also tackle include providing voluntary settlement to the internally displaced people back to their original regions, and ensuring returnee security. Once the government succeeds to stabilize the internal human security of the country in general, therefore, individual security, and respect for basic human rights will concurrently secure. To resolve these issues are essential cornerstones of the political, economic, and social stabilization of Somalia. Other strategies that can sustain Somalia to recover and that may help the country to reach to its maximum inherent capacity for growth, both in human and economic development are as follows:
Strategies and programs to strengthen the internal security of Somalia should include:
- Peace building and reconciliation: the first priority is to restore a sense of peace and security. Creating bodies and organizations responsible for conflict mitigation, prevention, and generate resolutions within the system of the government that guarantees a room for all citizens to participate.
- The government should instigate research programs that will assist to understand the nature, origins and impact of current conflicts in Somalia (tribalism, different religious sects, poverty and competition for land and other resources that usually situates in the centre of conflict).
- The government should foster ongoing research on other social, economic and scientific programs essential to the development of the country.
- Rehabilitation of child solders, and war-affected people should also be in the human security and stabilization strategic section and priorities.
- The government alone cannot assume this huge responsibility, but there should be roles for key stakeholders’ (such as Government, Civil Society, Private Sector and international groups whom voluntarily willing to assist). These stakeholders should take the lions shares in the reconstruction of Somalia during and after the end of the conflict. The stakeholders should use effectively the valuable experience gained from the Somali internal conflict, and other experiences from different parts of the world, that may be useful to our case.
- To develop terms of reference of the above institutions, this will clearly indicate the relationship between the partners, the expected roles and the duration if each tasks in the post-conflict reconstruction efforts. Each partner/ stakeholder will be involved.
- The Government should prepare a countrywide budget and specifically should prepare a component geared to finance the Somali Army salary and re-training. The government should give especial priority to secure this funding mainly from local sources.
- Imposing tariff and taxation to all imported goods and services, special procedures must be dealt with luxurious/ non basic goods and services
- Taxation (taxation must be enforced as the government need to pay salaries of all government staff and social services programs) (Federal, Regional and local taxation must be conducted).
- Taxation collected from all points of entries including neigbouring boarders, from seaports, and airports) including telecommunication goods and services.
- Fundraising from local stakeholders (Somali business people, and other local stakeholders)
- Fundraising from Somali Diaspora
- International Community
- Different government institutions should re-establish immediately, to provide basic services such as (health services, education, drinkable water, sanitation, shelter, social welfare and other basic and essential programs for the society).
- To revitalize all infrastructures, such roads, market channels and transportation services.
- To conduct demobilization, integration, employment and income generation programs.
- To induce development and economic stimulation strategies.
- Provide a price guarantee policies to protect local produce, especially agricultural products.
- The Government should implement strategies to encourage local producers get full access to local markets, and explore new markets for products.
- The Government should work on strategies to promote farm –gate prices to stabilize and generate enough profit for the producers to continue producing in order to satisfy local food demands, and improve product quality to meet international market standards
- Introduce Agricultural subsidy programs policies; improve food security in quantity and quality. In the meantime, implement agricultural rehabilitation, including land tenure designation, registration and resolve land ownership conflicts.
- Develop policies to ban narcotics and unhealthy products from imports or produce locally for consumption
- The government should ensure that women’s participation in civil and military institutions (which is 30% in each institution) to be fulfilled. The government should also ensure to protect women’s rights and all other human rights.
Amina Sharif Hassan