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Interview with Prof. Francis Kornegay
ISSUE 133
Front Page
Index

Headlines

- Conference on future of the Horn successfully concluded

- Somaliland Participates In First Regional Counter Terrorism Conference
- International conference on Anti-money laundering held in Hargeisa

- Women's group trains female police officers

- Livestock Professionals meeting held in STVS, Hargeisa, jointly organized by The Somaliland Ministry of Livestock and The Somali Livestock Professional Forum

People

- Interview with Prof. Francis Kornegay

International News

- Najaf toll: US claims 300, fighters say 36

- Forgotten And Left To Anarchy And Isolation

Peace Talks

- Joint communiqué Issued by the 9th IGAD ministerial facilitation committee meeting on the Somali national reconciliation conference

Daallo Airlines Flies You Everywhere

 

Editorial & Opinions

- The International Community is Betraying Somaliland

- The Somalia-Somaliland Stalemate Within The Context Of The Geopolitics Of Conflict And Accommodation In The Horn Of Africa

- Interaction Of Peace, Security And Development Within The Framework Of Somaliland's International Recognition - A Practical Experience
- Closing Remarks By The Minister Of Information

- No Honor Among Theives

- The Other IGAD JOINT COMMUNIQUÉ


Francis Kornegay who teaches international relations at South Africa’s Witwatersrand University, was one of the speakers at the conference on peace, security and development in the Horn of Africa, held in Hargeisa – Somaliland August 1-2.

Q. What are your impressions of Somaliland and what was significant about this conference?

A. Well, they are quite inspiring and positive what I have seen in Somaliland is an efficiently functioning society, when compared to many other places. I would think that a lot of other countries in Africa can learn from Somaliland.

The conference was a beginning of a dialogue that you need to have along the Somali Coast, among different Somali communities, on interim Somali relations. I think the conference was a good start and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to be part of it.

Q. The conference hailed Somaliland’s human oriented security. Why this approach has generated interest?

A. I guess what it relates to is the focus on human security as opposed to the conventional state driven security. For security to be enhanced in Africa, you have to have popular participation in situations where you are trying to move from conflict to post-conflict, reconstruction and recovery. And also in preventing conflicts and implementing security structures and mechanism maximum participation of people. Security basically relates to governance and governance has to be participatory. It has to allow for open-ended opportunities in which people can exchange ideas, discuss issues and get away from militarized approaches of peace coming out of the barrel of a gun.

Q. As an African American who has been living in South Africa over the last decade, can you imagine similarities or scope for cooperation between Somaliland and South Africa?

A. Yeah. I think there is room for a lot of cooperation. South Africa is still building its democracy. They have gone a long way in the shortest of time since 1994. You see the same thing in Somaliland where you are clearly engaged in building and consolidating your democratic environment. Given that situation of transition, I think both societies should be able to interact to learn from each other in terms of sharing experiences and moving ahead.

Q. In your keynote speech to the conference, you brought up the idea of holding dialogue among Somali Coast communities. Who are those communities?

A. Well, those communities, I would imagine, are the ones symbolized by the five-cornered Somali flag.

You are talking about Somaliland, Southern Somalia, Ogaden, Somalis in the Diaspora, [Djibouti and Kenya]. So looking at the situation of regional and sub-regional integration in Africa, what is going in the Somali Coast, I think, is one chapter in how African people are trying to find each other and how they can come to a workable arrangement for managing unity and diversity. In other words, we are talking about inter-Somali dialogue. That means dialogue among your selves in Somaliland, about your future, and it also means dialogue with other Somali speaking communities outside Somaliland.

Q. In your opinion what impact the conference will have?

A. I think it will have an impact in terms of generating ideas and options for carrying of the dialogue forward. You have to start somewhere with the dialogue. I think the kind of inter-action we had at the conference ought to help evolve the on-going debate about Somaliland and its future and how Somaliland relates to Southern Somalia. I think the conference was very important in that respect.

Q. How your proposal for the emergence of a “Somali Coast Dialogue Forum” could differ or be more effective in comparison to Somali peace conferences sponsored by he international community that seek imposing solutions on Somalis from the top?

A. In fact it could be a parallel complementary process. But by focusing on the Somali Coast, you transcend all the divisions in the Somali region. By looking at it as a Somali coast frame-work, all Somalis can engage in talking about the future of the Somali region.

I think it is a good strategy for Somaliland because Somaliland can tend to its needs as a country in the interest that you need to advance. But at the same time without conceding anything, you can put forth a broader Somali concept that is inclusive. I think that he who puts forth the truly inclusive concept is the one who will occupy the high ground to which everyone else will have to respond.

Strategically it would be good for Somaliland to go that road because it would allow to focus on Somaliland as well as on the wider Somali region. You would give up nothing, and you would have the best of both worlds in dealing with your own situation and at the same in influencing a wider situation.

Q. Wouldn’t a dialogue involving Somalis living in the area stretching from Hargeisa to Wajeer be opposed by the international community given the well-known regional sensitivities to the revival of Somali irredentism?

A. Well, I think that basically depends on the Somalis. Because you would be talking about your own future. There isn’t any one outside the Somali region who should have any say over that. Outsiders might have an interest in it, one way or the other. But if Somalis decide pro-actively to take control of the dialogue, then how can anyone else, really, come up with anything differently. May be create mischief here and there or try to complicate things. But I think you can come up with a compelling strategy that makes it difficult for anyone to undermine.

In other words Somalis talk to each other on their terms in an open-ended way that has no time-frame. It is your Forum and it provides opportunities to spin off any initiative that might come out of it. It has no preconceived notion of where it should go. But it has got to be initiated by Somalis. It is possible that the best place for the initiative to come from is Somaliland itself. Somaliland probably has more interest in something like this than anyone else. So I think that it is something that should be pro-actively pursued.
 


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