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Thwarting Ethiopia 's Continuing Game–Plan In The Horn - Part Two
Somali-occupied territory east of thick black line (1960)
ETHIOPIA CAPTURES THE MBAGATHI RECONCILIATION CONFERENCE
1991 saw the end of SIYAD BARRE's disastrous term of office as President of Somalia. No elected president has survived him to date (2008).
Fourteen reconciliation conferences have since been attempted, all of which have failed for one reason or another.
President Ismail Omar Geeleh of Djibouti tried again. He announced at the UN General Assembly in 1999 that he would convene a conference of reconciliation the following year. Some 5,000 delegates turned up: politicians, traditional leaders and businessmen. One of the objects of the conference was to select delegates to choose a parliament of 245 deputies and to compile a charter to be adopted eventually by the parliament. An interim president was selected, Mr. Abdiqasim Salad Hassan.
The Ethiopian Government announced that the interim government had a large percentage of Islamist Al-Itihad including the new president, Mr. Abdiqasim Salad.
ETHIOPIA TRIES TO CRIPPLE TNG
The Ethiopians thereafter wished to cripple the Transitional National Government (TNG). It created a Somali Reconciliation and Reconstruction Council (SRRC) out of war- lords, giving them arms;
Abdiqasim and Galaydh the Prime Minister did not get on with each other. A parliamentary vote of no confidence saw the end of Galaydh, and ARTA.
Ethiopia concentrated on the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and Kenya both of which agreed to convene a conference of ‘Front Line States' – Ethiopia , Kenya and Djibouti . The TNG agreed to this, assuming Kenyans neutrality. This was not to be.
The Front Lines Sates altered the previous terms of reference. They were no longer a reconciliation between the TNG and the war-lords but the establishment of a tripartite organization of the TNG and the Civil Society and war-lords. The organization could rig forthcoming election if so desired.
Ethiopia dominated the organization, insisting on the names of the Civil Society delegates being removed.
There was a new appointment by Kenya of Ambassador Kiplogat, chairing the conference which was moved to Mbagathi.
Ethiopia Controlled Two-thirds of Participants.
According to Professor Ahmed I. Samatar and Mr. Abdi Ismail Samatar, representatives of the International Community and other observers confirmed that Ethiopia single-handedly controlled two-thirds of the list of conference participants.”(BILD HAAN, Vol.3, 2003).
Ambassador Kiplagat was faced with two versions of the draft Charter: one by the Official Harmonization Committee and one by the war-lords. Inter alia, the war-lords demanded a Federal Government and also proposed themselves as the electors of a new parliament. The war-lords, with Ethiopian backing, demanded that their charter alone should be debated by the plenary session. The official delegation of the TNG did not agree, The Prime minister (Mr. Hassan Abshir) and the Speaker of the parliament sided with the war-lords. Ambassador Kiplagat rushed the war-lord's draft charter the plenary session where it was approved.
Somalia 's new leader of the TFG (Transitional Federal Government), post Mbagathi, was Colonel Abdillahi Yusuf, and his TFG. They were now in the good books of Ethiopia , replacing Mr. Abdiqasim Salad. At the end of 2006, with United States support, Ethiopia moved into Somalia with an army of foot soldiers, motorised infantry, tanks, and military aircraft, to remove the Islamic courts which fled without too many casualties.
THWARTING THE EMPEROR'S ‘GREATER ETHIOPIA '
With the return of the Islamic courts to Somalia in late 2008, supported by well-armed, belligerent, youthful Islamists of Al-Shabab, the Ethiopians may look again at their historical longing for access to the coasts of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean . Will they fight it out again, or return home, or stay put and watch developments as the better part of valour?
To thwart the old ambition of Ethiopia 's last two Emperors, MENELIK II and HAILE SELASSIE, Somalis may wish to revert to their 50 year old birthright of a Greater Somalia. Not just the minor territorial integrity of Somaliland and Somalia which was never designed to accommodate only two of the five missing Somali territories.
THE RESTORATION OF SOMALI PRIDE
All the Somali speaking people (see accompanying map), whose national pride needs desperately to be restored in their relations between themselves and with the rest of Africa, may find much to be said by pursuing once again a ‘greater Somalia' with the caveat that political confederation, like the European Union; would be a better bet this time; whereby each state of the confederation would have its own flag, its own parliament, its own elected government, its own judiciary and territory, likewise its own seat in the UN General Assembly; as Somaliland continues to plan in part, albeit alone in the world.
The competitive element, so strong between Somali communities - local pride being one of them – would be better supervised by an advisory confederation of Somali states, functioning without direct or indirect powers, but on the basis of consensus – the age-old Somali doctrine of government. – no-one man should be given power for he will abuse it, Somali elders have cautioned for generations. The credit crunch will curb male ambition while they get used to modest living within their rightful means. On standard salaries, if any, with elected representatives, rather than an unworkable federation and a greedy, intra-competitive central government on obscene salaries. A confederation would reduce, if not remove, tendencies towards internecine armed hostilities, bribery and corruption. ENDS