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An alternative strategic plan to resolve the drastic situation and leadership paralysis must be created in the war-torn country, according to Somalia politician Mahmed Abdullahi. In an interview with Somalia Report, Mahmed said that interim government fails to recognize, at a great peril to the future of Somali community, the realities on the ground that demand swift and concrete changes of mandate, strategy and the entire modus operandi.
“The current TFG whose term expires August 2011 has totally failed due to lack of national vision, poor leadership and systemic corruption. This government continues to cling to the erroneous opinion that it can implement its mandate by end of its term,” complained Mahamed.
The TFG was established in 2004 with a five-year mandate meant to lead to the establishment of a permanent government, following national elections in 2009. In January 2009, the TFG extended this mandate an additional two years to 2011, also expanding the number of members of the parliament, including 200 members of parliament (MPs) from the opposition Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia and 75 MPs from civil society and other groups, doubling the size of the TFG to 550 MPs.
“TFG’s long publicized military offensive to rout the armed opposition, dubious peace deals and the illegal process of writing new constitution for the country in neighboring countries’ five star hotels are empty measures designed to deflect public opinion so to prolong its stay in office which means continuation of the status quo,” he said. According to a UN Monitoring Group report, corruption is rife within the TFG with malpractice reported in most government institutions. The group also accuses lawmakers selling visas and signing dubious deals, misusing revenues, covering up for organised crime and piracy, selling weapons and diverting food aid.
“TFG’s weak leadership, lack of proper counterinsurgency plan, high profile corruption scandals and the international community not delivering repeatedly pledged funds and material support has emboldened the opposition,” Mahamed added.
The transitional government, the components of which are known as the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs), was formed in accordance with the Transitional Federal Charter. The TFIs include a transitional parliament, known as the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP), as well as a Transitional Federal Government (TFG) that includes a transitional President, Prime Minister, and a Cabinet known as the "Council of Ministers." Kenya organized the Somalia National Reconciliation Conference, the 14th reconciliation effort, in 2002 under IGAD auspices. The conference concluded in August 2004 with the establishment of a Transitional Federal Government (TFG). Then the terms of a 2009 peace deal were signed in neighboring Djibouti that formed the interim government and required the mandate to expire on August 20, 2011, by which time the interim government should have enacted a new constitution and held a parliamentary election.
In February 2011, legislators voted overwhelmingly to extend the term of the temporary government for another three years — to the rebuke of the United Nations, the United States, and Somali people.
Mohamad stated that the era of holding peace conferences in foreign lands to replace failed transitional government with another failure bound transitional government must end Any lasting solution must come from within on national basis and people’s participation.
However, TFG needs a new achievable mandate which first focuses on restoring national security and unity and from there embark on the long processes of constitution making, decentralization, multiparty elections, development and further solidify national reconciliation.
The interim government was created on a "4.5" clan structure, meaning major positions were split between the four main clans. The remaining 0.5 share was given to a grouping of smaller clans sometimes called the Fifth Clan.
“The infamous 4.5 clan power sharing formula must be abolished due to its illegal and unjust nature. It has to be replaced with 5 clan power sharing formula on equal basis further improving government legitimacy, national unity and public support,” Mohamed claimed.
Some Somali nationalists argue that the 4.5 system has had the effect of fracturing Somalia on clan lines by imposing a federal system. They say that system -- historically a solution for uniting ethnically diverse countries like Ethiopia -- is totally unsuitable for Somali, one of the most ethnically unified countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Somalia's last national president, dictator Siad Barre, was accused by many Somalis for favouring members of his Marehan sub-clan and discriminating against others, often brutally.
The armed and extremist opposition groups, mainly Al-Shabaab, repeatedly rejected many peace proposals. “They do not offer an alternative workable national solution other than continuation of the long conflict giving it a more dangerous religious anecdote and its internationalization,” the politician said.
Following the collapse of the Barre regime, various groups of Somali factions have sought to control the national territory (or portions thereof) and have fought small wars with one another. Al Shabaab is emulating the Taliban and is trying to turn Somalia into a hard-core Islamic state.
Both the insurgent group and the Transitional Federal Government, backed by African Union forces in the war-torn capital of Mogadishu, continue to conduct indiscriminate attacks, killing and wounding numerous civilians. The insurgents fire mortars indiscriminately and from densely populated areas, using civilians as human shields, and they recruit child soldiers.
The fighting has killed over 21,000 people and displaced at least 1.5 million from their homes in the failed Horn of Africa nation since the start of insurgency in 2007.
The Gulf of Aden, which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea, is the quickest route for more than 20,000 vessels traveling from Asia to Europe and the Americas.
Mahamed’s believes that, “Piracy can only be tackled permanently by restoring governance, public services and development at the areas pirates operate and stopping foreign vessels plundering Somali marine resources and dumping toxic waste.” The government has to directly takeover the districts from which pirates operate and patrol the Somali exclusive economic zone to stop illegal acts of piracy, fishing and toxic waste dumping.
“Pirates must face prosecution and imprisonment only in Somalia under the national government as specified by the law,” he concluded.
However, attacks by the heavily armed Somali pirates in speedboats have prompted some of the world's largest shipping firms to switch routes from the Suez Canal and send cargo vessels around southern Africa, causing a hike in shipping costs. Pirates continue to hold over 700 hostages and almost 50 ships.