NEWS 2004



Weekly Sitrep. 74
(Covering from 01^st August to 07^th August, 2004) 

By Khalif Hassan Ahmed, Information and Documentation Officer



· Conference progress and political differences 

· Kenya’s lead mediator warns Somali faction leaders 

· Two separate incidents in Southern Somalia report casualties 

· African Union fact-finding mission dispatched to Somalia 

· Somali women warn of infringement of their legitimate rights 

Political Developments 

Conference progress 

The 9^th IGAD Ministerial Facilitation Committee meeting convened at Mbagathi, the venue of Somali Peace Talks on 4^th and 5^th August. The meeting was attended by Kenyan cabinet Minister and lead mediator Hon. Kalonzo Musyoka and his colleagues from Uganda, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Djibouti was represented by the deputy foreign minister while Sudan, African Union and IGAD sent envoys. Members of the international community were also present. 

Although the meeting was initially planned to inaugurate the Transitional Federal Parliament, the Somali clans had been unable to meet the deadline in submitting the list of names for the parliament. In their last day in Nairobi, the Ministers met with sub-clans’ representatives in an effort to make a breakthrough. Except the Digil/Mirifle, the remaining clans submitted several conflicting lists. According to conference sources, a list of about 90 parliamentarians was submitted to the IGAD Ministerial Facilitation Committee. 

In the communiqué released after the meeting, the ministers lauded the Arbitration Committee for their performance in distribution of the parliamentary seats to Dir, Darod and the Fifth Clans. They mandated the IGAD Facilitation Committee to continue receiving the remaining lists from the respective sub-sub clans within the next two days. The Ministers acknowledged with appreciation the readiness of the African Union to deploy, at an appropriate time, a military observer mission to support the outcome of the reconciliation Conference and the transition in Somalia. They Ministerial Facilitation Committee welcomed and endorsed in principle the international community’s draft plan for support during the post-conference period. As for their next meeting, the ministers agreed to meet again in Nairobi on 19^th August for the swearing in of the selected members of Parliament and subsequent inauguration of the Transitional Federal Government of the Somali Republic. 

Political differences 

Somali clans’ caucuses

An important part of the Darod clan and a section of the southern Dir clan denounced the decisions by the arbitration committee as unfair. In their argument, the Harti and the Absame Sub-clans of the Darod termed the decision of the arbitration committee as inconsistent with previous quotas on representation. While pointing at interferences of the facilitating committee and the arbitration committee, they demanded unequivocal restoration of the seats they are entitled to and warned that failure to do so would have serious consequences for the Somali Peace and Reconciliation Conference. In another development, the Puntland State authorities called for the return of its delegation in the talks. In a strong worded statement they noted, “the delegates will no longer be considered representatives, and will no longer have the mandate of the government and the public should they accept the proposed distribution of the parliamentary seats.” 

In a meeting with the IGAD Ministerial Facilitation Committee, Col. Abdullahi Yussuf Ahmed on behalf of the Darod clan made a proposal to overcome current complains and problems to expand the number of seats. Additional slots would be used exclusively for women, marginalized in the selection process, as well as to address the concerns of the sub-clans unhappy with the arbitration committee’s decision. Hon. Kalonzo Musyoka of Kenya noted the complexities of such an attempt and the legal steps required to legitimize such an initiative. A proposal for 31 additional slots has been circulated to Somali delegates and political leaders. As of Saturday 7^th August, almost 200 delegates and many of the Somali Political leaders had signed their acceptance to the proposal. It is expected, according to a proponent of this initiative that the proposal will be presented for approval to IGAD after securing acceptance by Somali delegates. 

According to an independent observer contacted by /Novib Discussion Platform/, the conference is on a risky spot and all will depend on the remedial steps taken. Whichever the case, the process has to be protected from failures. The current initiative for additional slots would be a solution with its own controversies but much would depend on the take of Somali stakeholders. IGAD has to be committed to its decisions and statements while the international community has to inject a more vivid role in support of IGAD. 


Kenyan’s lead mediator warns Somali faction leaders

In a report carried by a cross section of the Kenyan media, Somali factional leaders were warned against defying decisions reached by the Arbitration Committee. Kenyan cabinet Minister and lead mediator, Hon. Kalonzo Musyoka warned that states in the region would slap sanctions on their travel and ostracize those who contest decisions. In a ceremony to receive a Chinese government donation of $ 100,000, the minister said, “no factional leader will be allowed to hold the process hostage. We must get this conflict behind us.” Hon. Kalonzo noted that the region is talking the language of reconciliation and anybody who goes against it will not be welcome in the IGAD countries – Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Uganda. 

Two separate incidents in southern Somalia report casualties

Two separate incidents, one in Mogadishu and the other in Hiran region have left an unknown number of casualties. In Mogadishu, militia of Sheikh Yussuf Indha`ade and those loyal to the USC wing of Qanyare’s clashed for several hours. Confrontations in the outskirt of the Hiran regional capital - Beledwein raised tension. According to reports from the city, the clash is linked to a six-month old hostility. The reports from that area claim one loss of live and nine others wounded. 

IGAD and the international community

African Union fact-finding mission dispatched to Somalia 

An African Union fact-finding mission supported by members of the Somali disarmament committee left for Somalia on Saturday 7^th August. The mission, according to the briefing of the African Union Special Envoy to Somalia, Amb. Mohamed Ali Foum will assess the situation on the ground. Their final report would reflect what is required for the deployment of forces. 

Civil Society and Core Groups

Somali women warn of infringement of their legitimate rights 

Pressure is mounting over women representation in the Transitional Federal Parliament. The Somali women, in recognition of their role in the socio-economic development, were allocated by the transitional charter a 12% representation. The women delegates, in expression of their concerns over the selection process appealed for IGAD support to include women representation of 12% as part of the validation list of seats’ selection. A female activist contacted by /Novib Discussion Platform/ hailed that “our sons, fathers and husbands should rescind the emerging decisions and accept our existence as an important social group with its rights and responsibility. Failure to honour of our legitimate rights would endanger the outcome of the selection process”. 

Issues for discussion

Although in phase III, the conference still faces a challenge on power sharing. In your opinion, what would be the best way to solve the differences between the political and the traditional leaders in the selection of clan nominees?