Breaking up Somalia could hold key to lasting peace

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 07:37 | By
Photo taken on Jan. 8, 2020 shows the car bomb explosion site in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia. (Xinhua /Hassan Bashi)

Gordon Omondi       

Somalia is bigger than Kenya in terms of landmass. In fact, Somalia is lagger than Portugal, Uruguay, Costa Rica, South Korea, Austria and Sierra Leone combined. 

With an unstable government, lack of funds and self declared semi-autonomous states within such a huge country, how do you expect Somalia to contain terrorism? 

Somalia has proven that it is unable to combat and contain the al-shabaab militants on her own. The possibility, therefore, of a stable Somalia when the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) leaves is almost a pipe dream. 

The responsibility of containing and eradicating al-Shabaab cannot be a Somalia affair.

World over, vast countries without stable leadership have experienced difficulties. The Democratic Republic of Congo is a classic example of a state in which even her own leadership cannot visit certain areas. 

Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo is a man under siege. He cannot walk out of Mogadishu at will and visit to any part of his country. So what is the logic of purporting to be leading a state you have no control of and may never have control of anyway?

In contrast, his counterpart in Somaliland, Musa Bihi Abdi, operates freely in his self-proclaimed autonomous state. 

In the other autonomous state of Jubaland, elections are held periodically and peacefully. Sheikh Ahmed Madobe was recently re-elected president. 

The two autonomous states have proved to be havens of peace while Mogadishu grapples with bomb attacks carried out by the al-Shabaab militants almost daily.

Because Somalia is, by international law and standards, still one sovereign state, anything that happens in Mogadishu, in the international view, has affected Lawyacado in the border of Somalia and Djibouti, through Bosaso to Bereeda at the sharp end of Somalia touching the Gulf of Eden, down to Ras Kamboni, the lowest point at the Kenyan border. With that in mind, direct foreign investment in Somalia suffers.

In the past one decade, Hargeisa has had only one bomb attack — in 2008. This is a good indicator of what would be the situation should Somaliland be granted full autonomy by the international community.

Allowing Somaliland and Jubaland to become autonomous states would not be a new concept anyway. 

The then Yugoslavia was a powerhouse within Southern East and Central Europe. Her continued instability weakened the bonds that held her together. 

The result is Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia and Croatia.

Challenges not withstanding, Kosovo has managed to conduct a democratic election and the future looks bright. 

Though the situation in Somalia and Yugoslavia may look different, the inspiration and spirit for separation are more or less the same.

One was supposedly people-driven while the other is an idea that requires the active participation of the international community. 

Yugoslavia was a success, can Somalia be? The argument is, it may not cause what it causes the peace keeping mission in Mogadishu, Kinshasa, Bangui and Juba.

Everyone yearns for peace except a few extremists. At times, what matters most is lasting peace regardless of the means to peace. 

Since 1991, Somalia has lost her population to refugee camps, particular in Kenya. For how long must a country keep losing her people due to a senseless war? Any means towards lasting peace is necessary.

— The writer comments on topical issues

More on News