19 May 2007 04:13


SW News
  • Title: [SW News] (BBC)  Focus on Africa on The Somali National Peace Conference to be held in Djibouti
  • From:[]
  • Date :[20 Feb 2000, at 1705 GMT]

BBC World Service at 1705 GMT. This is Rachel Rawlins with Focus on Africa

INTRO: Somalia's stability or lack of it has always been a great concern to neighboring Djibouti and Djibouti has already sponsored two international attempts to broker peace. Now it is readying for a third effort under the auspices of the UN and its Representative to Somalia, David Stephens. Is this going to be third time lucky? Our correspondent in Djibouti, Christophe Farah has been investigating how this peace effort differs from those which had gone before.

Christophe Farah: The Somali National Peace Conference to be held in Djibouti will have to choose the members of the Transitional National Assembly. This body will in turn elect the Speaker, the President and the Prime Minister of a re-united Somalia. The Constituent Assembly and the Transitional Administration will all be given a three-year term to pave the way for a democratically elected government. Under previous gatherings, the Djibouti Conference will empower the Somalis that were not able to speak for themselves so far.

                                      /// David Stephens Act ///

Well it's complete change from previous approaches. Previous approaches were based on power sharing among faction leaders. Faction leaders were gathered in places abroad for long periods for negotiations, essentially about who held which job in the government. This time it's the other way round. The conceptual basis of this new process will be what we call Civil Society. We will bring people from all different parts of Somalia who are the representatives of the society as a whole. That includes religious leaders, business, elders, women's groups, intellectuals and so on. We will not base it on the narrow group, which came to be called faction leaders.

                                                /// End Act ///

Christopho Farah: The UN Representative for Somalia also indicated that many of the Somali warlords had expressed their approval of the plan and were probably going to attend the Djibouti Conference. A Somali Human Rights activist, Hassan Shire Shiekh, believes for his part that faction leaders have no other alternatives and ruin the peace process because of an emerging political mood in Somalia.

                                       /// Hassan Shire Shiekh Act ///

I think that it is the end of warlordism now in Somalia, because now there no support from the ordinary people, the kind of warlordism we've experienced for the past 9 years. People are becoming fed up. People understand now they have to participate in this conference and warlords do not exist in vacuum. They exist because they get support of the business, of the women, of the intellectuals from their own regions or from their own tribes. Now these supports are not forthcoming to them. So now they understand that. They have to become a part and parcels were the will of the people is going.

                                                 /// End Act ///

Christopher Farah: Gender barrier is also one of the many obstacles that get into the way of Somalia reconstruction. Zahra Mohamed Nur, a Women's Organization executive, says that the Somalis of the weaker sex are going to affirm their role in the Djibouti peace conference.

                                      ///   Zahra Mohamed Nur Act ///

 Though they become victims and survivors of this society, they were planning to go to the Djibouti Conference on the basis of 20% of the delegates in this Somali Conference.

                                                 /// End Act ///

Christophe Farah: Why 20%?

                                              ///   Zahra  Act ///

 Because we want to be part of were the decision of the Reconciliation is going on. We want to be part of the socio-economic formation of Somalia. We want to part of the planners of Somali future government.

                                                     /// End Act ///

Christophe Farah: Clan divide, regional differences and insecurity in some areas of Somalia are also the biggest problems that the Djibouti Peace Conference will have to deal with in its attempt at reestablishing a Central Authority in Stateless Somalia

Rachel Rawlins: Christophe Farah reporting from Djibouti

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