19 May 2007 04:25

SOMALIA WATCH

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Column
  • Title: [SW Column] (arlaadinet.) Riverine Community quandary over the Peace Process
  • From:[]
  • Date :[4 July 2000]

"..The disarmament for an RRA force is impossible until all the territories of the Riverineland is secured. Worst of all non of the members of the committee of disarmament is Digil & Mirifle. Its members include infamous names such as general Mohamed Hashi Gani of Marhehan who in September 1991 led the three divisions of Siad Barre's army that captured Baidoa which eventually led to the Digil & Mirifle Holocaust. Therefore, a committee on land and property restoration should be put in place before disarmament..." "...The main obstacle to the peace process is lack of acknowledgment from the conference organizers and Somali politicians that the issue of occupied land is key to the Somali solution. Any government established without resolving the land issue beforehand  is guaranteed to fail..." arlaadinet


Riverine Community quandary over the Peace Process

Article distributed via arlaadinet

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Somalia independence but it is also a grim remainder of the bitter harvest of independence that was supposed to be 'happy moment'. During the last four decades Somalia people have witnessed corrupt civilian government, ruthless dictatorship and destructive warlords. While all Somali citizens from all corners of life suffer from the impasse, the Somali Riverine are most affected and marginalized community. They welcomed the current peace process undergoing in Djibouti with mixed feeling. The Riverine community are pondering whether Arta conference will create yet another Mahatiri hegemony or fulfill their dream of respect, prosperity and lasting peace.

Despite the Riverine community eagerly looking forward to seeing a government for their country once and for all after ten ruthless and chaotic years. However, they remain skeptical and treat any development from the Conference with suspicion. Riverine community wanted to see that the stakeholders of the conference recognize part of their land is still under occupation. The initial meeting of 'intellectuals' in Djibouti failed to declare that part of Riverine land is under occupation and no apology was given since they are the main victims of the Somalia civil war which the manmade famine killed and uprooted hundred of thousands of Riverine people.

The mistrust of Riverine community for other Mahatiri speaking Somalia is deeply rooted in past history of neglect and denial. They were subjected colonial type of rule since Somalia independence - they were imposed new culture, their identity was denied until recently, not empowered to run their lives, their sole economic source (agriculture) was undermined, their history distorted, their language was suppressed, their land occupied forcefully.

In Arta it was declared that the heaviest task of reconciling the Somali tribes is now over and recognition for the would-be-born government is already in hand. Given the three issues that are given prominence it seems Riverine community skepticism to be well justified. If you look at the agenda, there are: 1)Formation of committee on disarmament; 2)Committee on international relations; and 3) Committee on the status of Mogadishu. While agenda 2 and 3 are agreeable provided that sovereignty of Somalia is emphasized under equal participation of all stakeholders.

The disarmament for an RRA force is impossible until all the territories of the Riverineland is secured. Worst of all non of the members of the committee of disarmament is Digil & Mirifle. Its members include infamous names such as general Mohamed Hashi Gani of Marhehan who in September 1991 led the three divisions of Siad Barre's army that captured Baidoa which eventually led to the Digil & Mirifle Holocaust. Therefore, a committee on land and property restoration should be put in place before disarmament.

After the Riverine community succeeded in expelling occupying forces from its land and they became a power to reckon, unauthorized individuals use Digil & Mirifle name for dubious goals. The so-called Bay Centre for Conflict Prevention (BCCP), Somali Electronic Journal and Qaran repeatedly spread lies about the Riverine communities.

The Riverine community misgiving was mainly directed to the heavily armed faction leaders who oppose and also try to sabotage the peace implementation fearing loss of power. But there are other entities that also try to make use of the opportunity by labeling themselves as 'peace makers' and using the media and enormous resources available to them to convince the international community. One such organization is 'Islamic courts' operating in Lower Shabelle. Mogadishu and this fertile area are the most unsettled areas because of foreign clan imposition. Aideed & Ato militia together with clan based 'Islamic courts' are parasite of Somalia. They represent one clan that is becoming like the Jews in America. They now control most of the media (BBC and local newspapers/radios including Qaran) which they distort the fact and portray themselves as clean people. While this clan is not guilty collectively, to date most of those representing them and vying for power are directly ! or indirectly responsible for the suffering of Riverine community.

The Riverine community also feels very uncomfortable when it sees its perpetrators are treated as favourites. When the Somali Peace Process first presented, Djibouti stated their role was that of a neutral host but gradually they embroiled in Somali's complex clan politics. The seeds of Djibouti's involvement in Somali clan politics were sewn when Djibouti delegation returned from Mogadishu in April and started to treat Habrgidir as the most favoured clan. The Djibouti delegation was spoiled with lavish banquet during their stay in Mogadishu. The bond between Habargedir and Djibouti government is evident in the media as well as on political level. For example the RTD, rebroadcasts daily programs courtesy of recently launched Habargedir owned Mogadishu based, Somali Television Networks STN, which broadcasts twisted facts and views.

The peace process is envisaged to establish central government with loose regional administration. To whom this conference will mean victory? the Mahatiri grouping will undoubtedly proclaim Somali's Third Republic and Riverine community is a history repeated itself. For the international community it is a concern for the continuation of ongoing abuse of human rights and grave deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Somalia, which has already led to death, displacement and the outbreak of diseases among the civilian population, particularly children and other vulnerable groups.

Before it is too late, the Somalis must be prepared to face the truth and deal the fact on the ground to avert another cycle of destruction. The main obstacle to the peace process is lack of acknowledgment from the conference organizers and Somali politicians that the issue of occupied land is key to the Somali solution. Any government established without resolving the land issue beforehand  is guaranteed to fail.

Article distributed via arlaadinet.


[Column]

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