Yet again, the Horn of Africa is proving figuratively as sharp as it is deadly. The lull in militant Islam activity spearheaded by the fast-fading Al Shabaab that is linked operationally to Al Qaeda over the past two weeks was shattered by the unsuccessful suicide bombing in Mogadishu. Editorial – The Standard, Kenya – 14 Sep 2012
Somalia has been a battleground in the US-led global war against terror, while the long military engagement of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and now Kenya Defence Forces under the African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom) to eliminate the lawless nation’s disruption of regional stability culminated in the landmark presidential election held on Monday.
Did not the Somali stakeholders turn out to express their preferred choice for president? Were the rules of a first round voting, second round and run-off not followed? Were the latecomer warlords that turned up at the last minute not accommodated? Was the incumbent not given ample time to defend his seat? The answers to all these are a resounding ‘Yes!’
Who then are the Al Shabaab-linked militia terming new Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud a fraud, ‘traitor’ and imposition of Kenya and Amisom? If they are this concerned that they are willing to blow themselves to smithereens, why did they not lay down their arms in Kismayu long enough to join the rest of Somalia in determining the person best-suited to stop the anarchy? And who stands to gain from a perennially unstable Somalia?
In 13 months, African Union peacekeeping force and KDF has run Al Shabaab out of 99 per cent of its strongholds and won accolades from a civilian population that is sick and tired of the civil war in southern and central Somalia.
Medical and nascent administrative teams have won over their hearts and minds and left the brutal and high-handed quasi-religious Al Shabaab only holding on to the southern port city of Kismayu as their remaining base of operations.
But even Kismayu is now in Amisom crosshairs.
This is, perhaps, the greatest fear of the exploitative militia that will no longer have a scared and bewildered population to extort labour, fighting recruits, child soldiers, and human shields to use for propaganda purposes that the desperate attempt to end the life of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud on his first day in office.
Assassinations, suicide bombers with explosive-laden belts that have been the weapon of choice by militants and daring, brainwashed youths of such lethal arsenal is meant to pour cold water on the forces of light, progress and the real thrust of mainstream Islam, which is peaceful co-existence.
But should the world surrender to the scaremongering tactics of an intransigent few? Absolutely not!
Somalia has not had a fully functioning government after warlord’s toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.
But Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, who was one of the founders of the Islamic Courts Union, opened a window that saw a semblance of order and tranquility and was to later ascend to the presidency.
He later invited Amisom when his city was besieged from all sides as Al Shabaab received backing from battle-hardened Al Qaeda veterans.
Wise choice, since Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Yemen, Djibouti, and Somaliland have a stake in a thriving and vibrant Somalia.
Indeed, history records Somalia in glowing terms as a regional economic power and the potential expressed in the pre-election London Conference and Istanbul Conference set out a clear roadmap for a unified and stable Somalia.
Clan-based militias, with extortionist roadblocks, warlords jostling for greater firepower and brutality to secure their turfs, suicide bombings, sea piracy that has destabilised global shipping, terrorising non-combatants in the name of God and armed incursions into neighbouring states, is no way to build a country.
That Somalis scattered across the four winds finally agreed that their time for law and order had come, voted in new legislators and now a president to bring an end to the Transitional federal Government, is testimony to their collective resolve to take a chance on peace.
Let not a few divisive elements destroy this dream.
Even as the imminent fall of Kismayu to Amisom forces backed by Somali government troops is eagerly awaited, President Mohamoud has laid down his blueprint for all to see.
Killing him will not achieve anything since there will be thousands more Mohamouds with Somalia’s national interest at heart. Mohamoud’s is a legitimate government that needs support and is the will of majority of the people of Somalia.
Source: The Standard (Kenya)