News / Africa

Security Challenges Await Somalia After Historic Year

Security Challenges Await Somalia After Historic Yeari
X
December 25, 2012 6:43 PM
In the last 12 months, Somalia has approved a new constitution, selected a new parliament, president and prime minister, making way for the first stable government in over 20 years. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow takes a look back at the last year in Somali politics and the challenges that lie ahead.
Security Challenges Await Somalia After Historic Year
Gabe Joselow
In the last 12 months, Somalia has approved a new constitution, selected a new parliament, president and prime minister, making way for the first stable government in over 20 years.

In August, members of Somalia's new parliament took the oath of office in a parking lot outside the Mogadishu airport.

The selection of the 275-seat body represented one of the most substantial achievements in ending the country's eight-year political transition and ushering in a new, representative government.

The political progress has inspired confidence in the international community.

Iran reopened its embassy in Somalia this year, Britain appointed an ambassador and the United Nations says it will move more of its staff to Mogadishu. Turkish Airlines began regular flights to the Somalia capital in May as Ankara leads the charge to boost investment in the country.

Abdirahman Aadle, a politician with the Unity party in Mogadishu, says this has been an historic year.

“The government accomplished the most difficult tasks during the period,” he says, “It has changed a lot in our nation’s history,” Aadle said.

As one of its first tasks, the new parliament elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, an educator and civil society leader with few ties to the outgoing, and notoriously corrupt, transitional government.

He has since appointed a new prime minister who has selected  a cabinet that includes the country's first female foreign minister.

However, the government has not been universally well-received in Mogadishu. Somali political analyst Ibrahim Adow says the political newcomers leading the government are unprepared for the job.

"We can say 80 per cent of them don’t know about democracy," he says, "because its not one of the things people have practiced in the country before and the constitution itself is built on the basis of democracy." Abdow says that means it can be problematic for doing things that require political experience.

Security remains the biggest challenge for the new government. Just days after the new president was sworn into office in September, three suicide bombers struck outside a hotel in Mogadishu where he was meeting with a delegation from Kenya.

At the time, he said security would be his first, second and third priorities.

The situation has improved as the African Union peacekeeping force, AMISOM, working with Kenya and Ethiopia, has driven al-Shabab militants out of their strongholds in Mogadishu and south-central Somalia.

But Somali analyst, Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdisamed says Somalia's own national army still remains a remarkably weak institution, divided by internal clan rivalries.

“If today, God forbid, the AMISOM left abruptly, Somalia would go back to the clanism, clan competitions, warlordism, and so on and so forth. So, the current military personnel, mainly they came from the Hawiye clan, those around the Mogadishu areas, so are they loyal to the government? [It] is a question everyone is asking for himself,” Abdisamed said.

Another challenge for the new government is how to administer territory being reclaimed from al-Shabab. The port city of Kismayo in southern Somalia is one of the most economically important claims in the last year.

Clans in the area are competing for control of the city, and trying to establish a new state in the area like the autonomous regions of Puntland and Somaliland in the north, challenging the central government which is trying to establish a stronger presence outside the capital.

The political struggle for control over Kismayo and the Jubaland region highlights the tension between Mogadishu and other regions of Somalia, an issue that could undermine the political progress made in the past year.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid