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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More