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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid