News / Africa

    Uganda Warns Somali Leaders to Unite Ahead of Conference

    Uganda's Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Okello Oryem (R) is greeted by Somali Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defense Hussein Arab Issa upon his arrival at Mogadishu Airport, February 13, 2012
    Uganda's Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Okello Oryem (R) is greeted by Somali Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defense Hussein Arab Issa upon his arrival at Mogadishu Airport, February 13, 2012
    Ivan Broadhead

    Leaders from 40 nations will join politicians from Somalia at a conference in London next Thursday, to support the war-ravaged state in its effort to achieve social and political security. However, Uganda - which provides the majority of peacekeepers in the country’s capital, Mogadishu - has warned Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) that political infighting must stop if the conference is to realize its objectives.

    Ugandan Foreign Minister Okello Henry Oryem - in Mogadishu for talks - is urging Somalis to make the most of the high-powered London meeting hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron

    “[It] is an opportunity for Somalis to create a legitimate, transparent, all-inclusive democratic political system that is Somali-led, for the purpose of dealing with a post-transition period ... leading to a legitimate constitution, then democratic elections,” Oryem said.

    The transitional government has long suffered internal divisions and is only mandated to govern those limited parts of Somalia that it controls until August this year. Executive and legislative branches of government are currently jostling for power as the roadmap for an effective post-conflict political system is negotiated.  

    Oryem warned that his government sees these tensions as a significant impediment to achieving stability in Somalia after more than 20 years of war.   

    “It’s very unfortunate these divisions are there. I met the speaker and leaders of those members of parliament," said Oryem. "We impressed upon them that they should stop being selfish and egoistic in dealing with national issues. They owe it to the Somali people.”

    African Union (AU) peacekeepers from Uganda stand guard outside the Somalia presidential palace in the capital Mogadishu, (2009 file photo)
    African Union (AU) peacekeepers from Uganda stand guard outside the Somalia presidential palace in the capital Mogadishu, (2009 file photo)

    Since 2007, Uganda has provided the majority of soldiers that form the more than 9,000-strong African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

    Working with Burundian and TFG forces, these troops are tasked with defeating the Somali terrorist group al-Shabab, which this month announced it had formally become part of the al-Qaida network.

    Major General Fred Mugisha, of the Ugandan Army, is the AMISOM commanding officer. He insists his troops remain unaffected by Somalia’s political infighting and the slow pace of political progress.

    “It doesn’t affect our morale. Although there are questions you ask yourself in a country which is at war: When we have reached this critical moment of getting peace and you see people who are supposed to be leaders, divided, you start to ask many questions about the psyche of the same people,” Mugisha said.  

    Despite his own concerns about leadership, Oryem insists Uganda remains committed to Somalia.

    “Pan-Africanism is instilled in the leadership of Uganda," said Oryem. "That is why we are here. We cannot accept to see an African country become a failed state, people dying and the country go to waste while we have the capacity to assist. So we’re here, for as long as it takes and as long as the Somali people want us.”

    Before Thursday’s London meeting, the United Nations Security Council will convene to vote on an expansion of the AMISOM force to up to more than 17,000 troops.
    If ratified, Kenyan troops fighting al-Shabab in southern Somalia would be integrated into the AMISOM command.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora