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

Diplomats Work to Extend Israeli-Palestinian Cease-Fire

US Secretary of State John Kerry, diplomats from France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Qatar gathered in Paris Saturday to discuss crisis More

Photogallery US Defense Department Warns of Arms to Eastern Ukraine

‘Imminent’ delivery of Russian rocket launcher poses threat to civilians, US says More

Video Researchers: Africa Genetically Modified Crops Held Back by Scaremongering

GM crops offer best hope of increasing productivity and coping with climate change in Africa, according to co-author of Chatham House report More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid