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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid