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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid