Matt Baugh

Ambassador to Somalia

27th January 2012 Nairobi, Kenya

London Conference on Somalia: Political Process

Reading all of the comments on my three previous blogs has clearly reminded me (as if I needed reminding) that Somalis around the globe love political debate. That is why I am so glad that this blog is beginning to provide a forum for a large number of people to express their views.

Those views have been wide-ranging and usually heartfelt. And if you have left a comment so far you are probably aware that someone has to approve your comments before they are actually posted. You may also have noticed that so far almost every comment has been approved. The only ones that we haven’t approved were those that used highly offensive language or were deeply insulting or abusive to others. I am pleased to say that very few have fallen into this category so far, while the debate about values, systems and society has been vibrant and generally respectful of others’ views.

Talking about values, systems and society, in as open a way as possible, is a key part of participating in the political process. And the political process is one of the subjects that will be discussed by the international community and Somalis at the London Conference. Because now is a critical time. Here’s my take on why:

The UK and the international community continues to support the Djibouti Peace Process and continues to work closely with the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) to bring an end to the transition. The TFIs have until August 2012 to complete the transitional tasks. That the TFG and regional entities have agreed a comprehensive programme of work – the Roadmap – is welcome; as is the fact that they decided in Garowe, as part of the Garowe Principles, to hold a Constituent Assembly.

To be successful in helping take Somalia out of conflict, the Garowe process needs to be representative, and mechanisms should be found to ensure that all communities in Somalia, including those in the south, are represented in the discussion. This is about placing the Somali people at the heart of the process – in short, what you might call ‘Garowe-Plus’.

Time is tight. Experience suggests that such a process is fraught with difficulty. What should such a process look like? Well, for me, the by-words of any political process need to be ‘representative’, ‘participatory’, ‘bottom-up’. Even then, though, a number of questions remain – such as who and how to select participants? It will be for Somalis to decide on the key questions, such as whether the state should be federal or centralised, whether to have a Presidential or Cabinet system of government,  and what its constitutional responsibilities should be. In taking forward this important debate, the international community has a role to play to help ensure that the process is representative.

What do you think of progress on the Roadmap? What should follow the Transition? Who should have a say and why – a small group or a broad national dialogue? Tell me what you think below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

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293 comments on “London Conference on Somalia: Political Process

  1. A bottom-up approach is what is needed but the current TFG failed to comply with the road map set by the International Community. The political process should be dynamic and take a new dimension since the circumstances have so much changed since the last Djibouti peace process.

    The new dimension should focus on SOMALIA rather than SOMALILAND. The new political process needs to concentrate what once was called “The Italian Somalia”, get rid of the Extremists, get rid of the other armed groups/clan militias and make one government that can represent the people in that region.

    Any Somaliland’s breakup or union with Somalia should take that dimension set by the International Community. It should be a political process rather than a fighting or violent measures. Negotiations, and peace talks could be then arranged between the two sides to agree on the best choices that can be the benefit of the both sides.

    The current Somalia’s road map needs review, amendment and adjustment to reflect what i mentioned above.

    Thank you

    1. ROOBLE
      ROAD-MAP is not benefing somali people and has been involved by
      so called international community.
      only somali people can decide their constitution as well as road-map
      of their own but we will never accept the misleadings of outsiders, those who distroyed our beloved Somalia in oder to protect the black christian nations.
      It does not matter how long it takes, one day Great Somalia will come back.
      People should demonstrate the deceiving conference of UK and its friend. Who expect they build somalia, is missing the reality.

    2. Dear Matt,

      I am a part time editor of the Somali Public Radio. Just to refute the delusional claims secessionists make on the regions of Makhir, a major event was held in Nairobi yesterday to commemorate the 5th year anniversary of Maakhir State of Somalia. The event was attended by several TFP members including Asha A. Abdalla who in general represents the rights of women in Somalia. Maakhir state reaffirms its allegiance to the Somali unity. Please visit spr.fm and watch the event. For more authoritative source, I would recommend that you visit the website for Northern Somalis for Peace and Unity (NSPU).

      1. Dear Matt,
        UK roadmap policy in Somalia is causing havoc and tension in peaceful areas in Somalia and Somaliland. Politicians suddenly emerging from all over the region assuming that they will get leverage in decision or negotiation process in Somalia and Somaliland. We need UK government to come forward, stand firm, and to send clear message through the media to those opportunists and convey to them their behaviour will not be tolerated.

    3. What is wanted is something more akin to the Marshall plan; I’m certain that their will no tangible change in the Horn of Africa until Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Djibouti get sustainable economies. I appreciate that most may think that this would be an invitation for a second round of western colonisation, but the beauty of Marshall’s vision was that it was reliant upon the recipients guiding the process, not the donors. I’d go further – I’d advocate for a supranational body called something like the Northe East Africa Development Bank (East African Development Bank has already been taken) which would issue debt securities, and could issue these on both a conventional and Islamic basis. being able to fund some fairly major infrastructure projects (aimed at providing energy, water and food security) for the region would form the basis towards achieving both internal and inward investment into the region. there is no reason why this development could not be sustainable either – and certainly a regional style and identity should be encouraged as well. I’m certain that the talent to drive this forward exists.

    4. As a Somalis have we learn or earn anything from past twenty years and why this time of are more important than others that we have had try and fail. Because this time Western interest were involve or the whole country and the Somali society was on sale, if it’s on sale whom is gone buy by how much and whom is for sale. Solve first the roots of the problem and then come to the peace process and reconciliation. I haven’t seen Somalia since 1986. The world has change much of it either political, economical and socially, but Somalia are steal same old day. And the old dag cannot teach the new trick. That is the Somali and their society which is base on clan and I am better then you. Somali was history and never come back to the stage and be part of the world. My question is who is gone benefit, if and only the peace has come and rise the horn of Africa? The cold war is over and we Somalis has welcome to the new colonial.

  2. I agree with @rooble some of my folk in the south and I love them dearly are obsessed with somaliland and it’s progress or lack of. The outside world needs to support the TFG in its struggle with militancy and stay committed for as long as it takes, what must stressed to the tfg is the need to focus on its core problems and not deviate from it by engaging in tribal rhetoric or pastime squabble they owe to the new generation this is their mess and they need to clean it up.
    The question of somaliland and unification of Somalia is pointless because ppl are dying by the thousands. Somaliland is a fact no matter who says others, you can’t change the facts on the ground by rhetoric that would push somaliland to take up a harder and harder position.

    1. If you ask about LDS, It’s another The Rumble in the Jungle – round 21, Somalis have been fighting for 21 years, We had the Dictator, the Clan wars, the Warlords The Islamic Union, Al Shabaab, – What is Next? This conference will tells the new chapter of Somali History.

  3. I think, Somaliland and puntland must work together and risk the somalis, Somaliland must change its position and the world/ other somalis should gar guarantee for it, that it will never happen again, what happened to it in 1988. And from now and on, the system governed in Hartgeisa can be smart transformation for the region. I think somaliland government is more liberal than the last one of Riyale.

    1. the SSC conference at Taleex has finally unanimously proclaimed on Thursday 12 January the establishment of the Darwiiland State of Somalia for their SSC regions (Sool, Sanaag and Cayn) that would come directly under the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia(TFG). This was an unprecedented proclamation, representing the first time in the political history of the SSC people when all the delegates, chiefs and traditional leaders, as representatives of the SSC people, have signed up to a declaration without a single dissent. As the voice of the SSC, it could not have a higher legitimacy withinSomaliaand the international community.

      This was the SSC’s finest hour. Apart from the birth of a united independentSomaliain June/July 1960, no other event has engendered so much joyous celebrations among the SSC people at home and abroad as the proclamation of theDarwishStateofSomaliaat Taleex. Now that the SSC voice has been heard loud and clear, that puts to rest any bogus claim by any other administration that they speak for the SSC let alone claim to “own” them.

      No more place for malicious references to the SSC as “disputed” regions- contrived shenanigans meant to give implicit support to Somaliland’s preposterous claim that these areas were bequeathed to them by the former British colonial power. No more red-herrings that the SSC people are divided between neighbouring Puntland and Somaliland. No more need for any self-respecting SSC personality, Xabsaade, Abdisamad et al, to continue giving allegiance to any other State in Somalia other than to Somalia first, and secondly to their own Darwish State.

      The comeback of a free SSC people means much more than the exercise of their inalienable right to rid themselves ofSomaliland’s occupation and have their ownRegionalState. More importantly, it also means the revival of Somalia’s unity and a wake-up call to other regions in Somalia that they stand to gain strength, nationhood, and progress through unity, but would otherwise remain through division weak and easy prey for all ill-intentioned predators. Happily, Somali nationalism is still alive judging by the support and good wishes the Taleex conference and its proclamation are receiving from Somalis from all corners of the world.

      Sadly, the only discordant voice is coming from the one-clan secessionist enclave calling itselfSomaliland. Still blindly beholden to their ingrained delusion that all the northern regions ofSomalia(formerBritish Somaliland) are their God-given patrimony, they see their claim to the SSC as incontestable, something everybody else in the international community sees as bogus. Clearly, the Taleex proclamation has come a bombshell to them. As former foreign minister of Somalia, Ismail Mohamoud Hurreh alias Bubaa (who hails from the area), counselled them the other day, this is the time for cool heads to prevail, the moment to come to terms with the realities and the inevitable demise of Somaliland, and a propitious occasion to rejoin their fellow Somalis in Somalia. But reason and cool heads are in short supply in the enclave. A war on SSC people to bring them to their heels is now the clarion call in the enclave.

      When the cheerleaders for the battle cry against the SSC proclamation are senior government ministers, religious bigwigs, and the top traditional leader, the very people who were supposed to serve as role models for peace and Somali brotherhood, it is not surprising that the toxic hysteria gripping their masses is the kind that has led to massacres (and even genocide) elsewhere in our East African region. Even after allowing for their usual chauvinistic bravado to let off steam, yet one has to worry when their most senior citizen and parliamentarian, Haji Abdelarii Hussein, better knows as Abdi the Hyema, calls for the displacement or the ethnic- cleansing of the SSC people unless they toe their line; or when their leading traditional leader demands mass mobilisation of their clan and the arming of every child “who can reach the udder of a camel”. This is an invitation to their excited masses to take matters into their own hands and attack the SSC people living amongst them and those in the SSC regions proper.

      It is easier to work the masses up but more difficult to control them once matters get out of hand. The possible consequences are too horrible to contemplate and their leaders should know better. Make no mistake: These leaders are playing with fire and they should know the ramifications of their ill-considered actions: for a start, a war on the SSC people could easily escalate into a war between Isaak and the Darood clans in the Horn. Not only are they not going to win such a destructive clan war, but the financial and human cost would be incalculable. Above all, such a war will destroy for ever the historical bonds between the brotherly peoples in the region and the emerging divide between them and SSC people would be unbridgeable.

      More importantly from their perspective, they would also lose the sympathy and support of the international community which hitherto had rewarded them handsomely for their much hyped good governance. Last but not least,Somalilandleaders should be under no illusion that the newDarwishStatewould hold them responsible under the International Criminal Court (ICC) for any crimes committed against the SSC people in exercising their inalienable right to have their regional state and to remain part ofSomalia. The indictment by the ICC of those inKenyaandSudanfor their crimes against their peoples should serve as a salutary lesson that no one in the secessionist enclave who committed crimes against civilians in the SSC, Awdal or anywhere else can remain beyond the reach of international justice.

      For their part, the people of the newSSCStateofSomalia, or theDarwiishStateofSomalia- which ever name is given to it – will go out of their way to extend their hand of friendship and brotherly coexistence to their brothers in the secessionist enclave. For the sake of peace and stability in Somalia and the wider Horn, the international community should for their part put all necessary pressure on the secessionist enclave to refrain from attacking or destabilising the new SSC State, and to make it clear to them that no recognition can be granted to one-clan enclave. The choice between remaining stuck in a barren one- clan enclave for chauvinistic considerations and playing their full and pivotal role in the newSomaliais clear to most people. Hopefully, it will also dawn on them at last.

  4. I think what you are doing is such a great thing. I think Somalia should be looked at as one nation not two nations and also I hope this conference gives hope to somlians especially to the people in Somalia. It’s about time somalia got it’s act together and as a somali person I don’t see a future for Somalia because it’s has been 23 years since somalia has been in war. That’s why i say there is no hope for Somalia, there has been so many meetings and confrences but no outcome. And I hope from the bottom of my heart I hope this conference brings good outcomes for the future of somalia. I also think this should be a way of building a trust with the western world with somlian people. Best of luck. Is there anyway that this conference could be opened to the public?

    1. All Somali’s should be gratefully to the effort of UK in order to stabilise their country, but I would to emphasis only one thing ‘Any attempt to re-join Somaliland with Somalia will take us back to the first quarter, I mean to 1980’s and there will be a massive bloodshed’

    2. It is my humble opinion to state that the London Conference on Somalia will not bring any fundamental change on the political conundrum that Somalis face today. It may be successful in raising awareness of piracy dilemma to the public, which is in my understanding the main purpose. The core of such an international gathering has nothing to do with the chief Somalia problem- civil war.

      Equally, one has to be realistic about having high hopes in relation to the forthcoming conference. Somali problem can only be dealt with and effectively solved by the Somalis themselves. It is important to highlight that the Somalia issue must be addressed looking inwards rather than outwards. The outsiders or “world community” (a cliché normally used by the victors) will always be eager to help but it will never ever hit hard on the core of problem if Somalis do not identify and tackle head-on their differences beforehand.

      Despite some differences to Somalia, we also had a civil war in Angola. It took us 27 years (1975 – 2002) before we realized that the problem was ours and only ours. There were countless international meetings (interference if you prefer to call them this way), agreements, deals and so many double standards in the process- many of which played a pivotal role to our suffering while others were genuine in their nature. It is always easier to identify your enemy but it’s much harder to identify your true friends, we found that out the hard way.

      A logical and lasting peace is one that the actors find their own way to solve, be it by war or peaceful means. Somalis must seat in their own home not in London to solve their own problems. The London Conference is corrupted from the start; it doesn’t represent what one would call Somalia in its true formation. There are so many gaps in terms of representation to the meeting. Some important players will be left out others will be called to represent a cause they cannot identify themselves with.

      If Somalis wants a true lasting peace they need to organise a Somali conference in Somalia or somewhere in Africa, potentially at the African Union. A conference that brings together all relevant players to the Somalis plight, irrespectively of their rights or wrongs- it can and will only happen once Somalis are ready for peace. The Somalis will ever be ready for peace only when there will be a tragic victor and a humble defeated among those forces currently involved in the civil war. In short, the war in Somalia can only end with war. Indeed, there seems to be a sort of “moral understanding” among some countries in the West that ‘making war to finish the war’ is the only viable solution for Somalis- the unilateral support (financial and others) that is currently being placed at disposal of one selected dubious party of the war suggests that my suspicious might be right. Some African countries have also subscribed themselves to the West’s policy towards Somalia thus dangerously internationalizing the Somali conflict.

      I do not believe that a civil war is best left to the outsiders to deal with. They can help but only if the actors of that war help themselves first. The saying ’dirt cloths should be washed at home’ does apply here- isn’t just a principle with moral connotation it has also its own practical dilemma.
      Lastly, Kenya’s finger on bringing to live the London’s Conference on Somalia is conspicuously seen but its real motive is dubious. One may venture to speculate that Kenya government will be using the mentioned conference to ask for military support to fight the group Al-Shabaab. I have no doubt that the months preceding the conference we’ll see a massive military intervention of Kenya in Somalia. We may also witness the former being trapped in there for a long haul. One Kenya is in, which country will follow next?

  5. A little progress was so far made on the ‘’Road Map’’. You can see a good number of activities on the road map that have not been done and whiles its scheduled time has already passed such fighting against corruption, which really undermines the whole progress of the TFG. The road map is short and very narrow and a lot of more activities should be reflected in it such as humanitarian aid in Somalia.

    The transitional period should end in August as scheduled in the road map. What will follow should be a broad-based, inclusive, democratic national government. To do so, the most important issues for the international community to ensure are two: proper process to end the transition and quality government after the transition. I hereby want to extremely emphasize that the most important action required in Somalia is to have ‘’qualified leaders’’ in place to lead the country out of chronic conflict. Such leaders would secure the interest of both the Somalia People and the international community –including UK- in Somalia. This is evidenced by the successful operations and great achievements done in short time by the previous government that was terminated on 9th June 2011 after Kampala Accord and its associated Political Compromise between the president and the speaker of parliament.

    I am sure that Somalia has its own current and potential brave armed forces that can defeat the terrorist and piracy within short time, has useful operating/potential economic resources and educated and qualified Somalia citizens, but what is required is capable politicians to coordinate all these resources at politically acceptable standard and lead the country to the desired objectives.

    If you seriously investigate Somalis root causes of conflict and the best way to address them, you, undoubtedly come to this conclusion: They need honest, educated, hardworking, and experienced leaders or, in short words, qualified leaders.
    On the bases of this important principle, UK conference should seriously focus on ‘’political process’’ point and solve it on two sides: proper process to end the transition through amended & expanded current road map and quality government afterwards (good parliamentarians, qualified president, capable prime minster and so on). Then all other points/agendas will subsequently be successful.

    People or entities that would have a say in this conference include: TFG, Somaliland, Puntland, Ahlusunna Wal Jamaa (ASWJ), Civil Society organizations, recognized independent Somali experts/politicians, UN, AU, IGAD, AL, OIC, donor governments, and other entities. Please ensure to invite the right persons from each of the above-mentioned entities. Thanks

  6. I sincerely believe that including Somaliland in the London Somali conference is a waste of your precious time and energy. The primary objective of this conference is to find a political solution in Somalia, not Somaliland.

    Somaliland has not been a participant in the Djibouti Peace Process that resulted in the dysfunctional Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs). Somaliland was not a signatory to the Roadmap developed to bring an end to the transitional failed TFIS that must end in August 2012. Furthermore, Somaliland has not been part of the Garowe Principles, to hold a Constituent Assembly.

    Even the agenda for the London Somalia Conference does not provide a platform or an agenda item for Somaliland to present its case.

    Would not be wise for Britain, USA, France, Ethiopia, etc, to leave Somaliland out of this conference? This conference is primarily for the international communities to assist Somalia in establishing a peaceful and democratic country just like that of Somaliland.

    As they say, do not fix it if aint broke! Leave Somaliland Republic out of this conference. Somaliland met all the conditions for nationhood; support it and do not destroy by including it in a failed Somalia. I thought as the former colonial power -of British Somaliland – Britain would be proud of and advocate for Somaliland’s democracy and peace. Why are the Britain, USA and others forcing Somaliland to be a part of Somalia that defied logic of the world community?

        1. somalia is like one family and will always be one, the so colled somaliland is and litterly means somali which is the people and land which is the land. so don’t think one clan or one man can change somalia or can cut up somali in to pieces. somalia will be one now and forever.

          1. Somaliland is what it is today because of its people sacrifice and hard work. So I suggest to my southern brothers and sisters to forget about Somaliland and focus their energy in fixing their own issues. Of course that is if they are sincere about improving the situation in the south. Please don’t let your jealousy of Somaliland success make you lose focus and always remember that innocent kids, women… in the south are dying because of starvation and war. Stay focus and get your act together. I’m sure that Somaliland will be willing to help if it sees sincere effort from the south and not just nonsense talk about Somaliland this and Somaliland that.

  7. The most important issue is to make sure that ,the constitution-making is completed and should be made in a perfect manner involving all stake-holders. the selection of the New Mps should not be Hand-picked individuals.(far from any political groupings or loyalities) if the crisis witnessed last couple of years, should be something of the past. The somali people should be given the powers to decide for their destiny ( holding free and fair elections through the balot-box) And the international community should target nothing less than that, if the entire world is for a stable somalia in the future. I wish you all for a better out-come.

  8. Thank you Matt and UK in Somaila mission.
    The political formation of future Somalia is the greatest task ahead. Most of the Somali people in and outside of Somalia want to see a corrupt free leaders. Leaders that are transparent and put the people first not the power. This is the only way Somalia can forget the past and the most younger generations of Somalis today dying at the seas can accept and stay at home peacefully.
    Such leardes should not include the TFG or hangemen of either Ethiopia or Kenya. The future Somali leaders should come out from the people and must have ideal of nation building not personal gains or being part of the self named front runners.
    We have to see that more Somali women in any future government capinet and not names affiliated with the past failed governments in Somalia from 1990 to 2012.
    Thank you all.

  9. The people of Somaliland feel that the UK government is arm-twisting and pressurizing the Somaliland government to attend the London Conference. A conference, they believe, whose main objective is to resurrect the now defunct Somali Republic. To the people of Somaliland, and rightly so, this means dragging them back into that dubious “union” which they bitterly regret to have taken place in the first place.

    The British Government is making a grave mistake in coercing the Somaliland government into compliance. perhaps, the British Government does fully appreciate that Somalilanders would rather go to hell than go back to that legally dubious “Union”. In other words, the International Community is going to face about 3.5 million Somaliland “Alshababis” next to the Red Sea if the British Government does not change its current policy towards Somaliland.

  10. Forgive me for being a pessimist, but I believe that no roadmap can succeed as long as we are probing up despots and warlords to somehow resuscitate a coma induced patient. It has not worked before and there is no reason why it should now. This conference is a window dressing than anything else, but thanks for the effort.

  11. I believe the London Conference evidently addresses merely to tackle the protracted predicament of Somalia that the international community attempted to resolve more than 14 attempts and failed miserably. I don’t see a reason why should Somaliland be involved with the conflict that she was and is not part of it. This London Conference is a rouse to destabilize the Somaliland status as a peaceful country in the midst of chaotic Somalia. It’s a concerted attempt by Britain with UN and the TFG to make Somaliland to pay the price once again for the failures of Southern Somalia successive transitional governments; rather than supporting Somaliland’s, peace, stability, democratization and self-determination. Its abundantly clear that this soc called London Conference is undermining what the people of Somaliland had created for 21 years without any tangible assistance from external forces. Dragging back Somaliland to the failed union with Somalia will unquestionably bring back a horrific civil war between Somaliland and Somalia that will destabil1ze the whole region. And any attempt by any anyone or entity will be vigorously revolted by the people of Somaliland who are ready to defend their hard fought independence that billions of dollars was sacrificed and hundreds of thousands Somalilanders paid the ultimate price to achieve.

    1. The participation of Somaliland is important partly because of the renewed war in northern Somalia and partly because of the need to make the roadmap a politically inclusive mechanism. Britain can use its leverage to diffuse the clan war around Buhoodle town.

      1. I am from Buhodle region, I do prefer to have Somaliland security forces which guarantee for me security, democracy, and take part civil society engagement for examle political process rather than TFG forces (AMISOM). Because I know SSC where based in tribilism and Khatumo based in clans.

        For time being we do not want any more failure state like South of Somalia.

        1. First of all you don’t represent SSC or Buhodle and i know the fact you are not from that region. The SSC or Dhulbahante tribe has build new state called Khaatumo State of Somali is actually meant to preserve Somali Unity and not to weaken it as feared by some. It is also meant to eliminate the conflict that has raged between the two neighbouring States of Somaliland and Puntland over the regions that have now adopted the Khaatumo brand. These regions had been unfairly labelled as disputed territories by the UN and other International Aid groups and were therefore denied any development aid for the last 20 years. As a result of such wanton neglect, these regions lag behind all Somali territories in terms of social and economic development. On my recent trip to Taleh to attend the Khaatumo congress, I was shocked to see the gaping disparity between these regions and those in Puntland and Somaliland. To illustrate this point further, Yagoori, a village where I spent my formative years and remember as a vibrant and growing place, showed signs of economic stagnation and social decline. I could not help but Compare yagoori to Oog, another village along the same highway from Burao to Las Anod as Yagoori, but established much later than yagoori. Oog is a growing town with signs of progress compared to yagoori. People in Yagoori live on salaries paid by the Somaliland administration to phantom soldiers. Powerful warlords get paid 3 times the number of actual soldiers they have under their command. The money does trickle down in the form of Kat purchases, a powerful drug that prevents people from thinking or doing any form of productive work. This can be compared to the free liquor supplied to indigenous people by the white settlers in the Untied States and Australia. The tactic is meant to buy the loyalty of the local population who do not subscribe to the secession agenda being pushed by the Somaliland administration. Were these salaries to evaporate, so would the Somaliland clan militia based at strategic locations along the highway from Burao to Las Anod. Somaliland believes that the control of the highway could determine the fate of Somaliland and its dream of becoming an independent country.

          The lack of actual loyalty to the Somaliland cause in the Khaatumo regions can be graphically illustrated by the failed attempt to apprehend the author and a member of the G62, the group that is behind the Khaatumo concept, on our way back from Taleh. The whole village of Yagoori where we stopped for the night stood up to the heavily armed militia deployed by the Somaliland administration from Las Anod to apprehend us and ship us to the infamous Mandhera prison. To preserver life and to avoid punitive retaliatory action by the Somaliland militia against the village, we decided to leave Yagoori on foot to areas outside the control of the militia, and we were eventually whisked to Galkayo in Puntland where we were welcomed with open arms. We traveled through hundreds of miles of unpaved roads and our 4X4 driver could only be compared to the best world class rally drivers for his dexterity at the wheel.
          Unfortunately a few other delegates were not as lucky and got arrested in Berbera on their way back to their adopted countries. One of these delegates is a British citizen who entered Somalia with his British passport. His only crime was to attend the Khaatumo Congress. The British Government that provides generous aid to the Somaliland enclave needs to take note of the way its citizens are being harassed and jailed without due process.
          As if the harassment of the Khaatumo delegates were not enough, the Somaliland Administration mobilized its meager resources to invade Buhodle, another Khaatumo city near the border with Ethiopia. The main tactic behind the attack was to force the Buhodle delegates at the Khaatumo Congress to abandon the Congress. Such tactic failed since there were more than enough men and women on hand to stand up to the aggression of the Somaliland militia. After the Yagoori incident in which the S/L administration failed miserably to apprehend us, we went to Galkayo, a major town in Puntland to catch a flight from there. While in Galkayo, we managed to visit the wounded that were brought from Buholde for treatment. They were all innocent civilians who were caught in the crossfire between the defenders of the city and the invading Somaliland militia. With rudimentary medical facilities, most of the wounded could have been treated in Buhodle instead of being ferried across hundreds of unpaved roads to Galkayo. This fact again illustrates the neglect and abandonment of all the Khaatumo villages and towns: more than sufficient reason to establish the Khaatumo State of Somalia which is expected to cater to the basic needs of its residents.
          The Khaatumo State is a Federal State that strongly believes in the Unity and Integrity of the Somali Republic. It is the product of a democratic forum where all the stakeholders of the Khaatumo regions assembled under the now famous Khaatumo tree (Berdaha Khaatumo), debated, and voted for the creation of a State that caters for their development needs. 345 delegates representing all the sub-clans of the Khaatumo regions unanimously voted for the autonomous state. The vote was resoundingly ratified by all the traditional leaders who have been refugees for 4 years in Puntland after the capital of their State was illegally invaded and occupied by the clan-based militia in Somaliland.

          Khaatumo Congress in session
          Both Somaliland and Puntland have no choice but to welcome the new State as an equal partner in the long road towards rebuilding the Somali state. Instead of wasting another 20 years chasing an unrealistic dream of dividing the Somali people, Somaliland has to prove to the world that its democratic claims are for real. Democracies do not use violence against unarmed civilians. Democracies do not arrest innocent civilians for expressing their opinions. Democracies do not arrest citizens of foreign countries for attending Congresses in territories outside their controls. Democracies do not use bullets to suppress peaceful demonstrations such as the one in Las Anod where young men and women were killed in cold blood for no other reason than supporting the Khaatumo declarations. It is unfortunate that an Administration that tries so hard to build a façade of democracy, stability and good governance should favor violence over dialogue to resolve its differences with the Khaatumo delegates and architects.
          The language of clan hatred pouring from Hargeisa can only plunge the whole region into unpredictable consequences. Somalis can ill afford another protracted civil war in an area that has so far escaped the carnage in the South of the country. The recent statements of the oldest statesman in Hargeisa, Haji Abdi Warabe, should alarm all Somalis. He recently called for genocide and the ethnic cleansing of those opposed to the Somaliland secession. “Dhulku ma guure, dadkaa guura” is a Somali statement that calls for the forced evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Khaatumo residents from their land.
          The men and women chosen to lead the Khaatumo State are ready for cooperation and peaceful dialogue. They are also ready to defend their regions and residents against any aggression. Self defense is a God given right and is a Universal value. Somaliland has no legal claim over the Khaatumo State. Old colonial borders that disappeared 52 years ago are no justification for coercing others to adopt a wrong cause. While dividing the Somali people is morally wrong and reprehensible, it is a well documented fact that the Khaatumo clans never signed any protection agreements with the British and are therefore outside the colonial borders used by Somaliland to justify its secession.
          Let us hope that reason will prevail over the language of hate. At the same time, the world community needs to closely watch and monitor the area if it is to avoid another Rwanda.

  12. There are Somalilanders who would like unification with Somalia, but the clamour for an independent Somaliland is such that those voices fear being too public. Somaliland is operating de facto independently and that is contrary to the Djibouti Peace Process plan which the British government supports. Given this truth on the ground then a very loose confederation seems the only viable way forward, it almost exists given the Somali ethnic unity. This Federation needs must be an ambiguous one that appears as “almost-independence” to Somaliland and “federation” to Somalia. Given time trade agreements can pave the way to closer co-operation, but probably not government led, but commerce led. But it’s tricky. Oh and where’s my invitation to the conference?

  13. Dear Sir,

    I know you are only 37, however even the most basic history lecture should warn you that no conference held in ‘London’ will secure peace in Somalia.

    Any attempt to reconcile people must be bottom up approach. i.e. hold the conference in SOMALIA.

    I really fear what David Cameron has done at the behest of anti piracy campaigners will most certainly lead to further unrest in Somalia.

    It really pains me that in 2012 the British government hopes to bring peace in a land far far away.

    I beg you Sir to tread carefully and to avoid your actions leading to or indirectly contributing to further bloodshed.

    I will do my upmost to get involved in this, as a Londoner who has been a refugee for 20 years, I know only too well English hypocracy.

    I hope individuals will have some way of voicing oppinion.

    Regards

    1. I do not know why I feel the same with Adam.
      well done Adam.
      Please add my name to all your comments.
      We have something in common!.
      thanks Adam

      1. I am glad you agree. I really do beleive David Cameron has not got a clue about what he has got himself into. This is not for Britain, instead it is for the EU. AU. & UN.

        I will not be suprised if the conference is cancelled. Somali folk deed to resolve issues at hoe and talk to one onother face to face even if it is a case of ‘last man standing’.

  14. Mr. Baugh: I hope I am mistaken to assume that your office is cherry-picking the comments being made. Are you selecting comments that are consistent with your preconceived outcomes of the London Somalia Conference? I strongly believe that Somaliland issues should be reflected in the conference agenda!
    What do you mean by: “Your comment is awaiting moderation?”

    1. No, as I say in my blog, all comments are approved by a moderator so as to avoid any threatening or highly offensive messages being posted, which means there is a small time lag between you writing your comment and seeing it here. But so far I am glad to say that we have had very few comments which we have had to remove because of unacceptable language. No comments have been left out for any other reason – and I believe you will see for yourself that a lot of very strongly held views have been posted here and on my previous blogs, on various sides of the arguments, demonstrating that we are not censoring anybody’s views, including yours. It is important that all reasonable voices are heard. Thank you for your comment.

  15. What do you think of progress on the Roadmap?

    • The roadmap is not inclusive in regarding barring the Somali intellectuals who are not tainted as well as the voiceless grassroots community to participate. The constitution does not assure or based on fair power distribution, dispersal of justice, transparency in Government dealings.

    • The Roadmap is under the illusion in lumping all Somalia together without considering how to negotiate Somaliland to be part of the process or break away.

    • The Roadmap looks like another transitional system which does not dealing with how the future Somalia would look like without laying the foundation broad system to accommodate any problems that might arise and tackling corruption, abuse of power, totalitarianism and breaching the rules and regulations as it has been common for the last two decades.

    • The Roadmap is engineered in such a way in favouring of certain individuals already in power to lead and play greater role in the upcoming election when the TFGs mandate expires in Aug. 2012. It seems that some international actors in sight of their partial Somalia and tainted Somali politicians without vision to lead the next government to prolong the suffering and hardship of Somalis, whatever the reason.

    • The Roadmap does not guarantee the rights of the minority in the power sharing and how the representatives divided as big clans could take most of them if not all as it happened before.

    • The Roadmap does not illustrate the future system of unity Somali government as it has not been bothered whether to based on autonomous regions, federal with the two Somali regions united in 1960 with central government or powerful governors responsible for running the regions appointed by central government.

    What should follow the Transition?
    We need to see inclusive strong elected government based on just with every clan in Somalia represented with clear direction and constitution led by visionary Somali leaders in the auspices of the international community.

    Who should have a say and why?

    Any politicians who govern parts of Somali with tangible result in that area in the right direction, Civil Society and the international community because there are so many wheelchair advisors and cyberspace existed states in Somalia and politicians of whom the international community have been listening to preside so may failed conferences.

  16. I think majority of us believe the London conference will be mainly discussed how Somalia is going to be reconciling again or may be, we are thinking this conference is all about how north and south of Somalia to be unified again. Because some of comments in this blog are repeatedly talking this conference will focus only building of new Somali government from the outside or the world is going to persuade Somaliland to abandon its ambition to become an independent nation from Somalia, in fact all non of this issue will be discussed the upcoming conference in London. But rather we are forgetting how many times Somalia have had international reconciliation conference. Do we have any fruition about all those past conference? I think international community has no interest any more to fund Somali reconciliation meeting outside from their country because previous meeting has failed to produce concrete agreement, but rather the world are staging now to focus their own security and thinking how could they find less cost about stabilization in Somalia particularly south of Somalia . Due that security issue, London conference will not be discussed on that agenda. However this conference will focus only how the world find a way to establish stable and functional government in Somalia which can maintain its own security without foreign intervention or not putting the cost rising international peacekeeping soldiers in Somali soil, however in order to establish sustainable peace and security in Somalia, contraries which their own security interest is disrupting the lawlessness of Somalia or other stakeholders which has an important matters about their own security in this volatile region which against or being sabotaged by uninstable situation in Somali are going to discuss how can be created a local and strong Somali security forces which capable to fight its own lawlessness, such as fighting corruptions which paralyzed the progress of country’s, development, and to stop the continuation of abducting the foreign humanitarian assistance staffs in Somalia and to fight as well on ongoing piracy business which has been threatened nowadays the moving of global merchandise through the busy shipping channel on Somali coastline, this conference will also be emphasized how developed nations can contribute some ongoing financial assistance when these Somali security forces are being established . World or NATO war vessels has exhausted keeping Somali coastline a save passage from piracy, on that result no improving has yet to come at daily protection task and continue escorting the commercial ships from large area on Somali sea water, despite that effort, Somali pirates still continue to strike under the heavily presence of NATO war vessels and they have failed on several occasions to stop those unwavering Somali pirates. However upcoming conference in London will not be discussed any issue related about Somali road maps and how could they share power of future Somali government. Because the Somali road maps has been discussed already and its final agreement has signed at Garowe “in Puntland state’ also neither about this conference will be discussed how the world are interesing to bring in negotiation table between south and north to discuss about the future of their reunification issue, however Somaliland was extended an invitation to participate this crucial conference as a self anatomy state but not an independent state from Somalia and the reason that it have been called in this conference is to take a lion share about re-stabilization of Somalia in term of piracy and other security issue. However, in my point view, I believe this conference will be mainly discussed about security issue in Somalia and it will not be discussed how the world put together Somalis to reconcile their own problem because world had an experience such meeting previous and they had given a numerous time to resolve their problems with or without arbitration but as the result, nothing has come their discussion to produce concrete agreement however, we have to remember London conference will nothing to do the establishing of new Somali government or about talking unification issue between south and north, but we must know this conference is all about how to keep in bay Somali problem from the world and to defeat for those who threatening an ailing global economy for further damage..

  17. Matt, believe me, the Somalia people is culturally obedient and very enthusiastic to their leaders if they see them qualified leaders, who are honest, educated, hard-working and free from personal and clannish interests. there exist a good number of such persons, but there are not in position to come to the power and lead the country.

    do you have any means to identify such people and support them to have a chance to bring about the change required? if yes, just let us work to realize it. This is the only comprehensive approach to solve all the political and security concerns in Somalia. If you succeed to consolidate all the funds required for Somalia and put the best initiatives in place to support Somalia, the ultimate factor you need to realize your dream is ”Capable Somalia Leaders”. Somalia does not lack international support, but it lacks the proper service of its own leaders.

    Based on the reality on ground, the clan loyalty is significantly diminishing in Somalia and the Somali community at large is now ready for peace, unity and development. Let me outline some recommendations:

    1. Review and amend the current road map to be inclusive and reflect all the important political and security processes.

    2. Increase the stakeholders of the road map and give the civil society a significant role to play.

    2. Secure all the funds required for the road map implementation

    3. Unite all the international efforts towards Somalia under operational, temporary, single Office/committee from all international stakeholders/interesting entities. this office should practically operate in Somalia and directly exercise its tasks in support of the TFG. Alternatively, International community can choose one strong government involved in Somalia such as Turkey to do this job on behalf of and support of the international community.

    4. Channel all the international efforts including financial support through that office/committee with clear and tangible transparent and accountability measures in place.

    5. Ensure that every single step on the road map to take place on its scheduled time and that each action is implemented as planned of which the most important are the process of selection of qualified new parliamentarians and its speaker, election of the president and so on. Note that corrupt preparatory campaign is now going on in Mogadishu to undermine the right process of the Parliament selection.

    6. Carefully plan and deploy more powerful International peace enforcement forces under the auspices of UN and integrate AMISOM with these forces under one name to bring real support to security sector and speed up to defeat the extremist elements and piracy in a short time while, in the process, training and empowering Somalis own armed forces to be self-reliant in the future.

    7. Establish and adapt acts against any one undermines this process. The International Criminal Court should be given a chance to really operate in Somalia to exercise this job. Feeling impunity is the biggest reason why some Somali individuals or groups always undermine peace processes and political systems in Somalia.

    8. At this stage, persuade Somaliland to stop seeking independence and accept to re-unite with other parts of Somalia in the future may be after 4 years when the South recovered from the conflict and stands on its own foot the same level as Somaliland or better. But now, the two parts are not at the same level to work together.

    Thanks

  18. Dear Sirs,

    Somalis all across the world have been waiting in vain for peace.

    David Cameron announced the Somali Conference last year at Lord Mayor’s banquet.

    There has been a strong lobby from the Insurance industry regarding the issue of Piracy.

    I am sensing from a lot of Somalis that this meeting is a kind of a ‘Paris Peace Conference.’

    I hope I am wrong but I am under the impression that the real driving force is those who have interest in the issue of Piracy.

    What I would like to know is whether there are measures in place to reduce the risk of over hyping this conference i.e. making promises which cannot be delivered.

    It is clear that different camps in the Somali conflict have taken different viewpoint on the purpose of the conference.

    I think some effort/awareness campaign should be made to the Somali public to dispell some genuine concerns.

  19. Dear Matt, many thanks for initiating this – this in itself is participatory! However, I hope the comments made here by Soamlis and friends of Somalia are taken into account during the Conference in London.

    In my humble opinion, any future political discourse in Somalia must take into consideration the reality on the ground – Somalia is not what it used to be! The dynamics on the ground has changed and especially people in Somalia need to acknowledge this. Looking at experiences elsewhere and on the ground in Somalia, the best way forward is to accept a federalism. In Kenya, like in many other parts of the world, power structures are being devolved to the Counties (remember there was call for Federalism but countries became a compromise). Let’s not deny that federalism is a reality in Somalia and it is the only formula that can discourage future ethnic conflict.

    As for the political system, I think Somalia can best be served by a bi-cameral parliament that is composed of formal and informal institutions such as is the case in Somaliland. Inclusiveness is the key here and it is important that traditional/customary structure are incorporated in any future political dispensation (they are best at dealing with local issues around resource use etc).

    There is nothing wrong with the country having an Executive president, but the constitution must promote separation of powers. We need to learn from Kenya where the new constitution is putting the country on the right track by promoting good governance and accountability.

    In the interim though, the international community should support Somalia to deal with pertinent issues around Housing, Land and Property issues and property restitution. This will entail in constituting Somalia experts and experts from other countries that have undergone conflict and where property issues are central to the conflict.

    This, as I said at the start, is my humble opinion and I apologise if I have offended anyone in any way!

  20. Txs matt, the idea of creating forum is most welcome since our community like depating on political issues. Moreover, i can admit that the Road map isn’t known by most of the somali people, neither does anybody including the parliament have detailed information what secrecy the roadmap withholds thats why their is difference between our law maker as this may hinder the peace process and may create difference. Before the U.K meeting on 23rd take the roadmap to the parliament to rub the differences between the two ironic parliament heads. Txs

  21. it seems that the roadmap is not moving forward and the somali ppl and international community dont want to see another TFG after the current TFG time runs out,london coference should support formation of national salvation government with not morthen 12 ministers and the role of first minister and prisedent compined,about brothers from somaliland who keep saying we not part of somalia,iam from the south and my clan got no single minister in the TFG while Issaaq Aka Somaliland got 4 ministers and morthen 10 other government officials in Mogadisho.do you call hargaisa and barbara A country,do you know ther is Awdal state of somalia and khatumo state who is unionist and dont want to be a part what is called issaaq land or clan based somaliland,you guys should claim the rest of somalia and be example,you can rule the whol nation not two small cities hargaisa and barbara.

  22. Ahmed Silanyo, the president of the self-styled government of “Somaliland”, the clan state that no country on the face of earth accepted its legitimacy, has recently dispatched his ministers to the cities and towns in the enclave to organize public demonstrations against what he described as anti-Somali-landers (nabad-diid), a euphemism exclusively used for Khaatumo State of Somalia which was established in the historic town of Talex a few weeks ago and Awdalstate, the precursor of Khaatumo state. Both states and their people reiterated their commitment to the Somali unity in the face of mounting pressure from the secessionists, whose mission for separation appeared seamless until recently, at least in their deluded minds. Ahmed Abdi Xaabsade, loaded with inducement money from Ahmed Silanyo’s office, arrived in Las Anod to bribe people into staging fake demonstrations in support of his paymasters. Xaabsade’s false deception that the people of Las Anod want to be part of “Somaliland” is ridiculously akin to Gadhafi’s last gasp and desperate “my people love me” interview with Jeremy Bowen of the BBC. On the contrary, the people of Las Anod want to see the back of secessionists camping outside their city.

    As widely expected people turned out in droves against Xaabsade and rejected his separatist SNM project by staging counter demonstrations that was deliberately turned into violence after the occupying army of SNM sprayed live bullets into crowds consisting mainly of women andchildren. Scores of people have suffered bullet wounds while at least two people are believed to have lost their lives. In this demonstration, the Las Anod people have clearly shown the secessionists that their true allegiance is with Khaatumo state of Somalia and not with the separatist clan-state of “Somaliland”.

    The Las Anod failure was followed by Awdal rejection when several ministers from Awdal, again loaded with bait money from the separatists in Hargeisa, tried their luck in Borama. According to reliable sources in the scene supported by video footages, the turnout was pathetically dismal; only a few dozen supporters believed to belong to the ministers’ camp turned up. Even those who bothered to show up in favor of the secessionists’ fake demonstrations were outnumbered by Awdalstate loyalists, who were clearly spotted waving the blue and white flag of Awdalstate in the streets of Borama city.

    In spite of using kickbacks in the form of bribery money, the secessionist government has spectacularly failed to garner any meaningful support for their fake public outings from the citizenry of SSC and Awdalstate. Nevertheless, there were orchestrated turnouts in support of Ahmed Silanyo’s government in Hargeisa, Burco and Berbera, but there were no elements of surprises in this endeavor as these cities are already known to form the backbone of the separatists. In democracy, public demonstrations are hardly orchestrated by governments; they are spontaneous.

    Ahmed Silanyo’sphantom government can no longer ignore the will of the people in Las Anod, Buholdle, Erigavo, Borama, Dilla, Lugahaye and elsewhere in northern Somalia. No amount of bribery or intimidation in the form of massing armed clan militia in the cities and towns will bring back people of Awdal and SSC to the secession camp. In the past few weeks, Borama city was teeming with SNM clan militia marauding in the streets and dispersing crowds. No amount of press gagging and arbitrary incarceration of journalists will conceal the culpability of Silanyo’s reign of terror and the atrocities committed by his clan militia against innocent civilians in SSC and Awdal. Borama News Network office in Borama was raided two days ago by separatists’ militia and two journalists were taken away. Cabdicasiis Cabdillaahi is still in jail for the second day running.

    Without any shadow of a doubt the tide is turning against the head of the secessionist camp and, no matter how hard he and his entourage try to convince people that “Somaliland” is for all, there will be no change of heart and no turning back the clock for the people of aforementioned cities and towns. They have had enough of secession; of alienation and separatism; of misrule and intimidation; of lies and innuendo, and more importantly, they have had enough of living under the whim and brutality of one-clan state, particularly a clan state that has no name and place in the international community. Somaliland’s main claim for being a separate and legal state hinges entirely and exclusively on the concocted so-called Burco convention in 1991, where a number of hand-picked elders from several parts of northern regions of Somalia were asked to toe the line and accept the SNM dictate or face the consequences of their actions by a well-armed clan militia. Such gun-ho policies, intimidation and arm-twisting tactics have no place in the international community. Youcannot create a whole new country on this simplistic and flimsy basis. Ahmed Silanyo’s clan militia has taken a significant part of the destruction of the last Somali government on the false pretense that their clan members were deliberately singled out and murdered en masses, a claim many historians dispute. Unfortunately people die in civil wars and that was the case in northern Somalia. More people have perished in south and central Somalia. The crying shame, however, is that the separatists want to hang up to a doomed state whose time is over; a state that the international community has shunned ages ago and large part of its perceived territory is slipping away from its fingers. The nightmare scenario dreaded by separatists has begun with the declaration of Awdalstate and the ultimate creation of Khaatumo state of Somalia. More importantly, Somalia is on the mend while the secessionists are on the wane. It is all over for separatists. However, it is not too late to change policy. Somalis are prepared to welcome back their long lost child.

    Yabarag

    1. theissue is not somaliland let the meeting concentrate in Somalia, therefore somaliland is one tribe call isaq can one tribe be a country? Bring all warlords, who destroy Somali Democratic Republic masaccred millions of civilians infront of the International Justice, including the leader of SNM his name is slinyo is killing children ,mothers,students i think the only way somalia can come togother is to divide in to state like puntland,galmudug,khatumostate of somalia,snmstate,awdal state and much more i hope All Somali’s should be gratefully to the effort of UK in order to stabilise their country

  23. Thank you Rep. Baugh,
    Could you please elaborate as to what you might mean by the following:

    “To be successful in helping take Somalia out of conflict, the Garowe process needs to be representative, and mechanisms should be found to ensure that all communities in Somalia, including those in the south, are represented in the discussion. This is about placing the Somali people at the heart of the process – in short, what you might call ‘Garowe-Plus’.”

    I thank you,

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About Matt Baugh

Matt is married to Caroline, a GP from South London
specialising in pre-hospital care and tropical medicine. They have 3
small children. Matt has been working on Somalia since May 2010, when he was appointed the UK’s Senior Representative and Head of the UK’s
Somalia Office. On 2 February 2012 he was accredited as the first
British Ambassador to Somalia for 21 years. Since taking up his Somalia
appointment, he has been able to travel to Mogadishu, Hargeisa and
Garowe, and has been deeply touched by the warmth of the welcome he has received, but also the scale of the challenges that Somali people face
every day.
Matt is a career civil servant and is currently on secondment to the
Foreign Office from the UK Department for International Development. Now 37, he has spent much of his career to date dealing with conflict,
security and humanitarian issues. Since 1999 he has worked in Iraq,
Sudan, Afghanistan and the Balkans, as well as a number of major relief
operations and protracted emergencies. He also helped to set up and lead
the UK’s Post Conflict Reconstruction Unit, now the UK Stabilisation
Unit. Matt is a graduate of the UK Joint Services Command and Staff
College’s Higher Command and Staff Course (2010) and was previously
Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for International
Development (2008-9).
Away from work, Matt is an avid England rugby fan (although he
refuses to admit his own playing days are long over). He is also a keen
mountaineer and skier and, together with Caroline, was part of a team
that raced to the Magnetic North Pole in 2005. These days he is more
likely to be found teaching his children how to swim and build
sandcastles.

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