Kenya has legitimate fears and as a sovereign nation is entitled to take reasonable steps to protect its people, but much of what is taking place at present is worthy of a lament
Kenya–Somalophobia & the Heel of Insolent Might
Mark T Jones – The dramatic events surrounding the siege of the Westgate Shopping Mall, Nairobi that began on 21st September 2013 has become seared into the Kenyan psyche. The three day siege and the deaths and casualties that resulted ensured proved both shocking and yet strangely unifying at the same time. Just as the series of attacks in the US on 11th September 2001 caused convulsions and reverberations locally and internationally, the events at Westgate underscored the vulnerability of the East African powerhouse. For all the horrors and futility of it all the local media was determined to find heroism in the darkness and this it indeed managed to do, but equally whilst many sought solidarity in the face of danger further human frailty emerged in the form of bungling and looting on behalf of certain members of those forces sent in to ‘neutralise’ the attackers. Continue reading
Government, Donors Should Accelerate Justice Reforms
(Nairobi, May 22, 2014) Human Rights Watch – Somalia’s military courts since 2011 have tried hundreds of people beyond the courts’ legal mandate or in proceedings that fall short of international fair trial standards, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government should urgently transfer civilian cases to the regular courts. International donors assisting in desperately needed improvements in Somalia’s justice system should not neglect reform of the military courts.
The 33-page report, “Courts of ‘Absolute Power’: Fair Trial Violations by Somalia’s Military Court,” documents violations of basic fair trial rights of defendants tried before military courts, including military personnel, suspected insurgents and supporters, police officers, and ordinary civilians. Human Rights Watch interviewed over 30 defendants and their relatives as well as military court officials, lawyers, and legal experts. They described how military court proceedings restrict defendants’ rights to obtain counsel of their choice, prepare and present a defense, receive a public hearing, not incriminate themselves, and appeal a conviction to a higher court. More than a dozen of those convicted over the last year have been sentenced to death and executed, magnifying the harm to basic rights. Continue reading
A car bomb killed at least 12 people, including Somali soldiers and civilians, on Monday in a city that was once a stronghold of al Qaeda-linked rebels, police said.
Ken Menkhoaus: “The new lesson Somalis are now learning in Kenya is that they are still not seen as full citizens; their loyalties are suspect, and their political status can be revoked at the stroke of a pen even in a democracy. All of the external and domestic efforts inside Somalia to encourage a new culture of rule of law and checks and balances on abuse of power are undermined by the meta-message the Kenyan crackdown sends.”
Read the full article Another casualty of the Kenyan government crackdown on Somalis.
“The creation of western-style government institutions has been unsuccessful in Somalia. This is a direct result of colonial administrations not laying the proper foundation for western government institutions to achieve legitimacy in a culture of clan and kinship based identity. In post conflict Somalia the top down approach to state building has been ineffective and a lack of government structure at the time of independence created an environment in which clan based fracturing of the government was inevitable. The existing clan and kinship examples of local governance replaced the central government starting in 1991 when the Somali state collapsed. Since then several examples of a bottom up approach to state building have emerged throughout Somalia. These attempts at state building have been quite successful and should be reviewed as a means for successful state creation in greater Somalia. Somaliland’s attempts at state building have proven to be comparatively successful and should be viewed as a model for successful state creation in third world or tribal type states,” argues Kenneth Upsall. Continue reading
Investing in a conflict zone like Somalia can be suicidal for global businesses even if the rate of return for their faith is higher. There is the need to worry about Corporate Social Responsibility, staff security, eruption of spontaneous violence, poor infrastructure and no legal recourse if things go wrong. Moreover, in the absence of widely available opportunities and political voice, together with corrupted leaders that embezzled seven out of every ten dollars they received according to a UN report published in July and strong presence of Al-Shabaab, people have come to rely on their tribes for security, protection and welfare. As a result, it would be very hard for both local and foreign investors to just set up a business in a certain region, bring their chosen staff and get on with their business without employing local tribes men in key posts even if they lack the qualifications and experience. Where they do decide to employ locals, investors may have to make enormous investment in the education and training which can deter even those with the deepest pockets. Continue reading
Somalia; ‘Diaspora-led’ political parties : A new phenomenon constructed in the security of the Western world and by those who have very little real involvement with Somalia and its politics. It is built on arrogance, fantasy and colonial like ambition of civilising the Somali people through sudden democracy. This phenomenon I refer to is the creation of who have the desire to return home to govern their people.
From Ha Noolaato (where are they now?), Tayo and Hiil Qaran to the others I have not heard of but probably exist, there is this believe among their Diaspora leaders that they will be the ones to return peace, stability and security to Somalia. What is consistent about all of these organisations is that they are led from the comfort of the Western world and they are spearheaded by ambitious but out of touch individuals.
According to the Centre of Economic and Business Research, Brazil made the historical leap in this year’s annual global economic league tables because of its vast reserves of natural resources and its growing cash rich middle class who are spending as Europeans and Americans tighten their belts as a result of the global financial crisis. There is much for African leaders to learn from a country that was once just like theirs in every imaginable way. Continue reading