Mar 9th, 2012 11:02 AM UTC
By Adoja Anyimadu – this article originally appeared in Africa Review
Last month, British Foreign Secretary William Hague made a surprise visit to Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, ahead of the international conference on Somalia which took place in London.
Twenty one years without functioning state institutions has left the country ravaged by violence, food insecurity, terrorism and extreme poverty.
The current political authority, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), is internationally-recognised but ineffectual, controlling only a few kilometres within the capital city in a country more than twice the size of the UK.
The TFG is supposed to be temporary, and is mandated to prepare the way for a democratically elected government to eventually take power, but it has become increasingly entrenched.
Somalia’s status to use William Hague’s words, ‘the world most failed state’, has thus far proved frustratingly difficult for the Somali people and the international community to change.
However the Foreign Secretary’s meetings with Somalia’s president, prime minister, and the mayor of Mogadishu highlight Britain’s ambition to galvanise a renewed international focus on finding a solution to Somalia’s interlinked, and seemingly intractable, problems.
There is no clear idea of what Somalia’s political landscape will look like following the expiry of the TFG’s mandate in August, and the looming political uncertainty is a concern for politicians internationally and within Somalia.
What role the burgeoning number of self-declared regional entities within Somalia should play in efforts to find a stable political solution is one of the key items on the agenda.
It is the inclusion of this factor which offers hope for this latest effort by the international community.
Aug 12th, 2011 10:15 AM UTC
ONE cofounder Bono and Somali-born singer and poet K’naan interviewed with CNN’s Anderson Cooper this week on the growing crisis in Somalia and urged the world to put a higher priority on responding to what has become a humanitarian catastrophe.
Anderson and Sanjay Gupta have been reporting from Dadaab and Mogadishu this week, bringing forth heart-breaking stories of the tens of thousands of children who have already died as a result of the famine, with 600,000 more at imminent risk. The world is not responding fast enough to this crisis. There is still a $1 billion funding gap that must be met or millions more could die.
As Bono and K’naan said:
Bono: “It’s hard to believe that this is the 21st century and you know we mustn’t let the complexity of the situation absolve us from responsibility to act. That’s really the message … When you hear stories, and as you’ve reported, of women leaving their dead children on the road to come beg for food, to choose between children, can you imagine? ‘I have to leave this one, he looks the weakest or she looks the weakest, I’ll take this one.’ This is outrageous! This can’t be happening, it must be stopped. And it’s not our intentions, it’s our actions. It’s not the possibilities of the United Nations or the AU, it’s our priorities that define us. This is a defining moment.”
K’naan: “I think people have created a psychological fence around their hearts where Somalia is concerned. We have to find a way to get past that, and look at the humanity of what is happening and help people who are in need of our help at this moment. We are not usually the sort of people who take the victim’s seat. We are people who stand up for ourselves. But it’s a very, very dire, dire situation.”
To see the entire interview, click on the video above. And please sign ONE’s petition asking world leaders to respond to the crisis now.
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