Somalia needs a political solution

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.

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