Somalia: The “Transition” Continues to Drift

By: Dr. Michael A. Weinstein

The signing of the Kampala Accord on June 9 brought to an end the first phase of the attempt(s) to control “Somalia’s” “transition” to a permanent government that began in January, 2011. It is worth noting that no steps towards implementing a “transition” have been made yet; all the energies and activities of the various players have been devoted to fighting over who would take over the “transition.” That condition has persisted in the weeks following the signing of the Kampala Accord.

“Transition”: Round One

The struggle over control of what has turned out to be an interminable “transitional process” was initiated in January by the Western great powers working through the U.N.

The “donor”-powers give the Transitional Federal Institutions (T.F.I.s) that represent “Somalia” internationally their mandates, provide them with their finances, and train their armed forces. They had mandated that the T.F.I.s would be dissolved in August, 2011 to be replaced by a permanent constitutional government. By the beginning of 2011, there had been no progress on that score, and the great powers decided that they had to act, since the T.F.I.s would not do so.

The point man for the “donor”-powers was and remains U.N. special representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, who is also the head of the U.N. Political Office for Somalia (U.N.P.O.S.), which functions as the “donor”-powers’ projection into Somalia’s domestic politics.

In early February, Mahiga unveiled the “donor”-powers’ plan for a “transition” by August. The T.F.I.s would be reformed and there would be a major conference of external and domestic actors in Nairobi to work out the set-up. Mahiga underscored that, if nothing else, the T.F.I.s would be dissolved in August.

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