Posted Sunday, November 7 2010 at 00:00
Yes, we had very few of our soldiers defecting to join al-Shabaab in the past due to multiple factors. Such included lack of resources for the Somali government to maintain regular payments to its soldiers and al-Shabaab’s propaganda, in particular how they portray the image of Islam.
The TFG government has prepared a political roadmap with a view to ensuring that it completes all transitional tasks before August, 2011.
However, their motive is very clear; they want to terrorise people so they can rule with brutality. It shows their desperation. This atrocity has (somehow) also helped us, as the people keep withdrawing support for al-Shabaab. They see their actions as against [the teachings of] Islam. I can assure that the Somali government is enjoying the support of its people. However, we are lacking resources to properly build on our institutions. Yes, these actions do not help us, the government of Somalia, and more importantly Uganda and Burundi governments.
I strongly believe that this can happen in short period provided that we have the following:
TFG has recruited soldiers and they are lacking resources, discipline and it requires time for them to become disciplined forces within proper institutions.
If we have change of AMISOM mandate, this would help greatly. At the moment al Shabaab are very clever; they know that AMISOM cannot go after them. So they keep coming to AMISOM bases knowing that AMISOM forces will not catch them. If AMISOM had authority to capture the city, it would enable our forces to maintain the peace in those areas.
If only we had more AMISOM troops so they could expand their authority into more [outlying] areas. How can Somalia’s problem be fixed?
Somalia needs a functioning government that can bring peace and stability in the country. To get this, it needs to get rid of al-Shabaab and the best way is to get around 20, 000 peacekeeping troops so it can control the whole country. There and then the government of Somalia can have space to think strategically on security and other services.
At the moment, Somalia government is facing constant attacks and offensive from al-Shabaab. Worse, they are launching their attacks within 1 kilometre in the city.
Do not underestimate the extreme circumstances in which we, the TFG, attempt to govern. We face daily physical assault from small arms fire. We are targeted by Improvised Explosive Devices. And we suffered the sad loss of five ministers to suicide bombers in recent times [in an attack at a hotel]. But such physical danger does not break our resolve. We remain at our posts, doing what we can, with almost negligible resources.
We must win a military and security war, a finance war, a communications war and an economic war. With everybody playing their part, we can do it.
This is no time for fear and disengagement. It is a time to scale up and get involved. If we don’t quickly stop al Shabaab and al Qaeda within Somalia’s borders, we will be dragged through the most inhospitable continent on earth for decades to come.
I would like to thank the President (Yoweri Museveni), the government and the people of Uganda. In particular, I appreciate the leadership of the President and his vision of Africans solving their problems. This is very much welcomed by Somalis and most Africans. We are so fortunate to have the Ugandan and Burundian troops in Mogadishu. Monitor