An open letter concerning “The Garowe Principles”

An open letter concerning “The Garowe Principles”

To: Ban ki-Moon,
United Nations Secretary General
760 United Nations Plaza
New York, 10017, USA
Fax: +2129637055
 
CC: UN Security Council
CC: The African Union
CC: The Arab League
 
December 31, 2011
 
An open letter concerning “The Garowe Principles”

We, Somali citizens, former leaders and civil society personalities, are gravely concerned about the implications of the “Garowe Principles.” Signed on December 24th by six Somali politicians under the auspices of the UN Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS), the pact was legally and politically flawed. If its declared intention was to end the transitional phase, and, as a result, the wider conflict, it achieved neither.
 
That the conference was held inside Somalia was an admirable step, and together with recommending significantly leaner parliament (225, down from 550 MPs), the Garowe gathering had a potential. But it nonetheless was a missed opportunity. Political settlement is contingent upon just and legal solutions to the underlying political problems. By default, the “Garowe Principles” empowered few individuals at the expense of state institutions. As a result, the pact fails to address the most serious problem: lack of fair political representation.
 
In this regard, we note the following five points:
 
1. The “Garowe Principles” practically disenfranchises the Somali people. It steals the people’s inherent right to select their future leaders. The pact grants that basic right to handful of politicians. Moreover, the pact is dangerously ambiguous, presumably to allow the empowered “stakeholders” to interpret it as they see fit. Six politicians were given an outsized influence over the selection and formation of a new parliament and, subsequently, future political leaders. These so-called “stakeholders” are not representative of the wider Somali public. That they’re now at the center of shaping the future of Somalia deals a fatal blow to the reconciliation and peace gains made over the past few years. The leaders of the TFG, Puntland, Galmudug and Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jama’a, while they are entitled to help shape the future of their country as citizens, must not be exclusively entrusted with the pivotal role of deciding on the future political dispensations. This vertical approach to solving Somalia’s crisis has been tested and tried, and the result was consistently disastrous.
 
2. The pact essentially nullifies the Transitional National Charter (TNC), and it replaces the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) with a “National Constituency Assembly” (NCA). The proposed NCA is much bigger in size and few individuals are to select its members, thus creating another illegitimate entity.
 
3. The “Garowe Principles,” while it misleadingly appears to pave the road for ending the transition, in fact extends it under another term: “provisional.” This play of words contravenes with the Transitional National Charter (TNC), the “Roadmap” and the Kampala Accord (KA), all of which stipulate the necessity to end the transition by August 2012.
 
4. Among the signatories of the “Garowe Principles” is the former speaker of the parliament, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden. Notwithstanding that an overwhelming majority of the parliament removed him from his post earlier in December, the UNPOS allowed him to sign the agreement as the “speaker.” This move practically delegitimizes the legislative branch of the nation, undercuts its constitutional mandate and, more menacingly, infringes upon the sovereignty of our national institutions. In effect, the UNPOS is trying to singlehandedly reverse a parliamentary decision.
 
5. Lack of fair political representation is at the heart of the Somali crisis. Instead of addressing this problem judiciously, the UNPOS has succumbed to political expediency by empowering its anointed “stakeholders.” As a result, the pact deepens Somalia’s crisis.
 
Keeping the aforementioned problems in mind:
 
1. We are calling upon the international community, particularly the UN Security Council, to immediately intervene to rectify the situation. The first principle should be ‘do no harm’. The international community should help diffuse the situation not escalate it. 
 
2. New political dispensation is certainly needed. But, the process of selecting new members of the future Somali parliament should wholly be driven by communal-constituency assembly, led by traditional elders, not opportunistic politicians. Representative clan elders must be convened in a national conference and given the authority to select legislators, in consultations with their respective constituencies. With the aim of direct elections whenever the prevailing security situation permits, this process should be envisaged as a temporary arrangement.
 
3. Until a new parliament is formed, the international community should empower the current institutions and respect the processes, despite its inherent weakness.
 
We hope that the UNPOS, along with the rest of the international community, do not once again miss another opportunity to affect a positive change. A new, more horizontal dispensation should be undertaken.
 
Signed by,   
1. Abdulqasim Salad Hassan, former Somali president
2. Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmaajo”, former Somali prime minister
3. Dr. Abdulnur Sheikh Mohamed, former education minister
4. Hon. Mohamed Hussein Rage, MP
5. Hon. Hussein Arale Aden, MP
6. Hon. Ali Omar Ghedi MP
7. Hon. Abdulqadir Sheikh Ismail, MP
8. Hon. Abdulfatah Ibrahim Rashid, MP
9. Hon. Abdullahi Ghedi Shadoor, MP
10. Hon. Muhudin Osman Ali, MP
11. Prof. Mohamed Hussien Ilkadahab, MP
12. Dr. Nur Dirie Hersi “Fuursade,” Toronto, Canada
13. Eng. Osman D. Osman, Virginia, USA
14. Abdirizak Omar Mohamed, Toronto, Canada
15. Basto Ahmed, Virginia, USA
16. Eng.Mohamoud Dahir Adani, Virginia, USA
17. Abdirahman Ahmed, Ohio, USA
18. Abdirahman A. Siad, Toronto, Canada
19. Professor Liban Egal, Virginia, USA
20. Abdulkani R. Barrow, Ottawa, Canada
21. Abdulkadir A. Abdi Ohio, USA
22. Dr. Ali M. Tifow, London, UK
23. Ali Said Haji Aliyow, Melbourne, Australia
24.  Hareda Ibrahim Bolis, Toronto, Canada
25. Nour Omar, Dallas, TX. USA
26. Alinur H. Bodaye, Toronto, Canada
27. Avv. Abdulkadir Ahmed Nur, London, UK
28. Salad Nur Abdi, Ottawa, Canada
29. Hussein Abdikarim, Raleigh, NC, USA
30. Mukhtar Abukar, Toronto, Canada
31. Mohamed Haji Ingiriis, London, UK
32. Osman Abukar, Toronto, Canada
33. Dr. Qasin Hersi Farah, Toronto, Canada
34.  Ahmed Jama Moose, Woodbridge, Virginia, USA
35. Dr. Mohamud M Uluso, Michigan, USA
36. Mustaf Sabriye Halane, Minnesota, USA
37. Mohamed Ali, Washington DC, USA
38. Hon. Mohamed Sh. Ali Ahmed MP
39. Hon. Muse Ali Omar MP
40. Mohamed M. Makaraan, Ohio, USA
41. Abdirahman Mohamed, Helsinki, Finland
42. Abdikhaliq Omar, Manchester, UK
43. Abdullahi Shiekh Ali, Hamilton, Canada
44. Abdi Dirshe, Toronto, Canada
45. Ahmed-weli Haji Omar, Ohio
46. Guhad Hashi Said, Ohio, USA
47. Liban M Buulle, Ohio, USA
48. Fardowsa O. Mohamed, Stockholm,
49. Abukar D. Osman, Ohio, USA
50. Mohamed A. hassan Gaduud, Ohio, USA
51. Abdullahi Haji Ibrahim, Birmingham, UK
52.  Mohamed Y. Ghedi, Calgary, Canada  
53.  Khadra Mohamed, Stockholm, Sweden 
54.   Dr, Afyare Elmi, Doha
55. Mohamed Hassan, Former Minister of State for Finance
56. Hon. Abdirahman Jim’ale  MP
57. Hon. Yusuf Ali Aynte MP
58. Hon. Abdirahman Mohamed Moalim MP
59. Hon. Hassan Moalim Yusuf MP
60. Ambassador Abdullahi Dheel Virginia, USA
61. Boqor Ahmadey Omar, Viginia, USA
62. Fadumo Haji Abdulle, London, UK
63. Abdulkadir Hassan Jaylani, Michigan, USA
64. Abdiwali Hassan Mohamed Michigan USA
65. Abdulkadir D. Osman, Ohio, USA
66. Abdifatah Hassan, Seattle, USA
67. Hon. Omar Islaw Mohamed MP
68. Abdiaziz Haji Mohamed Minnesota, USA
69. Mohamed H. Jama, Birmingham, UK
70. Mariam Mohamed Hassan, Manchester, UK
71. Abdulkadir Abroone, Toronto, Canada
72. Ilyas Hayuke, Seattle, USA
73. Faiza  Subayr , Stockholm, Sweden
74. Mohamed Farah, Edmonton, Canada
75. Mohamed Daud Ali, London, UK
76. Abdi Mohamed Ali, Islamabad, Pakistan
77. Ismail A. Farah, Dubai, UAE
78. General Khalif Abukar Hassan, Toronto, Canada 
79. Ahmed yusuf Ali, Birmingham, UK
80. Dr. Maryam M. Mohamud, Hyderabad, India
81. Eng. Hassan Abukar, Toronto, Canada
82. Hon. Madobe N. Mohamed MP
83. Muse Ahmed Egal, Edmonton, Canada
84. Abdiwahid Afrah, Toronto, Canada
85. Abdullahi A. Dheere, Toronto, Canada