A Week in the Horn of Africa- (10/05/2013)
News in Brief
Ethiopia The World Bank and African Development Bank are set to provide 80 percent of the finances needed for the construction of the Ethio-Kenya power transmission line. The 1,070km line, estimated to cost $1.26 billion, will be jointly funded by the World Bank, which will lend the two countries $684 million, and the African Development Bank ($338 million). Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, on Sunday (May 5th) condemned a recent incident in Abyei which resulted in the death of an Ethiopian UNISFA peacekeeper. The UK has announced that it will work with the government of Ethiopia, along with Tanzania, in capacity building projects aimed at improving the country’s respective tax administrations. Ethiopian Airlines, the fastest growing airline in Africa, is announced that it will commence four weekly flights to Incheon International Airport in Seoul, the Republic of South Korea Somalia An international conference aimed at bolstering political stability and preventing Somalia from slipping back into a state of lawlessness held in London. Rebuilding security forces and tackling rape are among the principal issues discussed (See Article). Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Khalid Bin Mohamed Al Attiyah announced that Qatar has offered US$18 million (RM53.74 million) in contribution to the Somali government. The U.S. government is committing nearly $40 million in additional funds to support development, stabilization and security-sector reform in Somalia, according to Deputy Secretary of State, Burns Eritrea Senegalese national, Diariétou Gaye, is appointed as the country director for World Bank operations in Eritrea. Kenya Kenya has written to the UN Security Council seeking to scrap the international crimes against humanity trials for President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Vice President William Ruto. The British government has defended meetings by its officials with President Uhuru Kenyatta despite his indictment by the International Criminal Court. Prime Minister David Cameron told the BBC that he met Uhuru because Kenya was playing a vital role fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia. Sudan The African Union (AU) called on Thursday for an urgent meeting between the leaders of Sudan and South Sudan to find a solution for the flashpoint Abyei region, following the killing of a tribal leader and an Ethiopian peacekeeper. The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir flew to Chad to attend the Great Green Wall summit. South Sudan South Sudan’s first oil export shipment since January 2012 has reached Sudan, state news agency SUNA said, in the latest sign of a thaw between the longtime foes. The South Sudanese government has launched a program to improve the skills of the country’s teachers
The Second London Conference on Somalia…..
The second London Conference on Somalia took place on Tuesday ( May 7th), co-hosted by UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, and Somalia President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The British Foreign Office said the conference aimed to capitalize on the significant progress made over the past year and to agree on coordinated international support for Somali government plans “to build political stability by improving security, police, justice and public financial management systems”. It also aimed to bolster political stability and prevent Somalia from slipping back into a state of lawlessness, with rebuilding the country’s security forces and tackling human rights abuses, notably rape, being among the principal issues discussed. Attending were delegates from over 50 countries and organizations including Somalia’s neighbours, the African Union, the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund. Among those present were Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Uganda’s President Yuweri Museveni as well as UN Deputy Secretary General, Jan Eliasson and the US Deputy Secretary of State, William Burns.
Prime Minister Cameron, in his opening remarks, said the message of the conference was clear: the international community would “not allow Somalia to fall back” as the Somali people are seizing the opportunity to forge a new future, and “we will support them every step of the way”. He also expressed hope that everyone would get behind a long-term security plan to help Somalia build up its army, police and judiciary and “end Shabaab’s reign of terror forever”. He pointed out the need to provide Somalia with “the vital finance it needs to deal with its debts”, and noted the need to “improve transparency and accountability” so that the Somali people could “know where resources are going”. Mr. Cameron also emphasized the need “to continue the process of rebuilding the Somali state “in an inclusive way”.
President Mohamud told the conference that Somalia was now like a new planted sapling which still needed the support of a strong stake and to be protected, watered and fed. He said his vision was for a Federal Somalia at peace with itself and its neighbours and which poses no threat to the world; a Somalia with a resurgent economy, thriving small and medium sized business ventures and sustainable employment. This was the start of a four-year process that must begin with considerable investment and support but which, he hoped, would finish with very little. He underlined the recent progress, an elected President, an elected Speaker leading a new Parliament representative of all the regions and communities, with a legitimate and effective government delivering its Six Pillar Policy Framework. But challenges remained: al Shabaab, though militarily defeated, had melted into society and begun a new phase of insurgency and a campaign of terror; the constitution was only partially complete; piracy had to be ended; the problem of refugees and internally displaced persons resolved; government institutions, schools, hospitals, roads, sanitation and other basic services developed again. The President said, the government had come to London with detailed plans to address these challenges. It was rebuilding the armed forces, restructuring and developing the police, reforming the justice sector, revolutionizing public finance management systems.
President Mohamud said it was now time for the world to view Somalia through “different lenses” and he expected the conclusion would provide “a real sense of progress”. He said the government was rebuilding its armed forces, restructuring and developing its police force, and reforming its justice sector, and had now laid the foundations for “a new public finance management mechanism” which will enable donors “to agree funding arrangements with the confidence that funds will reach their intended recipient”. He underlined that it would be a Somali owned solution that would fix Somalia, but also emphasized the need for total and continuing international commitment, partnership and support. He said “no country has ever recovered from such social and economic collapse without the help of the world”. Al-Shabaab was militarily defeated but it had “melted into society and begun a new phase of insurgency and a campaign of terror”. The President appreciated the “courageous and the ultimate sacrifice” paid by IGAD, the African Union and those in AMISOM for their support in the progress that has been made in Somalia over the past three years. He also voiced his appreciation for the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries, and welcomed the new United Nations Mission in Somalia, UNSOM.
Other speakers included Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Chairperson of the African Union, President Kenyatta of Kenya and President Museveni of Uganda. Prime Minister Hailemariam, Chairperson of the African Union and of IGAD, welcomed the UK’s efforts to help find a solution to the problems in Somalia. The conference would, he hoped, point to ways to build on successes already achieved, and further consolidate the Somali Federal Government’s own policies and expedite the state building process. He referred to the importance of supporting state institutions in the regions of the country in order to deny the possibility of any alternative sources of authority, to the need to co-ordinate efforts to resolve the problem of refugees, noted the immense sacrifices paid by those in the region, and underlined the five principles for progress in Somalia as enunciated by IGAD at its recent Summit. These were: the processes must be under Somali government leadership; there should respect for the provisional constitution; the consultative process must be all-inclusive; IGAD should have a supportive role based on the priorities of the Somali government; and that fighting Al Shabaab should be the primary focus of the government, AMISOM and regional and international partners. (See below). Above all, said Prime Minister Hailemariam, the role and views of Somalis must be paramount. Outsiders cannot solve the problems but the conference could provide for the international community to harmonize its efforts to support the political processes and avoid the over-proliferation of initiatives. It could also help mobilize resources and it must therefore go beyond promises and back up its pledges by action on the ground. He concluded by underlining the point that a vibrant, functional and peaceful Somalia meant the difference between a region in crisis and one that can contribute to global peace and stability. Ethiopia and IGAD, he emphasized, were committed to share in all efforts to achieve this end.
President Museveni outlined the steps Uganda had taken against Al- Shabaab and said it was now time for the national army of Somalia to be trained in Somalia: “Let us send the trainers inside Somalia so that we do the training there”, he said, adding that this would provide for security to be restored throughout Somalia. Piracy, he said, would also end “because the pirates come from land; they are not aquatic animals”. President Museveni also asked the United Nations to replace the Ugandan helicopter gun-ships that were destroyed in an accident in Kenya en route to Somalia.
President Kenyatta called on the international community to support the efforts being undertaken by IGAD, underlining the importance of security as essential to any meaningful stabilization process and noting that reform of the Somali security sector must be “holistic, inclusive, logically sequenced and prioritized.” It must also, he added, include the systematic and orderly integration of the various allied forces currently engaged in the anti-Al -Shabaab war. Somalia must develop the “necessary capabilities to confront the myriad internal security challenges” which had a ripple effect on the region as a whole. He emphasized the “disproportionate burden that Kenya has continued to bear for over two decades”, as it continues to host the largest population of Somalis outside their country. This, he said, was untenable, both because of the humanitarian problems and because of the security issues. He stressed the need for the international community to develop modalities for the safe resettlement of Somali refugees; to provide assured and expanded support to AMISOM as a matter of urgency, and to help provide an environment to support returnees. President Kenyatta said Kenya was in the process of putting in place an expanded framework for cooperation and assistance to offer capacity building in identified priority areas, adding that it had already trained more than 2,500 Somali soldiers and was willing to offer further assistance in training Somali judicial and financial officers in Kenyan institutions.
Somalia received significant pledges of new funding during the conference. Prime Minister Cameron who described the progress made since London’s first international conference on Somalia 15 months ago as “remarkable”, said the UK would provide $15.5 million toward developing the Somali armed forces and $22.5 million to strengthen the police and train judges and lawyers. He said a military team would be sent to the region to train Somali troops. The UK will also be contributing to a £50 million international fund, allocating fund to help the government operate outside Mogadishu, to build -up an anti-piracy naval force and addressing the issue of abuse, including sexual violence, and counter-terrorism. Some money will also go to refurbishing and expanding Mogadishu’s central prison. US Deputy Secretary of State, William Burns, said the United States would add another $40 million to the $1.5 billion it has given since 2009, to support development, stabilization and security-sector reform; and the EU pledged €44 Million in new funding to be used for the strengthening of governance, security and justice sector reform.
Somalia is also expected to benefit from the TIKAD V International Conference on African Development shortly as well as from the G8 meetings this year and the EU-hosted conference in Brussels in September. The Brussels meeting will be considering a new deal for fragile states, seeking to put poor countries in the driving seat on development strategy rather than donors, and looking to align donor funds with the priorities of the recipient country. At the center of the discussions will be five peace- and state-building goals: legitimate and inclusive politics; security; justice; economic foundations for jobs; and revenues and services.
During the conference, Prime Minister Hailemariam, the Chairperson of the African Union and the Chair of IGAD, held a series of bilateral talks, among them discussions with British Foreign Secretary William Hague on ways that the international community could support the Somali government’s priorities for rebuilding the country. The UK Foreign Secretary acknowledged the important role Ethiopia has played in bringing greater stability in Somalia. Mr. Hague also held talks with other IGAD leaders and ministers attending the meeting. The British Foreign Office said that Britain recognized Kenya’s vital role as a neighbour of Somalia, as a troop contributor to African Union Forces in the country, and as host to more Somali refugees than any other nation. They also discussed a range of bilateral issues and how Britain and Kenya would work together on regional security, prosperity and development. Mr. Hague also met Ugandan Foreign Minister, Sam Kutesa, to discuss bilateral relations and Uganda’s role in efforts to bring stability in Somalia and the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as trade and investment opportunities. In a meeting with Djibouti’s Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, Mr. Hague also expressed his appreciation for Djibouti’s contribution to bringing peace and security in Somalia and discussed strengthening ties between Britain and Djibouti as well as commercial opportunities in advance of the first Britain-Djibouti trade and investment forum held in London on Wednesday (May 8th).
….and the Final Communiqué of the Conference
The final communiqué of the conference noted that the international community had come together at this conference to agree practical measures to support the Federal Government’s plans in three key areas – security, justice and public financial management. It stressed the international community was committed to provide coordinated and sustained support for implementation of the Federal Government’s plans, and said the partnership between Somalia and the international community would form the basis of future cooperation, following the Federal Government’s presentation of its vision for the implementation of federalism, the adoption of a permanent constitution and holding of elections.
The communiqué stated that political progress remained the key to ensuring long-term stability. It welcomed the Federal Government’s plans to resolve outstanding constitutional issues, including the sharing of power, resources and revenues between the Federal Government and the regions, as well as the plans to hold democratic elections in 2016. It reaffirmed the international community’s support for capacity building in democratic institutions throughout Somalia, beginning with support for local elections in Puntland next month. It welcomed the dialogue on the future structure of Somalia between the Federal Government and the regions and progress on forming regional administrations and the dialogue between the Federal Government and Somaliland at Ankara in April to clarify their future relationship and the Ankara communiqué. It encouraged the regions to work closely with the Federal Government to form a cohesive national polity consistent with the provisional constitution. It also welcomed the decisions of the IGAD Extraordinary Summit a few days earlier in Addis Ababa, which had agreed a framework for dialogue on regional issues.(See below)
The communiqué welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to uphold human rights, protect women and children, and take steps to end involvement of children in armed conflict, as well as the plan for recommendations to address sexual violence, and agreed to work together with the Somali Government to tackle this. It agreed on the role of a free and independent media and welcomed the commitment to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the killing of journalists. The communiqué welcomed the Federal Government’s vision for equal access to a robust, impartial and effective justice system and the justice action plan setting out immediate priorities for assistance, developed at the National Dialogue on Justice in Mogadishu, and the four-year action plan to create an accountable, effective and responsive police service . The communiqué underlined the commitment to support efforts to combat terrorism.
There was agreement that security was the essential prerequisite for further progress in all other spheres. The conference therefore underlined the need for adequate and sustained funding for AMISOM, welcoming partners’ support to date, and calling on new donors to contribute. It welcomed the Government’s plans for national security architecture and for developing its armed forces, and the commitment to ensure that these security structures would be accountable, inclusive, proportionate and sustainable. The conference agreed to provide assistance to be coordinated by the Federal Government, and welcomed the extension of AMISOM’s mandate for a further year. The communiqué commended progress made in combating piracy over the last year and welcomed the Federal Government’s Maritime Resource and Security Strategy. It looked forward to the UAE conference in Dubai on 11-12 September. In this regard, the conference reiterated its determination to work with Somalia to eradicate piracy and other maritime crimes and expressed support for the Federal Government’s ongoing efforts to establish an internationally- recognised Somali waters which will help it protect its abundant maritime resources and revitalise economic activities as well as end toxic dumping and illegal fishing.
The communiqué welcomed the Government’s four-year plan to establish transparent and effective public financial management systems and encouraged it to establish more robust controls through the Ministry of Finance’s operations including public reporting of budgets, expenditure and audits. It acknowledged the Government’s financing gap and urgent need for short-term support to pay for salaries and operations. In line with outcomes of the G8 Foreign Ministers’ meetings, it welcomed the re-engagement of International Financial Institutions (including the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) with Somalia, and stressed the importance of investment in Somalia, recognising the important role the Diaspora could play. It looked forward to the development of longer term sustainable financing architecture for Somalia including a World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund.
Similarly, it welcomed efforts to develop major initiatives on stabilization, including a comprehensive strategy on disengaged fighters. It recognised the importance of scaling up efforts to create acceptable conditions for the voluntary return and reintegration of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees, recognising these should take place within a context of increased security conditions and livelihoods opportunities. It endorsed the tripartite dialogue initiated by the Somali and Kenyan governments alongside UNHCR to develop modalities and a framework for safe, orderly, sustainable return and resettlement.
The conference recognised the role of the United Nations and the African Union in Somalia and underlined the importance of close coordination with the Federal Government, other international and regional organisations, and Member States. It welcomed the creation of a new UN Assistance Mission (UNSOM) in Somalia and urged the UN to deploy it by the target date of 3 June. The communiqué recognised the important role of Somalia’s neighbours in promoting long-term stability in the region, and encouraged IGAD to continue its work to promote dialogue and mutual understanding. It looked forward to the planned Special Conference on Somalia on the socio-economic development agenda on the margins of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) later this month. It welcomed Somalia’s efforts to develop an overarching reconstruction plan encompassing Somali priorities on inclusive politics, security, justice, economic foundations, revenue and services, and looked forward to the EU/Somalia Conference in Brussels in September.
In conclusion, the London Conference agreed Somalia had made significant progress. It congratulated all who had made that possible, commended the sustained commitment of Somalia’s international partners, recognised the need to consolidate progress quickly and reiterated its determination to support Somalia over the long-term.
IGAD’s Heads of State and Government also meet to discuss Somalia …..
In advance of the London Conference, IGAD Heads of State and Government held an Extraordinary Summit in Addis Ababa on May 3rd to discuss the political situation in the Federal Republic of Somalia. The meeting was chaired by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam, current Chairperson of the IGAD Assembly, and attended by President Kenyatta of Kenya, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia, President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Mr. Ali Ahmed Kharti, Foreign Minister of The Sudan and Mr. Ahmed Ali Silay, Minister of International Cooperation of Djibouti. The Summit was preceded by the 47th Extra-ordinary Session of IGAD’s Council of Ministers on Thursday, May 2nd in Addis Ababa.(See below) In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Hailemariam, the current Chairperson of IGAD, reaffirmed that IGAD would stand by the side of the Somalia Federal Government of the imperative need to root out the threat of Al-Shabaab. Ambassador Renzo Rosso, Italy’s Ambassador to Ethiopia who spoke on behalf of the IGAD’s Partners Forum, underscored IGAD’s crucial role in the peace and security of Somalia and the region and stressed that it should continue with its support. Alexander Rondos, EU Representative to the Horn of Africa, also underlined the importance of cooperation and of making the Somali political process inclusive in accordance with the constitution as well as removing the threat of Al-Shabaab. The Summit was given a report by the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Dr. Tedros, Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and a briefing from Ambassador Engineer Mahboub Maalim, Executive Secretary of IGAD on the situation in Somalia. The Assembly of the Heads of State and Government noted with appreciation the recent positive developments and commended the engagements of the Federal Government with the regions in regard to the setting up of regional administration structures. It also appreciated the increased engagement, convergence of ideas and solidarity among IGAD member states in support of Somalia, as demonstrated by the meeting between President Kenyatta and President Mohamud, and by the efforts of Prime Minister Hailemariam as IGAD Chair. The Summit in its closed session adopted the draft communiqué proposed by the 47th Council of Ministers’ extraordinary meeting the previous day (See below). The Summit welcomed the Somali Federal government’s National Stabilization Plan and reiterated that all processes, particularly those related to the setting up of Somali regional administration and stabilization efforts, should be based on the five principles: Somali government leadership; respect for the provisional constitution; an all inclusive consultative process; the supportive role of IGAD based on the priorities of the Somali government; and fighting Al Shabaab as the primary focus of the government, AMISOM and regional and international partners. It requested the Somali federal government to align its National Stabilization Plan with these agreed five principles.
The Heads of State and Government also reiterated the need for the Somali federal government’s ownership of the processes, and stressed its importance including a framework for the sustainable and gradual return of refugees with active participation of Somalis in the Diaspora. They also called upon the international community to redouble its support to the stabilization, reconstruction and development to the government-led reforms in the various upcoming forums and in particular in the London conference. The leaders called on UNHCR and the international community to develop modalities for the safe and orderly return and resettlement of refugees with definite time lines. They also called on all stakeholders to support the ongoing political outreach and reconciliation processes led by the Somali Federal government, and capacity building of the Government with particular reference to governance, economic development and security sector reform. They decided to send a mission to Kismayo to assess the situation there and submit a report to the next Summit, to be held later this month. They also underlined the importance of implementing the Integration of Forces Plan and coordinating stakeholders’ efforts under the leadership of the Somali government.
The Summit commended the continued commitment of AMISOM forces, the courage and commitment of the Somali National Security Forces, and the support by all the troop and police-contributing countries (Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Uganda) as well as Ethiopia. It appealed to these parties and to the Somali National Forces to continue to expand their operations. It reaffirmed the strong solidarity of IGAD members and their commitment to continue supporting the government-led reforms in Somalia; and appealed to the international community to redouble their support to the stabilization, reconstruction and long-term development of Somalia. Underlining the importance of the continuing fight against Al-Shabaab, it also noted the UN Security Council Resolution 2093 and expressed the hope that it will enhance the reconstruction efforts and the role of Somalia in the region and that it would build on progress made by AMISOM operations, forming a sound basis for the reconstruction and development of Somalia.
…and consider the results of IGAD’s 47th extraordinary Ministerial Meeting
The 47th Extraordinary IGAD Ministerial Meeting was held last week in Addis Ababa. The meeting was chaired by Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Chairperson of the IGAD Council of Ministers; and present were: Fowzia Yusuf, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia; Ali Ahmed Karti, Foreign Minister of Sudan; Sam Kutesa, Foreign Minister of Uganda; Nhial Deng Nhial, Foreign Minister of South Sudan; and Ahmed Ali Silay, Minister for International Cooperation of Djibouti; as well as Monica Juma Permanent Representative of Kenya to IGAD; and Ambassador Engineer Mahboub Maalim, the Executive Secretary of IGAD. In his opening remarks Dr. Tedros welcomed the peaceful conduct of the recent Kenyan Presidential election and noted the partial lifting of the arms embargo in Somalia and the recent signing of the implementation matrix between Sudan and South Sudan as a positive development in peace and security of the region since the last extraordinary ministerial meeting which was held in January this year. He congratulated the Federal Government of Somalia for producing its National Stabilization Plan, amalgamating the Grand Stabilization Plan and the Government’s Six Pillar Policy, and also welcomed the recent meetings the Governmen had with regional administrations in various parts of the country. Dr. Tedros reaffirmed that IGAD stands at the forefront of the quest for peace in Somalia and the region, and underlined the need for the international community to support its efforts. He said it was “vital for the international community to join hands with IGAD in stabilizing Somalia in a manner that ensures the Somali Government’s full ownership of the process in accordance with the priorities it sets itself.” Ambassador Mahboob Maaalim, Executive Secretary of IGAD, referred to the recent meetings of President Mahmoud with the leadership of Somaliland and Puntland as “excellent gestures” that should be encouraged. He condemned the recent Al-Shabaab attack on the Supreme Court of Somalia. The ministerial meeting discussed the political situation in Somalia at length with Djibouti raising the importance of forging a common position in advance of the London Conference taking place a week later (See above), and the need to underscore the fact that security improvements must be linked to the problems of development. Fowzia Yusuf in her speech outlined the Somalia Government’s activities in stabilizing the country. She said the government was working hard to reconstruct the governance structure especially in the areas of security, justice and public finance. With regard to the formation of regional admistrations, she emphasized that the process was going to follow a bottom-up approach and be strictly in accordance with the constitution. She added that intensive efforts were being made to stabilise the country through an inclusive national reconciliation process. Monica Juma said that Kenya commended the consultations on Somalia. The meeting endorsed the five principles originally proposed by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and later enshrined in the memorandum signed by President Kenyatta and President Mahmoud in February in Mombasa. These are: respect for, and full implementation of the constitution of Somalia; the centrality of inclusiveness in Somalia’s political process; the necessity for the process to be led and owned by Somali government; the importance of IGAD’s supportive role in the process; and the continued focus on fighting Al-Shabaab as a common enemy of IGAD member states. The meeting agreed that IGAD members should forge a common position in advance of the May 7th London Conference on Somalia; and the Ministers passed a draft resolution to be adopted by the Summit.
The Recent incident in Abyei: a Call for restraint
A recent incident in Abyei led to the death of a member of the Ethiopian UN peacekeeping force and the wounding of two others when UN convoy was caught up in a tribal clash. A Ngok Dinka tribal leader was shot dead in the same incident. Kuwal Deng Mayok, the top Ngok Dinka leader in Abyei, was travelling with a UN convoy when he was killed by members of the Misseriya, on Saturday (May 4th). Following the incident, the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) said it was trying to expand its patrols with the aim of maintaining calm. Following the incident, UN Secretary-General, Ban ki-Moon, quickly urged “the governments of both Sudan and South Sudan” and the Dinka and Misseriya communities “to remain calm and avoid any escalation of this unfortunate event”. He added that this once again proved “how crucially important it is for the two Governments to establish the temporary institutions as stipulated in the 20 June 2011 Agreement and continue discussions on the final status of the Abyei Area.” In a statement the Secretary-General extended his deepest condolences to the Ngok Dinka community and the Government of Ethiopia, the home country of the UN peace keeper killed in the incident, as well as to the families of those killed and injured. Others were also quick to call for restraint. The AU urged both countries to “ensure that the current situation does not spiral out of control”; as did Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, who also condemned the incident. The Foreign Ministry of the Sudan urged all parties to exercise restraint and said in a statement that it would carry out an “urgent, transparent, thorough and fair” investigation. The Presidents of South Sudan and Sudan also held talks in a bid to ease tensions after the deadly clash. South Sudan’s Information Minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, announced that “Our president has been in direct contact with President Bashir… They exchanged ideas about this sad incident.” The Security Council set up the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) in its Resolution 1990 of June 27th 2011, in response to the urgent requirement to oversee progress on the implementation of the Agreement on the disputed Abyei area, reached in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), to demilitarize Abyei and establish an administrative and police service. That agreement also provided for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission. At the time the Security Council was deeply concerned by the violence, escalating tension and population displacements taking place in the disputed Abyei region. In the event, UNISFA, with a total strength of 4,250, was entirely made up of Ethiopian troops, together with a civilian police component. It is unique in that the whole force is provided by one single country, unlike all other peacekeeping missions that merges political and civilian work under a single leadership. It is also one of the largest UN peacekeeping missions in terms of the geographic area covered. The UN peacekeeping system normally discourages deployment of forces from any single country on a peace keeping mission, but an Ethiopian Peacekeeping Force was acceptable in Abyei as it was the only country that both were prepared to trust and its efforts to resolve the crisis in Abyei was appreciated by both sides. The very rapid deployment of UNISFA also underlined Ethiopia’s commitment to the trust it enjoys in both Khartoum and Juba, and to the global effort to resolve the crises in Sudan. Considerable progress has been made in resolving the problems between South Sudan and Sudan, but this recent incident shows that the dangers of clashes between the major tribes in the region remain high. There are also problems over the establishment of the interim civilian administration in the disputed areas and return of IDPs and refugees to their areas of origin. Ethiopia has been working hard to keep the peace and security of the Abyei region and to assist the parties in the conflict to resolve their differences in a civilized way. Its efforts to ease tensions after the deadly clashes in Abyei, and it calls upon to both parties to restrain from any escalated activities, are genuinely appreciated by the Governments of the Republics of Sudan and South Sudan. It is now imperative for the two governments to cooperate with UNIFSA and the international community to find a lasting solution to the problem in accordance with their previously signed agreements.
Demonizing the Judiciary is no help to press freedom
In the past week, the trial of Eskinder Nega, Andualem Aragie and others have again been in the headlines following the recent decision of the Supreme Court to uphold the charges of terrorism and the sentences passed last July. A case in point is a statement by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The Supreme Court’s action has, predictably, been scorned by those bodies which are always prepared to disparage anything that comes out of Ethiopia. Their arguments have been the usual tired complaints that the country’s Anti-Terrorism law is muffling the press, with added suggestions that the trail should be seen as a show trial in which the verdicts could not be in the interest of either the press or the judiciary. The normal claim is that the judicial system is as a stooge of the executive and has no institutional or personal independence. This, in fact, merely shows a lack of knowledge of the country’s judiciary and its operation. Such allegations also overlook, indeed, deliberately ignore, the sovereign rights of a nation, reminding one of the heyday of colonial attitudes. The facts on the ground are, however, entirely different from what these critics claim despite their continuing efforts in the business of demonizing the government of Ethiopia. In any criminal proceedings, the most fundamental right underlining the fairness of the trial relates to the rights of the accused. This is, in part, because of the difference of power between the defendant as an individual, and the prosecutor representing a government and who has all the resources of the state to prepare his case. So a central principle in criminal law is to afford all possible protection to the accused, to protect him/her from self incrimination, giving him/her the right to defense counsel and help to collect all evidence necessary to defend their cases. No trial that fails to provide these rights to the accused can be said to be fair and free by any country’s standard. Whatever the differences in legal systems around the world, this is the most fundamental principle for all criminal legal cases – and it operates fully and fairly in Ethiopia. In these cases, the trials were conducted in a manner that fully respected these principles. The accused participated fully, presenting their statements of defense, producing their evidence and arguments without any constraint or difficulty. The court heard all the arguments and came to the conclusion that the defense was unable to rebut the charges of the prosecution. Quite simply, the court came to the conclusion, on the evidence presented to it, that the accused were guilty as charged. The subsequent barrage of criticism of the decision is more revealing of the views of the people about the Ethiopian government than of the judicial processes involved. No judicial verdict which is after all a function of the judicial process can be entirely delinked from the process. Any fair comment must take in to account both the process and the result. These critical comments are also wild in the sense that they appear to emanate from an interest to micro-manage Africa and more specifically in this case African judicial activity. The verdict can only be measured against our own standards in Ethiopia and any attempt to vilify the Ethiopian judiciary, in the absence of any evidence or fact, is tantamount to a denial of the country’s sovereign right to hold trial or indeed conduct any form of judicial process. Depressingly, these recent criticisms of the judiciary are no more than a rehash of unproven, exhausted and baseless criticisms, bearing all the hallmarks of a continuing political campaign against Ethiopia which adds nothing constructive for freedom of the press in the country.
2013 World Economic Forum on Africa: Delivering on Africa’s Promise
The World Economic Forum on Africa opened in Cape Town, South Africa on Wednesday (May 8) under the theme, “Delivering on Africa’s Promise”. Under this theme, the 23rd World Economic Forum on Africa was convened with the aim of providing a platform for regional and global leaders from business, government and civil society in order to deepen the continent’s integration and renew its commitment to sustainable growth and development. Discussions of this overarching theme have primarily been focused around the subjects of accelerating economic diversification, boosting strategic infrastructure and the unlocking of Africa’s talent. As per the WEF website, “With an expected annual growth of 5% in 2012-13, Sub-Saharan Africa continues its transformative journey from a developing continent to a hub of global growth. According to the World Bank, almost half of Africa’s countries have attained middle-income status. At the same time, the continent’s positive outlook is threatened by fluctuating commodity prices, rising inequality and youth unemployment. To build on its achievements, Africa’s leaders need to strengthen the continent’s competitiveness, foster inclusive growth and build resilience in a volatile global environment. Accelerating economic diversification, boosting strategic infrastructure and unlocking talent are critical success factors in this new leadership context.” Prime Minister Hailemariam, in his role as Chairman of the AU and IGAD, attended the summit in Cape town where he joined Chairs and notable attendees that included: Jacob G. Zuma, President of South Africa; Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya; Dr. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson, African Union Commission; Carl Bildt, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden; Gordon Brown, Former Prime Minister to the UK; Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA); Jendayi E. Frazer, Former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Special Assistant to the President, and Senior Director for African Affairs; and Mo Ibrahim, Chairman, Mo Ibrahim Foundation. In a series of panel discussions and debates that occurred throughout the two-day forum, delegates participated in conversations on infrastructure, investment, agriculture, entrepreneurship, energy, technology, governance, media as well as the future prospects of the continent. The highpoint of the opening day of the forum was the session titled “Building with BRICS”. Debates chaired by the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, were focused on the role that the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) could play in the development and growth of a resurgent Africa. Speakers, which included Jacob Zuma; Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB); Dr. Dlamini-Zuma and David A. Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) discussed how Africa could maintain investment and economic dynamism, build intra-regional infrastructure links and share best practices for workforce development and job creation. Notable remarks made during the session by speakers: Zuma: “BRICS bank needs to address the needs of developing countries in a different way from old banks… BRICS bank must be based in Africa, particularly because the greatest need for the bank is here”.Dlamini-Zuma: “In 50 years Africa should be a prosperous continent at peace with itself. This is achievable! This continent is poised to be among the greatest. Let’s energise and galvanise our people”. Kaberuka: “This is an exciting moment in Africa. The collective challenges we face include: inequality, political risk and infrastructure… We need to banish dependency on foreign aid. We cannot fund development with other people’s taxes”.Lipton: “Africa’s progress was not derailed by financial crisis. This growth is robust and we expect it to continue… I see a BRICS bank as complementary to the IMF. There is a need to mobilise infrastructure investment on the continent”. The second day was highlighted by two sessions, “Africa 2063: From Fragility to Stability” and “Africa’s Global Partnerships. The dimensions addressed in the first session on fragility by speakers, that included Uhuru Kenyatta, were stabilizing political transitions beyond elections, overcoming religious and ethnic divisions and fostering conditions for investment and growth. The session on global partnerships led to substantive deliberation on going beyond access-to-resources to economic integration, exchanging knowledge and experience and widening the range of financing models. These two sessions led a number of interesting reflections and remarks from speakers/panelists: Kenyatta: “In the next 50 years, I see East Africa moving towards a single currency… Our communities are already trading. It’s us at the national level that have not taken this on board… Silicon Valley in Nairobi? Absolutely. Thanks to young, aggressive Kenyans… I’d like to be remembered for realizing the dream of our forefathers; an integrated Africa that taps into its young people.” Bildt: “In 2063, I’ll be in Kenya with my granddaughter. And she’ll ask me: is it true Kenya was once poor?”Navqi, Founder and Group Chief Executive, The Abraaj Group: “The great thing in Africa today is the sense of community, driven by social media and technology… Community drive in Africa is overtaking old hierarchies. They’ll get caught in winds of change”.Chilcote, Correspondent, Bloomberg Television: “Africa doesn’t need a hand-out. It needs a handshake”. The Forum, which ends today, has led to important discussions on the continent’s present growth and prospects for its future. In particular, the need for greater trade, lesser aid and an increase in investment, most notably in the infrastructural sector, has dominated discussions during the course of the two-day event.