Saturday, March 15, 2003

EDITOR'S PICK:The turning tide of Africa's brain drain
LONDON, 13 MARCH 2003=="To this day we continue to lose the best among ourselves because the lights in the developed world shine brighter," Nelson Mandela said recently.
The so-called "brain drain" has seen more than 40% of African high-level managers and professionals desert their home country for opportunities elsewhere.

Now there are the first signs that the tide may be on the turn.

Several hundred African ex-pats gathered in London this week with a common goal: finding a job that will allow them to return home.

Press Release: Minister Of Information and Guidness of Somaliland
HARGEISA, 15 MARCH 2003--In an interview with the BBC on March 12, 2003 Kenya’s special Envoy Ambassador Bethwel Kiplagat stated that “Seats have been reserved for the Republic of Somaliland at the so called Somalia’s peace conference” in Nairobi, under the auspices of IGAD frontline states.
UK saves Somalia peace talks
NAIROBI, 15 MARCH 2003--The troubled Somalia peace talks appeared back on track after British government officials held separate meetings in Nairobi with the main groups in the conflict on Wednesday and yesterday.

The two UK delegations also met with the Kenyan envoy to the talks, Mr Bethwell Kiplagat, who later announced a breakthrough.

After meeting the Prime Minister of the Somalia transitional national government (TNG), Mr Hassan Abshir, on Wednesday, the Kenyan envoy announced: "So far, the latest is that they (TNG) are going to be here. I just had a meeting with the Prime Minister.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Somalia’s Interior Minister Hospitalized at KFSHRC
Salad F. Duhul, Special to Arab News

JEDDAH, 14 MARCH 2003 — Somali Interior Minister Dahir Muhammad Sheikh has been admitted to the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSHRC) here. Somali Consul General Muhammad Elmi Omer told Arab News yesterday that the minister was being treated at KFSHRC for “minor ailments” after he was flown in here last week. Omer noted that the Saudi government had extended many similar medical services to Somali leaders in the past.

UNHCR Begins Integration of Somali Bantus
NAIROBI, 14 MARCH 2003--The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) began on Thursday the integration of more than 3,300 Somali Bantu refugees into the local community in Tanzania, the UN agency reported.

UNHCR reported that the Somali Bantus fled to Tanzania in 1991 and 1992 following civil war and the collapse of the Siyad Barre government in Somalia. This group was among "tens of thousands" of Somalis who "travelled on overcrowded and rickety dhows to Kenya's coastal town of Mombasa", it said.

"They made their way farther south to Tanzania's Tanga region, following a reverse path that their ancestors had taken more than three centuries ago when they were transported as slaves," it added.

Somaliland Presidential Election Chronicles: Back to the future?
Part IV
Presidential elections are scheduled in Somaliland for April 14, next month. This series of articles will provide an in-depth analysis of the election. Two diaspora-based Somalilanders, a political scientist (Dhimbiil) and Psychiatrist (Jowhar), will provide the analysis on alternate weeks.
By A. Mohamed Ali Hashi “Dhimbil”
ADDIS ABABA, 14 MARCH 2003-- “Constitutions do not create democracy, democracy creates constitutions.” Benjamin Barber – in Jihad vs. MacWorld. Somaliland’s transition towards multi-party politics and constitutional government is precious yet precarious. Indeed, Somaliland is at the most important time in its political history. The elections are tied to the future of the country itself.

Will this transition to democracy succeed given the innumerable obstacles to achieving a democratic dispensation in Somaliland? Or, put another way, will the transition be hijacked and defined more exclusively in traditional norms or/and in exclusively in modern terms? And lastly, what responsibility does the international community have given their calls for democracy and the rule of law, given the continuing experiment in Somaliland?

SOMALIA: TNG to stay in talks, mediator says
NAIROBI, 14 MARCH 2003 (IRIN) - The Kenyan chairman of the Somali peace talks, Bethwel Kiplagat, has said the delegation of Somalia's Transitional National Government (TNG) will stay in the peace talks, after threatening to pull out earlier in the week.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday after meeting a TNG delegation led by Prime Minister Hassan Abshir Farah, Kiplagat said the TNG was committed to moving the peace process forward.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

IFJ Calls for Media Community's Participation in Peace Talks, Legal Protection of Press Freedom
TORONTO, 12 MARCH 2003--World Journalists Support Demand for Somali Media Delegation To Join Peace Conference in Kenya.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today renewed calls on the regional Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, responsible for organising the current Somalia peace talks, to guarantee formal participation by the Eastern Africa Media Institute (EAMI) Somalia Chapter as the formal civil society representative of the Somali media community.

Last month, on 19 February, the IFJ formally approached the conference organizers on the same issue. However, the Somali media community are still denied the right to participate fully. Almost all civil society groups in Somalia are represented, except for the media. The IFJ strongly believes that journalists should be involved in all policy discussions on media regulation, freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

SOMALIA: Security Council condemns violence
NAIROBI, 13 MARCH 2003 (IRIN) - The UN Security Council has condemned the continuing fighting in Somalia, and called for an immediate end to all acts of violence and for safe access to humanitarian personnel.

"It is those that have weapons of war who continue to hold the people of Somalia hostage to the cycle of violence," said a statement by the Council's current president, Guinean Ambassador Mamady Traore. "These people will be held accountable by the Somali people and the international community for their actions if they persist on the path of confrontation and conflict."
Government denies troop presence in Somalia
NAIROBI, 13 MARCH 2003 (IRIN) - The Ethiopian government has denied accusations by the Transitional National Government (TNG) of Somalia that Ethiopian forces have invaded Somali territory.

In a statement, the Ethiopian foreign ministry said "there is no Ethiopian soldier in Somalia" and described the accusation as "totally groundless and with no grain of truth".

On Tuesday, Muhammad Abdi Yusuf, the deputy speaker of the Transitional National Assembly and acting leader of the TNG delegation to the peace talks underway in Kenya, told IRIN that Ethiopian troops had "occupied parts of Somalia over the past few days". He added that "so long as Ethiopia is part of the mediation group, the TNG will not participate".
Somaliland begins campaign
LONDON, 12 MARCH 2003 (BBC)--Campaigning has begun in the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland for its first multi-party presidential election, which is to be held next month. The current leader of Somaliland, Dahir Riyaale Kahin, is being challenged by candidates from two opposition parties.

Mr Kahin succeeded the long-standing leader of the breakaway republic, Mohamed Egal, following his death in May last year.
Somaliland declared independence in 1991, as the rest of Somalia descended into anarchy. Mr Egal was elected president two years later, but the territory has never won international recognition.


One of the candidates, Feisal Ali Warabe, expressed doubt that the election would be free and fair. Election Commission chairman Abdirahman Hagi Ali Adami has also criticised the authorities for not handing over all the promised funds to supervise the elections.
He also expressed concern about a hostile atmosphere in eastern areas.

On Monday, two soldiers died and six others were wounded when a armed car overtured near the town of Lughaye. The vehicle was carrying the president's bodyguards.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Somali crisis still defies quick fixes
NAIROBI, 12 MARCH 2003--Somalia’s peace process stands at a crossroads. So far, the Somali National Peace Conference in Kenya has borne a sad resemblance to the many failed initiatives that have preceded it in the past 12 years.

Its leaders can now choose either to continue down that well-trodden path to failure, or give new direction and new life to the process.

Somalia border alert
LONON, 12 MARCH 2003--Somalia's Transitional National Government (TNG) has put its forces on full alert.
It says it is acting in response to reports of a heavy military build up of Ethiopia troops, tanks and armoured personnel carriers along the border between the two countries.

Only last month, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi admitted to the BBC that he had occasionally sent troops into neighbouring Somalia to attack members of the militant Islamist group, al-Ittihad.

Monday, March 10, 2003

EU condemns violations of Somalia interim peace dealNAIROBI, 10 MAR 2003 (IRIN) - The European Union has condemned violations of the cessation of hostilities agreement signed by the parties at the ongoing Somali peace talks in Kenya.

A declaration issued by the EU's current Greek presidency said the organisation "deplores the serious violations of the commitments undertaken, which are still occurring, and calls for an immediate cessation of all acts of violence in Somalia".

Under the terms of the agreement signed by the parties on 27 October, the Somali groups agreed to suspend all hostilities for the duration of the conference.

SOMALIA: Opposition accuses TNG of trying to sabotage peace talks
NAIROBI, 10 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - The Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC) has accused the Transitional National Government (TNG) of trying to scuttle the ongoing peace talks. The SRRC is a grouping of the southern-based factions opposed to the TNG.

In a statement, the SRRC said the TNG was behind the current confusion bedevilling the peace process by presenting itself as the legitimate government of Somalia. This was "inconsistent with the understanding of the principle of no-preconditionality agreed [to] prior to this conference".