With a history of inter-ethnic tension, land conflict and election-related violence, Somalia’s adoption of its long-awaited peace policy is a welcome step towards better coordinated efforts at building peace, argues Nalaye Ahmed
Local, state and federal governments, instead of treating civil society with mistrust and exploiting ethnic divisions, should allow space for CSOs to mediate between the government and the public. Civil society can promote citizens’ exercise of their rights and responsibilities while fostering open channels of communication that allow governments to hear and act on public concerns.(Somali Civil Society)
“The need for a national framework to guide efforts to prevent conflict and build peace in Kenya cannot be overstated. For a long time Somalia was seen as the most problematic Nation of the Horn of Africa, with frequent incidents of tribal division fueled by the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. Political violence and tribal wars was experienced , raising concern about the country’s capacity to deal with such high levels of violence and the effectiveness of its early warning and response, mediation, and security deployment.
Today, despite the relative calm, the country still has a long way to go before being considered peaceful; there are misconceptions and misinterpretations around the implementation of devolution, tensions within and across counties over boundaries, and the discovery of oil and minerals further complicates inter-community relations. Somalia’s high number of unemployed youth remains a threat to the country’s stability, as they are at risk of being recruited into armed gangs or manipulated by politicians to intimidate their opponents and their supporters, and cause violence.