Af Somali

Mid ka mid ah madaxda Xarunta Cilmi Baarista iyo Wada Tashiga (CRD) ee magaaladda Muqdisho, Jibril Ibraahim Cabdulle, oo ay BBC-du waraysatay ayaa waxa uu ka warramay dhibaatooyinka horyaalla dowladda la filayo

Monthly Mogadishu Forum

On March 16, 2003, at Amira Castle Hotel, CRD/WSP International held its monthly Mogadishu Forum. This last Forum comes at a time when the pending Mbagathi Somali National Reconciliation Conference is at the crossroads. Given the current stalemate and anxiety among average Mogadishu residents, this Forum attracted the attention and the willing participation of a wide range of influential personalities, civil society members, Mogadishu based faction leaders, senior TNG members and the media.

Traditionally CRD/WSP Forums were forbidden from media to cover debate issues due to the confidentiality and preach of political (save environment) spaces that CRD/WSP offers to the protagonists taking part in the debate. This time CRD/WSP invited the participation of media groups for wider dissemination and coverage of the debate to uplift the public moral and hope and also generate new momentum for re-energising the peace process for Somalia (in Mbagathi and future conferences if any). The media groups that attended the Forum were from both local and international news outlets.

Further to the above-mentioned reasons, the objective of the Forum was to also sample the perception of the people about the proposed "national peace dialogue" of WSP without disclosing the idea to the public. To provocate public sentiment CRD/WSP presented a set of controversial issues/themes for the Forum. The modality used was an audiovisual presentation. The video documentary film demonstrated the public perception before and during the current Somali Peace Conference in Kenya. CRD utilised its records from Eldoret to entice the participants generate ideas.

Issues addressed:

1. The perception of the public about the current Mbagathi process.
2. The concept of structure versus non-structure of a future Somali government.
3. Peace building versus State formation.
4. The concept of reconciliation in the Somali peace process.
5. Public/Selective participants in the Somali peace process.

CRD observed a sense of disappointment among participants that the conference is heading towards getting listed in the previous failed peace efforts, that the conference took pace with wrong plan, wrong agenda, wrong management etc., that unaccounted high cost expenditure was incurred with no success so far, that there is lack of coordination between organising agencies, that there is lack of trust between frontline states and among many others with participants with no legitimacy at all to remain accountable for the agreements they are to enter.

Forum participants seemed to have no knowledge about ambassador Bethwel Kiplagat and they have raised questions about his ability to steer the peace conference to success at a time when his predecessor is well known in Mogadishu to have mismanaged the entire peace process. People seemed frustrated with the peace conference with regard to the time consumed and expenditures incurred so far.

Many participants suggested that the peace conference should be safeguarded as this could be a last chance. It was said that it is better to save the process than watching it to fail. If the conference fails or produces undesirable outcome it could both lead to further armed confrontation between the known political contenders. Many others suggested another option: suspend (put to sleep) the present conference properly and ask leaders (the third phase) to obtain legitimacy from their respective constituents in their respective regions. There were many more that proposed all national reconciliation conference be held inside Somalia. A number of participants supported the idea that a parallel conference should be launched inside Somalia while the present national peace conference is in course in order to give a level of legitimacy to the outcome, in other words encourage public participation.

A large number of participants persuaded CRD/WSP to pioneer the peace process in what was termed as (Peace Tabliiq) throughout Somalia with the help and support of the local people. The term Tabliiq refers to the religious sector whose preachers travel throughout the Somali regions to disseminate the respect and adherence to the Islamic teachings, respect of human rights, help the needy etc. CRD/WSP, as they said, could act like tabliiq for peace.

The Forum participants urged that in any future or pending Somali reconciliation conference without the full participation of the people would end up in failure. The over all discussion in the forum seems to confirm or at least support the proposed national peace dialogue. So far CRD/WSP is receiving an overwhelming positive feedback from the public and the media coverage increased the momentum of support. CRD/WSP is planning to engage itself a more invigorated workshop to be held in Dubai on March 26/27 expected to be attended by the most powerful financial exponents.

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