Accountability: the omitted piece from the peace deal
We are expected to be cheering and welcoming the Djibouti
breakthrough peace pact between the Somali Transitional
Government and the Opposition Islamist groups. As usual; most of
us will oblige and feel relief that the Somali factions once
again for the 15th or 16th time reached another landmark peace
Ethiopian troops leaving Somalia is great news but would it
turn out to be real? We got to wait for 120 days and hope so!
Yet, the ambiguity of the article (7b of the pact) that calls
for the withdrawal dampens the spirits. Maybe if the wording was
bit different and straight, it would have made us all cheer for
it and be optimistic. The vagueness of the article bodes gloomy
interpretations later on. The conditions linked to the total and
absolute withdrawal of the Ethiopian troops and when, how and
who will fulfill these clauses as "TFG will act in accordance";
"the deployment of a sufficient number of UN Forces"; begs the
Then there are other reasonable qualms one can raise. Who will
guarantee Al-Shabaab to comply and cease the insurgency to
liberate Somalia from the Ethiopian subjugation? What would
happen if they don't cease the armed confrontation and
hostilities? Within 30 days and keep it for 90 days? Would the
insurgents stop their raids to takeover towns and villages
throughout the country? Would the TFG headship be happy being
confined to Villa Somalia, the ADC warehouse in Baidao? Even if,
the moderates disassociate the hardliners, who would guarantee
the insurgents won't attack the expected UN forces that would be
deployed in Somalia? When and how these forces will be deployed?
Would the UN and International Community carry out their pledge
this time around and on time?
But most importantly; what would this peace deal means to the
average suffering Somali mother and child and to the ones whose
loved ones perished under the brutal Ethiopian occupation?
The Ethiopian troops would be leaving after they have killed
thousands of innocent mothers and children, wounded thousands of
innocent Somali civilians, destroyed and wiped out entire
neighborhoods. The Ethiopians would leave unpunished for the war
crimes they committed in Mogadishu. The Ethiopians would leave
undefeated knowing that they pulled off remarkable feats:
Crushing the Somali people in their own capital, reaching the
coveted Indian Ocean and avenging the humiliation of the 1977
war. These are milestones for Meles Zenawi to be proud of. He
will tell his returning military officers to hold their heads up
and be proud of what they did in Mogadishu.
Most of all, the Ethiopians would leave their warlord clients
behind, in power, unpunished and protected by the UN
multinational force that would be deployed. The peace deal means
that Somali warlords and war criminals would not be held
accountable and would be retaining positions of leadership under
the next "inclusive and unity" government.
Even so, with this peace deal, the average Somali mother and
child would be expecting to be relieved of the indiscriminate
shelling and human rights abuses. Possibly, they would come back
to their destroyed homes and as resilient as they always have
been lick their wounds and recover from the unimaginable
horrors. But the humiliation and suffering would haunt them
Forget about accountability and justice. The relatives of the
mothers and children who have been killed, wounded, displaced,
starved, raped, massacred in their homes, in the markets and
mosques, and blocked of food, medical and humanitarian
assistance are told to forget and forgive all of that painful
atrocities and welcome this peace deal.
As for the international community that have not only
complacently sanctioned the Ethiopian occupation but turned
blind eye to the worst humanitarian violations in the past 18
months can now exonerate itself of the shame and complicity of
the occupation by pushing this peace deal and "possibly"
replacing the Ethiopians.
Abdulkadir Mohamed - Ato