28, October

In 2007 the African Union fully joined the efforts to resolve Somalia crisis by launching AMISOM peacekeeping mission in Somalia. This was one of the numerous international initiatives to resolve Somalia conflict, which began in 1991, after the downfall of President Mohamed Siad Barre.

Though the mission is considered to be productive, on the other hand there are some issues which need to be fixed to enable its smooth progress.
In diplomacy rules, ethics and transparency are must to be adhered and fully respected. So that diplomats and other officials helping them to perform their duties should have specific tenures to serve in the countries they are assigned to. In Dec 1991, then Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, after consulting incoming Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, he asked then Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs James O.C. Jonah to visit Somalia and become the first UN envoy for Somalia affairs.
Mr Jonah was replaced by Algerian diplomat Mohamed Sahnuni, and then followed by Ismat Kitani, who was appointed on 3rd November 1992. Others who followed include Admiral Jonathan Howe, James Victor Gbeho, Francois Fall, Augustine Mahiga and the current UN Somalia chief, Nicholas Kay. Replacement of other senior and junior officers always accompanied these UN appointments of its envoys to Somalia.

But an investigation carried out by the Wagoshanews investigative journalism team (Wagoshanews is an independent multilingual Somali website based in Kismayu and Nairobi), reveals that most the AU officials have been working with the mission since 2007, when the mission was launched.
Though the AU sent three diplomats to serve as its envoys to Somalia during the seven years of AMISOM existence, on the other hand many may wonder why some  officials holding other crucial offices have not been replaced since their appointments.Though these diplomats have been working hard to help resolving Somalia’s two decades of civil war, they also developed  a suspicious close relationship with certain Somali clans, causing a major concern among other Somali clans.
Somalia has been in clan power struggle for a long period soon after the creation of the Somali Republic in 1960.
Its common to spot the AU officials having tea and mingling with certain clan politicians in Nairobi, Mogadishu, and in many other places around the globe.
Some my argue that their unquestionable lengthy presence in Somalia of seven years is to blame for their suspicious relations with some Somali groups.

In 2008, a report the UN Monitoring Group suggested that Ugandan peacekeepers in Somalia have been selling arms to insurgents.http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7417435.stm . Such claims have resurfaced again this year: Read the link http://www.africareview.com/News/Uganda-peacekeepers-sold-guns-in-Somalia/-/979180/2040906/-/26q4aw/-/index.html?relative=true

The suspicious friendship between AMISOM officials and some Somali political groups took a shocking turn in 2009 and 2010, when some AMISOM officials were seen in Nairobi hotels campaigning for Azania group led by warlord Mohamed Abdi Gandi.Some members of Somali clans told the Wagoshanews desk that they felt being pushed aside when dealing with AU officials, and claimed that members of other clans are dealt as darlings by the AMISOM officials.
AU should at least carry out and inquiry to clean its house, so that the world can continue to have a confidence in this biggest African body.
The world is currently facing economical and security challenges, and its an insult to the taxpayers of European countries, to use their money for an operation that is not delivering the expected results.

The eyes of the whole world are on Somalia, and all the key players including Somali government, AU, EU UN and other stake holders should not allow their efforts to be derailed by some individuals, who are pursuing their own interests.
Its time for the EU, UN and other international agencies to review the performance of AMISOM and ask AU to adhere the ethics and transparency rules in their Somalia mission.

Wagoshanews Desk
Kismayo, Somalia
Tel: 25269900711