Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Somalia Government Flexes Muscles

The current Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) headed by Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has long been accused by the international media and by a cross-section of impatient Somalis as being inept, incompetent, and corrupt. For some, the TFG has been a government only in name; its sphere of influence is restricted to the presidential palace-also known as Villa Somalia-which translates to a few blocks in a city of eighteen counties and a population exceeding over a million inhabitants.

Besieged by armed insurgents on all sides, the president and his retinue of dignitaries remain under the protection of AMISOM-an armed contingent provided by the African Union and funded by the international community. Perhaps a little less than a division and a legion, AMISOM is an amalgamation of select forces from the nations of Uganda and Burundi. The roughly 8,000 AMISOM force currently in Mogadishu remain guardians of the harbor, the airport, and the presidential palace. Lack of effective management and scarcity of funds has hindered the TFG's prospect of ushering in the much-needed peace and security.

Bickering and clan affiliations remain the major destructive tool for disgruntled parliamentarians with intent to further divide and plunge the nation in to a cycle of abyss. Rival militias integrated in to government forces switch sides by joining the Jihadists who continue to wage war on all fronts with the ultimate goal of toppling the infant and fragile TFG.

With patience and constancy the TFG is headed to reversing previous negative trends that posed a threat in the past by winning the hearts and minds of its war wary citizens. With thousands of newly-graduated troops and committed commanders on the ground, the TFG has now flexed muscles by covering and capturing new ground.

In the past few days, loyal government forces overwhelmingly captured the strategic city of Beletweyne from Hizbul Islam militia. Likewise, government forces and AMISOM troops have been pushing back the confrontational al-Shabab militant group from various segments of the city of Mogadishu thus allowing the safe return of displaced persons to their rightful homes.

Besides, the TFG has become a beneficiary of millions of dollars from the international community earmarked for the reconstruction and development of Somalia-the latest being money to the tune of $300m. The recently concluded conference in Ankara, Turkey, will be followed by a similar one to be held in Spain before year end. Which brings us to the conclusion that Somalia will in the long run reclaim its lost glory and once again become a major force to reckon with.

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