Nairobi (HAN) April 18, 2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. Opinion BY:Dahir Adani. Time for the Security Council to Dissolve Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group. Last week’s high level consultation meeting by the Somalia’s leadership level both at federal and regional, was very symbolic and different from the previous meetings that required international community mediation to agree on the different agenda items. For the first time, the Somali leadership agreed on the crucial post 2016 election processes and its mechanisms independently.
Further the leaders unanimously sent strong message to the SEMG for its malicious reporting and investigations that includes both demeaning prominent individuals and government institutions. The communiqué dated 12.04.2016 stated the conduct of the SEMG and the behavior of its members objectionable at the highest level of government’s leadership, the National Leadership Forum stressed “their deep concerns about the behavior and the practice of the SEMG, especially their targeting of the Somali citizens and hindering the process of state building in Somalia” this was instigated by series of successive demonstrations and protest by the Somali people in most of the major cities denouncing the SEMG’s mafia-like illegitimate abuse of entrusted mandate to destroy prominent Somalis reputations and incapacitate the restoration of the Somali institutions. This also illustrates, for the first time that the FGS is heeding to public concerns against the SEMG as a destabilizing entity.
For eight years now, we have seen reports by the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) whose stated goal was to monitor the United Nations’ arms embargo on Somalia. By seeing a consistent pattern of its sensational reports, one could argue that the Monitoring Group has earned a notorious reputation for undermining the peace building and state building efforts in Somalia. The recent Monitoring Group reports generated huge discontentment within the Somali public, tossing false accusations against senior government leaders while portraying mangled public institutions.
The UN and the wider international community continue to blindly support SEMG counterproductive activities with no accountability to their allegations and findings that’s incoherent and inconsistent with the principles of the said institutions.
The Group’s unchallenged and unverified reports served well the interests of certain member states in the Security Council who have sustained its operations in Somalia. But the unavoidable conclusion is that the Monitoring Group remains to be an unmitigated disaster for Somalia.
“Eritrea calls for the UN Security Council to rescind sanctions Somalia/ Eritrea Monitoring Group’s malicious black propaganda reporting against its citizens.”
The Monitoring Group has a history of fabricating information; including the famous lie that claimed “720” Somali Islamists had ‘allegedly’ participated in the Lebanon war between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006 and several other accusations levied against the Somali government and its citizenry. In its 2014 report it falsely identified a government official who is the current Director General of the Ministry of Constitution to have committed suicide in an explosion that took place in Puntland state in Somalia and publicly published his pictures and passport identifications as evidence to tarnish his personal reputation, this caused him distress and unimaginable mental anguish.
Furthermore, this Group proposed a “moratorium on oil and gas agreements in Somalia” exactly the opposite of what Somalia needs today to overcome the vicious cycle of extremism and poverty that is so prevalent across Somalia. In fact, tapping into the natural resources of the country has the potential to address not only the political issues, but also the pressing security issues as well as the social challenges we all face in Somalia.
In addition, the SEMG reports issued so far were neither objective nor fair. According to individuals interviewed by this author, the SEMG members use both threats and intimidation tactics against government officials and civil society members for listing under the Security Council sanctions if they fail to cooperate with their ill-intentions.
In reality, the SEMG operates beyond the bound of its mandate from the Security Council and has repeatedly violated the laws of the land by subverting Somalia’s efforts to stabilize the country. In other words, SEMG reports constitute a serious threat to the national security of Somalia and at times it provokes such terms of massacre on clans which could lead to further unrest in the country
Lately, several peaceful demonstrations were organized in Somalia against the damaging reports by the SEMG, where civil society and community leaders expressed their concerns towards UN’s Monitoring Group on Somalia, demanding the Government to respond firmly and take decisive measures on the conduct of the SEMG.
The recklessness of the SEMG must be confronted to preserve the legitimacy of the public institutions and the hard-working civil servants in the Government. By doing so, Somalia is better positioned to address the important issues facing the country in this critical period of 2016 electoral transitions.
As a nation, we can’t compromise our legitimate aspirations for the recklessness of SEMG and its rogue members, particularly when it threatens our collective ability to achieve united and democratic Somalia with peace and strong public institutions.
The Federal Government and the Parliament should show leadership on this issue as it has some serious ramifications on both domestic and international scale. The SEMG’s current framework and mandate shouldn’t be accepted as long as it undermines the important objectives in state building and institutional recovery in Somalia.
If the Security Council is serious for engaging with Somalia, it must respect the norms, dignity and institutional integrity of Somalia. And so far, the SEMG has proven that it won’t respect our political sovereignty.
Dahir Adani is a Somali political analyst and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org