OPINION: Why Somalia’s Stability & Prosperity Will Depend On Improved Regional Relations

Somalia has been a ground for conflicting foreign interests since the downfall of the military government in January 1991. The local armed groups used to play a facilitation role for the external competition at the expense of the interests of the country and its people.

This has given rise to a new trend of seeking foreign sponsorships for local political views of the warlords. The major purpose of the armed militia groups and warlords was to gain control over specific areas in the country so that they could get their political presence noticed and considered by the international community as an important stakeholder.

That situation has undoubtedly created the fragmentation of the country’s political and national unity. And it existed for so many years then. Consequently the ordinary Somali citizen felt valueless in their own country as they had lost their rights to decide their future. Unfortunately they gave in to this kind of life which denied them the right to choose their destiny politically.

Now that the country is recovering from decades of destruction and lawlessness and rebuilding state institutions, there is no way to let the external influences keep interfering in the national interests of Somalia. The country’s government under the leadership of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo is expected to strive to rather bring the Somalia’s participation in the regional and international politics back, than allowing our internal issues remain the subject matter of the political discussions at all levels.

The country’s involvement in the recent political movements in the Horn of African countries towards ushering a new threshold of political and diplomatic cooperation is really a step in the right direction in gaining a considerable presence in the region. This comes amid disputes between the Federal Government of Somalia and the regional administrations, a situation that has been regarded according to many Somalis as being a big impediment before the Farmaajo administration that deserves to be given much more attention than the ongoing engagement with the regional matters.

Although it’s undoubtedly necessary and obligatory for the government to closely cooperate with its stakeholders, such as the regional states, it’s not less importance to get on with the countries in the region as this may help the incumbent federal government of Somalia to put an end to the foreign influences (including the neighboring countries) that used to escalate the Somali internal problems.

If the countries in the Horn of Africa region decide to join hands and be in harmony with each other, this will give Somalia an unprecedented chance to concentrate on its own problems, which will more likely be easier to get sorted out than how it used to be in the past.

We all know that regional states in Somalia are famed for their inclination to deal with foreign parts at the expense of Somalia’s sovereignty and integrity as an independent nation with the absolute right to have nation-wide channels that any foreign communication should come through. This trend has prompted the country’s image to be disfigured and disrespected in the eyes of the international community.

Therefore, any step taken for the purpose of fastening a strong diplomatic links with the region and the international community will be beneficiary for the Federal government to get the country’s territorial and political sovereignty enclosed with a powerful wall that is made of the pure willingness and desire of the Somali people.

By Mohamed Abdullahi Dhaaley