AU directs troops against taking sides Somali politics
The 32nd Meeting of the Coordination Committee (MOCC) of the Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs) of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) was held virtually on 28 April, 2021 at two levels: Ambassadors accredited to the African Union (AU), and Chiefs of Defence Staff and Chiefs/Commissioners of Police.
The meetings were chaired by H.E. Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (C-PAPS) and attended by representatives of Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Uganda, with the participation of AMISOM.
The AU Commissioner expressed sincere appreciation to the troop and police contributing countries for their steadfast commitment to the overall peace and stability of Somalia through their long service to AMISOM. He reiterated the conclusions of the 993rd meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) of Thursday, 22 April 2021, which necessitated the convening of the MOCC.
The 32nd MOCC, at the level of Ambassadors and Chiefs of Defence Staff/Police Chiefs reaffirmed the condemnation of the 12 and 13 April 2021 unilateral decisions by the House of the People and the President respectively, which purportedly extended their mandates to enable the conduct of a one-person-one-vote elections within two years.
The Meeting further reaffirmed the 17 September 2020 Agreement as the pathway to negotiations on the electoral modalities in Somalia, given its inclusiveness as a Somalia-owned and -led process involving the Federal Government, its Member States, opposition parties and civil society.
In this context, the MOCC agreed on actions that AMISOM should undertake to prevent an eruption of violent conflict in and beyond Mogadishu – _whilst ensuring AMISOM positions are protected and secured.
The meetings highlighted the current situation in Somalia as worrisome and deteriorating steadily, and reiterated calls for trust and confidence building measures and the resumption of broad-based, inclusive dialogue to generate consensus on the way forward.
The MOCC also welcomed the Statement by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ‘Farmaajo’ on 27 April 2021 regarding his readiness to return to the Lower House of Parliament to have the decisions of 12 February reversed, and to also return to the 17 September 2020 agreement as the basis for the elections.
The Troop/Police Contributing Countries to AMISOM echoed the need for decisive actions by the AU and AMISOM to sustain the substantial gains achieved through AMISOM’s support, including the progress made in enhancing governance processes, and the requisite assistance to the electoral processes.
Additionally, the meeting commended AMISOM and its T/PCCs for their sacrifices and continued vigilance, and requested that the contingency plans developed by the Mission be constantly revised to take into account the rapidly evolving situation. Participants also requested that AMISOM take the necessary steps to ensure that the capabilities exist to allow for rapid implementation of the contingency plans.
Importantly, the MOCC stressed that AMISOM should avoid being drawn into partisan politics in Somalia, but should remain neutral vis-à-vis the various political factions and parties, in order to effectively facilitate the demilitarisation of Mogadishu and environs.
The 32nd MOCC welcomed the call of the 993rd AU PSC for the immediate appointment and deployment of a High Representative as Special Envoy for Somalia, with support from the Special Representative for Somalia and Head of AMISOM. In this regard, Thus, the MOCC agreed to empower AMISOM to provide support for the AU High Representative and support team to facilitate the resumption of dialogue on the political track in Somalia.
The Meeting also urged that protection measures, modalities and arrangements already in place should be strengthened to enable facilitation of the objectives set out by the communique of the 993rd meeting of the PSC for the High Representative.
The 32nd MOCC underscored that the current crisis in Somalia is primarily political, even though it has grave ramifications for both the security situation and military operations.
It reiterated the essence of resolving the current political crisis through effective political engagement and action, including the possible holding of a T/PCC Summit, to provide the necessary strategic guidance to AMISOM.
In addition, participants noted that the political crisis has serious implications for the implementation of both the Somali Transition Plan (STP) and UN Security Council Resolution 2568 (2021) especially in light of the fracturing of the Somali National Army along factional and clan lines.
Finally, the 32nd MOCC of AMISOM agreed to continue to monitor closely the unfolding political and security situation in Somalia, with the technical backstopping by the AU Commission.
It noted that the outcome of the engagement of the AU High Representative on Somalia’s political track would feed into the coordinated efforts among the AU, European Union (EU), Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the United Nations (UN), as well as the recommendations expected from the ongoing AU independent assessment of AMISOM, on the future direction for Somalia’s quest for good governance, and sustaining peace and stability.