SUMMARY OF SURVEY ON RESTORING PEACE AND STABILITY IN MOGADISHU 29 July, 2013
1.0 Survey background Following almost 13 years of transitional governments under which the country experienced the worst conflicts, permanent government was democratically elected in 2012 by 275 parliamentarians selected by clan elders.
The elected government inherited clan conflicts, weak security forces, corrupted officers, armed opposition, freelance militias, pirates; clan affiliated regional states, dysfunctional government institutions, dire humanitarian situation, numerous IDPs that forced international community to deliver about 18000 African peacekeepers in the country. The Ethiopian troops are also in some regions they fought against Alshabab. All these issues and actors have direct or indirect impact on security situation of Mogadishu. But the good thing was that Mogadishu was under the government control in its first time in two decades.
As a result of prevalent insecurity in Mogadishu all important people and places have recruited private security guards or most part of government forces were assigned to keep the security of government personnel. As Xog-doon newspaper stated in its edition 456 P6 on 22ndJuly 2013 “estimated 15000 government soldiers with 200 armed vehicles and 15000 guns are employed as personal security guards for important people both government and private officials”. Surprisingly, only about 5000 police forces are assigned to restore the peace and stability in the capital. Although Alshabab has officially withdrawn from the city in September 2011, their influence and attacks of explosions and assassinations targeted to government officers, affiliates, journalists and aid workers constantly continue in the city.
2.0 Introduction to the survey research
From September 2011, all parts of Mogadishu city districts are under control of government forces, the security is not reliable. Insecurity actions including targeted assassinations, explosions, robbery, and clashes between armed groups constantly occur in the city. Despite periodical security operations, the work of security forces passively goes on in different police stations with no tangible achievements.
The relationship between community and security institutions is not good due to negative perceptions, mistrust, ill-treatments and lack of proper plan towards strengthening the public relation. Lack or irregular payment of security forces made the situation worse as some disruptive forces inhumanly rob the people’s belongings, which distanced any possible collaboration between the security forces and the public.
This paper attempts to investigate the challenges ahead the restoration of peace and stability in Mogadishu through examining the perceptions between community and security forces, their level of collaboration, existing opportunities and the capacity of security forces. The survey refers also the already written documents on this topic and interviewed almost 44 key informants from traditional elders, religious leaders, NGOs, Somali security forces, Amisom, business people and general community.
3.0 Survey objectives
The main objective of the survey is to study the real obstacles, opportunities and solutions in restoring peace and stability in Mogadishu; and share it with the relevant stakeholders. The specific objectives are:
- To assess the level of collaboration of Mogadishu peace and stability stakeholders
2.To explore the perception between security forces and the community
3.To discover capacity of security forces to keep the peace and stability of Mogadishu
4.To identify the existing opportunities that can help restore peace and stability in Mogadishu
4.0 Data collection process
The study was conducted as survey with the purpose of exposing the real situation in which Mogadishu security forces operate including their behaviors, perceptions, capacity, and collaborations amongst them and to the larger community. Almost 44 respondents from security forces, Amisom, Traditional leaders (elders and religious scholars), civil society and media have been interviewed. The primary data was collected through in-depth personal interview (IDI’s). The questionnaires used to collect the data were mixed of close and open ended questions. It has employed qualitative approach that relies on thematic framework of analysis of the field findings while some questions are dealt in percentage form
5.0 Survey findings
The survey found that there is a big mistrust between community and security forces. The community perceives that security forces are undisciplined clan militias that attack and rob people instead of protecting. It is indicated that security forces consist of former warlord militias, former street children, illiterate unskilled youngsters, and small number of former government forces. The security forces were recruited on clan basis, and due to the urgency of the security situation they were not provided the required training and orientation to change their negative attitudes towards the community. Indubitably, it needs time to change the behavior of current security forces, who worked to protect clan & group interest in chaotic situation, to become disciplined national security forces that work on the protection of civilian rights will take time.
The surveys found out that the security forces in Mogadishu city are sufficient in number but do not have the skills, equipment and moral to keep the peace and security. Lack of regular payment, experience, and commitment together with their civil war negative experience and corruption makes the security forces weak and incapable to prevent crimes and protect civilians.
It is also among the survey findings that collaboration between community and security forces is very weak. This is attributed mainly to the ill-treatment and poor discipline of the security forces with the community. The survey revealed that there are no connection mechanisms between community and security forces because the government did not bring in place a proper approach to engage community in restoring peace in the city and the personal security risk that associates working with security forces prevents community to come forward and openly collaborate with security forces.
6.0 Conclusions and Recommendations
The collaboration between security forces and the general public is improving and some orientations done by security officials to boast the discipline of the security forces. However, widespread fear, mistrust, negative perceptions, lack of connection mechanism, and Al shabab influence in the capital city has extremely limited the collaboration between the community and security.
More than that, there are several opportunities that may help the restoration of peace and stability in Mogadishu including government with the help of international support, AMISOM, fund for stabilization, while different the security stakeholder – business people, traditional elders, religious leaders, civil society, media – realize that they have important role in restoring peace and security in Mogadishu and their collaboration with the security forces could be a backbone for any task done to improve the peace and security.
Based on the findings the survey recommends the following:
- Establishing common vision: Government has to have a clear destination to reach and strategy to direct the community and lead them to.
- Develop clear security policy in Mogadishu: The government has to have written clear security policy to lead the Somali National Army and its community work. They should also have strategy to handle arms in public hands and freelance militias.
- Improving the condition of security forces:this is intended for improving the living conditions of security forces in terms of payment, healthcare, family care after death, training courses and promotion systems.
- Vetting Security Forces: The security institutions should plan vetting for recruited arms in terms of previous crimes, relation with opposition, ethics and drugs.
- Establishment of neighborhood system in all districts in Benadir region:this approach makes possible for security forces to get timely accurate information regarding the security and other community concerns, prevents any possible abuses against innocent civilians, avoids criminals to creep into the community and promotes community connections.
- Establishment effective district administrations in Benadir region:Almost all of the current district commissioners have come from the warlord era and are blamed of poor knowledge in administrationand clan dominated which damages their performance. The government can establish district councilors who will elect district commissioner among themselves with the consultation of community leaders to get the public acceptance and support.
- Broadening local participation in restoring security: in the process of planning and implementation of Mogadishu security plan, the participation of local security experts and community leaders is essential for providing practical knowledge in the local context. The involvement of community leaders including traditional elders and religious scholars will strengthen the community ownership in the restoration of peace and security. Similarly, the engagement of media in the process of restoring peace and security in Mogadishu plays an important role in raising public awareness towards the ongoing efforts.
- Establishment of public relation office:the security forces should establish a public relation office with the mandate of establishing and strengthening the community and security sector relationship. This office will receive public complaints, recommendations and information; it will investigate and refer to the concerned offices; and also will develop communication strategies to raise public awareness and expel negative perceptions.
- Implementation of reformed Justice System:the security and justice are interrelated and without the existence of both of them, one cannot work. The reformation of justice system and accountability of law enforcers is cornerstone for restoration of peace and eliminating the widespread impunity. The government should reform, enforce justice system and establish public attorney office that defends public in legal matters
- Localizing security forces:the security forces and/or their commanders should come from the area they are operating or should have a proper knowledge to the area and its people. This can improve the relationship between the community and security forces and will make it easy for security forces to get any information about the security. To enhance their collaboration, the commander of district police station should be answerable to the district commissioner.
- Fighting against corruption:corruption in security institutions has a negative impact to the people including reduced accessibility to services responsible for ensuring their rights and maintaining their safety, and an increased vulnerability to security threats and crime. The people are also more likely to be subjected to bribery and extortion, as well as threats, intimidation and victimization by security forces. The corruption and misappropriation of public funds will stop business people to pay taxes that will have negative impact on restoring peace and security in Mogadishu. These are all true in Mogadishu and unless the government and public together fight against the corruption no security or stability is dreamt.
- Training the local security forces: the African Mission in Somalia should train the local security forces so that they are enabled to maintain security when AMISOM troops withdraw from the country and independently work with the presence of AMISOM.
- Improve level of Collaboration with SNA: AMISOM collaboration with national forces require to be improved
- Seek public support: the African mission should seek public support by refraining actions or words touching the culture and the religion of the Somali people and supporting the needy people.
- Invest the security forces: The business community have to have important role to arrange and support security forces to stabiles the security of Mogadishu
- Income Generating Projects: the poverty and insecurity go hand in hand. With the high unemployment rate that makes the youths vulnerable to be used for insecurity actions, job creation projects for youths is crucial for returning peace and security in Mogadishu. The Business people should encourage other Somali and non-Somali business people to create new jobs invest the country.
- Support peace initiatives: the Business people should spend their wealthy in promotion peace and security at local and national levels by paying the taxes and other contributions.
- The media engagement: the media plays an important role in restoring peace and security in post-conflict period. The media should take that role by raising public awareness towards peace, provide accurate information, expose corruptions, promote policy agendas in public interests and become voice for the voiceless.
- The media should avoid propagating hate speeches, giving space to spoilers, inciting conflicts or becoming propaganda platform for opposition groups.
- Report positive developments done by public and private institutions
- The IDPs relocation: Over three hundred thousands of IDPs are scattered in Mogadishu and are believed to be part of Mogadishu insecurities as they are vulnerable to be abused and misused for insecurity actions due to the overpopulated camps, their low living standard, and high unemployment rate. The improvement of security situation of their places of origin and supporting them to restart their living can encourage the IDPs to voluntarily return.
- Organize public debates: to raise public awareness towards peace, the civil society should organize debates towards peace and security through media. This is intended to prepare the general society to take their part in efforts towards restoring peace in Mogadishu.
- Organizing Consultation forums: Improving community and security sector relationship is the first step toward restoring peace in Mogadishu without which nothing can be done. The civil society should organize forums for community leaders and security forces to strengthen their collaboration and share information
- Promote Dialogue: Create space for vulnerable people to speak out to reduce cultural violence and facilitate conflicted clans/groups to discuss their issue in a peaceful manner
- Watchdog: the civil society should investigate and produce reports on human right abuses against the civilians and submit to the concerned governmental institutions or publicize through media in case the issue was not addressed by the government.
- Capacity building: in order to improve their knowledge and skills toward peace and security, the civil society should provide training to the community leaders and security forces and vocational training for youth so that they refrain joining opposition groups
- Research: the civil society organizations should make researches on peace and security and provide practical recommendations that can help governmental security institutions in their efforts towards bringing back peace and stability in Mogadishu