“There is definitely unimaginable change in Somalia from a war situation to an increasing peaceful situation,” says UN top envoy.
“It may be more difficult, it may be more challenging, [but] we have moved from transition to transformation which entails peacebuilding [and] around it is state-building,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, told a news conference in Nairobi, in neighbouring Kenya, of the UN’s future role in a country that had been torn apart by more than 20 years of internecine warfare.
The UN envoy paid tribute to the UN-backed African Union force in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali forces, which last month drove the Al Shabaab out of the port city of Kismayo, in the country’s south, and praised Somalia’s transition process which has seen the adoption of a new constitution, the convening of a new parliament, and the selection of a new president in recent months.
“Ending the transition was momentous because this was a success story which Somalia has not witnessed in the past 21 years,” Mr. Mahiga said, using phrases such as “turning the corner” and “quantum leap” to describe the progress made.
But he warned that the capture of Kismayo does not mean the end of the Al Shabaab, noting that the challenge from a degraded Al Shabaab may continue.
Stabilization, he noted, needs include establishing law and order and the creation of military and police services, setting up local and regional administrations, and the delivery of basic services such a water and health.