UNITED NATIONS. IN PRAISE OF "RULE OF LAW AND GOOD GOVERNMENT" -- IN SOMALIA?!

 

15 SEPTEMBER 2008

IN PRAISE OF "RULE OF LAW AND GOOD GOVERNMENT" -- IN SOMALIA?!

Having recharged his batteries in an open air lunch at the selective and especially expensive Cipriani Downtown in Soho, Ahmadou Ould Abdallah was ready to energetically resume his functions as U.N. Special Representative for Somalia. Notice the "for". That means he does not have to be "in" Somalia. Just work "for" it. These are the new "creative approaches" of "reform oriented leaderships." Few Special Representatives these days spend time in their target countries. No wonder their credibility -- and by association, that of the U.N. -- is taking a downward turn, not to mention their effectiveness. They hardly spend time in the countries they are supposed to help. An increasing number of them now are part-timers. That not only means that they have less time to devote to their assigned tasks, but that they would be able to get away with mixing U.N. business with their own business. They pontificate from a safe distance with "politically correct" language meant to impress an influential capital but certainly not to win the hearts and minds of the local population.

A recent example of that pretentious approach was an announcement by our Soho gourmet, Ould Abdallah, welcoming an August 25 gathering on Somalia in Addis Ababa. Under a so-called "agreement" (one in a hundred over the last 10 months!) -- the President, speaker of Parliament and the Prime Minister "have resolved to promote reconciliation, the rule of law and good governance"! Everyone following tragic events in Somalia knows that neither President Yusuf, Speaker Sheikh Aden Madobe, nor Prime Minister Hussein, have anything to do with "rule of law and good governance." They don't stand a chance of holding to power one day if Ethiopian troops withdraw. Actually, it is the Ethiopians, with 4.6 million people approaching starvation, who are getting fed up with losing soldiers and spending much-needed funds to maintain a hopeless clique who certainly have not "resolved to promote reconciliation."

Days later another statement expressed "extreme alarm" at the increasing role of piracy in Somali waters. (By the way, one looted boat was South Korean.) "This piracy has become a threat to international navigation and free trade. The million of dollars in ransom paid to pirates and their associates inland and overseas has become a multi-million dollar business, which threatens stability...in Somalia as a whole." Here, here.

Clearly, the only resolve these government leaders have is to stash away as much cash as possible before fleeing to Nairobi -- same as their dogmatic predecessors, the Islamic Courts. The one who knows that failure more than anyone else is the U.N. Special Representative. Ahmadou Ould Abdallah is an intelligent and well-informed fellow who seems to go along mainly to get along. What else could he do? Go back to Nouackchott?!