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The rise of proxy leaders in Somalia

As Somalia’s balkanization – masquerading as federalism— intensifies, neighboring states have embarked on a mission to get a share of the country and instill a proxy leader to represent their interests. Every former warlord and aspiring politician is indefatigably working round the clock to create a fiefdom and declare de facto autonomy from the central government. The Interim Jubbaland Administration (IJA) ...

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Mr. Obama’s visit to Ethiopia sends the wrong message on democracy

“AFRICA DOESN’T need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.” Those were President Obama’s words when he addressed Ghana’s parliament in July 2009, during his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa as president. The historic speech, watched around the globe, was an optimistic clarion call to the leaders on the continent from the son of a Kenyan. “First, we must support strong and sustainable democratic governmen ...

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Amisom handed Al-Shabaab a lemon, they made grapefruit juice

Perhaps we misunderstand and underrate Al Shabaab. Before the scale of the massacre at Garissa University College in northeastern Kenya where masked militants staged a dawn raid on Thursday emerged, many analysts had been saying the Shabaab was on the ropes or on the run. This, they said, was because it had been beaten out of its strongholds in Somalia by African Union peacekeeping forces over the past thre ...

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Race Against Time: Ethiopia’s domination of Somalia

Despite the roller coaster of political and security-related drama that dominated the headlines in this past year, I still remain optimistic about Somalia’s future — cautiously of course.   For Somalia, a New Year’s resolution is an existential affair of “change now or cease to exist.” That said, change requires certain level of self-awareness through which intention is cultivated. It also requires str ...

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Police abuse running rampant in Dadaab camp

Dadaab, Kenya - Twenty-eight-year-old Shukri Abdirashid Hussein remembers vividly the events of November 30.   Half asleep in his mud house in Dadaab's Dagahley refugee camp near Kenya's Somali border, Hussein awoke to commotion outside his door.   "I was awakened by the cries of neighbours, and before I knew what was going on, my door had been ripped open and three officers entered my house." ...

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Somalia strategy has failed to assure Kenya security, so it’s time to rethink it

President Kenyatta has a crisis on his hands, one which he has inflicted on himself through his poor handling of the country’s security and which could lead to his fall if he does not get smart, rather than angry. There are two ways of looking at the security failures around the attack by Al-Shabaab last week in which 28 people, mainly teachers, were executed. The first one is the accountability view, where ...

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Frailty and Gladiatorial Combat in Somalia

It is that cyclical season of winner takes all. It is that all too familiar gladiatorial executive combat all over again. Yes, the Villa Somalia has once again turned into a roaring amphitheater. The president and his prime minister are at each other’s throat, and as engraved on the walls of the theatre, the worst is yet to come. Of course, there is nothing new in this latest drama. A year ago, after curren ...

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Somali media: Deaf and blind?

As world's attention focuses on offensive against al-Shabab, Somali government begins to shackle the local media   “I know they will catch me. I know they will torture me. But silence is not an option.” Those were Mohamed Bashir’s words – the senior most editor at Radio Shabelle, an independent radio station based in the capital Mogadishu - as I met him early last month while he was on the run hiding f ...

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Imprisoning, killing and spying: Suppression of the innocent inside Ethiopia

Imprisoning, killing, spying Wrapped in dishonesty, arrogance and paranoia, Ethiopia’s ruling regime (as all such brutal brigades), are following a nationwide policy of violent suppression and constitutional vandalism. It was the 24th June – midsummer’s day – in the adopted homeland of Andargachew Tsige, when he was detained by ‘Yemeni officials’ (State heavies in suits) whilst transiting through Sana’a to ...

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Somali military courts are producing executions but nothing like justice

Recent executions in Somalia put the quality of justice delivered by military courts into question.   Somalia's military court sentenced three men to death on July 30 for alleged membership in the armed Islamist group Al-Shaabab and involvement in attacks in Mogadishu, the capital. Four days later, the Somali media posted to Twitter photographs of their limp, hooded bodies tied to poles.   Such ra ...

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