It was a democratic country until a general of the National Army seized power in a coup in October 21, 1969. At the time, for more than two decades the country was a playground for Cold War rivalries – until all hell got loose, leading it to a failed state status in 1991. Power vacuum so created had offered opportunities for all sorts of dark forces: War lords, Islamic Courts, Alqaeda, Alshabab and UN Military Mission for Somalia (AMISOM, now ATMIS). This was followed by UN Naval Force Operation off Somali Coast (UNNAVFOR) seiging the country at sea from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean.
Somali fishermen and fishing communities at Somal territorial waters have been decimated within a year, many have been seized with their fishing nets deemed pirates and transported to distant foreign lands without legal representation.
Yes, there were pirates, but they were symptoms of foreign illegal fishing, not the root causes of the problem, and initially, a reaction to the destruction of the environment and abuses against fishing communities by aggressive foreign fishing trawlers along Somali shores. One is tempted to ask the question: Did UNAVFOR stop illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping? The answer is unequivocally no. Instead, they provided protection for foreign trawlers with banned fishing gears. Give us one incident when UNAVFOR caught just one foreign vessel fishing illegally in Somali waters? You wouldn’t find one example.
The successive fledgling administrations of the Somali Federal Republic were unable to reclaim sovereignty over their territory and sea waters, as they have been coerced to enter into treaties of protection under unfavorable conditions. Somalia’s sovereignty is only theoretical at international forums and doesn’t extend to its own territory.
Former Government of Farmajo, demogogic as it was, tried to show some sort of resentment against foreign meddling in the domestic affairs of Somalia. It refused to renew UNAVFOR agreement. Enter 2nd Administration of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who willingly re-endorsed that treaty yesterday, after a little of more than hundred days in office. One would wonder whether Somalia’s Federal Parliament has any teeth to look into HSM’s latest political shenanigans and seemingly power abuses, and unlawful embrace of foreign contracts and suspicious deal-making.