President Museveni’s letter on AU and al Shabaab

Two days ago President Museveni  wrote in Daily Nation in Kenya about the Somalia mission.  The article was to defend his intervention in Somalia which he has been up to since July 11 when al Shabaab successfully used suicide bombers in Kampala taking 85 innocent lives. In Museveni’s analysis of Somalia he was very selective in the parts of history that he highlighted.  He chose those that would mirror well on the current interventions. He refuses to acknowledge the misguided invasion of Ethiopia backed by United States in 2006.  He continued to blame the lawlessness in Somalia on what he calls “cowardly Middle-Eastern terrorism.” I have a problem with this first of all; the problems of Somalia did not begin with the involvement of Middle East. And to refer to involvement of a few foreign fighters to Middle-East terrorism, it is not only a misrepresentation of Middle East but also just only explains symptoms of the Somalia problem.

And he does explain to me why the AU forces have failed to command respect from the warring factions of the Somalia war.  He did not show in any ways they plan to get his respect. To get groups like al Shabaab and Hizbulah to a discussion because the past few weeks after the bombing all we have heard is the wish to go for an all out bombardment of islamists positions which the UN has objected. How will we win against these groups under the current mandate? An increment in troops is nothing if above the troops the AU doesn’t seek other alternatives to include those warlords in the peace/political process.  The President doesn’t anywhere mention the failure of the west in Somalia because I understand we can’t cut off hands that feed us so we will blame the Middle East for Somalia. This misguided view that democracy will just yield just like that after two decades of no government.

He says “Africans believe in a philosophy of live and let live. They never try to impose anything on anybody” but in most African nations many people live under conditions forced upon them. And had it been up to Ugandans our troops would not be in Mogadishu. Had he not imposed his choice on going to Somalia on us we wouldn’t be talking of al Shabaab vowing to blow up anything Ugandan related.  But he’s kind of right on one thing “the Somali people are the ones with the key for the solution to this problem. We can only play a supportive role.” And if the different warring clans that have made it easy for the extremist elements in Somalia to get around easily are still not united we can’t do much. Three years after Uganda arrived in Mogadishu there’s not much that has gone on in terms of political process. Key African states have kept away not even at the recent summit held in Kampala the recipient of recent terror attacks, brought key states to make up a formidable force.  Uganda will remain in Mogadishu under the same peacekeeping mandate and will wait on those African nations who will dare send their sons and daughters to Mogadishu. Bernard Tabaire asked interesting questions in his piece. He says President Museveni should provide us a timeline for the UPDF withdrawal.

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