By Halima Abdallah
The European Union, one of the major financiers of Amisom and the Somali Transitional Federal Government, has threatened to cut further support if the current office holders do not relinquish power when their term of office comes to an end in August.
This has not gone down well with the East African Community, whose members Uganda and Burundi are providing the boots on the ground in Mogadishu, and feel that the proposed extension of the TFG’s mandate for another year, would help consolidate achievements in service delivery.
Being a major financier, EU’s withdrawal will severely hamper efforts to pacify the war-torn country. Besides crippling Amisom, the TFG would be starved of funds to pay wages and run its activities. Last year, the EU announced it planned to spend some $348.4 million between 2010 and 2013. “The EU agrees that future support to Transitional Federal Institutions including stipends for parliamentarians should be contingent on progress on reform and delivery of transitional tasks,” said a statement from the bloc.
The decision comes at a time the EU was considering increasing financial support to central, regional and local level administration in consolidating stable and accountable governance and provision of basic services to include the people in the breakaway Puntland and Somaliland. In February, the TFG extended the term of office of the Cabinet by one year and parliamentarians gave themselves three more years on the grounds that they needed more time to accomplish pending tasks. The extension has now received the backing of the EAC heads of state. While appearing before a parliamentary committee on defence, UPDF Commander Land Forces, Lt-Gen Katumba Wamala told legislatures that EAC heads of state agreed to have the current TFG lease renewed for one more year.
The EU thinks otherwise. “The EU deeply regrets the recent unilateral decision by the Somali TFP to extend its mandate,” it notes. It urges the Transitional Federal Institutions to focus on implementing the reforms that are necessary to build their legitimacy, representativeness and credibility without which there can be no extension.”