SPR supports Somali traditional clan elders' call for peace

Bossaso City (Somali Peace Rally, May 22, 2000) - It is with great pleasure that the SPR has received and read the strong statement in support of peace and of national government issued by Somali traditional clan elders at the Somali peace conference in Djibouti, on 20th May 2000.
The statement by Somali clan elders is a profound manifestation of the sentiment of the Somali people for an end to the senseless conflict that deeply damaged the fabric of Somali society since the collapse of Somali State in 1990.

The recent statements and the display of political tolerance by Somali traditional clan elders at the Somali peace conference in Djibouti encourage the Somali peace participants and peace lovers to collectively work on finding rational, sustainable and equitable peace stability in their country.

The statement by Somali clan elders also encourages the Djibouti government's peace plan aimed at attaining a lasting peace in Somalia, and calls for a principled, balanced and comprehensive framework for the resolution of all the issues that underlie Somali crisis.

Such statement by Somali clan elders can, certainly, facilitate a dialogue between all parts involved in Somali civil war, calm the situation on ground, enhance a climate of political tolerance among Somali leaders and protect human rights of all Somalis, given the clan elders' strong position in Somali social fabric. It is through a dialogue that the Somali people will decide their political future.

The SPR strongly believes that Somali traditional clan elders still have traditional rights to protect human rights of their community, contribute to sustainable peace impact, to prevent the erosion of Somali traditional values and to enhance Somali unity against the thefts of Somali warlords and their roving bandits. Accordingly, the restoration of peace in Somalia will depend upon the successful involvement of Somali traditional clan elders in national peace process and the establishment of national institutions with vibrant disciplined civil servants.

Like Somali traditional clan elders and intellectuals at Somali peace conference in Djibouti, the SPR strongly condemns in the strongest possible terms the assistances given by foreign governments (such as Yemen, Eritrea, Rwanda, and Uganda) to Somali warlords in direct contravention to Somali peace process, and acts of roving warlords which, under cover war, are multiplying in the country.

As the leadership is critically important during times of great change in the country, the SPR firmly recommends that the future Somali political leaders should be leaders with a deep understanding of current conditions by their society, a clear vision of the future and with the ability to consider long- term consequences of particular courses of action during transition.

Such political leaders should able to facilitate democratic institutions, stimulate public participation in policy discussions, consider new ways to strengthen representative politics in future Somali government and diminish the forces of warlords who led to the destruction of Somali social fabrics.

The SPR believes that the country is deeply in need of institutions with capacity to plan and effectively manage Somalia's post-conflict development programmes. Such needs demand our future political leaders of transitional government to be vibrant leaders equipped with great knowledge of changes taking place regionally and internationally. In addition, effective regional and local governments could play a great role in the promotion of peace and realisation of sustainable system in the long run.

As peace cannot be achieved through Somalia in the short term without changing political and military calculations of Somali warlords, the SPR strongly recommends the Somali future political leaders and international community to give much efforts to promoting a culture of peace and reconciliation throughout the country. In this perspective, Somali women, religious and traditional leaders should be encouraged to continue their calls for peaceful solution to Somalis.

Taken together, the Somali clan elders' appeal for peace and against war must be seriously considered by all parties involved in Somali civil war. The Somali civil war has already resulted in the death of thousands of innocent people, the destruction of hundreds of homes and villages, the thefts of Somali public and private goods by Somali warlords, and the dislocation of millions of Somali people. We, Somali Peace Rally (SPR), endorse our clan elders' call for peace and forgiveness among Somalis.

Somali Peace Rally, Bossaso City Somalia; contact e-mail:
Distributed via Africa News Online.