Yesterday, the recently constituted parliament of the central regions of Somalia was sworn in. The Finn Church Aid (FCA) Peace Initiative succeeded in its goal to first bring about reconciliation, and then a local government collectively accepted by all clans.
This represents a remarkable step forward. The central regions of Somalia have been the country’s most difficult and splintered area, where 12 clans have been fighting with each other for issues like rights to water and land. The majority of people are nomads, but the groups are very different from each other, and thus building negotiation channels was not easy.
The common Peace Initiative of FCA and its local partners began in 2013 with inner and inter-clan peace mediations and negotiations. It wasn’t until the conflicts had been settled and trust established that a state could be created, and work could begin on the construction of administration.
The state constitution was passed on 17 June. This week, the Speaker of the house will be elected. Next week will be the elections for state president.
“In fragile regions, peace work and governance are like two sides of the same coin”, Kati Miettunen, Finn Church Aid Project Manager describes the process.
According to Miettunen, many conflicts arise from the lack of government. Before the state was formed in the central regions of Somalia, the area had no common government, only the weak local administration and the separate, splintered governments of the strongest clans, which didn’t represent the minorities. Possibilities for cooperation were poor.
“Now the area is a state, with a unified and inclusive government. It is a basis on which taxation and services can be built”, Miettunen says.
“We have done a lot of preparation work so seeing concrete results now, feels amazing. It is all thanks to the magnificent project team – and of course residents of the area and the Somalian Ministry of Interior, who have driven the project forward”, Miettunen declares.
FCA is implementing this project with local partner Center for Research and Dialogue (CRD). The Central Regions Peace Initiative Project in Somalia is funded by the Somalia Stability Fund, which is a multi-donor fund supporting peace and stability in Somalia.
Project Manager Kati Miettunen, p. Kenya: +254 708 232 977, Somalia: +252 61 746 3498
Communication Officer Ulla Kärki, p. 050 576 7948