After burying the dead of Kampala bombing, what next?
After the dust of the bombing incidents in Kampala has settled, let us start looking at how to put the Somalia and Al Shabab puzzle together. The do nothing ideology to the problem posed by the Somalia extremist is counter – productive in my view. The solution to the problem lies within Africa. We know more about Somalia and its failed state than the so called African experts’ from the West. That does not mean that we cannot in any way borrow some of their brilliant (often times not so brilliant) ideas in solving conflicts around the globe.
There many options that could be used to tackle this problem once and for all. In my view, the idea of putting Somalia into a protectorate under either the AU or the UN holds the most promise to yield the desired results which are ending terrorism, piracy and creating Somalia that is no longer a failed state and pose no danger to her neighbors. Creating Somalia that offers services to its citizens other than prolonged hunger, killings and deprivation.
The route to achieving these main goals cannot be achieved without sending troops into Somalia to fight the necessary war with Al Shabab and consequently defeating them militarily. It requires many troops to do that, because the issue here is not only gaining a territory but also being able to keep the acquired territories. Basically, Somalia is a huge country and defeating al shabab in the battle alone will not bring peace to Somalia. The good thing about Somalia is that, there are two regions that are already relatively stable, the Puntland and Somaliland areas. Therefore, Al Shabab controls only a very small piece of land in Somalia and consequently relatively easy to be defeated and the moderated element of the group can be brought to the table to discuss their political grievances.
Metaphorically speaking, we can look at Al Shaabab as a big rock and the IGAD troops as a hammer. First, the rock (Al Shabaab) needs to be hammered very hard until fissures in that rock (Al Shabab as a group) start to develop. When the cracks start to develop, some of the Al Shabab fighters will come to their senses and start talking about their political demands and grievances, most of which are valid anyway. The fighters that come to the table will be given the utmost respect and their grievances addressed in a national building dialog. This whole process will need years to attempt and complete. During this time of political negotiations, Somalia needs to rebuild its shattered institutions as well. After that hold free elections and let Somalis shape their own country.
The UN and/or AU mandate is needed to legitimize the whole process. Having Ugandans and Burundians Troops alone will not achieve a lasting peace in Somalia. The Only thing to be achieved by this mission will be revenge and more suffering for the Somali citizens who are already suffering and have been suffering for decades.