AMISOM and civil society organizations agree to work together in stabilizing Somalia

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the civil societies have resolved to come up with programmes that will help empower citizens to actively participate in the affairs of the country.

The agreement was reached at an engagement attended by senior AMISOM officials and representatives of Somalia's civil society.

We have a shared responsibility. As AMISOM, our mandate here is to ensure peace and security however the success of the country depends on the positive efforts made by the citizens, said the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, at a meeting held in the Somali capital, yesterday.

AMISOM is working closely with the major players in Somalia, namely the federal government, the regional governments and the civil society among others to ensure the transfer of security responsibility to Somali national security forces proceeds smoothly and ensure gains already made in the stabilization process are secured.

We want you to take over and AMISOM is ready to help the people of Somalia make the country a better place to live in, Ambassador Madeira added.

The meeting was attended by the Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) for Somalia, Simon Mulongo, the Head of Mission Support, Maj. Gen. Fidza Dludlu, and representatives of non-governmental organizations working with the youth, women and marginalized communities among others.

Since the end of the civil war that left thousands dead, the civil society in Somalia has been playing a major role in peace building and conflict resolution by helping bring warring factions to the negotiation table. The organizations have also supplemented AMISOM and federal government's efforts in improving the lives of vulnerable groups.

Ambassador Madeira told the civil society representatives that AMISOM is not in Somalia to substitute the government and state institutions but to work with all partners to restore peace and stability and capacitate Somalis to effectively govern their country.

The SRCC noted that AMISOM, through its civilian component, is working with the civil society in a number of areas, including promotion of inclusive politics; human rights; protection of women, children and vulnerable groups; preventing and countering violent extremism; rehabilitation of disengaged combatants and stabilization and early recovery among others.

The representatives of the civil society were given an overview of the key AMISOM programmes and activities that are guided by key documents including the Concept of Operations, the AU-UN Joint Review as well as the Mission Implementation Plan.

We want to give you a good sense of what AMISOM does to help you understand us better and also know the limits of AMISOM as an organization and what to expect in terms of support, said Babatunde Taiwo, the AMISOM Head of Political Affairs.

Mr. Mulongo urged the civil society to support AMISOM's efforts, saying the AU Mission has created an environment that fosters peace and empowers citizens to enable them participate in the governance of the country.

Our primary mandate is to create a conducive environment for Somalis and the government to help ensure that the population participates in not only consolidating stability but also become part and parcel of the country's governance, the DSRCC added.

The representatives of civil society paid tribute to AMISOM soldiers who have lost their lives in the line of duty to restore peace and stability in Somalia.

We are very grateful to AMISOM because it is easy to give people money, food and the likes however it is very difficult to sacrifice your blood. You (AMISOM officers) are sacrificing your lives which we acknowledge as the Somali community, said Asli Ismail Duale, the Chairperson of Women, Education, and Voicing Entrepreneurship (WEAVE), a local non-governmental organization.

The representatives urged AMISOM to involve civil society actors in the implementation of AMISOM programmes that target local communities in liberated areas, emphasizing that local non-governmental organizations have a better understanding of the society.

The meeting was the first in a series of upcoming engagements that aim to promote mutual understanding and information sharing between AMISOM and civil society organizations in Somalia.

Source: African Union Mission in Somalia