Part II-Somalia’s impediments to joining East African Community
Newscast Media NAIROBI, Kenya—Somalia’s last two impediments are listed below:
Impediment #5: Political and economic instability due to lack of a legitimate Somalian government in the last 20 years, will certainly play a big role as the application is being considered. As mentioned earlier, South Sudan was encouraged to apply when it first got its independence, but now East African leaders are having second thoughts due to the political instability between the South and its northern neighbor Sudan.
Had Somalia not been a terror state, this impediment could possibly be waited out for it to correct itself. The problem lies with Al-Shabaab’s recent allegiance to Al-Qaeda making it an even more formidable force in the region, that could raise an army over time, and with adequate funding, take over the region and destabilize it. Both Kenya and Uganda have had their share of terrorist attacks and understand this reality.
One might ask where both Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda would get the numbers to form a fighting machine to destabilize the region. Well, if Somalia is accepted, Somalians will find it easier to move across borders from one country to another within the East African Community. The elements that may be more interested in destabilizing the region than promoting peace could then launch multi-regional attacks on the already-stable governments.
These numbers could also be harvested from sleeper cells within Kenya and Uganda. According to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) Kenya alone has over 479,000 Somalian refugees and the number is expected hit 623,000 by December 2012 as shown in this United Nations report.
Sleeper cells that really want to wreak havoc can cross borders freely as members of the EAC pretending to be refugees, and build their numbers until they have an unstoppable army recruited from the 600,000-plus refugees. In return for fighting, the fighters could then be promised land and property of their captives, and also part of the profits from the natural resources of the region. Eventually Kenyans, Ugandans and Tanzanians could then become captive in the land of their forefathers being dominated by foreign invaders or occupiers.
If you look at Libya, it had the highest standard of living in all the Arab world, Africa and even most nations of Europe. This time last year, nobody would have imagined that a group of fighters with unsophisticated weapons called the Transnational Council, backed by Al-Qaeda, would remove Gaddafi from power and turn the once-prosperous nation into a wasteland. The black native Libyans (Tuaregs) are constantly being rounded up and caged like animals, and are forced to eat the green flag by their captors. If this could happen to Libya, there is no doubt that the same thing could happen to an East African country.
Impediment #6: Motive of wanting to join the East African Community may raise suspicions amongst East African leaders who would wonder why Somalia would want to be part of EAC yet Somalia is part of the Arab League. If the reason is for trade purposes then there is a lot more to benefit from oil-rich Arab nations than third-world East African countries. Somalia has been ruled by Islamist militias since 1991 therefore East African leaders would become suspicious about the true motives and intentions of Somalia wanting to join the EAC.
The most disturbing fear that leaders of East African may have is, since Somalia is run by Islamist militias, it may eventually attempt to Islamisize East Africa. This is backed up by a report compiled by the International Crisis Group that says: “Militant jihadi ideology is radicalising young Somalis at home and abroad; veteran foreign jihadis are exerting ever-greater influence; and recently its emir pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and global jihad.” You may read the report from the International Crisis Group here.
The Somali people themselves are peace-loving people who want a stable country and economy. It is the warlords who are preventing and have prevented this from happening for the past 20 years, through indoctrination of the citizenry and opposition of outside assistance offered by nations that want to see human conditions improve and the conflict brought to an end.
Overall, Somalia’s application has several question marks that will cause the EAC leaders to think twice about a decision that could affect an entire region that is currently enjoying peace, and wants to keep it that way.