From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Thu Sep 08 2011 - 09:56:52 EDT
<http://allafrica.com/uganda/> Uganda: Why Has the World Turned Its Back On
8 September 2011
The UN is warning that as many as 750,000 people could die as Somalia's
drought worsens in the coming months.
But this is not news anymore. It is also not news that the Islamist
AlShabaab controlled areas are the worst hit, what with their restrictions
on aid workers, curtailing their ability to deliver the much need aid.
Closer to the areas that are AMISOM controlled, our troops have had to deal
with severely malnourished children, just to give them the needed shove
through life again. Everybody knows that for every single Somali citizen to
be helped, security must be strengthened. Africa very well knows that if
AMISOM is supported with additional troops, then half the problem could be
solved, yet total commitment remains lacking.
Instead, Somalia has been reduced to a theatre of statistics and figures, a
place where every cameraman wants the best shots - of dying children and war
ravaged buildings - and an opportunity to make TV documentaries, showing
hardly any concern for those most in need.
To highlight the fact that it is a continent that is shameless, only four
African heads of state attended the African Union Pledging Conference in
Ethiopia, to raise funds and aid for the people of Somalia who desperately
need help from what is now known as the worst drought in the Horn of African
in 60 years. After the conference, reports indicated that the pledges were
less than the minimum $50 million that Africans Act 4 Africa set as a
Uganda has already made just about the biggest impact by creating a
situation for that aid to reach the people and assisting the Transitional
Government to expand their areas of control. The drought condition not
withstanding, AMISOM has opened the possibility that Somalia could be a
functioning state again.
Maiden visits to Mogadishu by the British Development Secretary, the
President of Djibouti, the Prime Minister of Turkey - all bringing along
with them aid for the Somali people - would never have been possible without
Uganda's intervention. All other African countries - that is excepting
Burundi of course - have embarrassingly remained just that - potential troop
contributing countries - years after they committed themselves, in a
complete expose of the weaknesses and indecisiveness of Africa in finding
ultimate solutions to her own problems.
Clanism, warlordism and the AlShabaab have for too long condemned Somalia as
the world's deadliest place, a failed state, a place where survival is for
the fittest and the shrewdest. Probably only one in a hundred can beat the
For example, on a recent visit to Mogadishu, I found 52-year-old Khalifah to
be one such woman among the thousands that have found hope in AMISOM. Our
translator tells us it is the first time in more than 20 years that she can
proudly say she is free from bondage, especially of the Islamic militants.
It is the only week of her 20year stay in Mogadishu, that she has not heard
gunshots, or seen people seeking shelter from the traps of war, except for
food and medical help, only made possible by the presence of AMISOM. In
Mogadishu, girls and women, previously shunned and rejected because of
health complications such as fistula, have found hope in the UPDF doctors.
But that is not all. We have heard and seen footage - true stories - of
mothers having to make a choice on which babies to leave behind, rather than
seeing them all waste away with hunger. We interacted with one such mother
who had to choose which child could make it to another day - in case aid
The presence of AMISOM ensures no mother is forced to make such a painful
Food aid can only effectively reach areas that have been fully secured by
AMISOM. Uganda is now helping the Somali people recognize that rights - to
food, security and other freedoms - are a possibility.
One canít help but wonder why they have been so abandoned by the rest of
The author works at the Uganda Media Centre
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