A scuffle broke out in Somalia’s Parliament on Wednesday as lawmakers disputed the election of the legislature’s new Speaker.
According to media reports, the brawl, which saw some parliamentarians engage in fist-fighting, reportedly sent three to the hospital.
The United Nations envoy for Somalia Augustine P. Mahiga today expressed deep concern over the country’s ongoing political disputes. Mr. Mahiga warned that if disputes are not resolved, the country could miss a rare window of opportunity to end its 21 years of conflict.
UN Photo/Stuart Price
“This clash is particularly ill-timed, coming at a moment when the entire region, and indeed the international community as a whole, is scaling up attention and support for Somalia to advance the recent gains on the security and political tracks.” -Mr. Mahiga
Mr. Mahiga noted that the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) would continue to support efforts “to seek a peaceful resolution to the controversy among parliamentarians” and help the country’s Government find a solution to the impasse.
“UNPOS stands ready to facilitate with good offices to end this distracting quarrel, which serves to help neither Somalia nor the Somali people and is detrimental to the peace process.” -Mr. Mahiga
Somalia has been without a stable government for 20 years now. President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown in January of 1991. Al-Shabab has gained control of southern Somalia and has been more successful than a weaker UN-backed government.
The drought has caused massive migrations to Kenya, Ethiopia, and north to the capital city of Mogadishu. The situation is not much better in these other countries. With populations doubling in the Horn of Africa over the past 30 or 40 years, the effects of this drought is much more devastating.