7 May 2013

Uganda: Museveni Addresses London Conference On Somalia


President Yoweri Museveni has addressed the International Conference on Somalia at Lancaster House.


Rt. Hon. David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom;

Excellencies Heads of State and Government;

Distinguished Heads of Delegations;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

In the Christian religion, we talk of the Holy Trinity -God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Similarly, we also need to talk of the "Peace Trinity" by bringing together the internal stakeholders, the respective Regions and the International Community.

In the case of Somalia, we have moved well through the Somali actors agreeing to form a National Government in Nairobi in the year 2004 and the Somalis electing a new Parliament and President last September, the Region creating AMISOM and the International Community giving financial and intelligence support.

This "Trinity" has been able to defeat Al-Shabaab in Mogadishu, Kismayu, Afugoy, Baidoa, Marka, Johar, etc. However, Al-Shabaab is not eliminated from the whole of Somalia. They still maintain rural bases from where they operate undisturbed, away from the Regional and Somali Government forces. It is from those rural areas that they infiltrate into the towns and kill people. This is not good. Anybody who kills people must be held accountable. We have shared our views with the President of Somalia. In our view, the following is needed:

1. Rapidly training the new officer-corp of the Somali Army comprised of young Somalis with A' level secondary education and above so that the soldiers we have been training with the European Union (EU) have leadership. Uganda is ready to train any number of officer-cadets that Somalia can send even at our own cost.

2. Training the Non-commissioned officers (NCOs) who link the Officer with the soldier.

3. Training the technical staff of the Somali Army (for tanks, artillery, aviation, etc) so that the Somali Army has a technological edge over the terrorists.

If you only maintain infantry to infantry equilibrium between the Government Army and the insurgents, that is the best way to maintain insecurity in Somalia. The Government Army must have technological superiority over the terrorists.

4. Using Army Aviation (gunships) and Air-force to target the terrorists who are killing people with impunity from their rural bases. In this connection, the UN should replace our gun-ships that perished in an accident in Kenya on their way to Somalia ─ so that we use them as force multipliers.

5 The Somali Army should expand recruitment so that we are able to have both mobile and zonal forces. The zonal forces should guard the liberated area while the mobile forces, aided by Army Aviation and the Air-force, hunt the terrorists.

6. The Somali Army needs to integrate the militias, screen them guided by professional standards and, thereafter, carry out fresh recruitment from the villages to raise adequate numbers to guard the country.

In Uganda we use the quota system for recruitment. Every district must bring an assigned number of people to join the National Army. In that way, Somalis will build a National Army by terminating factionalism and warlord loyalties.

7. While training young officer-cadets is crucial, also training the older fighters from the militias, who are quite often illiterate and cannot write, is also crucial. Special courses should be designed for them ensuring that the inability to read and write notwithstanding, these leaders know what needs to be done practically ─ section attack, platoon attack drills, etc.

8. Now that basic training at Bihanga in Uganda was ended, let us send the trainers inside Somalia so that we do the training there.

If these steps are taken, security will be restored in the whole of Somalia. That is the responsibility of the Mogadishu Government. Piracy will also end because the pirates come from land. They are not aquatic animals.

Finally, while privatizing companies is a correct economic solution, privatizing the State is not a good idea. Much of the financial support should go through the Somali Government ─ so that it builds capacity. To by-pass the Somali Government and pass funds to private groups will compound problems.

I thank you.

7th May 2013, - Lancaster House, London.

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