Somalia's societal breakdown and violence now threatens to destabilize the horn of Africa. Although the region's instability is partly attributed to misguided political leadership, corruption, defective economic systems and military vandalism, external factors, including the colonial legacy, the Cold War, and foreign meddling have played a substantial role.
Somalis, though homogenous, were victims of the capriciousness of colonial boundaries, finding themselves in five jurisdictions: British Somaliland, Italian Somaliland, Ethiopia (in the Ogaden), Kenya and Djibouti. The nation of Somalia was formed and granted independence in July 1960 when the British protectorate and the Italian trust were joined. The rest of the Somali people were abandoned in Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya.
The fact that Somalis have known no rest for over a decade raises a lot of questions: Who is benefiting from this anarchy? For how long shall innocent blood be shed and communities displaced? What secret transactions are veiled by the violence? If the international community was ably prevailed upon Kenya and Zimbabwe to form coalition governments within days, why has it failed to do the same in Somalia over the years?
It is clear from Somalia’s latest crisis that those who are reaping dividends from the anarchy far outnumber those who would have the country experience peace. This calls for regional governments and international community to urgently examine the region's bitter history, allow Somalis to debate their destiny and act swiftly to stop Somalia being used as a battleground for wars it does not understand. Somalis on the other hand ought not to succumb to divide and rule tactics but rather unite and restore the dignity of their nation.
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