U.N. reconciliation efforts have failed, despite the best intentions.

Somalis’ social structure is centered on clans. The leadership of these clans, known as elders, will make decisions, such as undertaking peace and reconciliation on behalf of their clans.

Presently, after a very bloody conflict that has lasted more than two decades, most Somalis and clans want peace. The reinstitution of the 1960 constitution is the most likely option to initiate a lasting peace and credible governance for all Somalis.

The United Nations’ peace and reconciliation efforts during the past two decades have consistently failed, despite the best intentions of the U.N. However, some of this failure was evident as the allies of the U.N. were corrupt individuals and self-appointed clan leaders and warlords.

Those alliances created dysfunctional institutions kept in a “green zone,” which has failed to provide any stability or security for most Somalis. These well-intentioned programs have failed by any measurement. The implantation cost of these programs is very expensive at a time when resources are scarce.

U.N. officials chose that option when they could have assembled able clan/sub-clan representatives who could not only have brought peace long ago, but could have also created working institutions at a fraction of the current Somali budget.

But as world economies collapse and resources from donor countries become scarce, the U.N. might not be able to be of any help to Somalia.

It is up to Somalis now to step up to reconcile and resolve this conflict or lose it all. Somali clan/sub-clans, the Hawiye clan in particular, must step up its role to reconcile its sub-clans’ differences.

A majority of the Somali people believe that the U.N. looks at Somalia through Ethiopian lenses, manages Somali political affairs from Kenyan parliament and now runs its security apparatus from Ugandan military bases. That causes great concerns among many clan elders and religious leaders about the motive behind the U.N. mission in Somalia.

That is the primary reason why Somali clan/sub-clans have rejected U.N. peace initiatives.

For example, the majority of the Somali people see the U.N. acting as a surrogate Somali state, using TFG to do its dirty work of “do nothing, say nothing about anything but war” role. That has created mistrust and suspicion among clan/sub-clans, who fear their rivals might dominate the surrogate state.

Seven years have lapsed since the formation of TFG and it has yet to demonstrate the political will to make progress in the reconciliation process. In addition, there has not been any creation of institutions established to provide basic services to Somalis. There have been no special committees established to deal with critical issues such as security, health, education, IDPs, refugees, Somalis’ grievances, war crimes committed, land and property ownership and water resources.

The TFG has not demonstrated any interest in resolving conflict issues. It was engaged when the subject matter turned to power sharing and weapons distributions. TFG leaders lack the support of the Somalis and, to some extent, the support from the same clan/sub-clan they claim they represent.

It is also worth noting that since independence from Isse’s government to Barre’s regime, Somalia has engaged in wars and shed blood on territories Somalia has claim on to make the greater Somali Republic a reality.

Current turmoil and clan-made disaster in Somalia is only temporary and no compromise on these territories should ever hold valid during this difficult period.

Now that the U.N. has assembled strong and formidable U.N. military peacekeepers in Mogadishu, The Centre for Democracy and Political Reconciliation in Somalia sees an opportunity for a peace settlement. The possibility of Hawiye sub-clans brokering a peace deal among them to share power is a viable option. What is even greater now is that the U.N. can easily reverse its failed policy, dissolve the TFG and TFP, replacing them with upper and lower councils by able representatives from each of the Somali clans so that the U.N. can earn back the trust of Somali clan/sub-clans, thus eliminating any suspicion.

The Centre can be the vehicle to achieve peace in Somalia. It can provide the road map to call on some of the most influential and most powerful Somali clan elders to put into place a comprehensive reconciliation process in a setting conducive to achieving the goals of true peace in Somalia.

Just like our previous peace summit, held in the U.S in 1992, the Centre will negotiate a peace settlement to end the 20-year rivalry between Somali factions in a manner that is fair and balanced. We intend to settle their political differences, eliminate spoilers, allow power sharing (ballot-based) and solidify all militias to join the national army.

The end result in all of this will be a unified position from the Hawiye clan, leading the way to peace and justice, coexisting with other clans toward rebuilding of the Somali Republic.

Prof. Ali M. Mohamed Aden is director of the Centre for Democracy and Political Reconciliation in Somalia.

LEWISTON — The Great Falls Forum at the Lewiston Public Library will feature Professor Ali Mohamed Aden, director, Centre for Democracy and Political Reconciliation in Somalia, at noon on Thursday, Nov. 17.

His presentation is titled “Establishing a Credible Government in Somalia.”

There is no charge to attend.

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