Monday, March 12, 2007

A Glimmer Of A Chance

MPs in Somalia have voted to move the seat of their Transitional Federal Government to the capital Mogadishu, from Baidoa where they've been meeting since they first entered the country last February. Going from being set up in exile, to meeting in a provincial city, then to the capital is not a normal progression for an administration, but then Somalia's not exactly a normal country.

The TFG is promising to restore order to Mogadishu within 30 days. The capital's been a typically violent place in recent weeks after the Union of Islamic Courts, which had ruled for six months, was driven out by the Ethiopian Army in December. The Ethiopians have been as good as their word and have pulled out, allowing the TFG and a force from the African Union to get on with trying to make things stable.

Ironically, stability is what Mogadishu actually had for a few months last year while the UIC was in control. They were a hardline Islamic group similar to the Taliban and it's good that they're not in charge anymore, but their brief rule at least suggests Somalians could be ready to be governed again (there hasn't been a proper government since 1991). If the violence eases over the next month, and the TFG is able to establish itself in Mogadishu, there's at long, long last a glimmer of a chance of a better future for Somalia.

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