The Political Miscalculus Of The EAC (Part I) – OpEd


It is difficult to describe the mistake of the EAC in urging, goading and finally admitting Somalia into the EAC. One sometimes looks at it as a colossal miscalculation, but it appears more complex and more moronic, how a country with no proper constitution, unstable and in political disarray, with parts of the country almost independent of it and out of the control of the state, could be admitted into such a prestigious group, which is presenting itself as the now growing kid in the block among the economic regional groups of the Africa. As that alien Choster in the Galactic Civil War,  would have described it, it may be, simply a mistake, a political miscalculus of the EAC, considering politics as a branch of science and mathematics, which in this case refers to the study of change or how things change and at what rates, and henceforth make predictions on matters thereof.

In this particular political maneuvering of the EAC, it would appear that the lump which it is trying to swallow is larger and more unrefined than originally anticipated and it would soon, as it appears, bounce back on its face. Somalia is a complex country with its own dysfunctionalities, in a political wilderness for decades, unreconciled and unsettled to this date, where a complex array of interconnected, unconnected and misconnected factors play their roles. How this complex web of factors, which show up and blink in different parts of the country, could add value to the EAC? Should we perhaps say, “Abdo made a mistake in the calculations” in the more  popular political satire?

Somalia is not a small country. It has, indeed, a population of some 30 million with another 30 million outside the country, mostly in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti but across the globe. It is a complex population which consists of a complex groups of hunters who call themselves “clans”,  and who would, if and when they feel threatened, pull together to face the perceived or actual threat and the larger tribe, the Somali is no different. They can be a samurai as the Japanese, unafraid of anything, even death. It is not the 17 million people the international community prefers to use for Somalia’s population, when designing how it should develop and what resources, limited or not, this population should have. The EAC now must face the nearly sixty million Somali population across the globe, who would coalesce together, if and when they feel threatened and fighting for survival.

The Somali population is best left alone to deal with their own idiosyncrasies. They could be having tea together one minute and in the next minute be on some kind of death struggle fighting each other,  and the next minute they could just be sitting down together again and sipping coffee together – so unpredictable! Currently the country houses one of the deadliest terror groups in Africa and in the world and one may have remarked or noticed that this group which fights on religious and nationalistic overtones, has not said one word about the admission of Somalia into the EAC, which they should have pronounced illegal and incorrect under the present circumstances. They did not speak because the entry of Somalia into the EAC is a blessing in disguise for them.

It allows them to travel with ease into the EAC and set up bases in a much larger region, some 5.2 million sq. km and hence exploit a population of some 300 million through all possible means, just as they do in Somalia. This could be extorting the rich, the government officials, the police and the military and local governance infrastructures, and all kinds of businesses from the small to the large. These terror groups who had years of training and honed their skills would be a threat the EAC, whose officialdom may have already been bribed by these same terror groups to allow the admission of Somalia into the EAC. No one knows who they are or who are working for them either by choice or through some kind of threat.

Terrorism is not a Somali phenomenon but an African and world problem. It was imported into the country, where it implanted itself with force and currently it is being threatened. They were, indeed, looking for an outlet and here come in, unawares, this EAC with its major political miscalculation – bringing in Somalia into their fold, and hence allowing the wolves into their midst. The consequences would be unfathomable and destructive, unless the EAC freezes the membership of Somalia into the group, or even better, encourages it to withdraw, before the process of entry causes more headaches for themselves and for Somalis in general, as the country appears to be deeply against such admittance. The Somali people have not been asked, and as usual its pseudo politicians have ignored the will and desires of their pubic.

Dr. Suleiman Walhad

Dr. Suleiman Walhad writes on the Horn of Africa economies and politics. He can be reached at [email protected].

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