Security Analyst Dr Kwesi Annin says former President Rawlings will have a difficult time trying to restore peace and order to war-torn Somalia.
The former Ghanaian leader was recently named the African Union’s Special Envoy to Somalia, a country considered Africa’s most dangerous conflict zone. The war-ravaged country has been without a functioning Government for two decades.
The AU wants Mr Rawlings to help promote peace and reconciliation in Somalia. The continental body has also asked the former Ghanaian leader to try to focus more international attention on Somalia’s problems.
Coming at a time of dwindling donor support for Somalia and increasing insurgent attacks against the weak UN-backed Somali government, critics say Mr Rawlings is bound to fail.
Speaking to Citi News, Dr Kofi Annin, Head of Research at the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre, said given the uniqueness of the Somali situation, Mr Rawlings would encounter serious difficulties in his effort to restore peace.
“Somalia is reflective of the failure of the African Union to take the leadership decisions it ought to have taken. In 2006 when the Islamic Courts Union managed to take over Somalia and bring Peace, some of us had argued that it was time for us to isolate the liberal group within the ICU and begin to engage them in a dialogue. The US ambassador to AU came in and convinced Alpha Oumar Konare, then Chair that they were all terrorists and unfortunately the AU bought into this idea”.
“And now any other person who steps into Somali territory is perceived by the radicals who broke off from the ICU now Al Shabab as a dangerous person. So Mr Rawlings will need all his skills to convince them that although he is an AU representative he comes in with a different approach, a different understanding and a need to bring peace to that country. But it is going to be very difficult because the AU cannot provide him any support either diplomatic or military, so basically he is left on his own and his own skills. But for the sake of Ghana and Mr Rawlings I do hope that the mission is successful but the odds are very high”
Dr Annin also added that Ghana has a lot to learn from the success story of the just ended rescue of 33 miners who had been trapped in the belly of the earth since August in Chile.