Cultivating a rule of law in Somalia is the only way to curb piracy in the long term. But my heart sinks when you see the extent of the task. Dealing with embedded corruption and a very different view of what rule of law means is not going to be easy. Look at this. Yesterday UK Foreign Secretary William Hague met the President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on the final day of the President’s visit to London.
The Foreign Secretary welcomed the progress made in Somalia, and promised UK support, particularly on the President’s immediate priorities of security, justice and public financial management, which will be the focus of the Somalia Conference, to be held in London this year.
They agreed to work together on preventing sexual violence. The Foreign Secretary raised the UK’s particular concern about the current case of a woman who alleged to a journalist that she had been raped by security forces. The very same day Judge Ahmed Adan in a court in the capital Mogadishu sent the woman down for a year, along with the journalist. “We sentence her for offending state institutions by claiming she was raped,” he said. “She will spend one year in prison after finishing the breast feeding of her baby.” Freelance journalist Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, who is already in detention, is to begin serving his sentence immediately.
It’s going to be a long road.