For the past two decades, Somalia has endured ethnic and sectarian strife, warlords, piracy, divisions and anarchy. Mogadishu remains one of the most lawless cities on earth, the hinterland a patchwork of warlord and clan territories ruled not by the ballot box, but by bullets. For the past eight years, the ineffective transitional government has been trying to rule over this troubled and divided nation. And after eight years of infighting, corruption and little, if any, progress, Somalia is no closer to a return to a stable administration or normal conditions.
The interventions of the African Union forces have had the effect of carving up Somali territory into disparate regions aligned to clans. Drought and famine have done no favours to this land, and when they strike, militias such as Al Shabab put their own agenda before that of making sure the Somali populace has food, nutrition and medical care.
Set up in 2004, the western-funded Transitional Federal Government has twice extended its deadline. Today, its latest mandate runs out — with nothing to show once more. If this were a normal state, analysts would note that extending the mandate would be tantamount to a power grab. But this is Somalia, where there is no power, and hence little if anything to grab — other than the rewards of lining pockets from tapping into the international aid pipeline before the resource reaches those who need it most.
The process of the transitional government is also deeply flawed, with parliamentary seats being offered to the highest bidders, bribery is rampant, intimidation and violence widespread. Somalia is no closer to a new constitution. It is no closer to an administration that cares for its people. Its economy is a patchwork of coffers funded by international aid, piracy, graft and greed.
Given that the mandate will likely once more be extended, there seems to be little hope for the foreseeable future that the plight of this stricken nation will improve. And few seem to care.