Federalism for Somalia: Internal and External Challenges in the Post- Transitional Period
By Mohamed A. Mohamoud (Barawaani)
14 January, 2015
Table of Contents
Abstract ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 2
Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
Post-Transition State-Reconstitution Efforts in Somalia ………………………………………………………………… 6
Arguments for and against Federal System in Somalia ………………………………………………………………… 10
The Nature of the Society and Characteristics of the Federal System …………………………………………….. 13
Escalation of the Conflicts in the Post-Transitional period in Somalia …………………………………………….. 15
Reasons of International Community to accentuate in the Post-Transition in Somalia ……………………… 16
Security as International Priority: AMISOM Troops and New UN Mission in Somalia. ……………………….. 17
Constraints Ahead of Establishment of Workable State in Somalia ……………………………………………….. 18
Conclusion …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 19
Reference ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 22 3
This paper critically examines the formation of a Federal system in Somalia. Somalia was a country that had been functioning under centralized/unitary state system for a relatively long period of its post-colonial history. Somalia has yet failed to reconstitute the basic characteristics of statehood: the obliteration that followed the protracted civil wars, particularly; left Somalia as a “failed state” that cannot recover over a short period of time. Somalia is politically weak, socially fragmented and listed most fragile and vulnerable nation in Sub-Sahara Africa.
Nevertheless, the top down state-formation project in Somalia has experienced a lot of constrains over the past two decades and it is ostensibly not justifiable for such greater deficiency to be reiterated, subsequently, international community has paid unwavering efforts to Somalia state- building formation but it seems that Somalia has suffered this top down state building approach because many attempts of restoring peace, security and rebuilding state functions of Somalia failed. Notably the recurrent of political and security crisis in Somalia preventing any meaningful solution to be realized, Somalia state- building needs rethinking, and leadership, currently the federalism model in Somalia is pursuing more inconstant and fragile approach. 4
The Italian Trust Territory of Somalia received its independence on 1 July 1960 and united with British Somaliland protectorate to form a Greater Somalia in the Horn of Africa. However, shortly after the union the dream of greater Somalia was abandoned by first Somaliland. Therefore, the Somali Republic had immediately failed to establish a viable and representative state across the Somali Republic territory that can portray the convincible features of the statehood as power sharing among two independent united states, in order to explore the possibilities to form a “greater Somali ethnic state” in the Horn of African.
As a result, since 1991, following the collapse of the unitary government of the Somali Democratic Republic, the two constituencies of Somalia and Somaliland turned into their original constituencies of 1960. The union witnessed several deleterious events including the1961-attempted coup by young military officials mainly from Somaliland, the 1969 coup of Siyad Barre who became the most totalitarian regime in Horn of Africa, Ogden war in 1977 with Ethiopia, the rise of organized resistance in the form of SSDF and SNM as well as the series of civilian uprising from1978 to 1991 and the dynamics of Cold War and post- Cold War arena.
“Important actors in Somalia are those who possess some form of power or influence to shape political outcomes, mobilize community or to block developments they deem undesirable. More than in most settings, Somali actors have limited ability to drive positive outcomes, but ample capacity to exercise voter power” (GSDRC, 2014). However, the impact of civil and political conflict in Somalia resulted a type of political order which is not capable and externally driving model.
In the consequence of the historical and political grievance in Somalia, the disintegration has become a nationwide phenomenon by pursuing inner divisions of clans or tribes, and the chances of the retaliation seem to be inevitable. For the following regions are seeking semi- autonomous administrations under the newly federal government of Somalia, Puntland state of Somalia, Jubba Interim Administration, South West Interim Administration, Galgaduud and Mudug Interim Administration and many more were anticipated to be established. Despite, these similar attempts, the country remained in permanent (state) of chaos, turmoil and crisis rooted partly in its refusal to accept and contemplate workable internally quest for solution.
It is truly significant that international actors have paramount influence in the decision – making process of Somalia. Since the fall of the Siyad regime, there has been intense military rivalry among various factions attempted to rule Somalia. These include mainly the warlord era, faith based organizations as Islamic Courts Union, Al-shabaab and other impermanent groups, but this has caused Somalia to become an environment which is accumulated incompatible interests, and power struggling is the cornerstone of all targets without considering the given choices of the citizens in Somalia. 5
It was late 2012, when last Somalia conference was held in Mogadishu to end the transition and created permanent Federal State of Somalia, constitutional referendum and holding multiparty elections were ambitious plans laid down by the international community in order to move forward rebuilding state institutions at minimum level. “In addition to the shortcomings of Somali actors, the international community’s policies, though well meant, seem to have added to the difficult of advancing Somalia’s state building endeavor. There have been significant alternations in personnel and functions, including the replacement of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) with the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) in June 2013 and the ratification of the Somali Compact during New Deal conference in Brussels in September, 2013” (CSIS, 2014)
However, external influence on issues of Somalia state building process is on the one hand positive since Somalia is a failed state and on the other hand is negative because external actors are not united among themselves but they have varied of political, economic and security interests, the type of governance applicable to Somalia needs multiple options to be examined and generated.
Moreover, the post- transitional period of Somalia state building introduced federation model but it needs to figure out a numerical issues that engulfed the state enterprise of Somalia. “Previous attempts to help Somalia have foundered because they have driven by the international community’s agenda, rather than by Somali realities” (Kaplan, 2010). “Yet, Somalia international partners appear largely wedded to previous principles. Their continued focus on countering terrorism and extremist violence has distorted Somalia’s state building project” (Life and Peace – 2014 – CSIS, 2014)
Nevertheless, it is apparently clear that there are fragile conditions limiting Somalia to meet many features of a federal system of statehood, since there is no multi-ethnic society, no regional diversity, and no separate colonial history in the Trust Territory of Italian Somalia. Thus, attempting to form a federal government in Somalia can possibly generate another extended cycle of conflict and political disorder. “Somalia, therefore, remains a failed and fragmented state where foreign and local players continue to engage in a game of chess where the majority of the Somali people ate always the losers” (Warah, 2014)
There are also some analytical internationally and locally views contending that the social structure of the people in Somalia is not compatible with the concept of federalism and building such sophisticated political decentralization system. On the other hand, there are many plausible instances proved that Somali culture is more individualistic and egalitarian which is difficult to adopt workability of such advanced type of statehood.
In the contrary to that, it is substantially found that the possibilities to establish a Unitary State of Somalia has also got minimum choice due to some reasonable failures of 31 years Unitary State 6
of Somalia, that had failed to prevail socio-economic and political discrepancies between the Somali people united to form a greater Somali nation state.
“The idea of a grand unification of the Somali people is little more than a fantasy. “Greater Somalia” has never existed as a single entity, not even before the continent was carved up in the colonial Scramble for Africa. With a principally nomadic population Somalis were constantly on move with their livestock in small groups bound together largely by ties of blood and marriage. There were no strong material, political or social needs for a defined Somali nation –state, even though the Somalis themselves were clearly identifiable as a separate people. ‘Greater Somalia includes parts of all Somalia’s neigbours, so the desire for such territory represents a potential threat to all of them” (Harper, 2012)
Post-Transition State-Reconstitution Efforts in Somalia
To examine what kind of political system can work in Somalia, it was not genuinely understood how to contextualize the political agenda of state formation in Somalia, in order to reflect what type of state suitable in Somalia given this unique social and political environment; for instance due to this complex nature of Somalia either socially, politically or territorially, it is not explicitly possible to permit establishing viable and functioning Federal system in Somalia, similarly the concept of the “Unitary State” was also wiped out by 31 years of injustice and inequality.
Therefore, Somalia has experienced many consecutive administrations of Transitional National Governments (TNG) since 2002, but unexpectedly it was 2012 when the international community hastily asserted that this federal government of Somalia should be recognized as permanent state. In the absence of many important and fundamental state features, some of current political and state shortcomings headed throughout period of Somalia state –building process. Power sharing and political jealousy between the President and the Prime Minister in Somalia is often a domestic political phenomenon which Somalia had never prevailed since the post- colonial history in 1960.
However, Somalia right now has no permanent population that SFG controls, there are so many partitions and enclaves, there is no specific territorial map that SFG is able to administer, and there are no effective government institutions that can carry on the obligatory mandate of the SFG. Despite, the huge external support to this nascent state of Somalia, the political and security crisis is yet rampant, and this socio-political and economic vulnerability became the arsenal of terrorism, foreign exploitation, piracy, international drug trafficking, human trafficking and unacceptable political behaviors that disrupted the stability in region.
Moreover, first restoring the public confidence, and creating atmosphere of justice and trust among the people of Somalia is must, otherwise it will be difficult to prevail the hearts and minds of the people. Forming effective government institutions that can contribute remaking the 7
basic social services is invariable requirement at micro and macro level, further treatment is needed extensively, in order to raise some concrete understanding of the root causes of the problems in Somalia. Thus, post-transitional state-formation of Somalia is yet overdue since many significant deviations and conditions of deepen social and political fragmentations exist at all levels.
Somalia has no capacity and even moral to entertain advanced modern decentralized system, in other words, the transitional period in Somalia has posed many threats, because of the SFG’s vulnerability and huge contradictions of foreign interventions, some specific actors who are viewed underpinning the current insecurity of Somalia yet are frontiers in the issues of Somalia state building project, notably the neighbor countries have conflicting interests in the pursuance of the international actors outlaw interventions.
In addition, there are also contradicted domestic actors within Somalia such as Islamic ideologists, or faith based organizations who are struggling to rule Somalia through the introduction of Sharia Law, and it is assumed that ideological war signified that many people who have had good faith and sympathy to the notion of the Sharia or Islamic rule governance system, currently confused and misguided by the international and domestic spoilers as Al-Shabaaba who hijacked this notion of Islamic rule. Many Somalis do believe that adopting Islamic Sharia as governing system will be the only deterrence of the current internal division and tenet of clan or tribes political thresholds.
One of the obvious challenges is constant clan dispute over the land issues as strategic farming areas especially those viewed as minority clans or marginalized groups and this has become persistent and communal conflict that is propelling and accelerating the unceasing socio-political and security vulnerability in Somalia. In the meantime, the post- transitional arena in Somalia has encountered many ambiguities which exposed the fundamental challenges at moment. Thus, laying the proper foundation of statehood in Somalia is unattainable at this present time. Besides that, international community has set up some of the international instruments to help post- transitional period of Somalia – AMISOM and UNSOM are both anticipated to operate under the federal government of Somalia as following resolutions stated respectively 2093 (2013) 2102 (2013).
“The genuine desire by the international community to held Somalia to reconcile their political differences during the last decades of the twentieth century has been thwarted by the warlords and others assuming the role military powerful political parties, on the one hand, and, on the other, the assumed leadership of their respective clans- clans which do not accept a subordinate status to other clans” (Drysdale 2000). ‘Despite the billions of dollars that the international community devotes to state-building initiatives each year, a formula for ensuring the construction of effective state institutions remains elusive. State –building projects have become fundamental priority in the international security practice, in an effort to overcome the likelihood of conflict ‘spill- overs ‘from so called unstable or fragile states’.(Phillips, 2013). 8
“In many ways, the example of Somalia is also a cautionary tale of how ‘not to do it ‘in terms of foreign policy or humanitarian intervention. This brief overview of the country’s history has shown how problems have recurred since colonial times, and how attempts to resolve them have often repeated similar mistakes time and again throughout the decades” (Harper, 2012).
“Sadly, it is in the abrupt loss of initial confidence and optimism, and the alarming polarization of political attitudes and positions, that the situation in Somalia most closely resembles the “Arab Spring”. It is perhaps therefore no coincidence that many of the new government’s critic’s attribute its shortcomings to disproportionate influence exercised by a faction of the Somali chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood: a group known as Damul Jadiid. Having quietly Hassan Sheikh to the presidency, members of Damul Jadiid have since been appointed to key positions in the administration, from where they appear to be driving government policy”.(Bryden2013).
This quest for federalism in Somalia has been underway since earlier of successive Transitional Federal Governments of Somalia, indeed, one can justify the need in such advanced style of statehood but it is widely questioned how this can be viable or sustainable in the context that political disintegration is normalized at large-scale, in the context that integrity of state in Somalia is highly threaten and jeopardized by external or clan competition and in the context that national integration and nationalism are not taken into account.
Eventually Somalia has lost its credibility for more than three decade or since the post-colonial period; Somalia had been in the precarious situation where the Cold War politics hampered the overall country’s revival of economic development and full socio-political integration, because Somalia was one of the main battleground of the bipolar Cold War rivalries – US and Soviet Union.
The United Nations lifted arms embargo of Somalia, in order to advance Security Forces of the Federal Government of Somalia, but since now there is low confidence from the public and international partners Somalia to re-establish its security forces which are well trained and disciplined. Aftermath of the lifting this embargo, there was a widespread evidence that weapons supplied solely to Federal government of Somalia resold and transferred to across the Somalia and the region in general, this can escalate the possibilities that conflict can be perpetuated and entertained a new unwanted behavior beyond the Somalia, gun smuggling and unnecessary weapons remained the hands of the civilian became one of the asymmetry popular acts customized across in Somalia.
The SFG yet stays behind under the security and protection of African Union Troops, and the explosions and risk exposures doubled in the last one year of the 2014, during the campaigning to end the post- transition in Somalia, there were many bad things in every corner but people were anticipating that many good things should soon happen in Somalia after post- transitional state-reconstruction but it is quite reasonable that Federal Government in Somalia is still unable to respond the demands of the citizens, it is internationally figured out that corruption, 9
misappropriations, tribalism and nepotism are symptoms of SFG and this is a clear indication raised or propelled the local frustrations and international community’s disappointments to look forward rapid recovery and restoring the public trust and ownership of the state.
The UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (2013, 2014) has depicted frequently the degree of corruption, and misuses of public assets in Somalia, and indeed this is so shocked news seen in the international news headlines. The campaign financing structure of the 2012 elections recycled funds derived from external and internal sources to distort the political system. ‘Notably, public financial management efforts to redirect government revenue to the Central Bank proved to be serving a flawed objective. On average, some 80 percent of withdrawals from Central Bank are made for private purposes and not for the running of government, representing a patronage system and a set of social relations that defy the institutionalization of the state.
“Less than a year into the SFG’s mandate, hope and optimism are steadily giving way to polarization, acrimony, and fears of renewed violence. Whether Somalia progresses along the path to peace or relapses into fragmentation and conflict now depends on whether the SFG continues impose its own narrow, ideologically driven agenda, or seizes the opportunity to enlarge its appeal by behaving, as a government of national unity: a choice between Somalia Redux or Somalia relapsed”(Bryden, 2013).
Even though international community showed a great sympathy to SFG and unprecedented degree of assistance as political showcasing of internationally held conference in London 2013, Brussels and Copenhagen 2014, but the social, economic and political remedy yet is too far, the attacks of villa Somalia and Halane compound of UNMISOM (2014) exposed the level of threat and inability of the security apparatus. Politically, Somalia has been unstable over the last several months. “Donors have expressed concern regarding the resignation of the central bank governor, YusurAbrar, in November. After only seven weeks on the job, she cited widespread corruption in the FGS as her rationale for quitting and fled the country” (SC Report, 2014).
Moreover, Somalia was last two decades accused the culture of bribery and looting public properties, in fact this has discredited the state-building momentum of the post-transition strategic efforts and the spirit of the need of immediate recovery and solidarity, one obvious challenge in this SFG is commencing everything from scratch, the six pillars of the SFG strategy is proposing substantial interventions to be undertaken accompany with the New Deal Compact for Somalia which is paving the way for social, political and economic recovery. Nevertheless, it is unfortunate the malpractices of the national properties and deep mistrust among political spheres are unresolved and it is one of the bottom lines of the problems in Somalia.
The London School of Economics and Political Science has recommended that following options or models that can be workable in this context of Somalia (1) a Confederation (2) a Federation; (3) a Centralized Unitary State with strong guarantees of local or regional autonomy; (4) a Consociational, non territorially based on decentralization.(LSE, 1995), exploring any workable 10
solution of the state –building in Somalia must be given a chance to locally re-evaluate and reconstruct socially inclusive patterns of reconciliation and ownership. Hence, these four paradigms commended by the LSE are the internationally understandable but in the vicinity of the Somalia, it is complex that such political systems installed horizontally in the context that its people are not hand to hand, nomadic type of social construction seems to be contrary to the rule of law and cementing absolute pattern of security and nationhood.
Arguments for and against Federal System in Somalia
The notion to form decentralized power sharing Federal System in Somalia was came to known aftermath the collapse of the dictatorship of Siad Barre regime in 1991. Simply because the practical illustrations of the abortion and the length of the failure of 31 years Unitary State of Somali Democratic Republic became so apparent.
The big question in here is, can the House be built without laying the appropriate foundation, and the answer is simply no, if establishment of the Federal Government of Somalia is an agreeable solution, we cannot put the Horse before the Cart meaning some of the public opinions against this notion of federalism are weakening the possibilities to form this federal system in the absence of building agreeable a central government of Somalia, so the imposition of this idea can justify the raising gestures of clan and regional irritations against one another due to this ambiguity of the state –building process in Somalia as this decentralization federalism model.
However, Somalia has become a place that deserves to be reviled and described as an international disaster area due to the decades of insurgencies, civil wars, political and religious conflict, human disasters, natural disasters, piracy, heaven of terrorism, dumping the toxic waste as well as internal destruction that has engulfed the country in many ways, similarly the state-building project in Somalia has suffered many incompatible and competing actors both at domestic, regional and international levels.
Therefore, the state formation, and overall state-building process is hampered by those irreconcilable actors. “In the absence of a hegemonic group, Somalia depended upon the formation of a political settlement among the different violent actors. This was stunted by the fact in the absence of any hegemonic the incentive structure of the post- Barre environment was to maintain maximum violence potential.” (Duffield, 2014, p.15)
On the other hand, the political struggles amongst the international community members themselves made Somalia the worsens case scenario because the solution of the problems of Somalia cannot be solved by internationally mandatory project, but diagnosing this chronic insecurity conditions in Somalia, locally driving and locally led approaches can be more effective instrument than the external interventions based on the neocolonialism, and realism concepts of the Western overriding platform of politics and security. 11
Thus, competing over the natural resources is an indicative measure that has no any proper legal accounts but it is more ad hoc or nullified process that can raise a new paradigm of conflict in Somalia.”Somalia is slowly emerging from two decades of protracted civil wars but still carries numerous scars from a state collapse. External influence, particularly the Cold War contest over Somalia‘s strategic position on the Horn of Africa and its internal dynamics led to the collapse of the military Dictatorship of Siad Barre in 1991”(Danida, 2014).
Meanwhile the Somali Federal Government in South- central and its regional and wider international supporters have, until now, put most efforts into top-down political dealings giving cover for externally – driven military objectives, rather than working locally – won legitimacy (ICG, 2014. P. 20), this notion which has been described by the ICG is the central to all narratives towards Somalia state-building process, because many domestic and even international actors do believe that the state- building of Somalia must be stimulated within the consent of the citizens in Somalia and decreasing the level of dependence of the external supports, Somaliland which is declared its independence in 1991 is classical example and champion as such a inspiring model of the bottom up state- building process.
Based on the above mentioned in depth analysis, there are arguments and counter- arguments about the possibilities and chances to form workable state structures in Somalia, notably, the possibilities to form a decentralized power sharing based on a Federal System of Somalia is not an authentic and valid choice at moment but may not be forever. Currently the attitude and assumptions of the entire society in Somalia is so hard to sort out due to many enclaves, brutality among vicinities, and possibility to identify community activists who are willing to defend or being devoted the harmony, and national identity of Somalia.
In some extent both groups have plenty of justifications, but building the foundation of the central system based on the power sharing model deserves to be accentuated for and most elites in Mogadishu are encouraging such opinion but in contrary the Garowe elites are entirely vary from this perspective, because they have very strong concentration on the federalism system that they are hopefully believe it is worthwhile and only credible representation that Somalia can today wish to survive on the expenses of internationally led efforts.
Since the Transitional Federal Government, there were some inconsistent of power sharing because mainly President mostly comes from Hawiye clan, Prime Minister comes from Darood clan and speaker of the parliament comes from Digile and Mirifle groups. In other words, the Hassan Sheikh government is often blamed avoiding the concept of federalism which was the legitimate reconstitution of the current government of Somalia, power sharing issue has stifling effect in the arena of Somalia politics. “The Somalia federal Government‘s new policy of doing away with the federalism that brought it to power poses a threat to the country’s progress towards stability” (Mohamoud, 2013). 12
The current administration of Somalia has a provisional constitution at hand without implementation tools in place. Moreover, the constitution is not complete and has not been publically ratified. This leaves the entire constitution wide open to disparate and divergent interpretations and as such could be corrupted by an administration that does not support key provisions in the current constitution. For example, according to Section 1 of Article 1 of the new provisional constitution adopted on August 1, 2012, Somalia is defined as a federal, Sovereign, and Democratic Republic founded on inclusive representation of the people, a multiparty system advised by social justice towards the country’s different regions.
Although, this constitutional framework has at least provided some demarcation between government officials but there are recurrent conflict based on power struggle between three constitutional bodies of the state as the President, the Prime minister and the Speaker, therefore, this is depicting a structural conflict must be inventible since successive Prime Ministers Abdi Farah Shirdon and Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed lost the positions of the PM.
“Furthermore, Section 6 of Article 49, whose original intent was to mediate between the interests of the center vs. the periphery regions, states that based on a voluntary decision, two or more regions may merge to form a Federal Member State”. (IHASA,2013).Instantly, Somalia is dilemma managing either federalism system or unitary state, international community domination in this state-building project of Somalia has posed a lot of shortcomings included the approaches of top down state initiatives and poor understanding of the Somalia problems in terms of state formation arena.
Undeniably, it is incredible to reconstruct the viable state in Somalia, without consent inclusion and the case of Somalia – looks like a “doctor that writes prescription in every time without diagnosing the patient”, in this scenario Somali proverb says a patient is advised by hundred persons (ninbukaboqol u tali). In fact, the protection and safeguard of international community and regional forces had many implications in the short and long term prospect of Somalia due to the conflict of interests and historical disagreements.
Moreover, the power devolution is a central argument, attaining a fair resources distribution and representation, however, Somalia needs akin as Kenya attempting to adopt, although yet not pragmatic but it is constitutional, Kenya to be federal system based on counties“(1) the territory of Kenya is divided into the counties specified in the First Schedule. (2) The governments at the national and county levels are distinct and inter-dependent and shall conduct their mutual relations on the basis of consultation and cooperation (Kenyan Constitution, 2010). This Kenya’s type of federalism is more advisable decentralization system where regions are presumably anticipated to exercise some of self-governing system but the complexity of Somalia political situation is really unattainable to reach a level of trust that likely encourage inclusive politics, compromise and acceptable political behavior that should prevent the peril actions. 13
The Nature of the Society and Characteristics of the Federal System
It is indisputable that people of Somalia are egalitarian society who is mostly relied on pastoral and ecological resources, it is estimated that more than 90% are peasant society, who are below under the poverty line – live Sub- Sahara – Africa, and Muslim Suni, social organization – so fragmented move from one place to another by seeking grace and water resources. Tribal affiliation, clan superiority, retaliations, individualism, stereotyping and clan politics dominated the entire spectrum of political settings and social demographic settlements.
It is worth to note that Somalia’s model of federalism is merely theoretical, compared to the nature and characteristics of federal states which few African countries practice. It is for this reason that one can argue how Somalia is far from fulfilling the required criteria for federalism; even the Somalia Constitution which was approved in late 2012 has not defined and outlined clearly the concept of federalism.
Moreover, countries that practice workable federal systems have qualified either through separate colonial systems of the federating parts or ethnic variations. Somalia has not attained these features due to the fact that it had only one colonial experience (that of Italy), and since British Somaliland has dissolved the union or reclaimed its independent and self- determination in 1991.
“For instance Ethiopia has more than 80 ethnic communities; hence, ethnicity is the underlying organizing principle of Ethiopia’s federal parliamentary democracy. Article one of the 1996 Ethiopian constitution states that Ethiopia is a federal State. The Parliament is made up of the House of Peoples’ Representatives and the House of Federation, whose members are elected either by state councils or through popular elections. The highest executive authority in Ethiopia resides in the Prime Minister. Federal powers deal with issues of national concern, including economic and social development, national standards and policy criteria for health and education, defense, federal police, foreign policy, foreign commerce and immigration”.(Forum for Federations).
In contrast to Somalia, it is difficult to perform this criteria based on phenomena of advanced decentralized power sharing. Since Somalia has many deficiencies to form a federal system, taking lessons from the above mentioned countries that put the federal system into practice, it is widely clear that Somalia is extremely lacking the experiences and attributes needed to be acquired prior to the establishment of the federal system, in order for Somalia to put together a feasible federal system and there is strong demand from the public currently Somalia leadership to rectify the pass mistakes made both post- colonial history and post – Siyad Barre regime.
Somalia is needed to follow the successful lessons and experimentations made by its fellow African countries and the advanced world as well, otherwise it seems to be a political delusion that cannot address and pursue agreeable framework that may accommodate the current fragmentation in Somalia. The federal system that Somalia aspires is really contrary the popular 14
doctrine of the federalism for example in every main clan wants to establish its own autonomous region which is unlikely to match the pre-determined criteria of federalism, if the federalism in Somalia is based on clanism or tribal affiliation, the concept of statehood formation in Somalia is indispensable to encounter a biggest constrains and new political trajectory that can trigger or accelerate a cycle of conflict and hostility among clans who live side by side in same locality.
“The Somali clan distinctions reflect historical experiences and social class differences; for instance in the Southern inter-riverine area inhabited by the Rahanweny farming communities, who are traditionally less aggressive clans compared to those of nomadic background and speak a distinct Somali dialect called May serious human rights violations have taken place. The Darood clan family communities who long surrounded the Rahanweny despised them and treated them as second class citizens, even during the three decades of modern Somali independence.
It was no coincidence that the farmers around Baidoa and Bur Hacaba suffered the worst atrocities by Darood and Hawiya militias in the mayhem that followed the overthrow of SiyadBarre in 1991”( Geshekter 1997).
In this scholarly point of view, Geshekter has demonstrated rightly the cultural domination and marginalization phenomena that exist among inhabitants of Somalia, in the meantime it is clear and unbiased portrait that Somalia reveals a country that had never settled its unity and identity.
In order to further illustrate this case, it is argued that the Union of British Somaliland and Italian Trust Territory of Somalia had never, ever established the legitimate State that both sides arranged and wanted and this is a shocking history that has propelled the current puzzlement in Somalia state formation caused by political disaffections among social settings. Thus, those examples seem to be transpired the incompatibility of the federalism within the context anticipated to regulate.
The demise of Pan-Somali harmony in the post- colonial period has hugely become the evidence of the total failure in Somalia, in other words, the historical mistakes occurred in Somalia is again showing the length of the problems in Somalia and its implications to narrow down without in depth diagnosing the characteristics of the root causes of the persistent conflict. Therefore, without good treatment the historical grievance that compelled Somaliland people to dissolve the merger in 1960, Somalia problems will be continually take this dynamic shape and probably is unpredictable.
“The political and social crises of Somalis during the past three decades exposed unanswered questions on causes of violence, trauma, and instability raging today.’ Many of the attempted quick fixes – like massive international peacekeeping forces and expensive reconciliation conferences (at least 15 of them) in plush hotels abroad – failed to produce the intended outcome demonstrating that ancillary contributor have been mistaken for the primary and fundamental ones. Twenty years later, south – Central Somalia is still mired I violence and chaos while the 15
international community imposes a function of state that has neither authority nor legitimacy to govern”(Bulhan, 2013).
Moreover, the empirical views coupled how this divisive society and donor –driven state-building agenda could not prevail in such accelerated period from 2012- 2016, the complex picture of Somalia is a instrumental indicator that three main vital responsibilities will be difficult to accomplish concurrently, (1) building viable federal system of Somalia for this short period of time (2) free and fair constitutional national referendum and (3) holding democratic multiparty free and fair elections.
It is unconcealed that this is so ambitious agenda which both international community and Federal Government of Somalia could be difficult to realize, way ahead, Somalia has humanitarian and security priorities, which until now was not succeeded to respond sufficiently, the humanitarian crises accompany with present poverty depicted continues helplessness of the entire society particularly disadvantaged groups. In addition, the security is under rampant situation even, after huge number of the AMISON troops deployed across the main cities, as a result, the plan of the federal government of Somalia is unlikely to realize the possible options of diminishing of those structured and unstructured violence that constantly bring the widespread insecurity dilemma.
Furthermore, the internal power struggling between different functions of Somalia range from central to regional but it must be primarily settle down before proceeding state building arena. perhaps it is apparently testified that power struggling among President and Prime Minister is harder than anything else, because the President often seems to be intervening the mandated activities of the Prime minister and the country attempts like more presidential system, therefore, this controversy is preventing to forge mutual constructive relations between government bodies and in any time the incomprehension both legal perspective and practicality is not far away from within. “Clearly, Somalia with its current situation can’t implement neither unitary nor federalism smoothly by itself without the help of the international community. With real leaders with greater vision we could do it.” (Hire2013).
Escalation of the Conflicts in the Post-Transitional period in Somalia
Over the past decades, Somalia has accustomed to a predatory and exploitative environment that include daily events of killing, kidnapping, rape, bombing, piracy and other evils which has ordinarily followed throughout the social and political sphere. Therefore, the post – transition has indeed exposed the new threats that can likely regenerate to resuscitate the previous conflict among factions of Somalia, there was an immediate tension over the course of federal principles implementations which Hassan Sheikh government appeared hesitantly on the eyes of federalists.
During the civil, religious and political conflict, Somalia has widely experienced the complete disintegration in the first place and this has weakened the concept of “same clan- ethic society, 16
religion, language, and traits” because there is extensive social polarization which is driving the forces of archaism, stateless conditions, tribal competition and current escalation of the communal conflict in Somalia is very serious backward across the region and needs measures of political and security deterrence.
As a result, the society is mostly peasant and figment society which their emanate customs suffered alongside this period of African partition, in contrast to Somaliland, traditional elite groups had been empowered throughout Somaliland British protectorate indirect rule, and indeed this has enabled Somaliland with more political compromise, consensus building, cultural perseveration, and vibrant civic participation. Eventually the post- transition process has intended to introduce new political trends to Somalia; but there is too slow recovery of political and economic activities yet except rapid foreign diplomatic engagement to Somalia amicably.
In this era of federalism, there are so many parallel events taking placing across Somalia, before the complete framework of the federalism principles, one of the misguided concepts are mostly indicative that both building blocks – self-autonomous regions and the international community’s multidimensional approaches of the Somalia state-building process are many times contradicting one another. However, it is commonly symbolic that federalists are at risk due to several key factors include the apparent clan or tribal disequilibrium, inter-clan or intra-clan long term hostilities and poor bottom up analysis or engagement how this idea can work in Somalia as inclusive, participatory and remedy avenue, because both federalists and anti-federalists have rights to measure their argument.
The central philosophy of the Somalia state-building process has become more internationally dominated scheme that local actors have no choice. It is ostensible that disagreement on issues of federalism principle reached to rejuvenate new conflicts based on clan to clan fighting within same region i.e. Interim Jubba Administration, Interim South West Administration and Puntland are classical examples how deep the resentment among clans in Somalia since all administrations characterized many political and social stalemates because of clan domination is the central phenomena. Thus, what is activating the conflict is both social and political mentality not far away from the attempts to dominated one clan to another where egalitarian Somali cultural is sensitive such overriding concept and manipulation.
Reasons of International Community to accentuate in the Post-Transition in Somalia
Despite, the international community’s exhausted ambition for Somalia restoration of peace and stability for too long, there are also the growing risks Somalia to remain uncertain and unsecure place of dumping ground for weapons and bearing other elements which are boosting up unwanted behaviors. Consequently, international community attempts to respond the long term failure of their shoulders since Somalia was away from the international arena for more than two decades, presumably the current simultaneous efforts of the international community is because 17
of following reasons firstly, lessons learnt from many disappointments of Somalia pre- transitional period that international community had never appreciated
Second, international community now is so fatigue and attempting to explore the ways and means that Somalia problems to be domesticated and leave within. Third, the international community has fears and apprehensions towards the raising risks of the Al-Shabaab movement, in which Western countries as well as regional states see undeniable threat across. Four, eventually, the well coordinated international efforts is primarily a reaction but not coherent both hard and soft, many attempts are focusing on military means other than influencing the heart and minds of the public.
To that end, the discourses among domestic actors is still immature and it is hard to accommodate smoothly the post- transition of Somalia, the capacity of state operational institutions was not impossible to scale up the desired country’s political, economic and acute security demands. Although the problem of Somalia has become both regional and international level, at moment the international powers are not competing over the issues of Somalia because the post –Cold War has made dramatic paradigm shift but Western powers are yet remain interesting to involve the issues of Somalia to spread more capitalists and liberalism concept of statehood which Somalia yet far behind to adopt such advanced and sophisticated model of state enterprise.
Nevertheless, the untapped natural resources particularly extractive industries as oil reserves are more potent resources that may lead another conflict if not properly planned. The Western conventional development modalities attempted to help Somalia for such extreme humanitarian crisis and poverty but the recovery of the sociopolitical and economic development still far behind to achieve in short, medium and long term time due to so many accumulated problems realized over the past decades of anarchy and fragility.
Security as International Priority: AMISOM Troops and New UN Mission in Somalia.
The security of Somalia is viewed as international phenomenon and regional priority, nevertheless, the affect is often concentrated other than the root causes of the problems, regional and international troops hampered the overall soft part of development interventions in Somalia. Besides the dispatched foreign troops in Somalia, the plan to handover to locally trained security is yet invisible; the UN Resolution 2093 (2013) has lifted all obstructions that arms embargo imposed, and without a doubt this resolution has permitted Somalia to have legitimate access to deliveries of weapons and military hard work facilities but the capacity to handle the formation of the capable armed forces is not possible for time being because Somalia is politically and socially fragmented.
It is commended that improving security in Somalia remains critical aspect for all patterns of socio-economic and political process; many internationally held conferences stressed and 18
advocated to look forward in placing viable mechanisms for all security apparatus, for instance the first Somalia London conference in 2012, second Somalia London conference 2013, and Brussels conference in late 2013 all have similarly reiterated to bolster security dimensions by upholding other elements alongside with it.
Notwithstanding, this conventional threats, Somalia at this condition aspires to revive its extractive industries which in earlier was explored and marked for international multinational companies, and because this is what foreign countries competing over the issues of Somalia, indeed, this extractive industry can rapidly contribute to the economic recovery, livelihoods and bolstering more better opportunities for foreign investments.
On the other hand, this can also raise the cells of conflicts and extended security –political implications, because Somalia at this stage is required to rescue, in order to restore law and order. In the meantime, Somalia, there is a degree of speculations that extractive industries is endowed as oil, gas, metal and minerals, to this end the strong security, political and social consistency is needed before interventions of this extractive sector, otherwise, this is entirely making new conflict that every semi- autonomous region and the federal state fight against it, Somalia, natural resources issues and land occupation are prominent cluster and the roots of the such persistent conflict.
Constraints Ahead of Establishment of Workable State in Somalia
Presumably, Somalia has remained a fragile for the extended period of time and this has risen dubious to reconstitute state of Somalia immediately and most comprehensively. Proliferating state organs fundamentally was impossible at micro and macro level in Somalia. On the other hand, Somalia has had a dark history since the post- colonial period where dream of greater Somalia aborted because of many realities that were miscalculated. Hence, there were significant mistakes that have contributed this dramatic political obstruction that Somalia within at current time, denial and misappropriations are key elements of Somalia being at trap of the unrest and ruin.
Regardless, the tribal and religious organs, Somali nomadic life style and livelihood as animal lovers is not actually accepting the overwhelming rule of law and contemporary state authorities, the mistrust has sidelined whatever anticipated to do so, the breakdown and discontent over the unity of Somalia has not commenced in 1991 but all the way the post-colonial period because there were successive of occurrences that exposed the improper state behavior of the Somali Republic or Somali Democratic Republic.
As result, most efforts at state revival in Somalia relied on external sources of funding, which is unpredictable and unsustainable. Moreover, this extreme dependence of the Somalia state-building process is weakening to overcome such unstable politics and profound animosity among inhabitants in Somalia. Laying the foundation of state enterprise is required to in place some 19
concrete factors; security is premium on the top of issues, because without it the state cannot delivery anything at all.
In this case, it cannot be ignored the significance of the international efforts towards reconstituting state functions in Somalia, because those who are arguing the internationally led efforts in Somalia, point out how international community’s approach of state – building is not the right way, due to poorly or less consultation and consideration of the citizens particularly organized non state actors as academic and civil society who extremely contributed the survival of the people and the public will in Somalia over the past three decades.
‘The principal drivers of the Somali crisis are identifiable foreign powers exploiting the vulnerabilities of the Somali people rooted in clan rivalry, poverty, religion and selfish ambitious personalities’(Mohamud, 2013).’During the Cold War, the Horn of Africa was constantly affected by unexpected and sudden conflict, tense ideological confrontations, territorial disputes, cross –border destabilization and continued militarization. Accordingly prominent authors called the Horn of Africa either a crisis zone or a mere battleground between the United States and the Soviet Union.’(Monograph, 2011).
Apparently, it is implausible to simply contextualize what type of state model that Somalia can adopt, in sense that the complexity of building a viable state in Somalia is far beyond the political top down interventions which is a frequent a model that experimented over the past years in the post Siyad Barre period. Therefore, it should be profound to build empirical and analytical patterns that could generate short, medium and long term prospect of Somalia state building enterprise.
Somalia is currently facing multifaceted political transitions that can put it at risk again; the widespread dynamics include extreme dependence on outside hands, lack of political trust among the factions and an all-embracing fragility, which cannot be tackled by the existing perceptions which are far from the realities on ground.
Moreover, this paper has made in depth analysis to further discover the conceptualization of the federal system in the post- transition of Somalia and counter- arguments that are signaling the possible failures in this type of government based on building blocks. The concept of federalism requires a genuine and territorial demarcation between inhabitants and regions in Somalia, in this empirical philosophy of federalism, Somalia is in the dilemma of clan or tribal inhabitant live in same locality, which is impossible to segregate as provisional and constitutional means based on federalism.
The present approach to formulate a functioning federal government in Somalia resembles the precise style but it looks like a failed dream of Greater Somalia or Somali-weny in 1960, whose 20
negative outcomes led to the collapse of Somali democratic Republic. Therefore, ignoring the past historical events will only impair the future of Somalia. The federalism concept requires a mature political leadership and the will of the people since Somalia experienced the 31 Unitary State with extensive clashes between clans and between the state and civilians.
As a result, the following factors can be the fundamental to install step by step First: inclusive political and social reconciliation can be a pattern of regenerating long lasting solution. Second: restoration of law and order, establishment of the judiciary system which is more independent and capable. Third: in place proper measures of trust building between clans, regions and political factions. Four: establish domestic reliable security capabilities alongside with internationally driving agenda of precautions and safety, monitoring and controlling arms in Somalia is not only a policy of containment but it can be preventive measures of arms smuggling.
It is wise to mention that despite the complexity of the federal system in Somalia, the people of Somalia will also find it difficult to trust again the unitary system of government. Consequently, the intention to form federal government of Somalia is to have fair representation of regions and clans but the present outlook of Somalia and its historical evolutions can portray that the contradictions and internal divisions may not either qualify for the Federal Arrangements or acceptable Unitary State.
For example, if the current Somalia political structure is evaluated, the first question that deserves to be answered is why do the President and Prime Minister are always engaged in power struggle even across successive government of Somalia, however, if these two leaders cannot be reconciled through constitutional means, how could it be possible to form a decentralized functioning federal system with more contemporary features, in fact, the structural problems must be foremost politically and legally adjusted before the federalism system should be arranged, the baseline of the power struggle to two leaders is because of they come from rivalry clans of Hawiye and Darood.
The fact is that a total of around 16 conferences were held from 1991 to 2012 with different agendas, but mainly focusing on state-building and the revival of the central government of Somalia without qualifying to examine the root causes and setbacks experienced over the past decades. The absence of clear definitions on the terms, approach and the legitimacy of representatives in these conferences were among the factors which led many of these conferences to end up in futility and failure. Somalia has been under ruin and chaos for many years and there is no substantial remedy or gradual recovery taking place yet.
Ultimately, in Somalia, people are well armed and well organized on issues of conflict and trouble making, however, the grass roots dimension for social and clan reconciliation is missing, the initiative to establish the formal system of government would not accommodate the various 21
and contentious interest groups, many people in Somalia are arguing that federalism system should not work such milieu. However, navigating the process of the federalism needs optimistic political culture and social tolerance, international community which is leading actors this process of Somalia state formation has many contradictions that can perpetuate the hope and ultimate solution of Somalia state formation.
Mohamed Ahmed Mohamoud (Barawaani) Independent Researcher Author of Various Papers about Somaliland and Somalia issues Email: email@example.com 22
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