In 1991 when Somalis experienced what Professor Ahmed Samatar calls ‘the death of the national state‘, a few Somalis could foresee that it would take Somalia twenty-five years to discuss the possibility of holding one man one vote elections in 2016. It is not a mean achievement in the context of the conflicting priorities of the Somalia’s international partners and the need of Somalis for effective state institutions and a democratic leadership.
Four years ago the British government organised London Conference on Somalia; it energised Somali politics and gave hope to Somalis about the end of the transition and the rebirth of a permanent Somali government ‘in September 2012’. This optimism was based on the realisation that Somali political problems require a global response. At the centre of this strategy was a commitment to helping Somalia raise funds for reconstruction and institution-building.
The Somali Federal Government has not achieved the stated goals. The Somali National Army is still dependent on clan militias; the justice sector has barely made headway in addressing dispossession and human rights violations partly because the Federal Government ignored the transitional justice processes the UN Security Council had called for shortly after parliamentarians elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in September 2012.
If the Somali Federal Government used sovereignty argument to bypass the Joint Financial Management Board, it was for the international community to clarify that withholding of funds raised for the reconstruction of Somalia was caused by Somali federal leaders, who reneged on their promise to use the joint funding mechanisms aimed at ensuring transparency.
As Sarah Chayes of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace argued, there is a causal relationship between corruption and extremism.
Although government corruption costs lives, and deprives Somali people of opportunities to rebuild their country with funds from Somalia’s generous friends, the international community has empowered the Federal Government to impose a top-down electoral model on Somalis to give the incumbent leaders a better chance to return to power.
The international community must stand with the Somali people, not with leaders who have no interests of their people at heart.