Thursday, February 13, 2014

Somalia: On Federalism and Constitutionality in Somalia - Difficulties of 'Post-Transitional' Institution Building Remain

Somalia is at a turning point in its modern history, particularly in the capital and large swathes of the south. The period following the collapse of Mohamed Siad Barre's regime in 1991 is often referred to as 'two decades' of anarchy, occasionally with the qualifier 'especially in the south.' It is perhaps more useful, however, to consider Somalia's recent past in terms of three 'decades'.
Rather than drawing a line at 1991, the first 'decade' to consider is a period of intense violence from the mid-1980s - as insurgent movements picked up intensity along with the government's reprisals - to the mid-1990s, by when the explosion of clan-linked violence had dwindled considerably.
In the northwest and northeast, the mid-to-late 1990s marked a turning point, with political entities emerging - Somaliland and Puntland - that have continued since then to consolidate and deepen their political institutions.
Even in southern and central Somalia, the period from the mid-1990s until about 2004/05 - our second 'decade' - saw fairly stable control established by various militia groups in different parts of the country. Not uncontested, not without violence, but certainly of a lower order than the violent convulsions of the preceding decade.
However, from 2005, violent conflict escalated dramatically again in southern and central Somalia, as the government created by the 2004 Transitional Federal Charter attempted to establish itself in Mogadishu - amid an escalating conflict between warlords and Islamists for control.
The emergence of the Islamic Courts Union administration in the capital led to the forceful intervention of Ethiopia to remove it and ensconce the Transitional Federal Government - triggering the insurgency of al-Shabaab, a radical militia within the Islamic Courts fold which chose not to flee the Ethiopian offensive. With violence continuing into the present, this period has been our third 'decade'.
When the mandate of the TFG was brought to close in August 2012, amid intense regional and international pressure, many perceived a potential shift in the country's fortunes - both inside and outside Somalia.
The heady optimism of the initial 'Somalia rising' moment was fairly swiftly re-injected with weight and challenges of political reality. Nevertheless, there remained, and still remains, a sense that for southern and central Somalia, a different trajectory is possible.
Because of this sense of prospective opportunity, it is all the more important to move away from a view of Somalia as emerging from 'two decades of conflict,' and instead to put in the context of a longer view of Somali history the choices facing the authorities in Mogadishu and the range of sub-state political entities in the rest of Somalia - from the various clan militia, nascent local administrations, and emerging and aspirant regional states, to the established governments in Puntland and (even) Somaliland. Even the administration of al-Shabaab is ultimately a part of the political calculus.
And the question at the root of the Somali political project is now the question of federalism.
In seeking answers, Somalis are viewing not only the past two decades since the collapse of the state, but also looking back to the experience of the previous Somali state itself. Somalis are seeking not merely to 'restore' institutions, but rather to build a new set of institutions.
A pervasive sense of distrust in a strong central government, the legacy of the Barre era, informs the political negotiations - although this is magnified for many in a 'regional' context, and subdued for many directly linked to the administration in Mogadishu.
Politics versus institutions
For most participants in the political processes in Somalia, the shape of the debate over the country's future boils down to two terms: 'federalism' and 'constitutionality.'
However, it is clear from the experience of the first Somali Federal Government -- under recently ejected Prime Minister Farah Abdi Shirdon - that neither term is consistently defined.
In large part, this is because the current political dispensation in Mogadishu is not the result of a natural process, but rather of a chaotic and sometimes half-hearted attempt by the international community to fix Somalia through support of transitional governments from the year 2000.
The basis for Somalia's problems was recognised as clans' competition for political power; therefore starting in the year 2000, the basis for the Somali parliament and the cabinet became clan formations: 4 parts for the 4 large clan families and a half share for all the minority clans - this became known as the 4.5 formula.
It is worth noting that the Somali provisional constitution mentions the term 'clan' only once: in Article 11, which concerns equality of all citizens. In effect, this renders unconstitutional the 4.5 formula.
However, without a constitutional court, this formula will continue to be used by Somalia's government. This is a reflection of the continued primacy of political logic over any ideological commitment to 'institution-building', for its own sake.
While prone to abuse and despite evidence of large-scale selling of parliamentary seats by Somali elders, the 4.5 formula has proved the only way to create a representative government - i.e., a government in which a range of clan interests feel sufficiently represented to participate.
This logic was most recently manifested in Puntland, where the groundwork for direct elections was abandoned in mid-2013, leading to a relatively stable process for selecting a parliament, which in early January selected a new president for the state.
However, returning to the federal level - at this stage, with the new government of Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed having held its first cabinet meeting in late January, it is hoped that the federal government will now begin to make forward progress on its mandate for finalising the constitution and making the preparations necessary for general elections in 2016.
Even if expectations that direct elections will be feasible by then are low, the first 18 months of the four year parliamentary and presidential term have seen little progress on the general process of finalising the constitution, and putting it to a national referendum.
It is worth drawing attention to a range of constitutional issues facing politicians in Mogadishu and nationally, which are related to the relationship between Mogadishu and Somalia's 18 regions and federal states.
The constitution as currently understood creates a contradictory framework which has stymied, and could continue to undermine, progress on the national political project.
Problems with parliamentary structure
The Somali Federal Parliament is divided into two: the Upper House of Parliament, and the House of The People of the Federal Parliament. Currently, only the latter one exists; it is highly unlikely that the former will come into existence in the foreseeable future due to the current political climate.
This is because the members of the Upper House are supposed to be elected from the 18 regions of Somalia, and from the Federal Member States - whose formation is ongoing. To make matters more complicated, all Federal Member States must have the exact same number of representatives in the Upper House.
This issue will be a problem for years to come, as some states may feel disadvantaged. For example, a state comprising 4 regions could well complain that a state of only 2 regions has the same representation in the Upper House.
Why does this matter? While the current parliament will continue to legislate, all the laws it passes may be challenged when and if elections do take place in 2016 and a truly representative government is in place. Without the existence of an Upper House of Parliament, the House of The People of Federal Parliament cannot pass a draft law according to Article 82 of the draft constitution.
Federal Member States
The Somali constitution allows the creation of federal member states, but applies stringent requirements that are extremely difficult for state builders to meet. For example, only two or more Somali regions uniting can form a Federal Member State.
While not seemingly problematic, consider the fact that very few clans are the sole occupants of one region, let alone in two or more regions. It would take tremendous amount of reconciliation to create states that transcend clan boundaries.
One such future problem lies in central Somalia, in Galgadud, where there are many competing rival clans who can barely agree on an administration for their region, let alone uniting with another region to form a state.
Regions that do not join a state are to be administered by the federal government for a maximum of two years, according to Article 48 (clause 2) of the constitution. This raises a question: what happens after two years if a region does not merge into a federal member state? With two years approaching since the constitution was provisionally adopted, the answer to this question is particularly important.
Problems with state creation
Even when multiple regions are almost homogenous and state creation is technically feasible, there are problems with the state creation process, caused in part by constitutional ambiguity.
The first clause of Article 49 of the constitution stipulates that it is the House of the People (the existing lower house of parliament) that shall determine the number and boundaries of the Federal Member States; however, clause 6 of the same article stipulates that two or more regions may voluntarily merge to form a Federal Member State.
In effect, it is saying two things: the first is that it is the federal government that has the power to draw the boundaries of federal member states; and secondly, that any two regions can unite and form a state.
This lack of clarity in who can form a state has contributed to a rush to create federal member states by politicians in southern Somalia.
In mid-2013, representatives from the three Jubba river valley regions (Lower and Middle Jubba, and Gedo) met in Kismayo and declared a Jubbaland state. They met with strong opposition from the federal government and some clan elders, Jubbaland reached a compromise deal with the federal government.
In Baidoa, there are currently two competing camps trying to create a South Western Somalia state. One camp wants to create a more technically feasible state comprised of Bay, Bakool, and Lower Shabelle regions; the other camp wants to add Gedo, Middle Jubba, and Lower Jubba and make SWS a 6-region state.
While this confusion is rooted in local politicians' desire for power, the constitutional ambiguity and the federal government's mild participation in federal state building has exacerbated the problem.
Sharing of natural resources
The only currently existing state that mostly fulfils the constitutional requirements for statehood is Puntland. While Puntland played a major role in the constitutional consultative process, its relations with the federal government worsened significantly since the adoption of the constitution.
The Puntland administration has signed contracts with foreign oil companies, and believes that it has a right to do so; on the other hand, the federal government maintains that it has the sole authority to award concessions for oil exploration.
The constitution does not help answer the question of how natural resources are to be shared, let alone who has the power to sign oil contracts. It does, however require that both sides negotiate a deal between them.
Article 44 of the constitution stipulates that "the allocation of natural resources of the Federal Republic of Somalia shall be negotiated by, and agreed upon, by the Federal Government and the Federal Member States in accordance with this constitution".
However, even if Puntland and the federal government were to agree on how to share natural resources, the question of which regions are actually part of Puntland may in the future threaten any such deal.
For instance, Puntland lays claims to parts of Sool and Sanaag, and to a lesser extent, parts of Togdheer in the form of the Puntland-created Ayn region (people in Ayn have multiple loyalties: to Puntland, Khatumo, and Somaliland).
Areas claimed by Puntland are also claimed by Somaliland and Khatumo state. Any deal signed between Puntland and the federal government will be challenged by the latter two.
In essence, problems with the constitution and its implementation reflect the top down approach of institution building in Mogadishu - an approach adopted of necessity by the international community which bankrolled the TFG and constitutional drafting process. This 'centralised' support is hitting up against the reality that local and regional political processes are more substantive.
The messy and violent way that the Jubbaland state was first formed, then came into conflict with Mogadishu and was eventually pushed into a compromise with the federal government under Ethiopian mediation has established an important precedent.
That process underlines both the fact that Mogadishu does not have the capacity to drive state formation, and the fact that some kind of political compromise will be needed between the federal government and future Member States, as well.
The federal government has to recognise the existing problems with the constitution and take steps to fix them. Not doing so now will lead to continued problems with federal state creation, which may ultimately lead to a return of hostilities between rival states that have overlapping territories.
Mohamed Mubarak, a political and security analyst, is the founder of anti-corruption NGO Marqaati (, based in Mogadishu @somalianalyst
Jason Mosley is a Research Associate at the African Studies Centre, Oxford University @africaupdate
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Ex-Somali Police Commissioner General Mohamed Abshir

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner  General Mohamed Abshir

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater
Somalia army parade 1979

Sultan Kenadid

Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
Sultanate of Warsengeli

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
Siad Barre ( A somali Hero )

MoS Moments of Silence

MoS Moments of Silence
honor the fallen

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
Beautiful handshake

May Allah bless him and give Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan

May Allah bless him and give  Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan
Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was born 1919, Ganane, — (gedo) jubbaland state of somalia ,He passed away Jan. 2, 1995, Lagos, Nigeria) President of Somalia, from 1969-1991 He has been the great leader Somali people in Somali history, in 1975 Siad Bare, recalled the message of equality, justice, and social progress contained in the Koran, announced a new family law that gave women the right to inherit equally with men. The occasion was the twenty –seventh anniversary of the death of a national heroine, Hawa Othman Tako, who had been killed in 1948 during politbeginning in 1979 with a group of Terrorist fied army officers known as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).Mr Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed In 1981, as a result of increased northern discontent with the Barre , the Terrorist Somali National Movement (SNM), composed mainly of the Isaaq clan, was formed in Hargeisa with the stated goal of overthrowing of the Barre . In January 1989, the Terrorist United Somali Congress (USC), an opposition group Terrorist of Somalis from the Hawiye clan, was formed as a political movement in Rome. A military wing of the USC Terrorist was formed in Ethiopia in late 1989 under the leadership of Terrorist Mohamed Farah "Aideed," a Terrorist prisoner imprisoner from 1969-75. Aideed also formed alliances with other Terrorist groups, including the SNM (ONLF) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), an Terrorist Ogadeen sub-clan force under Terrorist Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess in the Bakool and Bay regions of Southern Somalia. , 1991By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government, fully operational in the northern regions, had spread to the central and southern regions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia. Barre’s effective territorial control was reduced to the immediate areas surrounding Mogadishu, resulting in the withdrawal of external assistance and support, including from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as USC and SNM Terrorist advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed factions Terrorist drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria. In 1992, responding to political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in Somalia, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation was designed to create an environment in which assistance could be delivered to Somalis suffering from the effects of dual catastrophes—one manmade and one natural. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994, when U.S. forces withdrew. Warlordism, terrorism. PIRATES ,(TRIBILISM) Replaces the Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration .While the terrorist threat in Somalia is real, Somalia’s rich history and cultural traditions have helped to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. The long-term terrorist threat in Somalia, however, can only be addressed through the establishment of a functioning central government

The Honourable Ronald Reagan,

When our world changed forever

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)
Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1963 to 1966, to Italy and the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] in Rome from 1969 to 1973, and to the French Govern­ment in Paris from 1974 to 1979.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac  'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.
Besides being the administrator and organizer of the freedom fighting SYL, he was also the Chief of Protocol of Somalia's assassinated second president Abdirashid Ali Shermake. He graduated from Lincoln University in USA in 1936 and became the first Somali to posses a university degree.

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

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