This proposal presents our views about the Somali National Reconciliation and Power-sharing Congress which is planned to take place in the near future. The issues viewed to be critical for any genuine national reconciliation process include: (a) where to hold the reconciliation, (b) who leads, (c) who participates and (d) what would be the outcome. The general consensus is that the solution of Somali problems largely depends on all inclusive national political dialogue as a substitute to the use of force and violence; unbeknown message to the current Transitional Federal Leadership of Somalia.
The proposal is based on in-depth analysis of all essential elements that could impact, in terms of process, the outcome of a genuine national reconciliation that might eventually lead to the formation of an all-inclusive government of national unity. Without doubt, the interest and protection of all Somali communities can be served in a broader framework of genuine national reconciliation process for power sharing and mechanism for dispensation of justice, respect of human rights, accountability and transparency. Therefore, the proposal goes beyond unilateral, clan based conflict resolution context and focuses on holistic approaches in which, we think, can be achieved through a genuine national reconciliation process.
The following sections of the proposal deal with (1) the urgency for National Reconciliation, (2) essential elements for national reconciliation, (3) potential constraints, (4) recommendations and conclusion. Attached is an annex that describes the irrelevance of Transitional Federal Institutions for all practical purposes.
1. Urgency for promoting National Reconciliation
The realization of Genuine Somali National Reconciliation is the overriding priority for the Somali people and the international community. A delay, let alone obstruction of the reconciliation, will bring about catastrophe in Somalia. Thus, it is urgently needed a consultative meeting attended by limited number of invitees from known Somali Scholars and intellectuals, statesmen politicians, business community, Media, civil society and international experts on reconciliation not later than the end of March 2007. The purpose of the consultative meeting is to agree on the roadmap for the reconciliation process. The meeting could take place conveniently outside of Somalia. The United Nations and International Somalia Contact group in consultations with relevant institutions and individuals will have the responsibility of selecting the participants and chairing the meeting.
The Majority of the Somali people desperately need peace and security and support political compromises based on the principle of win-win solution. The public appreciates the disabling of all warlords indistinctly and curtailing their influence in the political process of the country.
2. Essential Elements for National Reconciliation
(a) Where to hold the Reconciliation Congress.
The Venue is the first essential element for genuine reconciliation. The overwhelming Ethiopian support of the TFG appears to have provided a favorable opportunity for TFG to fail in engaging a serious, substantive constructive and reconciliatory dialogue with large segment of the Somali population. In particular, the TFG forces (dominated by Puntland Militia) seem to have neither the will nor the interest to establish an enabling environment where local people and participants of forthcoming National Reconciliation feel secure, free from intimidation and protection against potential abuses and threats. Instead, it is widely reported that these militias have committed major offences, serious violations of human rights against Mogadishu citizens. The deployment of African peacekeeping forces could not allay the fear and suspicion of many citizens in Mogadishu.
The choice of venue must satisfy such requirements as of free access, security, personal freedom and comfort for nationals and international partners. Mogadishu is not presently offering such conditions.
(b) Who Leads the Reconciliation Process.
Who leads the process is the second essential condition for genuine reconciliation. The proposition that TFG will be the ultimate leader of the reconciliation is controversial for the following reasons:
ü TFG as the institutional power is the problem and subject of the reconciliation for serious reform.
ü TFG has no capacity, skills, integrity and credibility to administer the reconciliation. Since the outcome of the reconciliation is to form an effective, competent professional cabinet, the current cabinet will have strong desire to sabotage or create innumerable hurdles in order to bring about the failure of the process.
The suggested alternative is to appoint a neutral UN mediator/facilitator supported by two assistants: one from the African Union and the other from the Arab League. The mandated team of mediators should preferably be international individuals with experience in mediation and free from vested interests.
(c) Who Participates the National Reconciliation.
Once the first two conditions are appropriately dealt with, who participates is an important element for National Reconciliation process. Each community will select democratically and rigorously their participants to the National Reconciliation. The consultative group will lay down the number of participants, the criteria for distribution of participants among communities and required criteria for each participant. The participants shoulder the responsibility of ownership of the reconciliation process.
The political representation can take different forms. However, generally accepted representations include: (1) Clan Leaders or Traditional Leaders; (2) Social Organizations Leaders, particularly women Organization Leaders; (3) Political Leaders, (4) Business and Professional Leaders; (5) Religious Leaders; (6) Moderate Leaders of the Islamic Courts, (7) Civil Society Leaders, (8) Diaspora Representatives. These groups play the role and voice of commonality, reason, knowledge and compromise.
The available option for the participation is now based on the clan formula of 4 ½. All members of Parliament will join their sub-clan participants as political leaders. Federal Institutions or individual leadership cannot be considered as national representative because they have not developed shared interest and cohesion to represent a national interest.
The President will be exonerated from the participation of the reconciliation and he will symbolize the unity of the nation. He will seal and remain depository of the results of reconciliation.
(d) The expected outcome of the National Reconciliation.
The expected outcome of Reconciliation is to reform the TFG, to form a professional, responsible National Government of Unity that strictly espouses the rule of law embedded with transparency, participatory, and accountability practices. The Reconciliation process will also produce a blueprint for establishing public administration and security institutions and forces at national, regional and district levels. It also defines the working relationship and protocols with existing two regional administrations.
The outcome must redress serious grievances and marginalization perpetuated during the past years by the TFG leadership against large segment of the Somali population. The culture of divide and rule, warlordism, and clan rule has no place in the new Somalia and must be abandoned for good.
(e) Tentative Agenda of National Reconciliation Process.
The tentative agenda of National Reconciliation Congress may include among others:
1. Transfer of experience on transitions from civil war situation to stabilization and reconstruction stage.
2. Review of Transitional Federal Charter on specific articles for closing loopholes and eliminating contradictions and ambiguity.
3. Developing protocols of working relationship between National Central Authority and clan-based existing Regional Administrations.
4. Preparation of Guidelines for the remaining 2 and ½ years of TFG.
5. Formation and definition of responsibilities of Independent advisory Council on Governance from Somali professionals and international experts without vested interests.
6. Formation of new limited Cabinet of Professionals.
(g) Role of the International Community
The International Community plays a leading role in the realization and successful implementation of Somali National Reconciliation process. Indeed, the process must satisfy the International Community in order to attract political and diplomatic endorsement of the outcomes as well as to secure the needed financial support. The Security Council Resolution 1744 (2007) is partly governing the Somali National Reconciliation Process since the deployment of African union forces is to create the security environment for the process of political dialogue.
The multilateral involvement of the international Community in Somalia lacks complementarities and coordination. The formation of International Somalia Contact group comprising USA, Norway, Sweden, Tanzania, UK, and EU is a new development that expounds the global strategic interest of Somalia. The Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations has been entrusted with the settlement of political situation in Somalia. In addition, the UN is preparing to take over the long-term stabilization and reconciliation of Somalia after six months.
Therefore, a critical condition is that the International Community forges a united position in the quest for the reconciliation, peace and governance of Somalia. International economic support for poverty alleviation and broad-based economic recovery and growth will contribute significantly to the eradication of extremism and terrorism from Somalia and the region of Horn of Africa.
3. Potential Constraints to National Reconciliation.
The following situations could derail or complicate progress in the reconciliation efforts.
(1) The unilateral special mobilization and arming of Puntland Militia by the Transitional Federal Government fuel apprehension and tension of clan rivalries. This is the unintended consequence of the unilateral lifting of arms embargo.
(2) The suppressed role of the Council of Ministers as separate branch of the Transitional Federal Institutions.
(3) The total absence of public participation in the formulation and decision making process of policies of national interest in this critical moment.
(4) The deployment of African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) without prior peace accord in place bolsters TFG’s refusal to go along with Genuine National Reconciliation.
(5) The TFG’s claim of International diplomatic support without internal legitimacy hinders required efforts by the TFG to seek public support.
(6) The enforcement of Martial, Terrorist and Security Laws intended to intimidate the public and restrict individual liberty and media freedom.
(7) The mounting, unimaginable injustices and mismanagement brought about by the reported clannish recruitments, appointments and promotions of political, military and civilian authorities.
(8) The possible expulsion of ¼ of members from Parliament preceded by ousting former Speaker on difference of political views is seen as an egregious abuse of power. This causes discontent and resentment detrimental to peace and reconciliation.
(9) The lack of reasonable accommodation of moderate members of Union of Islamic courts.
(10) The inflammatory, provocative and irresponsible announcement, comments and declarations made by members of TFG Leadership and Cabinet members on various issues are also sources of public discord and outrage.
The inequity distribution of important positions and resources reinforce the contention that the TFG cannot lead the country. The hasty revival of repressive security institutions and practices turned off public confidence in TFG, which appears to have chosen coercive power over legitimate power.
- Appointment of International Mediator/facilitator and Assistants for National Dialogue and Reconciliation.
- Holding a consultative meeting in March 2007.
- Temporary suspension of Transitional Federal Government’s operations.
- Urgent allocation of necessary resources for implementing the reconciliation process on budget proposal prepared by the consultative group.
- Nation wide public sensitization and awareness through media programs.
- Unifying International community position in the quest for reconciliation, peace and governance of Somalia.
- Commitment from IGAD member states to faithfully support the reconciliation process.
Obviously, Somalis and International Community are expected to face Somali national reconciliation process in good faith and common approach. Otherwise Somali problems will remain intractable and produce far reaching negative consequences for Somalia, the region and the globe. The hope of every Somalis is the forthcoming reconciliation will end simultaneously the suffering of Somalis and the fear of the International Community from terrorism and extremism coming out of Somalia.
As corollary, it is critical that foreign countries and forces provide faithful guarantees to the Somali people on their neutrality and commitment to fair play in the internal politics of Somalia.
The hope is that this proposal meets the concerns and aspirations of most Somalis and contributes positively to national and international efforts for Genuine Somali National Reconciliation.
Mohamud M. Uluso
Irrelevance of Transitional Federal Institutions (TFI).
The principal Transitional Federal Institutions (TFI) includes the Presidency, Parliament, Executive, and Judiciary. A brief overview of the TFI performance, during the past 2 ½ years, shows complete institutional failure. The scope of TFG formation was to complete the reconciliation process, establish basic public administration and prepare the country for democratic national election. All these objectives are far from initiation.
The government failed to deliver dispensation that caters the interests of all Somali communities and win the hearts and minds of its peace-loving citizens. In the final analysis, the Transitional Federal Institutions are irrelevant for all practical purposes.
(a) The Presidency
The Transitional Federal Charter (TFC) stipulates that the government system of Somalia is a parliamentary system. As coup d'état this has been transformed with the stroke of a pen into a presidential system whereby the President exercises all powers. The manipulation of checks and balances build in the Charter constitutes fundamental breach of social contract.
The transitional period requires a leadership that provides vision and ability to create harmony and cohesion within the Somali society rather than hailing clan preference, clan arrogance, revenge and dictatorship. The change of vision and strategy of the Presidency for the welfare and care of the Somali people will improve the chance of success of the Somali National Reconciliation.
(b) The Parliament
The selected members of Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) never enjoyed sufficient confidence and admiration from their respective communities for various motives. However, all communities looked the other way and hoped that members of Parliament will understand their solemn duties and responsibilities to protect the interest, needs and aspirations of their constituencies. Contrary to hopeful expectations, the Parliament became a rubber stamp and abdicated its responsibility of oversight and control of the central government.
All government proposals and motions are now approved without proper procedures and public participation. No hearings have been held. What is more worrisome is that the new elected Speaker of Parliament is a former member of faction allied with the President of the Somali Republic.
Vote mock up, corruption, dereliction of duty and capricious management plagued the functioning of the Parliament. Unless the Parliament is reformed the future of our beloved country is in serious jeopardy.
(c) The Executive.
The Prime Minister’s position is one of power sharing positions between major clans at the national leadership. The office has constitutional responsibilities that are distinctly separate from the other Transitional Federal Institutions. The abysmal failure of the Council of Minister’s collective responsibilities of policy development and implementation through efficient public administration as well as the individual Ministries is well documented and in the public domain. The separation line of responsibilities between the Presidency and the Executive Council of Ministers is blurred. This has contributed to current disillusion towards the TFG.
The inexistence of public administration and public record has obfuscated public accountability and transparency of government operations. UNDP is cover up institution for financial misdeeds of TFG. The Executive cannot claim individual Leadership or collective responsibility and representation.
(d) The Judiciary Branch.
Among the Transitional Federal Institutions, the existence of Judiciary Branch is token one. The Judicial structure is ineffective and unable to administer and deliver independent judicial services. This shows the lack of priority in government operations since the justice system has the highest priority.
To strengthen the independence of the Judiciary system, it is necessary that the appointment of the President and members of the Council of the Supreme Court is approved by the Parliament after the council of Ministers’ approval. The President of the Republic will exercise his power of assent.
(e) The Security Apparatus of TFG.
The democratic Transitional Federal Charter prohibits the establishment of oppressive security bodies. The Somali people paid high price for demolishing the dictatorship power structure in Somalia. Therefore, the quick setting up of those institutions and charging them with responsibilities pertinent to police, courts and ministries is unconstitutional mind boggling and insensitive. Worse, the forces employed by these institutions are deeply permeated by the culture of abuse, coercion, tribalism and citizens’ intimidation and harassment in practice reminiscent during the rule of Dictator Siad Barre regime.
The oppressive security apparatus is dreadfully known for the detention of many Somalis without due process and forcing others to flee out of the country seeking political asylum abroad. The return of such system is disheartening and causes painful remembrance for those who suffered torture and abuses in the hands of the security forces. Definitely, the issue deserves discussion during the Somali National Reconciliation Congress.