Saturday January 23, 2016
by Mr Mohamud M
close observation of the dismantled federal government into Interim Regional Administrations
and federal member states of Puntland and Somaliland- all celebrating their “constitutions, borders, flags, citizens,
presidents, parliaments, council of ministers, security forces, Independent
Electoral Commissions, fiscal budgets, banks, TVs, commemoration days, airports,
ports, diplomatic relations, natural resources, and clan identity,” one
can’t resist raising the following questions:
represents and defends the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Somali
people? Are articles 1 (the Federal Republic of Somalia), 7 (the Territory of
the Federal Republic of Somalia), and 8 (the People and the Citizenship of the
Federal Republic of Somalia), still valid and operational? Is it prudent to
allow dismantled federal government to continue to exercise power? Can
dismantled Federal Government manage free and fair election in 2016? In
consideration of Somali clan culture and civil war legacy, how long will different
constitutions, security forces, fiscal budgets, diplomatic relations, and
judicial systems take to reconcile and integrate them? If international funds dwindle
or shift, will the conferences on federal cooperation between federal and
regional governments continue and produce durable results? Will the Somali
economy afford to foot the payroll and maintenance bill of the disproportionately
bloated federal and regional governments?
questions shed light on the governance crisis overwhelming Somalia. The cancellation
of free and fair one person one vote election planned to take place in August
2016 has been a blow to the political stability and confidence in the leadership
of the federal government of Somalia. The lack of democratic process for
challenging the unlawful and unfair decisions of the federal government
institutions is inflaming public frustration and complaints.
leaders of the federal government are aware of the public complaints but they cherish
the vanity of conducting government businesses without democratic process and
legal instruments. They tell the people to trust them instead of gaining public
trust by obeying the rule of law, government ethics, and by delivering public
services. Disregard of the supremacy of the rule of law is recipe for failure.
emergency measure to form Somalia National Consultative Forum for the selection
of 2016 electoral model has dented the legitimacy of the executive and
parliament of the federal government. In converse, the legitimacy of the Forum has
been assailed by many political commentators as an unlawful institution.
Furthermore, the working of the forum has shown that there is no leader
responsible to lead, provide analyzed options for review and final decision,
and ensure legitimate decision making process. This means that the jurisdiction over 2016
election is in question, which increases the likelihood of election
mismanagement and rigged outcomes.
sign of indifference, the recommendations of the community from Somaliland
regions, in line with the talks between the federal government and Somaliland,
have not been acknowledged and addressed. This reinforces the view that the consultation
process was public relation exercise and not binding.
participants of the regional consultative forums did not discuss an electoral
model for the Upper House of the Federal Parliament. Article 55 of the
provisional constitution gives the residents in the federal member states the
right to elect directly, secretly and freely the 54 members of the Upper House
determined on the basis of 18 regions multiplied by 3 representatives. Article 72
requires that all federal member states have equal number of representatives
and the 4.5 clan formula representation must be maintained in the Upper House. Compliance
with this requirement needs further investigation.
Article 138 (2) of the provisional constitution postponed the effects of all
articles of the provisional constitution related to the Upper House until such
time when all federal member states are established, legalized, and able to
conduct election. Until such time, all duties and functions of the Upper House
are invested in the People’s House.
64 of the provisional constitution prescribes the election of the 275 members
of the people’s house through direct, secret, and free ballot by all citizens. The
members of the people’s house must represent all communities in balanced
manner. The constitution focuses on clan
balance rather than on political constituency.
debate over the district and 4.5 electoral models has boosted the opportunity
to use the population estimation released by the Federal Government and UN
Population Fund for the allocation of the 275 members of the people’s house.
Political constituency will require population census so that each of the 275 members
of the federal parliament will represent a certain number of the population.
is disconcerting more is that the discussion of the electoral models doesn’t
include detailed implementation plan of each electoral model for public understanding,
scrutiny, and acceptance. The implementation of each of the options under
consideration - district based representation,
4.5 clan based representation for the People’s House; 18 region-based representation,
equal number of representatives for all federal member states, and equal 4.5
clan based representatives for federal member states in the Upper House -
is complex and vulnerable for political manipulations and disputes with no resolution
mechanism in place. Implementation plan must be ready before decision is taken.
are intended to rally people around common goals of the country and strengthen the
solidarity of the society.
Good number of Somali population firmly believe that 2016 election is
hijacked, fixed, and could spark contentions that would widen social and
political fragmentation, deepen people’s mistrust in government and politics. This
insidious presumption is shaping the opinion that Somali politics as a means of
self-enrichment rather as an opportunity for public service.
prevarication and disobedience of the rule of law leads to failure with
disastrous consequences. To underscore the critical role of the rule of law in the
success of every country, US President Barak Obama said, “Regardless
of the resources a country possesses, regardless of how talented the people
are, if you do not have a basic system of rule of law, of respect for civil
rights and human rights, if you do not give people a credible, legitimate way
to work through the political process to express their aspirations, if you
don’t respect basic freedom of speech and freedom of assembly … it is very rare
for a country to succeed.”
failures demoralize the people and sets in cynicism. Somalia needs statesmanship
and stewardship, which are qualities necessary for the leaders responsible to
rebuild the failed state of Somalia and to restore its glory role within the
international community. Dismantled federal government cannot accomplish
statebuilding and peacebuilding.
Mr. Mohamud M