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Review of 2017 London Partnership for Somalia
Friday January 26, 2018
By Mohamud M Uluso

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres (Far Left), UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Center), and Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo at the London Conference on Somalia on May, 11, 2017. PHOTO/ Dalmar Gure/ HOL

On December 4 and 5, 2017, delegates from the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), Federal Member States (FMS), Benadir Regional Administration (BRA), 29 foreign countries and 6 multilateral international organizations, attended first review meetings of Somalia Security Conference (SSC) and of Somalia Partnership Forum (SPF)  held in Mogadishu for the first review of 2017 London New Partnership for Somalia (NPS) and the Security Pact (SP), adopted on 11 May 2017 in London, UK. The NPS elaborated in the UN “Somalia Integrated Strategic Framework (SISF) 2017-2020,” and the SP represent the master plan for the cooperation between the FGS and the International Partners for the period 2017-2021.

Constitutional settlement, security reform, inclusive politics, human rights and the rule of law, good governance, anti-corruption measures, humanitarian aid, and promotion of economic recovery are the main priorities of the NPS. The institutional structures designed for the implementation of those priorities are the SPF (the highest body), Somalia Development and Reconstruction Facility (SDRF), Pillar Working Groups (PWG), Comprehensive Approach to Security Executive Group (CAS EG), and associated Strand Working Groups (SWG). These super structures bring together Somali and foreign representatives and staff.

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Two separate communiqués (4/12, 5/12) issued at the end of the SSC and SPF meetings spelled out the accomplishments and concerns in 2017 and the milestones for 2018. Below is summary of the main points of the two communiqués.  

The 2017 accomplishments praised in the communiqués include the record high aid of US$ 1.7 billion, 30% more to the average of the past three years; the humanitarian efforts mobilized to help the drought affected people; the FGS decision to directly manage revenue collections; the completion of the first IMF Staff Monitoring Program (SMP); the passage of the telecommunication act; and the political settlement between Galmudug state and Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama. The credit for the accomplishments was attributed to the AMISOM Troop Contributing Countries (TCC) for maintaining peace, security, and political stability in Somalia.

Despite those accomplishments, it has been noted that about 6.2 million Somalis are in need of lifesaving humanitarian assistance and that another famine is looming in 2018 due to law rain falls in five consecutive seasons. Moreover, in 2017, the internally displaced people (IDP) increased from 1.2 million to 2.2 million for conflicts and droughts in many parts of the country. The total financial appeal for 2018 Humanitarian Response plan is estimated at US$ 1.6 billion which is 100% increase of 2017 total financial appeal.

The Security Pact (SP) focuses on the Somali Security and Justice Sectors Reform and its implementation depends on “broader equitable political, socio and economic progress as well as strengthened governance and peace and institution building.” This highlights the circular interdependence between security, political, economic, and governance activities for sustainable statebuilding progress.

Plans for the implementation of National Security Architecture, state police, and Justice and Correction were approved on December 3, 2017 by the National Security Council. Without explanation, the plans exclude the reform of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA). NISA, an important national institution, needs radical reform to operate in accordance with the new democratic system of governance. The Provisional Constitution legitimizes the establishment of only three security forces-army, police, and intelligence.  

The implementation of the National Security Architecture, approved on April 16, 2017, is a major challenge because it re-creates the Somali Security Sector. Key preliminary step for the Security Reform is the Condition-Based Transition Plan from AMISOM to Somali Security Force to be developed by the FGS, the FMS and BRA in cooperation with UN, EU, AU, and other international partners. In August 2017, the UN Security Council Resolution 2372 authorized troop reduction from 22,126 to 20,626 uniformed forces in October 2018, which means gradual transfer of security responsibilities to Somali Security Forces.

During the discussion of Resolution 2372, the representative of Somalia, Abukar Dahir Osman, warned against early withdrawal of AMISOM forces on the basis of unrealistic deadlines and appealed for sustainable and predictable financing. The representative of Ethiopia, Tekeda Alemu, reminded the Council members that “Somalia has a long way to go in terms of post conflict recovery and peacebuilding and suggested that  decisions regarding transition should be made following a closer look at the situation [in Somalia].”

The transition plan, which has multiple purposes, will mark the beginning of fresh efforts for the formation of new security forces and institutions across the country. An Operational Readiness Assessment (ORA) of the Somali National Army (SNA) and the Somali Police Force has revealed the failure of the past 10 year efforts. This calls for high level transparent discussion before embarking on the Security and Justice reform.

The predictions and concerns of many foreign analysts and Somali officials underscore that the departure of the AMISOM forces would lead with high probability to quick collapse of the Federal and State governments. In January 2018 article, Vanda Felbab-Brown, senior fellow from Brookings Institution, advised the US Government “To focus on internal governance and state-building and insist on far broader accountability of Somalia’s Federal and State governments and powerbrokers towards their citizens. Otherwise, the brutal Al Shabab or its mutation will remain entrenched.”

The National Security Architecture puts the merits of the federal system of Somalia to the test because of the inconclusive passionate debate over the clan-based federalism. Two essential preconditions are first the determination of the status of BRA before the demarcation of jurisdictions between the Federal Government and FMS, including BRA, and second the fair distribution of resources among FMS. Therefore, the key to moving forward is final clean constitution for guidance. 

Some of the major activities planned for 2018 include:

1.      Completion of the Constitutional Review

2.     Deepening of federalism

3.     Electoral Law for one person one vote in 2021

4.     Resumption of talks between FGS and Somaliland

5.     Integration of National Taxation system

6.     Prioritization of Anti-Corruption Initiatives

7.     Integration of security forces and institutions and definition of roles and responsibilities at federal and regional state levels.

8.     Completion of AMISOM Condition-based Transition Plan

9.     Completion of Drought Impact Needs Assessment

10.  Completion of National Recovery and Resilience Framework, and formulation of National Disaster Management

11.   Establishment of National Development Council and National Economic Council

12.  Drafting and passage of Company Law

13.  Development of regulatory rules for implementation of Foreign Investment Law

14.  Establishment of National Communication Authority

15.  Mobilization of Domestic Revenue and Resource Sharing, especially with regards to Offshore Fisheries and Extractives as precondition for debt relief consideration

16.  Establishment of the Institutions needed to enhance oversight, monitoring, reporting, and protection of human rights

17.  Provision of equitable access to quality basic services- health, education and social protection for all

Besides the above milestones recurrent in the speeches of the international partners, there are many other crucial goals that the FGS, FMS, and BRA have to pursue daily in 2018. Therefore, successful implementation of all milestones requires functional institutions and high level focused leadership for intense political, legal, security, and financial analysis as well as well-structured discussions with international partners for policy development and legislative acts in line with the master plan.

Unfortunately, the derailed completion of the constitution, the suspension of US aid to the Somali Military for lack of accountability, the continuing arms embargo, the maritime and border dispute with Kenya, Ethiopia intrusions, the political fallout from Qatar-Saudi led group dispute, and recent UN allegation of “pervasive political corruption, use of violence against opponents, failure to respect the provisional constitution, the rule of law and human rights,” against the FGS, are all unhelpful and indeed, could force the international community to suspend its indispensable assistance and change its stance on the respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence, and unity of Somalia. Presently, because of persistent corruption and other malfeasances, use of country system (institutions) is kept very law.

Somalia standing on its feet as a nation is the aspiration of all Somalis who opted for democratic system of governance which is different from the failed personal rule. Genuine state-building process, respect of the rule of law and human rights, and practice of good governance principles, and value-based political culture are basic elements for achieving the democratic aspiration.

Mr. Mohamud M Uluso

[email protected]

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