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It is a painful experience to watch our country degraded into oblivion by a fake clan power-sharing system, called 4.5

by Abdullahi M Arale
Monday, December 6, 2021

To all intent and purposes, 4.5 formula gives equal quota to the four “major” clans, and a half-point to a cluster of “minority” clans in Somalia. However, according to a spokesperson for Arta Peace Conference in Djibouti in 2000, stated that in this formula “clan groups are supposed to give a sense of shared identity and ancestry to members, without discriminating others. But we, Somalis, gave it to a whole new meaning, a meaning that ushers a destructive, divisive, exclusionary, and insane power-hungry [psychopathic] mindset. He went on to say that in order to maintain the status quo (tribal strata/hierarchy among somali clans), we came up with a new trick known as a 4.5 clan-sharing political mechanism whose aim was to suppress and put down those communities perceived as minorities and those who are not Somalis”. In other words, the real purpose of this 4.5 power-sharing system was to empower unscrupulous and corrupted politicians from those major clans so that they could dominate Somalia’s political power in perpetuity, under the pretext of this crooked system.

Having watched the disintegration of somalia for several decades, on the fence, the United Nations finally, stepped in and persuaded somali political leadership to stick to a United Nations formulated political roadmap that is intended to engender a functioning government that could bring a lasting solution for the somali conflict.  Concretely, the somali political leadership was told to stop the violence and the bloodshed propelled by their own strife for political power. In sum, they were told to putt in place a government acceptable to all somali citizens of all regions ready to tackle the country’s prevalent social ills of famine, lack of healthcare, corruption and crime, clannism/tribalism, and to put to rest ones for all, this perpetual conflict which is preventing the country from moving forward.

The United Nations’ purpose for intervening in the Somali situation was to ultimately help bring about a peace process that would activate peace and reconciliation among worrying parties so that they could finally create an inclusive democratic political system that would extend representation to all citizens. To a certain degree, the international community’s intervention has worked, as a result, inspiring worrying factions to move away from full blown violence and lawlessness towards a clan-based political settlement. In this arrangement, the federal government and its constituent federal member states, were able to get together in local gathering venues in order to lay down a foundation for a somali state of their own.  Specifically, the United States, the European Union, the African Union and other solitary participant states, spearheaded by the United Nations Somali Mission (UNSOM), have determinedly worked with the somali political factions in order for them to work in unity for the formulation of a peace agreement for the benefit of their people. Funded and mandated by the UN, an African Union (AMISOM) military force was deployed in Somalia in order to combat, an Al-Qaeda inspired militant group, sometimes in 2007. AMISOM fought AL-Shabab on the streets of Mogadishu till it had gotten the upper hand and freed the capital city from the jaws of this tenacious insurgent group. After a thoughtful and in-depth deliberation among donor nations, AMISOM’s mandate was expanded to include the liberation of the outlying provinces, from Al-Shabab. In this, AMISOM side- by- side with some somali military units, fought hard with Al-Shabab until the enemy was pushed out of the metropolitan areas and confined to remote areas where they can longer constitute a significant threat to the country’s main infrastructure and source of livelihood.

Having engendered a breathing space for civil society for dialogue, UNSOM then turned its attention to a new multifaceted mission that included bringing about safe platforms for civil society to exercise their ideas and perspectives through civil associations and assembly, in the capital city, pertaining to the country’s pressing political issues. It, also immediately took up the task of social and political development specifically raising the prospect of creating legislative assembly and the necessary processes involved. In order to realize this, with the Transitional Somali Federal foreign ministry’s consent, the European Union dispatched two election experts to somalia to assess the somali electoral processes including the election of the upper house, the House of the people or the lower house and the presidential election. After holding difficult but consequential meetings with stakeholders in various local and international sites, the election experts offered a credible political roadmap for holding a “universal election”, that is the right to vote to all adult citizens, regardless of wealth, income, gender, social status, clan affiliation, ethnicity and political affiliation, in 2016, in Somalia. However, aspirations for fulfilling the promise of universal election could not be implemented in 2016-17 at least for couple of reasons: -lack of election workers as pertaining to election staff to carry out electoral polling tasks – and lack of security or freedom of movement within the country from one point to another. Against the backdrop of those noted realities on the ground, the political actors decided to conduct an “indirect election”, the nomination of limited electoral college for members of the lower house and the upper house members where in a joint session, the president of the republic will be elected.

However, if the International Community’s decades-long commitment was meant to achieve an electoral system that would ensure stability, continuity and successive peaceful transfer of power, in Somalia, boy, were they wrong! Without a doubt, the electoral system proposed by the somali political leadership in Arta, Djibouti, was flawed at its core! On the other hand, had they had gotten together with good faith and taken the necessary compromises, they could have made it work, regardless of its deficiencies!! Let us examine the gist of the electoral model the federal government and its constituent regional states had to work with. In a summary, “there will be two champers in the somali parliament, one of which is “the people’s house”, (the lower house) and the “upper chamber” (the Senate) which will house 275 and 54 members respectively”.

Did they make the system work? The answer is categorical no, to this date! However, there are those dedicated, patriotic legislators in the parliament, though a minority, prepared to work with other legislators in order to find a solution for this never-ending political rollecoaster. But such noble attempts to do good for the country are normally attacked and quickly shot down by clan politics, specifically, by the proponents of 4.5 clan system. This display of clan supremacy over sensible electoral system and nationhood, is the one single reason why Somalia as a country has not been able to adopt a more free and inclusive electoral systems. What is 4.5 system anyway? In Arta peace agreement among somali factions, Djibouti, Somalia’s parliamentary seats were divided among four major clans (Darood, Hawiye, Dir and Issaq), each one taking 61 seats, while the minority Digil and Mirifle was given only 31 seats. This means that these so-called major clans will control election processes and in so doing will determine their outcomes. Maintaining 4.5 system means the perpetuation of clan politics for ever in Somalia which has been historically the source of tribal conflicts, since time immemorial. One major deficiency of this clan-based electoral system is the fact that ordinary somali citizens are not in the loop for participation in the electoral process; they are literally shut out of it, so that they will never have a say in their country’s future. Consequently, this has created an unfair, murky electoral processes whereby only the wealthy and the privileged are able to run for the presidency as well as the parliamentary seats.  As a result, in order to become a member of parliament in Somalia, one has to be wealthy enough to afford the registration fees, the minimum submission being ten thousand US dollars for the lower house and twenty thousand for the upper house, the senate. Once, one qualifies for the candidacy in accordance with their standards, and the campaign is on, nominees, customarily, huddle with their respective clan chieftains to offer his/her bid for the seat-and it so happens that only the highest bidder gets the seat.

This indicates that the electoral system and the process through which parliamentarians are elected is flawed and laden with corruption and maleficence, to say the least. Worse, since these so-called members of parliament are not elected by the public at large in a fair and square election, they hold no allegiance to no one other than themselves. In sum, the somali electoral system, despite of its inadequacies, might have just worked for the short run, if parliamentarians committed themselves to make the necessary compromises. But then again, the 4.5 clan system, the tyrant old man lurking behind the curtain, holds down aspirants of political office to remain loyal to him (4.5 clan system) or else no seats for them in parliament. In another terms, there is no other way around, to seek a political office outside of the 4.5 clan system, at the present time, in somalia. Therefore, unless and until somali political leaders and parliamentarians from both chambers get wiser and collectively reject this clan-based electoral system and choose an egalitarian pluralistic system for the sake of their fellow citizens, there will never be a lasting political settlement in Somalia.

What are the obstacles on the way for the conception of a multiparty, democratic unitary state in Somalia? Since the creation of the clan federalism system in the country, a distinctive mistrust has emerged between the Federal government and its component Federal member states. Historically, from 1960 to 1991, Somalia had central governments with regions and districts run by regional governors who served the country as executive officers directly reporting to the president of the republic of Somalia. The difference between now and then, is the fact that since the loss of the unitary state system in the country, the new regional leaders think and act like autonomous presidents of separate countries, when factually they are not. Legally, yes, they are granted the title of head of regional state by the constitution, but still are subordinates to the federal president of the republic. Even with that exaggerated presidential title, due to the dire economic circumstances and widespread violence in most of the somali regions, they should be cooperating with the federal government so that their citizens’ human needs can be met.

These state presidents, literally preside over a very poor, and socially and economically deprived population who are scarred by decades-long violence and hunger. The relationship between the federal government of somalia and the federal member states, has been adversarial at best since the creation of Somalia’s federal system. On the other hand, the division of government jurisdictions and authorities between the two entities could not have been clearer in the constitution. For instance, it has been crystal clear all along, in the constitution that foreign affairs and international trade and development, is an area that the federal government has an exclusive and unequivocal authority over federal constituent states which by the way is true for all sovereign states across the globe. However, in spite of that clarity of jurisdiction, some federal member states namely Jubbaland and Puntland, driven by extreme clan ideology, have been acting as thought they were sovereign states of their own. For instance, the world had witnessed Jubbaland and Puntland presidents leaving their respective capitals headed towards Kenya and UAE, respectively, in order to meet those foreign nations’ head of states to discuss international matters and signing agreement with them afterwards. Some other bizarre behaviors recorded amid these squabbles include the noted head of regional states’ declaration of independence from the federal government at press conferences held in foreign soil. The refusal to cooperate with the federal government in the areas of security and resource development has been a point of contention for Puntland. In accordance with the constitution, the federal government does have not only jurisdictional authority in foreign affairs, but also does have a constitutional duty to provide services to all citizens of all regions and equally implement resource developmental projects as needs arise. Without a doubt, these kinds of political dissonance jeopardise the unity of the country which has already opened up the doors for hostile neighboring states to interject themselves and interfere with somali internal affairs by way of corrupting members of parliament in order to vote one way or another on specific pieces of legislations of their interest.

This ad hoc endeavour for power and autonomy for regional states does not stem from sheer ignorance of the law or lack of understanding of jurisdictional boundaries and powers separation, but stems from a deep clan ideology where even well-known political scientists and learned somali political scholars who were supposed to transcend beyond the limits of clan politics, go along with it, so that they could realize their dreams of wealth and political power. Deep down in their psychic, somali politicians, except for a minority with a sense of decency and honorable visions with a genuine worry about their country’s future, do not believe neither in the collective will of the somali people nor believe in strong state institutions and rule of law for their nation. Worse, the regional presidents do not consider the president of the federal republic as the president of the entire nation. In a wicked way of thinking, they consider him as another clan chief, just like them who is there only to abuse their clan interests. Put it in another way, a regional somali president sees the president of the republic as someone who is messing with his clan affairs or his clansmen. Explicitly, a president of any given regional state to the exception of one or two, belong to and shares a common clan ancestor with the people under his reign, therefore whenever, the president of the republic and his federal ministers attempt to enact and implement a national policy in some particular regions, they feel as though their privacy has been invaded or worse, his tribesmen have been attacked. Broadly speaking, Somalis are known to be smart people who can distinguish wrong from right, and with clear moral codes. They are godly people who fear their creator but fight fiercely when they are wronged. If that is all true, why can’t they confront the evil among them, the blood sucking warlords and their enablers who are destroying their common somali identity, their somali state, once a shining light on the horn of Africa? In short, the politically negotiated settlements in the constitution between the federal government and the federal member states are there to be taken up and utilized if they commit themselves to it. But there is always that ominous elephant in the room, clannism (a system based on clan affiliation) called 4.5, disguised as a system of government which is not and never will be. It is a lucrative system for those who embrace it and ready to perpetuate it, for it is a pathway to wealth, and political power. In a more pessimistic note, current Somali politicians are not interested in the big picture, that is a united somali nation governed a modern unitary government under which all citizens are represented in the people’s houses. Worse, in order for them to attain their power through the 4.5 clan system, they have developed a sense of psychological immunity, resistant to any kind of abstract thinking which blindsides them from seeing the truth and to be open to process and consensus in deciding what is good for their country.

Furthermore, the current electoral system would not reflect on Somalia’s societal make up; this to say that it will not represent neither the individual somali citizen nor individual clans in a true sense of political representation. Unlike most of the world nations who have several ethnic groups within their countries, Somalia stands unique in its population make up. According to world renowned ethnic and ancestral researchers, Somalia, in all its regions including those under foreign dominions, share the same common ethnic somali ancestry, language, religion and cultural ethos. Many people call this unique homogeneity, a miracle in disguise for the Somali people which is a social similarity that many countries would like to have in their respective countries.

However, that cultural homogeneity, has not been a blessing for the somali people and certainly not a useful tool to help reduce the deadly tribal ideology that has broken down across social ties and cohesion so much so that Somalis who used to live in harmony, can no longer find a way to come together to forge a functioning government for their tormented people. In any case, for political power sharing purposes, the country has been compartmentalized into major and minority clans, concordant with the 4.5 clan scheme, allegedly supported by an all-encompassing body of elders. In this framework, the majority and the minority clans have to share the 275 lower house parliamentary seats and 54 of the upper house seats. Each of the four major clans “the Issaq, Hawiye, Darood, and the Dir, has got 61 seats, wherein the minority Digil & Mirifle” got only 31 seats. Seats are allocated in the following manner: "Each seat in the Lower House will be assigned to one election location—voting will take place “in two locations in each Federal Member State (FMS), as well as in Mogadishu. This is a marked improvement from the 2016 process, when voting took place only in the member state capitals and Mogadishu. Also, each seat will be assigned to a specific sub-clan in accordance with the 4.5 system. However, despite of the efforts, recourses and time invested in the structuring of this 4.5 clan power-sharing system, the country has fallen into a precipitous disillusionment further and further to the abyss. In fact, experts of somali politics believe that the current electoral system is not going to deliver a unity for the somali people never mind, a functioning democratic system that guarantees representation to all citizens.

The concept of citizen representation in western democracies is an act of making sure all citizens are represented in parliaments (congress) by the elected representatives through an accurate individual vote counting. These representatives, as a rule of thumb, act in the best interest of their constituencies or voters. But that kind of electoral system is unfortunately unavailable to the people of Somalia, or for the somali citizen for that matter. Not because Somalis do not deserve to be represented in a democratic pluralistic voting system, but because, politicians along with their tribal warlords have denied them the right to live in a free society and exercise their God-given liberties and freedoms. As I pointed out earlier, somali electoral system is based on 4.5-clan power sharing system which is founded on fallacious premises, from the get go. In this setting, the procedure by which electoral colleges were assigned to clans, whether they are the majority or the minorities is biased, hence, misleading. How did the elders figured out, for instance, allocating 61 seats to the so-called major clans and not to Digil and Mirifle? According to a popular count of somali clans, Digil and Mirifle are double the size of at least two of the so-called majority clans. More over, the formation of the current regional states is problematic in the eyes of some concerned clans. In other words, they claim that they were not consulted at the formation of the regional states in question. Take for instance, the two dominant clans in Gedo and Hiran regions who say that their territories were annexed to Jubbaland and Hirshabelle respectively without their consent and consequently there is an emerging surface conflict between them and the regions they were incorporated to, which may require the issue to be revisited in order to avoid a full-blown violent conflict. Likewise, there are several minority sub-clans living inside every so-called regional state that historically been cast out or excluded from any function in society which still may be the case. In other words, they will never get a representation within those clans in any meaningful way, if 4.5 remains the law of the land.

Furthermore, the procedure by which the election polling was set up is also problematic. For instance, the population within a clan, will never see their parliamentary candidates who is supposed to represent them in parliament. Specifically, the candidate who seeks a parliamentary seat, does not face the entire clan in any given date or time; he/she meets only with few corrupt elders who claim to represent the clan, which factually, is rubbish and baloney. This is how it goes:  each candidate competing for a seat, huddles up with the so-called clan elders who shall determine the winner. In the meeting, the candidate shows how much cash he’s got; no-brainer there; the candidate with the highest bid, is declared the winner, it is that simple. This elected individual does not have to see any of his clan member because he virtually paid cash for the seat for himself, and for that reason, not accountable to the clan he claims to belong. Sad to say, but the truth of the matter is that the 275 members in the house of the people (the lower house) are sitting there seemingly, illegitimate. Somalia needs therefore a comprehensive voting system that makes sure every citizen is represented in the chambers of power through “one person, one vote”.

What is worse, the working relationship between the executive branch and the legislative branch in the established electoral system in somalia, is crabby and argumentative at best. In 2012, after a long and exhaustive deliberation between the transitional federal government officials and regional delegations, a national constitution was stipulated as the law of the land, which subsequently was approved by the parliament. It stated that from this point on, Somalia will officially be known as the “Federal Republic of Somalia”. That, the federal somali republic will have several constituent Federal member states (regional states) who will have their own territorial jurisdictions and their local administrations. The constitution, also designated the presidency of the republic as the executive branch of government. As well, under the constitution, the parliament embodying both the lower and upper chambers, shall elect the president of the republic who in turn will appoint a prime minister and federal cabinet ministers. In this framework, the noted branches of government have separate and distinct roles to fulfill in governance. The president as the chief executive officer, will run the government through his/her council of ministers in the national as well the international stages. For example, the executive branch initiates policies and transmitted them off to the parliament to be approved by the legislators. Following, the parliament, as of both chambers, will debate the rationale and soundness of the proposed policies. Through the debate, if the proposed policy is found as a good and sound of a strategy, the legislators will approve it and make it a law, or vice versa.

Now, analysing the processes involved in these internal government dynamics, the reasoning for rejecting the president’s proposed policy, parliamentarians in mature democracies, must have legitimate concerns about the rationale and soundness of the policy in question. At the parliamentary debates, depending upon the legislators’ political affiliation (liberal, or conservative), at the end of fierce debate, they carry out their voting duties in two modes, strictly on Party line (usually in opposition to the other political party) or Bipartisan, ( a political act in which both of the two political parties agree about all or many parts of a political choices made) .In the event that the policy is seen as void of political ideology and equally beneficial to all citizens of society, the vote goes through as bipartisan. If on the other hand, the policy is found skewed or tilted towards one way or another (far-left or far-right) leaning, on the political spectrum, the vote goes strictly on party line and the policy might be crushed and be dead in parliament. In the somali case, however, the dynamic is totally different, in the sense that the reason to endorse or reject a proposed policy by the executive branch is much more intricate than the parliamentarians in the secular/democratic nations’ mode of voting. Now- a- days that clan-driven partisan politics is at all time high in the somali parliament, the consensus among somali people seems to suggest that legislative agendas of any political significance shall not pass in the parliament, unless legislators’ financial demands and clan regional interests are met, pure and simple! Concretely, in the case of financial interests, the world has witnessed nasty corruption at its worst form, taking place in Mogadishu. President Mohamed Abdullahi Formajo, in his pursuit of power extension, received the approval of the lower house’s entire 275 members. The rumor circulating in Mogadishu’s coffee shops was that Formajo managed to buy the votes of 275 lower house legislators to stay in power. Some people even insinuate that each of the legislators in question have received a large sum of cash, before the voting even took place. In the case of clan regional interests, is emphasised in Jubbaland and Puntland representatives’ constant opposition to federal government agendas because their respective presidents ordered them to do so, for political concessions from the federal government. More to the point, the international community and the people of somalia are conscious of the widespread corruption that has been going on for decades in Somalia. Specifically, they know about somali politicians of all branches of government’s use of their offices to generate financial incentives for themselves and the advancement of their respective regional clan political interests, right inside the people’s houses as well as in villa somalia. It is no secret as well that politicians of all jurisdictions, regardless of their declared religious piety and high moral virtues, are influenced by and equally corrupted by personal ambitions for power and prestige. Moreover, Somali politicians, have taken their moral decadence to an extreme brazenness, to the point where they openly trade votes for cash, just like the hustle-filled dispositions of small vendors in Mogadishu’s bazaar (sooq). Hence, unless a universal vote (one person one vote) prevails in Somalia, where, an elected politician is held accountable to his/her electors and equally be subjected to prosecution for his bad deeds, the people of Somalia will never see a government by the people and for the people.

In view of this ill-conceived 4.5 clan system and the flawed government system it has produced, it is most certain that a political stability and genuine government in somalia will have to wait another civil war to rectify what went wrong in the past thirty years. At least four factors are attributable to the instability of the current electoral system including: a) the outrageous vote rigging practice or voter fraud, deployed by the electoral candidates in order to gain electoral seats; b) the exclusion of social groups from running for political offices; c) the simmering conflict beneath the surface between Federal member states and some sub-clans within the regional states who are not happy with the way the regional states were formed or created, hence do not desire to be part of this sham regional state settlement; and d) the ubiquitous threat to the country’s security by insurgent groups which may affect not only the next election’s results, but also future elections’ outcomes. The official guidelines unanimously designed by the national election board to safeguard the sanctity and credibility of the selection process is ignored or disregarded altogether. In this procedure, elders were supposed to select the best candidates for the parliamentary seats in terms of his/her prior conduct in society, his service records to the community and his vision for the country as to how to overcome the current political stand-off. Instead, the election board is complicit in the utilization of a scandalous vote buying schemes. Literally, the practice is analogous to two individuals exchanging products or services for cash in the bazaar (sooq): -you got the cash hence get me the seat, something to that effect-. As a result of this ugly vote-selling and buying practice, the population is left with scepticism and apprehension for the brazen disregard of common decency and rule of law. As this political quandary drags on, the possibility of some clans leaving the regional state arrangement is fast approaching, which could trigger a renewed violence and anarchy.

With regard to the exclusion of groups from the political process, women and young people who have abundant skills for office are not encouraged, persuaded, or cajoled to run for political office. For instance, if a woman or young learned young man fulfills all the requirements of the candidacy set up by the electoral committee and equally qualifies for all aspects of office responsibilities, still they face either prejudice for their gender, age or lack of financial affordability to run for office. This is to say that every contender for the lower house seats, has to pay ten thousand dollars USD, cash and up front. The system, therefore is rigged in favor of the wealthy older men. And if this trend continues, women and young people will be turned away from serving their country in any political office capacity. Finally, there cannot be a democratic election, direct or indirect, as long as insurgent, insurrectionist groups are out in the open and overtly disrupt and defeat any activity resembling normalcy and social order in somalia. For instance, there is no way an election can be held in the territories held by AL Shebab for they are the strongest force in those areas and has a full grip of the population under their control.

Add insult to injury, the federal government does not have the financial and economic incentives to conduct an election. Since the collapse of the military regime, Somalia has maintained a traditional economic system by which the majority of the population engages in day- to- day economic enterprises through nomadic, seminomadic, farming models and manufacture of small hand-held tools and equipment industries, to the exception of a portion of the population engaged in shopkeeping and merchandising (selling and buying) business activities in villages, towns and cities. Likewise, since the collapse of the last somali state in 1991, whatever economic resources and state assets left, were looted or destroyed. For lack of rule of law and law enforcement agencies and coherent military forces, the federal government could not impose its control beyond Mogadishu. However, the African union forces along with some somali units were able to kick Al-Shabab forces out of the Benadir region and the southwestern provinces which has given the government a breathing space. The struggle for territorial control for the Somali National Army and its backer AMISOM is an ongoing endeavour. Making a bad situation worse, the somali government to this date, has not been able to subsume its security forces and regional militias into one strong force that could crush local criminal groups and at the same time take a decisive offensive action against the Al Shabab militias. There was an expectation on the part of the somali population, the international community as well as from AMISOM that by 2020, that Somali security forces would take over the security sector and deal with subversive forces once for all. However, such expectation failed miserably when the outgoing president Formajo, the commander in chief, rather than leading such liberating efforts, he extended his presidency illegally, triggering a renewed power struggle with the so-called opposition. As a result of the president’s bad judgement, the Somali National Army has disintegrated into tribal factions, some troops going back to their regional clan states, taking the federally provided weapons with them. The decades’ long quest for national unity and reconciliation were also crushed and dealt a blunt blow to, when Puntland accepted the mutineers back to their midst. Neither the international community nor the Security Council can help Somalia’s political leadership. The only way forward for the country is to abandon the clan-based political system in place. However, notwithstanding of the tumultuous social and political circumstances it finds itself, Somalia still enjoys the recognition of the all-united nations’ member states and its internationally recognized organizations. Beyond that, Somalia has been dubbed as a failed state. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Somalia is one of the “heavily indebted countries” in the globe, which does not have national assets or reserves required to be able to borrow money from the IMF and from other lender countries. Much worse, for lack o national revenues, Somalia relies its political, economic and social development entirely upon donations paid by doner countries. For instances, somali parliamentarians, the somali armed forces, the police, the prison correctional forces and the national security apparatuses do rely their salaries upon foreign donation.

Add fuel to the fire, the two last elections conducted in somalia have not altered somali citizens’ negative perceptions of the somali politicians. The thickening political schism and the incessant wrangling between the federal government and the so-called “opposition leaders”, in collusion with known trouble maker-federal states concerning election and unity issues, have left Somalis despondent and despairing about their country’s future. The people of somalia, specially those living in Mogadishu, are not sure whether or not a smooth transition of power is going to happen after the impending election of 2021. In a broader sense, somali people are sick to death of the clan-driven pretentiousness and pompous podcasts through the airwaves and social media by unhinged clan member- politicians with distorted world view. This daily rhetoric draped with hateful messaging dejects and demoralises Somalis who crave for peace and calm in their country. Election squabble, that is originated from clan-grandiosity and narcissism on the part of some federal member states has diluted genuine and sincere nation building efforts. As a result, any attempts made to stop these reoccurring crises about election and electoral college is shot down by a culture of corruption and clan ideology. The latest political battle between the opposition and President Formajo, arises from the current president’s political drive to come back to power by gaining and winning as many federal member states’ votes as possible. On the other hand, the so-called opposition leaders who all belong to the Hawiye clan and claim that the presidency belongs to their tribe, will further disappoint the people’s hopes to get away from clan politics. In short, these clan inspired political haggling among somali political leadership, not only they dash the expectations and the hopes of Somalis for better lives for those inside the country, but also dashes the hopes of those living outside the country, the “somali diaspora”. If it wasn’t this constant turmoil in the country and the never-ending insurgent terrorist wars which have destroyed citizens’ lives, people with means specially those from the diaspora, would have invested in their country which in turn would have boosted the economy and raised ordinary citizens’ standard of living.

Likewise, somali citizens will not have trust in the electoral programs currently in use and will not expect any new and vigorous drive towards democratic plurality system from their politicians!! Although there is an ongoing talk in the political leadership circles about an upcoming electoral change in favor of an inclusive, democratic electoral plurality and multi- party system, nonetheless, the majority of the ordinary citizens have not been informed about what the publicised changes are all about. As usual, politicians and other government officials in higher echelons of power who possess knowledge and expertise about inclusive democracy do not bother taking the necessary steps to assemble and educate the masses about their roles in any changes in their country’s governance. Be that as it may, Somalis are known to be savvy and politically well-informed people who follow world news and international matters and in particular matters involving in their own country. Speaking to some Mogadishu residents I have got the feeling that the population is looking forward to see a reversal of the indirect voting system for universal election (one person, one vote). Not withstanding of the political leadership’s attempts to disguise lies as truth, the fact remains that clan federalism is not the pathway to build a modern democratic state in somalia!!Clan-based federalism cannot be a viable strategy for state building in Somalia (The Somali Constitution). To be blunt, if the constitution’s directives are not adhered to, the Somali state sovereignty and its territories will be pulled apart by reckless clan demagogues who will not shy away selling the country to the first bidder. In sum, the 4.5 clan system will not work in the long run, firstly, because a nation cannot build a sovereign, modern democratic state on the impulses of rude, unscrupulous clan warlords. And secondly, although, Somalis are divided traditionally into clans, but they have, over the decades, evolved socially so much so that they, across the board, detest regional presidents and their cronies whom they think are uninterested in rebuilding legitimate government institutions and services for the people, but bent on perpetuating division and discord among the somali people.

Reference: What is the 4.5 system in Somalia? | by Suud Olat | Medium

Abdullahi M Arale
Email: [email protected]


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