By Ahmed Abbas
This is a follow up article of the previous piece published on WardheerNews titled – Understanding Farmajo- Cracy, that this author discussed in depth the exercise of Personal rule in Somalia by the current president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamoud – Aka Farmajo- starting from his election to president of Federal Republic of Somalia (FRS) on 8th February 2017. This piece will focus on issues that include Somalia’s recovery process, the setbacks of the progress, challenges that will confront the next administration and the critical need to put the country back on the path of progress in post Farmajo’s government.
The concomitance of two factors made definitive the total collapse of National State of Somalia in early 1991. The first was the disintegration of Somali State took place on 26th January 1991 without the armed forces that overthrow civilian government of Somalia in 1969 fulfilling its promise to hand over the power back to the people. The second was the inexistence of coalition of opposition forces that enjoyed popular trust to take over the power from the defunct military regime that they have contributed its fall down had made definitive the fragmentation of the country.
Disintegration of the state order and fragmentation of the country are two aspects of stateliness. The first element refers the weathering away of all national state institutions while fragmentation is total meltdown of the administrative division of the country. National state institutions and the extension of compact hierarchy of central authority down to districts were the venues of social and territorial integration. The tragic die away of these elements gave center stage to a new reconfiguration of the country along clan lines.
The challenge that Somalia faced was embarking into a twin recovery process encompassing recovery from state-collapse and National fragmentation. Therecovery from state collapse requires the resuscitation of state agencies while recovery from national fragmentation demands different fragments coming back together under consented single political order. All these such complex dynamics can be aggregated into recovery process.
In general Post State – Collapse Dynamics in Somalia could be divided into:
- Stalled recovery process during the first decade after state collapse (1991 – 2000);
- Timeline of recovery process (2000 – early 2017) and;
- Suspension of recovery process (early 2017 – ongoing )
Since there were no recovery process to consider in the first decade after state collapse an overview of recovery process (2000 – early 2017) will be provided in the first place followed by the highlighting of incumbent government’s suspension of the recovery process during the last three years which is currently on the verge of collapsing unless it is rescued. The collapse of the recovery process is tantamount to a relapse back to statelessness. The final part of this piece is presenting personal view in defense of Democracy and Federalization that require unlocking the process and rerouting back to recovery path with new fervor.
II. National Building Achievements (2000 – 2017)
The list of the achievements realized during this period is long and can be divided into leverages, legal base and structural pillars of the recovery process. Leverages of recovery include the re-occupation of the seat of Somalia at the United Nations by TNG that was vacant for ten consecutive years, the relocation of the first Transitional Federal Government – TFG1 (2004 -2009) at presidency and the establishment of national immigration authority which is the only national agency that provides nationwide services (except in Somaliland) and foreign countries that Somalia has diplomatic presence.
Achievement during the second Transitional Federal Government – TFG II (2009 -2012) include the flashing out of Al-shabab from the capital city and key strategic locations in southern and central regions. The approval of the Provisional constitution on 2nd August 2012, was the first historical accomplishment in Somalia because it has stipulated the architecture of federal state of Somalia consisting of National Authority (Federal Institutions – FIs) and Federal Member States (FMS), in addition of the requirement of Federal Legislature composed of Upper House (UH) and House of Representatives (HR) and number of Federal commissions and offices. In nutshell, the provisional constitution established the legal base for the advancement and completion of recovery process.
The second historical accomplishment is the creation of the layers of Somalia federal architecture consisting of national state organs and Federal Member States (FMS) intuitions following the formation of four new states by the end of 2016, in addition of/to Puntland that existed since 1998. The Launching of federalization right from the start of the ascension to the offices by the first post-transition government in 2012 would have made possible the formation of four new FMSs within the first two years and then direct all the efforts to make transformations in nation-state building, including the enabling conditions for the transitions to authentic direct democracy. This was naturally a missed opportunity by FGSII ( Hassan Sheikh’s government) while it had set the stage for FGS II (Farmajo’s gov.) to accomplish impressive benchmarks of the recovery process.
III. Stonewalled Recovery Process (2017 – ongoing)
At the time of the election of the current president, the recovery process reached a historical threshold that was transcending to a stage that required a final push towards the completion of recovery from state-collapse and establishment of functioning Democratic Federal State of Somalia. In other words, if only FGS II would have sustained the same pace of recovery process of FGS I, the mission of complete resuscitation of Democratic Federal State of Somalia by next government would have been very real possibility by 2025.
Unfortunately, the reason for the existence of the current government was turned from the realization of such noble goal to the suspension of the entire process of Somali Nation State Building.
The political doctrine of Farmajocracy is in a nutshell excessive presidential executive and centralized unitary state. This brought in collision with the existing parliamentary form of government and federalization form of state government (FMS), provided in the current provisional constitution. The only priorities the current government, from the beginning, has become the freezing of the provisional constitution, annihilated the independent legislation function of the parliament and public service delivery of the executive in addition the dismantling of the FMS.
To realize those priorities a new actual structure was replaced with the one formally mandated in the constitution. At the top it is a Political Corporate (PC) by a triumvirate of the President, the Prime Minister and head of the National Intelligence Service (NISA). Like any organization of this nature there might be another network of shaded rentiers that have access to high margins of profits without contributing any social benefit.
Under the PC comes chain of enablers that were set for the realization of the benchmarks and by end of the term of the government planned to secure the re-election of the president. The merger of the Council of Ministers (CoM) and the House of the People (HoP) of the Federal parliament is the immediate next enabler organ of PC under the direct command of the Prime Minister. The appointment of members of the cabinet almost from the HoP and cooption of another group of HoP members provided sufficient majority of Half Plus (50% + 1) to initiate and pass sham laws to implement fraudulent federal election and auction strategic national resources of the country in exchange of thrown out prices of signature bonuses to compensate pressing shortage of cash to pay votes in state and federal elections.
Strong and well-funded Propaganda Machinery is to be rated as the most consequential enabler tool applied by the current government in particular for fomenting personal cult of the president and the prime minster. The conduct of excessive demonization campaign against the parliamentary system of government and the federalization of country are important pretexts that justifies suspension of the check and balance within central state organs and the belittling of FMSs to the status of appointed governors or rendering virtually irrelevant for taking part in all matters of national relevance. The fusion of the power of all branches of the government in the president is what secured the achievement of all the toxic objectives of the current government
The National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) become another enabler entity positioned only to announce manufactured results of a planned sham election which is One Person One Vote election (1P1V) only by misnomer.
After three years of rule President Farmajo it is not an exaggeration to admit that he realized all his objectives almost with precision. The leverages for holding manufactured election of the incumbent is now in in order. All efforts of the last year will be devoted to implementation of sham electoral law which very likely to be passed by the Upper House (UH) and assented by the president. All such steps are set to be completed within the first half of February this year, 2020.
The approval of alleged text is law only by misnomer but represents the accomplishment of the first benchmark intended to increase the life span of Farmjocracy to be coupled with imminent launching of the “BIG PARTY” hinted by the current Deputy Prime Minster of the Federal Government, at several occasions. This will set the stage for the implementation of sham election with only predictable outcome of simulated but actual reelection of the current President. The remaining time- one years, is sufficient to undertake pending details to make the mission accomplished.
IV. Launching of National Platform for Democracy and Federalization (NPDF)
It is not the first time that resort to such initiative become necessity during national political recovery all resulting successful outcomes of important steps of state formations. It was in fact the gathering of delegates from all clans of Somalia that negotiated and finally celebrated the institution of TNG in 2000. Similarly, the union of the leadership of SRRC and TNG that formed the first Transitional Federal government of Somalia (TFG1) in 2004. The second Transitional Federal Government – TFG II- emerged form compromises between of Somalia Re- Liberation Council. These three platforms that compelled then government to compromise with the opposition groups were organized outside Somalia.
The elections of each of these former governments took place in neighboring countries. The scope of the opposition was then focused regime change. The process of the instauration of the first post-transition Federal Government (FGS I) was based on the expansion of political space through the establishment inclusive platform of Federal Institutions (FIs) and other stakeholders all based within the country. The fourth election that gave birth FGS I in 2012 took place in Mogadishu, the capital city of the country. Finally, the fifth election that established the current FGS II in December 2016 and February 2017 resulted from all agreed decision between leaders of FGS I and leaders of FMSs.
Any objective review of all the previous four government would reach conclusions of different rates of underperformance by all the government from TNG to FGS I in comparison to expected and possible achievements during the term in office by each government. On the other hand, the credit of the continued advancement of the political process goes in the first place to the opposition forces and accommodation of relevant stakeholders.
The conditions under which the present National platform will surge is very propitious in comparison to its precursors in terms of the size of potential constituent actors as well as in terms of political maturity earned through experiences in public affairs. The constituency of the impending platform include but limited: (i) All FMSs which irrespective of the position each state vis-a-vi the federal government have legitimate interest and constitutional obligation to protect and empower the role of the FMS provided by the current Federal Provisional constitutions. The time is also ripe to defect and join the opposition by significant constituencies against any FMS that succumb to the will of the current government’s commitment to eliminate FMSs; (ii) Federal government controls only sufficient majority of around 138 to 150 MPs in HoP and not more than 30 in the UH. The rest include latent and active opposition and many of them will join the national platform; (iii) Wide spectrum of leaders of organized groups and individuals that have played prominent role in previous governments are candidates to take part in an organized opposition with national objectives and not only for personal ambitions. These include Forum of National Parties (FNP) formed by six political parties. Any other organized group that (will take) took publicized opposition is potential actor to such platform. Former speakers, Prime Ministers, ministers, MPs, previous leaders of FMSs and many others should not remain observers of the vanishing of their contributions to country; (iv) Somali intellectuals, business sectors, civil society, traditional leaders across any divide of clan, genders, generational should devote their knowledge, resources, organizational skills, traditional wisdom and overall their collective will to the interest of the nation above any particular interest of any kind.
What makes this kind of platform necessary is the defiance of the current government to all calls to negotiate on matters of national relevance. The intransigency of the Federal Government compels the formation NPDF as a parallel arrangement to protect the continuation of nation building process that only one single group cannot secure. It is beyond any doubt that Somali People will stand behind any platform of such stature and only after organized national opposition that current government will show readiness to compromises in its entirety or will suffer internal split between elements that will accept to make deals with the opposition and others that will be left out.
The inescapable national imperative to rescue Somalia is to block this sham election, determine most possible legitimate 2020/2021 targeting an outcome that shall embark back Somalia on the National process of recovery from state collapse stonewalled by Farmajocracy.
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