By Ahmed A. Ibrahim
In response to the unsuccessful attempt to establish Somali National government to Somalia under unitary system, the sense of the citizens that are dreaded strong unitary government based in Mogadishu, the idea of federalism which once was an option for the Digil and mirifle (Arlaadi net, 2011), community has resurfaced in the political scene of Somalia.
Many attempts that have been made by the Somali elites with the support of the international community to build functioning state in Somalia, at 14th political reconciliation conference that held in Embagathi, Kenya in 2002/2004 for a period of two years has been agreed to form Transitional Federal Government of Somalia under clan based infamous 4.5 power sharing system. The vision was to establish permanent Federal state of Somalia , constitutional referendum and holding multi-party elections. This was an ambitious plan put down by the International community in order to move forward to rebuild state institutions at a minimum level.
Federalisation of Somalia was expected to be functioned, Federal member states to be established and support their capacity of handling state level administration, if it is revenue, tax management and holding free and fair election that state citizens can elect their leaders as their desire. Apart from Puntland that existed 9 years before the FGS and the self-declared state of Somaliland that declared its secession from rest of Somalia, unfortunately, all other Federal members states is either interfered and installed regional president that works the desire of current FGS administration, instead of the local people or weakened and fragmented into sub-clans such as South West and Galmudug states.
Despite establishing the interim administrations of Jubbaland ,Southwest, Hirshabele and Galmudug, there is no capacity and moral to entertain decentralised system in the country.
Federal system of Somalia reaches its peak point due to its difficult to make political persuasion towards agreements on power sharing, fully self-controlled states and districts.
Overcoming infamous 4.5 and proceeding fully democratic and inclusive governance system has its’ challenges either caused by clanship that remained Somalia politics since post-colonial era or effects inherited from Military led system. Moving from current power sharing system to regional based representation has its different paraphernalia to the citizens in Puntland and South West for instance. Also to remain the status que to its place kills hope of reaching system that can represent people equally.
Negative impact of Federalism in Somalia:
- Debate 1: Republic of Somalia that existed before civil war breakouts is the union of British-Somaliland and Italian-Somaliland in equal proportion power sharing. Consequently, Somaliland couldn’t be similar to any other Federal member states including those Established recently.
- Debate 2: Federalism theoretically brought through the lobby of very small elite Somali scholars that persuaded political class with the support of donors but, it is not really a system clamoured by Somali citizens.
- Debate 3: Border conflicts emerged between the FMS that led huge taxation to businesses which then affects livelihood of every citizen; good example of this case is Abdifatah manager of Samawade General trade company based in Boosaaso, reported that their profit margins was negatively affected by frequency conflicts between Puntland and Galmudug and they lost potential customers in South and Central parts of Somalia. As it effects Abdifatah in Puntland also can impact in any other business transactions in any other parts of the country.
- Debate 4: Federalism promises decentralisation of the government service and citizens to be more close to the government through their representative administrations but FMS created stagnant administration in their regional centres. Regional unitary system has been formed in the country out of this, service delivery bottle neck to the grass root level has been resulted.
Despite the recognition of International Community that Somalia is one nation under the territory of the Federal republic of Somalia, citizens are disintegrated politically, country is fragmented into parts and sub clans and even there is no one currency, defence force or foreign policy that effects whole the country. Somalia doesn’t exist internally but inhabitants with no state are struggling their daily normal routine life.
Therefore, I suggest Somalia political leaders, scholars, youth and women activist, civil society and other stake holders to find alternative system that can maintain existence of this nation before the collapse of the Federal system with no option.
Ahmed A. Ibrahim
M.A in Public Policy
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