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The conundrum of the Somali constitution: the fallout from the new divisive constitution authored by a single man?

By Abdullahi Ahmed Nor

Behavior is what a man does, not what he thinks, feels, or believes.”

The issue of micromanagement in Somalia underscores a broader challenge facing the country’s governance structures, where decision-making processes are excessively centralized, stifling initiative and hindering effective administration. Micromanagement not only erodes trust and morale within government institutions but also impedes the implementation of policies and programs vital for national development. Furthermore, it perpetuates a culture of dependency on top-down directives, stifling innovation and creativity.

President Hassan Mohamud, is a micromanager by nature, a significant impediment to effective governance in Somalia. The consequences of micromanagement under President Hassan extend beyond the confines of government institutions, impacting the broader socio-economic landscape of Somalia. His penchant for centralizing decision-making authority has resulted in a stifling environment where even minor administrative tasks require approval from him. This behavior triggered a high turnover of Prime Ministers – three Prime Ministers in his prior 2012 term in Office. None of his government programs saw the light of the day and consequently he vacated the office in disgrace. In his 2017 reelection, he spent so much in buying the votes of the then MPs of Parliament, but at the day of the election the MPs motto was “No more Hassan – the father of corruption” and instead voted for President Mohamed Abdulahi ”Farmajo” in recognition of his performance as Prime Minister during the transitional period.

President Hassan during his first term in office, 2012-2017, corruption, nepotism, theft and privatization of public property has become the norm. He didn’t even spare the security zone of Mogadishu Airport. He evicted poor internally displaced families from the Airport security zone and instead of keeping the land vacant as per the government announcement, sold the plots to the rich and the well placed government people with deep pockets that managed to construct towers in months. From the comfort of the newly erected residential and business towers on the Airport Security Zone, one can down any airplane on the runway with ease, thus rightly making Mogadishu Airport as the most dangerous Airport in the world. Within the space of four years, President Hassan who was earning a meager income of local University Lecturer with two wives living from one pay check to the next pay check, morphed into the richest man in Somalia. My fellow citizens, Africa, I assume is a cursed continent.

The Re-election of President Hassan in May 2022 has thrown the biggest bombshell in the arena of Somali Politics. He was the least anticipated, this time round; to win the Presidential seat as he had proved beyond any doubt that he is the most corrupt President Somalia has ever known. President Hassan, in his first term (2012 – 2017) solely engaged in running the Presidential Office in a way to benefit his immediate family – who were given the most lucrative government contracts and he auctioned a lot of government owned lands and properties to fatten his always thirsty personal Bank accounts.

Although the general public were astounded at first for his reelection, but after they come to terms to the ugly reality staring at them without blinking; most people entertained themselves in the believe that he had learned from his past mistakes and to that end, will leave behind a good legacy by rectifying his previous tarnished image, given the fact, he is the first President elected twice to office in the History of Somalia.

Ever since 2012, the Successive governments that came to power including the current one were promising to the Somali people and the International Community that they will complete the review of the Provisional Constitution but none ever mentioned he/she will write their his/her own one. As far as the review of the Provisional Constitution, which enjoys the confidence of the Somali people, is concerned, I would say with 100% confidence, that its review was completed during the life of the 10th Parliament, except for few articles that needed the NCC political consensus.

Among the main articles that were waiting for the political consensus were:-

1. Fiscal Federation

2. The Status of Mogadishu – Capital City

3. The power sharing – FMS and the FG

4. Judicial Federation

5. National Security architect

6. Natural Resources Sharing

7. Establishment of Judicial Service Committee

8. Establishment of Constitutional Court.

A whitewashed crow soon shows black again

At the time of this writing, we have a de facto Presidential System of Government in place, where all the powers of government are concerted on President Hassan alone. He is the Prime Minister, the council of Ministers as well as the Parliament – it is one man government. A President that is so immersed in corruption doing whatever he wishes with impunity in a broad daylight like President Omar Bongo of Gabon (42 Years in Power), President Ismail Omer of Djibouti (24 Years in Power) and their likes.

President Hassan, surprised the nation and the International Community that invested so much in sustaining the FGS by producing, out of the blue, a divisive new Presidential constitution authored by the President, without any form of consultation, at the very time Somalia was crying for unity in the face of Ethiopia’s attack on the sovereignty of the country. Whoever handed out, our so called President, the new unpopular Presidential constitution is laughing because it achieved its objective which is nothing more than to disintegrate further the fragile Somali Federal Republic.

Puntland, the only viable Federal Member State that has, unlike the other FMS, its total sovereignty on hand, rightly jumped ship in response to the senseless ditching of the all agreed upon Provisional Constitution. Somaliland rightly jumped ship when Mogadishu people without consultation with the other regions inaugurated the late President Ali Mahdi as President of Somalia in 1991. Without any shred of doubt the other four so called FMS (City States) will soon follow suit.

On the instructions of the President, the council of ministers issued a statement closing the Ethiopian consulates in Garowe and Hargeisa. The statement is a hasty mind-numbing reaction that has no effect on the ground as both Garowe and Hargeisa are beyond the jurisdiction of the Mogadishu President – he is Mogadishu President once the legitimate Provisional Constitution is thrown out of the window.

Three months into his new presidency, President Hassan Mohamoud disappointed every one of the polity in equal measure by resorting to his corruption practices, this time with vigor to a degree that pulled the rug under the feet of every one by auctioning again the government lands, to his business cronies, awarding contracts to his now enlarged family members – wives, brothers, children, and children’s wives and their other relatives to the exclusion of all Somalis. Appointments from the Presidential office are preposterous as it looks like the President’s pen would break down if he appoints people outside his sub clan and yet he preaches every weekend “justice for all and no corruption” inside the Presidential Mosque. I wish, I was a psychologist to be able to pinpoint the medical name of his behavior.

To cater for his micromanaging (one Man Government) mindset, he nominated his student Mr. Hamza as a PM, who also sees him as a mentor. The PM gets instructions from the President and solely plays the role of a Secretary to the President – In short the PM’s Office is technically vacant at present.

President Hassan in his previous term wasn’t capable to act as emperor because the PM’s office holders were not letting him cross the Redlines delineated by the power sharing formula of 4.5 and the constitution of the land. This time, President Hassan is laughing because he won’t waste time in picking up fight with Prime Minster and as a result he is acting like full-fledged King of the country. President Hassan took the portfolios of all ministers and is always on a plane attending meeting at Ministerial levels as well as those of the Head of states.

“If you want to know the end, look at the beginning.”

1. Considering and internalizing the above sad reading in light of Somalia’s political instability and conflict for several decades which has had significant impact on the country’s development and stability.

2. Cognizant, the country has been without functioning central government since the fall of Siad Barre regime in 1991, and has been characterized by clan based violence, terrorism, piracy and humanitarian crises.

3. Accepting, that Somalia still faces significant challenges, including ongoing violence from insurgent groups such as Al-Shabab which controls most of the country except Puntland and Somaliland.

4. Aware, of the failure of the unplanned campaign against Al Shabab which resulted in the decimation of the national army trained during President Mohamed Farmaajo and bounty of stockpiles of Military equipment put on the lap of Alshabab.

5. Conscious of the appointments of unqualified people from the Presidents close knit family and cohorts to the high profile positions with the objective to destroy the fragile government institutions. To name a few, he appointed the Auditor General position to a guy who was a local journalist that has no accounting qualifications, the Accountant General to a guy, recruited from his university, who has no experience in government accounts, The Head of NISA to a guy who is uneducated and who failed twice to hold the reigns of NISA more than several months and who believes in tribalism and convicted of treason, the heads of Mogadishu Airport customs have been drafted from the town and the same goes to heads of the Mogadishu Seaport Custom and etc.

6. In addition, due to huge security concerns, the country has no hope except Puntland, in the foreseeable to move from the clan based fraudulent selection of MPs to the standard universal suffrage electoral system. But note that President Hassan spent millions in aborting the Puntland universal suffrage elections – he hates democracy.

In Conclusion:- The FGS has come crashing down on President Hassan unless the international community, as he refused to talk to the opposition, comes to rescue the country before Al Shabab takes over. Mark my word “we will see President Hassan, God forbid, confined to a wheel chair.” – It ought to be the consequences of the pressure of being one man government.

By Abdullahi Ahmed Nor

Email: [email protected]

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