Somalia: The Most Appropriate Federal Model

openion Somalia Federal System

London (HAN) March 7th, 2014 – Opinion: There are many options in completing the federalisation of Somalia. Previously I proposed a model based purely on the geographic distribution of clan-families. You can refer that at:

Re-inventing Somalia – Crafting Self-governing States for Federal Somalia. This proposal recognised Somaliland, Maakhir-Khaatumo, Puntland, Central Somalia, Shabelle, Asal and Juba. Please see the map. Mogadishu was considered as a Federal Territory, similar to Kuala Lumpur of Malaysia or Washington DC of the USA in which the Capital City comes directly under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government.

An advantage of such clan-based proposal was it was culture-friendly or traditions-friendly and it represented the clan system which is deeply entrenched or rooted or seated in the Somali society. The grassroots of Somalia understand that well for it is their social, cultural, and territorial unit of measurement. Again, Somalia is a deeply divided country rive of mistrust and rivalry between the clans. Recognising that as the basis of reconstruction of Somalia heals the problems and therefore, it is a reconciliation measure recognising the different clan stakeholders in the form of federal member states (territorial units for clan-families). A major disadvantage is that some of them are not viable economically and can-not stand on their own unless they become dependent on the Federal Government for existence. Some Somalis argue that it is difficult to demarcate the boundaries between the Federal Member States but that can be overcome by experts who know well the geography of the clan distribution of the Somalis and mark those boundaries on the map. Somalia has got professionals with such capacities. Secondly, another disadvantage is related to the number of federal member states. The cost of governance increases astronomically if we consider 7 states like the proposal above. Thirdly, in addition to that, we do not have political culture and the experience of running a federal system – a system very hard for Somalis to operate and agree on smoothly. The Somalis may need a period in which Somalis learn the system and get mentored.

The most appropriate model: Further to that proposal, there is a highly lucrative model that lays a stronger political foundation for Somalia. The model offers Somalia an ever-lasting and enduring system that once agreed upon, it serves Somalia for a long time. In this model, we assume that Somaliland and Puntland are already existing federal member states. We will obtain from the rest of the country the following federal member states in this manner:

Abiikar

The establishment of SW (Asal) state is really very interesting for Somalia.

1. It is different from the rest of the country by being a highly plural federal member state, which is very rich in diversity and contains multi-clans.

2. Furthermore, it is economically viable and represents the grain basket of Somalia in addition to having varieties of resources: agriculture, livestock, river and marine resources, minerals and oil and gas. SW is a symbol of unifying the disintegrating Somalia because it has six regions, with a high economic potential, thus it offers more opportunities.

3. SW Federal Member State unites Somalia better than any other Federal Member State, having a size of more than one fourth of Somalia with a population of more than 50% of Somalia’s population.

The only problem the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) faces is how to resolve the issue of Juba and nullify the Addis Ababa Agreement. Is the FGS courageous enough to convince Juba to join SW and support them to negotiate with SW state so that Sheikh Ahmed Islam and his group obtain positions in this Mega –state of SW? Can the FGS convince the Ethiopians and the Kenyans that their interests are taken care by any administration emerging from these regions of Somalia and that nothing changes? Diplomacy and engaging Shiekh Ahmed Islam and Madoobe Nunow is the whole art of the game. The FGS has to honestly engage them together at the same time without prejudice and with transparency, convincing them that their clan interests are kept and any other interests are considered.

The four-FMS model is very favourable to Somalia. It makes Somalia stronger with less government costs and red-tape. Bureaucracy and governance costs are minimised (cost effective); it has only four- federal member states making up the whole of Somalia.

The four states will share power and the federal government positions depending on the respective size of their population. This is called proportional representation and allocation of power and resources. Each state will have a population census and based upon that result, each state will have federal MPs. The census used will be quick one in terms of implementation by aerial photography (low flying aircrafts – remote sensing) together with geographic information systems (GIS). Later after 2016 Somalia can carry out a proper population census.

Districts will be re-defined in terms of their population. A district and the cluster of towns surrounding it, must have altogether a population of 40000 – 50 000 to get the name of district. The distance between two districts should be redefined pending on the population. If the population decreases in one area, the other area that acquires a population of 40 – 50 thousands will get the district-ship. Everything will be dependent on population.

A summary of the Federal model:

• The Federal Republic of Somalia will consist of Somaliland, Puntland, Central Somalia and the South West states. Each state will have its own government: legislative, executive and judiciary at a state level and they will share everything the Federal Government of Somalia has. Each state will be led by a State Minister, not by a “President”. Somalia will have only one President to avoid confusion. In Malaysia, the states are led by a Menteri Basar and in the USA by a Governor.

• Consociational democracy: This is a proposal for a federal model applicable to Somalia. It was proposed long time ago and have had chances for revisions and amendments as per the situation of Somalia. The model is based on the full package of consociational democracy and its aim is a strong united Somalia, power and resources sharing through territorial federalism, permanent measures for conflict resolution, proportional representation and minority protection and the formation of a grande coalition of political parties that cross-cut the clan system and the federal member entities. Arend Lijphart and others introduced into politics as a recognised governance system. The Somali people have a culture of sitting under a tree (gogol) and solving social and cultural problems through dialogue, compromises and consensus. They practice democracy (or pastoral democracy) similar to consociational democracy. That shows that the Somalis are consociational by their nature of solving their social and political differences, sitting under a tree and sharing ideas through discussions and finding solutions to their problems.

Opinion Contributed to Geeska Afrika Magazine Online By Abdulkadir Abiikar Hussein, qaadir.abikar@hotmail.co.uk

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