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Somalia’s federalist consensus and representative participation

09-24-2016, 01:29 PM
سيف اليزل سعد عمر
<aسيف اليزل سعد عمر
Registered: 01-11-2013
Total Posts: 7737

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Somalia’s federalist consensus and representative participation

    01:29 PM September, 24 2016

    Sudanese Online
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    Saif S. Omar
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    Well, whether you like it or not the Somalis agreed that about one percent of the total population have the right to elect the new government and the president. Although the provisional constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia stated that the “citizens” shall elect the members of the house but it is only 14000 people who will have that right . Out of all the destruction happened or happening in Somalia for many years, new governance and states are emerging out of a federalist consensus clan politics. Any one whom I met and talked to about Somalia since my last visit to Mogadishu is aware of the positive developments in the country despite all the bombs, attacks and threats of Al-Shabab. It is becoming better and better every day in Somalia.

    This election is decisive for Somalia as the country takes a step more towards federalization and it is the last election where clan leaders will select parliamentarians. Every now and then bombs detonated in one of the cities in Somalia. Four weeks ago a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at the gates of a local government headquarters in Galkayo killing 17 people. But even though life continues as usual, people doing business go to market and receive their remittances from the diaspora. What is happening in Somalia is a remarkable political transition in the history of the country. Probably the last transition from clan based politics to party based politics to be conducted in 2020 Inshaa Allah. But despite the chaos and bombs we should braise the Somali politics in every part of Somalia including Somaliland and Puntland for achievements towards democratic elections and federalization of the country. The IGAD leaders who managed to convene an extra-ordinary summit meeting in mid-September in Mogadishu for the first time since the inception of the organization in 1986 have commended Somalia for implemented the road map towards the first election in the country since 1984.

    The Somalis invented their own way of political representation or let us call it a democratic consensus as aspects the Somalia traditions to share of power and conflict resolution. Clan elders will select parliamentarians, while each of Somalia’s federal states will choose representatives to a new upper house. The two houses of parliament will then vote for a president. The idea of clan leaders selecting member of the parliament is not new as it also makes the essence of Somali clan politics . In January 2004 forty warlords agreed under the facilitation of IGAD on a charter for selecting members for parliament. It is very hard to say that the top-down approach is not working for Somalia. But when looking deeper to this issue, yes it does. The National Leader Forum for example is one body which today has an important say on how the election shall be conducted.

    The conflict and strife in Somalia is a about control of power and resources. All the long processes of consultations, conflict resolutions attempts, transition to a constitutional system is about how best the Somalis can share power through clan formula and balances. Almost all the conferences and negotiations between clan leaders, internal community and regional countries have focused on control and power sharing. It is a dream for many Somalis to see a unified Somalia or a great Somalia while others, like Somaliland, worked hard for an independent state from the rest of Somalia. As south central Somalia is slowly emerging as a federal state with some kind of stability, the relation between the great Somali has to be reconsidered and renegotiated. Somalia is very keen to have the process of forming federal states completed. Just few weeks before the start of the election traditional and clan leaders of Hiiraan and Middle Shabelle met in Johawr to discuss possibilities to form one state.

    Somalia is a country that attracts the interest of many international actors for different reasons and interests. The United Nations has maintained a political interest for many years and has been an important partner in the political process specially the formation and support to the transitional government created in Kenya.
    The peace and security council of the African Union at its 69 meeting held in 19th January 2007 authorized deployment of a peace and support mission in Somalia. Since then a group of 22000 soldiers from different African countries have been providing support to security sector which is supposed to ends in 8th July 2017. AMISOM provided support and protection to the federal government and protect them from attacks of Al-shabab. This week the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia secured a fund from the EU a 178 million euros grants to keep Al-shabab away and build the capacity of the Somali security forces.

    The Somali Compact has contributed to establishing the foundation for rebuilding Somalia on the basis of framework to coordinate, political, security and development efforts. The democratization process in Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland would have been difficult without commitment of the Somali to rebuild their country and the financial support of the donor community. It is to a level where the donor community has to interfere when the process is stuck or delayed. Last week for example the donor community had an urgent meeting in Nairobi over the decision of the president Ahmed Silanyo of Somaliland to postpone the parliamentarian election for one year.

    Somalia has been practicing different approaches to share of power and governance. The general believe among many of the Somalis I met that democracy is a western value that has nothing to do with Somalian culture. The Somali way of democracy is representation and consensus between Sultans, clan leaders and elders. This election is a pure Somali way of representation and consensus. Although it has been strongly supported by the international community but it’s a pure Somali experience after years of fighting over control of power and resources. This is a very important step towards state building and historical transitional in the political history of Somalia.

                  

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