The year 2022
marks another momentous occasion for Somalia’s second decade since the first
post-war government came into place at the turn of the millennium. It is a period
in which many Somalis and the international community expect to see more
changes toward progressive democratic and stable Somalia.
his administration and hopefully redefined it to not only align with his
pre-election manifesto but also install loyalists in critical portfolios, it is
now time for President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to shepherd the country in conformity
with his pledges, the constitution and the aspirations of all Somalis.
The Council of
Ministers which alongside the rest of the government bureaucracy form the executive
arm of government must also rise to the occasion, set aside individual
interests and focus their energies on re-energising the state building process.
In this article,
it identifys four key areas which I consider germane to bringing closer the
Somali dream-one of stability, progress and democracy. They are Security,
Resources Sharing, Constitutional Review and Open Governance.
Security is at the
core of any meaningful progress in any society and so is more for Somalia which
is bedevilled by threats of instability from a myriad of quarters. By
guaranteeing citizens’ security, the state can be able to spur sustainable
economic growth, national cohesion and unity and bolster foreign investment.
The signs that this administration is keen on this issue can be seen from the
battlefields in Galmudug and HirShabelle states where security forces have
joined hands with clans and organised militias to wage the war against
Al-Shabaab. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has singled out security as his
number one domestic priority and that must be acknowledged and lauded. During
his address to the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly last
week, President Mohamud called for international support for the Somali
government’s new strategy to ‘target terrorism
militarily, ideologically and financially to ensure it is comprehensively
defeated once and fall and quickly.’
Whereas some people have raised concerns
over the aftermath of the military-civilian cooperation in the ongoing
operations in central regions, the need for decimation of Al-Shabaab far
outweighs such concerns which nonetheless will require a strategic modus
operandi from the government side. The fight against Al-Shabaab, whether
militarily, ideologically or financially is just one component of the realising
peace and stability in Somalia. There will be an urgent need to sufficiently
invest in establishment of local government administrations at the lowest
level, service provision, generation and deployment of police and civilian
units to recovered areas as well as deliberate economic growth stimulation.
The Baidoa Agreement reached into by the
Federal Government and Federal Member States presidents set the basis, albeit
ridden with inadequacies, for sharing of oil resources between the FGS and FMS
and among FMS. That agreement would later form part of the Petroleum Act 2020.
Some FMS such as Puntland rejected the law noting the Agreement was inadequate
and did not address the issue of equity in sharing of the oil revenues. The new
government will need to re-open talks on this matter to ensure it conforms with
the dictates of the Provisional Constitution, international best practices and
unique situation of Somalia.
Disputes over resources have cost many
lives in Somalia and continue to do so to date. We often here reports of clans
massacring each other over water and pasture. It will be unfortunate if the oil
finds in Somalia could turn out to be a flash point between the FGS and FMS as
well as among the FMS. We cannot, as a state be jumping from one conflict into
Constitutional Review Process
This year marks a decade since Somalia
adopted a Provisional Constitution which has failed to transition into a
substantive constitution despite several efforts by previous administrations. The
Constitution is the supreme guide on how nations manage their affairs such that
if we get it wrong, all else goes south. Building on the collective will in the
war against Al-Shabaab and notable international support, President Mohamud’s
administration should take advantage of this prevailing goodwill to relaunch,
once and for all the roadmap towards the completion of the constitution. The
encouraging factor in this process is that we have already singled out the
contentious issues which need to be subjected inclusive citizen participation
before it is adopted through either parliament or popular vote.
The completion of the constitutional
review process and its subsequent promulgation will be one of the single-most
milestones in Somalia’s state building process. It will address lingering
questions on the structure of the state, the judiciary, resources sharing,
several aspects of federalism including fiscal federalism among others. A
complete constitution will also heal the pressing question regarding the power
and authority of the president and prime minister.
An open system of governance builds public
confidence in government and inspires citizens to actively take part in the
management of state affairs. Since the first decade of this millennium, Somalia
has ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world. Despite the lack of
publicly available quantitative data, it is clear that we lose a significant
chunk of public money and resources to a few individuals. The opportunity is
there to reverse this trend by making theft or misuse of public resources
severely punishable. President Mohamed Farmaajo rushed through the formation of
the anti-corruption commission and appointed commissioners at the tail end of
his administration. Whereas the move may have demonstrated a desire to fight
corruption, it suffered a political heatwave that reduced it into a political
campaign tool. President Mohamud’s administration should move with haste to
redefine the anti-graft commission, retool and re-staff in line with the law
and international best practices. Open governance also entails streamlining
government operations to provide for transparent tendering, contracting,
resource allocation and distribution and a citizen-centred approach that
provides the forum for citizens to actively participate in the management of
their country and resources.
Building on domestic and international
goodwill, the current administration ought to focus itself on taking Somalia
forward in realisation of the aspirations and dreams of our nation.
By: Abdirahman Yusuf Ali
Social, Youth and Peace activist
Founder of Uistaag Dadka iyo Dalka