Many efforts to restore Somalia to stability have proved disastrous precisely because solutions are imposed from outside and do not reflect the realities of the country. Usually there are no mechanisms to involve the Somali people – only warlords, some elites and neighbouring nations are consulted.
The International Community should learn when and when not to interfere in the domestic affairs of Somalia. Over the years, most of the international interventions have been driven by some policy assumptions that exacerbated the problem of Somali and have led to destructive implications to the objectives.
Perhaps we recall the fate of America’s operation in Somalia in 1993, famously known as the Blackhawk Down; the disastrous military intervention of Ethiopia in 2006 and; Kenya’s recent foray into Somalia that backfired terribly as a result of some faulty miscalculations and assumptions. All of these policies have failed to empower the Somali people’s capacity to restore their traditional systems that could handle not only the political challenges, but also the security that drives the conflict in contemporary Somalia. This system is called pastoral democracy and it has been effective for centuries in Somalia.
Clearly, the federal experiment in Somalia is perceived by majority Somalis as a foreign tool that is designed to disintegrate what is left of Somalia today. The Mbagathi Process that produced the Federal Government neither consulted with the Somalia people nor solicited views from Somali intellectuals about the type of governance that best suites the country. It was led by Kenya and Ethiopia, with a bunch of the warlords of the time, whose motive was only to secure a pie of the political power in Somalia.
Moreover, a predominantly nomadic society such as Somalia, would have difficult accommodating the provisions of the Federal Constitution that require to commission boundaries between clans as part of the federal state formations. This could set off a malicious war between clans, as already witnessed in Galmudug, when it declared its boundaries with Puntland, which triggered renewed political contentions and apprehensions from a new cycle of clan wars.
In addition, the 4.5 formula, a power sharing agreement between clans, should be addressed because it assumes that certain clans are majority and others minority in the absence of clear scientific population census in Somalia.
For instance, Jareer-Weyn clan, are unarmed and inhabit mostly the riverine regions in Somalia. With strong presence in Somalia, they are still marginalized, discriminated and slotted to be among the minority groups, when in fact they are popular and much more visible in Somalia. That arrangement should end if Somalia is to advance and overcome the lopsided political power distributions.
In a nutshell, Somalia will not recover politically unless we address these issues, including: (a) the federal system that causes more tension than solves the problem; (b) the donor imposed governance values that disregard the effective and traditionally accepted systems of this ancient society; (c) the armed religious groups who are funded and supported by neighboring and Middle Eastern countries, including ASWJ and other extremists and; (d) the 4.5 clan formula, which is not only unfair, but promotes oppression and political exclusion.
The federal system by default is dead on arrival. Practically, it’s absent in the regional administrations and has failed to bring them directly under its sphere of control. With grievances and clan rivalry still active in Somalia, faction leaders of all stripes condemn the Federal Government as corrupt and out of touch with their priorities. However, if we continue with this chaotic trajectory, the federal government will only exist in the books and clan leaders will become the de facto rulers at the expense of Somalia’s unity and territorial integrity.
Furthermore, the current Federal Parliament has both no political legitimacy and technical capacity to develop a robust regulatory framework to address the problems of Somalia. As often is the case, the members of the Federal Parliament are only there for themselves; not for their constituents.
This brings us to the pressing issue of so-called peacekeepers from African Union Mission in Somalia, also known as AMISOM, who operate without any mechanism of accountability. Recently, the Ugandan contingency has killed dozens of innocent civilians in the town of Marka, among other cities in Southern Somalia, as confirmed by an independent commission and human rights groups. Despite that, the Western donors still fund AMISOM contingents in Somalia, even after committing widespread sexual violence against girls and vulnerable women at internally displaced camps.
In conclusion, the Somali people can’t afford to waste another decade, looking for solutions from others when in fact it has every tool at its own disposal to address the political and security challenges in the country. The Government of Somalia must step up to the challenge and show leadership by building a strong and well-trained national army that brings the country under its control. And to achieve that goal, it should restore public trust and improve its institutions and overall integrity.
By this time next year, the Somali people will have partners in good faith from the International Community to achieve the noble objectives of reconstituting a united Somalia, or it is led into another trap that breeds more political confusion. Either way, the Somali people must demand what is right for them – and by all means necessary.
* Ali Ghedi is a political commentator and former member of the Federal Parliament.
* THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM
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