by Mohamud M Uluso
June 25, 2013
The United States of America, the United Nations and the UN Security Council spearheaded, supported, mediated and finally validated the legitimacy and integrity of the constitutional process which marked the end of the transition period and the election of an internationally recognized inclusive government in Somalia. On August 1, 2012, 825 National Constituent Assembly members representing the people of Somalia debated and approved the Provisional Federal Constitution (PFC). The timeline of the Somali Constitutional Process 2004-2012, the PFC, and the Guidebook to PFC, prepared by a Joint UNDP/UNPOS Constitution Unit, have been officially published in the Website of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) for authentication and public notice.
The political choices and compromises made among Somalis are inscribed in the PFC for faithful guidance, respect and execution. The unfinished business, including the laws related to the federal system, is left to the federal parliament with the responsibility among others to respond effectively to social tensions and grievances.
The PFC establishes the Federal Republic of Somalia (FRS) defined in article 1 as follows:
1. Somalia is a federal, sovereign, and democratic republic founded on inclusive representation of the people, a multiparty system and social justice.
2. After Allah the Almighty, all power is vested in the people and can only be exercised in accordance with the constitution and the law and through the relevant institutions. It is prohibited for a person or a section of the public to claim the sovereignty of the federal republic of Somalia or to use it for their personal interest.
3. The sovereignty and unity of the federal republic of Somalia is inviolable.
The flag, national symbols and the borders of Somalia with Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Indian Ocean remain the same as of the Independence and Union Day, July 1, 1960. The Guidebook to the PFC confirms the lack of agreement on the federal system. As a matter of fact, article 138 (2) postponed the effect of the provisions related to the Upper House of the federal Parliament, supposed to represent the Federal Member States (FMS). Additionally, articles 49 and 111E on the Boundaries and Federation Commission outline the complex issues to be studied before FMS’s creation.
The reconstruction of the 18 regions that existed before 1991 has the highest priority. In this context, the role of clan identity shall be under scrutiny as it is classified as a potential factor for discrimination and fragmentation.
The UN Security Council resolutions 2093 (2013) and 2102 (2013), as well as all previous UN resolutions, have unequivocally reaffirmed the respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia. But, the Raskamboni clan Militia, ally with Kenya and Ethiopia, the existence of which is illegal under the PFC, has defied the legitimacy and jurisdiction of the Federal Government and unilaterally declared in the city of Kismaio a regional State called “Jubbaland” which refers to Gedo, Lower Jubba and Middle Jubba regions despite most of the area is either under the control of Al Shabab or under self-governing administrations. This unlawful action has hugely damaged the progress of the war against Al Shabab and the high hope for peacebuilding and statebuilding in Somalia. “Kismaio-Jubbaland” state as Puntland, Galmudug and Somaliland states is not a legitimate name to be used officially by the member states of the United Nations.
The Federal Government’s firm objection against the formation of “Kismaio-Jubbaland” State as the first FMS is dictated by the constitutional imperative of defending the collective ownership and jurisdiction of the federal government, loyalty to the national sovereignty, the equality of citizens, the policy of weakening clan politics for transition to multiparty political system, the re-establishment of the relation between the state and land/resource control, and the strengthening of national solidarity/unity over clan polarization, minority abuses and parallel powers. The use of manipulative tactics for group interests or the abetting of statelessness situation in Somalia undermines the foundations of the federal government.
The repeated statement of Raskamboni Militia and supporters that the federal government has been invited to participate in the Kismaio conference is a self-incriminating evidence for the deliberate defiance of the supreme authority of the federal government over clan Militia or group. The Raskamboni rivalry to the federal government encourages political chaos and constitutional transgressions. There are no bases for the claims that the provisional constitution has been tampered with or that it allows the creation of FMS in the absence of parliamentary act preceded by a national extensive study and debate.
The Kenya defense forces under AMISOM, stationed in Kismaio, denied security protection to the federal government ministers, members of parliament and other officials who visited the area. It is reported that the human rights and dignity of the Somali citizens are violated at Kismaio Airport under the control of Kenyan forces because the Somali travelers are interrogated, harassed, discriminated for their clan affiliation and support to the federal government.
The “Kismaio-Jubbaland” disorder planned years ago is intended to prevent the federal government from the exercise of its constitutional functions with regard to foreign affairs and international obligations, national defense and security, delivery of basic services, fiscal and monetary policies, immigration and citizenship administration. In addition, the actions of the Raskamboni Militia have revived the culture of warlordism and clan factionalism which receded during the transition period.
The federal government offered to the Raskamboni Militia the same deal offered to Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama in Galgudud, a deal consisting in the incorporation of the Militia forces into the government military and security forces, in the payment of huge financial compensation and in the appointment of the Raskamboni Militia leaders to executive and administrative leadership positions. This fair deal takes into account the sacrifices made by various factions outside the government structure in the fight against the militant group Al Shabab.
In order to facilitate the transfer of public resources to local institutions for the delivery of basic services, the federal government issued a national stabilization plan for a functional effective local governance structure that will be implemented initially in the more troubled South Central regions through two-stage process. The first stage consists in appointing temporarily local leaders at the regional and district levels after consultation with members of parliament, traditional and religious leaders, women and members of civil society.
There is an obvious need to place at the helm of the local administrations and security apparatus leaders acceptable to local residents and at the same time being trustworthy and capable of enforcing the constitution, democratic values and financial management regulations under the supervision of the national government. This stage of setting up basic governance structure after 22 years of chaos is critical in the South Central Somalia and it should not extend beyond 12 months. In the second stage, the appointed officials will be replaced by locally elected officials through a democratic process supervised by the international community.
The whole Federal government needs time to address all the problems on federalism raised during the constitutional conferences. The United Nations provided an expert on the constitutional review process. Tentatively, there are five political factions that need to be integrated: (1) secessionists, (2) Clan based federalists, (3) supporters of power devolution system modeled on the new Kenya system of governance, (4) supporters of Islamic State, (5) and supporters of fiscally decentralized state.
On May 27, 2013, Former Prime Minister of Somalia Abdirizak Haji Hussein addressed the issue of federalism in an interview with the Center for Policy Analysis and Research. While he argued that federalism is not suitable for Somalia, he mentioned two reasons pushing it. As he explained, one reason is some people want to boost clan interest. The second reason, which is very significant, is the sense of “victimhood” felt by the members of Darod clan in relation to the great tragedy that happened in Mogadishu in 1991. Former Prime Minister expressed his opinion on addressing the second reason.
Furthermore, the federal government must consider the following additional steps before the formation of the FMS.
1. Intensifying the liberation of the remaining areas from Al Shabab.
2. Definition of the basis of the federal system and interpretation of the principles listed under articles 3, 12, 21, 22, 27, 50, 72 and 111 E of the PFC.
3. Compromise and resolution about the final configuration and integration of Puntland, Somaliland and Galmudug before the appointment of the Boundaries and Federation Commission.
4. Completion of the review process of the FPC and approval of the final provisional constitution before referendum. Explanation of the “voluntary merger” concept of the regions is necessary.
5. Enactment of the law establishing the Boundaries and Federation Commission in accordance with article 111 E.
6. Preparation of the Report by the Boundaries and Federation Commission and subsequent public and parliamentary debate.
7. Enactment of a law which determines the number and boundaries of the FMS.
The tension caused by the Raskamboni Militia is a serious challenge to the credibility and integrity of the US and the UN Security Council as principal sponsors and international stakeholders in the constitutional making process of Somalia and as protectors of the federal government against foreign and domestic saboteurs. The high profile meetings between the Raskamboni Militia leader, Ahmed Mohamed Islam “a.k.a. Ahmed Madobe” and supporters with President Uhuru Kenyatta and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia in Nairobi and Addis Ababa have intensified the incentives for the continuation of the defiance which could defeat the inspiring goals of the international “New Deal” strategy and of eliminating the major source of terrorist and piracy threats and other risks , which is the statelessness situation in Somalia.
In his analysis of June 21, 2013 on “Kismaio-Jubbaland” factional disorder, Dr. Michael Weinstein, quoting a closed source in East Africa with access to the Western thinking, wrote that “donor-power support for the S.F.G. [Somali Federal Government] only runs as far as maintaining the illusion of a sovereign government with which they can sign agreements and their corporation can sign contracts. Any expectation of more robust western support to the S.F.G. is, according to the source, a misreading of western intentions.” If this fairly reflects the intentions of the Western powers, then Somalia heads to a tragic end.
Only an unambiguous and immediate response from the United States of America, the United Nations and the UN Security Council to the illegal Raskamboni Militia and its foreign allies will proof the credibility, reliability and intentions of the donor-powers in Somalia. Otherwise, Dr. Michael Weinstein’s long standing position that donor powers never had deep interests in rehabilitating Somalia as a united functional state will be finally accepted and acted upon.
Fortunately, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud put on notice the international community against the culture of being neutral to all parties in Somalia when it comes to politics between legitimate, sovereign, representative government and self appointed or self organized local faction outside the provisions of the PFC or a foreign foe. That kind of neutrality is destructive.
Mohamud M. Uluso