In the quest to delve into these reasons, let us journey back to the year 2004 when crucial meeting unfolded in Kenya where Somali leaders convened and made a historic choice to embrace the concept of federalism. In February 2004, a Transitional Federal Charter was written and approved.
The federal constitution of Somalia emerged from the transformative foundations laid by the transitional charter of the Republic of Somalia.
Unfortunately, the drafters of the transitional charter negligently overlooked the vital intricacies, leading to the current confusion we find ourselves in.
In the following discourse, we shall explore the obstacles that are impeding the successful execution of the federal system.
One of the key shortcomings of the Somali federal constitution, derived from the 2004 federal charter, was its failure to adequately address key issues within the country. These unresolved matters created significant challenges and hindered the effective functioning of the federal government. One of the critical issues overlooked by the constitution was the intricate power-sharing arrangement between the federal government and federal member states. Without clear guidelines, there is often confusion and contention over the distribution of powers and responsibilities, leading to political instability and power struggles between FGS and FMS.
Furthermore, the constitution failed to address the question of resource allocation and revenue sharing among the federal government and the federal member states. The absence of a comprehensive framework to fairly distribute resources, particularly in a country with a history of clan-based conflicts, will exacerbate the disagreements between FGS and FMS. This will hinder efforts to promote national unity and development.
Additionally, the constitution failed to provide a clear roadmap for the establishment of an independent judiciary and an effective justice system. The absence of a robust legal framework resulted in a lack of accountability and widespread impunity, with many perpetrators of political crimes going unpunished. This is undermining public trust in the government and impeding progress towards establishing the rule of law.
In addition to the key issues left unaddressed, another significant concern arising from the 2004 federal charter was the provision that allowed two or more regions to form a state without public consultation. This provision raised concerns about the imposition of political arrangements that did not reflect the will of the people. A good example is Hiiraan Region wherein the inhabitants of this area persistently voiced their dissent towards being affiliated with Hirshabelle State. The lack of public consultation in the process of state formation is seen as undemocratic and undermined the principles of popular sovereignty and citizen participation. It opened the door for political leaders to make decisions without considering the voices and aspirations of the broader population. This top-down approach to state formation risked creating grievances and perpetuating divisions among different communities. Furthermore, the absence of public consultation also hindered efforts to build consensus and promote national unity. It is crucial for any constitutional process to involve the public, allowing them to actively participate and shape decisions that directly affect their lives. By neglecting this vital aspect, the federal charter missed an opportunity to foster a sense of ownership and collective responsibility among the Somali people in shaping their political future.
Likewise, the process of demarcating and determining the borders of states is a complex and sensitive matter. Without clear guidelines and mechanisms in place, there is a risk of arbitrary decision-making, potential exclusion of certain communities, and the perpetuation of territorial disputes.
Another contesting issue is the status of Mogadishu as the capital city. The charter has not specifically addressed the status of Mogadishu as the capital city, but it is a matter of significant importance in the country's governance and territorial organization. Mogadishu has historically served as the capital city of Somalia and is the seat of the federal government. However, the control and administration of the city have been a source of contention among the Somali politicians. Some argue for more inclusive administration, while others boldly advocate for complete entitlement. The inclusion of provisions in the constitution that clearly define the status and role of Mogadishu as the capital city is vital and this would provide a legal framework for its governance and administration. These provisions should also address the concerns and aspirations of the residents of Mogadishu, ensuring that their voices are heard, and their interests are adequately represented. A comprehensive and inclusive dialogue involving all relevant stakeholders is crucial to finding a sustainable and acceptable solution regarding Mogadishu's status as the capital city.
Last, but not least, the current status of the FMS provides a glimpse of a total flaw. Their formation has indeed led to the creation of a larger government structure. The establishment of FMS was intended to decentralize power and promote regional autonomy and representation within the country. However, there are several challenges associated with the current structure. One of the main concerns is financial sustainability. Most states do not generate enough revenue leading to fiscal imbalance, therefore, facing challenges in terms of governance, security, and service delivery. This hinders their ability to function autonomously and contributes to the overall development of the country.
In conclusion, the hasty implementation of federalism reflects a lack of careful consideration, and sadly the prospects for political reform appear distant as there is lack of political will. The process of constitutional building often involves negotiations and compromises among the stakeholders. As trust remains elusive in our society, political negotiations addressing national issues often yield little fruit, impeding progress. Regrettably, in Somalia, transactional negotiations that prioritize personal gain tend to be more successful.
Dr. Ali Said Faqi
Email: [email protected]