Be Ware of Quick Fix Somalia Federalism, the Shot-Gun Wedding Type by Abdurahman Hosh Jibril

As the combined forces of
the Somali national Army
and AMISOM are taking
armed offensives to the
last remaining strategic
holdouts of Alshabab, a
political storm is raging in
most regions recently
recovered from the grip of
Alshabab forces-from the
Jubba regions in the
southern most area of
Somalia, to Bay, Bakool,
Lower Shabelle, Middle
Shabelle, Hiiraan,
Galgaduud and beyond.
The genesis of these
conflicts are centered
around opposing views on
governance configurations
for these regions, and most
particularly on competing
interpretations of the
federating process
articulated under the
Somali Provisional
Constitution, which was
adopted in August 2012.
The result is the chaotic
manner in which various
politicians/strong men are
making a constellation of
arbitrary claims on
putative federal units that
are merely and realistically
mirages, and in processes
that are not compatible
with the relevant
provisions of the
constitution; hence, the
claims and counter-claims
of territories on
overlapping regions: the
six state South West state
(Lower Shabelle, Bay,
Bakool, Gedo, Lower Jubba
and Upper Jubba) on
overlapping territories of
the Jubbas (Gedo, Lower
Jubba and Upper Jubba,)
Three State South West
state ( Lower Shabelle,
Bay and Bakool) on
overlapping territories of
the South West state and
the new Shabelle State
( lower Shabelle and
Middle Shabelle) on
overlapping territories of
the Three State South West
state. More worrying
though for policy makers,
is the fact that there is an
undercurrent of clan
chauvinism driving the
proliferation of these
copycat claims and counter
claims for power and land
that if not properly
managed , could cause a
renewed clan conflict and
civil war.
The purpose of this paper
is to advance the thrust
and substance of the
debate on the
constitutional dimensions
touching on governance,
formation of civil
administrations in the
regions and the
contentious issue of
Federalism, a governance
model agreed upon by
then stakeholders in 2004
in Embagathi, Kenya,
reflected in the 2004
Transitional Charter and
subsequently enshrined in
the current Provisional
Constitution. The paper
further would explore
viable and peaceful options
on the way forward taking
into account diverse
political views on these
subjects, and the clan and
regional grievances
seemingly shaping these
opposing and trenchant
A little Background
As Somalia descended into
a self-destructing and
anarchic landscape in the
early 1990s, the national
state and its institutions
vanished within months,
paving the way for
warlords with armed clan
militias staking claims of
governance in various
regions of the country,
with some localities such
as Mogadishu, the capital,
divided along clan and
sub-clan lines. The armed
conflicts resulted in the
destruction of lives and
properties and human
displacement on a
magnitude and scale
unheard of in Somali
history. In 2000, after 10
years of statelessness and
warlordism, the
government of Djibouti
hosted in the city of Arta,
Djibouti, a national
political conference for
Somalia aimed at
resuscitating the Somali
national state and a cross
clan Somali delegations
were invited, which
included key former
combatant warlords, civil
society members, women
and religious scholars. The
conference successfully
concluded with the
formation of a national
assembly, which elected
HE Abdikassim Salad
Hassan as the first
transitional president
since the civil war began
in 1990. Because of the
prevailing anarchy and
continuing civil war in
many regions of the
country, in addition to an
indifferent international
community, which was
blinded by its jingoist lens
of viewing events in Africa
and elsewhere on a
narrow scope of the “ War
on Terror”, the first post-
civil war transitional
Somali government
imploded in no time
because of lack of capacity,
institutions and resources.
It also lacked a national
army that could exercise a
legitimate monopoly on
violence and thus subdue
armed spoilers of the
peace process.
In 2004, a subsequent
conference was hosted in
Embagathi, Kenya with the
support of IGAD, the
government of Kenya, the
AU and the UN and this
time around most armed
groups and members of
civil society were invited
in order to deliberate on
all contentious issues,
agree on a cessation of
hostilities, draft a national
charter which could serve
as a precursor to a
national constitution at a
future date, and agree on
the formation of a broad
based government that can
bring about peace and
engage in economic and
social development. At the
conclusion of this long and
arduous conference, the
stakeholders signed a
cessation of hostilities
document, agreed on a
National Charter and
formed a 275 parliament
that elected HE Abdullahi
Ysusf Ahmed as the second
transitional president of
Somalia. The Charter that
was adopted in 2004
directed future
governments to transition
from the Charter into a
more permanent modern
constitution and it pointed
out to a timeline of 2 years
to complete a draft. In
addition, a significant
number of stakeholders
made it sure that the
Charter referenced a
governance model that is
Federal; hence the title of
the 2004 charter: The
Transitional Federal
Charter of Somalia.
It should be noted that at
the conclusion of the
Embagathi conference, the
expected outcomes of this
political dispensation by
stakeholders as well as the
international partners
were that by 2006, a draft
constitution would be
completed and requisite
legislative and institutional
arrangements for
preparing the country for
a mulit-party and
democratic electoral
system based on universal
polling would be prepared
in time for a 2008
elections. It was also
hoped that a formula on
the federating process
would be agreed upon
during this period, so that
by 2008, a federal
arrangement would
materialize. Since
hindsight is uniquely
20/20, no one anticipated
that for the next 7 years
on, the country would be
mired in an armed conflict
with a well organized, well
armed and well trained
terrorist group operating
within the vortex of Global
A background on the
rationale for or against
Proponents for Federalism
are not monolithic in their
articulation of their
rationale though they all
converge on the end
result. It is noteworthy to
mention that both groups-
For or Against Federalism-,
while rational in their
arguments and positions
for the most part,
nevertheless, the
arguments of both camps
contain doses of
irrationality typical of
conspiracy theories.
Furthermore, there is a
misconception that the
opposing groups fall neatly
into members of different
and discreet clans, but that
is not case as you will find
both proponents and
opponents in all clans,
including those in
Somalialnd. The earliest
proponents of Federalism
were elites within the
Digil/ Mirif clans who
articulated a federal vision
during the struggle for
independence from Italy in
the 1950s and most
commentators state that
this was a conscious choice
because the D/M
community were fearful
that once the Italian
colonialists leave and the
Somali people begin
exercising self rule, that
they would be dominated
by the non-D/M clans
( Maxaa Tiri) and stripped
of their rights. Among the
lead proponents of this
view was the late Mr.
Abdukadir Zoppe, a key
Minister in the first post-
independence government
and a very astute
The second proponents of
Federalism are Puntland
and Somaliland. The
rationale of this group of
proponents is rooted in
historical grievances
anchored on violations of
human rights, and also
“facts on the ground”,
ostensibly premised on the
fact that both these
regions have
institutionally organized
their communities into
respective governments
(with varying degrees of
successes) that have
parliaments, executive,
judiciary, police, revenue
collection systems, and
district level civil
Somaliland’s grievance
goes much deeper than
Puntland. The substance of
Somaliland’s deeply and
widely held grievance is
that in 1988, the national
army of a functioning
Somali state unleashed
destruction and terror on
the Somali citizens in that
region, terror that included
air bombings on Hargeisa
and other towns, resulting
in an exodus of families,
children, women and the
vulnerable into refugee
camps in Ethiopia with
squalid conditions. On the
other hand, some
Puntlandlers cite the 1991
civil war as a grievance
marker since thousands of
their members had to flee
from Mogadishu where
significant numbers of
them called home for
generations. Both groups
further claim that
successive governments
after independence failed
to provide economic
development to their
respective regions by way
of projects and that power,
wealth and even services
were concentrated in
Mogadishu to the extent
that many services could
only be accessed in
Mogadishu to the
detriment of citizens living
The third proponents of
federalism are found
within Somali academic
circles and practitioners of
peace building. The
premise of their arguments
is thus: In divided societies
with diverse historical
narratives of grievances
and counter-grievances, in
countries were there are
separatist or secessionist
tendencies and in societies
coming out of nasty and
prolonged civil wars, it is
best to diffuse power
vertically through the
enshrinement of the
principles of separation of
powers in the constitution,
and horizontally through
devolution or federation.
This group further posits
that a unitary system is a
disincentive to economic
development of the regions
and a dangerous incentive
to massive urbanization of
a few big cities as young
people in the regions
would flock to major cities
in search of opportunities,
a trend that would
depopulate the regions and
exert demographic
pressure on a few cities.
The penultimate argument
in this thesis is that the
regions would turn into
pockets of small towns
characterized by poverty
and inequality while major
cities would also end up
with massive poor and
uneducated migrants from
the periphery whose only
recourse to eke out a
living would be a life of
crime and anti-social
behavior. To put it in
another way,
devolution and federalism
would, the argument goes,
provide the regions with
the appropriate powers
(through some slice of the
national tax base, resource
sharing, equalization
through the national
budgeting regime) to
enable them engage in
economic development and
provision of services to
citizens residing in these
regions, and also as a
result contribute to the
national economy.
On the other hand, those
against federalism
acknowledge the historical
grievances of communities
mentioned above but they
hold that those historical
wrongs can be rectified
through a unitary system
of government that
upholds national unity and
territorial integrity. They
assert that it was not the
unitary system per se that
is culpable for the
atrocities of the past
decades but the absence of
rule of law, participatory
democracy and a robust
constitution that could
serve as a bulwark against
human rights violations of
citizens. They further
argue that economic
development eluded all
regions (and not only
Somaliand and Puntland)
during successive
governments, since
governments post-
independence governments
placed priority on
militarization and thus
allocated significant
resources to the army and
armaments. This group
believes that only a
unitary system with built-
in constitutional safe
guards can accomplish
what a cumbersome and
myriad of governments
and sub-national
governments in a federal
arrangement cannot do.
Put another way, preserve
the unitary system but
improve its governance
and bring it up to
international standards,
essentially saying, “ Do not
throw the baby with the
bath water”. As a
reflection of the level of
mistrust over this issue,
some proponents in this
camp, including Somali
academics, openly profess
that Federalism is a
foreign imposition and
that Ethiopia and the USA
are scheming behind the
scene, and that federalism
is a Trojan horse designed
to divide the Somali
people, weaken the Somali
nation through
balkanization into self
autonomous regions and
then loot the natural
resources under the cover
of international
cooperation. To this group,
the grievances of the DM
people and those of
members of Somaliland
and Puntand fall on deaf
End of the Transitional
Charter and the
Beginning of the
Constitutional regime
June 2011 to September
2012: Enter HE President
Sheikh Sharif Sheikh
Ahmed, HE Speaker Sharif
Hassan Sheikh Aden,
currently a member of
parliament and active in
the ongoing debate on
federalism and HE Prime
Minister Abdiwali
Mohamed Ali Gaas,
currently the President of
Puntland State and one of
the most important
stakeholders on the debate
on federalism and
development. The purpose
for starting with this
political period is not to
discount or ignore what
former governments have
accomplished with regard
to the constitutional
development of Somalia.
As a matter of fact, HE
Prime Minister Ali
Mohamed Ghedi deserves
credit as he established the
Independent Federal
Constitutional Commission
in 2006 and it is the IFCC
that completed the first
draft of the constitution in
July 2010 (known popularly
in Somali as the Dastuurka
Qabya Qoraalka Somalia.)
Both HE Prime Minister
Omar Abdirashid
Sharmarke and HE Prime
Minister Mohamed
Abdulllahi Farmaajo also
continued with the
supervision of the drafting
process of the IFCC and
therefore deserve credit.
The reason for starting
with this period is to set
the stage for the discussion
of the nature of the federal
system we have in the
provisional constitution
and how understanding it
can assist us in devising a
formula that can provide
strategic resolution of the
current chaos attending
this subject. The other
purpose for starting with
this period is also because
during this period, I was
the Minister in charge of
Constitutional Affairs, in
charge of overseeing the
completion of the draft of
the constitution and its
adoption as well as end-of-
transition processes, and
as such I can offer a front-
row view account of
History during this short
period, known as the Road
Map Era.
For a full account of the
tumultuous negotiations,
political grandstanding and
bickering surrounding the
completion of the
constitution and the
colorful characters in that
cut-throat political drama,
I will leave for another
day, perhaps in a book
form, but for now this
paper concentrates on the
debates on Federalism
leading and up to the
adoption of the current
text, the 2012 Provisional
Two salient points are
worth highlighting here:
The Federating process and
Power and Resource
arrangements within the
projected federation.
During the final drafting
and negotiations, the
federating process was
vigorously debated and
some of the debates
actually anticipated rather
presciently the current
political shenanigans going
on in the Jubbas, Bay and
the Shabeelle and the new
“ Presidents” sprouting by
the day, and that is why
elaborately worded articles
were included in the
constitution so that the
federating process would
be regimented in a
transparent constitutional
framework with no room
left for arbitrary measures
by groups or individuals to
circumvent the process.
For the purposes of the
federating processes, the
constitution has explicitly
made it clear how the
federation process will be
undertaken within a
constitutional framework
as provided for in article
49(1) and also article 111E.
The principles laid down
in these two articles are as
o The number and
boundaries of the federal
member states will be
determined by the
parliament on the
recommendation of the
Boundaries and
Federations Commission,
which is an independent
Constitutional body.
o The Commission when
making its determination
on member states and
boundaries will take into
account demographic and
cartographic information
as well as political,
economic and social
criteria and its
recommendations to the
federal parliament
including respective
demarcations of bounders
thereof, of federal member
o Moreover, member state
boundaries will be based
on the boundaries of the
administrative regions as
they existed before 1991,
and the act of federation
shall be a voluntary
decision between two or
more regions that may
merge to form a federal
member state.
From the preceding
principles mentioned
above and laid out in the
constitution, it is clear that
for the purposes of the
process of federation or for
any other matter within
the constitution, the
constitution does not
recognize clans but rather
only recognizes individual
citizens and political and
administrative regions. By
basing the future federated
units on the pre-1991
administrative regions, the
constitution presupposes
that administrative regions
will be formed that will
voluntarily make decisions
to merge with other
regional administrations,
and presumably through
the voice of some form of
a regional assembly that is
representative and
inclusive. Once the
regional administrations
through their assemblies
make it publicly known
their intention to federate
with other units, they will
jointly submit an
application for a
determination of their
eligibility to federate
pursuant to the principles
laid down in the
If the Boundaries and
Federation Commission
finds a determination that
the applicant fits the
criteria of the federation
as laid down in the
constitution then it will
send a recommendation to
parliament which after
deliberations will make a
final decision. In the final
analysis, it is worth
repeating that the whole
wisdom behind article 49
and article 111E and the
whole idea of creating a
Boundaries and Federation
Commission was, in the
mind of the drafters and
negotiators of the
constitution, to avert this
kind of confusion whereby
clans, militias and other
political groups create a
dispute and conflict on
overlapping territories and
When the Jubbaland issue
gathered storms around
April 2013, this author and
other colleagues raised a
flag and warned that if the
federation process is not
conducted in a manner
that is not transparent and
is not consistent with the
constitution, then we
would open floodgates,
resulting in clans and
individuals copycatting the
same Jubba process. It is
worth highlighting too that
most members of the
international community
within the Nairobi cluster
did not want to hear
inconvenient truths and
were prepared to support a
process that contravened
the constitution,
notwithstanding the fact
that their governments
donated millions of Dollars
on the drafting and
completion of the
constitution for a period of
8 years.
Now, almost two years
after the adoption of the
Provisional Constitution,
and almost a year after the
Jubbaland crisis, the
chickens are coming home
to roost, and mainly
because Somali some
Somali politicians, the
international community
and the Federal
Government of Somalia
failed to respect and
uphold the constitution,
for various and disparate
reasons I presume. The
result is the current
laughable spectacle in the
Jubbas, Bay and Shabeelle
regions where by entities
be they clans or power
hungry individuals are
claiming and counter-
claiming the same
overlapping territories as
their respective federal
units. Now, the question
is: Is it too late to reverse
the ongoing tragic events
and if not what is the
proper and constitutional
way forward?
The Critics: Some valid
and some, not so valid
Before offering
recommendations on the
way forward, it is best to
address the concerns of the
critics of both the
constitutional making
process itself and the
current process or lack
thereof with regard to the
federating process, as
speaking to these concerns
would sharpen the issues
and hopefully shed light
on the way forward. The
most vociferous critics of
the constitutional making
process with regard to
federalism are individuals
who are neither
constitutional lawyers, nor
experts on constitutional
theory, as typical of
Somali intellectuals, but
who are generalists who
dabble on every discipline
but are masters of none. It
is the kind of individuals
who do not engage in
sustained study and
reflection on the body of
knowledge surrounding
constitutional theory,
constitutional making and
constitutional building
processes-individuals you
will find one day writing
on piracy, another day on
disaster management and
still another day on
ecology or mysticism etc.
On account of charity, I
will not mention names.
Still the questions that the
critics pose are valid and
deserve interrogation,
examination and perhaps
The most recurring
concern and critique is this
and it shall be posed as a
statement: The Provisional
Constitution as a whole
and in particular the
sections and articles
relevant to Federalism are
vague and ambiguous and
that is why we are having
all these conflicting views
and conflicts on
Federalism. This brings me
to the second salient point
mentioned earlier above,
which is power and
resource sharing within
the projected federation.
This author admits that
the constitution is, for
example, silent on power
and resource sharing and
agrees that it is rather
ambiguous. The
constitution is also
ambiguous in some other
sections. But it should be
pointed out that there is a
method to this madness
and the constitution is
deliberately ambiguous
because as much as a
constitution is a legal
document reflecting a legal
contract with dry legal
clauses, it is a also a
political document, a
conflict resolution tool and
an instrument of peace
building and peace
making. In constitution
making and constitution
building best practice
theories, this ambiguity is
termed as “Constructive
Ambiguity”. A clarification
and illustration on
relevant facts on
“Constructive Ambiguity”
is in order:
In May 2012 close to the
finish line of the Road Map
regime, a constitutional
conference was held at the
AU headquarters in Addis
Ababa and attended by the
three Principal leaders,
The President, The
Speaker, the Prime
Minister, the Road Map
signatories and many
members of international
community fronted by
then Representative of the
Secretary General of the
United Nation to Somalia,
HE Augustine Mahiga, a
brilliant and progressive
diplomat, a pan-Africanist
who always had the
interests of the Somali
people in his heart but
who was grossly
misunderstood by the
Somali elite with their
conspiratorial dispositions
forever on their antenna.
An agenda item of the
conference, among other
items, was the finalization
and harmonization of the
Federalism section of the
constitution and most
specifically power and
resource sharing formula
to be drafted and agreed
upon. As a matter of fact,
the departing points and
references, it was
suggested, would be the
final draft that the
Committee of Experts
(Speaker Jawari was the
chair of the group)
completed and it contained
detailed formula for power
and resource sharing and
some parties advised that
we should adopt those
formulas; however, after a
two day debate, it was
agreed that it would be
premature and unfair for
the Road Map signatories
to write and sign contract
formula with respect to
power and resource
sharing when vast regions
of the country and its
inhabitants were under
Alshabab writ. The parties
scrapped the power and
resource sharing clauses
and left that for future
negotiations at such a time
when all regions are free
and have formed their
respective federal units.
Had we gone ahead and
included elaborate power
and resource sharing
formula into the
constitution, the process
would have been stamped
as a fait accompli by the
regions that were not
present at the table in
Addis Ababa in 2012, and
conspiracy theories not
being in short supply in
this neck of the woods, the
drivers of the process
including this author
would today be standing
accused of various
unfounded and heinous
The draft was deliberately
left “ambiguous” for
broader constructive
purposes. A political and
constitutional ramification
of that fateful May 2012
decision by the Road Map
signatories, consequently,
is that the Provisional
Constitution of 2012 is
silent on the nature of
Federalism that is best
suited for Somalia since
the type and outlook of
federalism, in a spectrum
of federal configurations,
is by nature determined by
the extent and elasticity of
the power and resource
sharing formula contained
within the constitution.
To elaborate further, there
are two stages in
constitutional formations;
constitution making
process and constitution
building process and both
processes have different
Constitution making
process is the initial stage
of getting political
opponents together,
identifying contentious
issues, negotiations,
drafting to finally adopting
an interim document. In
our case, that odyssey
started in 2004 with the
signing of the cessation of
hostilities, the adoption of
a national Charter and
culminated in the drafting,
completion and adoption
of the 2012 Provisional
Constitution. By nature,
during Constitution
making processes in post
conflict and divided
societies, the primary
stakeholders of the process
are often elite political
adversaries ostensibly
representing or claiming to
represent political
segments of society, and as
such it is best to ensure
that the final document
does not constitute a
sharing of the spoils
among these narrow base
of stakeholders and also
that the process does not
bring about finality and
closure to the national
conversation. Rather, it is
better that the
constitutional product out
of this constitution making
process remains
provisional, open ended
and all contentious issues
left out so that these
contentious issues could be
discussed and resolved in
an inclusive, consensus
driven process with a
broader stakeholder base,
including vulnerable
groups. This open-ended
constitutional conversation
stage is the Constitutional
building phase and in the
Somali case, this process
ought to have started in
September 2012 right after
the end of the transition,
with the implementation
schedule contained in
Chapter 15 of the
constitution as a blue
print. The constitution
building stage or the
implementation stage is
very crucial because it is
at this stage where the
overarching political
vision of ensuring that the
final text speaks to the
democratic and peaceful
aspirations of the people,
and provides a coherent
transition towards
democratization and a
culture based on rule of
law, is meticulously
concretized by establishing
relevant legislations,
independent constitutional
bodies and other
constitutional bodies that
ought to have a
supervisory or oversight
In the case of Somalia and
particularly on the issue of
federalism, it is during this
stage, the Constitutional
stage that a vigorous
debate on federalism
should have started and it
did not, formally at least.
Fortunately or
unfortunately (depending
on the angle one views
this matter) the debate on
federalism started last year
rather reluctantly, with the
proclamation of a super
state by the proponents of
the three-region Jubba
state and it is now raging
in Baydoa, Merka, Jowhar,
Hiraan and central
Somalia. Moreover, it is
getting scary by the day as
the process involved is
veering off from a debate
format to confrontational
The Way Forward
As mentioned above, an
important consequence of
the May 2012 decision to
defer the definition of the
nature and extent of
power sharing within the
projected federation is that
all regions irrespective of
whether they were part of
the 2011/2012
constitutional conferences
or not now have a choice
and say in the debate that
will shape the nature of
federalism the country
would adopt. It is a level
playing field. While many
pundits and politicians
view the current political
manifestations in the
regions as irreparable
crisis, it is this author’s
considerate opinion that
this “crisis” indeed is an
opportunity to vigorously
and publicly debate the
issue and arrive at a
resolution on the matter,
provided though that the
process is guided by a
coherent set of principles,
and in line with the overall
stabilization plan of the
government and its
partners. The debates and
the processes should be
structured, led by the
federal government and
anchored on the
provisional constitution.
Practically, the following
principles and guidelines
can steer the civil
administration formation
in newly liberated areas
and also resolve the
current stand off regarding
the rushed-up parallel
administrations in the
regions mentioned above:
1. As a start all parties
should make a
commitment to the
Provisional Constitution.
2. The guiding principles of
administration building/
stabilization that would
lead to federal units
should be guided by the
bottom up approach
articulated by the Local
Administrations Act
enacted by the Federal
Parliament in 2013, and
also consistent with the
principles advanced by the
Federal Government last
year, subsequently adopted
by IGAD and which served
as the basis of the Jubba
Agreement in Addis Ababa.
Among some of those
principles are:
o Leadership of the
Government of the
Republic of Somalia in the
o Respect of the Provisional
Constitution of the Federal
Republic of Somalia;
o All inclusive consultative
process with the relevant
stakeholders and
3. The concerned conflict
parties should take a six-
month to a year breathing
space in which period all
the liberated pre-1991
regions engage in forming
regional and district
administrations, together
with respective regional
assemblies that are
genuinely representative
and inclusive.
4. The regional assemblies
thus formed shall start
deliberating on how and
which regions to federate
with and through a motion
put to a vote make the
region’s intentions known
to the public by way of an
assembly resolution.
5. The Federal Government,
especially the Ministry of
Interior and Federal
Affairs expeditiously
establish crucial
legislations relevant to the
formation of federations,
and also subsequently
stand up component
independent constitutional
commissions thereof.
6. Upon the set up of all
constitutional structures
and legislations thereof,
(including the Boundaries
and Federations
Commission) necessary for
the federation process to
take off, regional parties
can then process their
applications through these
7. The Federal Government
(Ministry of Interior and
Federal Affairs) should
involve its international
partners (IGAD, AU, UN) in
the process on an advisory
level for their technical
support and for the
utilization of their Good
8. The Federal Government
(The Ministry of Interior
and Federal Affairs) starts
public education and
consultations in all regions
of the country at the
earliest time possible.
9. On a parallel level the
Constitutional review and
Implantation Commission
in conjunction with the
Ministry of Interior and
Federal Affairs should
convene a series of
constitutional conferences
whereby all regional
representatives and other
stakeholders are invited to
deliberate all contentious
issues regarding
federalism and regional
Somalia is at a cross
Roads. Having just about
defeated Alshabab with the
assistance of Amisom and
having liberated much of
the hinterland, Somalia
now faces multitudes of
pressing challenges-
governance and civil
administrations building,
peace building and the
laying of the building
blocks of the projected
federation-as it begins
structured stabilization
processes in most regions.
It is also going through
growing pains as diverse
actors in the newly
liberated areas are
advancing competing
views on the governance
configurations of the
regions and the federating
process, notwithstanding
the fact that the
Provisional Constitution
contains a blue print
designed to guide the
process. While a federal
system was proscribed for
the country by the then
stakeholders in 2004 as a
curative measure to foster
peace and national unity
for communities that went
through a painful civil war
and with disparate
narratives of pain, the
current political standoff
in the Bay/Bakool/Shabelle/
Jubba corridor may
engender a renewed civil
war if the process takes
the shape of a quick-fix,
shot-gun wedding type
Federalism, and if the
process is not managed
properly through dialogue,
public consultations and is
not underpinned by a
spirit of reconciliation. It
is also very important that
all parties, including the
Federal Government
upholds and respects the
all principles relevant to
the formation of civil
administrations including
the projected federation
within the framework of
the Provisional
Abdurahman Hosh Jibril is
the former Minister of
Constitutional Affairs and
Reconciliation in the
Federal Transitional
Government of Somalia
that ended in September
2012. He is now a member
of the Federal Parliament
of Somalia. He can be
reached at


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