Memorandum on Major Issues That Threaten Political Stability in Somalia.
We, elders of Makhir, Puntland, Khatumo and Jubaland states communities in Canada are of the view that the major contentious issues that threaten the fragile stability of the Federal Government of Somalia are, briefly, as follows:
- There is no doubt that the Hawiye clan is adamantly opposed to the federal system, which the country had adopted, and to which they themselves had agreed. They have actually expressed their opposition to it so many times, in so many words, and the President, himself a Hawiye, had said in some of his earlier pronouncements that there was need to shelve away the federal arrangement (and ipso facto the Constitution) for two years in order to study how it should best be implemented. Thus he made a thinly veiled attempt to give some breathing space to his own anti-federalist camp in order to weaken support for federalism.
b. In consequence, he was accused of breaking his oath of office to uphold the Constitution. Having, subsequently, retracted from his antifederalist stance he has since been trying to turn Somali federalism into a ‘centralised federation’ (a contradiction in terms) by arrogating to himself the power to form the states of the federation, and appointing interim administrations for them for at least six months. The Constitution does not give him this power. On the contrary, it stipulates that two or more of the current regions can combine to form on their own volition to form a State. Such ultra vires exercise of powers is at the core of the current and increasing tension between the newly formed Jubaland State and the central government – and him personally.
- Owing to the clan rhetoric and overtones of this dispute and the hardened positions of the two sides, the President is seen as someone who is promoting the agenda of his own clan to the detriment of the others. The Government and the President are therefore suffering from a serious credibility deficit exacerbated by the fact that there is no national army, which they can call upon to quell a regional rebellion. The situation has so aggravated that there are, as we write, three cabinet ministers (led by the defence minister) who were detained on arrival and held incommunicadoat the airport for days. They were dispatched to Kismayo, presumably to assess the situation but actually to foment trouble by promoting fission and discord.
IGAD’s attempt to resolve the situation has been ill-fated because it could not pinpoint where crux of the problem lay and was thus indecisive. Without addressing itself to the Constitution it simply recommended further talks to take place in Mogadishu. However, Jubaland State is averse to Mogadishu and has agreed to the talks only on the condition of holding them in a neutral venue. Comments on the IGADD Communiqué are enclosed.
- The Federal government’s non-adherence to the Constitution signed by the stakeholders and approved by the National Constituent Assembly in August 2012 is as clear as broad daylight. There are even claims that certain articles and paragraphs have been deleted and replaced. The veracity of this claim has been confirmed by the former Minister of Constitutional Affairs, which has angered some stakeholders, most notably Puntland. The President is known to give no heed to the Constitution and the Parliament closes its eyes to this sad fact, for fear of endangering the stability of the government, and it thereby condones a lack of constitutionalism, which may become, through such parliamentary dereliction, a well-established tradition.
e. Another clear instance of the President’s departure from the Constitution is the fact that he is acting as an executive president whereas the Constitution provides for a ceremonial one and a cabinet government led by a prime minister. He has in effect added the usurpation of the prime minister’s powers to his own prerogatives as president. Yet, it is the Prime Minister, not the President, who answers to Parliament. This anomaly has also been, and continues to be, yet another source of tension because it makes none sense of the power- sharing the clans had agreed upon.
F. President Hassan is clearly a divisive person, not a uniter. He also seems blind to his own precarious situation, for much of the country is out of his control. He has alienated Puntland; he is on a war footing with Jubaland; “Somaliland” in the far North of the country is yet to accept the reality of its being part of the Federal Republic of Somalia; and Al-Shabaab controls a large parcels of territory. On the other hand, there are scarcely any means available to him in order to bring the nation together: there is neither a national army, nor financial resources at his disposal. His authority must therefore stem solely from his powers of persuasion and a moral authority emanating from the trust of the public.
The President can turn his trust deficit around and save the country from its continuing turmoil at a time when there is so much goodwill for Somalia, so many promises of financial aid, and so many prospects of investments, foreign and domestic, in its natural resources.
g. The President can secure public trust immediately if he declares a policy whereby Mogadishu would, as befits a national capital, regain its cosmopolitan character by welcoming back its previous inhabitants irrespective of their clan affiliations. Such policy, if it is to be convincing, should implemented in a manner that would return of spoliated property comprising residential homes, hotels and other commercial buildings, farms and plantations, and so on.
At present, the national capital is controlled, lock, stock and barrel by the President’s own clan, and he has been reticent about the multifarious problems of citizens returning to their homes and other properties in Mogadishu. Many properties have been expropriated and many have changed hands through illegal sale. This is not a mere squatter problem. On the contrary, it is a serious problem that, if not solved, will have far-reaching political consequences as it will inflict a mortal blow to inter-clan reconciliation and thereby endanger the security and stability of the country.
The President has been vociferous in his claim that the new Jubaland State is led by one clan while he is reticent about the fact all the sixteen districts in Mogadishu (the national capital) are administered and controlled by one clan – his own clan. Such plain duplicity has inevitably seriously injured his reputation and portrayed him as a clan leader who has adopted duplicity as a tool of policy…
h. Meanwhile, secessionist “Somaliland” finds comfort in the woes of the country, for she believes that continued chaos in the South affords her the best possible opportunity to further her spurious claim of sovereignty. Its leaders have been attacking President Hassan through their media simply for saying that the purpose of the Federal Government’s talks with them was to re-establish the unity of the nation. The secessionists know full well that they have reached the end of the road. They acknowledge so privately, and are looking for a face-saving solution, which will extricate them from a difficult and embarrassing situation. But, President Hassan and the Government have to find such a solution without alienating the northern pro-unity (anti-secessionist) clans who had deployed efforts, far and wide, to thwart the efforts of the breakaway Administration in Hargeisa.
The President, while facing monumental problems, has ill-advisedly spent enormous time on the issue of Jubaland State, which is an artificial but serious problem of his own creation.
- Faisal Mohamed Jama, Makhir
- Ms. Ifrah Yusuf Mohamud, Khatumo
- Abdi Mohamed Hussein, Jubaland
- Ahmed Barre Hassan, Puntland
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