The Rupture amidst the Federal and Regional Leaders :Be foe or Befriend?!

Federal system of government is one that divides the powers of government between the national (federal) government and state and local governments.

Federalism is the theory or advocacy of federal principles for dividing powers between member units and common institutions. Unlike in a unitary state, sovereignty in federal political orders is non-centralized, often constitutionally, between at least two levels so that units at each level have final authority and can be self governing in some issue area.

Why we have taken this new federal system?

Lack of delegation and consensus were the factors among many others since the state’s implosion in 1991. As denoted in the provisional constitution which has been adopted August 2012, especially Article 1 says “Somalia is a federal, sovereign and democratic republic founded on inclusive representation of the people, a multiparty system and social justice”

On the other hand, Somalia legally has taken the federal system and dates back in 2004, although there were indicators of federalism sense in Somalia before even the independence.


Although as Somalis, we don’t have different ethnics, religion, social and values diversity, but we took the federal as solution and panacea for the feud, complaints, grievances, strife and rife injustice amongst us.  

Why Inter-State Coalition?!

In October last year regional presidents have formed new ally which is called Council of President headed by Puntland’s President Abdiweli Gas and deputized by HirShabelle’s President Mohamed Waare. Furthermore, the leaders of the states said, we need to bargain the federal government as longest 90% of the country is under our control. Moreover, they accused the federal leadership for unilateral decision and lack of consultation and concerted efforts at derailing the federalism agenda in the country. Additionally, the regional administrations also expressed their sentiments related to Arab Gulf crisis and the unilaterally decision of the federal leadership. Because article 53 of the provisional constitution mentions the matters falls within the scope of the federal government entails a consultation with the federal member states.

In addition to that, the regional states also lashed out and expressed to their opposition against the constitutional convention organized by the ministry of constitution while saying “we doubt the plans and sincerity of the government on the constitutional review process. The manner in which the ministry of constitutional affairs planned a convention in Mogadishu is testament to its plan to hijack the process”. Additionally, they emphasized and stressed the creation of the Inter-State Commission as contemplated by the Article 111(F) of the provisional constitution, and this article can contribute to solve and thaw the evolving difference among the federal and regional leaders.

Which one is wrong the Federal Government or the States?

Article 54 of the draft constitution grants the federal government power in matters of foreign affairs, national defense, citizenship and immigration, and monetary policy. But the constitution envisions a form of cooperative federalism (as opposed to dual federalism) where power and institutional balance is harmonized between the center and the periphery. Such a system largely relies on consensus-building leaders at all levels of government.

According to the federal system commonly, gives the states to have the ministries of the education and water. But in our unique federalism, the federal government appoints these ministries which dilutes and downplays the cooperation between them.

The federal government has Unitary State Mentality!

The Somali government’s unilateral decision and lack of consultation with the states undermines that spirit of cooperation. The constitutional requirement of federal-state consultations forms the basis for preventing a return to the tyranny of centralized rule, while an incomplete federalization process, unaddressed community reconciliation and lagging security and political integration define the constitution’s realpolitik considerations.

Federal institutions and the regions have not agreed on a model to complete the federal system. The draft constitution is notorious for its vague stipulations, and both the federal government and the regions have misused the constitution to justify policies or frustrate the federalization process.

The political infighting disrupts the business of the government!

This intrusive action among the federal and regional leaders delays and weakens the hope of the one man one vote election in 2020. And propels fragility towards the security and the evolvement of the country

Collateral damage!

If these divulged political disagreements continue, then both the federal and regional leaders encounter a parallel damage towards their political ambition. Explicitly, most of the regional states are on the verge the termination of their mandate in mid 2019. So, they are expecting a meddling from the federal leaders to the upcoming election. Same the federal government, which terminates its mandate in 2020. And one man one vote expectation is weakening and becoming fancy ambition. Alternatively, the international families/communities suggest that, if one man one vote is not possible to conduct, then to replace and activate dual track system. This system is constituency based election as did the 2016 elections. In this regard, the Federal Leaders need a support from the states as longest they host the potential parliamentary elections. So, there is a drastic need for political agreement among the federal and regional leaders.

The expectation and the envision of the third Conference of the council of the presidents

Currently, Kismayu is hosting the third conference among the regional leaders which is taking place 3-7 of this month. Briefly, the Chairman of the Board his Excellency Abdiweli Gaas says, the aim of the conference is to discuss and thrash out the situation of the country. But the untold story is, to defend and assist the Jubbaland’s President who is currently encountering a menace and pressure from the federal leaders. And in the mean time, to deepen and promote the collaboration among the regional leaders.

The Federal and Regional leaders are competing and struggling the Management of the natural resources while there is no national natural resources act!

So far, there is no law which denotes and steers how to share the natural resources of the country. Except, the Water and Petrol bills which are currently under process and the federal parliament is handling. The Water bill is already approved by the House of the People and transferred to the Upper House, but not yet officially released. The Petrol bill is currently under the second reading according to the Somalia Bill Enactment Processes. So, the ridiculous and funny part is which natural resources management are they fighting each other while there is no legality towards the Management of the Natural Resources? Dude!

Way forward

  • Stay away demonizing and despising each other
  • To divorce the conflict and invest the collaboration: Because working together works
  • To offer the federal government further concession to the states and invite the national decision making table
  • To accept the Regional Leaders the leading role of the Federal Government and its decisions at the International Level
  • To abide the Provisional Constitution both the Federal and Regional Leaders
  • To mop up and illuminate frankly the difference and the rupture between them.
  • To think about how can be conducted and reached the 2020 vision: One Man One Vote.
  • To enhance and uplift the security which is Paramount
  • To activate and accelerate the Constitutional Review Process so as to avoid the confusion and mistrust among the Federal and Regional Leaders. Because the constitution clears scrupulously the role of everyone of them.
  • Focusing constitution’s realpolitik considerations including the National Reconciliation, Security Improvement, Elections, Federalism and so on and so forth
  • To heap up and scale up the Conference of the Regional Leaders and Involve in order to discuss deeply and profoundly the situation of the country and how can be fixed the challenges including the Security and the Upcoming Election in 2020.

Anwar Abdifatah Bashir
Freelance Journalist and Independent Researcher