Universal suffrage Challenges in Somalia 

Since 2000, Somalia has adopted 4.5 formula means clan –power sharing in Arta city of Djibouti country after reconciliation conference was held there.

However, the upshot from peace conference was to be allocated sixty one (61) seats in the parliament to the each of four clans ousted the military regime while allied clans allotted thirty one (31) seats and the main objective of the Arta  peace deal was to deliver the inclusive politics to the country and people. In addition, mostly Somalis people and scholars named that agreement “Xaq ma aha laakin waa xal” means no fair but its solution.

After 20 year, the 4.5 clan formula still prevails in all sectors of Government and did not bring any inclusive politics, functional state, institutional building and one person and one vote election rather than it imperiled the viability of the state because clan and moderate government are incompatible. Indeed, there were little efforts made by successive government since 2013, which did not result in successful universal suffrage in Somalia. Again, this 4.5 formula created the immoral and unethical senior officers and leaders are running the high institutions of the government by polarizing the Somalis people to persist the power for long time. 

In this opinion paper, I examine the main factors and challenges to the universal suffrage in Somalia and how clan- power sharing hampers the institutions of government, good governance, public service delivery and economic growth and development, the main purpose of this article to focus on huge challenges of universal suffrage.    

Challenges to universal suffrage 

After peace conference in Arta city of Djibouti country, there were a little initiatives have been achieved but all the efforts ended vain. Definitely, technical challenges such as security, laws, regulations and electoral procedures preceded by political willingness, honesty and political consensus. Moreover, the main factors and formidable challenges confronting universal suffrage in Somalia are following:

  1.  Politicians such as members of parliament (MPs):  since 2000, there are some of Mps dominates the parliamentary posts of their clans or their own constituencies who poses obstacles to public election, due for a lack confidence for their constituencies and they are fearing to loss their political power because these MPs uses parliamentary positions to manipulate their own economic and business interest by ignoring the public interest. Again, the Mps misuses mandate given by constitution to remain the power by delaying and postponing the indispensable laws and regulations for universal suffrage.
  2. Clan-elders: Clan leaders become main challenge to public election because they are contributory factor of Somalia state-building, arbitration of dispute society and selection of members of parliament who represents their tribe in Somalia parliament. Indeed, clan-elders looking for power and influences on a political process in the country to maintain their benefit and privilege, additionally, the clan-elders are receiving economic benefit from members of parliament selected by them.
  3. State leaders: The presidents of federal member’s states have become a new actors and heavy influence on domestic and externally politics in Somalia following 2014, because there are significant flaws in the professional federal constitution which creates controversial issue among federal member’s states and federal government. However, the state leaders obstructs the review of federal constitution, necessary ordinary laws of country such federal tax law and national electoral law approved by federal parliament. Again, the members of federal member’s states leaders questing the getting members of parliament in Federal parliament allegiant to them to put pressure the federal government and in 2016 the state leaders hijacked the role and functions of parliament by creating National Leadership Forum which consisted Federal President, Prime-Minster, Deputy Prime- Minister, Speaker of parliament and State leaders to take the self-determination of the elections and still seeking that role in 2020.
  4. Commercial elites: after collapse of Somalia government in 1991, the predatory commercial elites are emerging to monopolize the economic markets and they want to obtain the uncompetitive contracts of government, seeking tax exemption and illegal lands in order to enrich themselves by using MPs had been funded by them during the electoral campaigning. Furthermore, business persons support political ileitis to persist the economic and political power in Somalia and vice versa. 

In Conclusion:  weak of institutional government and absence of rule of law utilized by some of predatory politicians and commercials to resist any political reform about the public election to pursue the exploitation of public resources.

Ahmed Mohamoud Mohamed is the Independence researcher and Political analyst. He can be reached at Email: siyasi114@gmail.com ,    Twitter at @Ahmedsiyasi