Somalia officially adopted the federal system in 2012 when lawmakers of the Somali parliament elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud the President of the Federal Government of Somalia replacing President Shariif Sheikh Ahmed of the Transitional Federal Government in a televised ballot paper presidential elections.
Many Somalis in the country or the Diaspora felt hopeful that Somalia would now begin to stand on its feet and the prolonged clan and factional hostilities would end in the long term following the undisputed presidential election.
Because the federal system enables regional governance, administration and self-autonomy as well as all-inclusive politics, Somali citizens hoped then that Somalia would make some good progress towards peace and reconciliation in the next four years of Mohamud’s term in office.
It has been seven years since the system was picked in 2012 and the second federal government, the current government, is ending its term in the proposed 2020/21 universal elections.
During his term, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s government was marred by internal political divisions and deadlocks, mainly between the president and his prime ministers, and more time wasted on resolving such political differences. No much progress towards federal government functions such as public service delivery and administration has been made despite the establishment of federal member states in whatsoever way they were created.
When the current president of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo came into power in 2017, the hopefulness of the Somali population for a recognized federal Somalia that is back on the world stages has once again been revived, with almost all Somali citizens joyful over his election. Because the Somali civil society and the military loved him out of his efforts during his premiership from 2010 to 2011 of the Transitional Federal Government, Farmajo was hoped to become the savior of Somalia after almost three decades of conflict and natural disasters.
Nearly four years have passed since that dream and Somalia is yet to come a long way towards peace and political stability. Many parts of the country are still inaccessible and natural disasters are afflicting thousands of people.
In late October this year, floods as a result of torrential rains and when Shabelle River broke its banks displaced hundreds of thousands of people in Beledweyne onto higher grounds when the floodwaters inundated the whole city. The only way to reach these people with humanitarian assistance was to airlift the aid because the city is inaccessible by road due to security concerns. These floods also hit other besieged districts of the country.
Despite some achievements internationally, Farmajo’s government is now internally facing strong opposition by former politicians and leaders, and some of the federal member states in Somalia.
In recent events such as the controversial Jubbaland presidential election in which Ahmed Mohamed Islam “Madobe, an arch-rival of the Federal Government of Somalia, was elected, the Federal Government of Somalia was even unable to stop what it calls “unlawful presidential elections” in Jubbaland. The international community including the United Nations (UN) supported the federal government stance on Jubbaland presidential elections.
However, allegedly backed by some regional states namely Kenya and others far beyond, Ahmed Madobe made his way into the Jubbaland presidency, blatantly denying the claims of the Federal Government of Somalia.
Madobe’s inauguration which was postponed several times due to some logistical and political pressures from the Federal Government of Somalia finally took place on 13 October 2019, attended by Somali politicians, leaders including former presidents, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sheikh Shariif Ahmed, and representatives from the neighbouring countries and regional bodies.
This month, November 2019, a political alliance, Forum for National Parties (FNP), comprising six opposition political parties was announced in Mogadishu with former president Shariif Sheikh Ahmed being appointed as the leader of the alliance. A manifesto showcasing their political programs expressed concerns of the current government’s political moves and urged respect for the rule of law and constitutional provisions, accusing the Federal Government of Somalia of breaches to the federal constitutional laws.
All these recent political developments in Somalia and the time remaining for President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo indicate that Somalia has to face new political setbacks.
Political divisiveness between the Federal Government of Somalia and the opposition groups is ideologically ripping the country apart and hampers the efforts to stabilize it while there are no indications of political settlements and concessions to be made by either party.
The future of Somalia remains uncertain unless the politicians and leaders seek concessions in the interest of the Somali population and citizens, and the international community decidedly intervenes to reconcile the political groups.
Somalia tends to lose political direction, and with the election of a new president and government in 2020/21 if they happen peacefully, it will be another four years of tit-for-tut politics for a country that is tired of decades of conflict and natural disasters that killed, maimed and displaced millions of Somali people.
The only way out of this crisis could be to initiate a national reconciliation process whereby all parties to the political conflict are brought to the negotiation table and sort out their differences putting national interests before personal interests and making patriotism a priority.
Somalia does not need further political chaos after nearly three decades of conflict and disasters, and the Somali civilian population who are not divided along with the leaders’ political differences but overpowered by the politicians’ ambitions cannot withstand further setbacks and divisions in the country.
Mohamed Sheikh Yerow,
BA in Development Studies,
Business Studies Graduate.
Executive Director of Centre for Organization Development and Strategic Initiatives.