Political Governance is characterised by predictable, open and enlightened policy making, a bureaucracy imbued with strong civil society participating in public affairs; adherence to rule of law, respect for human rights and freedom, and judicial independence.

Political governance involves the capacity of government to manage resources efficiently

and formulate, implement, and enforce sound policies and regulations.

Somalia is one of the African Countries which has endured civil war for more than two decades and almost every young-person including me has never perceived a strong Central government which has fully functional institutions.

According to article 48; of Somali provisional constitution, the federal Republic of Somalia is composed of two levels of government which are a) federal government level and b)federal member states, which is composed of the federal member states and local governments.

The major challenges of political governances in Somalia are political power sharing, federalism, insecurity and violent conflicts, civil war legacy as well as powerful states and corruption- these are the factors contributing to the obstacles of political governance within the country; it’s the factors hindering Somalia from getting strong and better political governance which has capacity and human resource to manage its resources efficiently. 

Lack of proper healthcare, low level of quality education, poor infrastructure and political instability and poverty in Somalia, is all caused by the poor governance which is based on 4.5 formula of power sharing. This system is not giving its ordinary people for equal opportunity of resource sharing, power sharing, jobs and does not respect minority and vulnerable people’s rights.

On the other hand, due to foreign interventions and lack of clear separation of powers between the federal government and its autonomous member states had become a big obstacle which is not allowing the government to have better political governance and the leadership to achieve its goals.

One of the very interesting and the hilarious story, is that every autonomous state have got their own president who likes walking on a red carpet while some of them are having bilateral meetings and agreements with the neighbouring countries without knowing the central government of Somalia.

Somali political governance Challenges

The first major challenge was 4.5 formula which gives equal quota to the four “major” clans, and half-point to a cluster of “minority” clans. Thus the Somali parliament has 275 ‘representatives’ each “major” clan having an equal seat of 61. Those “major” clans are: Hawiye, Rahanweyn, Dir (including Isaaq clan) and Daarood.

this formula of power sharing does not respect human rights, freedom of speech and judicial independence because the 4.5 formula is the version that gives access of the three government organs only to those who proclaimed themselves as the four major clans in Somalia but, some of the citizens who have a constitutional and political right’s had been denied or neglected and named (0.5).

this kind of power sharing formula does not allow the minority group members to be elected as the president of the Somali federal republic, the prime-minster or the speaker of the house of the people, in addition to that these citizens do not have any representatives on the upper house whereby the other four major clans have got their own representatives.

The Somali power sharing system has also violated the governance structure and abused the provisional constitution powers which has been approved by the Somali elders in 2012, but has not yet undergone referendum voting, for instance the current president His excellency Mr. Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has fired chief   justice of the supreme court without the approval of the Federal Parliament of Somalia which is not legitimate but the powers of the president is more important and above the law.

On 28 May 2018, the former chief justice, Mr. Ibrahim Idle Suleiman had said that the president fired him illegally and do not admit the newly nominated chief justice; Solicitor Bashe Yusuf Ahmed, who has never become judiciary judge but at least got 8 years of field experience. 

In 2016, President Farmajo;s predecessor Mr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud fired the chief justice of the supreme at that time Mr. Ilka-hanaf who has served for the nation and got enough experience in the judiciary filed and worked for the Somali government  for more than 40 years.

One of the contributing factors for the Somali political governance that can’t be denied is that the government staff is not hired through recruitment process but the majority of them are selected based on clan affiliations through the 4.5 power sharing formula. in 2012, the government had officially advertised on the media and the newspapers for 45 job vacancies which were to be hired for the Somali Federal Parliament Institution which was at the time led by the speaker of the parliament H.E Mohamed Osman Jawari who is an expert, worked for the government and served the nation for almost 45 years and held so many ministerial posts.

He was the one who proposed the 45 young graduates who has been hired through the recruitment process of Civil servants law which is called ‘’law Number 11’’, but 90% of the government staff has been employed through clan based system and this is crippling the government’s capacity to build its institutions in order to manage its resources and reduce unemployment rate, achieve economic growth and free education and health service.

Some of the Somali intellectuals and international community believed that multi-parties and democracy is a durable salution to the political governance in Somalia, though I want to challenge that notion. Back in the history of Somalia in 1960’s, the number of political parties in the country had reached more than 60 parties, which made it possible for every sub clan to have their own political party and this had finally delivered the revolution of President Siyad Barre’s dictatorship and nepotism.

After two decades of war in 21 may 2017, the independent commission for elections had nominated Mr. Mohamed Omar Mohamud, to be the head section for political parties registration office; and 23rd may 2017, the office is launched in order to start its assigned duties.

Currently over 40 political parties have been registered, for instance the most hilarious story is that some of the political parties; the father is the chairman of the party, the mother is the secretary of internal affairs and their son is the secretary. 

The second major challenges of Somalia’s political governance was federalism, after two decades of war, on the 2nd of may 2001; Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh had called for a reconciliation Conference of all  the Somali political stakeholders including elders, religious scholars, women, youth and the intellectuals and discussed about the best governing system to adapt Somalia’s political governance in order to end the bloodshed and violent conflicts in Somalia, unfortunately in August 2012, the much respected elders had approved an imported notorious provisional constitution and federalism system to adapt to this great country of Somalia but there is no clear separation of powers in the provisional constitution which has not undergone referendum voting all over the provinces within the country.

In addition to that, due to lack of clear separation of powers on the provisional constitution has led to conflict of interest between the central government leadership and the federal member states which led to a backlash against the government’s governance system, on the other hand, the type of federalism that will be applied to the country has not been clarified and it’s the legacy of the new and modern colonialism of the African countries.

The third major challenge is believed to be Al-shabaab terrorist organisation which is seen as the biggest hurdle to free and fair elections, adherence to the rule of law, respect for human rights, freedom of speech, movement, judicial independence and fighting corruption, this is undeniable factor which is an obstacle that halts the government to control its borders, territorial water and the space.

In addition to that, this well-known local terrorist organisation is a big threat for the government to do tax collection in some parts of the country including Mogadishu outskirt.

They are big obstacles for the government to over-come before it achieves its political agenda which is promised during the presidential elections in 8th February 2017. 

Civil war legacy and powerful sates is forth major challenge, more than 20 years of war and political instability has resulted new generations whom most of them do not know the value of the government and had been living with the absence of strong central government for more than two decades, it was all about the majority of the elders and other people were electing the worst leaders because their aim was to gain some monetary reward and the future of the nation had become very gloomy.

On the other hand, there were powerful nations which had been intervening the country’s political stability because their main intension was to exploit the natural resources of Somali people, and the only way to do that was divide and rule.

Corruption is fifth biggest challenge, Somalia has been ranked as one of the most corrupt countries on earth and this is one of the main factors that is hindering the Somali Federal government to manage its resource efficiently and for instance you will find a Department director or a head section or a junior government staff who has a brand new car which worth more than $10,000; and a luxury house of more $100,000, the main roads of Mogadishu is not built and the most of the public schools are at the hands of business people.

It’s undeniable that the Somali Federal parliament had approved the anti-corruption bill but institution to enforce the law is very weak and does not have the capacity to do that.

According to Transparency International report 2018, Somalia has been ranked as the most corrupt country in the world with instability and press freedom as factors hindering transparency in the economy of the country. Though everything that is said by Transparency International is not all facts, therefore, in 20 August 2018; almost 20 government officers who have been alleged of committing corruption have been arrested thus, there is no single minster or senior government official who has been jailed for corruption allegations but this is benchmark and a progress made by the Somali Federal Prime-minster Hassan Ali Kheyre and his cabinet of Ministers who had come up with agenda against corruptions.


free and fair elections which can be the replacement of 4.5 power sharing system, Strong Central government which has the capacity to protect its people and control country borders, territorial water and the air space as well as overcoming the security challenges in order the government to ensure all components of political governance.

Multi-parties in Somali context respecting the traditional norms and customary laws should be very significant in solving the political governance challenges.

the approval of anti-corruption bill and its enforcement as well as independent judiciary which has the power and legitimacy to handle presidential impeachment cases and senior corrupted government officials.

There is an immense need for building the government institutions especially financial institution, health, justice, education and foreign policy so that the government can have the capacity to manage its resources efficiently in order for the economy to grow, the ministry of education to provide qualified and competitive human resource who have the ability to exploit the natural resources of the country. 

Furthermore, the government needs to formulate a strong foreign policy which has the capacity and the power to diplomatically counter adverse foreign interventions.

Mohamed Hassan Mohamed
Youth activist and civil servant.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Jowhar.com’s editorial stance.