The way forward for Somalia: after all, an own thing could help fix the Horn of Africa

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The way forward for Somalia: after all, an own thing could help fix the Horn of Africa

Finding the right framework for a workable governance system for Somalia has been problematic for both governments in the West and academics from around the world for more than two decades. To this day, the need to reconstruct the Somali state is being merely considered as a means to counter Terrorism and Piracy, with little urgency for the highly important issue of what to do with the overall nature of state failure. It’s also seen, albeit with less importance, as having the potential to destabilise the East Africa region. But the response to the conflict has so far been inadequate, because the policy-makers continuously misunderstand the Somali social structures and cultural narratives. Therefore, the issue of state building has become an endless academic discourse, and the actual resolution to the conflict eluding everyone involved for so long. Since 1991, every attempt to find some sort of a centralised governance system for Somalia – the latest one being the blurred and poorly defined federal system – has so far failed. In fact inadequate knowledge and skills can prolong conflicts (as we now see in Somalia and Afghanistan) and are a major problem when it comes to reaching trust building levels. And a cognitive cultural misunderstanding can create deficiency in policy making processes and can mislead those trying to find solutions to the conflicts. Firstly, this paper aims to measure how local actors – the federal government, the regional governments and the civil society – can come together as a team able to work through their differences and build cohesiveness among them to create the necessary environment to develop their conflict resolution skills. And secondly, it will provide an alternative approach of block by block state building mechanisms to external stakeholders, namely the United Nations agencies, interested individual countries and non-governmental organisation; and to lay down the road map for their future cooperation in order to achieve successful stabilisation of the country. I have closely observed from my vantage point in Nairobi at the latest United Nations supported government in Mogadishu and compared it to a number of federal systems and self-governing states within states in different continents, including the devolved system in the unitary state of the United Kingdom, the Federal, Directorial Switzerland, the federal Ethiopia, the federal United States of America, the federal Germany and the United Arab Emirates, and I have concluded that none of these governance systems can be identified with the Somali society (in a separate paper, I will go into detail on the ways in which all the world’s functioning federal systems of governance can be incompatible with traditional societies, with particular focus on the Somali society). But without some components of traditional order – something that traditional societies can immediately identify themselves with – modern governance system would be very difficult, almost impossible, to transfer to them. At this stage, I set out to shed some light on the urgent need for an alternative system governance for Somalia which can combine ‘federalism and clan-ism’ in a future Somali state structure, and will vigorously investigate the dynamics of societal relationship with modern statehood, the rule of law and identity, in order to establish the legitimacy of a functioning state. A historical prospective would be central to this approach, starting with the society’s nomadic culture from the middle ages to the present day and colonial period; and the deeply imbedded historical narratives that shape world views, opinions and norms of the Somali society. This paper together with an upcoming second part will make a theoretical contribution and recommendations to a workable solution to the Somalia conflict and to provide a richness of a case study scenario to underpin the reconstruction of a fragmented social order in the Horn of Africa country. An organic Somali governance process is currently underway whereby individual regions are currently building internationally supported institutional foundations for self governance. After concluding my study, I will be recommending that Somalia should be assisted in establishing and strengthening five regional governments with Equal Powers. And it’s envisaged that the heads of these regions will eventually sit down together and appoint their chairman, who will then act as the president and the head of state. This process would be implemented through elections by the five regional government’s elected assemblies or would be based on a pre-agreed rotating presidency, where one region takes the chairmanship for a certain period of time. In fact this removes the grievances held by the other regions as the power and resources are currently concentrated in Mogadishu, where overwhelmingly one clan dominates the national political landscape, and leaves little room for members f…
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On September 12, 2015

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