The Factors Contributing to Our Challenges in Implementing the Federal System

The Factors Contributing To Our Challenges In Implementing The Federal System

Let’s take a journey back to the year 2004 when Somali leaders gathered in Kenya for a significant meeting. During this meeting, they made a historic decision to embrace the concept of federalism. In February 2004, they drafted and approved a Transitional Federal Charter, which laid the foundations for the federal constitution of Somalia.

However, the drafters of the transitional charter made a crucial oversight, leading to the confusion and challenges we face today. In this discussion, we will explore the obstacles that prevent the successful implementation of the federal system.

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One of the major shortcomings of the Somali federal constitution is its failure to address key issues within the country. This lack of resolution creates significant challenges and hampers the effectiveness of the federal government. One key issue ignored by the constitution is the power-sharing arrangement between the federal government and federal member states. Without clear guidelines, there is often confusion and dispute over the distribution of powers and responsibilities. This results in political instability and power struggles between the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the Federal Member States (FMS).

Additionally, the constitution does not adequately address resource allocation and revenue sharing between the federal government and the federal member states. The absence of a comprehensive framework for fair resource distribution, especially in a country with a history of clan-based conflicts, exacerbates disagreements between the FGS and FMS. This hinders efforts to promote national unity and development.

Another issue is the absence of a clear roadmap for establishing an independent judiciary and an effective justice system. Without a robust legal framework, there is a lack of accountability and widespread impunity, allowing political criminals to go unpunished. This undermines public trust in the government and obstructs progress towards establishing the rule of law.

Furthermore, the provision in the 2004 federal charter that allows two or more regions to form a state without public consultation raises concerns about undemocratic political arrangements. This top-down approach to state formation ignores the voices and aspirations of the population, creating grievances and divisions among communities. Lack of public consultation also hinders efforts to build consensus and promote national unity. It is vital for any constitutional process to involve the public, allowing them to actively participate in shaping decisions that affect their lives. By neglecting this aspect, the federal charter missed an opportunity to foster a sense of ownership and collective responsibility among the Somali people in shaping their political future.

The process of demarcating and determining state borders is also complicated and sensitive. Without clear guidelines and mechanisms, there is a risk of arbitrary decision-making, exclusion of certain communities, and territorial disputes.

The status of Mogadishu as the capital city is another contentious issue. While the charter does not specifically address this, it is of significant importance in the country’s governance and territorial organization. The control and administration of Mogadishu have been sources of contention among Somali politicians. Defining the status and role of Mogadishu through constitutional provisions would provide a legal framework for its governance and administration. It is crucial to address the concerns and aspirations of Mogadishu’s residents and involve all relevant stakeholders in a comprehensive and inclusive dialogue.

Lastly, the current state of the Federal Member States reveals notable flaws. While their formation aimed to decentralize power and promote regional autonomy and representation, there are challenges associated with the current structure. Financial sustainability is a major concern, as most states do not generate enough revenue. This fiscal imbalance hinders their ability to govern, provide security, and deliver services independently, which in turn affects the overall development of the country.

In conclusion, the rushed implementation of federalism in Somalia reflects a lack of careful consideration and a lack of political will for meaningful reform. Constitutional building requires negotiations and compromises among stakeholders, but the absence of trust complicates these efforts. Unfortunately, transactional negotiations that prioritize personal gain tend to be more successful in Somalia’s current political climate.

Dr. Ali Said Faqi
Twitter: @FaqiAlis

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