The Middle Path to End the Somali Political Crisis

Mogadishu (PP Editorial) — The political crisis in Somalia seems to have the potential to undo all that has been achieved in state-building since 2000. There is an emerging consensus that implementation of 17 September Agreement is the only way forward. Neither mandate extension nor renegotiation of the electoral model can yield results palatable to all political stakeholders.

The International Community offered to act as a mediator. If the signing of the electoral agreement is all that remains to be done, the International Community could play the role of an observer. The Federal Government of Somalia Somalia should have accepted an observer role for the International Community; it is a middle way between the guarantor role demanded by Puntland and Jubaland, and the bystander role asked for by the Somali government.

The political crisis raised the bar in Somali politics. For the first time since 1991 the political classes are promoting different governance models — the strong state model exemplified by the incumbent government, and the weaker state governance promoted by the alliance of the Somali opposition candidates under Council for National Salvation. Each model has a merit but neither solves the political inequalities embedded in the Somali electoral system. Currently, only three social groups are more influential under the 4.5 powersharing system on account of running a Federal Member State. This is the anomaly that the incumbent government exploits, causing accusations that it is encroaching upon the rights of ardent federalists such as Puntland and Jubaland.

In 2012 Somalia ended the transition without clear rules in place to regulate powers of the Federal Government and Federal Member States. This problem will persist even after elections. There is no guarantee that a new government will not pursue centralist policies attempted by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud but successfully applied, albeit in a limited scope, by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. Somali political leaders must grap the opportunity to agree the election schedule based on 17 September Agreement in the national interest of Somalia.

© Puntland Post, 2021