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Abdisalam M Issa-Salwe

Towards Decentralisation Structures:

Puntland Experiment

Paper for the Seventh International Congress of Somali Studies,

York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
July 8-11, 1999
IGAD Inter-governmental Authority for Development
NES Northeastern Region
NSC National Salvation Council
SNA Somali National Alliance
SNM Somali National Movement
SSDF Somali Salvation Democratic Front
USC United Somali Congress
1. Introduction
The violent overthrow of General Siyaad Barre of Somalia in January 1991 sent Somalia
spinning out of control. The subsequent crisis resulted in the disintegration of the Somali
state. The ensuing civil strife has claimed more than three hundred thousand people dead and
wounded, with roughly four fifths of its population displaced. Nearly one fifth of the
population fled to the neighbouring countries and other parts of the world for refuge. These
displaced people have lost their past and their future and that of their children.
The country has been divided into fiefdoms ruled by separate clan groups. Each clan
group (or clan-family as is better known) is thronged in a clan-security area.
The international community as well as the Somalis are still pondering and exhausting on
how the Somali state will be revived (on a different platform). The memories of the dreadful
fratricidal war still linger on in the minds of the Somalis, thus, creating major obstacles to
peace. None of attempted peace processes are based on the reality of today's Somalia and the
background of the tragedy.
However, since late 1993, a new trend seems to be emerging in Somalia where stable
local administrations/states are being established. One of these is Puntland State of Somalia.
The announcement of the formation of Puntland State of Somalia in August 1998 has opened
a new political trend in the shattered political landscape of the Somali nation, which is still
suffering from the effect of the civil war. This came after the people of five northeastern
regions declared to form a new mini-state within Somalia.
Is this trend a solution to the Somali dilemma, or is it just another setback? Is this
initiative an insular clan-state setting or nation-state building? This paper will attempt to
probe some of these issues, and analyses whether what Puntland has started is just the
beginning of a wider reaction by the Somali people throughout the country. Since the
outbreak of the civil war, the Somali nation has been disintegrating into a radically
decentralised state system. Puntland’s lead will surely inspire other groups/regions in Somalia
to form their own administrations, which will, in turn, integrate them together in a consortium
of a federal system.
After the conclusion, the paper will lay down some recommendations about what the
international community and Somali Diaspora can contribute to solve the Somali problem.

2. The Background
When Somalia got its independence in 1960, it took a unitary state system with a
representative democratic form of government. The legislature was unicameral and composed
of deputies elected by universal direct and secret suffrage for a term of five years and
representing the whole people. Though the system was based on liberal democracy, it did not
define well the separation of power (e.g., the system did not separate the executive from the
legislative). The system was completely alien to the Somali people as it required a centralised
system of government. Ironically, Somalis led a decentralised tradition for centuries.
Soon the system degenerated into anarchy and paved the way for the military take over
which soon transformed the Somali state into a police state.

3. The Centralisation Trend

Behind the centralisation of the system were the former colonial powers, namely Britain and
Italy, as they aimed to manipulate the traditional Somali institutions to their advantages. For
example, to ease the running of their administration in the territories, both British and Italian
colonial authorities appointed a chief for each clan. Clan leaders opposed the introduction by
the British Administration of the Local Authorities Ordinance in British Somaliland in 1950,
as the system challenged their authority (Samatar, 1988: 49). This practice, also known as the
Aqil (or Akhil) system, caused lineages to contest the office of clan-head, thereby
undermining the "traditional source of leadership" (Ibid. 80).
The Aqil (holder of the office) was given a salary and some concession by the
administrative authority. In the Italian-administered part of Somaliland, the chief (capo cabila
in Italian) was given a group of armed men to police his clan.
Although these colonial appointees were in theory representative of clan’s local interests,
they were not necessarily in touch with grass roots issues; they were 'townies', and more
concerned with larger lineage, not to mention personal, interest (Sadia, 28-30). Not only
lineages were politicised by the colonisers for 'divide and rule' purposes, it also corroded the
local institution of shir (assembly). Such social changes, which saw the shifting of influence
from traditional (rural) leaders to a new urban leadership, laid down the foundation for the
political parties, which were to spring up as part of the independence movement.
During this period, Somali nationalism, which urged a centralised form of government,
was gaining momentum. The feeling of Somalism or pan-Somalism was the mechanism
behind this determination.

3.1 Leadership Crisis

The centralisation of the system of government, following the independence, brought a new
type of leadership. For example, during the civilian government, the ability of the traditional
assemblies to influence decisions grew steadily weaker and power shifted to leaders who
were elected to parliament. These new leaders, living away from the communities who had
elected them, were free of the traditional pattern of constraints, and became less and less
accountable for their actions (Issa-Salwe, 1996: 138).
This new political culture created a type of leader who was more concerned with personal
power and aggrandisement. Such a person, physically and socially removed from the
traditional power base, felt free to operate without being checked by his group, and this lack
of responsibility to his constituents was not compensated for by a more general, though
essential, sense of responsibility to society that should accompany public service. This
degeneration in standards of responsibility helped pave to the way for the subsequent
leadership crises during the military era, and in the period of disintegration of the Somali

4 The Trend of Decentralisation

The civil war, which ensued after the oust of the military regime, created a situation that
forced people to return to their clan "areas". Once in their safe area, these people began to
feel the need for some other essential requirements or services. Thus, these requirements and
the underpinning social intercourse could not be possible without a regulating body or
institute. It was this need which brought the creation of some administrative bodies in some
part of the country. It is this same feeling which has pushed Somalis towards decentralisation.
Adding to the above reason, there are other motives which strengthens this course. The
memory of the dreadful fratricidal war, which is still lingering on in the minds of the Somalis,
is one of them. Another reason can be attributed to the failure of peace processes, which
advocated the top-down approach, and consequently the centralisation of the Somali state.
The loss of confidence of the Somali population in their political leaders is also another major
reason. This last influence has awakened in the Somalis the need to take part in the political
life of their country
A decentralisation mechanism is possible when there is a system based on regional
autonomy or state (canton). The principal based on this system is a bottom-up approach,
which maintains procedures built from the grass roots.
In late 1992, the United Nations sponsored a national reconciliation conference between
the Somali warlords which was held in Addis Ababa. In March 1994 of the following year,
another one was held in Nairobi Although peace talks could be considered a welcome
breakthrough at that period, the Nairobi peace accord was a complete turnabout from the
previous peace process in Addis Ababa. While the former had adopted a grass-roots approach,
by creating district councils before setting up the top levels of administration, the latter one
advocated the top-bottom approach (Issa-Salwe, 1996: 142).

4.1 Migration: The Opposing Trend

What contradicts the trend of centralisation is the effect of modern Somali internal migration.
This is also what is eluding the way to peace in Somalia. Some groups have refused to accept
the decentralisation process The reason for the objection of this group towards this process
can be found in the migration process which took Somalis to move in the Horn of Africa
centuries ago.
For centuries Somali clans migrated, first from southeastern Ethiopia, which is believed
to be the cradle of their earliest ancestors (Hersi, 1997: 23), spreading northeastward to
populate the Horn. Centuries later, a new wave of migration began flowing in the opposite
direction, to the south and west (Ibid. 22). The traditional migration patterns that can be
discerned show that the Somali clans followed two main routes: the river Shabeelle valley
and along the line of coastal wells on the Indian Ocean littoral (Lewis, 1993: 1-2). By the
close of the seventeenth century Somali clans had spread to the northern part of what is now
Western Somaliland, and the southern part of the Jubba river up to the Tana river, presently
Kenya (Ibid. 3; Hersi, 1997: 23).
In spite of the fact that Somali migration subsided for some time, it did not disappear
completely. In fact, it gained a new impetus during the modern Somali state. Following the
Sahalian drought of 1973-74, the Somali government began a policy of expropriating the
fertile land along the Lower Shabeelle and Middle Jubba river (Besteman, 1996: 29-30). And
in the following year it enacted a mandatory land registration (the 1975 Land Law) which
required farmers to "apply to the state for leasehold title" (Ibid., 30). Although this process is
common in most of African countries, in Somalia it degenerated as the system became so
centralised and easy to be abused and manipulated. Only those people who could afford to
access the cumbersome administrative requirement could register. Because of this, the local
people were displaced. The policy represented the first phase of an irreversible demographic
shift in modern time, in which the pastoralist clans migrating to the southern Somalia
(Menkhaus et al, 1996: 156). Consequently, this increased the fear of the settled people.
Nevertheless, if Barre policy failed, General Mohamed Faarah Garaad "Aideed" had
attended his goal. During the height of the civil war in early 1990s, Aideed’s group spread
forcefully throughout the riverine, thus gaining almost all the important farmland in the south
of the country (Menkhaus et al; 1996: 174). Their booty stretches from Marka, Lower
Shabeelle, through Bay region up to Jamaame, in the Lower Jubba region.
Looking after these gains, however, demanded a lot of resources. Therefore, to control
these parts is costing dearly to General Aideed’s son, Hussein, who opposes any attempt
towards decentralisation. For Hussein Aideed’s groups, decentralisation means to give up
their illegal gains and to return to their barren home region, in the central Somalia. For them
decentralisation may be acceptable only if Somalis will accept the current status quo. It is this
attempt which until now is perpetuating the war in the southern Somalia, most notably, the
Bay and Lower Jubba regions.
5. Recreating Somalia: Puntland Experiment
In theory, state is developed as a response to disorder. It tries to act for harmony and
humanisation against a backdrop of civil strife. In this context the State acts as an agent
influencing, shaping, informing and permeating human life with the value of civility (Vincent,
1987: 179-180).
Hence, the elusive hope for peaceful settlement coupled with the growing need to create a
stable administration drove representatives from five regions in the Northeastern Somalia to
announce the formation of a new state in August 1998. These people from Sool, Eastern
Sanaag, Bari, Northern Mudug, Nugaal and district of Buuhoodle agreed upon to call the new
state: Puntland State of Somalia. It is established of the three branches of Puntland
Government, the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary.
Ethnically, these people are mainly from Daarood and Meheri clans and their attempt is
partially a direct response to the domineering political ambitions of Hawiye in the south and
the secessionist moves of Isaaq, the predominant clan in Somaliland (formerly Northwestern,
Awdal and Togdheer regions) population.
The process of the formation of the new administration had begun in March 1998 in
Garoowe with the

Garoowe Consultation Conference ( The Community Consultation Conference (CCC) in

Garowe 25 February - 4 March 1998)
In May 15, 1998, the conference laid what became known as the Garoowe Constitutional
Conference, which established the Puntland State of Somalia. The constitutional conference
took three torturous months, and finally, elected Abdullaahi Yuusuf Ahmed and Ahmed Abdi
Haashi as president and vice-president respectively.
In the "Transitional Period, 1998 - 2001", President Abdullaahi Yuusuf of Puntland
declared that "this is an experiment and first step towards the new Somalia". He further
described that Puntland policy is geared towards the notion of ‘recreating’ Somalia from
bottom-up approach as "this will lead to the establishment of separate regional
administrations, leading to negotiations between equal regional states to pave the way for the
reconstruction of a central federal system of Government in Somalia" (see the Puntland
Courier, August 1998).

5.1 On The Road to Puntland Formation

Although there are many reasons which influenced the birth of Puntland, two other major
influences encouraged the creation of Puntland. These are: i) the humiliation and despair of
Northeastern region, and ii) the fear and anxiety of Sool and Eastern Sanaag people.

5.1.1 Northeastern Region (NER)

Under the Northeastern regions, three regions came to be identified. These are Bari, Nugaal
and North Mudug, whose people share a single socio-economic resource, and a common
political and traditional leadership. This harmony was strengthened by the continuous threat
of United Somali Congress of the Somali National Alliance (USC/SNA) faction in Mudug
area (see War-torn Society Project, 1997: 69).
Apart from the conflict between Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF) and
USC/SNA, these regions has been spared from the open warfare since outbreak of the civil
war. The traditional leadership, which is also the highest traditional authority in the region,
filled the vacuum left by the absence of modern governance institutions (Ibid., 57). In spite of
the fact that the tides and dynamics of the social changes have eroded the traditional
authority’s standing and integration, the Council of Elders, known as Isimo, played a crucial
role in stabilising peace and security throughout the region. The Council of Elders’ stature
was reinstated and reinforced as a result of the loss of confidence of the public with the
In Northeastern regions, there were many futile attempts of administration setting. This
happened because of conflict or competing interest between SSDF and the Council of Elders
(Isimo) on one hand, and sometimes within SSDF leadership, on the other hand. Nevertheless,
these forces were united on the policy of mobilisation of regional self-defence campaigns
during the early years of the civil war.
In spite of this failure, the people of NER did not give up their attempt to rebuild their
shattered live. Finally, in 1996 they established separate regional administrations in Bari,
North Mudug and Nugaal.
However, the performances the three administrations were weakened by SSDF division
which split into two factions following an aborted conference in Qardho in the end of 1995.

5.1.2 Sool and Eastern Sanaag Regions

In 18 May 1991, approximately four months, after Siyaad Barre's regime was ousted, the
Somali National Movement (SNM), which took control of Northwest and Tog-dheer regions,
declared an independent Somaliland Republic. SNM argued that its action was not
secessionist but rather the reinstatement of the status which existed for four days, 26-30 June
1960, before British and Italian Somalilands were united into the Republic of Somalia (Issa-
Salwe, 1996: 121).
Between 24 January and May 1993 a conference was held in Boorame by the Somaliland
community elders. At the same meeting, they agreed to form a government headed by
Mahamed Haji Ibrahim Igaal, a former prime minister (1967-1969), as President of
Somaliland, and Colonel Abdirahmaan Aw-Ali Faarah as Vice-President (Ibid. 119).
Although, some influential leaders of Eastern Sanaag, Sool and Awdal regions attended
this meeting, its aim created fear, anxiety and division within the Sool, Eastern Sanaag and
Awdal regions as they were not comfortable with the unilateral decision reached by SNM.
Generally, most of the non-Isaaq people living in the north suspected the declaration of
secession as an attempt at ‘Isaaq hegemony’.
In fact, this fear led the people of Sool and Eastern Sanaag regions began to strengthened
their political and commercial links with the people of Northeast region whom they share
with "common ancestry, ideals, security, socio-economic interdependence" (see the
Declaration on the Political Position, 1998). In December 16-28, 1993, a meeting held in
Garoowe between elders of Northeastern, Sool and Eastern Sanaag regions laid down the first
foundation of the formal unification of these people and the road to Puntland formation.

5.1.3 Boosaaso National Reconciliation Conference vs. the Cairo National Reconciliation
On January 3, 1997 in Addis Ababa 26 Somali rival factions joined to form the National
Salvation Council (NSC). Only Somaliland and Hussein Aideed-led USC/SNA faction
declined to attend the meeting. The NSC also known as Sodere Group (after the Sodere town
in Ethiopia) set an agenda, which was to culminate into a national reconciliation in Boosaaso,
Feeling honoured about hosting the Somali Reconciliation Conference, Northeastern
administrations, together with their Council of Elders (Isimo), forced SSDF internal rival
factions to bury their hatchets. And on January 20 1997, SSDF took urged steps to reunite the
organisation with single hierarchical leadership under General Mohamed Abshir Muuse.
Colonel Abdullaahi Yuusuf was appointed as the SSDF representative to the Co-
Chairmanship of the National Salvation Council.
Meanwhile, the SNC’s agenda triggered a regional political seism. Egypt, which was
suspicious of any Ethiopian involvement in any Somali peace initiative, did not feel happy
about Inter-Governmental Authority for Development’s (IGAD) sponsorship of the Somali
peace conference under the chairmanship of Ethiopia. To torpedo IGAD-sponsored Boosaaso
National Reconciliation Conference, Egypt arranged its own parallel Somali peace
conference in Cairo in 1997.
The outcome of this parallel conference was a call on the Somali factions to convene in
January 1998 in Baydhabo, a city in the southern Somalia controlled by Aideed’s USC/SNA
faction. It was Egypt’s presumption that a Somali interim government will be formed in
However, the Egypt-sponsored initiatives did not only end in failure, but also widened the
political gab between the Somali factions and, in fact, rekindled the fires of war in many parts
of Somalia.
For Northeastern community, and particularly Boosaaso administration, which had
completed a year of the preparation for the Boosaaso Somali National Reconciliation
Conference, Egypt’s political torpedo became a blow on the head and humiliation.
Within the following week NER leadership announced the Garoowe Consultation
Conference to be held in March 1998.

5.2 Pros and Cons

Puntland has both pros and cons in its midst. While ethnicity can create some form of social
cohesion, it may also hinder any attempt to state formation. It may hold back the very process
and goal which Puntland supposed to aim, as the utility of the traditional Somali political
characteristics hardly reconcile with a view of a state.
In the consultation conference, members of the Hawiye community, who live in
Gaalkacyo, Mudug region, were not included or accommodated. This will inevitable hamper
Puntlands social reconciliation.

5.2.1 Which Institute to Build?

During the decades when the disintegration of Somali institutions was taking place, modern
institutions were not developing from within, or else did not have the underpinnings to
endure. This effect of a century of colonial defamation of Somali culture and two decades of
repressive, centralised state control, created a destructive instinct in the society which was to
affect the traditional authority, while the modern one did not take root (Issa-Salwe, 1996:
135). This effect created lack of confidence to any form of authority.
Nevertheless, adopting the experience gained from the defunct Somali republic, Puntland
government pledges to put its effort on the process of institutional building so that the state
authority can spread over its jurisdiction. As far as Puntland government is concerned, this
process will decentralise power and create self-reliance in the state’s developmental
endeavours. In addition, this will promote "civil society inclusiveness and grassroots
involvement" in peace-making, and social development (see the Puntland Courier, September
In spite of the fact that Puntland government is keen to institution building process, it is
not clear what it is exactly meant for. It seems that the government is more concerned to build
government than public institutions. If this is true then this procedure may emerge to be an
attempt by Puntland to secure control of its people in "the name of law and order
enforcement". Any attempt to that direction will certainly have a negative effect as it will
induce incompetence and inefficiency, and create an environment of mistrust and insecurity
among the people. Not only it contradicts the very promise which Puntland leadership
engaged (or contracted) with the people, but it may also derail its experiment.
That apprehension may have begun in early December 1998 when Puntland released a
bulletin which announced the nomination of the governors, district commissioners and town
mayors in Puntland. This move, which created anxiety and frustration in some circles of the
society, contradicts the much-praised bottom-up approach method, which Puntland claimed
be built on. If Puntland has been created by the people’s consent then it should remain so.
In Puntland, as well as any other area in Somalia, the institute building process can be
possible only with the people’s vision and participation. At any level Somalis must be
convinced of the benefit of nation-statehood.

5.2.2 Brain drain

Another cause for concern in Puntland is brain drain. Puntland shares with the rest of the
country the effect of the exodus of the Somali intellectuals and the skilled people.

6. Conclusion
In December 1990 the Somali state collapsed into disarray, and since January 1991 has
lacked any kind of government authority. The undermining of traditional authority is one of
the things which impacted on the eventual collapse. Other reasons for the collapse is believed
to be: (i) the shortcomings of alien notions of government, (ii) the parliamentary system
during the decade of independence which failed to meet the high hopes of the people, (iii) the
failure of the state to live up to the ideals of pan-Somalism which was the guiding principle
of Somalia’s freedom struggle, (iv) the two decades of Scientific Socialism which spawned
Siyadism and which completely destroyed the moral fabric of the society, (v) the neo-colonial
super-power interests in the Horn which left it littered with weaponry, and (vi) the boundary
problems with neighbouring countries, which remained unresolved by the concerned parties
or by the Organisation of African Unity (Issa-Salwe, 1996: 125).
As a way out from the current nightmare, Somalis have to step on a solution based on
today’s reality. Any attempt pushing Somalis towards a formal centralised system of
government may deepen the problem.
Since the collapse of the unitary Somali state, the Somali nation has been moving towards
a radically decentralised state system. This came because of the loss of confidence of the
people in the political leadership, which has created in them fear of any form of authority
(Mohamoud, 10).
Furthermore, the memories of the dreadful fratricidal war which is still lingering on in the
minds of the Somalis, the failure of peace processes, and the myopic interest of the ambitious
faction leaders, who advocate for the centralisation of Somali state, are other reasons which
are pushing Somalis towards decentralisation.
As the facts show, the means to answer or to satisfy this requirement is to create a state
based on a federal system of government. This will give Somalis a new hope to build their
country from the rubble of the collapsed unitary Somali state.
However, as it is explained above, the degeneration of authority is one of the principal
causes of Somalis present plights. Any practice which does not aim at facilitating the
transformation of the socio-cultural and political norm is doomed to fail.
Whatever will be called clan-state, province or regional administration in the future
depends on the constitutional framework of the future Somali state. However shaky,
Somaliland, Puntland, Awdal community authority or the implied formations of Hiiraan
administration, all enjoy a relative peace, and have local authorities or administrations elected
on consensus in their respective areas. And even some of them embarked on some
developmental projects. Awdal’s Boorame University is a good example of these projects.
Nevertheless, Somalis should join hands to help the process of building local
administrations/public institutions. Any indifference towards this process may derail the
emerging Somali administrations, and lead them towards irreconcilable mini-clan-states
antagonistic to each. If this prevails Puntland, Somaliland or Awdal’s effort will be ditched
into a state of vicious circle of violence. Subsequently, the hope for peace and reconciliation
will fall beyond reach.

Recommendations: Putting the Pieces Together

Any solution, unless it is based on today’s reality, is prone to fail or possibly complicate and
intensify the conflict. One of the main causes of Somalis present dilemma is the degeneration
of authority. This began as consequence of the colonial manipulation of the traditional
authority followed by the failure of the opportunity to facilitate a smooth transformation of
the socio-cultural, political norm and institution.
What collapsed in Somalia is not only the central authority, but also "the moral fabric of
the society" (Issa-Salwe 1996: 136). The change, which was supposed to come with
modernity, did never happen as they did not get the underpinnings to endure.
Since the outbreak of the civil war, the Somali nation has been moving towards a radical
decentralised state system. To satisfy this direction Somalis have to have a state based on a
federal system of government (Ibid., 42-44). Some of the recommended solution is described
as follows (see Issa-Salwe, 1997).

State and People

State Structure: The country is currently divided into 4 or 5 parts which in turn can be
interpreted into cantons or states. It is unrealistic to reconstruct Somalia on the old system (a
unitary system of government) which was a factor in the creation of the current crisis. On the
contrary, the current reality presents an opportunity to create a federal state.

People’s Participation and Consensus: People’s participation is essential in the process of

the revival of authority and nation-building in the Somali nation. Recently, new
administrations have emerged in Somalia where stable local administrations/states had been
established. Some of these are Puntland, Somaliland and Awdal. All these areas have
experimented some local governance based on consensus. These positively adapted ideas
should be encouraged, nurtured and applied to the rest of the country.

Pure Democracy: To apply a "pure democracy" a system of bottom-up approach must be

applied. As stated above, peoples’ participation in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the
Somali nation-state is essential and crucial. The stimulation of political attitudes as a basis for
political participation is of special importance in a fragmented society. Political socialisation
is a continuous and cumulative process of learning. Therefore, by managing this process
properly it will yield a positive outcome.

Power within the Federation: Decentralising of power within the federation is essential.

Separation of Power: The separation of the three powers of government, namely legislative,
executive and judiciary of both levels, i.e canton/state and national should be clearly defined.
Independence of the judiciary is also highly recommended. This may avoid powers falling
into one hand which could lead to dictatorship.

Presidency (Executive): The issue of who will be the president of the country is a thorny
issue in the process of the reconciliation of Somalia. Shifting to regional setting and away
from who is going to be the president is a solution to current impasse of the Somali crisis.
Therefore, a way from this dilemma is to create a national executive (or national council
or collegiate) whose presidency rotates each year and becomes president of the federation.
This collegiate may be composed of elected members from the canton/state (e.g. one person
from each canton).

Assembly: Each autonomous canton/state has to have its own bi-cameral assembly.
Chambers must give both the regions and the district electorate the chance to be represented.
At the national level (federal) there should be a national assembly which is composed of two
chambers: (a) the Chamber of Elders and (b) The Chamber of the Canton/State Council. The
main purpose of the two cameral pattern is to ensure that the cantons and the lineages or clans
are properly represented in the law making "factory" of the nation. On the other hand, it can
be helpful in solving regional differences of interest. Regional interests which might object to
a central government are to some extent pacified by the knowledge that they are formally
represented at the centre. At this stage is it essential to consider the re-emergence powers of
the traditional authority, which still has an influence on the Somalis.

Public Institute Building and Rehabilitation of Authority: One of the main causes of
Somalis present dilemma is the degeneration of authority. The rehabilitation of authority can
come only with the participation of the people. The aim of this process should be to create an
environment of confidence building which can create the smooth transformation of the socio-
cultural and political norm.

Accountability: There must be a way where people are able to choose their representatives in
the government. This will give the people an opportunity to supervise and control their
representatives. It will also make their leaders accountable for their action. This practice can
also stimulate a positive political culture which can change the destructive instinct which has
affected the people in the last two decades and which caused the erosion of the foundations of
the Somali nationhood.

Rule of Law: At all levels, the government should apply the rule of law. The law should be
the official principle or order which guides the behaviour of the government.

Entrusting Four Levels: The system must entrust four levels to be represented by the people:
district, region, canton/state and elders (or traditional leaders). The district and region lay in
the canton/state level, and the later two represent the autonomous cantons/states and the
traditional leaders.

What the International Community Can Do

The international community’s help to the existing local administrations is essential.
However, if this help is mismanaged or routed to the wrong hand, not only it may hamper the
peace in the country, but also may perpetuate the conflict. In fact, it has been proved that
some of the humanitarian aids have been used to fuel the fighting in Somalia.

Help: Help for rehabilitation and reconstruction should be given to any area where there is
stable administration or community willing to help themselves. This helps the local
administration/community to rehabilitate the local life.

Local Administration Performance: Help should be conditional to the performance of the

respective local administration or community heads. This should influence the local authority
to distance themselves from being selfish.
Mandate: Dealing with individuals/groups who do not have clear mandate from their given
area have exasperated any attempt towards building local administrations. It also creates the
view that NGOs are simply enriching themselves or individuals/groups. This will contradict
the charitable purpose they are created for.

The Safety of Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs): Without the slightest moral

standards, Mafia-like groups impose exorbitant fees for their security on the UN and relief
agencies. This should be stopped, as responsibility should accounted for to the
groups/administration where NGOs carry out their work.

Reconciliation/Compensation Fund: One of the effects of the civil war is the expropriating
of properties such as building, farmlands, etc. Some of these properties may be ruined or their
value deteriorated over the years. Likewise, returning back these properties to their original
owners may be difficult as some of the occupiers may not have anywhere to go or may not go
back to their area because of fear of persecution. In addition, for the original owners it is a
tormenting experience as long as someone, whom he/she has never met before, occupies
his/her properties.
This problem proves to be one of the main obstacles to the peace in Somalia. However, to
solve this obstacle, there should be a Reconciliation/Compensation Fund which helps the
present occupiers of land to give up the property they are occupying or holding and set up
their own properties in different area of the country. Moreover, the Fund should give
opportunity to the original owners to get back their original property or to set up their
properties to their preferred areas if they wish to do so.

The Contribution of the Somali Diaspora

Since the last twenty years, Somalia has been experiencing brain drain. This began with the
advent of the repressive rules of military regime in early 1980s. However, with the outbreak
of the civil war in 1991 the exodus of the Somali intellectual class has reached its peak.
To refill the gap in the country, efforts should be given to the development of human
resources. However, this process should go concomitance with the other development such as
that of setting public institution or helping communities across the country.

Injecting the Know-how: The Diaspora should return to their respective area and inject their
expertise and intellectual prowess to the rehabilitation/reconstruction process in the country.

Think-tank: The international community should help to establish an international Somali

Diaspora Think-tank. This think-tank can contribute to the reconstruction of the Somali-
nation state.
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