The purpose of this article is to provide rationale and guidelines for the adoption and implementation of “Clan Based 2016 Electoral Model” as the better optionbetween the four Electoral models suggested by Somalia National Consultative Leadership Forum (SNCLF). The four electoral models are: (1) Political Party Representation, (2) Regional State (Federal Member State) Representation, (3) District Representation, and (4) Clan representation. The other three models requires the existence of well-designed legal framework, reliable institutions, voter registration, and extensive civic education to fulfill the tasks of pre-election, election, and post-election periods. But, none of thesetasks has been undertaken.
Preference for 4.5 Clan Representation
In reaction tothe cancellation of 2016 free and fair election “one person one vote” and the decision not to go back to the flawed 2012 selection process made through 135 traditional leaders, the Somali people faces the challenge of agreeing on an alternative electoral modelfor the election of 275 members of the federal parliament. The proposed four models suggest an “electoral caucus” which means that each Member of 2016 Parliament will be elected by at least one hundred voters.
The 4.5 clan formula used since 2000 has coped reasonably with the social friction and stabilized the power contest between Somali Communities. It is seen as the less harmful model while the other three electoral models are susceptible for manipulations and not suitable for political inclusion. The deficiencies and non-suitability of other three electoral systems emanate from the fragmentation and polarization persisting among Somali Stakeholders.
The 2016 clan based electoral model allows all sub clans represented in the 2012 federal parliament to democratically elect rather than select their representatives. Each of the four clans-Dir, Darod, Digil and Mirifle, and Hawiye will elect 61 deputies, while the fifth clan will elect 31 deputies. The breakdown of the members of parliament to be elected by each sub clan constituency is shown in the table below. The distribution of MPs within five clans and sub clans is complex and not without grievances. As caveat, each clan may reconsider the distribution for compromise andharmony. However, the responsibility of reaching consensus on the matter should remain within each clan.
Unquestionably, the clan plays a central role in the Somali society in terms of identity and allegiance. While Somalis are proud of their Somali identity, clan identity, which is part of the Somali culture, provides individual inclusivity and protection. Clan identity is also the stepping stone for national reconciliation and peacebuilding.
Within the clan community, the traditional leaders exercise influential role and are promoters of peace and social coexistence. They are beholders of custom and norms, and enforcers of agreements. Despite the existence of the federal government and interim regional administrations, clan elders are first responders to anyintercommunal violence and they always succeed in bringing down tensions and differences. 75% of Somalis trust the traditional system for conflict resolution compare to federal government institutions because of the pervasive corruption.Hence, traditional leaders including religious leaders and influential elders are able to responsibly lead the electoral process.
But before going into the discussion of the practical guidelines, it is important to underscore critical assumptions, precondition measures,and guiding principles that would enhance the legitimacy and integrity of 2016 election and improve the success of statebuilding and peacebuilding.
1. Clan affiliation doesn’t cause personal failure, dishonestyand incompetence, abuse of power, stealing, and injustice. Tradition, religion, and constitutions teach human values. 2. Relevance of the maintenance of formal balance of power within various segments of the Somali society until“one person one vote” election takes place. 3. Critical need for free election from corruption, malpractice, frauds, and manipulations paramount. Electoral corruption undermines social bond and degenerates into political violence. 4. Major sources of corruption are from state institutions-executive, election, and judiciary, and electoral commission,from the level of corruption within government, and from the visible and invisible hands of foreign actors. 5. Involvement and influence of the federal, regional governments, national independent electoral commission, and the international community sustainpublic disenfranchisement, and spoil legitimacy of the outcome of the electoral process. 6. Equality of man and women in the representation of clan constituency. 7. Failure of the federal government to fulfil the promise of free and fair 2016 political election justifiesa major concern for the integrity of responsible leaders. 8. Each Member of Parliament represents roughly 40,000 Somali Citizens.