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Somalia: Questionable Jurisdiction over 2016 Election

By   /  January 24, 2016  /  No Comments

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After close observation of the dismantled federal government into Interim Regional Administrations and federal member states of Puntland and Somaliland- all celebrating their “constitutions, borders, flags, citizens, presidents, parliaments, council of ministers, security forces, Independent Electoral Commissions, fiscal budgets, banks, TVs, commemoration days, airports, ports, diplomatic relations, natural resources, and clan identity,” one can’t resist raising the following questions:

Who represents and defends the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Somali people? Are articles 1 (the Federal Republic of Somalia), 7 (the Territory of the Federal Republic of Somalia), and 8 (the People and the Citizenship of the Federal Republic of Somalia), still valid and operational? Is it prudent to allow dismantled federal government to continue to exercise power? Can dismantled Federal Government manage free and fair election in 2016? In consideration of Somali clan culture and civil war legacy, how long will different constitutions, security forces, fiscal budgets, diplomatic relations, and judicial systems take to reconcile and integrate them? If international funds dwindle or shift, will the conferences on federal cooperation between federal and regional governments continue and produce durable results? Will the Somali economy afford to foot the payroll and maintenance bill of the disproportionately bloated federal and regional governments?

These questions shed light on the governance crisis overwhelming Somalia. The cancellation of free and fair one person one vote election planned to take place in August 2016 has been a blow to the political stability and confidence in the leadership of the federal government of Somalia. The lack of democratic process for challenging the unlawful and unfair decisions of the federal government institutions is inflaming public frustration and complaints.

The leaders of the federal government are aware of the public complaints but they cherish the vanity of conducting government businesses without democratic process and legal instruments. They tell the people to trust them instead of gaining public trust by obeying the rule of law, government ethics, and by delivering public services. Disregard of the supremacy of the rule of law is recipe for failure.

The emergency measure to form Somalia National Consultative Forum for the selection of 2016 electoral model has dented the legitimacy of the executive and parliament of the federal government. In converse, the legitimacy of the Forum has been assailed by many political commentators as an unlawful institution. Furthermore, the working of the forum has shown that there is no leader responsible to lead, provide analyzed options for review and final decision, and ensure legitimate decision making process.

This means that the jurisdiction over 2016 election is in question, which increases the likelihood of election mismanagement and rigged outcomes.

As sign of indifference, the recommendations of the community from Somaliland regions, in line with the talks between the federal government and Somaliland, have not been acknowledged and addressed. This reinforces the view that the consultation process was public relation exercise and not binding.

The participants of the regional consultative forums did not discuss an electoral model for the Upper House of the Federal Parliament. Article 55 of the provisional constitution gives the residents in the federal member states the right to elect directly, secretly and freely the 54 members of the Upper House determined on the basis of 18 regions multiplied by 3 representatives. Article 72 requires that all federal member states have equal number of representatives and the 4.5 clan formula representation must be maintained in the Upper House. Compliance with this requirement needs further investigation.

However, Article 138 (2) of the provisional constitution postponed the effects of all articles of the provisional constitution related to the Upper House until such time when all federal member states are established, legalized, and able to conduct election. Until such time, all duties and functions of the Upper House are invested in the People’s House.

Article 64 of the provisional constitution prescribes the election of the 275 members of the people’s house through direct, secret, and free ballot by all citizens. The members of the people’s house must represent all communities in balanced manner. The constitution focuses on clan balance rather than on political constituency.

The debate over the district and 4.5 electoral models has boosted the opportunity to use the population estimation released by the Federal Government and UN Population Fund for the allocation of the 275 members of the people’s house. Political constituency will require population census so that each of the 275 members of the federal parliament will represent a certain number of the population.

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  • Published: 3 years ago on January 24, 2016
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  • Last Modified: January 24, 2016 @ 10:19 am
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