After a long civil war and political reconciliation – Somalia adopted federalism in 2004 and embarked in its implementation in 2012.
If someone goes back to the major causes of Somalia’s conflict and civil unrest for the last 30 years no meaningful solution had been reached in terms of state-building architecture for example, disputes leading to competition for power, resources sharing, paving the way of calming down deep-rooted clan-hatred and animosity and last but not the least, colonial legacy of the past which created as a source of mistrust and divisions among warring political parties and other mainstream of the society.
One can not implement and adopt federalism based on poor knowledge of federalism as a clan-based system and benchmark for power sharing formula.
The other difficult problems facing in our society today is how to organize political authority in such a way as to provide effective government that is sensitive to unique social circumstances and at the same time generates public support.
Somalia faces practical challenges namely: constitutional ambiquity and lack of consensus of federalism, border demarcation, the status of Mogadishu and questions concerning fiscal federalism etc.
Federalism is a system of government in which the same territory is controlled by two levels of government.
Generally an overarching national government is responsible for broader governance of larger territorial areas, while the smaller subdivisions, regional territories and cities govern the issues of local concern.
These two governments derive their powers from the same source (the constitution) and are controlled not by the other but by the constitution.
There are three types of federalism:
1) dual federalism, also known as layer-cake federalism or divided sovereignty – is a political arrangement in which power is divided between the federal and state governments in clearly defined terms with state governments exercising those powers accorded to them without interference from the federal government.
2) Let it be known that Somalia has no cooperative federalism in which inter-governmental relations that need for federal and state governments share power equally to solve problems arised.
3) Somalia has what is known as “new federalism” typically involves the federal government providing block grant funds to the states to resolve social issues.
Due to the advantages of unitary sysyem where the responsibilities and powers of government tend to be fair clear-cut.
In times of constitutional crisis like this one a clear division of power often results in more swift reactions related to good governance is needed than in a form of government where power is divided between multiple government entities.
Lastly, if this trend of contentious federal system continue, Somalia will heed towards disintegration and we will all regret at times and to the coming ages.
Ref: international IDEA (constitutional design p. 1, 2, 3).
Avv. Khalif M Duale