With the exception of Hir-Shabelle State and South West State, relations between the FGS and FMS couldn’t be more strained and poses the risk of a broader conflict and regression. The skirmishes in Galmudug, the FGS’ insistence of annulling Jubbaland’s presidential election and lately the kerfuffle and unrest in Garowe’s parliamentary building which unfortunately led to casualties and the subsequent replacement of the parliamentary speaker of Puntland. All these incidents are allegedly attributed to President and/or the PM of the FGS by some of the leaders of the FMSs. This stalemate seems to have no end in sight. Its impact is profoundly affecting the essential tasks which is to lay the foundations for full recovery. Resources, energy and time meant for such crises seem to be diverted to squabbles, bickering and even sometimes to political subversion.
From the era of the Transitional Government of MR A Yusuf Ahmed in 2004 to the current one of MR M. Abdullahi Farmajo, all major crises seem to be still ever-present and unabated; constant violence and civil unrest in many parts of the country, Somaliland’s insistence on secession and lack of dialogue and commitment, grave interferences by external entities which is profoundly affecting socio-economic and political stability not only in Somalia but in the whole Horn of Africa region, multidimensional challeges of youth unemployment which is feeding into clan and subclan fighting, human trafficking, and radicalisation. This impasse has created a breakdown of social compact between the Somali people and their government both at federal level and at member state level. One can notice attitudes of Somali members of the public in most regions towards their governments’ success or failure; indifferent, apathetic and/or very pessimistic. With citizens of such psyche and low morale, only political leaders who can demonstrate discipline, imagination and genuine patriotism can uplift a nation from its fragility state.
Way out of this deadlock – steps in the right direction
The cost of prolonged and bitter dissension among FGS and FMS is immense. This worthless, often senseless and personal interest-driven rivalry is impacting any expected development and state-building international responses. It is imperative that political dialogue be rekindled in order to establish genuine communication, understanding and relationships between FGS and FMS. The roles of FGS and FMS stipulated in the federal constitution be ironed out and agreed upon in the presence of experts in constitutional law, Somali civil societies, women’s organisation, religious and clan leaders.
To reach a durable and lasting political agreement between FGS and FMSs the following decisive and salient points must be explored further:
- Political commitment to foster mutual trust and solid confidence among FGS and FSMs which facilitate and enhance durable political agreement, hence effective cooperation between all stakeholders.
- Set up a realistic time frame for establishing a durable political agreement between FGS and FMSs. Timing is fundamental to its success.
- Recognition that this crisis has external dimensions, and it is imperative that all relevant foreign entities ought to be involved in all negotiations. Also, a recognition that inclusion of all regional players is essential.
- Commitment to thoroughly revisiting and revising the provisional constitution.
- Showing a genuine concern by all parties that viable political agreement between FGS and FMSs is a lifeline for the socio-economic wellbeing of the Somali people.
- Resolution to establish sustainable political agreement and fully settle all differences legally in accordance with the constitution.
- Agreement must be based on the respective roles of FGS and FMSs as defined in the provisional constitution. It should be unequivocal and include action plan for 2020 and beyond.
Both FGS and FMSs ought to call on Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Arab League, IGAD, AU, EU and the UN to ensure that every single statement of the political agreement is implemented thoroughly in good faith and with integrity by all parties.
It is imperative that FGS and FMS leaders explore possible means to channel every political conflict into procedures of mutual trust for a durable political settlement. The sooner they start the better for the Somali nation.