September 23, 2019

To 2001-2004 Somali National Peace and Reconciliation Conference in the Kenyan City of Eldorate and then moving to Mbagati in Nairobi, the undersranding and proposal of Puntland State delegation was Confederalism, not federalism, as it is understood and written in the Federal Constitution now. The bulk of delegations from different Somali factions and civil societies either didn’t understand the concept or were against it. Puntland negotiating partners both at Steering Leaders Committee and delegates even refused to recognize Puntland as a regional state. They had adamantly refused to write “regional state” into the TFG Provisional Charter. You may easily find out that from original TFG Charter.

 This was one of the two sticking issues in the Conference. The other thorny issue was the status of Mogadishu as the national capital city, with some delegates suggesting that it couldn’t be Somali capital anymore, after what had happened there, while others proposed to agreeing on a special status for it.

A compromise was reached on the two difficult issues:

  1. Federalism or creation of a Central Government and Regional Administrations (later called regional states) to bring Somalia back together and revive the failed state.
  2. Mogadishu shall have “Special Status” as a Federal entity.

These compromises were made possible, when delegates from Mudulood, Digil & Mirifle and Dir, had softened their resistance to the option of Federalism.

Both compromises have yet to be implemented fully because of those forces, who are interested only in maintaining the status quo.

I would, therefore, recommend to all to keep this historical background in mind when deliberating on Federalism vs Confederalism vs Unitary Government.



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Author: Warsame Digital Media WDM

About the blogger: This blog is associated with the former Chief of Staff in Puntland State Presidency, 1998-2005. He also worked with the UN and World Bank Joint Secretariat for Somalia’s Re-construction and Development Program (RDP), 2005-2006, as a Zonal Technical Coordinator for Puntland and later as National Aid Technical Coordinator with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and European Union. He is now an independent political analyst and commentator on current issues and occasionally gives historical perspective on modern Somalia’s politics. He lives and works in Toronto, Canada. He can be reached at:

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