FEDERALISM IS A REALITY IN SOMALIA

We don’t know where everybody of you is on earth, and that is relevant point if you want to gauge the real perspectives of persons in the debate. From our perspectives as persons on the ground in Somalia, federal system is already a reality in the country. Yes, public institutions in both the Centre and most FMS are either non-existent or still rumentary. In the past only Puntland State was advocating for it, but now most FMS wouldn’t accept the return to One City-state Rule from the Centre. True, most FMS depend on the hand-outs from the Centre via international donor community. That is why the Centre has much sway in their respective internal affairs and security as they experience Alshabab onslaught, humanitarian crisis, non-existent infrastructure and a lot more problems. This is where Puntland is far better off and can stand up to unduly influence from the Centre. But, they all feel sense of pride for having made it. Another benefit they got from setting up a regional state is their newly acquired abilities to mitigate clan warfare as all clans feel belonging to a common state. Federalism in Somalia is now stronger than it was when Puntland alone was fighting for it. Puntland leadership may have political differences with the Central and some FMS leaders, but that doesn’t mean that they have abandoned the concept in practice. It is important to understand the situation on the ground.

Also note that the federal system with its different forms is a complex democratic governance with overlaying public institutions. Because most Somali clans are confederal by nature rather than blood lineages (Hawiye, Isaaq, Dir, Raxanweyn etc), federalism would have come easy and suitable to them. But the problem was its implementation because most leaders so elected before were undermining the system. They couldn’t grow out of the old central mentality they had experienced before. The question is, who would then make federalism work in Somalia? It is extremely important to be aware of this fact.

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