It is peculiar and rare any government to succeed the total confidence of her citizens. And nowadays, where the world is overarched by media tycoons, self-congratulatory leaders and the governments run by oligarchies and guides by Groupthink, the trust is vanishing and becoming far-fetched business.
Meanwhile, if we observe and immerse what is going on in this world, we can’t expect a commendable trust between governments and their people. Because, the world system is anarchy and becoming more ruthless, relentless, unrepentant and in vain.
The other side of the coin, when it comes to the third world (Bongo Bongo Land), mainly African countries, the situation becomes unattainable. Because, there are egregious corruption, hefty bribes, nepotism, political patronage and other intrusive actions which dominated the political arena. Additionally, human rights are more often denied and security is more often threatened.
Somalia’s government and the level of trust from the citizens
Somali people had seesaw experience from different governments. In 1960-69, Somalia had one of the best snippet democracy in Africa. In 1969, Somalia had dictatorship rule until 1991. Though, the system was under iron fist, but it delivered enormous services to the people including free education, good healthy program, water, infrastructure, military capabilities and other commendable actions.
With all these plausible issues that the government tended, the people were bemoaning lack of freedom and democracy, and the trust between the government and its citizens was ending and dwindling.
And looking for this freedom, in 1991, the government was ousted by armed to the teeth groups and the civil war was shattered. Since, 1991 up to 2000, there was no functioning government in the ground, and the people were fighting each other. In 2000, a reconciliation conference was held in Djibouti country, and plenty of the civil societies, academicians, previous politicians, women organizations and diaspora got together in Djibouti in order to build a new government.
Because, the Somali people were fed up the civil war among them, and they had a curiosity for system and law and order. In 2000, was build a new Transitional National Governance (TNG) under civil leadership by his Excellency president Abdikassim. That government had much kudos and lukewarm reception from the citizens. Unfortunately, that government didn’t perform and it belatedly becomes lame-duck and holds titular position.
The other side of the coin, the people started to depend on Private Sector since then, especially Telecommunication and Expresses. Also, civil society organizations (CSOs) erupted, and they recruited plenty of the Somali people, especially the educated ones.
Since then, the people’s trust towards the Private Sector was peaked and reached zenith. And in the meantime, the government’s trust was diluting and vanishing gradually.
In 2004, again a new government was formed in Kenya under the name of Transitional Federal Government (TFG) under the leadership of former military personnel his Excellency president Abdullahi Yusuf. The stakeholders of that government were warlords who had the guns in the country unlike the previous government under the civil leadership.
But, the reason behind to invite these notorious warlords was, just to have an access to talk to them and ask them what they want. Plenty of talking heads believe that, the reason was to establish a platform which the international community can have an access to talk to the warlords. The warlords became ministries in that government, but finally they disappeared by day. And the international family applied (Invite the System and Marginalize them).
On the other hand, after two years, in 2006, a new group was erupted, the so-called Islamic Court of Union (ICU). This new movement totally boycotted the newly formed government. And finally, a bitter war erupted between the newly elected government with Ethiopian troops and the Islamic Court Union. Humongous of Somali people have been died in that war, and ultimately the ICU was vanquished and the federal government with its Ethiopian troops entered (MOGADISHU), the capital city of Somalia.
In 2009, the former leader of the Islamic Court of Unions (ICU) his Excellency president Sheikh Sharif has been elected the new president of Somalia. Sharif encountered enormous security challenges from Alshabaab. But, his government finally conducted free election in the capital city of Mogadishu in 2012. That election was elected by his Excellency president Hassan Sheikh as the new president of Somalia. And his government becomes the first permanent government since the former central government was overthrown in 1991.
The trust of mistrust among the government and the citizens emanates the Constitution, Federalism and the Lip Service.
In Somalia, currently is facing constitutional problem. The current constitution is called (Provisional Constitution). This constitution is still temporary and needs for review to be completed before the forthcoming election in 2021. This constitution has been drafted in 2012 through National Assembly. So, should be reviewed and ultimately must be passed through National Plebiscite (Referendum).
Since 2012, the government is totally shambling to perform and finish the review process. And after 7 years, there is no much works which have been done towards the Constitution Review Process. Because, in 2021, Somalia is hoping to be held Free and Fair Election Multi-Party-System under (One Man One Vote Election).
So, unless the constitution review process be ended, it’s not viable to organize and held One Man One Vote Election. And plenty of the talking heads believe that, this government’s mandate is elapsing, while they are not busy for reviewing the provisional constitution. And they are immersing unnecessarily oppressing and disbanding the politicians which is absolutely ridiculous and ludicrous.
2-Shortage of Service Delivery
Somalia had strong government before the civil war in 1991. Somalia’s development including the Military capabilities, Infrastructure, Healthy, Education and others was witnessed during the military era. But, after that vigorous government was ousted, the country’s economy was ramshackling and slumping, the security was deteriorating and diluting.
The education and the healthy facilities were vanishing completely. Because, when the civil war erupts the country, the law and order were faded, and marauding gangs were killing and robbing the people indiscriminately which leads into bloodbath.
And this intrusive and relentless actions led to fled enormous Somali people from the country, and became refugees to North-America, Europe, Asia, Arab-countries, East, West and South-African countries (Brain drain). And tremendous others became Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs).
So, the service delivery from the government to the citizens was totally became non-existed.
Meanwhile, the incumbent government which was elected in 2017 under the leadership of his Excellency president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed aka, (Farmajo) and his prime minister is trying to restore and regain the public trust towards the government.
They pay the salary of the (Civil Servants) regularly. Also, they pay the salary of the Somali National Army, including the Military, the Police and the Intelligence. With all these commendable and exemplary actions which the government is expediting and performing, still there is no much trust from the public.
Because, there are no dependable security, free Healthy facilities, Primary Education, Water, Electricity and other basic services.
Additionally, the private sector takes all the basic service including electricity, healthy, education, water and the communication. And they are relentless and bully to the people. Because, they charge enormous moneys on the people.
So, the people are fed up and freaked out the ruthless and relentless of the private sector. Also, the people are fizzled out the lip service, all bike and no bite of the government.
Somalia used to use strong Central Government since its birth in 1960. And the Somali people adopted and accepted the central government system in many years. But, after the bloody civil war in 1991, plenty of people believed that, the reason behind for this deplorable and reprehensible civil war is, the central government which tends to oppress the people and the dissenting voices which led finally to demolish and annihilate completely and utterly the central government.
Because, Somalia’s political system is constructed by clan-based politics. So, when the strong central government dissipated, each clan was striving to dominate a lot of geographical area in the country and its natural resources. And this frivolous demand and insatiable desires led to broke out several inter-clan fighting closely two decades.
In this regard, the idea of the dissolution/disintegration of the country was erupting. In 2004, Somalia takes the Federal System, which is totally new to Somalia’s history.
When Somalia takes this system, another challenge erupted including inter-clans fighting for the sake of “dominance and resource sharing”. Because, Somalia has: –
- The longest Coast in Africa
- The largest camels in the world
- The most delicious banana in the globe
- And other Untapped Natural Resources
In 1991, Somalia’s regions were 18 regions. But when the federal system erupts, additional regions have been witnessed. Though, the current constitution of Somalia elucidates that, Somalia’s regions are those before the civil war in 1991, which means 18 regions are the official ones according to the Article 49, clause 5 in the provisional constitution.
Though, this system has some of advantages including decentralization of the power, service widening, delegation of power and other commendable areas, but now, Somalia is encountering the negative side of the federalism.
In this regard, Somalia has currently five (5) regional states: –
- Puntland Regional State: The relation between this regional administration and the federal government is worsening by day
- Jubbaland Regional State: The leadership of this administration and the federal government is departing from bad to worse. Especially, when the federal government boycotted the re-election of the current president in this region. And the situation becomes amok, when the federal government refrained the flights heading to this state. And now, several foreign meddling is witnessing, mostly from the neighboring countries.
- Southwest Regional State: Their relation is between docile and defiant
- Galmudug Regional State: The political system of this regional state is volatile, and now a new campaign regarding the forthcoming election of this region is on. The biggest rivalry in this election is, the incumbent government and its predecessor.
- Hirshabelle Regional State: This regional state is the least developed state. There are no services offer by this region’s leadership.
The distrust among the people and the government it is not tabula rasa, it’s something erupted throughout the time and can be terminated. If the government is willing to get a confidence from the people, it must tend service delivery and good public policy, and I hope its viable and attainable then. But, if the government persists and sustains its lip service, media tycoon and self-congratulatory, then the trust is not achievable.
Anwar Abdifatah Bashir (Freelance Journalist/Horn of Africa Geopolitics Analyst and Independent Researcher). The writer is currently performing his fourth Master degree on Public Management (MPP), especially Global Governance and Political Economy specialization at Korean Development Institute (KDI) in South Korea. The writer is also, the Author of four (4) books which are all about East-Africa’s Geopolitics.