By Mohamed Abdi Mohamed
I have been told that a “Broken Glass” can never be restored to its previous condition. Some may say that it depends on the number of broken pieces and that the greater the number of pieces, the more impossible the task.
The “Broken Glass” is perhaps an apt metaphor for Somalia as 2012 unfolds and the final dissolution of the TFG seems certain. Some have argued that the TFG had become irrelevant and incapable and that a new course needed to be charted; others have argued that the TFG maintained the pretence of Somalia being a unitary state. However, these two blocs have one thing in common. They do not have a clear picture of a post TFG Somalia.
The London conference has come and gone. The various parties comprising Somalia are back home and do not seem to be sure of how developments will unfold. There are many signatures on the ink of the Garowe accord and on the final communiqué of the London conference. There are many pledges and commitments attested to but there is no clear vision being articulated by the TFG. Somalis are seemingly groping for answers as to what the future holds. It would appear that there is clarity of vision on the part of the International Community and dense fog on the part of Somalis.
There is a general acceptance of the fact that the TFG will be officially cease to exist after August 2012 but are unsure if it will undergo some form of reincarnation. Further there is a growing suspicion that the proposed constitutional configuration is seen by many as an international solution imposed on a politically weak Somalia whose internal cleavages are vulnerable to exploitation.
Many Somalis, especially those of us who comprise the diaspora and are less prone to clan myopia had dreamed of a day when all Somalis would rebuild a strong and vibrant nation committed to the ideals of a true democracy. This ideal that has motivated many Somalis to actively contribute to the dialogue of reconstruction, seem to suddenly unfold as a shattered dream , a mirror of broken glass with jagged edges of distrust and partisanship.
The contours of a balkanized SOMALIA have begun to take shape and the recommended Constitutional framework of mini -states is too optimistic an idea that will, in the opinion of many, be doomed to failure. The political infighting that has plagued the TFG will now shift to the various regions leading to further complication and encouragement for regional mischief.
All stakeholders need to be cognizant of two realities:
First, a federation of semi-autonomous states is a very impractical probability for Somalia. It is overly optimistic on the part of the International Community to assume that Somalis can collaborate within the constitutional framework of federalism. For reasons outlined below, it cannot and will not work. Further, to imply that the future of Somalia is to be left to Somalis after a federalist constitution is imposed is tantamount to being an accessory before, during and after the fact.
Second, the social and economic reconstruction of Somalia cannot take place without the active participation of the international community. There are many positive aspects that arose from the conference in London. These include:
1. Joint Financial Management Board (Number 8 of the Final Communiqué).
This is an excellent idea even though; it would have been much better if no holders of political office were members of the Board.
2. Piracy (Numbers 14 thru 17 of the Final Communiqué).
3. Terrorism (Number 18 of the Final Communiqué).
4. Stability & Recovery ((Numbers 19 thru 22 of the Final Communiqué).
That being said, it is unfortunate that there seems to be a rush to establish institutions of political governance that will to some degree resemble current institutions. However, putting a goat among camels, feeding that goat the same food as the camels, does not make that goat a camel. The semblance of Government institutions does not mean that there is governance.
Somalis have lost faith in governing institutions and for the great majority of Somalis; the guiding principle for all new institutions must be the “Restoration of Faith” in Government. Political window dressing will only impress the very naïve. There are too many persons who are titled “His Excellency” and very little “Excellence” being displayed.
It needs to be noted that the problems of the present are rooted in the past. The current configuration of what is called Somalia was put together by the British, the French and the Italians. Somalia was administered as a colony by Italy until its independence in 1960. The foundations and institutions of the State were put in place by the Italians. In 1969, the military staged a coup. This means that for a short period of only NINE years, there was a civilian administration run by Somalis. From 1969 to 1990 when Siad Barre was deposed, the institutions inherited from the Italians were systematically dismantled and disgraced. From 1991 to the present there have been several Transitional Governments each with a poor legacy of achievements. The reason for this poor record is simply that Somalis have no history and experience in forming a Government and are facing this continuous struggle today.
There are two meaningful contributions that the International community can make to Somalia:
1. Somalia in collaboration with the international community need to put in place institutions and organs of state that can direct and regulate the behavior of Government to effectively deliver services to the people. Somalis need much assistance in this area.
2. Assist Somalia to develop a Technical Remigration Program to attract qualified Somali technocrats to fill the human capital void, train Somalis and develop a people known only for guns and violence. Putting square pegs in round holes with only serve to prolong the cycle of incompetence.
Lastly, the Conference in London was very instrumental in bringing Somalia into the international limelight. It was a very unique opportunity for the following to be included in the final communiqué.
1. Freedom of the Press as a vital artery of “Good Governance”.
2. The need for Somalia to have constitutional guarantees for Civil Society and NGO’s.
It is hoped that this paper will contribute in some measure to facing the challenges ahead.
Mohamed Abdi Mohamed
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Dillapress.com editorial policy.