Essay Examples - Plan of Action Somalia Prime Minister
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Implementing President's Mission and Vision
The incoming Prime Minister must work closely with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in the continual implementation of Vision 2016. A central focus is inclusive politics in action. This cooperative approach between the prime minister and the president will serve to reaffirm the government’s desire to create a culture of collaboration.
Therefore the incoming prime minister must first acknowledge the missteps of the former Prime Ministers. Journalist Yusuf M. Hassan offered a pointed assessment of such missteps in a recent report. According to Hassan, former Prime Minister Dr. Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed was engaged in a venerable power and positional conflict with the President (Hassan, 2014).
Since 2004, Somalia has dealt with socio-political conflict resulting in historic institutional collapse and economic ruin. Therefore, it is important that the country continue the process of reversing international perception, regarding the government’s capacity to work collaboratively. Historically past presidents and prime ministers have been at the center of documented disputes, leading to inefficiency and ineffective government operations (Hassan, 2014).
Specifically troubling is the fact that confidence motions by the Federal Parliament have resulted in the removal of seven prime ministers in the past ten years. Although some experts have called for the abolition of the prime minister position, its continued existence is a necessity. Symbolically it represents the balance of shared power which mitigates the possibility of abuse (Hassan, 2014).
This power struggle highlights the need for the prime minister to clarify President Hassan’s operative vision, for their role. It is assumed that the President will base his interpretation of the functional role, on the articulated constitutional provisions. However, in addition to an operative understanding, the philosophical approach to the role will be vital to long-term sustainability. This is evident in the fact that the two former Prime Ministers, Abdi Farah Shirdon and Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed were only in office for one year respectively.
Therefore, the new prime minister must proactively address the concerns of the President at the outset. This requires a sit down with the President to develop consensus on pressing matters such as how to properly mitigate threats of ongoing clan and political rivalries. For example centralist and federalist ideologies must find harmony and balance within the scope of the government’s vision and mission. When former Prime Minister Ahmed guided the formation of two new states, many believed his actions were guided by a federalization push. Subsequently it caused a political impasse that led to a clash with centralist forces in Mogadishu (Hassan, 2014).
Another area of pressing concern is the need to strengthen the international donor community’s trust in the Somalia government. According to the U.N. monitoring groups 2014 report there are allegations that the Somali army is selling weapons, and engaging in clan fighting. To the international community such activities present an image of a country unable to fulfill its goal of creating stability and peaceful reform. Additionally, there are frequent claims that the Central Bank is currently operating under corrupt business practices. Without appropriate ethics and operational processes, trust in the Government will dissipate disrupting resources from donors. Donors want to believe in the Somali government’s capacity to facilitate public finance reform (Hassan, 2014).
The legitimate responsibilities and authority of the Prime Minister are aptly outlined in the Constitution (Article 100). As the head of the Federal Government the Prime Minister can both appoint and discharge members of the Council of Ministers. Also, the Prime Minister is responsible for presenting the Council of Ministers and government programs before the House of People of the Federal Parliament for confirmation. Further, the Prime Minister will effectively seek to fulfill any other responsibilities granted by the Constitution (Constitution.org, n.d.).
According to the Vision 2016 Framework for Action there are three foundational areas of focus for the government’s strategy. Those include constitutional review and implementation, completion of the federal system, and democratization. Although Parliament is responsible for implementation, it is the leadership of government that will create an environment conducive to goal attainment (raxanreeb.com, 2014).
As part of the Executive branch the Prime Minister must be guided by principles articulated by the present administration. These include the construction of processes that are all-encompassing, translucent, and constant with the Provisional Constitution. Also, all actions of the Prime Minister must support comprehensive reconciliation, in a manner that promotes national interconnection and amalgamation. Finally, it is important that such processes are Somali-owned as this creates long-term viability and cultural pride (raxanreeb.com, 2014).
Rebuilding the Army
The first stated strategic goal of the administration is the formation of federal member states. As such key activities will include political outreach and consultation to promote ownership in the proposed plan (raxanreeb.com, 2014). Rebuilding the army will require a collaborative effort from each of the newly formed federal member states. Therefore, the Prime Minister should work closely with the Ministry of Interior and Federalism to incorporate rebuilding the Army as part of the national strategic plan. Establishing an effective and sustainable military force will require resources and personnel, from each federal member state.
The Prime Minister should also work collaboratively with General Dahir Adan Elmi who was appointed commander-in-chief of the Somali National Army in March of 2013. The focus of such conversation should be ascertaining areas of greatest need for the current national military. According to a recent interview General Elmi stressed the importance of more personnel, heavy armaments including tanks, aircraft, receptacles, and additional artillery, which require significant funding (Sabahi, 2014).
Although there is currently assistance with military salaries, weapons, and training from international allies this is a short-term stop gap. The Prime Minister working closely with General Elmi must devise economic strategies permitting Somalia to maintain military efficacy. Especially as the African and European Union, the United States, and Turkey begin the diminution of support (Sabahi, 2014).
President Hassan recently praised the military defeat of Al-Shabaab, attributing it to concerted efforts of the Somali National Army and the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM). However, there is still approximately 30-40% of Somalia that remains under the reign of Al-Shabaab (United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia, 2014).
The Prime Minister should continue to encourage the collaborative efforts of the National Army working with AMISOM to remove al-Shabaab from the remaining areas of Somalia. However, there should also be efforts made to educate Somalian’s about why ongoing support of al-Shabaab is destructive for Somalia national sustainability. Specifically, it is important to stress the fact that the group rejects all forms of governance other than shari’a or Islamic law (Anti-Defamation League, 2013).
The citizens need to understand that in order for the continuation of international ally support and the emergent economic solvency to continue the present governance must remain intact (Anti-Defamation League, 2013). Also, there needs to be an understanding that al-Shabaab desires to have Somalia become a safe-haven for criminals, absconding from their country. Should Somalia become such a safe-haven it would put every citizen in constant danger (Sabahi, 2014).
Finally the Prime Minister should offer support and assistance through the powers of the executive branch for mitigating issues like illegal selling of military uniforms in markets, greater organization (i.e. unit names and numbers), and increased soldier salaries. According to one report soldiers are currently receiving approximately $200 per month in salary and $60 for food (Sabahi, 2014).
The United States has historically provides supplemental support albeit sporadically. Also, the Prime Minister can work closely with the executive branch to authorize additional funding for the creation of hospitals that specialize in treating injured soldiers. Currently there is a hospital that used to belong to the military however operational capital is necessary (Sabahi, 2014).
Rebuilding the economic and banking system
Somalia’s economic affluence and the welfare of the banking system will require the maintenance of global partnerships. As such the incoming Prime Minister must work closely with the government to ensure an unending relationship with the World Bank. The World Bank recently administered a multi-partner fund for Somalia, which will finance emergency expenditures. Additionally, Mogadishu’s federal institutions now have salaries and operating support from the Recurrent Cost and Reform Financing project (The World Bank, 2014).
As part of the New Deal for Somalia there is a two year plan that has a strategic focus on transitioning international engagement from aid to equitable partnerships, with shared accountability. Such accountability for Somalia, national, and international stakeholders includes achievement of predetermined milestones (The World Bank, 2014).
One of the long-term strategies for financing Somalia’s economic infrastructure is the establishment of the Multi-Partner Fund (MPF). Use of such funding will be facilitated by the International Development Association (IDA). Subsequently there will be coordinated efforts with government, donors, and international agencies within the framework of the new Somalia Development and Reconstruction Facility (SDRF). The current MPF is proposed for approximately ten years from January 2014- December 2023 (The World Bank, 2013).
The MPF financing is most effectively invested through a multi-faceted methodology. Such an approach should be advocated for by the Government and especially the incoming Prime Minister. One of the central investment needs is the creation of habitable living milieus. This is because while focusing on job creation in places like Mogadishu is important, prospective employees need a livable environment. This includes solid waste management, efficient water and sanitation systems, and the advancement of local road systems (The World Bank, 2013).
Once there are livable communal areas and revitalized infrastructure, then job creation becomes more sustainable. One of the targeted populations requiring such job creation is the youth. Therefore the Prime Minister should advocate for bank partnerships with community job creation initiatives. Renewable energy as a prominent sector should be a key area of training and employment opportunities. One previous initiative which could be referenced is the Tsunami Livelihood Recovery Project. This project targeted fishing groups along the Puntland’s coast, with capacity building and basic tools (The World Bank, 2013).
Economically the livestock export sector sustains Somali’s livelihood. According to some reports, sixty percent of the population relies on income generated from livestock for their livelihood. Also the bank is partnering with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations to develop policy, and infrastructure initiatives for sustainable sector growth. Further, the Information and Communication technologies sector provides a viable platform for employment opportunities and enhanced connectivity for increased sector investments (The World Bank, 2013).
The incoming Prime Minister should facilitate initiatives to increase private sector development. Currently the Bank is affianced with the private sector in Somaliland; however such efforts have not yet spread to other areas. Incremental support through the MPF should continue to produce an environment conducive to business environments. Also public-private partnerships should take place in key sectors such as ports. Finally, there should be the ongoing facilitation of grant initiatives to stimulate auxiliary investment.
Currently there is a government campaign to recruit one million additional children into schools. This Go 2 School initiative began in the capital of Mogadishu and also in the cities of Somaliland and Puntland. The UN children’s agency UNICEF is currently supporting the program with a cost of eleven million dollars. The incoming Prime Minister needs to continue to find ways to fund such a program as currently school enrollment rates are the lowest globally. In the south and central areas of Somalia there are currently only one in three youth in school (BBC News Africa, 2013).
Even Somalia’s Education Minister Maryam Qasim recognized the importance of education to reverse the generational destruction of youth through war and violence. This focus of educating youth persists despite efforts by militant leader Al-Shabab to engage in attacks and suicide bombings (BBC News Africa, 2013).
One primary reason that the government needs to have education as a top priority, is that it will deter children from joining extreme militant groups. Somalia’s former Prime Minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon, stressed that education would be a top priority along with defense and security (BBC News Africa, 2013).
The incoming Prime Minister needs to take up the torch and follow through with actions, specifically legislative action, supporting educational advancement. In 1991 war and civil conflict in Somalia resulted in significant destruction to Somalia’s national educational system. As a result school infrastructures where destroyed leaving children without sufficient learning facilities. Additionally there have been an insufficient number of teachers, workbooks, standardized prospectus, and gender matriculation incongruence (Safe, 2014).
In response the communities along with Somali parents have come together to enhance the educational experience of the children. Although their efforts are admirable the infrastructure deficiencies remain inadequate and undeveloped. In many Somali communities make-shift classrooms and dilapidated tents are normative. Organizations like Somali and American Fund for Education (SAFE) have construction projects currently underway (Safe, 2014).
Within the SAFE model there is an opportunity for the Executive branch and specifically the Prime Minister to enhance education. By continuing to foster relationships with America and other International sponsors community-managed schools can be developed throughout the country. Critical to the process is ensuring the community leaders and parents are actively engaged in the process. Each school project will have unique needs that must be addressed.
Over the course of the past four years the collaborative efforts have resulted in eight Somali communities building classrooms, toilets, water tanks, and dormitories. Additionally, the infrastructure projects have provided a location for greater educational outreach and teacher recruitment. Quantitatively there has been an uptick in student enrollment an average of fifteen percent per year at the sponsored schools. This model of community sponsored schools is easily duplicable and the Somali government can accelerate the process through increased educational budgets. The SAFE model also ensures that approximately 1/3rd of the funds for construction projects come through fundraising of local and diaspora groups.
Since Somalia has been adversely impacted by innumerable emergency situations, educational reform must incorporate emergency response mechanisms. In the development of future educational objectives, the Prime Minister can consider the approach of the United Nations office (OCHA). As part of the overall mission of OCHA there are three primary educational goals (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2014).
- Improve educational access for youth and adults especially in moments of humanitarian crisis.
- Appropriately integrate essential services and critical information into traditional and non-traditional education. This will ultimately improve educational eminence.
- Target demographic areas that have been impacted by emergencies and focus on enhancing educational capacity systematically.
Source: (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2014).
Statistically only twenty percent of the general Somali population and thirteen percent of women are considered literate. Deductively that means there is more than eighty percent of the population that cannot read age appropriate information. Therefore the Prime Minister and the Executive branch need to consider education as a top administrative priority (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2014).
With substantial illiteracy rates, the economic capacity of a community is adversely impacted. Areas like the south and central zones of Somalia are areas of extremely high illiteracy. Statistically in those areas there are approximately 1.8 million youth who are not receiving educational services. The Prime Minister needs to accomplish two goals related to the establishment of national and sub-national educational clusters. The first goal is to evaluate whether Nairobi is the best location moving forward for the national cluster (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2014).
One critical question is whether or not it is central to the areas of highest need. Another goal is to create a map that appropriately disperses sub-national clusters throughout Somalia. The incoming Prime Minister would be wise to project an annual budget that funds the ongoing expansion of such educational endeavors (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2014).
Another effective strategy for comprehensive educational reform is distance education and literacy. The UNESCO Institute published information on distance learning projects that are currently underway in Somalia. The educational curriculum is designed according to the Somali and Arabic language.
Should the Prime Minister and Executive Branch look to expand education to outlier communities there are distance options. One benefit of distance learning is that it requires minimal infrastructure. Primary costs are associated with the development of the technology platform. The teachers can operate remotely which greatly reduces operational expenditures.
One model that could be evaluated for distance learning is the Somali Distance Education and Literacy Model (SOMDEL) which began in 2001. The implementing organization is the Africa Educational Trust (AET) in partnership with BBC World Service (through the BBC World Service Trust). The language of instruction is Somali. The Program Partners are the Department of International Development (DFID, UK), and the European Commission and comic relief (UNESCO Institute for Higher Learning, 2014).
As previously mentioned Somali has had serious armed conflict over the years. Civil warfare has adversely impacted the existent school systems. Subsequently young people have been able to remain in schools due to insufficient security. For the majority of the decade (2000-2007) beginning in 2000 less than 25 percent of youth had access to primary education. Also, there was an enrollment rate of approximately 6 percent for youth of secondary education (UNESCO Institute for Higher Learning, 2014).
Therefore the Prime Minister and the executive branch need to find systemic methodologies to address some of these conflict-engendered issues. Such issues have resulted in low access to primary and secondary education. For those youth that may have aged out of formal schooling, long distance education may provide that missed opportunity. It is important that such an educational model not endanger their safekeeping or income (UNESCO Institute for Higher Learning, 2014).
Should the government decide to incorporate a strategy similar to the SOMDEL it is an intergenerational radio-based distance education and literacy program. The program was guided and shaped based on data from a participatory impact assessment (PIA). Consultation came directly from various constituents and professionals in Somali. As a result first person information concerning the needs of the local was combined with the development of a formalized primary education tactic (UNESCO Institute for Higher Learning, 2014).
The formalized process engaged a curriculum that incorporated four primary themes.
- Rudimentary reading and mathematics
- Environmental modules
- Various life skills such as health and nutrition
- Economic and wellness courses
Source: (UNESCO Institute for Higher Learning, 2014).
The primary modalities for distributing the information were radio broadcasts and home-based learning platforms. By combining local and professional feedback the program’s relevance remained highly impactful. The government could focus on young people ages sixteen to twenty five with limited educational opportunities. Those that were socially disadvantaged who were possibly part of a diaspora community would be ideal candidates. The long-term benefits would be personal enrichment, social advancement and increased opportunities for sustainability especially in rural areas (UNESCO Institute for Higher Learning, 2014).
The Prime minister can ensure that local communities are aware of such programs and also engage in teacher recruitment. Program facilitators are critical to the success of this model of education. They usually contact AET or another local partner or receive a recommendation from community advocates (UNESCO Institute for Higher Learning, 2014).
To date the program has recruited approximately five hundred teachers. The government’s goal should be to expand the program throughout Somalia. The average stipend for such a program is approximately $100 (U.S. currency per year). The teacher student ratio can be between twenty to forty learners based on the demographic and the need (UNESCO Institute for Higher Learning, 2014).
Radio broadcasts are the primary method for getting the word out quickly about such programs. The government may even consider other forms of media. However, at a grassroots level the networking of community leaders and program facilitators are essential to the promotion of such a program (UNESCO Institute for Higher Learning, 2014).
In terms of highlighting success there have been third party evaluations of educational AET activities. To date two evaluations have taken place including Fentiman (2003) and Thomas (2006). The following successes have been documented and can subsequently provide a litmus test for future successes for government consideration (UNESCO Institute for Higher Learning, 2014).
- Presently there are approximately 250, 000 individuals residing in areas of minimal resources and significant warfare like Somalia and Somaliland. These areas have effectively benefited from such long distance learning opportunities. Further, this has enabled them to acquire innovative knowledge about topics such as health, nutrition, the ecosystem, and human rights.
- SOMDEL presently operates 500 level 1 literacy classes and 350 level two literacy classes. Collectively there are approximately 8,000 learners per year going through the literacy courses. To date there are 33,000 learners that have gone through the SOMDEL training. There is an 88% national success rate on the final literacy examination.
- It is noteworthy that 75% of program participants are disadvantaged women who are in a lower socio-economic background. The education provides a more level playing field when it comes to future opportunities.
- To date there has been a shortage of post literacy material in the Somali language. To combat this issue the SOMDEL program has created approximately 60 booklets, addressing local areas of interest. Many of the material have come from former graduates of the program.
- The challenges that the government will need to address include lack of resources. Currently-community based classrooms may occur in outdoor facilities, private homes, and schools during non-traditional hours. Due to there being minimal resources the outcomes invariably are going to be impacted.
- Additionally the sustainability of the program requires a budget that can pay for more than a minimal per diem for teacher services. Other NGO’s (non-government organizations) pay for teacher salaries and therefore a long-term commitment to operate as a volunteer teacher is less attractive. Other secondary benefits include a radio and benefit from AET training.
- Also, power problems are ongoing especially in rural areas. This includes the radios which run on battery but don’t last as long. As such, the operational cost of such programs becomes much more difficult. The response of the AET has been offering solar power and wind up radios. The cost of these services has been prohibitive given the nature of the frequency of lessons.
Checklist source: (UNESCO Institute for Higher Learning, 2014).
In terms of funding job creation the Prime Minister and the Government should leverage funding from various sources including international partners. For example the British government has agreed to provide the Somali government with one hundred and thirty six Million dollars of assistance. The money is to be earmarked for food and employment opportunities for young people. This move follows the British support during the devastating 2011 Somali famine (Somali Current, 2014).
When examining job creation and subsequent solutions administration focus should be on the youth. Why? Currently more than 50 percent of Somali’s population is under 18 years of age. The majority of the youth population was born following the overthrow of Siad Barre (1991). The significance of this is the fact that following Barre’s overthrow Somalia experienced a significant period of mayhem (The Guardian, 2014).
In seeking to establish a new culture with a central focus on democracy, youth employment is critical to that process. Although the administration has consistently sought to present a post-terrorist and inclusive culture youth employment must intimately be part of that strategy. According to a United Nations Development Program report there are some telling statistics. The report affirms the fact that Somalis that are under 30 years of age constitute approximately 70% of the country. However, the majority are considering relocating from Somalia. The economic impact of such a move would be detrimental to the country (The Guardian, 2014).
When you have two thirds of the population unemployed and unemployment rates for Somalia youth are at sixty seven percent, strategic initiatives must be quickly implemented to address such issues. Not only does such alienation and unproductivity discourage youth it also fosters greater probability of extremism and criminal activities. Therefore, the objective of the current administration should be the mitigation of the issue at a systemic level (The Guardian, 2014).
One viable partnership is the engagement of the private and corporate sectors. The incoming Prime minister should continue fostering relationships with organizations like Sida. This is the Swedish International development corporation. Sida’s current focus has been the strengthening of national infrastructure and financial systems. This is viewed as critical preliminary work in the establishment of job and economic initiatives. By creating a viable platform that promotes public and private partnerships fair trade becomes more feasible. This in turn creates jobs within the private sector. In 2013, Sida established a strategic initiative that had a multi-faceted approach to strengthening the democracy, enhancing human rights, and improving job opportunities (Sida, 2014).
Another strategic partnership for job Growth is the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF). The objective of this fund is to establish equitable opportunities for increasing rural incomes by establishing markets for products and services that address the needs of the rural poor including the youth (The Guardian, 2014).
Perhaps the incoming prime minister can propose the investing of AECF funding into joint-initiatives with companies like Volvo, Scania, and Sida. Currently those companies are already creating vocational school opportunities in countries such as Ethiopia. They are already targeting countries like Liberia, Mozambique and DR Congo to create similar training opportunities (The Guardian, 2014).
With the combination of pro-employment policies, finance, venture capital, and public work schemes job rates will increase. The benefits will extend beyond job creation; it will lead to decreased violence, sustainable city expansion, and equitable alternatives for youth (The Guardian, 2014). Although youth should be a primary focus of job development opportunities infrastructure development will lead to comprehensive job opportunities.
When thinking about security, it is fundamentally threatened due to ideological differences between dissimilar parties. Additionally since Somalia is located between the African and Arab continents it creates a breeding ground for extremists. Even with the emergent destruction of Al-Shabaab there are other extremist organizations that will inevitable fill the void. Therefore part of the role of the incoming Prime Minister is the establishment of cultural and communal messages stressing unification. Where there are significant and diverse ideologies the shared message of mutual trust and respect must be preached. As such political reconciliation must be part of the strategy for mending old wounds from politically divergent groups.
Additionally, Somalia has proposed structural advancements with the formation of an Inter-Regional Consultative forum and also the Inter-State Commission (ISC). The ISC will offer a primary platform for ongoing dialogue and negotiations between the Federal Government and newly established Member States (raxanreeb.com, 2014).
However in the interim period, the Prime Minister should work collaboratively with the Ministry of Interior and Federalism, ad interim, in the establishment of an Inter-Regional Consultative Forum (IRCF). This will begin the process of building trust and working collaboratively to increase security measures (raxanreeb.com, 2014).
In addition to the formation of IRCF’s and constructive dialogue, there needs to be an analysis of recommendations by the United Nations Security Council. As such piracy and robbery at sea by Somali pirates must be condemned both internationally and by the Somali administration. Such actions are counterproductive to the stability of the Somalia. Therefore the Somali government needs to be the leader in initiating counter-piracy measures. This will send a message of Somalia’s intention to support global anti-piracy initiatives (UN News Centre, 2014).
Part of the strategic plan must be the existence of a substantial military presence, to ensure the various borders are safe. This will also ensure that trade coming through the harbor is safe including imports and exports. Within the scope of understanding piracy, economic and ideological factors are significant. Therefore as economic needs are addressed the ability to repress piracy becomes more manageable.
The value of a border protection by the Somali National army and other international partners is the reduction of instability as well as criminal activity. Such actions are supported by Chapter VII of the UN chapter which prohibits piracy and enables necessary enforcement measures. The Prime Minister can actively support counter-piracy forces by establishing methods of communicating areas where preliminary piracy activity takes place. Subsequently the various Inter-State bodies can work collaboratively to seize and dispose of boats, vessels, arms, and other necessary equipment (UN News Centre, 2014).
The significant global impact of piracy can be more accurately understood by analyzing a 2014 report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). It estimates approximately 80-90 hostages held captive as a result of piracy activity. Associated costs of piracy globally are approximately eighteen billion dollars per year. Such costs are related to mounting trade costs, minimal tourist activity, and fishing yields (UN News Centre, 2014).
The lure of illegal acts of piracy off of the Horn of Africa is significant. Pirates have made a cumulative estimate of three hundred to four hundred million dollars. There is an implicit correlation between terrorism and acts of piracy. Therefore by addressing and eliminating terrorist activities the number of acts of piracy should be significantly reduced. Additionally the Somali government should seek to support and contribute to the global piracy database, as well as continued enforcement of existent security measures (UN News Centre, 2014).
Finally, there needs to be concentrated efforts to address local grievances such as illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping from international partners. This message which is central to sustained piracy action has been effectively used to galvanize the locals in support or tolerance of acts of piracy. One way to combat such a polarizing message is to ensure that there are local public awareness campaigns. One model of such activity is Radio Daljir which actively informs locals of the socio-economic and political costs of piracy. The best conveyors of such information would be local clerics and clan elders as there is a natural relationship based on trust (Council on Foreign Relations Press, 2010).
The absence of a centralized government in Somalia since 1991 has significantly impacted international relationships. One fundamental issue has been the ability of international stakeholders to properly engage the various governing bodies within Somalia. To its credit the international community has worked tirelessly to bring Somalia under one national umbrella. However due to the competing forms of government and lack of political agreement previous actions have been unsuccessful (Council on Foreign Relations Press, 2010).
From 1993 to approximately 2004 Somalia was not viewed as an international partner by the United States and policymakers. This was largely due to events like the Black Hawk Down episode (1993); however embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania (1998) and terrorist acts on 9/11 caused a shift in international relations. The perception was that terrorist could fill the void left by the absence of a central government. Although there was some initial resistance locally the (TFG) Transitional Federal Government was eventually formed. The TFG became the preliminary framework for establishing a national government. However the journey towards a democratic central government has been filled with peaks and valleys (Council on Foreign Relations Press, 2010).
During this period there has been the rise and fall of the organizations like the (ARPCT) Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counterterrorism. There has also been the establishment of the (SCIC) Supreme Council of Islamic Courts. This constant and often bloody battle for power even included Ethiopia’s occupation of Mogadishu. What emerged from such historical conflict was an eventual tension between western democracy and Islamic ideologies (Council on Foreign Relations Press, 2010).
Since the establishment of a federal government in 2012, international relationships have shown significant progression. For example in Canada, there had been a suspension of international relations since the collapse of the Somali government in 1991. In 2012 there was a public statement by Minister Baird sharing the intent to reestablish diplomatic relationship with Somalia in May of 2013. The announcement was subsequently followed up with a Letter of Credence on June 15, 2014. The letter was written and delivered by David Angell (Canada) Ambassador-designate to Somalia to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (Canada International, 2014).
Canada to its credit continues international support that includes engagement in the political process, peacebuilding and humanitarian efforts. More progress needs to be made as Canada presently has minimal trade volume and equity with Somalia. This has been attributed to ongoing internal conflict (in Somalia) and associated export-import costs. Although Canada exports machinery and vehicles to Somalia total trade valuation is approximately $900,000 (2013) (Canada International, 2014).
Another critical international partner is the United States. Although diplomatic relations was initially established in 1960, it has continued albeit intermittently over the years. From 2004-2012 there were attempts by the United States to aid in the development of Somalia’s transitional government. However with the changing political landscape previous efforts have had nominal impact at best. Military equipment, economic assistance, and humanitarian support have been central to the support by the United States (US Department of State Diplomacy in Action, 2013).
With the election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and the structural establishment of a Prime Minister and cabinet, the landscape of US relations has changed. Although the United States has maintained a consistent relationship with Somalia in 1991 during political unrest the US Embassy in Somalia was closed. For the U.S. what is most important is the continued development of political and economic stability, elimination of terrorism on Somalian borders, and alleviating humanitarian suffering (US Department of State Diplomacy in Action, 2013).
To achieve the desired results requires assistance with strengthening local governance infrastructure, provision of necessary services, and effective legislation. The work of AMISOM has also been praised by the United States especially the combatting of terrorists’ like al-Shabaab. The US embassy is presently located in Kenya which also maintains diplomatic support for Somalia (US Department of State Diplomacy in Action, 2013).
The United States support to Somalia has also included humanitarian assistance to address issues of drought, famine, and refugees. Working in partnership with other donor partners and international organizations U.S. support has enabled the development of security forces, military police, and the justice sectors. Targeting areas like Somaliland, Puntland, and Mogadishu the focus has been on fostering socio-economic growth within the post-transitional national government. Additionally there have been continued efforts to support African Union peacekeeping efforts (US Department of State Diplomacy in Action, 2013).
U.S. exports have included legumes, grain, baking related products, donated products and machinery. Somalian imports have included precious stones and low-value shipments. Somalia and the United States both maintain membership in many of the same international organizations such as the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank. In terms of bilateral representation although Somalia has no embassy in Washington, there is a U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya (US Department of State Diplomacy in Action, 2013).
Earlier in this report there has been discussion concerning terrorism and specific actions to mitigate potent threats. Although there has been significant attack on al Shabaab impacting Somali’s operational capacity there are still latent risks. One potential threat includes a terrorist network that expands across the Horn of Africa. Specific areas of focus for al Shabba include the capital of Mogadiush, as well as Kismayo, Baidoa, and Beledweyne (Miller, 2014).
Somalia must continue to be on the watch for terrorist cells that emerge throughout East Africa. Not just in Somalia but they must work in partnership with Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Djibouti to address terrorist cells that could infiltrate from neighboring areas. Specific military tactics need to address how to appropriately respond to radical attacks such as that which took place on July 2010. During that attack al Shabaab used twin suicide bombers to attack Kampala Uganda. Following that attack there was the false opinion that al Shabaab would not attempt a similar strategy (Miller, 2014).
Al Shabaab subsequently announced a renewed focus on asymmetrical attacks, as opposed to holding a specific territory. In September 2013, there was a second Al Shabaab attack which leveraged a Kenyan terrorist network. In order to accomplish the second international attack al Shabbab used fundraising and recruiting strategies in partnership with al Hijra. Al Hijra was a disgruntled group of Kenyan’s who assisted in the killing of approximately ninety individuals (Miller, 2014).
Other key targets in the past few years include a World Cup qualifying match in Ethiopia, the Entebbe International Airport, and a Djibouti restaurant. Although many of those attempts have failed they indicate continued efforts to expand operational reach and regional influence through systematic efforts. The importance of international collaborative efforts cannot be overstated as evident by a recent message by Al Shabaab leadership. In May 2014, Ahmed Abdi Godane said the group intends to remain in unanimity with Muslims in the Central African Republic (CAR) (Miller, 2014).
Long Term Tribal Unity
Long-term tribal unity will require a concerted effort on the part of the Government to engage all key stakeholders in Somalia. Although the long-term goal is the formation of Federal Member States and an Inter-Regional Consultative Forum, there are preliminary steps. One preliminary step is the active engagement of local tribal leaders. Within the past few years approximately one hundred and thirty five tribal leaders have been given the task of assisting with the transitional process. That process includes the selection of eight hundred and twenty five members that will constitute the National Constituent Assembly. This National Assembly will represent every sector of Somalia’s society. The second task is the appointment of two hundred and twenty five members to the newly formed parliament (Mohammed, 2012).
Many of those preliminary steps have already occurred, in addition to the election of a new President. However, the tribal leaders will still be a critical cog in the system that enables past disputes to be resolved and mitigate potential violent acts. There is already an established level of trust as Tribal leaders are viewed with respect and trust among the tribes. The Istanbul conference needs to be viewed as a futuristic blueprint for engaging constituents from international, regional, and local levels. Specifically at the local level Somalia’s stakeholders include religious leader, civil servants, and expatriates (Mohammed, 2012).
Moving forward even if there are only national conferences (with various levels of Somalian representation) it will foster collaborative engagement. Tribal unity is not a one-time process; rather it is about building a bridge of continued engagement. It is an opportunity for those who are in political and legislative positions of authority to understand the pertinent issues affecting local tribes (Mohammed, 2012).
Federalism jurisdictions and states responsibility
The scope of Federalism jurisdictions and State responsibility is very extensive. However, there are fundamental assumptions and principles that guide government actions. According to Article 3 of the Provisional Constitution there is a belief in shared power. This means that at the federal, state, and local levels there should not be abuse of power. This fundamental process is only enforced as each citizen and constituent has a significant voice in the process of governance (The Federal Republic of Somalia, 2012).
Within the same Article (3), there is a stated understanding that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia is founded on the principles of the Holy Quran and the Sunna of the prophet Mohammed. Social justice is described as a central focus requiring subsequent action. Also, at every level of Government the Federal Republic of Somalia is concerned with human rights, international law, justice, and inclusive government. In addition it is important that there be acknowledgement of separation of powers including the legislature, executive, and independent judiciary (The Federal Republic of Somalia, 2012).
Federal authority at every level must also ensure that the interests of all people are taken into consideration. This includes engaging women in various capacities including national institutions, and various elected positions within the three branches of government. Further, Article 117 highlights the importance of high ranking officials being elected by the President in collaboration with the Council of Ministers (The Federal Republic of Somalia, 2012).
The Prime Minister must actively engage in the process of ensuring there is an appropriate vetting process for the proposed officials. Part of that process should include an analysis of each candidate’s philosophy concerning key concerns such as inclusive government, human rights, and comprehensive justice (The Federal Republic of Somalia, 2012).
In Article 111 constitutional directives concerning Boundaries and Federation Commission are discussed. It states that the Boundaries and Federation commission is charged with supporting territorial changes in Somalia. The specific goal is that each territory will ultimately become a recognized federation state. Leveraging national and international experience the Boundaries and Federation Commission is responsible for related activities. They include conducting studies, printing maps, and any other steps associated with the formation of federal states (The Federal Republic of Somalia, 2012).
Article 120 outlines the fact that constitution provides Federal authority for the establishment of Federal Member States. Within each Federal Member State there are associated levels of responsibility. In Article 121 it is understood that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia and those of the Federal Member states shall be cohesive in operation. Therefore the Federal Government and the Prime Minister should ensure that established actions by the Federal Member States are in accordance with those articulated in the constitution (The Federal Republic of Somalia, 2012).
According to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud the functionality of the Federal Government must own the process of Federal-local partnerships. Although Non-Government Organizations can assist with the implementation or integration processes must be Somali owned. The Prime Minister should actively engage the process of building relationships with International, National, and NGO partners (United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia, 2014).
Presently there are twenty-four Somalian embassies worldwide with consular missions. Additionally, there are four consulates and additional representation globally. There are ten embassies within Somalian borders, consisting of liaisons from other countries. Somalian Embassies abroad include areas such as Belgium, China, France, Germany, and India. Also there are Somali consultants in Australia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates (Embassy Pages, 2014).
In general, Somalia must ensure that there is a standard process in place for evaluating embassy representatives. One of the important components of the election process should be a fair election process that considers all candidates regardless of race, age, or socio-economic background. The federal government working closely with federal member states should determine the most appropriate methodology for electing embassy representatives. Philosophically each embassy representative should be focused on collaborative consensus building within their designated capacity.
Strengthening Federal Intelligence
The Federal Intelligence agency is currently being developed in partnership with the United States CIA. The facility is aptly situated near Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport. There are aircraft that are specifically designated for the CIA to distribute suspected terrorists. Although Somalian soldiers guard the facility it is the American’s that mange the facility access. The American Central Intelligence Agency is also conducting counterterrorism training for Somali intelligent officers. Some of the specific objectives of the counterterrorism training include effectively targeting militant and terrorist groups (Schahill, 2011).
The Somalian government must continue to strengthen its intelligence activities by sending soldiers and CIA personnel through such training. Subsequently there must be an effective strategy to continue funding for addressing operational costs such as salaries, airplane fuel, and facility maintenance. The CIA has also leveraged a secret prison located near the Somali national Security Agency headquarters to interrogate individuals. Short-term operational costs have been offset by the United States to cover salaries of intelligence personnel and other associated costs (Schahill, 2011).
In conclusion the role of the incoming Prime Minister is dynamic and varied. At the core of success lies the ability to navigate the changing socio-political landscape within Somalia. Relationships are multi-faceted and exist at an international, national, regional, and local level. The road to success has documented milestones that should guide associated actions. The Prime Minister is not solely responsible for ushering in the permanent federal government. However, as part of the executive branch the Prime Minister must actively facilitate key projects, policies, and relationships.
Given the often fragile nature of international partnerships, continued movement toward a peaceful central government is therefore critical. International partners are presently assessing whether the current actions of Somalia are indicative of a troublesome past (i.e. the overthrow of the central government in the early 90’s) or that of a more promising future. The way of local groups can fluctuate based on the strengthening of core pillars of infrastructure. Core pillars include water, irrigation, federal buildings, job creation, and a strong military. As a young Somali population sees the emergence of job opportunities and the destruction of oppressive terrorist regimes they desire to remain in Somali.
The future of Somali is bright with possibility and there are global partnerships that have been forged through diversity. However, despite the previous challenges there are moments that reveal promise and hope. The President has worked tirelessly with the Federal Government and International partners to produce a strong network and key resources. Therefore an incoming Prime Minister must build a bridge of trust that enables efficient and effective governance.
It is important that the people of Somali have ownership of the process of rebuilding. As the Somali people are invited into the process of rebuilding the results are subsequently improved. As the Federal Government engages people they are not as likely to be swayed by extremist thoughts and ideas. Extremism is often embraced when the traditional forms of governance are viewed as oppressive and counterproductive concerning the needs of the people.
The road to transformation will not be easy but it will be worthwhile. As the Somali people are lifted from socio-economic mediocrity into promise and abundance it will create a new trajectory for future generations. Eventually the memories from civil war and territorial disputes will give way to harmonious relationships and prosperity for all individuals that apply themselves. The Government is in a unique and enviable position to become catalysts for such powerful change in the 21st century and beyond.
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