Somalia + 14 more

Mediterranean Review - July 24, 2012

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This document provides an overview of developments in the Mediterranean Basin and other regions of interest from 10 July — 23 July, with hyperlinks to source material highlighted and underlined in the text. For more information on the topics below or other issues pertaining to the region, please contact the members of the Med Basin Team, or visit our website at www.cimicweb.org.

In Focus: Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government
By Britta Rinehard

The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was formed in 2004 with a five-year mandate, recognised by the international community, to build a strong, centralised government in Mogadishu that would bring peace to Somalia, after 13 previous attempts since President Siad Barre was ousted in 1991. The mandate included the requirements to draft a new constitution and organise national elections in 2009, leading to a permanent, representative government. Due to security issues, the newly-formed TFG was unable to govern from Mogadishu and initially convened in Kenya until parliament’s first meeting in Baidoa, Somalia in February 2006. Following the removal of Islamists from the area by Ethiopian-supported government troops, Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf entered Mogadishu in January 2007 for the first time since taking office in 2004 and reclaimed the capital as the seat of his government.

In an effort to bring stability to Somalia, particularly to the south-central region, the Djibouti Agreement was signed in August 2008 between the TFG and the Eritrea-based opposition Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS). In 2009, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was elected by parliament as the new Somali president. His goal was to bring peace and unity to his country. The Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP), which originally consisted of 275 members, was increased to 550 members in 2009 to include representatives from the opposition and civil society groups. The same year, the TFG’s mandate expired, but the TFP extended it for another two years until August 2011. Within that time frame, a constitution was to be drafted and general elections to be held; however, in early 2011 it became clear that the two goals would not be met. Ahmed has been criticised by the international community for not doing enough to “restore law, order and basic services”. The President argues that he focused on fighting terrorism and, with the help of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops, al Shabaab was pushed out of the capital and other former al Shabaab strongholds. Security in those areas has improved. About 63,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have been able to return to their homes in Mogadishu alone. AMISOM, alongside TFG forces, continues to fight the Islamist militants; the government remains committed to drive the Islamic militants out and establish law and order in the country.

There have been several reports accusing the TFG of corruption; the most recent accusations were leaked from a report by the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, writes BBC. According to the report, out of every USD 10 received by the TFG between 2009 and 2010, USD 7 “never made it into state coffers”. The government denies the allegations. On 18 July, during a ceremony in Mogadishu, Somali president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed accused the UN Monitoring Group of being against peace and claimed that “the government is ready for transparency. If any money is missing, I am ready to resign”. In June, Ahmed announced that he will be available for the re-bid of his seat. Somalia Report has started to feature presidential candidates on their website.

The Somalia Roadmap

The Kampala Accord was signed on 9 June 2011 by the Somali president and speaker of the TFP. Among other things, it extended the current government until August 2012, called for the appointment of a new prime minister and stated that “both Government and Parliament shall work together with the international community to establish a roadmap with benchmarks, timelines and compliance mechanisms for the implementation of the priority task. Details of the mechanisms to be agreed by 20 August 2011”. On 11 July 2011, parliament approved the ten articles of the Kampala Accord with 393 Members of Parliament endorsing the agreement. A consultative meeting was held in Mogadishu on 4-6 September 2011 to discuss the accord. Attendees included Somali government officials and about 30 representatives from the international community. The meeting established a roadmap that will end the transitional period for the Somali government. The mandate of the TFG will expire on 20 August 2012, by which time Somalia must complete four main tasks in the areas of security, ratifying a constitution, reconciliation and good governance.

In December 2011, the first Somali National Consultative Constitutional Conference was held in Garowe, the capital of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, with TFG officials, representatives from the semi-autonomous region of Puntland and a faction of the paramilitary group Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaah (ASWJ) participating. The conference resulted in the adoption of the Garowe Principles, based on previous agreements from the Somali National Peace Conference in Djibouti in 2000, and incorporation of the ‘4.5 formula’. The 4.5 clan representation formula calls for equal quotas for the major clans – the Darood, Digil-Mirifle, Dir and Hawiye – each receiving 61 seats, while the remaining groups receive 31 seats. The formula will be used for the new parliament in 2012. The Garowe Principles also seek a reduction in parliament from 550 seats to 225 seats, with an increase of women’s participation from the current 7% to 20%. Based on the 4.5 formula and the Garowe Principles, the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) will comprise 1,000 delegates, including 300 women, which will be selected from scholars, diaspora, religious and traditional leaders, among others. The NCA was scheduled to meet in May 2012 to vote on the new Federal Constitution. Garowe Online states that the NCA comprises 825 members rather than 1,000 as the Garowe II conference summary had indicated. On 25 July, The NCA started its meetings to discuss the provisional constitution.

The second Somali National Consultative Constitutional Conference took place from 15-17 February 2012 in Garowe and established the Garowe II Principles which “shall guide and direct finalization of the draft constitution and the process of ending the transition including the development and enactment of the legal framework therein”. The draft constitution was to be completed by 20 April 2012. On 22 June, the signatories of the roadmap signed the Joint Communiqué of the Consultative Meeting of the Signatories of the Process for Ending the Transition and agreed on a draft constitution. On 18 July, Garowe Online reports that the traditional elders reviewed and approved the provisional constitution. The elders are also tasked to dissolve the current parliament and elect the new one, which will than elect the new president. The president will be tasked to nominate the new prime minister who will be subject to the approval of the parliament. UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Augustine P. Mahiga, said, “Hopefully, on the eve of August 20, this new Cabinet will be sworn in and this will signify the end of the transition and the beginning of a new dispensation with a completely different road map, a different mandate”. Some Somalia experts are concerned that the TFG will not be able to make the deadline by 20 August “unless Somalia’s governing authority shows some commitment to the task”.

Mahiga stated that the roadmap is challenging for various reasons, most notably bringing relevant players to the same table despite limited resources and security concerns. There will also be fundamental changes “not only in the mindset, but in the leadership and in the institutions. In 21 years, many have developed vested interests from a political perspective, including various clans, the business community and various ideological groups. Some of these interest groups are not keen to see change”. Somalia will be on its way to peace and stability, but this will be the beginning and not the end state.

Britta Rinehard is the CFC Desk Officer for HOA, holds a Masters in International Studies and has more than ten years of experience in the transportation sector.