The last time Somalia had a fully functioning democracy was 1969. Somalia has lost all working knowledge of how democracy works. There are many in Somalia who are working in branches of state and federal government who cannot effectively describe how democracy is supposed to function. In the period since Somalia regained internationally recognized statehood, nothing meaningful has been done to educate those working in all branches of state and federal government, nor has the broader population been educated in the principles of governance and the practicalities of democracy.

The executive branch, the legislature, and the judiciary, are completely conflated into the executive at both federal and state levels. The danger is, as we have seen with Somalia’s most recent federal government, and with some of the regional state administrations, that totalitarian traits manifest themselves and imperil Somalia’s progress toward becoming a fully functioning state.

There is an obvious need to separate the judicial and legislative branches and make them genuinely independent from the executive. This engenders a balance of power that mitigates totalitarian excess.

Somalia still has no effective judiciary at federal or state level. With no judiciary, there’s no justice – nothing for citizens or business to appeal to. Without an effective judiciary Somalia will struggle to attract investment, as foreign direct investment requires legal certainty that can guarantee investment security and contractual enforcement. An absence of practical and effective justice in the lives of all Somalis allows nefarious elements to prevail, and it undermines the legitimacy of institutions of government that Somalis so dearly want.

The enforcement of the law falls within the mandate of policing. Law enforcement in Somalia remains conflated with the executive branch. Law enforcement also needs to be separated from the executive within all regional states and those law enforcement structures need to be clearly independent. They cannot be directed at the personal whim of state or federal executive branches. That is totalitarianism in practice.

There is a lot to be done. It is a process. I am committed to pressing hard to realize tangible, empirically verifiable, separation of powers; independent regional state and federal judicial institutions; and politically independent regional state and federal policing and security functions.

Abdulkadir Osoble, and I’m a presidential candidate in ’22

Categories: Opinion

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