Title: Somalia’s Troubled Transition: Vision 2016 Revisited
Author: Matt Bryden and Tres Thomas
Institution: Sahan Statebuilding Team
Publication Date: 2015
Keywords: Somalia, Governance
With the upcoming National Elections in Somalia in August 2016, and therefore the deadline for the Somali Government’s ‘Vision 2016’ (a framework to conduct constitutional review and implementation, reconciliation and completion of the federal system, and democratisation), this article was written in May 2015 in order to analyse the upcoming challenges.
This article will be of specific interest to those with a regional interest in Eastern Africa and Somalia specifically, but also to those with a thematic interest in constitution building in fragile and conflict affected states.
This article provides a good background of Somalia’s recent constitutional history since President Hassan Sheik took office in 2012. It also examines the challenges to successful federalism in Somalia in its different regions, specifically those of inclusivity and representation, boundaries and demographies (the argument for ‘ethnic federalism’), and the allocation of powers and resources.
There are also recommendations for the central government in terms of ensuring a positive outcome for Vision 2016 – this includes necessary political, legal and organisational changes to elections, political parties and Parliament. Most notably, the authors argue that for a successful transition, representation and inclusion of leaders from all Federal Member States (FMS) and Interim Regional Administrations (IRAs) is crucial. A firm case is made that all of Somalia’s future electoral and party laws must be endorsed by the Federal Member States or they will prove impossible to implement.
The paper concludes with the argument that a constitutional fix is no longer possible and rather, in order to keep Somalia’s recovery on track, a political settlement between all actors needs to be reached.