This article by: Dr. Mohamed BINCOF (Ph.D.), Lecturer, Consultant, and Researcher.
The content of this [report/study/article/publication…] does not reflect the official opinion of the DIPLOMAT NEWS NETWORK.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
- The problems of democratic development in Africa are many and complicated, including rebuilding state institutions and political systems and deciding on constitutional democracy. Somalia has similar challenges to other African countries, but the state has also experienced complex clan politics that have hindered a successful democratic transition. In addition to this, Somalia is characterized by poor governance, a clan-based political system, non-universal electoral processes, high levels of electoral corruption such as voter buying, irregular campaign financing, and other complex problems that undermine the development of democratization. After decades of military dictatorship, unrest, civil war, and instability, democracy has not been developed, but Somalia is still struggling to find stable democratic institutions through re-building its political parties and factions and promoting political dialogue and consensus among its citizens. In Somalia, for the first time in many years, the political leaders reached a political agreement that the country should move in a new direction.
The leaders of Somalia’s national consultative council reached a landmark political agreement on May 27, 2023. Therefore, this short article revisits the main components of the agreement signed by the parties and makes a summary of the aspects of the agreement mentioned in the agreement.
1.Agreed with NCC leaders to adopt universal suffrage elections for the coming regional and national elections, in which that country holds a one-person, one-vote electoral system. That is beneficial to a country as it helps to promote national unity, encourages political participation, gives legitimacy to the government of the day, and encourages governments to be accountable to the people. Though critics raise concerns about the new system because, in regions with an imbalanced population, the majority can abuse it; this system is also vulnerable to populism as populist leaders can evoke the emotions of the voters, and not all regional elections are guaranteed to be free and fair. Historically, the country’s electoral history has emphasized regular, frustrated elections, disruptions by a military coup, clannism, and multiple transitions that have created a dysfunctional state. However, many believed that the new agreement would ensure political inclusivity, achieve genuine democracy, and strengthen anti-corruption strategies to promote transparency and accountability and strengthen Somalia’s nascent democracy.
2. The NCC has demolished the 4.5-clan system that has been practiced in the past three decades. Clan-based power sharing and indirect elections had impeded Somalia's attempts to achieve a successful transition to democracy. This political agreement was made by the National Consultative Council as a positive step to move the country forward.
3. The NCC Abolishing the office of the prime minister means that the country has decided to restructure its political system from a parliamentary system to a presidential system. As a result, the federal republic of Somalia's president and vice president will hold direct popular elections and rule without interference from the parliament for the duration of their terms. The Somalian people do not directly elect the prime minister in the country's current parliamentary system; instead, the HoP gives a vote of confidence. The differences between two systems: Somalia's current parliamentary system, which has been observed to have weak government function and political instability, and the executive dominating the parliament, where over 60 PMs are appointed to ministers, Therefore, the presidential system has advantages in terms of a strong and stable government because of the separation of legislative and executive organs, which cannot dominate each other or have absolute power under one arm but instead promote checks and balances. That will have positive sides in terms of transparency and a rapid decision-making process by the government, which is good for the nation's long-term stability and development.
4. Even though it's important to recognize that Somalia's political culture plays a significant role in determining the type of government and electoral system that the state ultimately chooses, the NCC's proposed electoral model offers a clear path for a new presidential system in which the leaders will be directly elected by the people. Several political culture traits can affect how many and how big the parties are, either directly by changing the electoral system's impact or indirectly by operating virtually through the electoral structure. That is why the NCC leadership has decided to take decisions that will boost political participation and give all citizens equal access to participate in political activities and the right to vote and stand for election.
5. However, above all, to implement all the terms in the agreement, the federal government, and the leaders of the NCC must find ways to reach political consensus and support honest dialogues among actors to achieve a constitutional amendment, which will finally make the agreement a law.