Federalism and Somalia Essay
Somalia, officially known as the Federal Republic of Somalia, gained its independent from three powerful European colonial powers in June-July of 1960. Somalia then formed by the Unisom of British Somaliland and the Italian Somaliland Who were British and Italian colonies respectively. Geographically, Somalia is located in East Coast of Africa, also known as the horn of Africa. It boarders by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the Northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the North, the Indian ocean to the East, and Kenya to the Southwest.
In terms of size comparison, Somalia has an area “slightly smaller than Texas.” (CIA, 2013). Unlike most African nations, Somalia has only one ethnic group, divided into various clans. Over the past two decades, the nature of Somalia crises has been constantly topping in to the media headlines. It acquired many actors and different faces during its long time of madness. It has also become a threat to itself, to their neighbors, and to the international community at large.
It has frequently referred “failed state”, the hub of sea piracy, and safe heavens to the al-Qaida and other terrorist links groups. It has all begun with a civil war in the late 1980s, followed by the state collapse in 1990, clan factionalism, and warlordism in the aftermath (1990s), to rampant extremism which dominates and takes the toll as I am writing this piece. Not to mention, though, the hope of new and better Somalia is believe to be emerging now. Somalia is now changing its image from the so many bad brands it acquired during the two decade of civil death and destruction.
Things have looked up pretty well and the hopes of a re-birth of a new Somalia come to the edge. There is now a glimmer of hope looming on the horizon. The era of Sheikh Sharif government is regarded as the Golden age of the re-birth of new Somalia. This time many historical events took place that creates hope of a new Somalia. The draftsmanship of a new constitution− which is meant to bring the Somalia’s stability and on track as a nation was among the important events took place earlier in Somalia. It was really a step forward for the Somalia political web, though up to date threats and obstacles exists. The Constitution making process was married by accusation of being foreign bait. Some clauses in the new constitution were found to be in contrary with the Somali culture and beliefs. Not only that, but also the constitution has been accused that it giving much power to federal states. “The new constitution exposes an already traumatized nation to more exploitation and bloodshed. Bluntly stated, this document poses a serious existential threat that should be of a concern to anyone who cares about Somalia” Abukar Arman, Somalia’s Special Envoy to the United States wrote in his article titled, “A Constitution of Ambiguity and Deferment,” (Arman, 2012), and published in the Foreign Policy webpage. The author remarked that constitution would undermine the profound hope in Somalia. As everyone concerning the Somali new move, he is still believed that anything that could take this new hope and slide back Somalia into their twenty of years of failed states should stop and implement.
The author supports his arguments by touching many aspects of national interest and religion concern to the nation. These independent natures that permeate clan rivalries inside Somalia have ruined the trust and moral principles among its people. It is my understanding that the author is concern the unscientific federalism that the new constitution advocates. For instance, Somalis live in together by tribal lines, and only within their tribe and sub-clan most of the regions in Somalia – like the self-declared state of Somaliland, and the autonomous region of Puntland. The author also spoke about the consequences that the new constitution can bring. It’s his concern that the constitution gives a full right for these regions to use and independently trade the natural resources found in their region. Well, I wonder whether that can be considered a problem or even a topic of discussion when the country doesn’t have a powerful central government that can control and utilize their resources. In some point though, the ambassador is right for worry about the federalism in Somalia. In fact, African federalism has shown to fail due to a lack of commitment to democratic values and obstruction of the central government authority. As he putted, “We have federal states that no one knows their number or cap. We have a Federal government that no one knows where its authority ends and that of a federal state begins.”
There is a concern that the leaders of the central government and those of the federal level would eventually fall into misunderstanding. Nevertheless, this new constitution improved many aspects that been regarded poorly for the last twenty year, and implement the originally adopted constitution of Somalia. Whatever it might be, this new constitution is the best chance for Somalia to recover its statehood. Somalia, a country in the horn of Africa region has traumatized by poor governance, civil war, warlords, extremism, and famine, but most of all it believe to be recovering now and with the right time to go back where they were before the civil war and better. But at the same time, there is some obstacles here and there. For instance the new constitution can create a major division between the Somali people instead of uniting them. As the author and the special envoy of Somalia in United states remarked, the constitution will undermine the profound hope if the parliament would take time to review and made amendments where needed. To restrict the federal power where also needed and to put the nation interest ahead of every other thing.
Arman, Abukar. “A Constitution of Ambiguity and Deferment.” Foreign Policy Blogs N.p., 07 Aug. 2012. Web. 18 Apr. 2013. Central Intelligence Agency. “Somalia.” cia.gov. Central Intelligence Agency, 10 Apr. 2013. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.