The Horn Of Africa States: Story Of Confused Somalia Governance – OpEd


Given Facts

Somalia’s government collapsed in early 1991 when the long-ruling military regime vacated the seat of Somalia’s center of power. The period from 1991 to 2012 saw chaos reign over the country when the nomadic Somali returned to his traditional governance system – the clan and competition among the clans, each reverting and going back to its traditional territory within the expansive Somali lands, confused by pseudo-religious fanatics trained and financed from abroad, a plethora of NGOs sensing opportunities to make money on the broken backs of Somalis, and many other actors including other governments from near and far, all trying to take advantage of the now weak Somali State. Indeed, Somalia existed just in name during this period and many of its people fled the country and are now settled in nearly 75% of the United Nations members (144 countries of the UN’s official member states of 193).

Efforts to reconstitute the State and its governance infrastructures, however always continued from the beginning of the collapse of the state governance infrastructures. These included the famous Operation Restore Hope which, unfortunately, badly ended despite the good intentions. It was later followed by an IGASOM in 2005, which was an Inter-Governmental Authority on Development Peace Support Mission for Somalia. It was, however, seen by many Somalis as an invasion of the country by Ethiopia, with which the country did not have good relations from the beginning of Somalia’s government in 1960. The Mission failed miserably, and it gave rise to the terror forces that the country still suffers from.

In 2007, an African Union peacekeeping mission was constituted with the approval of the United Nations. It was named the African Union Misson in Somalia (AMISOM) and was designed to replace the IGASOM.  AMISOM became operational in the same year and the mission was extended several times and was eventually replaced by the African Union Transition Mission (ATMIS) which still operates in the country despite being unsuccessful in its mission. 

A semblance of order was constituted in 2012, through the efforts of the UN organizations, some prodding of some of its great power members, and some malevolent regional and non-regional parties that wanted to take advantage of the country, with the goal of owning the country through the new leadership put in place. The new order, based on a fascist/racist clan partition of powers, was ironically led by the current president of the country, who was re-elected through a dubious election process in 2022. President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud’s first stint at presiding over the country ended in 2017, when he was replaced by President Farmajo, only to come back to power again in 2022. 

The current President who does not have the mandate of the citizens of the country to enter certain deals affecting the nation’s destiny launched a bid to join the EAC in 2012 as soon as he was elected. Despite this application, the president failed to complete the country’s constitution to, at least, seek legitimacy for his actions. President Faramjo also failed to complete that process. Somalia remains as chaotic as it was in 1991 when the civil war and civil strife of all shades -clan/religious/foreign interventions started and continued to mark the country.

The Federal Infrastructure

The country is broken and splintered into clan enclaves that only live to their rules without abiding by the so-called federal infrastructure in place. Indeed, each clan behaves as if it is its own government with flags and clan anthems. The country has been in this chaotic situation for over three decades, yet the ambitions of its pseudo-politicians appear to be boundless and limitless. 

The Efforts to Join the EAC

Applying for an EAC membership, for instance, was a thoughtless action in the beginning but continuing it, indeed, must be foolish on the part of all those involved in this traitorous action which would cause the nation to lose its sovereignty immediately upon being accepted by the EAC.

The President has no clue that the ATMIS soldiers currently guarding him can kick him out of his office immediately as the Presidential Security guard to Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum recently did. The Ugandan guards would immediately become a part of the EAC security project in the country.  The president cannot be so out of step with his own life and presidency unless he is under some control or being forced by undefined forces or he must be mad, in which case the president should be removed by the parliament which elected him. There are no constitutional judiciary processes in the country and the only resort is the legislative house.

The EAC is not right by Somalia either. They should have stopped the president and his entourage from the possibility of Somalia joining the EAC, which would cause more headaches for it. The terror groups of Somalia would find easy access to all the member countries of the East Africa Federation, and they would infiltrate and exploit the populations of each of the countries of the region. We doubt this was the intention of the EAC in accepting the application of Somalia, let alone send an investigation team to the country. But they have done so either intentionally or they may have maneuvered into it. In either case, this was an abject failure of the EAC Secretariat.

What happens to the Arab League Membership

Since the Arab League is only for Arab countries and Somalia, which is currently a member of that organization, joins the new country under the formation of the East Africa Federation, what would happen to its membership in that organization? Would the Arab League be accepting the East Africa Federation as a new member? I doubt this would happen. However, would the Arab League just let go of one of its members without some modicum of rules? What would be the reaction of the Arab League in this regard? These are issues and many others that have not been digested by the men and women in President Hassan’s circles who are pushing this wrong agenda.

Article II of the Arab League Charter clearly states that the purpose of the League is to assist in the close cooperation of member states in many areas which include among others item “D” in the article on nationality, passports, visas, execution of judgments, and extradition of criminals. How would this be affected if Somalia does officially join the EAC?

In this regard, one must then ask oneself if Somalia has considered article XVIII of the Arab League Charter, which states that “if a member state contemplates withdrawal from the League, it shall inform the Council of its intention one year before such withdrawal is to go into effect”? Clearly, they have not discussed this in public forums and there has been no such information from the Arab League either. 

If Somalia withdraws from the Arab League and opts for the EAC, what would the relations of Somalia and Somalis be with the Arab world, whose relations go back to millennia? We must doubt that the President of Somalia and his team have thought of this very well. Note Somalia’s main export is related to animals on the hoof, whose main market is in the Arabian Peninsula. Should relations sour, Somalia and Somalis would be badly affected economically and financially. Perhaps the President and his team should revisit this new toy of EAC membership with which they think they have found the magic wand to solve the country’s problems.


Somalia’s problems are many and require basically a thoughtful leadership, which can handle not only the current issues at hand but also plan well for the future. At present, the current rulers of the Somali people seem to be falling far short of the needs of the nation. We just pointed out a few points on how an EAC membership would affect relations with the Arab League. There are many other organizations where Somalia is a member, and which would no doubt be affected should Somalia lose its sovereignty as is planned in the EAC protocols. The current leadership should not be jumping at the first fanciful thing they encounter in their lives as leaders but should be thoughtful, deliberate, and not impulsive and/or reactive. It is the key to carefully managing a state such as Somalia which has seen so many perils in the last three to four decades.

Certainly, joining the EAC is not a solution and should be abandoned with immediate effect. Perhaps studies and careful deliberations/discussions on the matter, need to be carried out after first completing the more urgent matters of the state, which include among others completion of the drafting of the constitution and then presenting it to the population through a popular referendum, completion of the judiciary system and making it an independent body and more specifically the constitutional court and supreme court, properly constituting the federal infrastructure which today looks more like independent nations, than federal member states. The system should be aligned and function smoothly. The other urgent matters would include the whole country being under one seamless administration, with properly functioning body parts such as a properly functioning central bank, a currency accepted by all as a means of payment, systemic educational and healthcare services, and so on.

This continuing story of Somalia’s confusion in governance should stop and the leaders should come back to their senses. If they cannot handle the country, they should be wise enough to vacate the seat of power for the proper leaders to step in and manage the country.

Dr. Suleiman Walhad

Dr. Suleiman Walhad writes on the Horn of Africa economies and politics. He can be reached at [email protected].

One thought on “The Horn Of Africa States: Story Of Confused Somalia Governance – OpEd

  • September 12, 2023 at 4:17 am

    The rest is historical anecdotes but one thing I concor with the author is that it must be pointed be out the recklessness of the Somali regime move in seeking to join into the so-called regional block of EAC, which is still unknown or unexplained of its socio-economoc and strategic benefits and drawbacks for Somali public thus far , nothing to say of the weak bargaining position could be put the nation in terms of inherently weak public coherence and constitutional, institutional, technocratic and socio-economic and other national shortcomings. Charity must start right at home before anything. Somalia cannot put even put its house in order and still unable to integrate own regions and
    sovereign territories together at this point.


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