SIDRA Institute released its 9th Policy Brief titled “The National Security Council Meeting in Mogadishu: The Sisyphean Search for Political Agreement in Somalia”.
On 5 April 2019 the President of the Federal government, Mr Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, has called for a meeting of the National Security Council, inviting the presidents of the Federal Member States to Mogadishu on 19 – 23 April 2019. Notwithstanding the suggestions that this NSC meeting is convened at the behest of Somalia’s international partners ahead of a crucial meeting to review Somalia Transition Plan for Security late April 2019, there is a concern that it may have been organised to shelf the Garowe conference.
Despite the anticipation that the NSC meeting will bring together the presidents of the FGS and FMS in Mogadishu one year after the last NSC meeting in Baidoba in March 2018, the prospect of a new beginning and a significant breakthrough in the negotiations to develop permanent solutions to these incessant disputes will depend on the good faith, willingness and determination of these political leaders to compromise and reach a political agreement.
Below are the main key policy messages:
The perpetual cycle of disagreement between the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and its Federal Member States (FMS) has kept the nation in relentless political and security predicaments.
The National Security Council (NSC) meeting, scheduled to take place on 19 – 23 April 2019 in Mogadishu, avails the leaders of the FGS and FMS an opportunity to make genuine political overtures and declaration to restore relations. The leaders must negotiate in good faith and adopt conciliatory approach to break the spiral of distrust between them.
The leaders of the FGS and FMS should be cognisant of the fact that the proposed (but not realised) national conference in Garowe in March 2019 was ideally suited to resolve the disputes between the two sides and bring about agreements on the most urgent challenges: completion of the federal structure, sharing of power and resources, the completion of the constitutional review process, the national security plan and the 2020-21 direct elections. This NSC meeting must be used to resolve the disputes and set out technical and legal frameworks for agreements on these fundamental issues.
The disagreements between the FGS and FMS bring to the fore the differing perspectives on the concept, structure, objectives and functions of Somali federalism and the need to bring the leaders on the same page to promote consultation, intergovernmental collaboration and equitable and inclusive decision making.
There is a need to establish a High-Level Committee to supervise the implementation, application and evaluation of any agreement reached in this meeting. Specialised committees must also be established to deal with specific subject matters such as the National Security Architecture and 2020-21 elections.
Any agreement reached in this meeting and the related committees should be legalised in a primary legislation in the Federal parliament to make them not only legally binding dispute settlement on the two parties but as a reference interpretive mechanism for resolving any future disagreement.
The role of the legislative instruments (Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament) in the negotiations between the FGS and FMS and the implementation of agreements must be clearly defined.
SIDRA urges Somalia’s international partners and major donors – using the UN good offices, effective institutions and diplomatic engagement – to help facilitate and observe this NSC meeting as well as other upcoming high-level conferences and support their outcomes.
Somalia’s international partners should be part of any oversight mechanism to ensure the parties to fulfil the rights and obligations arising from agreements and remaining fully engaged in the efforts to implement the agreements and monitor progress.
Somalia’s international partners must support the two parties to come up with viable and equitable framework to distribute international financial aid and development projects to different regions.
To read the full Policy Brief, click this link: https://sidrainstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/SIDRA_PB9_NSC.pdf
The Somali Institute for Development Research and Analysis (SIDRA)
Professor Jimale Street, 1st August
Garowe, Puntland, Somalia