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Somali People Unite: A Call to Action for Civil Disobedience

Power abuse is a third challenge that the Somali people face. A notable example of this is the use of force and repression by government officials, including the police and military, against ordinary citizens or opposition groups.

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In recent years, Somali people have seen an erosion of their political rights and fundamental freedoms. The Somali government, with the support of international donors and partners, has implemented policies that directly contravene the will of the Somali people. These policies include indirect elections, lack of representation, power abuse, and human rights and civil liberties violations. In the face of these challenges, the Somali people must now consider the implementation of civil disobedience as a means of gaining back control and protecting their democratic rights.

Indirect elections are one of the major issues that have contributed to the erosion of the Somali people’s political rights. Since the founding of FGS, the Somali government has used an electoral system that favors clan-based power-sharing, often over the will of citizens. This system has allowed clan elders and other powerful individuals to control the process and has limited the voice and representation of ordinary Somalis. The much-anticipated 2021 parliamentary elections were pushed back for a period of two years, leaving indirectly elected officials in power with unconstitutional, extended terms.

Lack of representation is another significant issue for the Somali people. Under the current political system, many tribal minorities lack fair representation in government. This lack of representation has contributed to political marginalization and alienation, particularly for more vulnerable groups like women and youth. As a result, policies are often made without consulting affected communities or taking into account their needs or interests.

Power abuse is a third challenge that the Somali people face. A notable example of this is the use of force and repression by government officials, including the police and military, against ordinary citizens or opposition groups. These tactics are often used to silence any voices that criticize the government or question its policies, and they undermine the democratic process.

Finally, human rights and civil liberties violations are commonplace in Somalia. The human rights situation has been particularly grim over the past decade, with frequent reports of extrajudicial killings, torture, and arbitrary detention by government security forces. Freedom of expression is particularly problematic and is often met with heavy-handed responses from security forces. Journalists and activists have been targeted relentlessly, and censorship of mainstream and social media has become commonplace.

Given these challenges, it is essential that the Somali people seek to implement civil disobedience as a means of redressing the balance. Civil disobedience has a long and proud history in political struggles around the world, and Somalia is no exception. Through peaceful protests, non-cooperation with unjust laws or policies, and other forms of resistance, the Somali people can seek to secure their democratic rights.

Through civil disobedience, the Somali people can communicate a clear message to government officials and the international community, that their policies are contrary to the will of the Somali people. Somali civil society and progressive elites play a crucial role in mobilizing people and ensuring that protests and other direct actions are organized in a peaceful manner.

For civil disobedience to succeed, there is a need for a strong, vibrant and diverse civic society, effective communication and coordination among activists and civil society organizations, and a clear understanding of the goals and objectives of the movement. Dialogue is an effective tool for resolving conflict, and the government needs to show its willingness to talk their citizens.

In conclusion, the Somali people have been faced with policies and laws that are implemented against their will, including indirect elections, lack of representation, power abuse, and human rights and civil liberties violations. Civil disobedience is a powerful tool that the Somali people can use to express their opposition to these policies, demand a participatory and democratic political system that truly represents their interests, and hold accountable those responsible for violating their rights. Through peaceful and coordinated action, Somali civilians can secure a brighter and democratic future that will benefit all.

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Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Diblomaasi, its editorial board or staff.

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Jibriil Mohamed is a leftist-sufi political scientist, researcher, and writer who has dedicated his career to studying politics, society, and governance in Somalia. He is the author of "Somalia's Road to Democracy: A Journey of Hope and Perseverance". He is particularly interested in inter-state relations, emerging powers, security, democratization, and regional integration in East Africa. Jibriil has a wealth of experience and expertise in the field of international relations and political science. He holds a Master's degree in International Relations and Political Science and a Postgraduate Diploma in Political Science.

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Somalia’s 1p1v Elections: Why a Year and a Half Timeline in Unrealistic

While the agreement between the Somali Federal Government and its member states to conduct 1p1v elections across the country within a year and a half is a significant step forward, the timeline remains highly unrealistic.

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In a historic development for Somalia, the country’s Federal Government and member states reached an agreement at the National Consultation Council late this May to hold one person, one vote (1p1v) elections across the entire country within a year and a half. The move comes as a significant step towards democratizing the country’s political system, which has faced years of chaos and instability.

While the agreement may be seen as a significant achievement, analysts believe that the timeline for conducting 1p1v elections is highly unrealistic considering the long and complex process involved in conducting credible, transparent, and peaceful elections. Some of the main issues include the issuance of identification cards to citizens, voter registration, and awareness-raising campaigns.

The process of issuing identification cards to citizens is a significant challenge, given the vast, decentralized nature of Somalia’s population. The country has been rocked by years of political unrest and civil war, which has resulted in the displacement of millions of Somalis. In addition, the country has been plagued by terrorism from the Al-Shabaab group, which has actively targeted the government and its attempts to restore stability. The sheer logistical challenges of coordinating an ID issuance to millions of citizens across the country seem daunting.

In addition to ID issuance, there are also serious challenges in conducting voter registration campaigns required for any credible election process. Voter registration is a vital process that ensures that every eligible citizen is registered to cast their vote. However, it takes considerable time, effort, and resources to register voters in a country like Somalia, which has millions of displaced people living in makeshift settlements.

Furthermore, there is a need for significant awareness-raising campaigns to educate citizens on the importance of registering to vote. Many Somalis may not be aware of the electoral process or the significance of their vote. This requires a significant investment of resources and time, which will prove challenging in the current political climate of Somalia.

There are also infrastructure challenges to conducting successful elections in Somalia. In addition to ballot boxes, voting machines and counting technology, establishing polling stations across the country is no easy feat. Somalia has vast regions of hard-to-reach areas that have limited infrastructure, including a lack of roads, communication networks, and other essential services. This is particularly crucial for any credible election process, as polling stations must be adequately secured and equipped with adequate resources to ensure a smooth and successful electoral process.

Another crucial issue that must be addressed is the security situation. In the past, elections held in Somalia have been marred by violence and intimidation, particularly by extremist groups such as Al-Shabaab. To ensure the credibility of the election process, the security situation must be addressed effectively. This will require a significant investment of resources and collaboration between the Somali government and its partners, including the African Union and the United Nations.

In conclusion, while the agreement between the Somali Federal Government and its member states to conduct 1p1v elections across the country within a year and a half is a significant step forward, the timeline remains highly unrealistic. The complex challenges involved in issuing identification cards, conducting voter registration, raising awareness about the importance of voting, providing infrastructure, and ensuring security cannot be accomplished in such a short period. Any credible, transparent, and peaceful electoral process requires time and investment in building the necessary infrastructure and conducting proper stakeholder engagement. The Somali government and its partners must recognize the gravity of the situation and work towards developing a more realistic timeline for holding 1p1v elections in the country.

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Political Elite Benefit While Youth Needs Ignored, Says Qaransoor Party

In a press release issued earlier today, the party criticized the move, arguing that it would only serve to benefit the political elite while ignoring the needs of the country’s young people amid the already fragile economy.

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The Qaransoor Party, a political opposition party in Somalia, has raised concerns about the recent appointment of several special envoys by President Hassan Sheikh who has been elected 4.5 formula last year may 2022. The 4.5 formula is the division of the Somali population into five groups along clan lines, where four of the five groups are the “major clans” whereas the fifth group includes all other clans and peoples not covered by the first four groups.

Unfortunately, 4.5 is unfair system, Somalia’s vast population have been denied to exercise their inalienable right of fair representation, a political right which is clearly stipulated in the country’s provisional constitution. Moreover, Somalis are 100 percent Muslims and the Islamic religion is both based on and promotes egalitarian principles more than any other faith.

In a press release issued earlier today, the party criticized the move, arguing that it would only serve to benefit the political elite while ignoring the needs of the country’s young people amid the already fragile economy.

“By appointing more special envoys, the President is creating additional opportunities for those in the upper echelons of society and politics,” the statement read. “While ignoring the pressing need to create employment opportunities for young people at the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder. This is unacceptable, particularly given the high levels of unemployment and poverty in Somalia.”

The Qaransoor Party’s concerns come at a time when Somalia is grappling with rising unemployment rates and a sluggish economy. With a youth unemployment rate of over 60%, many young people in the country are struggling to find work and make ends meet.

The party argued that the government’s focus should be on creating more jobs and economic opportunities for young people, rather than appointing more special envoys. “We urge the government to prioritize the needs of the country’s young people and work towards creating a more equitable and inclusive society,” the statement read.

The appointment of special envoys is not uncommon in Somalia’s political landscape, with many seeing it as a way for the government to reward political allies and supporters. However, the Qaransoor Party’s statement suggests that this practice may be exacerbating existing inequalities and leaving young people behind.

It remains to be seen how the government will respond to the Qaransoor Party’s concerns, but the opposition group’s statement is likely to spark further debate and discussion about the priorities of Somalia’s leaders and the needs of its people.

 

Read the full press release here: {Qaransoor.so/————)

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Somalia’s Call to Lift the Arms Embargo: Why the International Community Should Listen?

The current arms embargo has also hindered Somalia’s ability to protect its territorial waters and natural resources. Somalia has a long coastline, and its waters are rich in fish and other natural resources. However, illegal fishing and piracy have been rampant due to the lack of capacity to patrol and protect the waters.

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The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) imposed an arms embargo on Somalia in 1992, in response to the civil war and political instability that had plunged the country into chaos. The embargo was intended to prevent the flow of weapons to armed groups and warlords, thereby promoting peace and security in the country. However, over the years, the embargo has had unintended consequences that have hindered Somalia’s progress towards stability and development. Therefore, there is growing consensus among Somali leaders and international observers that the embargo needs to be lifted.

One of the main reasons why the arms embargo needs to be lifted is that it has severely limited the Somali government’s ability to build a capable security force that can effectively combat terrorism and other security threats in the country. Somalia remains one of the most insecure countries in the world, with several armed groups, including Al-Shabaab, operating in many parts of the country. Al-Shabaab is a terrorist group that has been responsible for several deadly attacks in Somalia and neighboring countries.

According to Dr. Abdiweli Ali, a Somali scholar and former prime minister of Somalia, “The arms embargo has made it difficult for the Somali government to build a capable security force, and this has left the country vulnerable to terrorism and other security threats.”

The current arms embargo has also hindered Somalia’s ability to protect its territorial waters and natural resources. Somalia has a long coastline, and its waters are rich in fish and other natural resources. However, illegal fishing and piracy have been rampant due to the lack of capacity to patrol and protect the waters.

Dr. Mohamed Ahmed, a Somali scholar and political analyst, states that “The lifting of the arms embargo would enable Somalia to build a well-equipped and trained navy that can effectively patrol its waters and protect its natural resources. This would boost the country’s economy and provide job opportunities for many Somalis.”

Furthermore, the arms embargo has also undermined the Somali government’s sovereignty and the ability to protect its citizens. The Somali government has the primary responsibility to protect its citizens and maintain law and order in the country. However, the current arms embargo has limited the government’s ability to do so, leaving many Somalis vulnerable to violence and insecurity.

According to Dr. Abdiweli Ali, “The Somali government needs to build a competent security force to combat terrorism, piracy, and other security threats in the country. The lifting of the arms embargo would enable the government to do so and protect its citizens.”

Several key events have also demonstrated the need to lift the arms embargo. In 2017, the Somali government requested the UNSC to lift the arms embargo, citing the urgent need to build a capable security force to combat terrorism and other security threats in the country. The UNSC responded by partially lifting the embargo, allowing the Somali government to purchase weapons from other countries with the approval of a UN monitoring committee. 

However, this partial lifting of the embargo has not been sufficient to enable the Somali government to build a competent security force. The monitoring committee has been slow in processing requests for weapons, and the process has been cumbersome and bureaucratic.

In addition, the partial lifting of the embargo has not addressed the issue of illegal arms trafficking, which remains a significant challenge in Somalia. The Somali government has limited capacity to monitor and regulate the import and export of arms, and this has allowed armed groups to acquire weapons through illicit channels.

According to Dr. Mohamed Ahmed, “The current arms embargo has failed to prevent the flow of weapons to armed groups and warlords in Somalia. The lifting of the embargo would enable the Somali government to regulate the import and export of arms and prevent the misuse of weapons.”

In conclusion, the arms embargo on Somalia has had unintended consequences that have hindered the country’s progress towards stability and development. The Somali government needs to build a competent security force to combat terrorism, piracy, and other security threats in the country. The lifting of the embargo would enable the government to do so and protect its citizens. It would also enable Somalia to protect its territorial waters and natural resources, thus boosting the country’s economy and providing job opportunities for many Somalis.

Therefore, the UNSC needs to lift the arms embargo on Somalia, while also putting in place strict mechanisms for monitoring and regulating the import and export of arms to prevent the misuse of weapons. This would demonstrate the international community’s commitment to Somalia’s progress and development, and provide a pathway towards lasting peace and stability in the country.

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Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Diblomaasi, its editorial board or staff.

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The Case for Reunification: Why Somaliland Needs to Rejoin Somalia?

If Somaliland fails to reunite with Somalia, other regions like Awdal might break away and form their own regional state and join the federal government. This could lead to further fragmentation of Somaliland, which would be detrimental to the region’s unity and stability.

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Somaliland, a self-declared independent state in the Horn of Africa, has been seeking international recognition since it declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991. However, it has yet to be recognized as a sovereign state by any country, despite its efforts to build a functioning government and a democratic society. While Somaliland has been relatively stable and peaceful compared to the rest of Somalia, there are several reasons why it needs to reunite with the rest of Somalia.

One of the main reasons why Somaliland needs to reunite with the rest of Somalia is to end the ongoing conflict in Laascaanood, which is fueled by unionist sentiments. If Somaliland reunifies with Somalia as a regional state, the regions of Sool, Sanaag, and Cayn, which are fighting for reunification with Somalia, might accept being part of the Somaliland administration. This would help resolve the conflict in Laascaanood and bring stability to the region.

If Somaliland fails to reunite with Somalia, other regions like Awdal might break away and form their own regional state and join the federal government. This could lead to further fragmentation of Somaliland, which would be detrimental to the region’s unity and stability. Moreover, If this happens, Somaliland will be left with only two regions, Waqooyi Galbeed and Togdheer, which would close any window of opportunity that existed for statehood.

In addition, the two remaining separatist regions of Somaliland, Waqooyi Galbeed and Togdheer, are trapped in internal political crises. The current system ignores certain clans, which has led to a sense of marginalization and exclusion. This has created a breeding ground for political unrest and conflict, which has hindered the region’s development and stability.

Reuniting with Somalia could also bring several benefits to Somaliland. First and foremost, it would give Somaliland access to international recognition and aid, which it desperately needs to develop its infrastructure and economy. Additionally, reintegrating with Somalia would provide Somaliland with access to a larger and more diverse political landscape, which would enable the region to build stronger institutions and promote democratic governance. It would also provide Somaliland with access to larger markets, resources, and investment opportunities, which would help to boost economic growth and development.

Furthermore, reunification could lead to greater political representation for Somaliland in the federal government and a more equitable distribution of resources. This could help address some of the grievances that led to Somaliland’s secession in the first place.

In conclusion, Somaliland needs to reunite with the rest of Somalia to end the ongoing conflict in Laascaanood and bring stability to the region. Failure to do so could lead to further fragmentation of Somaliland. The international community should support dialogue and negotiation between Somaliland and the federal government of Somalia to facilitate reunification and address any challenges that arise along the way.

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Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Diblomaasi, its editorial board or staff.

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How space impacts politics

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Politics is a word numerous people associate it with the evil happening around them. From corruption, deceit, under-development, and increased taxes. What the majority fail to understand is that there are several forms this word takes. It involves more than those they elect and the seats they occupy. Most people do not know that they are involved in politics and are political actors occupying different spaces. This section analyzes what politics is, who is involved, and discuss how it is impacted by space.

The word has both a narrow and broad definition depending on how someone views it. The majority understand the narrow meaning of politics as that concerning the state. They associate it with politicians or when voting during an election. Some may also define it as a source of conflict, a peaceful method for conflict resolution, as the exercise of power, and politics as a social and public.

However, politics can also be defined as anything that has the potential to be political, depending on its context and interpretation. This definition provides a broader meaning of the word. In 2014, protests erupted in England concerning Emily Slough; a mother labeled a “tramp” for breastfeeding her child in public (Grant, 2016). While breastfeeding is not a political issue, it resulted in protests condemning Emily’s shaming and campaigning for breastfeeding in public. How you view politics will determine the people that are involved. The actors may be senators or the president, and it may be those joining protests or boycotts.

Space influences politics in two significant ways. The first is space being a location where politics is conducted, and they include legislative (where laws are made), judicial (such as courts), and private spaces (such as homes). Legislative space provides a place where governments or councils create policies that will help govern the people. Politics involved here is mostly that concerning the state.

The judicial space provides a location where disputes can be resolved or where laws can be enforced. Both politics as a peaceful method for conflict resolution and the exercise of power can be carried out here. Judicial and legislative spaces may also be a place where protests are staged for people’s demands to be met. They provide a platform where people can use to exercise politics as a social and public activity.

In June 2020, people marched to the Capitol to protest the death of George Floyd. They used the Capitol as a political space to condemn the killing and call an end to police brutality and racial discrimination (Dave et al., 2020). Homes can also be spaces where numerous political discussions take place, mostly concerning the government. Space can also be the main topic in politics (politics of space). A specific location may be the reason why people may engage in protests. In 2016, Native Americans across North America protested the Dakota Access Pipeline to protect the region’s land and water (Carasik, 2016). It shows that space can also result in politics.

I believe in equality and have always advocated for human rights. That is why when the George Floyd protests erupted in several states in the US and Europe, I was in Norway. I picked up a placard and scribbled “BLACK LIVES MATTER” in bold. I joined others to protest the brutal killing of Floyd by the police because his rights were violated.

I did not view my actions as political. However, if we consider the narrow definition of politics in this context, then I was involved with politics concerning the state. The police’s role is to serve and protect its citizens, and that was not the case. I decided to protest because the US government failed to respect Mr. Floyd’s rights. I used my home as a political space during these protests by engaging in discussions with my family on how human rights have been violated by the police several times. We talked about why such incidents keep happening even though these rules are set to protect us. By doing so, I turned my home into a private political space and my family joining the discussion became political actors.

 2020 has been a challenging year for numerous countries globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has resulted in the loss of lives, countries closing down their borders, and businesses shutting down, leading to unemployment. It is a time where the World Health Organization (WHO) plays a vital role in helping several countries cope with the pandemic by providing funding or donations.

However, the Trump administration stated that it would cut funding to the WHO in April 2020 (Bery, 2020). It was a move I found reckless and uncalled for, especially when people’s health around the globe was at risk. To voice my concerns, I joined others in signing an online petition on the sign.moveon.org website. I also mobilized a few interested friends to sign the petition, which would help us reach the target, 200,000 signatures (Chappell, 2020). I did not view the US government’s decision to reduce WHO funding as a political issue.

However, considering the broad definition of politics, it has the potential of becoming one. Signing the petition makes me term it as politics concerning the government. I may also be considered as an activist because I involved my friends in this action. They are also political actors since they participated in signing the petition.


References

Bery, S., 2020. Restore Full Funding to The World Health Organization Now! [online] MoveOn. Available at: https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/restore-full-funding-to-the-world-health-organization-now?source=homepage&utm_medium=promotion&utm_source=homepage

Carasik, L., 2016. N Dakota Pipeline Protest Is a Harbinger of Many More. http://digitalcommons.law.wne.edu/media

Chappell, B., 2020. NPR Choice Page. [online] Npr.org. Available at: https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/05/19/858579903/trump-says-cuts-to-who-funding-will-be-final-if-it-doesnt-commit-to-major-change

Dave, D.M., Friedson, A.I., Matsuzawa, K., Sabia, J.J., and Safford, S., 2020. Black Lives Matter protests, social distancing, and COVID-19 (No. w27408). National Bureau of Economic Research.                                                                                                                      https://doi.org/10.3386/w27408.

Grant, A., 2016. “I… don’t want to see you flashing your tits around”: exhibitionism, othering, and good motherhood in perceptions of public breastfeeding. Geoforum71, pp.52-61.


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