The establishment of the Cabinet Committee on Inclusive Politics – among other Cabinet Committees – was underpinned by the rationale to reflect and execute an inclusive leadership of the mammoth task to complete the successful and seamless transition to democracy by the completion of this government’s term in Office on September 10, 2016.
In this endeavour, the two Ministries of Interior and Federal Affairs and the Ministry of Justice and Constitution Affairs will be the flagship ministries for Inclusive Politics. The Cabinet Committee on Inclusive Politics chaired by the Prime Minister -or his assignee- will act as an all-inclusive body of Ministers that will help the Ministries of Interior and Federal Affairs and the Ministry of Justice and Constitution Affairs to make the cabinet decision-making process less cumbersome and fast-track the sensitive issues of constitutional review, state formations and democratization.
The Provisional Constitution provides overall direction toward fulfilment of these objectives. However, in view of time constraints, the government intends to prioritize those tasks that are most critical to the establishment of national institutions grounded in democratic legitimacy.
The three foundational elements of the government’s strategy are:
- Constitutional review and implementation
- Completion of the federal system
Although these tasks are jointly entrusted between the Executive and the Parliament, based on the recommendations of the relevant independent national commissions established by the Provisional Constitution, the President and the Prime Minister, working closely with the Speaker, will exercise the necessary leadership for creating an enabling environment for the respective institutions to complete their duties successfully, ensuring that it possesses the requisite human and financial resources, and to ensure that it does so in a timely manner. The government believes that successfully achieving the goals of Vision 2016 will require alignment with the principle of political inclusion clearly articulated in PSG 1 of the “New Deal.”
The Vision 2016 strategy will be infused by a sense of urgency and guided by the following core principles:
- All aspects of the process shall be Somali-owned, inclusive, transparent and consistent with the Provisional Constitution;
- The Government shall promote and protect the independence, integrity, and credibility of the constitutionally mandated Commissions;
- The implementation of Vision 2016 shall be situated in the context of a comprehensive reconciliation process that promotes national cohesion and integration;
- Management of the process shall be anchored in the principles and practices of integrity and good governance.
1. Review and Implementation of the Provisional Constitution
In completing the Provisional Constitution, it is essential that the review process, which are entrusted to the Parliamentary Oversight Committee and the Independent Review and Implementation Commission, be as inclusive as possible, and informed by nationwide consultations. In addition to the representation of existing Federal Member States on the Commission, the views of Interim Regional Authorities, other relevant regional administrations and groups, community leaders and civil society should all be heard and taken into account.
It is also the duty of Somalia’s Government and Parliament to complete the national Constitution, through amendment of certain articles and enactment of legislation identified in Schedule One of the Provisional Constitution.
After successfully forming the Independent Commission to review the constitution, the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs through the Cabinet Committee on Inclusive Politics will employ the development of a review process framework that will strategically guide the process and engage in different stakeholders to preserve political inclusiveness and public legitimacy for the final draft that will be taken to the referendum.
2. Federalism, Boundaries and Resource Sharing
Establishment of a federal system should serve a dual purpose: bringing government closer to the people, while safeguarding Somali unity.
In line with the Provisional Constitution, the establishment and delimitation of Federal Member States shall be a voluntary process based upon considerations of political and economic viability, demographic composition and, as far as possible, respect for existing regional boundaries. This process must be approached with great sensitivity and every effort taken to ensure that it does not engender renewed conflict. The Government therefore intends to ensure that the completion of the federal system is achieved through dialogue and the pursuit of reasonable consensus – not by imposition or coercion.
In parallel with the formation of Federal Member States, SFG will take the lead in putting in place inter-regional mechanisms that promote political unity, harmonised legislation, unified standards and coordinated policies and programmes. These include the formation of an Inter-Regional Consultative Forum, pending establishment of the full Inter-State Commission established by the Provisional Constitution, in order to initiate nationwide dialogue on issues such as the distribution of powers and authorities, management of natural resources, and revenue sharing.
3. Democratization, the Electoral Process and Party Politics
The establishment of a functional democracy is a complex proposition: the rules and legislation governing the formation of political parties and organisation of elections will require deep consideration, extensive consultation and public awareness. The Government believes that these challenges must be approached in a way that promotes national cohesion, not division; political deliberation and choice-making based on issues, rather than identity; and the accountability of leadership to the electorate.
The Provisional Constitution mandates the current administration to conduct these tasks only at the federal level. It is therefore highly unlikely that the procedures for state and local elections, which must await the formation of Federal Member States and their legislatures, can be completed by 2016. The administration nevertheless fully intends to lay the political and legal foundations for the completion of these tasks under the auspices of the next Somali Federal Government.
The Government also intends to propose contingency measures that would provide for representation from any part of the country that remains too unstable or insecure to participate in national elections in 2016.
Importance of Strong Leadership &Coordination
Achievement of the Vision 2016 tasks rests on the foundation of coordinated leadership between the President, Prime Minister and the Speaker. The complexity of this process involves a high level of interdependence between these offices and requires clear alignment of roles and responsibilities. The President will provide leadership in the State-building tasks that call for broad political outreach and the development of nationwide mechanisms for inclusion and effective processes of civic engagement, public dialogue and deliberation within and across all regions. The Prime Minister, through the Cabinet Committee on Inclusive Politics, will provide the necessary leadership and oversight to ensure effective and efficient implementation of the Vision 2016 tasks specifically identified within the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and the Ministry of Interior and Federalism. The leadership of the Speaker will ensure Parliament will advance on the legislative roadmap required by Vision 2016 in a timely and effective manner. Together, these three principals will work in a way that promotes greater inclusion and reconciliation.
In the broader sense, the institutions that have primary responsibility for coordination and implementation include the pertinent Cabinet Committee and the Parliament. The Ministry of Justice & Constitutional Affairs, the Ministry of Interior and Federalism and the Independent Commissions will implement the actual job on the ground.
Responsibilities of the Ministries of Justice and Constitution and Interior and Federal Affairs
The reorganization of the SFG has positioned the primary responsibility for achieving the three priorities of Vision 2016 in the Inclusive Politics Cabinet Committee with two Ministries:
The Ministry of Justice & Constitutional Affairs and the Ministry of Interior and Federalism as the focal point ministries.
This responsibility includes
- Establishing the independent commissions relevant to the Vision 2016 priorities;
- creating the enabling conditions required for these commissions to carry out their mandates effectively and efficiently;
- providing political and technical support to the respective mandates of completing the constitution and state formation processes;
- building and sustaining Somali ownership of the Vision 2016 processes and outcomes through high quality outreach, education and civic engagement.
While each Ministry is responsible for different priorities in Vision 2016, both Ministers understand the important interdependence between these priorities and are committed to maintaining a strong partnership to ensure the different components of Vision 2016 and relevant Cabinet Committees are effectively articulated and coordinated. A technical team will be established to ensure consistency, coherence and quality of tasks that are vital to the success of Vision 2016. These tasks include mobilizing substance areas experts, developing information briefs, documenting process, capacity building, and supporting the design and facilitation of conferences and other public engagement methodologies.
Vision 2016 will depend greatly upon the work of the Independent Commissions, which by definition are meant to work independently, free from political bias and influence. The graphic illustration below of Vision 2016 Leadership and Coordination is meant to connote an indirect relationship that recognizes the importance of fluid communication and the offer of technical support between the relevant SFG institutions and these independent commissions, while preserving their autonomy and independent standing.
Vision 2016 Group of Champions
To promote legitimacy, transparency and accountability, the SFG will invite the creation of Vision 2016 Group of Champions, comprised of key individuals and organizations positioned outside of Government and representing Somali regions and the international community that will be tasked with the role of proactively monitoring closely and reporting on the progress made, as measured against the key milestones identified in the Vision 2016 plan. Every three months, they will meet with the SFG to receive and discuss progress updates and then issue an external report documenting the progress and shortfalls of Vision 2016 along with an analysis of the key dynamics (internal and external) that have influenced the quality and effectiveness of its implementation.