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(THREAD) Benaadir Federal State is a critical part of the solution to stabilising Somalia. If you see people saying that Mogadishu cannot be the capital of the country AND of a region to discredit the creation of Banaadir Federal State, please RETWEET this detailed answer.
1/ First, the gridlock on settling the status of the capital city has led to the exclusion of 3.5-million Somali citizens from the political process in the legislative branch of the federal government. This on its own poses a serious risk to stability across the whole country.
2/ The significance of taking care of this problem immediately is because in less than 2 years Somalis will go to the polls (if a one person, one vote approach is deemed viable) and elect their next Federal representatives and their next (Federal) President.
3/ Right now, only the existing Federal Member States of HirShabelle, SouthWest State, GalMudug, Puntland, Somaliland and Jubbaland will be eligible to participate in the next election if a one-person-one-vote approach is deemed viable & voter registration can be carried out.
4/ This means that those Somalis living in the capital city of Mogadishu and its region of Banaadir will not have the same equal opportunity despite suffering disproportionally from Al Shabab’s campaign of instability, being the only tax-paying region directly to FGS, etc.
5/ This is because Banadir residents are excluded from the process due to the political and legal ambiguities surrounding the status of the federal capital city & reluctance of previous governments to tackle the status of the capital city. Yet, there is a a viable solution.
6/ A solution that enfranchises the 3.5-million Banaadir residents while doing away with the tribal exclusion model pushed by some, rejecting the toxic 4.5 power-sharing formula and offering a unifying model for the rest of Somalia.
7/ Before we jump to viable solution, it is important to first understand what a capital city is and in particular what it means in a federal system of governance. he capital city of a country is traditionally the largest city and the seat of the government as it holds the
8/ legislative, executive and judicial branches of the state. Considering the tribal grievances that led to state collapse & Civil War among Somali clans, it is understandable that some wish to the capital city to be tribally neutral. This push by non-local tribes who wish to lay
9/ claim to Mogadishu’s economic, cultural and political status is however very flawed because the nature of the clan federalism in operation RIGHT NOW across Somalia means that each region is claimed by a tribe or a group of tribes with Mogadishu being no different.
10/ The flawed logic that separation should be pursued in the peripheries while attempting to forge a national identity at the center is FUTILE and DANGEROUS as it will lead to the outright re-emergence of clan conflicts.
11/ Back to the viable solution I was talking: In federated states, the types of capital cities can fall in primarily 3 categories: 1) Federal Districts, 2) capital cities within a federation but also serves as regional capital, 3) a city-state. Let's break it down with examples.
12/ Option 1) Federal districts = their legal status differs from that of the surrounding state & power of the federation is often very strong. A good example of this is Washington D.C. but can also be observed elsewhere
13/ from Canberra, Australia to Caracas, Venezuela to New Delhi, India to Abuja, Nigeria. Almost all federal districts are created from the ground up and are created from existing regions. In Somalia, there is a growing lobby to split up certain sections of Mogadishu to form
14/ the federal district that will house the federal government. The creation of a federal district is seen as the best way to go beyond the current impasse regarding the status of Banaadir. Yet, federal districts grow and create political challenges in terms of representation.
15/ Washington DC is the best example of this. Carved out of the state of Maryland as the home of the United States government, it grew into a major American city & is demanding full statehood today. washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/july-…
16/ New Delhi also shows the risks federal districts inevitably run into. Like Washington DC, there is a growing movement to give the city full statehood rights. In Somalia, the critics of the federal district model reject such an model as it only delays a real solution.
17/ Option 2) Capital City for both the Federal and Regional government. A good example is of Bern because while it is the capital city of Switzerland, it also falls under the state jurisdiction of the canton of Bern, of which it is also the capital.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bern
18/Another example is Ottawa, Canada which is the federal capital city of Canada and yet part of Ontario. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_…
19/ If Somalia adopts such a model, Banaadir region will unite with Hiirshabelle State. Under such a model, the nature of the capital city and management will have to be negotiated between Hiirshabelle and the Federal government.
20/ Option 3) the City-State. City-states are cities or agglomerations that are themselves constituent units of the federation and have the same (or almost the same) legal status as the other federal states. Famous federal city-states are Brussels (Belgium) and Berlin (Germany).
21/ There are examples of federal capital cities functioning successfully in the larger federal project in both competitive and cooperative environments that could be modelled for Mogadishu so that federalism truly is successful in Somalia.
22/ Luca Barani in his article titled ‘Fiscal Federalism and Capital Cities: A Comparative Analysis of Berlin and Brussels’ compares the successful federalisation of the capital cities in Germany and Belgium. He explains that federalism is through choice or compromise.
23/ In Somalia, the civil war and the mutual hatreds and resentments that developed between different groups and clans necessitated the adaptation of federalism.
24/ It was borne out of a painful history between communities and their distrust of a strong central government. One only has to look at the repressive antics of past dictatorship and current government to see that it is indeed a well-founded distrust.
25/ City-states like Berlin & Brussels are the political centres of the federations, housing federal parliament, federal government, & most of the federal administration. This is precisely the case with Mogadishu currently under the federal system & prior under the central gov't.
26/ It is a compelling reason for making Mogadishu a city-state basing political representation on RESIDENCY just like Berlin and Brussels. Not on TOXIC TRIBAL 4.5 FORMULA but RESIDENCY.
27/ Mogadishu has a unique character having been the capital of modern Somalia since 1960 and the seat of political power for centuries before that. It has a rich history that goes back more than millennia and which predates the creation of Somalia.
28/ It should logically follow the Berlin and Brussels model of becoming a city-state that is is constituent unit among the federal member states as it has a higher population than all of the other states individually, enough of a distinct historical and cultural character
29/ that some Member States in Somalia cannot match and is in a unique position to boldly challenge tribalism through primarily RESIDENCY-ONLY criteria. This would mean that Mogadishu would become a standalone Federal Member State with Members of Parliament in the Lower House
30/ and Senators in the Upper House to represent the over 3.5-million residents. This can be achieved through basing the political representation on residency rather than tribal lineage as is the case with other Federal Member States.
31/This has several inherent advantages for all of Somalia. 1) it removes the toxic 4.5 model that operates across the Federal-level government and which some politicians wrongly think will resolve the quagmire over the status of the capital city.
32/ By basing political rights on residency, it is only the people who are actually residents of the city irrespective of tribal background that select who represents them and get a say in how they are governed rather than unelected, highly corrupt tribal leaders (local or not).
33/ 2nd advantage = it is a sustainable model as it is inclusive and can be rolled out to other regions so that the aspirations of all Somalis of truly having a unified country can be realised through removing limitations on internal migration and political representation.
34/ 3rd advantage = it reduces the amount of direct power wielded by (highly) toxic tribalists in the political system and weakens identity politics while strengthening consensus politics in which domestic cooperation rather than domestic confrontation is rewarded.
35/ The removal of tribal eligibility ensures that more internal migration takes place across Somalia and communities integrate so that eventually all Somalis are able and incentivised to live outside of their ancestral regions.
36/ This ensures that a party-political model will almost always out-perform tribalist movements or coalitions across the country. It also begins the long journey of recovery from state collapse by learning from the lessons of the past. Repression & exclusion are not the answer.
37/ There is no legal, technical or political framework that could legitimize the disfranchisement of 3.5-million residents. It goes against the core concepts of citizenship and equal rights.
38/A critical reason why stability and genuine reconciliation has eluded Somalia is because there is still a strong adherence to tribalism and the status of the capital city is the most prominent symbol of it. Banaadir Federal State will be a critical component of stability. /end
P.S. I have added Somaliland into this discussion ONLY because under the current system, it is treated like a Federal Member State with MPs and Senators. I recognise that it wants out of the legal Union & look forward to settling that issue under a competent gov't. Divorce is ok.
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