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Gatekeepers, elders and accountability in Somalia

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The report features a discussion of the opportunities and challenges in improving accountability in Somali governance through working with non-state actors. The lessons are drawn from three projects implemented through the Implementation and Analysis in Action of Accountability Programme (IAAAP), funded by the UK Department for International Development.
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Gatekeepers,
elders and
accountability in
Somalia
Aoife McCullough and Muhyadin Saed
December 2017
Report
Somalia Accountability Programme
Overseas Development Institute
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London SE1 8NJ
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The views presented in this paper are those of the author(s) and do notnecessarily represent the views of ODI.
© Overseas Development Institute 2017. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial Licence (CC BY-NC 4.0).
Cover photo: Elders from the HIran region of Somalia walk to a meeting on October 9 hosted by AMISOM Commanders to discuss ghting between clans in the
area. AU UN IST PHOTO / Ilyas A. Abukar, 2013
3
Acknowledgements
We would like to thank DFID for funding this research through the IAAAP programme, with particular thanks given
to the IAAAP team including Damir Hadzic, Mohamed Harbi and Yasmin Sheikh. A debt of gratitude is owed to Miski
Abdi who helped us with our thinking and framing at the start of the research. The authors are grateful to peer reviewers
Jason Mosley and Mareike Schomerus. We are also grateful to George Richards and Hannah Caddick at ODI for their
help in nalising and editing this report. Responsibility for the content of this report, as well as any errors and omissions,
remains with the authors.
Contents
Acknowledgements 3
List of gures 5
Abbreviations, glossary and terminology 6
About this report 7
Methods and limitations 7
Executive summary 8
1. Introduction 10
1.1. Standard accountability models and hybrid governance 10
1.2. The meaning of ‘non-state actors’ 11
1.3. About IAAAP 12
2. Non-state actors in Somalia and how they inuence accountability 13
2.1. Elders as promoters of accountability 13
2.2. Gatekeepers as service providers 14
2.3. Religious leaders as enforcers of accountability 15
2.4. Business leaders as demanders of accountability 16
3. Lessons from IAAAP 17
3.1. Working with ‘gatekeepers’ in informal settlements 17
3.2. Working with elders to improve accountability of the local administration 19
3.3. Working with elders to increase accountability in the Somali political process 22
4. Reections on working with non-state actors to increase accountability 24
4.1. Moving away from standard models of accountability 24
4.2. On recognising the inuence of dispersed power relations 24
4.3. On constructing hybrid political orders 25
4.4. On working with traditional authorities 25
4.5. Using the prospect of increased legitimacy as an incentive 26
4.6. Ensuring ongoing sustainability of accountability projects with non-state actors 26
References 28
5
List of gures
Figures
Figure 1: Map of Somalia and Jubbaland 12
Figure 2: Gatekeepers and accountability relationships in Mogadishu 18
Figure 3: Elders and accountability in Lower Juba Region 21
Figure 4: Elders and accountability relationships in the Somali electoral system 23
6
Abbreviations
CDNA Citizen Directed Negotiated Accountability
DC District Commissioner
DFID UK Department for International Development
FGS Federal Government of Somalia
IAAAP Implementation and Analysis in Action of Accountability Programme
iDC Intermedia Development Consultants
ICU Islamic Courts Union
IDP internally displaced person
MoA memorandum of association
MP member of parliament
NGO non-governmental organisation
TNG Transitional National Government
UN United Nations
UNOSOM United Nations Operation in Somalia
Glossary
Caaqil Wise man
Cuqaal Wise men
Nabadoon Peace-seeker
Samadoon Promoter of wise judgement
Xeer Somali customary legal system
Zakat Islamic practice of giving a proportion of one’s wealth to charity
Terminology
This report denes ‘non-state’ actors as those that have sufcient power to inuence politics, either at local or national
levels despite not belonging to any ofcial state institution. This means that ‘non-state actors’ may refer to non-
government organisations (NGOs) workers, business leaders, religious leaders and traditional authorities. The term is
not restricted to those based within a state; it can also be used to refer to international actors, including diaspora. Thus
‘non-state actors’ are understood as distinct from civil society organisations.
About this report
This report aims to be useful for practitioners working on improving accountability in places where informal and formal
governance systems overlap. It is most relevant for those practitioners working in Somalia but includes valuable lessons
for working with non-state actors in other countries with limited state presence.
The report features a discussion of the opportunities and challenges in improving accountability in Somali
governance through working with non-state actors. The lessons are drawn from three projects implemented through
the Implementation and Analysis in Action of Accountability Programme (IAAAP), funded by the UK Department for
International Development. If you have limited time and want practical examples of what works and what doesn’t in
accountability projects working with non-state actors, please refer to the following:
For information on how to deal with gatekeepers in internally displaced persons (IDP) settlements, read the
Accountability in Informal Settlements case study, implemented by Tana in Mogadishu (section 3.1).
For information on how to increase accountability of local government representatives by involving community elders,
read the Citizen Directed Negotiated Accountability (CDNA) case study, implemented by research-based consultancy
KATUNI Consult in lower Jubbaland (section 3.2).
For information on how to address vote buying through working with elders, read the Integrity Pact for the Somali
Political Process case study, implemented by Marqaati in Mogadishu (section 3.3).
For reections on what these case studies tell us about how to increase accountability through working with non-state
actors, see Chapter 4.
Methods and limitations
The evidence presented in this report is based on reviews of project literature and interviews with the directors of the
three projects. In the case of the Citizen Directed Negotiated Accountability (CDNA) project, we carried out interviews
with three project beneciaries. The beneciaries were selected by KATUNI Consult. In the case of the Integrity Pact
project, we also consulted with project managers through the director. Unfortunately, due to security considerations,
it was not possible to visit the project areas or interview a wider selection of stakeholders and beneciaries of CDNA,
Integrity Pact or the Accountability in Informal Settlements project.
8
Executive summary
In Somalia, the relationship between formal and informal
spheres of governance are being renegotiated. In many
areas, the formal state has been absent for a long time, or
government agents only recently appointed by the Federal
Government of Somalia (FGS). Meanwhile, there are
powerful non-state actors who play roles in customary and
informal governance systems, that in turn work to compete
with, accommodate and inuence formal state institutions.
Using case studies from the Implementation and
Analysis in Action of Accountability Programme (IAAAP),
a DFID-funded programme that made grants available
to Somali and international organisations to trial
interventions designed to increase accountability, this
report examines how impact can be achieved through
working with non-state actors.
Key ndings
Working in places where formal and informal institutions
overlap requires a different approach to supporting
accountability. In standard accountability models, the
state is expected to be the ultimate source of power and
therefore the focus is on restraining the power of the
state. Many accountability programmes work to restrain
the power of the state by improving citizens’ access to
information on the performance of civil servants or
politicians. The theory informing this approach is that, in a
functioning democracy, information on poor performance
can be used by citizens to make demands on political
representatives or to sanction politicians during elections.
But when working in an environment where the state
is not the ultimate source of power, i.e. where there are
competing sources of power, the relationship between
the state and its citizens may be more indirect. Non-state
actors may work as power brokers between the state and
citizens, or state representatives may be relatively powerless
compared with non-state actors. In these situations, the
sanctioning power afforded to citizens through democratic
elections and delegated bureaucracies may be relatively
in-effective. As a result, practitioners must think laterally
about where and how power can be realistically restrained
and for whose benet.
Change happens through strengthening
formal and informal relationships. In three IAAAP
projects that worked with non-state actors, change
happened through the strengthening of relationships
between informal and formal structures. It did not happen
through increasing citizens’ access to information about
their rights and about the role of elected and unelected
ofcials. For example, in one project that aimed to
increase the accountability of the local administration to
the community, the IAAAP partner sought to educate
community members and elders (non-state actors)
on the rights of citizens and the role of government.
Following this training, the community did not make
demands on the local government. Instead, the elders
collaborated with the local administration to demand
increased accountability from a local NGO implementing
programmes in their area. The programme afforded
the elders an opportunity to liaise with the local
administration and they used this alliance to demand
that the power held by a non-state actor (in this case, an
NGO) be more accountable.
The case studies demonstrate the importance of
understanding power relations in terms of networks
of dispersed relations rather than between those with
power and those without. In each of the projects, actors
with power were embedded in a complex web of power
relations that created opportunities as well as constraints
for practitioners aiming to increase accountability. By
overly focusing on the power relationship between
citizens and the state, practitioners potentially miss
out on opportunities to create incentives for increased
accountability.
Non-state actors were incentivised to take action by
the prospect of gaining increased legitimacy. In a project
that aimed to increase the accountability of informal
IDP settlement managers to IDPs, one NGO provided
training on the principles of accountable and transparent
governance. Some of the informal IDP settlement
managers, more commonly known as ‘gatekeepers’,
participated in the training enthusiastically and
implemented training recommendations. The gatekeepers
reported that they appreciated the recognition by an
NGO of the role they play in managing settlements. The
prospect of increased legitimacy associated with being
recognised by an NGO incentivised gatekeepers to change
their behaviour. In another project, elders from the
villages that an IAAAP project had engaged with pooled
their resources and constructed an ofce next to the local
administration’s headquarters. The chiefs recognised
that closer collaboration with the local administration
afforded them greater legitimacy and worked to literally
cement the relationship between the two.
Projects supported through IAAAP played a role in
formalising relationships between non-state and state
actors. Governance environments where formal and
informal institutions overlap, such as in Somalia, have
been described as ‘hybrid political orders’. Projects
supported through IAAAP played a role in formalising
relationships between non-state and state actors, and in
9
the process, are contributing to the ongoing construction
of a hybrid political order in Somalia. This process
involves both working with customary and informal
institutions, while at the same time trying to produce
a form of governance that is not intrinsic to those
institutions. IAAAP projects seek to support increased
accountability through working with institutions that
are not accountable to all members of the community
they represent. The institution of elders, for example,
excludes women, youth and minority clans. However, it
is clear that these non-state actors and the institutions
of which they are part are powerful and will persist in
Somalia for the foreseeable future. While the inclusion of
informal actors, such as elders, in the governance system
in Somalia is not necessarily more conducive to inclusive
and accountable governance, it represents a reasonable
way of drawing on existing power bases to build support
for the FGS.
Recommendations
To avoid contributing to a negative hybrid order that
maintains unequal and exclusive power structures,
accountability programmes need to focus on increasing
the downward accountability of elders to their
communities. Elders can only advance accountability if
they become more accountable themselves, especially
to women and young people in the communities they
represent.
Move away from accountability programmes that think
in terms of ‘states’ and ‘citizens’. Rather practitioners
should recognise that power is dispersed among a range
of actors in different ways in places where formal and
informal governance overlap.
Initiatives to increase accountability must therefore
consider the range of accountability relationships
that inuence governance and work to identify those
relationships that might be inuenced.
10
1. Introduction
1 Another approach, inspired by ‘New Public Management’ ideas, sought to make public services more ‘business-like’ in their operation, focused on
improving the responsiveness of the bureaucracy to deliver through creating incentives to perform. Examples included improving management of civil
servants through performance-based pay, creating grievance mechanisms or allowing the private sector to deliver components of services.
1.1. Standard accountability models and
hybrid governance
Formal and informal governance systems overlap in
Somalia in both new and old ways. For example, the nal
electoral process agreed for the country’s 2016 elections
involved 135 senior elders selecting 14,025 electoral
delegates who then voted for Members of Parliament. This
means that power is dispersed across state, customary and
informal institutions and development programmes seeking
to increase accountability of governance institutions will
inevitably need to deal with customary and informal
actors.
But while much has been written about how to improve
accountability with state actors, (see, for example, Nixon
et al., 2017) there is relatively little documentation
about improving accountability relationships of non-
state actors. Accountability is a means of restraining
power, and because the state is expected to be the
ultimate source of power in modern states, standard
accountability models tend to focus on the relationship
between the state and its citizens. This model is based
on expectations of a representative democracy, where
citizens hold political leaders to account through periodic
elections, and bureaucrats design and deliver public
services with oversight by political leaders. Judiciaries and
other organisations, such as electoral or human rights
commissions support accountability in these processes. The
standard model of accountability emphasises the role of
sanctions, such as elections or legal action, in restraining
state power.
Most accountability programmes are designed to
address the failures identied in this standard model, with
many focused on improving the ability of citizens and
state actors to access information on civil servants’ or
politicians’ performance so they can threaten sanctions
where performance is poor. This approach relies on the
idea that bureaucracies are part of a delegated governance
system, and that bureaucrats could suffer repercussions
for poor performance through political representatives’
reactions to dissatisfaction among their constituencies.1
But when working in an environment where the state
is not the ultimate source of power, for example where
there are competing sources of power, the relationship
between the state and its citizens may be more indirect.
Non-state actors may work as power brokers between
the state and citizens, or state representatives may be
relatively powerless compared with non-state actors. In
these situations, the sanctioning power afforded to citizens
through democratic elections and delegated bureaucracies
may be relatively ineffective.
Governance environments where formal and informal
institutions overlap, such as in Somalia, have been
described as ‘hybrid political orders’ (Kraushaar and
Lambach, 2009; Boege et al., 2008). Kraushaar and
Lambach (2009) argue that hybrid political orders are
a new state model beyond the Western state, where the
so-called formal and informal spheres of governance are
not treated as distinct but rather connected, intermingled
and interpenetrated. In this way, hybrid arrangements
should not be understood as a deviance from a model but
as a new kind of political order, in their own right (see also
Boege et al., 2008).
Hybridity is a constant process of negotiation as
multiple sources of power compete, coalesce, mimic,
dominate or accommodate each other (Mac Ginty and
Richard, 2015). While the formal state tries to expand its
presence through the posting of governors, administrators,
police chiefs, etc., representatives of informal institutions
recalibrate their roles in relation to the formal state. In
their analysis of African chiefs and their relation to African
states, Ray and Nieuwaal (1996) show how chiefs may
integrate seemingly antagonistic political systems, world
views and powers and mobilise them in their own interest
or that of the people they represent. However, the process
of negotiating hybridity should not just be understood in
as an interaction between the formal state and local orders;
international actors including NGOs, business people, and
foreign military and security agents all compete and accrete
in the construction of hybrid orders. Indeed, it could be
argued that hybridity is, in fact, a feature of any political
system. Grind and Johansen (1991) make a convincing case
that many of the organisational and conceptual principles
underlying Native American political confederacies
inuenced the founding fathers of US political institutions.
The concept of hybrid political orders raises key
questions for practitioners working to improve
accountability, namely: Do hybrid political orders facilitate
more accountable governance? Should they therefore be
supported as part of efforts to increase accountability?
11
Some authors have been perhaps overly enthusiastic about
the possibilities for hybrid political orders to ‘deepen
democracy’ (e.g. Logan, 2009: 24), through connecting
state power to power at local levels. Others argue that
the turn towards recognising and accommodating
hybrid political orders reects the setbacks in liberal
interventionism (Mac Ginty and Richard, 2015). While
much of the liberal internationalism of the 1990s and
the 2000s was righteous and condent, in the last ten
years, there has been increasing tolerance and willingness
to accommodate ‘good enough governance’. Mac Ginty
and Richard highlight how hybrid political orders can
be captured by local elites who engage in and support
intolerant and violent institutions. If manufactured as
part of a top down peacebuilding intervention, they can
lead to sham processes of democratisation and liberation.
Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia Herzegovina all feature
constructed hybrid political orders with dubious degrees of
democracy and accountability.
Closer to Somalia, Hoehne (2012) describes how in
Somaliland, the Council of Elders, who were integrated
into the state governance system, were co-opted by
successive presidents so that when faced with a vote
on i) extending their term in 2006, and ii) postponing
democratic elections in 2008, the Council of Elders
voted in favour of both anti-democratic measures. The
action of the elders in Somaliland described by Hoehne
is not caused by hybridity per se, but is in fact a feature
of the corruption of power that happens in any political
conguration. If there were measures in place to require
elders to demonstrate their continued support from their
communities and their legitimacy, these measures could
restrain the corruption of power within a system. We
will return to the question of whether accountability
programmes should work to support hybrid political
structures after reviewing the case studies.
1.2. The meaning of ‘non-state actors’
Since the early 2000s in Somalia, ‘non-state actor’ became
synonymous with ‘civil society’. This equation of non-
state actor with civil society can be traced to successive
EU funding programmes intended to strengthen civil
society that were called the ‘The NSA (Non-State Actor)
Programmes’. At rst the EU dened ‘non-state actors’
as ‘structures that are created voluntarily by citizens, to
promote an issue or an interest, either general or specic.
They are independent from the state and can be prot or
non-prot making organisation’.2
By 2012, this denition was tightened up to equate
‘non-state actor’ more specically with civil society
organisations and to exclude elders, traditional governance
institutions and religious leaders. Gundel and Allen
2 Communication of the Commission on the ‘Participation of Non-State Actors in EC Development Policy’ (CEC, 2012).
(2017a) point out that many of what are described
as ‘civil society organisations’ in Somalia are in fact
sub-contractors for international NGOs and would
cease to exist once that funding dries up. They argue
for more nuanced categorisation of non-state actors
that distinguishes ‘societal actors’ from ‘civil society
organisations’. Using their framework, ‘societal actors’
include traditional clan-based, religious structures, and
NGOs who function mainly as sub-contractors for
international NGOs while civil society organisations
are membership based and primarily rely on their own
resources.
In this report, we do not equate non-state actor with
civil society. We dene a non-state actor as an actor with
sufcient power to inuence politics, either at local or
national levels, despite not belonging to any established
state institution. As such, ‘non-state actors’ may refer to
national and international NGOs, business or religious
leaders, traditional authorities, workers’ organisations,
media, local community-based groups and networks, or
diaspora. In international relations, ‘non-state actors’ is
often used to refer to militia groups who challenge the
legitimacy of a state and sometimes gain control over
territories within a sovereign state. However, this is a
rather one-sided way of understanding non-state actors;
different actors will play supportive or antagonistic roles
in relation to the process of state-building. We consider
the broad denition of non-state actor useful for the
analysis presented here as a wide range of non-state actors
participate in the construction of the hybrid political order
in Somalia.
The term ‘informal actors’ has gained currency in
academia and the development industry since the early
2000s. It is often used interchangeably with ‘non-state’
in the development sector, and both are used to refer to
locally embedded institutions and networks that provide
communities with access to critical services (Albrecht et al.,
2011).
In many ways, the terms ‘formal’, ‘informal’, ‘state’
and ‘non-state’ are misleading. For example, the
governance provided in many settings by elders in
Somalia is only understood as ‘informal’ from a Western
perspective; for many Somalis, the arbitration provided
by elders and the xeer (Somali customary legal system)
that informs it are more real than the formal rituals of
the Federal State. As clan elders’ roles are increasingly
formalised into different state functions, the distinction
between ‘state’ and ‘non-state’ becomes even more
blurred. As Albrecht and Moe (2014) highlight, the
post-colonial actor draws on, articulates and practises
several registers of authority simultaneously including
international discourse on human rights, religious
doctrine, legislation passed by a parliament, party
political agendas, and customary law.
12
1.3. About IAAAP
This report examines three projects that worked with
non-state actors under the Implementation and Analysis in
Action of Accountability Programme (IAAAP), a DFID-
funded programme that aims to enhance the ability of
Somali citizens to hold governance institutions to account.
IAAAP seeks to achieve this by working across different
spheres of economic and political interaction that the
programme understands as benetting from improved
accountability. For example, the programme works to
improve the ability of citizens to seek redress in situations
of poor governance or corruption, while also working
with Somali governance institution to increase their
capacity to respond to these issues. The programme
also aims to increase the accountability of aid agencies
and international businesses to the Somali population,
non-state actors in Somalia and how they inuence
accountability.
Figure 1: Map of Somalia and Jubbaland
Kismayo
Jubbaland
Dhobley
Mogadishu
SOMALIA
Puntland
Somaliland
13
2. Non-state actors in
Somalia and how they
inuence accountability
3 The lineage system in Somalia is based on patrilineal descent. Each Somali is a member of a primary lineage that forms part of a sub-clan, clan and
family clan (Lewis, 2003). See Gundel (2006) for a more detailed description.
While ‘non-state actor’ is dened broadly in this report,
there is a focus on the key groups with which IAAAP
projects engage in Somalia. In this section, some historical
background is provided on each key non-state actor. There
is also a brief analysis of the structures that facilitate or
prevent these actors being more accountable.
2.1. Elders as promoters of accountability
The principal group of non-state actors with which IAAAP
projects engage is elders. Due to Somali elders’ historical
role in arbitrating conict and upholding agreements, they
are often presented—and indeed present themselves—as
natural counterparts for NGOs and contractors working
to increase accountability. Several IAAAP projects
engage with elders as part of their efforts to increase
accountability of state authorities. As representatives of
the clan governance system, it is often assumed that elders
wield power that can be used to elicit responses from state
administrators.
A quick examination of the history of the relationship
between elders and the state indicates that the
relationship has often been ambiguous. Colonial and
post-colonial efforts to incorporate Somali elders into local
administration and to curb or accommodate customary
legal systems (xeer) produced varied results. During the
19th and 20th centuries, the British Protectorate in the
north of Somalia tried to co-opt Somali elders by creating
titular elders known as cuqaal (meaning ‘wise men’ in
Somali, singular caaqil), and paying them stipends. After
formal legislation was passed in 1921, the cuqaal acted
as a link between the district administration and the
protectorate’s inhabitants. In the Italian Somali colony
in the south, similar efforts were made to nominate
loyal elders as links between the administration and the
population (Lewis, 2003).
After independence in 1960, despite the Somali
government’s stated objective of eradicating ‘tribalism’,
elders continued to navigate a role somewhere between
the government and their communities, attempting to
placate the government and promote the interests of
their people (Bihi, 2000). In the early 1970s, the Siyaad
Barre government abolished the ofces of the caaqil, and
replaced them with the ofces of nabadoon (‘peace-seeker’)
and samadoon (‘promoter of wise judgment’) (Farah and
Lewis, 1993).
The same regime, however, armed the traditional leaders
of loyal clans against its opponents, and recruited civil
servants on clan basis rather than merits. After the collapse
of the central government in the early 1990s, elders became
the main governance structure that remained intact. In
some ways, this helped to re-establish elders’ position
and legitimacy (Farah and Lewis, 1993; Renders, 2007).
Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, many NGOs worked
through elders to distribute aid, further institutionalising
the power of this group and positioning them as local-level
actors that could leverage inuence over representatives of
the state.
While elders could, in theory, use their power to make
demands on state representatives, it is not clear that they
would necessarily make demands on behalf of all members
of their community. Elders are only selected by a minority
of members within a community. In Somalia, the selection
process varies across the country (Gundel, 2006). It
depends on the level at which the elder will operate, and
is constantly evolving. Sometimes, characteristics such as
experience, age, oratory skills, fairness and impartiality,
ability to compromise and persuade, expertise in xeer and
religious knowledge are necessary (Ahmed, 2001: 7). With
respect to some specic elder functions, lineage matters.3
One characteristic of the elder selection process that is
consistent across Somalia is that women are excluded.
Women cannot be selected as elders and cannot participate
in the selection process at any level. In fact, as highlighted
by one of IAAAP’s implementing partners, women tend to
be excluded entirely from customary governance structures
(KATUNI Consult, 2016). As such, they are severely
constrained in the ways in which they can make demands
14
on elders; often, their only means is to do so through their
husbands, brothers or sons (Ibid).
Minority and low caste clans such as Bantus, Benadiri,
Gabooye and Midgaan are also excluded at different levels
within the Somali clan governance system. However,
since the collapse of the state in 1991, some ambitious
members of minority clans have taken to self-inaugurating
themselves as clan elders (Bradbury, 2008). The result has
been a proliferation of the numbers of elders and clan
leaders, and tensions between those chosen by members of
majority clans and those who have self-inaugurated.
The exclusive selection process for elders limits their
downward accountability to the broader polity. Even
for those involved in the selection process, there are
limited sanctions available if an elder transgresses his
responsibilities. Once selected, there is no established
procedure for retiring an elder if his performance is
unsatisfactory. Elders also play a key role in the application
of customary legal proceedings and in upholding the rule
of law which further compromises the sanctioning power
of community members. If elders transgress customary
law, there is no additional structure within the clan that
can punish him. Several authors have noted how some
elders manipulate their power to inuence disputes, acting
not only as peace-makers, but also as war-makers as they
seek to maximise the benets they can earn as mediators
(Hagmann, 2007; Gardner and El Bushra, 2004; Marchal,
1998).
In absence of sanctioning power, restrains on elders’
power are enforced through norms. Clan traditions inform
these norms, as well as Islam. Where elders out those
norms and act irresponsibly, they may lose respect and
inuence in certain groups. However, they still retain their
position and there is very little that members of their
community can do to punish elders’ behaviour beyond
informal expressions of dissatisfaction, such as public
displays of resistance to an elder’s authority.
Most lower level elders operate at the community level,
which makes them particularly efcient for actors seeking
to access grassroots governance structures. Elders’ position
within the local governance structure means they are also
necessarily enmeshed in complex linkages upon which their
power is based (Smits and Wright, 2012: 7). This power
is, in many cases, dependent on the elder conforming to
norms of exclusion. Projects aiming to work with elders
to support increased accountability may therefore need to
compromise on inclusion of women, youth and minority
clans.
Working with elders from minority clans could
mitigate some exclusion at the clan level but if those
elders are self-inaugurated projects risk supporting
increasing exclusion at the community level. Programme
staff need to be cautious about claims of empowerment
among elders. If those elders represent only a select
group within a community, efforts to empower elders
in the name of accountability may be self-defeating.
As noted in the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion
Learning Brief (Haegeman and Grant, 2017) produced
by IAAAP, increasing the dominance of elders reinforces
the continued marginalisation of women and young
people.
2.2. Gatekeepers as service providers
Another key group of non-state actors that NGOs and
contractors engage with in Somalia is gatekeepers of IDP
settlements, referred to by Tana as ‘informal settlement
managers’. According to the Monitoring Group on Somalia
and Eritrea (2011), gatekeepers are ‘sophisticated networks
of interference: individuals and organisations who position
themselves to harness humanitarian assistance ows for
their own personal or political advantage.’ Gatekeepers
rst emerged in the 1990s when they interacted with aid
agencies as representatives of IDP communities (Bryld et
al, 2017). The large-scale arrival of IDPs between 2010
and 2011, their critical need for assistance, which was
compounded by the limited humanitarian space due to
insecurity and the operational choice by international
humanitarian actors to remotely manage operations,
allowed the gatekeeper system to develop further in the
country’s capital, Mogadishu. As the number of IDP
settlements in Mogadishu continues to increase, the
phenomenon of gatekeepers is unlikely to disappear.
Gatekeepers’ main roles are to provide land on which
to settle IDPs, manage security within their area of
responsibility and negotiate with NGOs for assistance
and services (Bryld et al, 2017). Depending on their
commitment to the role, other additional services that
gatekeepers provide include arranging funerals, supporting
vulnerable people, assisting new arrivals, assisting in
emergency situations such as births or illness, and resolving
conict between settlement residents (ibid). Gatekeepers
earn money from the services they provide, either through
diverting aid before it reaches the beneciaries or by
charging beneciaries directly for the services provided.
They function as part of a system of individuals who
seek to benet from humanitarian assistance in one way
or another. These individuals may be local business men,
land owners and former IDPs. In many cases, gatekeepers
need to work to ensure that these members of the host
community benet in some way from the presence of the
IDPs (ibid).
For some analysts, gatekeepers are just another
example of the ‘extraversion’ of Somali elites—that is,
the appropriation and redirection of foreign resources
(Hagmann, 2016). Bryld et al (2017) defends Tana’s
decision to work with gatekeepers by arguing that
‘gatekeepers have become the elephant in the room…. that
development actors are forced to interact with to provide
aid for IDPs but few, if any, admit that they do so’ (p7).
Considering Bryld et al’s (2017) observation, it is
worth understanding in more detail the accountability
structures with which gatekeepers engage. In older, more
formalised IDP sites, gatekeepers are sometimes selected
from the camp community, with the possible involvement
of the District Commissioner (DC). In newer and less
formalised camps, the gatekeeper is often the landowner, or
15
a speculator who has made a deal with a landowner (Tana
and iDC, 2015). While there are limited mechanisms of
downward accountability between gatekeepers and IDPs,
gatekeepers are accountable to power-holders in the host
community in myriad ways.
The process by which the gatekeeper gains their position
affects lines of accountability. For example, gatekeepers
appointed by the DC are likely to be more accountable to
the DC than gatekeepers who have gained their position
by other means. Gatekeepers also have accountability
relationships with clan elders in the host community:
in many cases, clan elders control local militias and so,
to ensure security, the gatekeepers need elders’ support.
Interestingly, if the IDPs are from the same clan as the host
community, as is often the case, IDPs can exert pressure
on gatekeepers by complaining to clan elders. Thus elders
from minority clans hosting IDPs from the same clan will
be accountable to those IDPs. However, elders in majority
clans hosting IDPs from a minority clan will have limited
responsibility for those IDPs.4
Gatekeepers are also likely to be accountable to local
religious leaders and business leaders, although in more
idiosyncratic ways. Religious leaders can demand that
gatekeepers comply with Islamic norms in their treatment
of IDPs and management of conditions in the camp.
Accusations of being un-Islamic carry heavy weight in
Somali society, therefore pressure from religious leaders
could work as an effective incentive for gatekeepers to
change or maintain behaviour. For example, at the height
of the famine in 2011, religious leaders lobbied business
leaders to provide water to IDP camps on the basis that
they should provide zakat – the Islamic practice of giving
a proportion of one’s wealth to charity (Tana and iDC,
2015).
In some camps, settlement committees have been set
up by the IDPs to assist gatekeepers in the management
of camps (Tana and iDC, 2015). These provide some
level of downward accountability to IDPs, especially in
camps where the selection of committee members is open
to all IDPs. As an institution, gatekeepers are in some
ways more inclusive and less bound by tradition than the
institution of elders, and as a result offer opportunities for
women to gain positions of power: many gatekeepers in
Mogadishu are women (Tana estimates that 30-40% of
gatekeepers are women).
2.3. Religious leaders as
enforcers of accountability
Religious leaders are another group of non-state actors
with which NGOs, as well as donors and the state, often
engage in Somalia. Worth noting, however, is the fact that
NGOs do not necessarily work directly with religious
leaders to improve accountability or governance and often
omit them from their Theories of change. This is surprising
4 Most IDPs are from southern parts of Somalia and are usually from the minority clans.
given the political clout religious leaders have in the
country.
Religious leaders in Somalia include those following the
Sust and Salast traditions. As Sust orders have been
active in Somalia since the 1850s (Loimeier, 2016), Sust
imams are often perceived as representing ‘traditional
Islam’. Salasts are the most recent major reform
movement to arrive in Somalia and have been active
since the 1950s (ibid). Both traditions include criticism of
corruption and guidance on what to expect from leaders.
Indeed, Islamic movements often position themselves
in opposition to corrupt leaders. Having been active in
Somali society for more than 150 years, Sust leaders
have integrated themselves into the clan system and are
consulted by clan elders and the community regarding
the application of xeer (Bryden, 2006). The Siyaad Barre
regime actively supported Sust orders, giving control of
religious teaching institutions as well as mosques (Marchal
and Sheikh 2015). Salasts were active and outspoken
opponents of the Barre regime, particularly following
its attempts to reform Somali family law. The regime
responded by violently repressing Salast organisations
(Ibid).
In some instances, Sust leaders may be in a position to
hold elders to account, as they monitor elders’ application
of xeer. In situations where there are harmonious
relations between elders and Sust leaders, decisions on
xeer are generally taken in consultation between these
different parties. In Somaliland, both Sust and more
recently Salast religious leaders have been involved in
post-election mediation—particularly of the presidential
elections—to convince defeated candidates to accept
the results. However, it is possible that corrupt elders
may co-opt Sust leaders, thereby undermining religious
leaders’ willingness to challenge an elder on his application
or use of xeer.
As representatives of a radical reform movement that
challenges both the Sust and clan hierarchy, Salast
leaders are often in a stronger position to hold elders
and representatives of the state to account. In the 1980s,
Salast movements contributed to the downfall of Syaad
Barre. Since the collapse of the central state, Salast groups
linked to the Gulf States have become active in Somalia,
playing a signicant role in service provision, such as
education and health care, as a form of humanitarian
development. This increases the legitimacy of Salast
groups at the local level among certain individuals. Salast
groups are particularly well organised among trader
networks and were active in establishing the Islamic Courts
Unions (ICU). Currently, there are multiple Salast groups
struggling for power and inuence within Somalia. Some
work closely with governments while others criticise the
FGS for adopting Western forms of governance.
The positions that Salast groups take can promote
increased accountability, but at the same time strongly
support ongoing exclusion of women. For example, in the
recent Somali elections, some Salast leaders actively tried
16
to persuade MPs to vote for the most effective president
rather than basing their choice on clan-based or nancial
incentives (Sheikh Bashir Ahmed Salad, 2017), while at the
same time also lobbying against the 30 per cent quota for
women. Sust leaders, by contrast, have been less vocal
on matters of political corruption but have tended to be
more open to the inclusion of women in political processes.
Sust leaders did not take a position on clan-based voting
or vote-buying but openly supported the 30 per cent quota
(UNSOM, 2016). These examples demonstrate some of the
complexities of working with religious leaders, but given
the strength of their inuence, there is certainly a case for
doing so to support accountability.
2.4. Business leaders as
demanders of accountability
Business leaders in Somalia wield signicant inuence
in governance in Somalia. Since the state’s collapse in
1991, the private sector has grown signicantly—partly
in response to the limited regulations and taxes. Despite
the ongoing conict in the country, business leaders have
established businesses across clan and region lines. In
fact, to pursue business across clan efdoms and political
boundaries, many businesspeople adopted shareholder-
based companies drawing on religious and old student
networks (Hansen, 2007). There is disagreement among
academics and commentators about the extent to which
business leaders support state-building. On one side, it
was argued that business leaders would lose out if there
was a stronger state that imposed taxes and regulations
(Menkhaus, 2003). Business leaders have a history of
nancing factions in return for protection across Somalia.
On the other side, business owners also suffered from
insecurity, theft and crumbling infrastructure. Business
leaders played active roles in the Arta Peace Conference,
the subsequent formation of the Transitional National
Government (TNG) and later on, in support of the
Islamic Courts Union (ICU). They have also contributed
to building state infrastructure, for example trade routes
to Berbera Port. Thus, others have argued that business
leaders do not reject the rebuilding of the Somalian state
but rather seek to limit its authority to impose higher
taxes and greater regulation that threaten their prots
(Hagmann, 2016).
As Somalia’s principle tax payers, business leaders
hold signicant leverage over the local administration at
the district level, local state governments and the FGS.
If the local administration lose legitimacy among the
business community, the administration loses one of its
main sources of revenue. Businesses leaders want to see
their taxes spent in ways that benet them, for example in
the upkeep of roads, the control of checkpoints etc., and
so could in this way act as demanders of accountability.
At the same time, business leaders often also work as
‘spoilers’, deliberately undermining efforts to improve
transparency to preserve their business interests.
17
3. Lessons from IAAAP
This section looks at three IAAAP-supported initiatives
that directly address accountability relationships and non-
state actors in Somalia:
Accountability in Informal Settlements, run by Tana;
Citizen Directed Negotiated Accountability, run by
KATUNI Consult; and
Integrity Pacts for the Somali Political Process, run by
Marqaati.
3.1. Working with ‘gatekeepers’ in informal
settlements
3.1.1. About the project
The Accountability in Informal Settings project worked
with ‘gatekeepers’ in informal settlements for Internally
Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Mogadishu. The premise of
the project was that IDPs needed increased protection from
human rights violations and better living conditions in
their camps, and that to do so, IDPs’ access to recourse for
injustices suffered would need to be improved. This meant
working with existing governance structures in the form of
gatekeepers and associated camp leaders and committees,
and increasing the accountability of these actors to
camp residents. The project understood that gatekeepers
existed in a web of power relations. They calculated
that by strengthening gatekeepers’ links to the local
administration—in particular the DCs—this would afford
greater accountability for IDPs. The project also worked to
expand the gatekeepers’ capacities to respond to the needs
of IDPs and increase the transparency of gatekeepers’
taxation systems.
The project planned to introduce a certication
system that would be managed by aid agencies and DCs.
The theory was that this would increase transparency
about camp management and pricing, helping IDPs
make informed decisions about which camp to move to.
Meanwhile, gatekeepers would be incentivised to meet
certication standards by the possibility of increased status
among international aid agencies and in turn, increased aid
for their camps.
The project’s Theory of Change was based on three
assumptions:
1. The camps are a free market where IDPs can choose to
stay or leave depending on what they were offered.
2. Local authorities are incentivised to increase their
oversight of camps within their jurisdictions.
3. Aid agencies are incentivised to work with gatekeepers
to improve gatekeepers’ ability to deliver services in
accordance with humanitarian principles.
3.1.2. What happened?
Tana trained selected gatekeepers in mechanisms for
effective camp management, protection and service
delivery. Tana then worked towards enhancing the
transparency of the gatekeepers’ taxes and camp rules
by supporting them in establishing boards that outlined
the gatekeepers’ commitments to improve protection,
transparency, and the rights of the IDPs.
Working with gatekeepers and treating them as
camp managers who were interested in providing good
services within their camps proved a successful approach.
Following the training in human rights, gender equality
and humanitarian principles, gatekeepers initiated
awareness-raising sessions within their camps. DCs agreed
to monitor gatekeepers’ commitments to improving
protection, transparency and IDPs’ rights. In some camps,
where there was already a direct relationship between
gatekeepers and DCs, this relationship was strengthened.
In camps, where gatekeepers had no contact with their DC,
a formal relationship was established. Gatekeepers also
began liaising more with settlement committees.
Project staff realised that the training gave gatekeepers
additional legitimacy and the staff worked to raise the
prole of gatekeepers who had attended the training.
Project staff supported events that marked the erection
of signs boards that outlined the commitments made by
gatekeepers to enhance protection and transparency in
their settlements.
However, as the project progressed, it became clear that
some actors within the local district administration and
the FGS were pushing back against the project. Within the
local administration, some individuals felt that certifying
camps would make what were deemed ‘illegal’ settlements
more permanent. There were also concerns that the
legitimisation of camps would counter the government’s
efforts to return IDPs to their place of origin. This meant
that it was not possible to formalise a certication process
that had the support and buy-in of local authorities.
Another challenge for the project resulted from the
assumption that IDPs were free to move between camps
if they had access to information about a better service in
another camp – an assumption that did not hold true. In
fact, IDPs could only move between camps if an agreement
was made between the gatekeepers. Moving camps also
usually involved a cost for the IDP that may not be offset
by better services at another camp. Further complicating
18
the issue was the problem of nding a camp where the
dominant clan within a settlement was aligned with one’s
own clan. An IDP who moved to another camp where
services were better, might, in the end, face discrimination
if they were not from the same clan as the dominant clan.
3.1.3. How the project adjusted to challenges
When it proved difcult to establish a formal certication
process in collaboration with local authorities, the
project shifted its focus towards establishing a settlement
monitoring committee in participating camps. The
committee had oversight over several camps and was
chaired by the DC. In this way, the project involved
the local administration in more direct oversight of
participating camps. The monitoring committee was a step
towards establishing trust and mutual recognition between
local authorities and gatekeepers.
Militia
Private security District
Commisioner
Gatekeepers Businessmen
IDPs
Tana worked to strengthen
accountability of gatekeepers to
District Commissioners
Tana aimed to improve downward
accountability between
gatekeepers and IDPs
Landowners
Religious
leaders
IDP Committees
Local leaders
(clan elders)
indicates direction of accountability relationship
accountability relationship depends on the context
accountability relationship is weak
Key:
Source: ODI
Figure 2: Gatekeepers and accountability relationships in Mogadishu
19
3.1.4. Did the gatekeepers become more
accountable to IDPs?
The sanctions available to IDPs to punish poor-performing
gatekeepers remained limited. IDP camps did not operate
as a free market where IDPs could freely exit if they were
unhappy with services. The establishment of a settlement
monitoring committee chaired by the DC strengthened the
links between the informal governance structures within
the camps and formal state structures, thus promoting
a hybrid governance structure that built on existing
arrangements. In theory, these more formalised structures
provided IDPs with an opportunity to voice grievances
to the local administration and if these grievances were
serious enough, the DC could act to remove the gatekeeper.
In reality, removing poor performing gatekeepers would be
politically difcult as they are usually backed by clan elders
and associated militias.
Perhaps the more important change that the project
achieved was in how gatekeepers who attended the
training perceived their role. The formal recognition of aid
agencies and DCs of gatekeepers’ roles as service providers
increased their legitimacy and provided gatekeepers
with a standard that they could strive to achieve. Those
who took pride in how they managed their camps were
incentivised to work towards the standards discussed in
the training. It should be noted, however, that the project
targeted gatekeepers who were known to be ‘good’
gatekeepers—those who were identied as ‘enablers’ during
the feasibility study. Those known to abuse camp dwellers,
categorised as ‘spoilers’ in the feasibility study, were not
targeted during the pilot. This strategy draws on ideas
from political economy and the Thinking and Working
Politically agenda5 and certainly produced results during
the implementation of this pilot project. The challenge will
now be how to incentivise the ‘spoilers’ to adapt to the
norms established by the ‘enablers’.
Female gatekeepers also participated in the training,
adding to their legitimacy as holders of power within
a patriarchal society. The presence of women in this
role opens up the possibility for increased female
participation in decision-making in camps than is typical
in Somali customary governance systems, and improved
accountability of governance structures for women in
general. This is an area that merits further investigation.
3.2. Working with elders to improve
accountability of the local administration
The Citizen Directed Negotiated Accountability (CDNA)
project aimed to improve the accountability of the local
district administration for ten villages in the Dhobley Sub
District in Lower Juba Region, South Central Somalia. The
CDNA project addressed four key areas of governance
that KATUNI Consult determined could have the biggest
5 See twpcommunity.org for an explanation of the Thinking and Working Politically agenda.
6 I.e. Representative of all clans living in the villages.
impact on the improvement of accountability, particularly
at the community-level:
Improving the ability of the community to express its
needs to local authorities (‘voice’),
supporting the government to respond to these needs,
creating space for engagement and negotiation between
government and community representatives
developing mechanisms for monitoring and sanctioning
government representatives.
The overarching Theory of Change for this project was
that if communities could agree on their needs and if there
was a structure through which they could communicate
their needs to local government representatives, then
the government would respond. The project tried to
move beyond the classic ‘supply-and-demand’ models of
accountability, i.e. where the problem of accountability is
not simply a matter of building generic capacities on both
the supply and demand sides (the local administration
and the community, respectively) but rather building the
specic capacities of both side to engage with each other
(Allen and Gundel, 2017b).
The project team was also clear about the need for a
mechanism by which to enforce accountability. Based on
its context analysis, KATUNI Consult understood elders as
key actors who could ensure that negotiating parties would
eventually uphold agreements both at the village level and
between villages and Dhobley District Administration.
The key assumptions in this Theory of Change were that
district administration representatives have the capacity
and incentive to respond to citizens’ demands, and that
they would not face political and structural constraints in
their ability to respond. It was also assumed that elders are
incentivised to hold the local administration to account on
any agreements made.
3.2.1. What happened
To improve the community’s ability to express its needs
to government representatives, KATUNI Consult project
staff facilitated community planning sessions to develop
action plans. These plans would serve as a starting point
for their negotiations with the district administration and
NGOs. In addition to these planning sessions, KATUNI
provided civic education to increase people’s understanding
of citizenship, as well as of their rights and responsibilities
regarding their district and village administration. To
ensure that there was a structure at the community level
that could engage with government representatives, the
project supported the establishment of ‘clan-neutral’6 and
inclusive village committees and an Association of Villages
that brought together representatives from each of the
village committees.
The project strove to avoid prescribing ready-made
solutions but rather sought to nd productive ways of
20
working with political or social actors to achieve shared
objectives. This created space for structures associated
with the project to be shaped by local actors. For example,
when setting up an ‘Association of Villages’7, association
members asked the District Development Coordinator
to join the association as they saw this as a good way
to avoid a situation where the Association of Villages
was viewed as a threat to the District Administration’s
authority. Thus, the structure was designed by members
not necessarily for making demands but to facilitate better
two-way relations between the communities and their local
district administration.
During the second round of forums, the project team
facilitated a discussion in which a group of elders from
several villages explored the role they could play in
strengthening local accountability. Elders decided to set
up an association that would bring together elders from
across the ten villages in which the project was working.
Elders drew up a memorandum of understanding (MoU)
and delineated members’ roles and responsibilities.
This highlighted elders’role in ensuring accountability
in relation to international NGOs. In relation to
Dhobley District Administration, there was no mention
of improving accountability as such, but rather an
emphasis on establishing a working relationship and on
resolving conicts.
Following the second round of forums, the Association
of Elders met with the Chair of Dhobley District
Administration and requested a plot of land upon which
they could build an ofce for the Association. The
request was granted and a small plot adjacent to the
administration’s ofce identied. The elders then collected
contributions, and purchased cement, iron sheets and
timbers to begin construction. It is clear that the elders
understood the CDNA project as an opportunity to set up
structures that located them both spatially and politically
much closer to the local administration. Elders reported
that their sense of mistrust in the district administration
had reduced, when previously they had reported feeling
side-lined by it. In this way, the CDNA project facilitated
the formalisation of the relationship between elders and
the local district administration.
As the project sought to increase the capacities of both
citizens and the local administration to engage with each
other, KATUNI Consult facilitated sessions to support the
local administration in developing plans for their area of
jurisdiction. By the end of the facilitation sessions with
the local administration, an organisational chart and draft
resource allocation plan had been developed.
When a meeting was eventually held between the
Association of Villages, Association of Elders and Dhobley
District Administration, another key group of inuential
non-state actors emerged: business leaders. The business
leaders were willing to publicly question members of the
administration; instigating a heated debate on the issue
of taxation and service delivery. They demanded the
administrators reveal exactly how their taxes were being
7 The Association of Villages included representatives from each of the 10 villages involved in the CDNA project.
used, as well as explain the apparent inconsistencies in
taxation rates.
Following this session, ofcials at the local and
at the federated state levels, such as the Jubbaland
Administration, pushed back on the project. The Ministry
of Interior in the Jubbaland Adminstration, required
project activities to be suspended. The project team was
aware that some of the issues raised during meetings with
the district administration, such as revenue collection,
were of concern to the local police commander who was
benetting from the opaque rules on tariffs on sugar
importation. The police commander also had strong ties
with the Jubbaland Administration in Kismayo. While
the project could resume its activities after the temporary
suspension by the Ministry of Interior, it was clear that
achieving transparency on how tax revenue was spent was
going to be politically difcult.
3.2.2. How the project adapted
When KATUNI Consult negotiated permission from the
Ministry of Interior to resume activities, the project team
realised that its work to support increased demands for
transparency needed to be balanced with the political
reality of what was possible, without the project being
suspended. The team strove to nd productive ways of
working with the Police Commander by identifying shared
objectives to reduce his resistance to the project. For
example, while the Police Commander was keen to protect
his economic interests in the area, he also acknowledged
that the current way of doing things was a product of a
post-conict environment and was reducing his potential
to achieve more legitimacy and thus greater inuence. He
agreed to participate in the process of establishing public
nancial management mechanisms.
3.2.3. Did the local administration
become more accountable?
Given the project’s relatively short timeframe it is too early
to assess the impact it could have had on enhancing local
governance and accountability in the longer term. There
was only one recorded example of an agreement between
the Dhobley District Administration and the Association of
Villages. The agreement was that the district administration
would tax goods travelling through Dhobley, the economic
capital of Lower Jubbaland and use the revenue to increase
the number of police in the market areas. In exchange,
the business community agreed to paying taxes according
to a standardized rate and on a more regular basis. The
agreement was written into the xeer for the area. It is not
clear whether the elders were able to enforce both sides of
this agreement.
Aside from this agreement, it was evident that political
constraints prevented Dhobley District Administration
from responding to many of demands made during the
facilitated meetings. Indeed, the two other agreements
negotiated by the Association of villages were with NGOs
21
Jubbaland Administration
District administration
Business men
Elders
Religious leaders
Citizens
KATUNI tried to strengthen the
downward accountability of the
district administration through
creating associations that
represented a group of villages
KATUNI worked to strengthen the
role of the elders as they were
seen as a key leverage on the
district administration
indicates direction of accountability relationship
accountability relationship depends on the context
accountability relationship is weak
Key:
Figure 3: Elders and accountability in Lower Juba Region
Source: ODI
22
and not with the district administration. At one meeting,
minority clan members raised concerns that a local NGO
was distributing cash vouchers unfairly. The Association
of Elders called the NGO to a meeting and asked them
to explain their method for distribution, requesting that
they adhere to fair practices in the future. Following the
development of a community action plan, one community
set up a water committee, which then worked with
Dhobley District Administration to negotiate with an NGO
to build a borehole in its area.
The reality was that Dhobley District Administration
had limited resources and power, meaning the relationship
of power and therefore the need for accountability was
not so much between Dhobley District Administration and
the elders/citizens, but between the NGOs and the elders/
citizens. The project activities helped to develop structures
that formalised the hybrid political order between Dhobley
District Administration and the elders, which was then
used to negotiate with NGOs.
The Council of Elders was more inclusive of a wider
group of clans which ultimately provided more minority
clans with direct access to the district administration.
Before the establishment of the Council of Elders, most of
the contact between Dhobley Administration and elders
had been with the elders of the two dominant sub-clans.
3.3. Working with elders to increase
accountability in the Somali political
process
Marqaati, a Somali NGO based in Mogadishu, focuses
it work on anti-corruption initiatives, and, in particular,
on reducing corruption in elections. Prior to the 2016
parliamentary elections, Marqaati succeeded in convincing
29 political parties to sign an ‘Integrity Pact’. The pact
committed them to nancial transparency and stated their
opposition to vote buying. IAAAP funded Marqaati to
widen the initiative’s target group, to include House of
People candidates,8 presidential candidates and clan elders.
Marqaati recognised certain elders’ as inuential electors
and so included them in its overall strategy to increase
electoral transparency.
Marqaati’s Theory of Change was that if Lower House/
Presidential candidates signed an Integrity Pact, they would
abstain from vote buying during elections. If elders signed
an Integrity Pact, they would abstain from taking bribes
from electoral delegates during elections. In the absence
of vote buying, candidates for the Lower House would
need to convince electoral delegates to vote for them based
on policy pledges. This would create a relationship of
accountability between candidates and electoral delegates.
8 The House of People is composed of an Upper and Lower House. In 2016, there were elections for the Lower House and a Presidential election.
9 The prisoner’s dilemma is a standard example of a game analyzed in game theory that shows why two completely “rational” individuals might not
cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best intinterests to do so.
10 Email exchange with Mohamed Warsame, 2017.
3.3.1. What happened
Marqaati convinced 55 MPs, 37 elders and two presidential
candidates to sign Integrity Pacts. Thirty-one political parties
also signed agreements. Some of the MPs used Marqaati’s
messages about the drawbacks of vote buying and criticised
MPs who continued to engage in it. Marqaati publicised
both the signatories and those who refused to sign.
But despite the negative coverage, the majority of
candidates—including the incumbent president—declined
to sign the pact. Marqaati concluded that Integrity Pacts
had limited impact as all candidates did not sign. As some
candidates continued to pay electoral delegates to vote for
them, it was difcult for those who had signed the Integrity
Pacts to compete without also paying electoral delegates.
Two of the assumptions in the project’s Theory of
Change did not hold true in practice. The rst was that the
commitment expressed through signing an Integrity Pact
would override the incentives within the current Somali
electoral system to engage in vote buying. As vote buying
is an effective way of assuring votes, committing to abstain
while competitors continue to use this strategy was high-risk
for those candidates who signed the Integrity Pacts. As in the
Prisoners Dilemma game9, cooperation is only advantageous
if all players cooperate. Without assurance that all
candidates would sign a pact, it is understandable that many
chose to abstain, even if that meant negative coverage.
The second assumption was that, in the absence of vote
buying, candidates would focus on policy to convince
electoral delegates to vote for them. However, many
candidates in Somalia do not perceive vote buying as
corruption.10 As elders select the delegates, some candidates
simply distribute cash to the elder and his assistants
who will select the delegates. In this way, vote buying is
understood as a form of redistribution of national state
resources within the clan.
3.3.2. Did elders become more transparent
in their voting?
Elders did not become more transparent in their voting
during the parliamentary elections. There weren’t enough
incentives built into the project to overcome the strong
economic and social incentives that produce vote buying.
That said, the project was right to include elders as they
are key actors in the political economy of vote buying,
often being paid directly to select delegates who will vote
for a particular candidate.
Marqaati’s campaign to address vote buying in the
presidential election the following year, in 2017, yielded
better results. Moving away from a focus on Integrity
Pacts, they focused instead on the anonymous voting that
MPs enjoy in electing the president, which meant that,
in theory, bribing would have less inuence. In the end,
23
the presidential candidate who paid the most lost. One
candidate who had not participated in vote buying got the
third largest number of votes.11 Further research would
need to be done to establish whether this outcome was
the result of Marqaati’s work or simply a function of the
increased anonymity of the presidential election.
Vote buying is extremely difcult to address. Even in
well-established democracies such as Ghana, political
11 Ibid.
patronage is widespread—there is even some evidence to
suggest that patronage has increased throughout the period
of democratic rule (Lindberg, 2003). Vote buying generates
a distinct political economy with a strong set of incentives
that are difcult to overcome (see McCullough et al.,
2016). And in Somalia, with an indirect electoral system
that breaks the direct accountability relationship between
MPs and voters, addressing vote buying is even harder still.
The President
Both the Upper and Lower
Houses elect the President, so the
President should be accountable
to both Houses.
275 Members of
the Lower House
indicates direction of accountability relationship
accountability relationship depends on the context
accountability relationship is weak
Key:
54 Members of
the Upper House
14,025 Electoral
Delegates
Elders from 135
clans and sub clans
The Electoral Delegates vote for one
seat in the Lower House.
There are 51 votes per seat.
Each delegate must be appointed by
135 traditional elders.
Marqaati tried to inuence three
accountability relationships through
their project: 1) between the elders
and the Electoral Delegates; 2)
between the Electoral Delegates and
the candidates for the Lower House;
and 3) between the Members of the
Lower and Upper Houses and the
presidential candidates.
Citizens
In theory, elders should be
accountable to citizens but as
they are unelected, they cannot
be directly sanctioned through an
electoral process.
Figure 4: Elders and accountability relationships in the Somali electoral system
Source: ODI
24
4. Reections on working
with non-state actors to
increase accountability
4.1. Moving away from standard
models of accountability
The successes achieved in increasing the accountability
of non-state actors in these case studies did not conform
to what would be predicted by standard models of
accountability. The changes achieved in these IAAAP
projects were not achieved through citizens gaining access
to information, but rather through strengthening the
relationships between those with power and key non-state
actors.
In the Accountability in Informal Settlements case study,
it was not more information about camp management
that increased IDPs sanctioning options and thus the
downward accountability of gatekeepers. Rather it
was the formalisation and legitimation of the role of
the gatekeepers that incentivised them to take more
responsibility for the transparency of camp governance.
In the CDNA case study, despite providing communities
with information about their rights and about the
responsibility of local government, this did not result in
communities nor elders making demands on the local
administration. Instead, the increased contact between
the elders and the district administration helped to foster
increased trust and greater collaboration between the
two institutions. Elders used the structures that were
created during project (an Association of Villages and an
Association of Elders) to demand increased accountability
from local NGOs.
4.2. On recognising the inuence of
dispersed power relations
Where formal and informal governance overlaps, the
relationships of power are dispersed across a range of
actors. The context analyses carried out for the IAAAP
projects demonstrate an awareness of the complexity of
power relations not only between non-state actors and
state actors but also among non-state actors themselves.
The Accountability in Informal Settlements case study
highlighted how gatekeepers were accountable to
landowners, clan elders of the host communities, business
people and sometimes the local administration. The
political economy analysis conducted in preparation for
the CDNA project, described the links between traditional
authorities (elders and clans leaders), business leaders,
NGOs and the state administration.
But in the nal design of both projects, the focus was
very much on strengthening the relationship between a
specic group of non-state actors and representatives of the
state. In the Accountability in Informal Settlements project,
the relationship of power that the project inuenced was
between IDPs and gatekeepers, and between gatekeepers
and the DC. The project didn’t draw on the potential
inuence of religious and business leaders to exert power
over gatekeepers. For example, Somali business people are
expected to pay zakat to help people less fortunate than
themselves. It is likely that those business people would be
interested in paying zakat to well-run camps rather than to
badly run camps; thus, business people could potentially
be a force for greater accountability of gatekeepers. In
interviews for a feasibility study for the Accountability in
Informal Settlements Project, IDPs talked positively about
religious leaders and the role they could play in improving
the situation of IDPs. They observed that aid agencies
did not engage with religious leaders on the matter of
gate keepers and IDP protection (Tana/iDC, 2013). In the
Accountability in Informal Settlements project, religious
leaders were used in awareness raising on anti-FGM by the
gatekeepers but they weren’t included as actors that could
inuence the behaviour of gatekeepers.
Similarly, in the CDNA project, the focus of the project
was initially between citizens and the local administration
with elders acting as arbitrators. In the end, the only
agreement that the District Administration struck was with
business leaders. Meanwhile community members directed
their efforts towards restraining the power of a local NGO.
Apart from one consultation with a religious leader in one
of the villages, the project did not engage with religious
leaders.
25
The latest thinking in accountability best practice is that
there is a need to move away from programmes that think
in terms of ‘states’ and ‘citizens’ and instead recognise that
the production of public goods involves a range of actors
including NGOs and the private sector (see for example
Joshi, 2017). In areas of limited statehood, development
actors need to think more laterally about how power is
dispersed across different groups, and which actors are
likely to be incentivised to restrain the power of others.
By overly focusing on the power relationship between
citizens and the state, projects are potentially missing
out on opportunities to create incentives for increased
accountability.
4.3. On constructing hybrid political orders
Projects supported through IAAAP played a role in
formalising relationships between non-state and state
actors, and in the process, are contributing to the ongoing
construction of hybrid political order in Somalia. In
the Accountability in Informal Settlements project,
relationships were formalised between the gatekeepers
and the DCs through the establishment of a settlement
monitoring committee, of which the DC was a member. In
the CDNA project, the establishment of the Association of
Elders made it easier for the elders to liaise with the district
administration. Indeed, reecting the evolving process
of negotiating hybridity, the elders used the opportunity
presented by the CDNA project to set up their own ofce
beside the district administration ofce – a concrete
symbol of their formalised relationship. In the Integrity
Pacts project, the project recognised elders as actors that
are involved in political corruption around elections. The
inclusion of elders in programmes to improve electoral
accountability contributes to the process of legitimising
and formalising their role in the electoral process.
But is it a good thing that projects aiming to support
increased accountability contribute to the construction of
a hybrid political order? The non-state actors that NGOs
and development actors work with in Somalia are part of
institutions that are exclusive and have limited downward
accountability to their communities. However, it is clear
that these non-state actors and the institutions they are
part of, will persist in Somalia for the foreseeable future.
If anything, these informal actors, and in particular, elders,
are likely to increase their power over the short term.
Excluding them from the political settlement12 would make
the re-establishment of stable governance more difcult.
So, while the inclusion of informal actors, such as elders,
in the governance system in Somalia is not necessarily
conducive to more inclusive and accountable governance,
it represents a reasonable way of drawing on existing
power bases to build support for the FGS. International
aid projects funded by Western donors, for the most part,
support the FGS. As such, Western international actors
are non-state actors that compete with other non-Western
international actors for inuence.
12 The balance of power between contending groups and classes in society, based in part on implicit, ongoing bargains among elites and non-elites about
how power is organized and exercised. See Kelsall (2016).
Mac Ginty and Richmond (2015) distinguish between
positive and negative pathways of hybridity. Positive
pathways of hybridity feature emancipation and the
emergence of hybrid institutions based on progressive
values. Northern Ireland is cited as an example of a
positive pathway of hybridity. Negative pathways of
hybridity maintain unequal and exclusive power structures.
While working with non-state actors that represent
customary institutions may contribute to stabilising
the FGS, there is a risk that international actors are
participating in steering Somalia on a negative pathway of
hybridity. A recent report on Somali women’s participation
in politics found that the politicisation of clan identity
(clannism) was perceived to be one of the most signicant
barriers to women’s political participation (Social
Development Direct and Forcier, 2017). Through adopting
a voting system of xed proportional representation by
clan and candidate vetting that is controlled by clan rather
than political party, the inuence of the clan national level
politics has been formalised. As the clan system excludes
women, the space for women to participate meaningfully
in politics (Browne and Fisher, 2013).
Of course, not all informal institutions are exclusive
in the same ways. Gatekeepers seem to be less bound by
tradition and allow women and younger people to take
positions of authority. Programmes that seek to promote
inclusive governance could aim to work with a range of
non-state actors. Programmes could consider actively
collaborating with less well-established informal actors
as there may be greater opportunities for including those
currently excluded from traditional institutions. Working
to make traditional institutions more inclusive is another
way of mitigating the risks of deepening a hybrid political
order.
4.4. On working with traditional authorities
Of all non-state actors, NGOs and development actors
are most likely to work with elders, particularly on
programmes to strengthen governance. Elders can play a
role in restraining power, but IAAAP projects show that
elders are not necessarily focused on restraining state
power. The CDNA case study showed that elders saw
themselves as collaborators with district administrators
rather than as whistle-blowers. The Elders Association’s
memorandum of understanding did not mention holding
the Dhobley District Administration to account. The
elders’ behaviour in relation to the district administrators
in Lower Juba region aligns with Logan’s analysis of
popular perceptions of traditional and elected leaders in
Africa as ‘two sides of the same coin’ (2009). Given this
relationship, it is possible that elders will not necessarily
be incentivised to hold representatives of local government
to account. The Elders Association’s MoU did, however,
include a commitment to holding NGOs (both national
and international) to account.
26
Recognising that elders are likely to act more as
collaborators with government representatives than
whistle-blowers should inform how practitioners think
about the design of accountability programmes in Somalia.
Elders may be better placed to increase the accountability
of international non-state actors—such as NGOs, the
UN and donor agencies based in Somalia—or the private
sector.
Of note is that corruption among elders is common at
all levels in Somaliland and in Somalia. Any programme
seeking to work with elders to increase the accountability
of international actors or the private sector needs to
include measures to prevent elders being co-opted by those
they seek to hold accountable, whether through stipends or
through perks such as free accommodation in urban areas.
Elders are likely to play an ongoing role in Somalia’s
hybrid governance system, but they can only advance
accountability if they become more accountable
themselves. One focus of accountability programmes could
therefore be on increasing the downward accountability
of elders to their communities and in particular to women
and young people. In Somaliland, a small number of
women joined the Council of Elders through the death of
their husbands. Programmes such as IAAAP could support
processes by which women can ascend to positions of
authority comparable to that of an elder.
4.5. Using the prospect of increased
legitimacy as an incentive
Many sociologists and anthropologists mistakenly attribute
the legitimacy of non-state actors such as elders to either
‘tradition’ or ‘charisma’ (e.g Hoehne, 2012). This is based
on Weber’s theory that the source of authority is either
tradition, charisma or a rational-legal code. A more
comprehensive theory of legitimacy understands it as
constantly negotiated and acted out through interactions
between those with authority and those without (see
Beetham, 2013).13 In this sense, non-state actors—even
those drawing on traditional or customary practices—
need to constantly negotiate their legitimacy. The case
studies made clear that the opportunity to increase one’s
legitimacy incentivised non-state actors to change their
behaviour.
The gatekeepers with whom Tana worked were willing
to accept increased scrutiny of their operation to gain
greater legitimacy as service providers in the eyes of aid
agencies and the local administration. Similarly, the elders
in Lower Jubbaland were willing to invest in establishing
an ofce next to the administration to emulate the outside
image of authority and thus establish their legitimacy in
a broader context. The possibility of increased legitimacy
is clearly a strong incentive for behaviour change in
non-state actors. This incentive may be deployed in
creative ways to incentivise non-state actors to produce
progressive behaviour change. This could, for example,
include the introduction of accountable structures such
13 See McCullough, 2015 for a summary of the different ways to understand state legitimacy.
as the committees and signs by the gatekeepers in the
Accountability in Informal Settlements. However, as
legitimacy is constantly evolving and renegotiated, the
strategies used in a project to incentivise behaviour change
through legitimacy would need to be continually reviewed.
Further, if those strategies do not produce measurable
behavioural change in non-state actors, activities should
be adjusted immediately. Simply providing non-state
actors an opportunity to consolidate their power without
corresponding increases in restraints on their power would
lead to potentially disastrous results.
4.6. Ensuring ongoing sustainability
of accountability projects with
non-state actors
Achieving sustainability in accountability programmes is
an ongoing challenge. This challenge becomes especially
acute when working with non-state actors that do not
function within a dened institutional structure. It is not
clear that the change in the gatekeepers’ and the elders’
behaviour will be sustainable once the project has nished.
In the Accountability in Informal Settlements project,
the training conferred legitimacy on the gatekeepers
who reacted by installing signs and liaising with camp
settlement committees. It is not, however, clear whether
this was due to the ‘Hawthorne effect’ – that is, when
individuals change their behaviour in response to their
awareness of being observed. In this case the observer is
Tana and when the project nished, the gatekeepers may
revert to less accountable modes of camp management.
Beyond the increased legitimacy that the association with
an international NGO offered the gatekeepers, there
were few tangible incentives for gatekeepers to continue
with more accountable camp management. As the project
continues, it remains to be seen whether those gatekeepers
who participated in the project remain more responsive to
IDPs’ needs than those who did not.
In the CDNA project, resources were invested in
establishing relations across communities and between
elders and the District Administration but it was unclear
whether elders will be incentivised to facilitate and monitor
agreements between the District Administration and the
Villages Association once KATUNI Consult had stopped
funding the project. More resources need to be invested
in this initiative to understand the project’s long-term
impact and the incentives that would need to be in place to
capitalise on the Elders Association and the Association of
Villages structures.
There is one feature of the Somali informal governance
system that may be harnessed to increase the sustainability
of governance programmes that seek to work with non-
state actors. This is the practice of incorporating other legal
practices into the xeer. Elements of sharia have already
been incorporated into the xeer, setting a precedent for the
incorporation of additional legal traditions, including, for
example, human rights law.
27
28
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Somalia Accountability Programme
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This article adds to current debates on hybridity by shifting attention from interactions between entities to the enactment of authority. The notion of hybridity has helped move debates on peace and state-building beyond a normative focus on failure and fragility. However, it also remains a contested and evolving concept. This article aims to theorise further the process of hybridisation. By introducing the concept of simultaneity of discourse and practice it explores the process through which seemingly contradictory sources of authority are played out at the same time in order-making to constitute political order. The processes of enactment suggest a model for reading dialogically concepts such as bureaucracy, autochthony, kinship and legislation, exploring how they are co-constituted in spaces of discourse and practice. Inherent to these spaces is a perpetual tension of difference and affinity. It is the dynamism of this tension that defines the hybrid order's quality of simultaneity.
Book
Based on twelve case studies (Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar and the Comoros), this books provides the first comprehensive analysis of Muslim movements of reform in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. It looks at patterns and peculiarities of different traditions of Islamic reform, considering both Sufi- and Salafi-oriented movements of reform in their respective historical and regional contexts. It stresses the importance of the local context to explain the different trajectories of development. The books studies the social, religious, and political impact of these reform movements in both historical and contemporary times and asks why some movements of reform have become successful as popular mass movements, gaining influence among African middle class groups, while others failed to attract substantial audiences. It considers jihad-minded movements in contemporary Mali, northern Nigeria and Somalia and looks at modes of transnational entanglement of movements of reform. Equally, the book discusses the biographies of major reformist scholars and addresses the importance of generational dynamics in the development of movements of reform. Against the background of a general inquiry into what constitutes “reform”, the text responds to the question of what “reform” actually means for Muslims in contemporary Africa.
Article
David Beetham's book explores the legitimation of power both as an issue in political and social science theory and in relation to the legitimacy of contemporary political systems including its breakdown in revolution. 'An admirable text which is far reaching in its scope and extraordinary in the clarity with which it covers a wide range of material... One can have nothing but the highest regard for this volume.' - David Held, Times Higher Education Supplement ;'Beetham has produced a study bound to revolutionize sociological thinking and teaching... Seminal and profoundly original... Beetham's book should become the obligitory reading for every teacher and practitioner of social science.' - Zygmunt Bauman, Sociology
Chapter
In many African societies, elders play a crucial role in managing public affairs in their community, both with and in the absence of formal state recognition. Elders assume the most varied tasks in safeguarding the social, political, economic, cultural, religious, and spiritual welfare of the people they (claim to) represent. Yet if we are to believe van Nieuwaal and van Dijk (1999: 9) “there is one aspect of chiefing for which no shortcuts exist”, and that is conflict resolution. Resolving conflicts represents a “chiefing” activity of special importance and interest for the study of recent waves of the incorporation of traditional authorities by sub-Saharan African states. On the one hand, many rural societies lack a complete understanding of formal state institutions such as courts and legal codes, mainly preferring “endogenously defined concepts and procedures” (Just 1998: 108) to manage individual and communal disputes. On the other hand, the state endeavors “to dominate other institutions that provide dispute resolution services” (Merry 1987: 2069) in an attempt to subordinate competing norms that challenge its legitimacy. Controlling and ending violence is among the classic tasks of the nation state seeking to impose a monopoly over the use of legitimate force (Weber 1947).