ChapterPDF Available

Somalia, fragmented hybrid governance and inclusive development

Eric Herring et al.
10 Somalia, fragmented hybrid
governance and inclusive
Eric Herring, Latif Ismail, Aoife McCullough and Muhyadin Saed
This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Santini RH, Polese A and Kevlihan R
(eds) Limited Statehood and Informal Governance in the Middle East and Africa pp. 186-204 on 9 October 2020;
available online:
Somalia’s political system is fragmented, in that those involved in governing do not
have agreed authority relations and do not have agreed means of settling disputes
over those authority relations.
The fracture lines are numerous between the Federal
Government of Somalia (FGS) and the Federal Member States (FMS); between the
FGS and the internationally unrecognised Government of Somaliland (GSL);
between all of these state actors and the Al-Shabaab insurgency; between the
FGS/GSL and commercial actors; and between the FGS/GSL and the many
governmental and non-governmental international actors present. Somalia’s political
system is also hybrid in that it involves multiple forms of authority that include both
traditional forms (primarily clan, Islam and elders) and modern forms (specifically
the executive, legislature and judiciary of the modern state representing and
accountable to a national population).
The institutions of clan, Islam and elders have
modern dimensions and, equally, state authority has traditional dimensions.
Nevertheless, the distinction adopted in this chapter between “traditional” and
“modern” is used as a matter of routine by scholars and analysts of Somalia,
including those who are Somali.
It is not used here to imply that one is more valid
or desirable than the other. Hybridity is officially built into the political system: the
final electoral process agreed for Somalia’s 2016 elections involved 135 clan,
religious and community elders selecting 14,025 electoral delegates who then voted
for 275 Members of Parliament. Furthermore, representation is based on the 4.5
formula (first adopted in the Somali political process in 2000) in which the four main
clans are entitled to an equal share of government positions while minority clans are
collectively entitled to half the share of one major clan.
While the FGS and
international community are formally committed to having one person one vote
elections in 2020 which do not use the 4.5 formula, there are no serious preparations
for that change. Somalia’s hybrid system involves governance in that multiple state
and non-state authorities play roles in governing so that power and authority are
dispersed across state and non-state actors, and up and down through levels. This
contrasts with government, conceived of as ruling through the centralised political
authority and coercive power of a state at all levels. Krasner and Risse claim that this
kind of government (in their terms statehood) exists “only in some parts of the
In fact, the sovereign state with authoritative, legitimate
final decision and coercive power over all other actors within its borders
Somalia, governance and development
and in relations outside its borders exists nowhere. The state in the 21st century is
characterised by governance; pooled sovereignty in bodies such as the European
Union and World Trade Organisation; and globalising dynamics that further
compromise state sovereignty.
Hybrid governance, understood as a mix of “traditional” and “modern”
systems of political authority, is the reality in much of the world and will continue to
be so for a long time to come in one form or another.
Hybridity and fragmented
governance often go hand in hand as hybridity can produce parallel and competing
systems of authority. But if we take hybridity as a given in Somalia, are there ways
to work with it while promoting more coherent governance? We argue that it is
possible to work with non-state actors to support increased coherence without
necessarily negating their parallel systems of authority. Is coherent governance what
Somalis and the international community should be aiming for? Coherent
governance does not, in itself, produce inclusive development, defined by Hickey et
al. as
a process that occurs when social and material benefits are equitably
distributed across divides within societies, across income groups, genders,
ethnicities, regions, religious groups, and others. These benefits necessarily
comprise not only economic and material gains but enhanced well-being and
capabilities as well as social and political empowerment being widely
Coherent governance assists political leaders in reacting to demands of coalitions and
implementing policies that could promote inclusive development, while fragmented
governance hinders the process. However, political settlement theory predicts that
coherent governance in a settlement where elites are not driven by a developmental
vision, or where the settlement is based on support from a narrow group, can result
in more successful repression of demands from other groups.
Somalia’s political settlement can be categorised as a “limited access order”,
i.e. exclusive, spoils-driven and personalised.
There have been periods in recent
Somali political history where a political settlement with a degree of coherence or
“purposive coordination”
around a shared vision among elites emerged. This was
the case, for example, when the Islamic Courts Union gained control over Mogadishu
and parts of south central Somalia in 2006. For the most part since then, coordination
between elites (defined as those having concentrations of power at their disposal) has
been based on a division of spoils leading to an unstable political settlement prone to
outbreaks of violence between rival elite led militias. In such circumstances,
inclusive development is improbable; elites are too busy struggling to control what
exists or undermining what exists to deny it to their opponents. International actors
are not outside and above the political settlement in Somalia; through backing
different Somali politicians and factions, they are an integral part of it and thus fully
implicated in its failures as well as successes.
Somalia is, as of 2018, mired in a
political stalemate and breakdown of relations between the FGS and FMS as they
Eric Herring et al.
struggle over the distribution of power.
FMS leaders unilaterally formed a Council
of Interstate Cooperation in 2017 so that they can bargain collectively with the FGS,
or at a minimum simply resist interference by it and sidestep it. As state functioning
at both levels is diverted into these struggles, Al-Shabaab continues to be able to
engage in violence despite US, AMISOM and Somali military efforts.
The Senate
of the FGS carried out a fact-finding mission of the FMS-FGS dispute in late 2018.
In some respects, it identified a potentially shared vision around completion of the
constitutional review process, consolidation of the security forces, judicial reform,
preparations for elections in 2020, political party formation, economic development
and national reconciliation.
However, the FMS-FGS power struggle took a
particularly intense turn in December 2018, when FGS police backed by Ethiopian
troops arrested Mukhtar Robow in Baidoa and flew him to Mogadishu. Robow,
former spokesman and deputy leader of Al-Shabaab who split from the group in 2013
and defected to oppose it in 2017, was standing for election to the presidency of
South West State of Somalia (the first such FMS election since their creation). With
strong backing from his locally dominant Rahanweyn clan, Robow was expected to
win the election which had been postponed three times by the FGS. The result has
been violent pro- and anti-Robow clashes in Baidoa.
Somalis (and those seeking to work with Somalis towards inclusive
development) have to start from where they are a governance system with conflicts
of legitimacy, huge tasks and weak and/or competing institutions. Krasner and Risse
argue that transnational governance efforts are more likely to succeed in achieving
coherence when local actors perceive transnational governance as legitimate and
when governance systems incorporate strong institutional design (i.e. are well
resourced, on solid legal ground, flexible, independently monitored and with clear
decision-making rules).
There is much to commend in these points for
transnational governance actors. However, the approach proposed in this chapter is
to consider how particular manifestations of hybrid governance advance or
undermine inclusive development in the current, much less benign, context.
Through examining manifestations of hybrid governance in Somalia, and more
specifically the degree to which these parallel governance systems are susceptible to
restraint, we seek to identify ways in which Somalis and international actors can
work within hybridity to achieve inclusive development.
The analysis in this chapter is of wider significance beyond the case of Somalia
in three ways. First, it draws attention to the fact the fragmentation or coherence of
political authority strongly shapes dynamics of hybrid governance. If hybrid
governance is fragmented, the ability to impose, negotiate or cooperate on issues
around inclusive development will be limited. Indeed, struggles over political
authority are liable to overshadow the substance of inclusive development. Second,
it shows that the issue of accountability is a productive perspective from which to
analyse relationships between hybrid governance and inclusive development. This is
because in different yet related ways, debates about both issues are to some
significant degree about accountability. Third, the chapter illustrates the value of
taking an agnostic approach as to whether hybridity in governance should be
promoted or resisted. As our empirical material shows, hybrid governance can have
Somalia, governance and development
negative and positive implications for accountability and inclusive development, and
so a more nuanced and fine-grained approach than for or against hybrid governance
is desirable.
When governance systems are susceptible to restraint, they are in this sense
accountable. Accountability can contribute to inclusive development because it
increases the social and political empowerment that Hickey et al reference.
Without it, citizens will be subject to arbitrary power or, equally, without being
accountable themselves, others will be subject to their arbitrary power. For Sen, and
we concur, development includes the instrumental freedom of political freedom as it
is necessary for the capability and opportunity to exercise reasoned agency.
In an
ideal vision of inclusive development, there should be mechanisms for horizontal
accountability, and both downward and upward vertical accountability. By
horizontal accountability we mean accountability between powerful institutions and
authority figures, while downward vertical accountability is accountability of the
powerful to those they represent or affect, and upward vertical accountability is
accountability of those represented or controlled by the more powerful. Of course, in
any polity, there will be power differences so the extent to which all types of
accountability can be achieved will always be limited.
The notion of representation at a general level is an important aspect of
accountability, as representatives are expected to show that they are acting as
required. However, an approach to accountability which conceptualises it solely in
terms of citizens using information about the performance of the state to decide
whether to reward or punish politicians or civil servants through elections or other
forms of non-violent political expression is too narrow in two respects. First, as we
have already pointed out, governance is about more than states. All societies not
just those in the Global South - are governed by formal and informal institutions and
authority figures that include but also go beyond the state. International
organisations, social movements, religious establishments, businesses, non-
governmental organisations and clans all have power in various forms, including
political power. State sovereignty the final legal and practical power of
authoritative decision-making internally and externally is everywhere
compromised, though to varying degrees. The extent and nature of the accountability
of that power is a crucial aspect of how politics functions within, across and between
states. For example, the FGS and GSL have very limited ability to hold international
donors to account. Even if that accountability was increased, FGS and GSL efforts
are liable to focus on ideological, political or material interests rather than
contributing to achieving officially stated development goals. Second, accountability
is influenced by whether authority is integrated in a hierarchical way or fragmented
into different centres of authority that may operate either in different spaces or
concurrently in the same space. When authority is fragmented, accountability in one
sphere does not extend effectively to other spheres. In much of Somalia, the state is
Eric Herring et al.
effectively absent, with religious, elder, clan and armed militant groups vying for
control. Hence, even if elected politicians are accountable to the electorate, there is
little prospect of these politicians using that mandate to exercise accountability over
other elites for the electorate. Coherent governance can contribute to extending
whatever horizontal or vertical accountability may exist in one sphere to another,
even in a hybrid system. Non-state actors, as we now explain, can work to extend
accountability from one sphere to another, thus potentially increasing coherent
Non-state actors in Somalia
Contrary to much of the practice in international development, we do not equate non-
state actors with civil society. We define a non-state actor as an actor with sufficient
power to influence politics, either at local or national levels, despite not being part of
a state institution. As such, “non-state actor” may refer to national and international
NGOs, business or religious leaders, traditional authorities, workers’ organisations,
media, local community-based groups and networks, or diaspora. They may also be
armed, as in the case of clan militias or Al-Shabaab. This broad definition is useful,
as a wide range of non-state actors participate in producing Somalia’s fragmented
hybrid governance and in shaping development towards or away from inclusivity.
The line between actors who form part of state institutions and those who do not is
blurred. As clan elders’ roles are increasingly involved in different state functions,
the distinction between “state” and “non-state” has become difficult to pin down.
Political actors draw on, articulate and practise several registers of authority
simultaneously, including international discourses of human rights, religious
doctrine, legislation, party political agendas, and customary law.
observations highlight the more general point that a binary distinction of state versus
non-state is an analytical tool rather than a simple reflection of reality.
While much has been written about how to improve the accountability of state
actors, there is relatively little on improving the accountability of non-state actors.
Accountability is a means of restraining power, and, because the state is usually
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, in which citizens hold
political leaders to account through periodic elections while bureaucrats design and
deliver public services with oversight by political leaders. From this perspective,
judiciaries and other organisations, such as electoral or human rights commissions,
are conceived of as supporting accountability in these processes. Standard models of
accountability emphasise the role of sanctions, such as elections or legal action, in
restraining state power. Most accountability programmes are designed to address the
failures identified in relation to 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
Somalia, governance and development
political representatives’ reactions to dissatisfaction among their constituencies.
However, when working in an environment where there is fragmented hybrid
governance, the state is not the ultimate source of power and the relationship between
the state and its citizens is limited, indirect or absent. Non-state actors may work as
power brokers between the state and citizens, or state representatives may be
relatively powerless compared to non-state actors. A powerful example of this is the
fact that Al-Shabaab has the most efficient “tax”-gathering bureaucracy in Somalia
(the quotation marks emphasise that this “tax” gathering lacks a legal and
democratically-mandated basis and is criminal extortion).
Somali citizens and
businesses plus international organisations and international non-governmental
organisations all pay taxes to Al-Shabaab. It enforces downward vertical
accountability on tax-payers coercively, using violence, and the formal state is
bypassed completely. A major component of this tax-gathering system is the use of
isbaaro (unofficial road blocks, as opposed to official Government check points).
The fact that Al-Shabaab, clan militias, criminal gangs and often out-of-control
federal or local government forces gather taxes or simply blatantly extort individuals,
businesses and humanitarian agencies using the roads
underlines the point that a
narrow standard notion of accountability as citizen control of the state through
elections is of limited value in Somalia.
The next part of this discussion examines the roles of some important non-
state actors in Somalia, namely Al-Shabaab, elders (who in most cases are clan
elders), religious leaders (some of whom are in Al-Shabaab), business leaders and
informal settlement managers. The aim is not to provide a comprehensive overview
of the most important non-state actors but to illustrate aspects of the relationships
between Somalia’s fragmented hybrid governance, inclusive development and
In important respects, Al-Shabaab is a state-like non-state actor. It does more than
undermine government. It also acts as a government over substantial parts of south
central Somalia. For mobile phone company Hormuud Telecom to operate in areas
Al-Shabaab controls directly or has influence, it must negotiate with Al-Shabaab,
which for security reasons and to try to control information flows banned smart
phones in 2013 (including for its own members).
Al-Shabaab taxes trade in
charcoal, sugar, and khat; trades in charcoal itself; taxes sales and salaries; imposes
registration payments and taxes on humanitarian organisations (including those of
the international donor community); taxes ports and commercial and private road
users at illegal checkpoints (isbaaro); engages in systematic theft framed as zakat
(obligatory charitable contributions for observant Muslims); and kidnaps for
It carries out some of these commercial activities in league with elements
of district authorities and the Kenyan Defence Force presence. Its commercial
activities have been squeezed through military pressure and its loss of direct control
of Kismayo, but it has responded by increasing its other taxes. Al-Shabaab collects
Eric Herring et al.
taxes even in areas outside of its direct control and punishes non-compliance,
whereas the FGS generally fails to collect taxes systematically or on a large scale.
Due to the weakness and lack of discipline of FGS forces, Al-Shabaab provides often
state-like order, monopolises violence, asserts the legitimacy of that monopoly and
finds ways to work with clans. Similarly, it is able to provide more systematic and
reliable security and justice than the FGS though it does so to a great extent through
coercion and intimidation and in an exclusionary manner. The fact that it manages to
induce widespread cooperation with its approach underlines that it is a state-like non-
state actor. The strength of its role in the governance of South Central Somalia is
reinforced by the fact that, in contrast to the FGS, it has a clear ideological vision
that it implements ruthlessly and in a disciplined way. That said, al-Shabaab has a
much easier task than the FGS because the scope of its engagements is much
narrower (for example, it does not have to deal with the World Bank and so on), as
is its geographical scope.
The prospects for negotiating Al-Shabaab’s integration it into coherent hybrid
governance for Somalia are limited at present. One barrier is the existence of internal
factions driven by rejectionist ideology. Another is the existence of financial self-
interests associated with its continued separate existence as an organisation. At
present the FGS and international community evince little interest in a negotiated
end to the conflict and prefer to focus, at least rhetorically and rather unconvincingly,
on defeating Al-Shabaab by force. The situation is one of a fluid stalemate some
movement but no prospect of resolution with no tipping point in sight. If
humanitarian actors are to gain access to populations in dire need in much of south
central Somalia, engagement with Al-Shabaab, including registration and large
payments of money, is unavoidable. Due to the political unattractiveness of such
activities, higher authorities in the international donor system have tended to leave it
to aid workers at a more local level to negotiate such arrangements. The more that
humanitarian efforts are associated with counter-insurgency (through such framings
as stabilisation) rather than neutral humanitarianism, the more likely those efforts
will face exclusion or attack by Al-Shabaab.
Due to Somali elders’ historical role in arbitrating conflict and upholding
agreements, elders are often presentedand indeed present themselvesas natural
counterparts for those working to increase accountability. As representatives of the
clan governance system, elders wield power that potentially could be used to elicit
responses from state administrators.
While elders can, in theory, use their power to make demands on state
representatives, it is not clear that they 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.
It depends
on the level at which the elder will operate and is constantly evolving. Sometimes,
characteristics such as experience, age, oratorical skills, fairness and impartiality,
ability to compromise and persuade, expertise in xeer (clan-based customary law)
Somalia, governance and development
and religious knowledge are necessary. Women cannot be selected as elders
throughout Somalia and cannot participate formally in the selection process at any
level. In fact, women tend to be excluded from all clan governance structures.
As a
result, women are severely constrained in the ways in which they can make demands
on elders; often their only means is to do so through their husbands, brothers or sons.
Minority and low caste clans such as Bantus, Benadiri, Gabooye and Midgaan are
also excluded at different levels within the Somali clan governance system. Since
the collapse of the state in 1991, some ambitious members of minority clans have
taken to self-inaugurating themselves as clan elders.
The result has been a
proliferation in 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 vertical
accountability to the broader polity. Even for those involved in the selection process,
only limited sanctions are 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 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 them.
Despite their limited downward vertical accountability and lack of
representation for large groups in their communities, elders can play a part in
increasing coherence in governance systems, and in the process extending access to
horizontal accountability to more members of the community. To cite one example,
a series of meetings brokered by an international donor-funded external consultancy
company between elders from a group of villages resulted in increased agreement
about the sources of authority and modes of cooperation in their local area.
As a
result of this increased coherence, elders cooperated to raise funds to build an office
next to the District Commissioner’s office. The symbolism was clear; elders were
locating themselves spatially and politically alongside the District Commissioner,
and in the process further embedding the hybridity of governance. The elders then
worked with the District Commissioner to use their extended horizontal
accountability to demand increased transparency, not from the state, but from local
NGOs. Increased cooperation between these elders did not include new agreements
about how to resolve disputes over sources of authority, a defining feature of
coherent governance. However, the increased cooperation indicated an increase in
agreement about the sources of authority in their local area and thus represents a
move towards increasing coherence of governance. In this instance, the increased
coherence of governance resulted in demands for increased horizontal accountability
of local NGOs to elders and the district administration.
This potential for increased accountability across spheres of governance
through increasing coherence is enmeshed in messy dilemmas. For example, the
power of elders is, in many cases, dependent on the elder conforming to norms of
exclusion. Projects aiming to work with elders to support increased governance
coherence and accountability may therefore need to compromise on inclusion of
Eric Herring et al.
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. If elders
represent only a narrow group within a community, efforts to empower elders in the
name of accountability may be self-defeating. Increasing the dominance of elders
reinforces the marginalisation of women and young people.
Although Somaliland
appears to have had some success in integrating clan governance into a modern state
system, such as through establishing a House of Elders in its Parliament, this
ultimately acts as a barrier to generating political programmes and services for all
Furthermore, elders have an incentive to maintain their mutual relations of
political patronage with politicians rather than to press politicians to fulfil their
official state duties effectively.
Religious leaders
Religious leaders (including but not limited to those of Al-Shabaab) are important
actors in the governance of Somalia. They include those following both Sufi and
Salafi traditions. Sufi orders have been active in Somalia since the 1850s while
Salafism, the more recent major movement, has been active in Somalia since the
Both traditions include criticism of corruption and offer guidance on what
to expect from leaders, and so have the potential to play a role in increasing coherence
of governance. Indeed, most religious movements aim to achieve increased
coherence of governance. During different periods in Somalia’s history, Sufi leaders
have achieved increased coherence between both clan and state governance, and
governance based on Sufi Islamic values. For example, in the past Sufi imams were
consulted by clan elders and the community regarding the application of xeer.
Siyaad Barre regime actively supported Sufi orders, giving them control of religious
teaching institutions as well as mosques.
Salafism, as promoted by Al Shabaab and
other Islamist groups, represents a competing interpretation of how one attains
authority and how disputes over that authority are resolved, based on a more direct
interpretation of the Koran. For their part, Salafis have also worked on integrating
themselves into both clan and state governance systems, albeit, often using violent
or coercive strategies.
There are several examples where coherence between sources of Islamic
authority and sources of clan or state authority resulted in increased accountability.
For example, in the 1980s, Salafi movements collaborated with elders to contribute
to the downfall of Siyaad Barre. In Somaliland, both Sufi and, more recently, Salafi
religious leaders have been involved in post-election mediationparticularly of the
presidential electionsto convince defeated candidates to accept the results.
However, it is possible that corrupt elders may co-opt Sufi leaders, thereby
undermining religious leaders’ willingness to challenge an elder on his application
or use of xeer.
While increased coherence between Islamic sources of authority and clan and
state sources of authority has resulted in increased horizontal accountability, this
increased coherence can result in the further exclusion of women. The messiness and
Somalia, governance and development
dilemmas of increased coherence of governance were well illustrated in Somalia’s
2016 parliamentary elections. Some Salafi leaders tried to persuade MPs to vote for
the most effective president rather than basing their choice on clan or financial
incentives, while at the same time also lobbying against the 30 per cent quota for
Sufi leaders, by contrast, did not take a position on clan-based voting or
vote-buying but supported the 30 per cent quota for women.
Business leaders
Business leaders in Somalia wield significant influence in governance. After the
central state’s collapse in 1991, reliable data on the economy became unavailable. A
simplistic myth has arisen that the absence of state regulation and taxes has enabled
Somalia’s private sector to boom. To the extent that data does exist, it refutes that
claim. Economic activity is based mainly on agriculture, livestock, remittances,
telecommunications and international aid. GDP is not suitable as a measure of
inclusive development because it says nothing about distribution of benefits.
However, it is suitable for challenging the claim that a weak state, weak regulation
and almost non-existent state taxation is particularly conducive to economic activity.
Despite being predominantly peaceful with its own government in place since 1991,
in 2014 Somaliland’s GDP was still only around US$327 per capita, among the
lowest in the world.
Somalia’s GDP per capita was roughly US$435 in 2013
it had reached something like US$499 in 2017.
GDP figures usually exclude
estimates of the informal economy. However, there is no reason to think that the
informal economy is booming in Somalia or Somaliland either, even if it
encompasses the bulk of economic activity extreme poverty is the norm. This
demonstrates that the absence of the state or having a state with extremely limited
capacity, as in the case of the GSL as well as FGS, does not encourage the economy
to grow rapidly. It also shows that peace without coherent governance is not enough
for economic development. Specific entrepreneurs will be able to profit from weak
or absent regulation and taxes. However, for the economy as a whole to flourish at a
much higher level of productivity, businesses need infrastructure, security, an
educated population, predictability, low levels of corruption and low costs of doing
business (e.g. ease of securing legal protections for their activities).
It should not be assumed that, just because some businesses have managed to
become established in the current circumstances, that they will be opposed to the
establishment of strong coherent governance. A major determinant of the attitude of
businesses is whether coherent governance will give them at least a reasonable
opportunity to continue to operate and become more profitable. However, it will not
be the sole determinant, and it is possible that some businesses will prefer the benefits
of exclusive elite capture or feel that they have to reinforce that system to survive.
Indeed, business more generally in Somalia and Somaliland is entwined with clan
and patronage politics and backing politicians, so its role in relation to coherent
governance and inclusive development is ambiguous.
Eric Herring et al.
Somalia’s intertwined telecommunications and finance sectors provide a good
illustration of the importance of the private sector in facilitating at least some aspects
of coherent governance and inclusive development. Somalia, Somaliland and
Puntland enjoy a complex mix of central banks, money transfer operators with
international bank accounts, mobile money companies with local business operations
(Dahabshiil in Somaliland and Hormuud in south central Somalia); and (the main
source of income for Somalis) diaspora remittances through these systems. This
financial ecosystem includes the traditional informal hawala system in which money
is moved not through cash or electronic transfer but payment to a money broker in
one location and payment by another money broker in another location. This hybrid
financial governance has come under heavy pressure to de-risk especially in relation
to money laundering and funding of terrorism, at significant humanitarian cost, when
a risk management approach would provide a more humane and effective balancing
of priorities.
Telecommunications companies Telesom in Somaliland, Hormuud Telecom
in south central Somalia and Golis Telecom in Puntland are the most successful
businesses in the country. Establishing effective mobile telecommunications and
numerous related services (most notably money transfer without needing a smart
phone) has been a huge achievement against all the odds. Despite these successes,
however, the companies are often portrayed by political actors within and beyond
Somalia as monopolists, taxation avoiders, money launderers, terrorism funders,
inflation generators and underminers of the local currency. No proper evaluation has
been carried out about how valid any of these claims are.
These telecommunications companies have something to offer about how to
achieve inclusive development because they have already delivered it in the form of
wide penetration of mobile phone and mobile money transfer use in which even those
with very low incomes can participate without discrimination in relation to clan,
gender and other markers of exclusion. The limits of inclusivity in banking can be
seen by the fact that what little lending there is in the banking system is to the already
wealthy rather than being pro-poor.
On another measure of inclusion, these
companies have to engage all communities to expand their businesses, including
hiring across clans. In addition to being good for business, it is in effect cross-clan
cooperation. That said, the transfer of learning from business to government is not
straightforward because these are different kinds of activity. With regard to demands
for transparency from businesses as part of accountability and governance, business
leaders correctly retort that this is unreasonably dangerous in a country where the
state cannot be trusted to keep commercially sensitive financial data secure and use
it for legitimate purposes. Indeed, Western states are complicit in allowing tax
avoidance through such means as tax havens and other opaque financial
arrangements which means that the largest corporations and richest individuals in the
world pay tiny amounts of tax, while enormous sums from corruption and other
forms of crime globally are hidden in this system.
The selectivity and silences in
accountability demands are an impediment to addressing this issue proportionately,
overall and in a way best suited to promoting coherent governance and inclusive
development. Thus far, Somalia’s telecommunications companies have done little to
Somalia, governance and development
make their case to or participate in the development activities of the international
donor community, although they are showing increasing interest in finding ways to
do so. Keeping their distance fuels suspicions that they may prefer the existing state
of affairs.
Informal settlement managers
A less obvious group of non-state actors to consider is that composed of managers of
informal settlements. Bryld et al argue that “development actors are forced to interact
with Gatekeepers [informal settlement managers] to provide aid for IDPS [Internally
Displaced Persons] but few, if any, admit that they do so”.
Furthermore they
conclude that In spite of their poor reputation and lack of formal recognition,
informal settlement managers remain one of the most resilient informal governance
structures at local level in Mogadishu.”
For this reason we need to reflect more
deeply on their roles. They first emerged in the 1990s when they interacted with aid
agencies as representatives of communities of IDPs. Their roles developed due to the
large-scale arrival of IDPs in the vicinity of Mogadishu between 2010 and 2011, the
limited humanitarian space due to insecurity and the operational choice by
international humanitarian actors to remotely manage operations.
As the number of
IDP settlements in Mogadishu continues to increase, informal settlement managers
are likely to become increasingly important. As an institution, managers 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. Nevertheless, it is
possible that women who are gatekeepers may in effect be proxies of their husbands
or male relatives.
The managers’ main roles are to arrange land on which to settle
IDPs, manage security within their area of responsibility, and negotiate with NGOs
for assistance and services. Managers earn money from the services they provide,
either through diverting aid before it reaches the beneficiaries or by charging
beneficiaries directly for the services provided.
They function as part of a system
of individuals who seek to benefit from humanitarian assistance in one way or
another. These individuals may be local business people, land owners and former
IDPs. In many cases, managers need to work to ensure that members of the host
community benefit in some way from the presence of the IDPs. Gatekeeping is
central to the role of informal settlement managers, that is, they exert a significant
amount of control over who has access to IDPs and to whom IDPs have access. This
can be to the mutual benefit of all concerned but it can also be a form of elite capture
for rents indeed, settlement managers can be violent and exploitative.
there is more to the role of managers than gatekeeping. Depending on their
commitment to the role, some managers arrange funerals, support vulnerable people,
assist new arrivals, assist in emergencies such as births or illness, and resolve
conflicts between settlement residents. This is why we refer to them in this chapter
as managers rather than just as gatekeepers.
Informal settlement managers relate to processes of hybrid governance and
inclusive development in a variety of ways. Some of this can be observed through
Eric Herring et al.
the prism of accountability. In older and more formalised IDP sites, managers are
sometimes selected by the settlement community, with the possible involvement of
a government-appointed District Commissioner. In newer and less formalised
settlements, the manager is often the landowner, or a speculator who has made a deal
with the landowner.
There is only limited downward vertical accountability of
manager to IDPs, whereas there are numerous ways in which horizontal
accountability of managers to the host community operate. The process by which the
manager gains their position affects lines of accountability. For example, managers
appointed by the District Commissioner are likely to be more accountable to the
District Commissioner than ones who have gained their position by other means.
Managers also have accountability relationships with clan elders in the host
community. In many cases, clan elders control local militias and so, to ensure
security, such managers need elders’ support. If the IDPs are from the same clan as
the host community, as is often the case, IDPs can exert pressure on managers by
complaining to clan elders. However, most Somali IDPs around Mogadishu are from
the south and usually end up in areas where they are in a minority with respect to
local clans. Managers are at times horizontally accountable to local religious leaders
and business leaders, although in more idiosyncratic ways. Religious leaders can
demand that managers comply with what they see as Islamic norms in their treatment
of IDPs and management of conditions in the settlement. Accusations of being un-
Islamic carry heavy weight in Somali society, and so pressure from religious leaders
can be an effective incentive for managers to change or maintain behaviour. In
relation to downward vertical accountability of managers to IDPs, in some
settlements, IDPS have set up committees to work with managers.
In settlements
where the selection of committee members is open to all IDPs the potential for
accountability is more inclusive.
Somalia is a long way from coherent hybrid governance or inclusive development.
Somaliland has achieved more in terms of integrating traditional and modern
governance, but this has not been converted into much in the way of inclusive
development or even exclusive development. Instead, in both cases, elite capture of
rents predominates. This indicates that we need to aim for more than coherent
governance. Our argument incorporates and goes beyond the notion of overcoming
“limited statehood.”
We reject the idea of hybrid governance as a deviant form of
governance that necessarily has to be re-ordered and corrected. Instead, we see the
practice of hybrid governance as a normal feature of political systems, and which,
over time, may work to reinforce or move away from hybridity.
Instead of seeking to overcome limited statehood and forms of hybridity, we
suggest exploring manifestations of hybridity to look for ways in which non-state
actors can be incentivised to be more accountable. While increased cooperation
between different sources of authority can result in extending accountability in one
sphere (e.g. elders’ limited accountability to parts of their communities) to another
sphere (the accountability of NGOs to elders), this increased accountability can be
Somalia, governance and development
selective and based on exclusionary norms. Even though coordination between elders
from different villages enabled them to use their collective power to make demands
on NGOs, thus increasing the accountability of NGOs to some members of the
community, the institution of elders continues to work to exclude women. The case
of Salafi imams supporting increased accountability for male MPs and the
marginalisation of women in politics highlights the selectivity and messiness of
aiming to advance inclusivity through increased coherence.
Traditional authority forms such as clan, elders and religious actors generate
upward accountability for a limited polity due to the strength of their legitimacy as
well as coercive power. In contrast, the reach of the state is much more limited, even
in Somaliland, to hold citizens accountable through laws, regulations and policing.
Furthermore, the exercise of power in the name of state authority is frequently and
often blatantly in the service of elite capture of rents. At the same time, international
donors can be tempted or fooled into rewarding elite capture of rents masquerading
as coherent governance and inclusive development.
Adding to the complexity of the situation is the multi-dimensional role of Al-
Shabaab as a state-like non-state actor that exerts considerable though narrow power
far beyond its areas of direct control and that does far more than inflict death and
destruction. The fact of Al-Shabaab’s strength, reach and resilience is a reason to
consider whether at least some elements of it can be induced to participate in a
negotiated resolution of the armed conflict and their integration into governance.
However, that very strength, reach and resilience, grounded in an exclusionary
ideology and material interests in rent-seeking, is an incentive for those dominant
within it to refuse such engagement. As long as this is the case, much of Somalia will
be mired in fragmented governance and the absence of inclusive development.
In contrast, the telecommunications and finance sectors in south central
Somalia, Somaliland and Puntland have already contributed to inclusive
development in terms of providing services that do not discriminate in terms of clan.
Better engagement with them to enhance their positive contributions rather than
merely berating them could be productive. The private sector more generally is
tangled up in the processes of elite capture and clan politics, and what economic
development there has been has failed to benefit the vast majority of Somalis, who
remain extremely poor.
While the informal settlement manager is not the first category of important
non-state actor that springs to mind, considering the vast scale of internal
displacement, such managers are influential at key points in the distribution of aid,
and hence can influence inclusive development. They also have potential to improve
governance by increasing the extent to which other actors such as international
humanitarian agencies are more accountable to IDPs. In this way, inclusivity of
development can be improved, especially if women can act beyond being the proxies
of men, if IDPs can articulate the ways in which they are assets to the wider
community, and if informal settlements become permanent.
Overall, if progress is to be made towards more coherent governance (whether
with a greater or lesser degree of traditional-modern hybridity) and inclusive
Eric Herring et al.
development in Somalia, it will be the outcome of dynamic and unpredictable
relational changes between state and non-state actors rather than the implementation
of a top-down master plan.
Somalia, governance and development
Herring and Rangwala, Iraq in Fragments. Herring and Ismail gratefully acknowledge the support
of UK Economic and Social Research Council grant ESRC ES/L003171/1.
Boege et al., Hybrid Political Orders.
For example Hussein, Impact of the Role of Traditional Leaders.
Menkhaus, “Elections in the Hardest Places,” 143; Menkhaus, “Crisis in Somalia,” 360.
Krasner and Risse, “External Actors,” 545.
Krahmann, “National, Regional, and Global Governance”.
Meagher, “Strength of Weak States”.
Hickey et al., “Exploring the Politics of Inclusive Development”.
Kelsall, Thinking and Working with Political Settlements.
North et al., Limited Access Orders.
Menkhaus, Elite Bargains.
Booth in Kelsall, Thinking and Working with Political Settlements.
Hagmann, Stabilization; Menkhaus, Elite Bargains.
HIPS, Options to End Somalia’s Current Political Stalemate.
Matfess, Same Tune, New Key.
Goobjoog News, “Senate Report”.
Bearak, “Somalia Scrambles”.
Krasner and Risse, “External Actors”.
See MacGinty and Richmond, “Fallacy” on positive and negative pathways of hybridity.
In addition to the other literature cited, this chapter draws on McCullough and Saed Gatekeepers,
Elders and Accountability in Somalia and the authors’ reviews of UK Department for International
Development’s Implementation and Analysis in Action of Accountability Programme (IAAAP) in
Somalia 2014-19 projects literature, plus interviews or informal discussions with project managers,
directors or staff. In the cases of Herring and Ismail, the chapter also draws on their related projects,
including some funded by IAAAP, and distils some of the thinking generated since 2015 through
the joint University of Bristol and Transparency Solutions initiative Somali First, which aims to
promote Somali-led development.
Hickey et al., “Exploring the Politics of Inclusive Development”.
Sen, Development as Freedom.
Albrecht and Moe, “Simultaneity”.
Hiraal Institute, AS Finance System.
Transparency Solutions, Beyond Isbaaro.
Canada, Somalia; Ingiriis, “Building Peace”.
Fanusie and Entz, Al-Shabaab.
Jackson, Humanitarian Negotiations.
Gundel and Dharbaxo, Predicament.
Allen and Gundel, Enhancing.
Bradbury, Becoming Somaliland; Hussein, Impact of the Role of Traditional Leaders.
Katuni Consult.
Haegermann and Grant, Gender Equality.
Hoehne, “Limits”.
SIDRA, Impact of the Role of Traditional Leaders, 16-17.
Loimeier, Islamic Reform.
Bryden, “No Quick Fixes”.
Marchal and Sheikh, “Salafism in Somalia”.
BBC, Interview.
Eric Herring et al.
UNSOM, Religious Scholars.
World Bank, New World Bank GDP.
World Bank, Somalia Economic Update, 8
World Bank, GDP Per Capita.
Musa and Horst, Role of Business.
El Taraboulsi-McCarthy, Challenge of Informality.
Musa and Horst, Role of Business.
Shaxson, Treasure Islands.
Bryld et al., Engaging the Gatekeepers, 7.
Bryld et al., Engaging the Gatekeepers, 17.
Bryld et al., Engaging the Gatekeepers.
Bryld et al., Gatekeepers in Mogadishu. 31.
Bryld et al., Engaging the Gatekeepers.
Human Rights Watch, Hostages of the Gatekeepers.
Tana and iDC, Making Gatekeepers Accountable.
Tana and iDC, Making Gatekeepers Accountable.
Krasner and Risse, “External Actors”.
Ahmed, I. I. Somaliland, Puntland and Southern Somalia. Leeds: University of Leeds, 2001.
Albrecht, P., and L. W. Moe, L. W. (2015). “The Simultaneity of Authority in Hybrid Orders.”
Peacebuilding 3, no. 1 (2015): 1-16.
Allen, S. and J. Gundel. Enhancing District Level Governance and Accountability in Somalia.
KATUNI Consult, IAAAP, DFID, 2017.
BBC, In-person interview with the Sheikh Bashir Ahmed Salad, 7 February 2017.
Bearak, M. “Somalia Scrambles to Prevent al-Shabab’s Former No. 2 from Running for Office”,
The Washington Post, 14 December 2018.
Bihi, A. J. “WSP Somali Programme in Puntland”, Geneva: WSP/UNRISD, 2001.
Boege, V., A. Brown, K. Clements and A. Nolan. On Hybrid Political Orders and Emerging States:
State Formation in the Context of “Fragility”. Berlin: Berghof Research Centre, 2008.
Bradbury, M. Becoming Somaliland. London: Progressio, 2008.
Bryld, E., C. Kamau, S. Knudsen Moller and M. A. Mohamoud. Engaging the Gatekeepers Using
Informal Governance Resources in Mogadishu. IAAAP, DFID, 2017.
Bryld, E., C. Kamau and D. Sinigallia. Gatekeepers in Mogadishu, Tana and iDC, The Somalia
Cash Consortium, 2013.
Bryden, M. “No Quick Fixes: Coming to Terms with Terrorism, Islam, and Statelessness in
Somalia”, Journal of Conflict Studies, 23, no. 2 (2003).
Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. Somalia: Prevalence of Cell Phones and
Internet Cafes in Mogadishu. SOM105092 E, 2015.
Cheng C., J. Goodhand and P. Meehan. Synthesis Paper: Securing and Sustaining Elite Bargains
that Reduce Violent Conflict, DFID, 2018.
Somalia, governance and development
El Taraboulsi-McCarthy, S. 2018. The Challenge of Informality. Counter-terrorism, Bank De-
risking and Financial Access for Humanitarian Organisations in Somalia, HPG, 2018.
Fanusie, A. and A. Entz. Al-Shabaab: Financial Assessment, CSIF, 2017.
Farah, A. Y. and I. M. Lewis, Somalia: the Roots of Reconciliation. London: ActionAid, 1993.
Goobjoog News, “Senate Report: Security, Constitution and Interference by FGS Top FMS’
Concerns, 27 November 2018.
Gundel J and Allen S (2017) Civil Society and Civic Engagement in Somalia, Katuni Consult,
Gundel J. and A. A. O. Dharbaxo. The Predicament of the Oday. Danish Refugee Council and
Oxfam, 2006.
Haegeman, E. and E. Grant. Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Learning Brief. Social
Development Direct, IAAAP, DFID, 2017.
Hagmann, T. Stabilization, Extraversion, and Political Settlements in Somalia. Rift Valley
Institute, 2016.
Herring, E. and G. Rangwala. Iraq in Fragments: The Occupation and its Legacy. Ithaca, NY:
Cornell University Press and London: C. Hurst, 2006.
Hickey, S., K. Sen and B. Bukenya. ‘Exploring the Politics of Inclusive Development: Towards a
New Conceptual Approach’, in S. Hickey, K. Sen and B. Bukenya (eds) The Politics of
Inclusive Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.
HIPS (Heritage Institute for Policy Studies). Options to End Somalia’s Current Political Stalemate,
Hiraal Institute. The AS Finance System, 2018.
Hoehne, M. V. “Limits of Hybrid Political Orders: the Case of Somaliland.” Journal of Eastern
African Studies 7, No. 2 (2013): 199-217.
Human Rights Watch. Hostages of the Gatekeepers: Abuses against Internally Displaced in
Mogadishu, Somalia, 2013.
Hussein, S. M-S. The Impact of the Role of Traditional Leaders on Politico-Governance in
Somalia, SIDRA, 2018.
Ingiriis, M.H. “Building Peace from the Margins in Somalia: The Case for Political Settlement
with Al-Shabaab.” Contemporary Security Policy Online, 2018.
IAAAP (Implementation and Analysis in Action of Accountability Programme), Building
Evidence to Promote Accountability, DFID, nd. Accessed 4 August 2018.
Jackson, A. Humanitarian Negotiations with Armed Non-state Actors. HPG, 2014.
Katuni Consult. Accessed 25 November 2018.
Eric Herring et al.
Kelsall, T. Thinking and Working with Political Settlements, London: ODI, 2016.
Krahmann, E. “National, Regional, and Global Governance: One Phenomenon or Many?” Global
Governance, 9 (2003): 323-346.
Krasner, S, D. and T. Risse. ”External Actors, State-Building, and Service Provision in Areas of
Limited Statehood: Introduction.” Governance 2, No. 3 (2014): 545-567.
Lewis, I. M. A Modern History of the Somali, Woodbridge: Ohio University Press, revised, updated
and expanded, 2002.
Loimeier, R. Islamic Reform in Twentieth-century Africa. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press,
MacGinty, R. and O. Richmond. “The Fallacy of Constructing Hybrid Political Orders: a
Reappraisal of the Hybrid Turn in Peacebuilding.” International Peacekeeping 23, No. 2
(2016): 219-239.
Marchal, R. and Z. M. Sheikh. “Salafism in Somalia: Coping with Coercion, Civil War and its
Own Contradictions.” Islamic Africa, 6 (2015): 135-163.
Matfess, H. Same Tune, New Key: Al Shabaab Adapts in the Face of Increased Military Pressure,
ACLED, 2018.
McCullough, A. and M. Saed. Gatekeepers, Elders and Accountability in Somalia, Overseas
Development Institute, 2017.
Meagher, K. “The Strength of Weak States? Non-State Security Forces and Hybrid Governance in
Africa.” Development and Change 43, No. 5 (2012), 1073-1101.
Menkhaus, K. “Elections in the Hardest Places: The Case of Somalia.” Journal of Democracy, 28,
pp. 4, 132-146.
Menkhaus, K. Elite Bargains and Political Deals Project. Somalia Case Study. Stabilisation Unit.
London: UK Government, 2018.
Menkhaus, K. “The Crisis in Somalia: Tragedy in Five Acts.” African Affairs, 106, Np. 424, pp.
Mulgan, R. “’Accountability’: An Ever-Expanding Concept?” Public Administration 78, No. 3
(2000): 555-573.
Mursal, F.A. ‘Elders Among Traders’: Market Committees and Everyday State Formation In
Mogadishu, DIIS, 2018.
Musa, M. and C. Horst. The Role of Business in Maintaining Peace in Somaliland, PRIO Policy
Brief 03. Oslo: PRIO, 2017.
Nixon, N., A. Buffardi, J. Wales and T. Pasanen. Supporting Accountability in Fragile Settings: a
Review for the Somalia IAAAP. ODI, 2017.
North, D.C., J.J. Wallis, S.B. Webb and B.R. Weingast. Limited Access Orders in the Developing
World, Washington, DC: World Bank, 2007.
Renders, M. “Appropriate ‘Governance Technology’? Somali Clan Elders and Institutions in the
Making of the ‘Republic of Somaliland.’” Africa Spectrum 3 (2007): 439-459.
Sen, A. Development as Freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Shaxson, N. Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men Who Sold the World. London: Vintage,
Somalia, governance and development
Smits, R. and Wright D. Engagement with Non-State Actors in Fragile States. Netherlands Institute
of International Relations, 2012.
Tana and iDC. Making Gatekeepers Accountable. Tana Copenhagen, 2015.
Transparency Solutions, About Us. Accessed 5 August 2018.
Transparency Solutions. Beyond Isbaaro: Reclaiming Somalia’s Haunted Roads. IAAAP, DFID,
UNSOM. Somali Religious Scholars Defend 30 Percent Quota for Women, Press Release, 8
October 2016).
Valters, C. and B. Whitty B. The Politics of the Results Agenda in DFID: 1997-2017, ODI, 2017.
Wallis, J., L. Kent, M. Forsyth, S. Dinnen and S. Bose (eds.) Hybridity on the Ground in
Peacebuilding and Development: Critical Conversations. Acton, ANU Press, 2018.
World Bank. GDP Per Capita. Accessed 4 August 2018.
World Bank. New World Bank GDP and Poverty Estimates for Somaliland, 2014.
World Bank. Somalia Economic Update, 2015.
Why has the Somali government failed to provide public order and essential services, while Al-Shabaab has had relatively more success in its governance objectives? To explain this variation in governance success, we offer a political economy explanation of wartime order-making based on the competing bargains that governing actors create to uphold their power. We identify two key political bargains in Somalia: (1) an elite deal, forged among members of the Somali Federal Government (SFG) and Federal Member States (FMS); and (2) a civilian deal, which Al-Shabaab directly establishes with the citizens under its control. Looking at these two deals, we examine how access to foreign support can affect a governing actor’s taxation impetus, and subsequently its commitment to governance. Our results reveal that not only can foreign support undermine the normal taxation-protection relationship between citizen and state, but it can also inadvertently provide jihadists with an opportunity to establish alternative forms of order.
We present an analysis of household level food demand for Somalia, which is emerging from a destructive twenty-year civil war. Using novel World Bank household survey data collected in 2018, we estimate demand elasticities for Somalia taking account of differences in household type, regional conflict, and income remittances from overseas. Our results reveal the extent to which household food consumption, as represented by expenditure, own and cross price elasticities, is highly sensitive to income shocks, especially for animal products such as meat and milk which are the main sources of protein for the population. Furthermore, the impact of an exogenous income shock, affecting food prices and household budgets, will likely result in a less diversified diet because of more emphasis on cereal consumption, especially for nomadic households. The resulting negative macronutrient implications have obvious consequences for levels of malnutrition. As such, improved food security is critical for Somalia’s economic recovery and resilience in the future.
Full-text available
The research aimed to understand the impact of COVID-19 and responses to it on sustainable development in Somalia and its breakaway region Somaliland. It explored how sustainable development could be protected and promoted through, during and as a method of COVID-19 response. It explored the themes of lives, livelihoods and inclusion. Due to COVID-19, it used three non-face-to-face methods: desk-based analysis of literature and secondary data; 175 phone interviews; and five phone Focus Group Discussions. The research was co-produced with 40 participants, which ensured that the study was carried out with as well as for those who could potentially benefit from it. COVID-19 and responses to it have generated intense and multi-dimensional concerns and deprivation, especially among those on low incomes. Livelihoods are being destroyed but people are receiving little or no financial support. People are receiving too little help to cope with the many problems they face. Limited action to prevent COVID-19 infection is more due to structural and social factors than lack of information. Public health education is still necessary; it should include challenging stigmatisation, explaining that wearing a face covering does not mean a person is infectious, and explaining that those recovered from the virus are not still infectious. Health care is mostly unavailable, unaffordable and not trusted. There is broad and deep agreement across all major issues explored in the research, including the immediate actions needed and the fundamentals of what building back better would mean. Responses to COVID-19 have mainly had the effect of undermining the prospects for sustainable development in Somalia/Somaliland. Despite this, the existence of broad and deep agreement on the major issues explored in the research could form the basis of a new commitment to sustainable development.
Full-text available
The prevailing discourse in Mogadishu among the federal government of Somalia and the international community is that Al-Shabaab is no longer relevant in contemporary Somali political landscape. In the language of the government, Al-Shabaab is like a lost crocodile thrown out from the river. In the lexicon of the international community, Al-Shabaab is gradually receding. In fact, Al-Shabaab is actually puissant and potent in terms of social, political and military capabilities; not just in Somalia, but also in the wider East Africa region. Why is Al-Shabaab resilient and resistant? Why is it even more effective than the federal government? To answer these questions, this article reveals how Al-Shabaab is increasingly more legitimate than the federal government. In conclusion, the article proposes that negotiated settlement with the insurgency movement could lead to peace in war-torn southern Somalia.
Full-text available
This article reviews the recent academic and policy interest in hybridity and hybrid political orders in relation to peacebuilding. It is sceptical of the ability of international actors to manufacture with precision hybrid political orders, and argues that the shallow instrumentalization of hybridity is based on a misunderstanding of the concept. The article engages in conceptual-scoping in thinking through the emancipatory potential of hybridity. It differentiates between artificial and locally legitimate hybrid outcomes, and places the ‘hybrid turn' in the literature in the context of the continued evolution of the liberal peace as it struggles to come to terms with crises of access and legitimacy.
Full-text available
Salafism in Somalia has to cope with violence for most of its duration, whether this violence was exercised against its supporters or whether had violence was seen as a way for some Salafi trends to survive the supremacy of armed groups and the military intervention of external players. Its existence was possible only because its supporters found ways to escape, enforce, or neutralize violence using social mechanisms that eventually had a strong impact on their own understanding of Islam. In particular, it has proven to be a resilient ideology despite the failure of its political expressions in the 1990s or the growth of a Jihadi movement opposed by regional states and western allies.
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.
Somalia may be the most nonpermissive postconflict setting in the world in which to conduct elections. In 2016-17, to cope with an array of security, political, and logistical impediments to direct elections, a complex, indirect election system was improvised, involving 275 separate electoral colleges and over 14,000 delegates. The process was ad hoc and nonconstitutional, and plagued by vote buying, intimidation, and political interference. But the results were embraced by most Somalis, and the process prevented a political collapse and armed conflict. Somalia's experiment holds lessons and as well cautionary notes for other efforts to promote elections in nonpermissive postconflict settings. © 2017 National Endowment for Democracy and Johns Hopkins University Press.
This article introduces the themes and arguments of the special issue. While virtually all polities enjoy uncontested international legal sovereignty, there are wide variations in statehood, that is, the monopoly over the means of violence and the ability of the state to make and implement policies. Areas of limited statehood are not, however, ungoverned spaces where anarchy and chaos prevail. The provision of collective goods and services is possible even under extremely adverse conditions of fragile or failed statehood. We specify the conditions under which external efforts at state-building and service provision by state and nonstate actors can achieve their goals. We focus on the extent to which external actors enhance the capacity (statehood) of authority structures in weak states, or directly contribute to the provision of collective goods and services, such as public health, clean environment, social security, and infrastructure. We argue that three factors determine success: legitimacy, task complexity, and institutionalization, including the provision of adequate resources.
In this article, I explore the recent revalorization of non‐state forms of order and authority in the context of hybrid approaches to governance and state building in Africa. I argue for a more empirical and comparative approach to hybrid governance that is capable of distinguishing between constructive and corrosive forms of non‐state order, and sharpens rather than blurs the relationship between formal and informal regulation. A critique of the theoretical and methodological issues surrounding hybrid governance perspectives sets the scene for a comparative analysis of two contrasting situations of hybrid security systems: the RCD‐ML of eastern DR Congo, and the Bakassi Boys vigilante group of eastern Nigeria. In each case, four issues are examined: the basis of claims that regulatory authority has shifted to informal security systems; the local legitimacy of the security forces involved; the wider political context; and finally, whether a genuine transformation of regulatory authority has resulted, offering local populations a preferable alternative to the prior situation of neglectful or predatory rule. I argue that hybrid governance perspectives often essentialize informal regulatory systems, disguising coercion and political capture as popular legitimacy, and I echo calls for a more historically and empirically informed analysis of hybrid governance contexts.