Monday, September 10, 2012

What Kind of Government for Somalia?

Somalia specialist Ken Menkhaus, professor at Davidson College and currently a visiting scholar at the U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute, wrote an article titled "Somalia's 20-Year Experiment in Hybrid Governance" for the 8 August 2012 issue of World Politics Review. He made an argument for a Somali government that negotiates relations with nonstate and substate entities in areas beyond its control. He calls this the "mediated state model" in which a central government that has the competence to know the limits of its competence allows local authorities to mediate relations between the state and its citizens. It outsources to the private sector, nonprofits and local polities many functions normally associated with a central government. Click here to read his analysis.

In a 10 September 2012 rejoinder, Mohamud M. Uluso took exception to the Menkhaus approach. Uluso argued that Somalia needs a democratic functional national authority accountable first and foremost to its people, one that is not only willing but demonstrably capable of representing national interests and empowered to deliver the critical functions of government. The only way this kind of government can be established in Somalia is to fulfill the five point plan proposed by the Turkish government during the Istanbul II conference and to adhere to the principles laid out by Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart in their book Fixing the Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World.

While I agree with Uluso's noble goal, it is hard to see how one gets there quickly. In the meantime, the Menkhaus approach may be the only practical short-term answer.

No comments:

Post a Comment