Clans, consensus and contention: federalism and inclusion in Galmudug

Set in motion by the 2012 Provisional Constitution, federalisation in Somalia sought to address many of the challenges that faced the country since the breakdown of the central state in the 1990s. The road to federalism has been bumpy with federal member states developing in an ad hoc fashion that has been contested from within and by other states.

This report considers Somalia’s efforts to consolidate a federal system through the experience of Galmudug, one of the Federal Member States. Galmudug’s state formation has been one of the most contested and fragile processes, yet the process is in many ways emblematic of the country’s complicated federal project.

The report explores how the assumed benefits of decentralisation – more proximate and accountable authorities, improved public services, and more responsive security and justice – have played out in a context where clan structures shape social and political life. It considers if federalism has opened up avenues for political representation and inclusion of different sections of society – an important indicator of the feasibility of universal suffrage and the ‘one person one vote’ elections planned for 2020-21.

Galmudug’s experience provides insights into Somalia’s overall political transition to a federal state, and whether it provides an appropriate framework for long term peace and stability, as well as offering wider lessons about decentralisation in conflict-affected and fragile states.

Download the English version of the report here and the Somali version here.

Read our interview with the authors exploring why federalism was adopted, whether it has contributed to more inclusion and its future in Somalia.

Read more about our work in Somalia and Somaliland.

This report was produced as part of the Peace Research Partnership – read more here. This material has been funded by UK aid from the UK government; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.