In a 3 year plan, the government plans to make the country’s disciplined forces more competent and better structured, it also wants to rebuild the judicial system.
In 2017, when the government was coming up with the Security and Justice Roadmap 2017-2020 for the country, everything and anything that can happen in a country had happened in Somalia.
The years of conflict pretty much guaranteed that law and order weren’t top of the list for most citizens, armed groups and organised militias. It has been several years now since a functional police force was instituted after the conflict, a fully operational army has been on the streets too for this long; yet the security situation in Somalia keeps going through ups and downs.
It is no secret that certain sections of the country are still controlled by armed insurgents. It is not a secret that now and then, acts of terror against the people of Somalia and the city of Mogadishu are perpetrated by the same subversive elements. The matter of access to a proper legal system that delivers justice to the citizens is no light issue either.
It is therefore not surprising that two years ago, the government put forth a raft of recommendations and proposals on how to get the two vital functions of the government back into the right form. In the Security and Justice Roadmap 2017-2020 clan and religious tenants are singled out as the key instruments used by various interested parties in Somalia to gain political dominance and monopoly of the state or for preventing the setting up and structuring of strong state run institutions.
Political dominance and monopoly of the state
Having spelt out this, the government went ahead to outline what the Roadmap to Security and Justice would be like:
“Peace keeping activities particularly Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) which the Ministries of Justice, Internal Security, Interior/Federalization and Reconciliation, Defense, Federal State level security institutions, Traditional and Religious leaders and other Non-State Actors could jointly play active and successful role, all coordinated under the Office of the Prime Minister.”The Draft Document.
The plan was and still remains a clear and structured disarming and re-integration of the affected people back into the society and building a competent judicial structure that can enforce and uphold the rule of law.
Two years down the line, the process of re-organizing and rebuilding the security structure in the country is going on well, with trainings for police officers, training for special units within the disciplined forces that are run by Turkey and the US, and of course, there has been some progress in building democratic structures within the forces too.
The main aim of this particular roadmap is to bring sustainable peace and stability back in the county. To do this, The Roadmap to Security and Justice document promises to; “Help create a community-based peace building approach working to ensure complementary action between the state security organizations and the vast array of non-state actors trying to strengthen peace and reduce violence”. The objective is to ensure cohesiveness and a singular move towards reaching sustainable peace and stability. It fosters an environment in which the comparative advantages of state and non-state actors are harnessed to support a people driven approach to security.
Everyone works together
Giving the nation’s security apparatus form and a proper structure in terms of the right leadership, the dependable command structure, competent officers, the latest in office equipment (guns and all), the salaries and allowances that the officers are paid and even the ethics and rules that they have to abide by are all well and good, however, they need something else.
They need the Rule of Law; a functional judicial process that can facilitate their work as law enforcers. The place of the Rule of Law in ensuring that the nation and its people live meaningful and respectable life is sacrosanct. The principles of good governance for example need the rule of law to be adhered to by those in positions of power, that way; the individuals in power do not abuse their authority.
In the case of Somalia, the plan, through The Security and Justice Roadmap 2017- 2020 is to formulate and establish an independent Judiciary. When the judicial system of the country is not influenced by politicians, or businessmen, or militia, or clan politics, or in some cases, by international interests, the affairs of the country can be handled with openness, fairness and straight-forwardness.
Independent judicial system
An independent judiciary means officers of the court have integrity and honour and conduct the affairs of the court to the letter. It means incorruptible and impartial judges and magistrates. According to the 2017-2020 Security and Justice Roadmap document; “The plan is to have democratic security institutions and infrastructure that could enable the Federal Government to harness public confidence in the rule of law and state guaranteed security.
The Federal Government of Somalia is aware that implication of these efforts at institution building should attract the support of various political actors, convince Non-State Actors and local communities that such state structures are to serve as a common instrument for the socio-economic and political advancement of all Somali citizens.”
One of the core aspects of the state-building process is the development of suitable policies and strategies to mobilize and sensitize citizens through inclusive and participatory community consultation processes. The idea here is that without the participation and cooperation of the community, it will be very difficult to gain public trust and belief in the government institutions like courts and the police in particular.
To aid in doing this, the relevant bodies anchored their plan on three distinct pillars: Reforming and developing the capacity of the national security organizations, managing the transition phase and finally the effective coordination. Any society that has made significant progress in the world has often done so on the strength of its systems of governance, their ability to maintain law and order and of course on the strength of their judicial system and trust in the people who run it.
Somalia has passed the worst phase that any country can be forced to go through, it is now on the path to a better, brighter and more stable future.
The Roadmap to Justice and Security 2017-2020 aims at setting the stage for a stable more secure Somalia, the stage upon which the phenomenal growth of the country ought to spring from.
The writer is a TSIM Defense and Security Reporter