Somalia: Guidelines for Democratic Clan Based 2016 Electoral Model

A Somali Member of Parliament for the Transitional Federal Parliament for the Somali Republic cast his vote as the first round of voting began to elect a President, Sunday, 10 October 2004, in Kenya's capital Nairobi. EPA/STEPHEN MORRISON
By Mohamud M Uluso

By Mohamud M Uluso

The purpose of this article is to provide rationale and guidelines for the adoption and implementation of “Clan Based 2016 Electoral Model” as the better option between the four Electoral models suggested by Somalia National Consultative Leadership Forum (SNCLF). The four electoral models are: (1) Political Party Representation, (2) Regional State (Federal Member State) Representation, (3) District Representation, and (4) Clan representation. The other three models requires the existence of well-designed legal framework, reliable institutions, voter registration, and extensive civic education to fulfill the tasks of pre-election, election, and post-election periods. But, none of these tasks has been undertaken.

Preference for 4.5 Clan Representation

In reaction to the cancellation of 2016 free and fair election “one person one vote” and the decision not to go back to the flawed 2012 selection process made through 135 traditional leaders, the Somali people faces the challenge of agreeing on an alternative electoral model for the election of 275 members of the federal parliament. The proposed four models suggest an “electoral caucus” which means that each Member of 2016 Parliament will be elected by at least one hundred voters.

The 4.5 clan formula used since 2000 has coped reasonably with the social friction and stabilized the power contest between Somali Communities. It is seen as the less harmful model while the other three electoral models are susceptible for manipulations and not suitable for political inclusion. The deficiencies and non-suitability of other three electoral systems emanate from the fragmentation and polarization persisting among Somali Stakeholders.

The 2016 clan based electoral model allows all sub clans represented in the 2012 federal parliament to democratically elect rather than select their representatives. Each of the four clans – Dir, Darod, Digil and Mirifle, and Hawiye will elect 61 deputies, while the fifth clan will elect 31 deputies. The breakdown of the members of parliament to be elected by each sub clan constituency is shown in the table below.

The distribution of MPs within five clans and sub clans is complex and not without grievances. As caveat, each clan may reconsider the distribution for compromise and harmony. However, the responsibility of reaching consensus on the matter should remain within each clan.

Unquestionably, the clan plays a central role in the Somali society in terms of identity and allegiance. While Somalis are proud of their Somali identity, clan identity, which is part of the Somali culture, provides individual inclusivity and protection. Clan identity is also the stepping stone for national reconciliation and peacebuilding.

Within the clan community, the traditional leaders exercise influential role and are promoters of peace and social coexistence. They are beholders of custom and norms, and enforcers of agreements. Despite the existence of the federal government and interim regional administrations, clan elders are first responders to any intercommunal violence and they always succeed in bringing down tensions and differences. 75% of Somalis trust the traditional system for conflict resolution compare to federal government institutions because of the pervasive corruption. Hence, traditional leaders including religious leaders and influential elders are able to responsibly lead the electoral process.

But before going into the discussion of the practical guidelines, it is important to underscore critical assumptions, precondition measures, and guiding principles that would enhance the legitimacy and integrity of 2016 election and improve the success of statebuilding and peacebuilding.


1.     Clan affiliation doesn’t cause personal failure, dishonesty and incompetence, abuse of power, stealing, and injustice. Tradition, religion, and constitutions teach human values.

2.     Relevance of the maintenance of formal balance of power within various segments of the Somali society until “one person one vote” election takes place.

3.     Critical need for free election from corruption, malpractice, frauds, and manipulations paramount. Electoral corruption undermines social bond and degenerates into political violence.

4.     Major sources of corruption are from state institutions-executive, election, and judiciary, and electoral commission, from the level of corruption within government, and from the visible and invisible hands of foreign actors.

5.     Involvement and influence of the federal, regional governments, national independent electoral commission, and the international community sustain public disenfranchisement, and spoil legitimacy of the outcome of the electoral process.

6.     Equality of man and women in the representation of clan constituency.

7.     Failure of the federal government to fulfil the promise of free and fair 2016 political election justifies a major concern for the integrity of responsible leaders.

8.     Each Member of Parliament represents roughly 40,000 Somali Citizens.

Necessary measures before 2016 Election:

1.     Complete, coherent, and clear Provisional Constitution which guarantees the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Somalia under the authority of unified system of government.

2.     Establishment of trustworthy Constitutional Court that inspires strong public confidence.

3.     2016 members of parliament must be prohibited from holding any other public or private positions than the constituency representation in the parliament for the purpose of enhancing the parliamentary oversight responsibility and avoiding permanent conflict of interest.

4.     Undertaking of concrete actions to root out the endemic corruption, abuse of power, and monopoly of public media. The establishment of international watchdog mechanism that campaigns against all kinds of corruption and electoral manipulations should receive high priority.

5.     Rules and directives for Equitable Access to State media and resources by all contestants before the end of 2015.

6.     Exclusion of leaders of the Federal Government and Regional Administrations from the participation of 2016 political competition.

Guiding Principles of 2016 Election

In partial amendment to the guiding principles published by the SNCLF, the 2016 electoral process must satisfy the following Guiding Principles:

1.     2016 electoral model process must be vetted by Somali Experts on election and politics, and it must be agreed by legitimate and well-versed representatives of the people of Somalia. The format used for the Consultative process on electoral models was superficial, non-substantive, and far from best practices of electoral consultation.

2.      Representation of the diverse constituencies of the people of Somalia must consolidate territorial integrity, unity, and public interest.

3.     2016 Electoral process shall be sub clan constituency-owned, constituency-led process in terms of management and dispute resolution. The voters or members of the electoral caucuses will be selected in accordance with constituency custom and norms.

4.     Clan representation incorporates the geographic and gender representation. In addition, the local parliaments and institutions of Interim Regional Administrations will fulfill the functions and needs of geographic representation in the framework of the federal system.

5.     Clan based electoral process will adhere to the democratic electoral principles of accountability, transparency, and fairness.

6.     Traditional conflict resolution mechanism will handle electoral complaints. The federal government and the international community should not side with anyone who frivolously attempt to distort constituency agreed conflict resolution mechanism on election.

7.     Recognition of the federal parliament as representative of both the people and federal member states of Somalia.

Guidelines for the implementation of clan based electoral model:

1.     All clan constituencies will held a General Assembly for electing an Electoral Leadership Council (ELC) of 5 members, Electoral Secretariat (ES) of 3 members, and Review Committee (RC) of 5 members with the responsibility of managing the election. The RC will be composed of qualified members of the constituency to advice ELC on good management practices.

2.     Names and Signatures of the ELC, ES, and RC will be communicated to a National Monitoring Body composed of Somali Civil Society and nan-Somali Actors.

3.     Members of ELC, ES, and RC must respect common sense of good conduct and ethics to ensure the integrity of 2016 electoral process.

4.     The ELC and ES will provide true information about the management of the electoral process to the civil society, federal government, and interim regional administrations for cooperation and shared interests.

5.     The ELC, ES, and RC will sign the certificate of the elected MP.

6.     All Parliament seats assigned to each sub clan constituency will be competitive.

7.     Candidates for each MP seats should be between 2-5 individuals. The ELC, ES, RC, and constituency elite will decide on the elimination process of candidates over the limit of 5.

8.     Each Candidate must hold at least three public meetings with constituency to present his or her political agenda and opportunity for questions and answers.

9.     Each constituency will select 200 voters from the different segments of the constituency: traditional leaders 20, women and youth 80, religious leaders and intellectuals 50, business and politicians 50. Representatives of Disabled group will be included. Then, a day before the election, 100 Electorate will be drawn through a lottery process from the 200 pool of prospective voters. Each MP must get majority votes for winning.

10.      Candidates will have the opportunity to raise objections about individual voter month before election date for improper selection and corruption. The ELC in consultation with RC will finally decide on the objection of the candidates.

11.      Selected voters must cast their vote as national duty.

12.      Selected electorate will be sworn in before casting their votes for the best interests of the Somali people and Constituency and not for personal interests, for bribe, and nepotism.

13.      The voting system will be secret held in public, watched by candidates, their representatives, media, civil society representatives, and other observers.

14.      The voting for each MP will go through three rounds.

15.      The voting cards will be destroyed after the declared results are not contested for irregularity, but the winner’s information will be submitted to the parliament for the record,

16.      Duration of 2016 election will be one week from Saturday July 16 2016 to Thursday July 21, 2016.

17.      Each constituency will select the most suitable location for voting. As of today, some of the locations candidate for voting include Bosaso, Garowe, Galkaio, Adado, Dhusa Mareb, Abudwaaq, Beletwein, Bulo Burte, Jowhar, Bal’ad, Mogadishu, Afgoi, Marka,  Wanla-wein, Barawe, Dinsor, Kismaio, Bardhere, Luq, Garbaharrey, Huddur, Baidoa, and others.

18.      Each Constituency will announce the voting location three months before the election date.

19.      The elected MP will lose seat if within one year emerge disqualification information through court system.

20.      Each Constituency has the responsibility to elect its representative in accordance with agreed date. Otherwise, the seat will be assigned to other constituency of the clan through a lottery process.

21.      Each Leadership Council should be supported with USD 100,000 for each MP.  The Federal Government and donors will pay USD 60,000 for each MP, while each constituency will raise USD 40,000 per MP. Sources of Constituency contribution will be documented. All other payments will be considered corruption for disqualification.

22.      With few exceptions, each constituency will follow the same guidelines for replacement of deceased or resigned MP.

The table below shows the competitive parliamentary seats assigned to each sub clan constituency under the 4.5 clan power-sharing formula.

Table: Breakdown of Clan Constituencies and Competitive MP Seats

4.5  Clans Clan Constituencies as per 2012 parliament Number of  Competitive Seat(s) Electoral Caucasus=100 voters per MP
  1. Fifth Clan
  1. Bajun
1 100
     2.  Benadiri

(Ashraf, Reer Faqi, Bandhabow)

3 300
     3.  Benadiri

(Shanshi, Qalin Shube, Gamedle)

3 300
    4. Barawe Bida 1 100
     5. Arab Somali 1 100
      6. Arab Mohamud Salah 3 300
       7. Garjante 1 100
       8. Jareer Weyne

Lower Shabelle (Hintire and Elay Jabay)

2 200
       9. Jareer Weyne Middle Shabelle (Shidle) 2 200
      10. Jareer Weyne Lower Jubba


1 100
      11. Jareer Weyne Hiiraan ( Makenne iyo Reer Shabelle) 2 200
      12. Reer Aw Hassan 2 200
       13. Rutis-(Madhiban) 2 200
       14. Rutis (Yaxar) 2 200
      15. Rutis (Tumal) 1 100
       16. Rutis- (Yibir) 1 100
       17. Rutis- (M/Dheri) 1 100
        18. Ujuraan 2 200
  1. Dir Clan
  1. Isaq/Habar Je’lo
2 200
     2. Isaq/Habar Jelo 2 200
    3. Isaq/Habar Jelo 2 200
    4. Isaq/Habar Yonis 2 200
     5. Isaq/Habar Yonis 2 200
     6. Isaq/Habar Yonis 2 200
     7. Isaq/Habar Awal 2 200
    8. Isaq/Habar Awal 2 200
     9. Isaq/Habar Awal 2 200
     10. Isaq/Idagale 2 200
      11. Isaq/Idagale 2 200
       12. Isaq/Arab 3 300
        13. Isaq/Arab 2 200
        14. Isaq/Toljelo 1 100
       15. Gadabuursi (Mohamed Ase) 3 300
        16. Gadabuursi (Makaail) 3 300
         17. Gadabuursi (Habar Arfaan) 3 300
         18. Bajamal 1 100
          19. Biyamal (Ismin) 2 200
          20. Biyamal (Gaadsan) 2 200
         21. Biymal (Sa’ad, Daado) 2 200
       22. Biyamal (Adeer=Daadrube) 1 100
       23. Isse (Dalol) 3 300
       24. Isse (Habar Abgaal) 5 500
      25. Surre (Abdalle) 3 300
      26. Surre (Qubeys) 2 200
      27. Reer Aw Said 1 100
      28. Madaluug 1 100
      29. Wardey 1 100
  1. Digil & Mirifle Clan
  1. Ashraf
2 200
     2. Bagedi 2 200
     3. Dabare 3 300
     4. Disow 1 100
     5. Elay 3 300
     6. Emed 1 100
     7. Eyle 1 100
     8. Gababweyn 1 100
      9. Gare 3 300
    10. Garwade 1 100
    11. Gasare Gude 1 100
     12. Geladi 2 200
      13. Gelidle 3 300
      14. Hadame 4 400
      15. Haraaw 1 100
      16. Heledi 1 100
      17. Hubeer 2 200
      18. Jiido 3 300
     19. Jilible 2 200
     20. Jiroon 2 200
     21. Luway 3 300
     22. Leysaan 3 300
      23. Macallin Weyne 2 200
      24. Qomaal 1 100
      25. Reer Dumaal 1 100
      26. Shanta Calemood 3 300
      27. Tuni 3 300
     28. Waanjel 1 100
     29. Xaruub


3 300
     30. Yantaar 2 200
  1. Darod Clan
  1. Osman Mohamud
2 200
     2. Isse Mohamud 2 200
      3. Omar Mohamud 2 200
      4. Nuh Mohamud 1 100
      5. Ali Jibra’il 1 100
      6. Ali Salebaan 1 100
      7. Ba’iidyahan 1 100
      8. Ugaar Saleban 1 100
      9. Sawaaqroon 1 100
      10. Awrtable 3 300
       11. Dashishle 2 200
       12. Leelkase =Mudug= (Mohamed Mumin, Reer Fiqi Ismail, Mumin Adan) 3 300
       13. Lelkase=Bari, Nugal=(Mohamed Ali, Reer  Hassan) 2 200
       14. Dhulbahante (Farah Garad) 3 300
       15. Dhulbahante (Mohamud Garad) 3 300
        16. Dhulbahante (Bah Nugal) 2 200
         17. Warsangeli (omar) 3 300
         18. Warsangeli (Dubeys) 2 200
          19. Ogaaden (Bah Geri) 1 100
          20. Ogaaden (Awliyahan) 3 300
          21. Ogaden (Maqaabul) 2 200
          22. Ogaaden (Mohamed Suber) 3 300
          23. Ogaden  (Abdalle/Talamuge) 1 100
          24. Bartire 2 200
          25. Marehan (Reer Hassan) 2 200
          26. Marehan (Ur Midig) 1 100
          27. Marehan (Wagardhac, Talho, Hawrarsame) 3 300
         28. Marehan (Dini=Bah Hawiye, Bah Ogaden) 4 400
         29. Marehan (Ali Dhere, Rer Ahmed, Fiqi Yaqub) 3 300
         30. Marehan  (Celi) 1 100
  1. Hawiye


  1. Abgaal Wa’aysle
3 300
      2. Abgal-Wa’budhan 3 300
     3. Abgaal Harti 3 300
     4. Abgaal Hilibe 1 100
     5. Abgaal Wa’daan 1 100
      6. Mobileen 1 100
      7. Ujeeden 3 300
      8. Wadalaan 1 100
     9. Sarur 3 300
     10. Salebaan (Fa’rah) 1 100
     11. Saleban  (Dashame) 2 200
     12. Ayr 3 300
     13. Sa’ad (Abdalle) 1 100
     14. Sa’ad (Awareere) 2 200
      15. Sil Is 1 100
      16. Hawadle (Ali Madahweyne, Yabar Madahweyne) 2 200
       17. Hawadle (Abdalle, Agoon) 2 200
       18. Hawadle (Yabar Dige, Reer Ugas) 2 200
       19. Hawadle (Abdi Yusuf, Reer Adeero) 2 200
       20. Badi Adde 3 300
       21. Gal Je’el 5 500
       22. Jidle 1 100
       23. Jajelo 1 100
        24. Duduble (Mohamed Amal, Maqalsame) 2 200
       25. Duduble  (Arse, Habar Awraden) 2 200
       26. Murusade-Sabti 3 300
       27. Murusade-Fol Ulus 4 400
      28. Sheikhal 3 300

The Somali people is distressed by uncertain future and the mismanagement and manipulation of 2016 election would worsen the situation. The clan based election model serves primarily not to deteriorate further the problematic situation.

Mohamud M Uluso

[email protected]

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