Democracy and rights
The Somali state is weak and the government of
Mogadishu controls only parts of Somalia. No general
elections have been held since the 1960s. The present
Parliament was indirectly appointed through clan elders
and regional leaders. The rule of law has major
shortcomings and armed groups as well as the government
security forces are guilty of serious abuses against the
civilian population. Corruption permeates the whole of
Somalia has had a provisional constitution since 2012
(see Political system) and according to the roadmap to
peace established the year before, Somalis would be
allowed to vote for their new parliament in 2016.
Referring to the security situation in the country, the
new parliament was instead elected by 14,000 delegates,
which consisted of by clan elders and regional leaders.
This, in February 2017, appointed Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmaajo"
as new President (see Current Policy). However, the
electoral process was affected by vote buying, threats
and harassment and violence.
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Somalia, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Power struggles in political life are common. In the
spring of 2018, for example, the then President was
forced to resign following a conflict between him and
supporters of the President. The contradictions were
made more difficult by the fact that Somalia was drawn
into a major conflict between countries in the Persian
Gulf, several of which belong to the country's most
important trading partners and donors (see Calendar and
Foreign Policy and Defense).
At the end of 2018, a vote of no confidence was
directed at President Mohamed Abdullahi. However, it was
annulled when 14 MPs deny that they have signed the
Declaration of Trust (see Calendar).
The four largest clans, hawiye, darod, dir and
rahawein, have dominated both politics and the economy
in Somalia since independence in 1960. These clans also
control the current "parliament" and other similar
assemblies appointed since the beginning of the 1990s.
This means that those who come from smaller clans and
minority people have been marginalized. The system means
that there are no clear boundaries between the
government and the opposition, and ordinary Somalis have
little opportunity to influence politics.
A national leadership council, the National
Leadership Forum (NFL), which included the president,
members of government and regional leaders, agreed in
2016 that political parties should be registered and
that all MPs must have joined a political party by
October 2018. Those who did not have done it would lose
its place in Parliament. The aim was that the National
Election Commission in 2020 could organize elections
according to the principle "one person, one vote".
However, little has been done to prepare such choices.
However, a number of political parties have been
formed (see Political system). All parties registered
must be aligned with national policies and be
represented in two-thirds of the country's regions
(according to the 1991 borders).
According to the road map, the five states will
organize their own elections ahead of the 2020 federal
election. However, strong tensions have arisen between
the federal government and the states. In the fall of
2018, the provincial government chose to break contact
with the Mogadishu government, which they accused of
breaking their promises and of not being allowed to take
part in the national resources. Concerns erupted in late
2018 in connection with the election in the southwestern
state since the favorite to win the election, Mukthar
Robow (also called Abu Mansur), a defender from the
Islamist group al-Shabaab had been arrested (see
Calendar). The UN Special Envoy for Somalia was forced
to leave his post after he, in a letter to the Minister
of Security, asked questions about why UN-backed
security forces participated in the arrest of Mukthar
However, according to the UN, relations between the
government of Mogadishu and the states appeared to
improve somewhat in the spring of 2019.
Freedom of the meeting is guaranteed in the
constitution, but in practice it is limited, both
because of the violence and that demonstrations require
permission from the authorities. It seems that protests
held without permission are beaten down with violence.
Although Somalia has for many years lacked a central
power, there have been a number of informal power
centers, "municipalities". Together with mayors, elders,
businessmen, women's groups and others, they have to
some extent continued to function as a kind of
government at the local level. A number of Somali and
international NGOs are active in the country, but the
lack of security makes work often dangerous.
Women are discriminated against in a number of areas
and have little political influence (see Social
conditions). According to the Provisional Constitution,
30 percent of the seats in Parliament are to go to
women. In the indirect election held in 2016/2017, the
proportion was 24 percent in the lower chamber, which
was nevertheless a clear improvement since 2012, and 22
percent in the upper house.
In 2018, Somalia was the last of 180 countries on
Transparency International's list of world countries
ranked by levels of corruption. This is not facilitated
by the fact that it is difficult to obtain information
on how public missions have been distributed or the
private economies of the President and Ministers. Little
is done to fight corruption and few people are punished
for such crimes.
Both the current government and the former have been
accused of widespread corruption. In a UN report from
2013, it was claimed that 72 percent of the withdrawals
made by the central bank had been to private individuals
or to representatives of the administration who used
them for private use. In addition, one-third of the
revenue from port fees in Mogadishu disappeared each
month without being reported.
Both the government and militia with ties to it have
been accused of seizing aid broadcasts. It also happens
that the Somali military, but also soldiers within the
African peacekeeping force Amisom, sell weapons on the
Freedom of the press and opinion
The Provisional Constitution of 2012 guarantees
freedom of press and expression. In practice, it has
major limitations. The media is particularly difficult
to operate in areas controlled by Islamist militia, but
the government side also limits the freedom of the
In Reporters Without Borders Index for 2019, Somalia
ranked 164 out of 180 countries. According to Somalia,
it is one of the most dangerous countries in the world
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ),
at least 66 journalists were killed in Somalia between
1992 and 2018. al-Shabaab is suspected for most of the
death. Harassment, physical violence (including
torture), kidnappings and arbitrary arrests of
journalists are common. Media workers have also been
killed and injured in terrorist attacks.
A media law adopted in 2016 has been criticized by
several press freedom organizations for containing
sweeping wordings that open up to arbitrary
interpretations. The government that took office in 2017
has changed some wording, but the law still has major
shortcomings. It has later created a new body to oversee
the content of both magazines and ethereal media and can
prohibit, without justification, reporting that it
considers to be false or propaganda, and powers to
prosecute media workers. Most journalists are young,
low-paid and short-term employees. There are also major
shortcomings when it comes to journalistic ethics. Many
journalists end up in trouble when the government wants
to stop them from reporting on al-Shabaab's attacks and
the militia group demands that they do so. This leads to
It is the radio broadcasts that reach the most
residents. When al-Shabaab was at its strongest, the
militia group took over eight private radio channels,
but in 2015 it had only control over two.
Somalis in exile have started a series of online
sites with news from their home country. Most cities in
southern and central Somalia have small magazines or
rather simple photocopied news magazines. Some of the
newspapers, especially those published in the larger
cities, contain some criticism of the government.
Only a small part of the population, mainly in the
cities, has access to the internet. In 2014, al-Shabaab
forced all network operators to shut down the Internet
in all areas it controlled. Earlier, the Islamist
militia had banned smart phones and satellite TV. At the
same time, the Islamist group is active in social media.
Its accounts are often closed down, but are quickly
replaced by new ones.
Judicial system and legal security
According to the provisional constitution, the
judicial system must be independent and that no laws may
be enacted that contravene Sharia. In the parts of the
country controlled by the government this has led to few
changes in practice. In the areas where al-Shabaab is
strong, a strict interpretation of Sharia law is
applied. However, the application is arbitrary. A person
who has a mobile phone with a, according to the Islamist
group, unauthorized ringing can manage to seize the
phone, while in other cases they run the risk of being
There is a shortage of trained personnel and
corruption is a major problem. It is common for the
authorities to ignore the court's ruling. Clan politics
plays a big role.
The government often allows a military court to
enforce justice even in cases involving civilians.
At the local level, various combinations of Somali
customary law (xeer), traditional Islamic law (sharia)
and laws established under Siad Barre's rule 1969-1991
Somaliland's constitution also states that the
judiciary should be independent, but in practice the
authorities interfere in the work of the courts.
Puntland has functioning courts, although there are a
number of deficiencies in the justice system. Many
disputes are also settled here by traditional clan
Arbitrary arrests are common.
The conditions in the prisons are poor. Children who
are incarcerated are often held in the same prisons as
adults. Torture occurs, although it is prohibited in
large parts of Somalia.
Since 2017, al-Shabaab has again escalated its
violence and regularly carries out terror attacks, often
targeting leading politicians and foreign troops in the
country, but many ordinary Somalis are also killed.
Amnesty has also drawn attention to the fact that the US
drone attacks require civilian casualties (see
In southern and central Somalia, all parties to the
conflict are guilty of human rights violations. This
also applies to government troops and Amisom. Get
punished for the abuse.
Sexual violence is widespread, especially vulnerable
women and children living in camps for internally
Both government forces and Islamist groups use child
soldiers. However, they are the most in al-Shabaab.
About half of Islamist group members are believed to be
under the age of 18.
Nur Adde becomes new prime minister
President Yussuf appoints Nur Hassan Hussein (also known as Nur Adde), a
former police chief who led Somalia's Red Crescent, as new prime minister.
New AU soldiers arrive
The AU force is strengthened by hundreds of soldiers from Burundi.
Prime Minister Ghedi resigns after a power struggle
Prime Minister Ghedi will resign at the end of the month following a dispute
with the president. Both forces within the country and the United States are
reported to have pressed for him to leave the government. Ghedi's critics have,
according to media reports, blamed him for the decision to invite the Ethiopian
forces into Somalia. Other sources state that the dispute was triggered by the
president having signed an agreement with the Chinese oil company CNOOC, without
informing his prime minister.
Reconciliation conferences with obstacles
The outside world has pressed for the government to take the initiative for a
national reconciliation conference. It is argued that no real peace can be
achieved unless the parties cooperate. The conference will start in Mogadishu in
July, but the result will be meager. The talks are boycotted by many Islamists
and Hawiye leaders who refuse to participate as long as Ethiopian soldiers
remain in the country. A similar conference, with fewer participants being held
in Asmara, where Islamists and other opposites form the Alliance for Somalia's
New Liberation (ARS).
The Prime Minister survives the assaults
Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Ghedi survives a suicide attack, but seven of his
bodyguards are killed.
Several hundred killed in Ethiopian offensive
Ethiopia and elders from the Hawaiian clans agree in April on a ceasefire;
but it doesn't. Shortly thereafter, the rebels carry out new attacks from
housing areas. The Ethiopian forces go counter-offensive and shoot uninhabited
against inhabited neighborhoods. Between 400 and 1,300 people are reported to
have been killed. The unrest in the spring and up to June 2007 has forced about
400,000 people to flee from Mogadishu. Outside of the capital, it is initially
relatively quiet, but during the spring, flares are also rising in other parts
of the country.
The first AU soldiers arrive
The first soldiers within the AU peacekeeping force Amisom arrive. All of
them come from Uganda.
New battles in Mogadishu
New and fierce battles erupt in Mogadishu since the government launched an
offensive against the rebels.