The Potential of the Xeer for the Somali Legal System

ANALYSIS René Brosius 26 November 2021 Somalia is considered the prototype of a legally pluralistic environment. Nevertheless, the proper handling of legal diversity has not yet succeeded. While traditional finding of law remained essentially untouched during the colonial period, there have been various attempts to incorporate the Xeer and religious law into a state legal…

Light and Shadow in Somalia – How Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a and the Elections are Connected

ANALYSIS René Brosius 12 November 2021 The latest news from Somalia could not be contradictory. On the one hand, the first democratic “one person, one vote” elections since 1969 took place in Puntland, the semi-autonomous state in north-eastern Somalia, on 25 October 2021; on the other hand, there was bloody fighting in central Somalia. Admittedly,…

House of Cards in Villa Somalia

ANALYSIS René Brosius 17 September 2021 In April 2021, after Somalia was on the brink of civil war, it seemed for a long time that the solution would be found in a tough (s)election process. The May 27, 2021 agreement and Prime Minister Roble’s timetable presented at the end of June stipulated that this process…

Why did Democracy Fail in Somalia?

ANALYSIS René Brosius 23 July 2021 If you ask older Somalis about the time shortly after the country’s independence, they often advise you very politely: Firstly, that Somalia was never really colonised. Secondly, that it was one of the most peaceful periods in Somalia’s recent history. Yes, sometimes you hear that Somalia was the Switzerland…

The 4.5 System – An Instrument of Exclusion?

ANALYSIS René Brosius 25 June 2021 In the inner-Somali discussion, the term “4.5 system” comes up again and again, and for outsiders it is not easily recognisable what concept lies behind this terminology Therefore, I want to offer a brief explanation to keep up with the ongoing developments. The 4.5-system is a mechanism for sharing…

Is Civil War Coming to Somalia?

COMMENT René Brosius 28 April 2021 The conflict over elections in Somalia[1] , which has been ongoing since last summer, has reached the next stage of escalation. Internationally mediated talks between the government, whose term has constitutionally expired[2] and the National Salvation Council (NSC), consisting of the presidential candidates, the prime ministers of Jubbaland and…

Somalia vs. Kenya – The maritime border dispute

COMMENT René Brosius 09 April 2021 Somalia and Kenya do not have a tension-free relationship. Many reasons for this lie in the conflict-ridden history. The border between the two countries is a disputed colonial legacy. Large ethnic Somali minorities still live on Kenya’s territory, especially in the so-called North Eastern Province. The majority of the…

Constitutional Crisis in Somalia – Democratic, Free and Fair Elections?

ANALYSIS René Brosius 10 February 2021 The upcoming presidential elections in Somalia are dominated by the debate on free and fair elections, a debate that brought the country to the brink of civil war. While the states of Puntland, Jubbaland as well as the united opposition in the country insist that the president’s term has…

Somalia before the elections – From democratic election to dangerous selection process

ANALYSIS René Brosius 22 January 2021 On 9 January 2021, Somalia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble surprised everyone by announcing that the planned elections would only be held in certain parts of the country. According to Article 1 (1) of Somalia’s provisional constitution, the country is “a federal, sovereign, and democratic republic founded on inclusive…

Challenges and Chances in the Somali Legal System

ANALYSIS René Brosius 11 December 2020 In many ways, dealing with Somalia is a look into the unknown. The complex social structures, violent conflicts and strong traditions have left researchers, traders, explorers, colonial powers and scientists both fascinated and perplexed. Somali society has opened itself up to only a few, but hardly to anybody fully.…