The inauguration ceremony of PM Barre (June 28th) and the anniversary of independence (July 1st) have taken place. In these moments, the call for stability and reconciliation, the leitmotif of the ‘new Somalia’, was reaffirmed. There were nonetheless some bitter remarks from outgoing PM Roble, aimed at former President Farmajo.
The focus is now on the ability of Barre – or rather of President Mohamud who chose him from among the Ogaden clan ranks, in a partial break with the rituals of the political alternation between Hawiye and Darod clans – to live up to his promises of inclusiveness, reconciliation and good management of the drought and of insecurity.
It is difficult for the two top politicians to magically heal the distance that lingers between the notables and elders of the different clans and between them and the common people. This makes the transmission and execution of orders from the centre to the periphery and the incorporation of grassroots needs into government decisions still utterly uncertain.
This trait is likely to be less pronounced in the case of Jubaland, where Barre comes from. On the contrary, a greater dynamism can already be observed, for instance with political meetings convened by Jubaland President Madobe. This trait will reverberate on the national government: it could potentially be an element of greater instability, if it leads others to obstructionism rather than new forms of political collaboration.
The appointment of the members of the nascent Barre government will be the first test of these new dynamics. Nor must the President and Premier displease the other clans, smaller and hitherto more marginal, but necessary to ensure overall stability in the system. The political challenge has just begun, and will unroll within the month of July, before the new Government will be announced.