Filling the political void : the mechanisms of coping in stateless Somalia

Lubbe, Lesley (2011-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Somalia continues to intrigue scholars and policy-makers around the world, due to the fact that it is enduring what few others have, total state collapse. Not only does the situation defy easy explanation, the degree of state failure is unprecedented. After more than two decades without a functioning central authority, Somalia is now the longest-running instance of state collapse in postcolonial history. While researching and understanding state weakness and state failure is critical, it is useless unless combined with devising ways to prevent state failure in the future. Somalia provides policy makers with a unique opportunity to study the consequences of state collapse. Understanding the complex dynamics of state weakness and state collapse could ultimately help save the lives of thousands of people on the African continent. This study focuses on the mechanisms of coping by analysing the actors who have stepped up to fill the political vacuum left behind by the collapsing state. The role played by both state and non-state actors will be explored throughout this study. As it is not possible to address every actor who has played a part in Somalia since the implosion of the state in 1991, only the three most important internal and external actors will be analysed. The role played by the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) will be discussed at length. The contributions made by neighbouring country Ethiopia, will also be investigated. Although the contributions and the impact of these external actors have in some instances led to undesired results, it does not change the fact that these actors attempted to fill the void in Somalia. Non-state actors positions within Somalia will also be examined in detailed. These actors include regional authorities, the role of Al-Shabaab, as well as the Islamic Courts Union. The study does not excuse the behaviour of these actors but rather discusses the rise of these organizations in light of the collapsing state and the position which they have taken up in Somalia to fill the political void. Lastly the role of the “Somali coast guards” also known as the Somali pirates, will be discussed.ipti

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Somalië bly die brandpunt van belangstelling vir geleerdes en beleidmakers dwarsoor die wêreld. Die hoofrede hiervoor is dat hierdie land ervaar het wat min ander lande het, naamlik algehele ineenstorting van die staat en bestuur. ‘n Maklike verduideliking of vereenvoudiging van die situasie is daar nie, want die ongeëwenaarde ineenstorting van stuktuur en staat, van Somalië is uniek. Twee dekades later is hierdie land nogsteeds sonder ‘n funksioneerende gesetelde staatsgesag. Hierdie tydperk is die langste voorbeeld van staatsineenstorting sonder herstel in post-koloniale geskiedenis. Navorsing en insig in elke staat se inherente swakhede en probleme help om mislukte bestuur te voorspel en te voorkom. Hierdie inligting moet korrek geimplimenteer en geinterpreteer word om krissise en mislukkings binne staatsbestel te verhoed. Somalië bied beleidmakers ‘n unieke geleentheid om die gevolge van totale staatsineenstorting te bestudeer en daaruit te leer. Net deur middel van begrip vir die komplekse dinamika van ‘n staat wat ineenstort en deur wanbestuur verswak word, sal daar uikoms vir duisende mense op hierdie vasteland kom. Sodoende sal ontelbare lewens in Afrika gered kan word. Hierdie studie analiseer die tegnieke van aanpassing, gebruik deur die rolspelers wat die politieke vakuum vul, wat deur die staatineenstorting nagelaat is. Die ondersoek fokus ook op die impak en effekte van beide interne en eksterne rolspelers. Aangesien dit onmoontlik is om die aandeel wat elke rolspeler sedert die ineenstorting van Somalië in 1991 gehad het te bestudeer, word net die drie belangrikste interne en eksterne rolspelers bespreek. Die Verenigde Nasies (VN), Afrika Unie (AU) en die buurland Ethiopië se bydraes sal ondersoek word. Alhoewel die bydraes en insette van hierdie eksterne rolspelers soms tot ongewenste resultate gelei het, bly die feit staan dat hulle probeer het om die leemtes in Somalië te vul. Ander belangrike rolspelers wat nie deel van die plaaslike regering is nie, sal ook in diepte bespreek word. Hierdie invloede binne Somalië sluit streeksowerhede in, asook die rol van Al Shabaab en die Islamitiese Howe Unie. Die studie verskoon nie die gedrag van die rolspelers nie, maar bespreek eerder die opkoms van hierdie organisasies. Dit word alles gesien in die lig van die ineenstorting van die staat en die posisie wat hulle in Somalië geneem het om mag te bekom en die politieke leemte te vul. Ten slotte word die omstrede rol van die "Somaliese kuswagte", anders bekend as Somaliese seerowers, bespreek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/17813
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