Somalia is slowly recovering from years of conflict and self-destruction. The country’s biggest headache has always been politics, with the myriad of clans jostling for political supremacy.
This is what caused the 1991 civil war and it seems to be the same problem decades later.
But Somalia plans to shift from clan-based politics to political party-based politics in 2020, when a national election is expected to take place.
All interim governments, including the latest legitimate government, have been elected on a 4.5 clan power-sharing system.
There is currently at least 15 temporarily registered parties.
Over the years the Somalia conflict has changed faces.
The civil war that ousted strongman Siyad Bare in 1991 morphed into clan fiefdoms run by warlords that were swept away by a wave of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) in late 2006.
The ICU gave birth to al Shabaab, the local franchise of al Qaeda in Eastern Africa, which extorts locals to finance its bloody war.
The change in Somalia has been slow but steady.
Even al Shabaab has not been spared. Over the years the group has lost high-ranking officials such as Sheikh Dahir Aweys, considered the grand mullah of militancy in Somalia.
Aweys is now under house arrest in Mogadishu after disagreeing with the group and escaping an assassination attempt on his life in late June 2013.
Another influential figure who decamped from al Shabaab is former spokesman and deputy head Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, aka Abu Mansur, who handed himself over to government.
Last Friday he was barred by the Interior ministry from running for president of the Southwest State for lack of international clearance due to his past relations with al Shabaab.
Al Shabaab lost some support in Puntland, northeast of Somalia, after a group of predominantly Darod fighters shifted allegiance to ISIS or Daesh.
It is worth noting that al Shabaab has also been caught up in Somalia’s cancerous clan problem.
The Somalia ISIS chapter is believed to be predominantly made up of fighters from the Darod clan said to have been unhappy with the Hawiye and Dir clans’ dominance of al Shabaab’s command.
In spite of the unceasing al Shabaab bloodshed, whose biggest victims are unarmed civilians, Somalia is moving forward.
For the first time in years the country is enjoying international recognition and there is a semblance of governance, even though corruption is rampant.
However, the government in Mogadishu is now facing its biggest political tsunami following a rare show of unity amongst Federal States.
The states cut ties with the government, accusing it of meddling in their affairs, and blaming it for the rising insecurity and inequitable sharing of national resources.
To put it in perspective, in Kenyan terms this would be the equivalent of all county governors coming together to cut ties with President Uhuru Kenyatta. Surely, is this even feasible given that we are talking of one country, Somalia?
Somalia is a federal state made of five States—Puntland, Galmudug, Hirshabele, South West and Jubaland.
The northern self-declared enclave of Somaliland is yet to be recognised internationally as such it is still considered part of Somalia.
But to some good news, this year the Somalia government finally received the first World Bank loan, $80 million (Sh8.1 billion), in 30 years.
This is a sign of the positive development the country is making.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Somalia’s economy to grow by 3.1 per cent this year up from 2.3 per cent last year.
If Somalia continues on this journey of development and peace, then it has all the ingredients to be the next big investment destination.
Its location is strategic and that is why world powers are jostling for its control.
Somalia straddles the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden or mouth of the Red Sea, with more than 3,000km of a seashore.
It has some of the most pristine and untapped beachfronts, with rich marine life and oil.
With all these untapped resources why shouldn’t it be the next investment haven?
By HASSAN MOHAMED