SOMALILAND ADMINISTRATIVE LAW: AN OVERVIEW
THE STRUCTURE OF THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT
The Somaliland Cabinet
Article 81 of the Somaliland Constitution states that the Executive Branch of the state shall consist of the President, the Vice-President and the Council of Ministers appointed by the President, who is the head of this branch. The Council of Ministers consist of Ministers and Deputy Ministers and “shall assist the President in the fulfilment of his duties and shall resolve collectively the general policies, planning and programmes of the state” (Art.94(2)). Unlike the US, the Somaliland cabinet has therefore a legal status separate from that of the President, but the President chairs its meetings and all the members are not only appointed by him, subject to confirmation by the House of Representatives, but can also be dismissed by him, at will.
Although Article 94 of the Constitution mentions only ministers and deputy ministers, the presidential ministerial appointments, before the election of the new President in June 2010, included ministers, ministers of state and deputy ministers, which appeared to follow the pre-1991 practice. However, as of February 2011, the new leaner government appointed by President M A Mohamoud (Silanyo) consists of 20 Ministers and 6 Deputy Ministers. Ministers and Deputy Ministers (of whatever rank) cannot be members of the Legislature (Arts 48 & 70 of the Constitution).
A Minister may be responsible for one or more Ministries (Art. 94(6)). The current (February 2011) Ministries are:
The six Ministries with Deputy Ministers are: Education; Foreign Affairs; Internal Affairs , Planning; Finance and health.
For contact details of each Somaliland Ministry: Click Here . More information is also available at the websites of those Ministries that have dedicated websites (see above) and also at the Somaliland Government Website.
Using his general powers, the Somaliland president has also appointed a number of advisers (often at ministerial rank, in terms of pay). There is no separate law which currently governs the appointment or confirmation of such high ranking “political” appointees. The current President has so far appointed advisers covering the following portfolios:
- Social Affairs
- Political Affairs
- Parliamentary Affairs
- Youth Affairs
- Eastern regions
- International Relations & Recognition
- Economy, commerce & Investments
The Need for a new Organisation of the Government Law or, better, an Adminstrative Code
No organic law covering the Somaliland Government has been passed yet and the Law of the Organisation of the Government 1962 (Law No: 14 of 3 June 1962) which set out the organisation, powers and responsibilities of the central government in the early 1960s is now largely irrelevant as the Somaliland Constitution set up a Presidential system of government, in sharp contrast to the essentially parliamentary system with a titular president that existed in the Somali Republic then. Nonetheless a similar Law is required so as to put on a proper legal footing the structure of the Somaliland Central Government. The creation, merger or abolition of ministries can then be done by the President through a Law amending the Organisation of Government Law.
Rather than following the model of the 1962 Law, Somalilandlaw.com recommends the adoption of an overarching Administrative Code which will include the structure, powers and duties of the various Ministries and Public bodies, as well procedures for their changes and issues such the procedures for delegated legislation and other administrative law matters.
Organic Laws of each Ministry
According to information from the Somaliland House of Representatives, very few organic laws of Somaliland ministries have been passed since 1991. The exceptions appear to be the Ministries of Internal Affairs (1993) and of Justice (Law No. 81/1996). It follows therefore that the other Ministries are either still based on a pre-1991 law or are awaiting the finalisation of an organic law. The structure of Ministries based on the 1962 Law is that they have a Director General who heads a number of Directorates or Departments, each headed by a Director and then below that are sections within each Directorate.
We shall update this section when we are informed of any other organic laws.
Article 113 of the Constitution sets up the following special organs, and Article 123 states that each such organ shall have “ a law setting out its structure, responsibilities and the status of its head”:
- The Prosecution service headed by the Attorney General.
- The Central Bank: the Bank has an organic law passed by the 1993 -96 Parliament.
- The Civil Service Agency: the Agency has an organic law passed by the 1993 -96 Parliament.
- The Auditor General: The Organic law of this office is Law No: 5 of 1998.
Another body appointed under the Constitution is the Judicial Commission set up under Article 107(1) of the Constitution and the Somaliland Organisation of the Judiciary Law.
Article 113 adds that other special organs may be created in accordance with the law, but no law governing the procedures of their creation has been passed yet. The significance of these bodies is that they are supposed to function at arm’s reach from the Ministries. An example of such an organ created by the 2001 Election Law is the Somaliland National Electoral Commission.
Following the 1960s Somali Republic practice, there are also a number of semi-autonomous public bodies that have been created since 1991. Only a few of these have so far been set up under a law and the rest appear to have been set under Presidential Decree . These are:
- National Public Contracts Board: 1962 legislation on public finances and Law on Public Contracts No: 79 of 1996
- Aids Commission SOLNAC
- National Intelligence Agency
- NERAD (Disaster Relief Agency): Law setting up the agency has been passed by both House and signed by the President.
- Electricity Agency
- Roads Authority
- Law Review Committee
- National Printing Press
- Somaliland National Television: Set up under Presidential Decree.
- De-mining Agency: De-Mining Law No: 78 of 1996
- National Development Council NDC (Hay’adda Abaabul ka Saarka)
- Quality Control Commission.
- ICT Commission
- National Sadaqa (Alms) Commission
- Diaspora Agency
- National Integrity (Anti-corruption) Committee
Two other public autonomous organisations which are not listed in the national budget and have their own budgets are:
- Berbera Port Authority
- Somaliland (Central) Bank – law passed by the 1993 -96 Parliament.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT (overview)
The main law governing Somaliland local government is the Regions & Districts Law (Law No: 23/2002, as amended in 2007). Somaliland is divided administratively into SIX regions
In 2007 President Dahir Rayaale Kahin announced the creation of 6 new regions. These were: Salal (taken out of Awdal), Gabiley (out of Maroodijeeh), Odweyne and Buhoodle (out of Togdher), Sarar (out of Sool) and Badan (out of Sanag).
Each region is sub-divided into districts graded A, B, C and D. Districts, in turn, contain villages.
The Regional Councils are not elected, but include the elected Mayors of the districts in each region. District councils are, however, elected under the procedures laid down in the Presidential and Local Elections Law. Village councils are nominated by the elders and other prominent persons of the villages and are appointed by the District Councils.
CHALLENGING ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS/DECISIONS - JUDICIAL REVIEW
Articles 97 and 98 of the Somaliland Constitution includes as one of the functions of the Judiciary as that of adjudicating on disputes or proceedings between the government/governmental bodies and the public. It is also the function of the judiciary to adjudicate on all disputes which relate to compliance with the provisions of the constitution (Article 98(1)(c)). The Constitution, therefore, sets out a system of judicial review of administrative actions, as well as review of the constitutional issues.
(Coming shortly - an article on Somaliland: Judicial Review of Administrative Actions in Somaliland)