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Somaliland Administrative Law



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 include ministers, ministers of state and deputy ministers, which appear to follow the pre-1991 practice. As of January 2008, there were ______ Ministers, ____ Ministers of State and _______ Deputy Ministers in post. Ministers and Deputy Ministers (of whatever rank) cannot be members of the Legislature (Arts 48 & 70 of the Constitution).

Somaliland Ministries

A Minister may be responsible for one or more Ministries (Art. 94(6)). The Somaliland 2007 budget indicated the existence of the following 26 Ministries:

· Ministry of The Presidency

· Foreign Affairs

· Justice

· Internal Affairs

· Defence

· Information

· Planning

· Commerce

· Finance

· Minerals & Water

· Fisheries

· Agriculture

· Livestock

· Post & Telecom.

· Education

· Tourism

· Labour & Health

· Religion & Waqaf

· Public Works

· Civil Aviation

· Rural Affairs

· Resettlement

· Youth & Sport

· Industry

· Parliamentary Links

· Promotion of the Family



Presidential Advisers

Using his general powers, the Somaliland president has also appointed a number of advisers at ministerial rank, in terms of pay. There is no separate law which currently governs the appointment or confirmation of such high ranking presidential advisers.

The Need for a new Organisation of the Government Law

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 196s 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.

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 and of Justice. It follows therefore that the other Ministries are either still based on a pre-1991 law or area 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 if we are informed of any other organic laws.

For contact details of each Somaliland Ministry: Click Here

Website links of Ministries:

Somaliland Official Website







Article 113 of the Constitution sets ups 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: As the Somaliland Organisation of the Judiciary 2004 has not been passed yet, the structure and functions of this office are still based on Articles 7 and 8 of the 1962 Organisation of the Judiciary Law.
  • · 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.
  • 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, although only a few of them have so far been set up under a law. This means that they are therefore working under presidential decree. The 2007 Somaliland budget lists the following organs and agencies, other than the 4 above:

  • Commission for dealing with Aids.
  • National Public Contracts Board: 1962 legislation on public finances and Law on Public Contracts No: 79 of 1996
  • NERAD (Disaster Relief Agency): Law  setting up the agency has been passed by both House and signed by the  President.
  • Somaliland National Television: Set up under Presidential Decree.
  • De-mining Agency: De-Mining Law No: 78 of 1996
  • NDC (Hay’adda Abaabul ka Saarka)

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.


The main law governing Somaliland local government is the Regions & Districts Law (Law No: 23/2002). Somaliland is divided administratively into SIX regions

    1. Hargeisa region.

    2. Togdher region.

    3. Sanag region.

    4. Awdal region.

    5. Sool region.

    6. Sahil region.

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.


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.

(to be completed .... Judicial Review of Administrative Actions)


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