There are a few simple steps along the way to establish a regional state in Somali context. These are critical steps to follow for a successful conclusion of the creation of a federal state:
1. Respectful of the Federal Constitution, two or more regions must have common political, security and economic interests and must have potential to operate as a cohesive political block as well as a viable and sustainable economic unit.
2. Regions must have overwhelming grass-root support for the idea of creating their own state. These include all levels of their masses, and traditional elders at forefront.
3. A fully representative people’s congress must be held initially as Consultative Conference to resolve and agree upon:
a) Endorsement of the very idea and need for the creation of the state
b) Selection of Constitutional Committee for drafting the state’s constitution
c) Selection of Preparatory Committee for the final Constitutional Congress
d) Selection of Chairing Committee of the Constitutional Congress
e) Selection of Fund-raising and Finance Committee
f) Selection of Security Committee
g) Selection of logistics and Accommodation Committee
h) Selection of the venue of the Constitutional Congress
i) Allocation of delegates to each participating region to the Constitutional Congress for the subsequent division among clans in each region along the traditional sub-clan proportionality.
j) Creation of an atmosphere of voluntarism and regional political activism to spark off enthusiasm for urgent people’s action and personal contributions.
k) Avoidance of confrontation with central authorities in the attempt to create the state.
4. Convention of Constitutional Congress to pass the draft Constitution.
5. Setting up an independent electoral or supervisory Committee with the formulation of criteria for their mandate.
6. Election of the Chief Executive Officers (e.g. President, Vice President) if they are to be elected by the Congress.
7. Selection of members of the Legislative Council (local parliament) by the participating regions either directly by the residents or in an indirect democratic fashion by their constituencies through traditional customs to be double-checked by the Electoral Committee; Election of the Speaker and his Assistants, and immediately the Chief Executive Officers by the newly constituted Assembly if they are to be elected that way.
8. Start of regional power-sharing negotiations to form the Cabinet.
Critical mistakes to avoid:
1. When forming a regional state, never start from power-sharing approach. This is a non-starter and a recipe for failure.
2. Avoid prematurely announcing candidates for leadership and never allow anyone to put their candidacy forward until the final execution of points 1-5 above. This is the main source of division within the participants and sure factor to fail the whole idea of successfully concluding the efforts.
3. Denounce anyone seeking special clan, regional privileges or status.
3. Suppress any hints of intimidation against Congress participants. Free will of people and expression must reign supreme. Everyone must feel comfortable and feel secure and safe in the Congressional environment. Everyone must feel ownership of the state to be created.
All successful Somali regional conferences including those of Puntland, Somaliland and TFG conform to the above simple steps. All those failed violated them by starting first with power-sharing and leadership competitions.