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Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work

‘Hybrid governance’ in Somalia

Ken Menkhaus, RVI Fellow and Director of Studies on the Horn of Africa Course 2012 (more on RVI Courses below), has analysed the future of ‘governance without government’ in Somalia in an article for the al-Shahid Network. Describing the capacity of local community to endure and evolve over the past two decades of prevailing lawlessness, Menkhaus debates the relative strengths of customary law (xeer), local Islamic legal frameworks, and commercial interests, while assessing the potential for armed gangs and militias to act as spoilers. The article concludes with an assessment of the predictable weakness of Somalia’s post-transition government. At least, Menkhaus argues, it will be a government that ‘has the competence to know the limits of its own competence’.

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