The unresolved status of Mogadishu is one of the key outstanding issues in Somalia’s political settlement. Since 2012, Somalia has made progress in clarifying its federal model through the establishment of Federal Member States (FMS) and efforts – albeit with limited success – to clarify relationships between different levels of government. The status of Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital since 1960, has proved too contentious to solve, however.
This history of contention around Mogadishu’s place in the political system has made broader efforts to clarify the division of responsibilities between different levels of government extremely challenging. Cycles of violence and displacement since the start of the civil war era have also been associated with competing narratives around which groups have a claim to be citizens and representatives of the city. This not only impedes the prospects of inclusive governance within Mogadishu, but clashes with the usual understanding of a capital city as symbolic of the nation’s broader cultural values.
In an effort to stimulate renewed dialogue on the issue, the Somali Dialogue Platform, together with its partner, Somali Public Agenda (SPA), have produced this policy paper outlining options for resolving Mogadishu’s status. The product has been developed in consultation with a range of technical experts and political influencers as part of the Platform’s ‘F20’ initiative, which collaboratively explores solutions to contentious issues in Somalia’s political settlement. The paper is intended to serve as a tool for Somalia policymakers and the wider public in the upcoming political cycle.