This one-year pilot research project in Somaliland will investigate dimensions of accountability in the country’s executive, legislative and judicial branches of power.

We are specifically interested in enhancing our understanding of traditional means and modes of accountability among Somali people. We wish to study how Somali accountability principles and practices work and what transformations have taken place to this system as a consequence of conflict, displacement and increased international support for certain types of governance structures. We also wish to understand the different means by which minority groups (women, minority clans, youth) hold those in power positions accountable. The project takes a holistic focus on accountability in governance, financial accountability and social accountability. We will study existing systems of checks and balances that focus not just on formal and informal institutional structures (including xeer) but also on accountability-regulating mechanisms on an individual and group level (moral and social).

Based on the Fact Finding and Assessment research, we have identified three cases through which we believe this can be studied. These cases came up during the data collection, and were selected with a range of criteria in mind. We wanted cases that reflected a diversity of actors (formal state authorities, clan elders, business, civil society) and control institutions (media, research institutes, civil society); allowed us to study urban and rural dimensions in several regions; reflected the plurality of institutions; illustrated the impact of external aid. We also judged these cases as feasible to study, relevant in Somaliland at present and providing interesting new knowledge.

Dimensions of Accountability in Somaliland