Professional Development of the Somaliland Civil Service



In a democracy such as Somaliland, the government comprises ; the legislation ( two Houses of
Parliament ), the Executive ( the President and his cabinet of ministers ), and the Judiciary in charge
of intrepretation of the law- the rule of law. Public administration is often considered as the fourth
branch of government since it is one of the largest sectors of a modern government. Administration
is the implementation of public policies.
In general, public administration or public service ( or bureaucracy ) consists of local government
bodies, security and armed forces, public corporations and the civil service. This article will be
confined to consider the rôle of the civil service which is the most prominent among the public
In most modern states, the civil services is a special profession in which highly trained
administrative and executive officials are employed in ministries and diplomatic service to provide
administrative support for the operation of the government machinery. The rôle of the civil service
is all the more important to promote social, economic and political development of a country. It is
established to carry out government policies and programs and provide services including
education, healthcare, water, roads and bridges, electricity and other vital infrastructures to the
Some of the most important functions of the civil services also include ; to advise government
ministers on policy formulation of government policy and being responsible at the same time for
such policy implementation. The civil services should always maintain an impartial and nonpolitical
attitude towards the general public and give priority to the common good and national interests of
the country.
Civil Service Principles
Generaly speaking, the civil service is established on certain principles including, among other
things, a system of hierarchy and seniority, and division of labour. In its hierarchical structure,
offices are graded and ranked in which the executive or minister, together with senior officials, is
entrusted with the responsibility to oversee the work and personnel structure of each ministry. Indivision of labour, each official is held responsible for a certain area and has to work according to
rules and regulations of the administration that outline his duty and responsibilities. Officials
should have skilled training that prepares them for their jobs. Furthemore appointments should be
made on the basis of standards of merit and personnel requirements of the civil service.
Tenure of office is another important principle which is to offer civil servants long term services
despite government and leadership changes. Tenure of office is vital for the confidence and job
security of the civil servants, the continuity and stability of the administration and general
development of the country. The application of such administarative principles has many
advantages and could lead to the future development of professional and permanent career civil
service system which is more efficient and capable in the achievement of Somaliland’s nationl
Administrative Reconstruction
In the past, following its independence in 1960,Somaliland had inherited from Great Britain a
prestigious civil service ; consisting of a cadre of civil servants who had been trained for high posts
under British rule. It had played a significant rôle in Somaliland’s indepedence. However, in the
course of its union with Somalia, the Somaliland civil service system was, unfortunately abolished.
In addition, as result of the long political strife and civi war ( 1981-1991 ) between Somaliland and
Somalia, all government administrative institutions weakened and eventually collapsed.
Despite these difficulties Somaliland was successful in rebuilding its administrative services. It was
wise, subsequently after 1991, for the government to re-establish the public service. Both the
Ministry of Labout and the Civil Service Training Institute in Hargeisa played a vital role in the
reconstruction of the Somaliland administration. The Ministry of Labour and the Training Institute
under the present leadership of Marwo Hinda Hersi Qani and Mudane Shermarke Gaelle
respectively and its former managers have done excellent work in these institutions.
However, despite such achievements, there are still administrative weaknesses that could be
corrected by reorganization and regrouping of present separate forms of administration and
recruitment methods of the ministries . Standards of merit and personnel requirements of the
government should have priority to ensure against political favourism and pressures and to
strengthen skills in the civil service.Creation of Ministry for the Civil Service
At this juncture, when Somaliland plans to achieve social and economic development, it’s practical
to set up, like many other countries, a ministry for the civil service. The administrative structure of
the government should be reconsidered and tailored towards development administration ; to
effectively use human and material resources to achieve national goals of the country. These tasks
of development should be carried out efficiently by such ministry. Periodic reviews and evaluation
will enhance the adminstrative and management capacity of the civil service and other institutions.
This ministry’s responsibilities will also include, among other things, to promote efficiency,
accountability and integrity in the public services, to advise government on criteria for employment
to public offices and policy formulation within the service as well as to adopt rules and
regulations.It will be responsible for promotions, transfers, conditions of service of staff and
disciplinary matters ( with the right of appeal for civil servants where there is an abuse of power ). It
would be responsible, in addition, to rewrite the administrative laws of the country, civil service
law and code of conduct for all public servants. Such ministry will replace the old civil service
commission which is out of order now.
Equally, the training Institute should be strengthened by seconding more senior experts to provide
extensive and intensive training programs not only to middle level officials but also to the senior
public service. A modern and professional administration in which investment is made,will expand
opportunities and attract qualified candidates from inside and outside the country. It’s acknowledged
thatn no country withour a modern civil service will make much progress.
During his recent successful tour to the eastern provinces of the country at the end of November,
2018 , in which the people of Somaliland received him very warmly and enthusiastically, the
president, Musa Behi Abdi, spoke frequently and eloquently about the importance of the rôle of
institutions in the country and challenges the country faces. In both, at Erigavo University and at
the Berbera Navay Academy, he emphasized the need to improve the administration and urged
educational institutions in the country to educate and train the Somaliland youth for future
management and administrative posts. These should be followed and made a government policy.
Mohamoud Abdi Daar
Somaliland Representative in the EU. Dec.20, 2018
Copyright© Mohamoud A. Daar, 2018


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