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Authority and administration beyond the state: local governance in southern Somalia 1995–2006

Bakonyi, Jutta



After 1995, southern and central Somalia splintered into a patchwork of weakly institutionalized forms of authority. These localized power-figurations had common characteristics: they were established by clan-based militias, used primary forms of revenue extraction and mobilized followers on the basis of clan affiliation. Their degree of legitimacy varied considerably between the regions, depending on the history of conquest, the organizational structure of domination and the utilized forms of administration. This article will examine the social order established in the south-western regions Bay and Bakool. It was established by the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA) and enjoyed a relatively high degree of legitimacy among the local population. However, the RRA faced the same problems as other ruling militias in south–central Somalia. It could not transform its highly personalized power structure into bureaucratic, and hence more stable, forms of authority. Instead, it was challenged by internal competition, which eventually led to fragmentation and decay.


Bakonyi, J. (2013). Authority and administration beyond the state: local governance in southern Somalia 1995–2006. Journal of Eastern African Studies, 7(2), 272-290.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 31, 2012
Online Publication Date Apr 17, 2013
Publication Date 2013
Deposit Date Jul 18, 2013
Journal Journal of Eastern African Studies
Print ISSN 1753-1055
Electronic ISSN 1753-1063
Publisher British Institute in Eastern Africa
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 2
Pages 272-290