B. Integration problems

The new State was described as a ‘unitary Republic’ in article 1, paragraph 1, of the Constitution. However, in the beginning, the only unitary elements were at the top of the State pyramid: there was a single President, a single National Assembly and a single Government comprising ministers from the two parts of the Republic. But in most respects, the Northern and the Southern Regions were still two separate states. There were two different judicial systems; different currencies; different organization and conditions of service for the army, the police and the civil servants, as well as different training, outlook and working habits between Northern and Southern Somali officials; the governmental institutions, both at the central and local level were differently organized and had different powers; the systems and rates of taxation and customs were different, and so were the educational systems. Although the Somali tongue was spoken throughout the country. it was not a written language because of a lack of agree­ment on whether to use the Latin or Arabic characters or a specially devised script called Osmania. Thus, written official transactions were, and still, are, conducted in English in the North, in Italian in the South, and sometimes in Arabic in both territories. While Shariat and customary law were the same, the general law in force in the two pans of the Republic was vastly different. The North followed the pattern of British dependencies in East Africa, and the law was a mixture of English common and statute law, Indian statutes and locally enacted ordinances; in the South, it was a mixture of Italian law, colonial legislation, and enactments issued during the trusteeship period.

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In order to counteract divisive tendencies, it was necessary and urgent to build a truly unitary state by integrating the laws and institutions of the Northern and Southern Regions. A Consultative Commission for Integration was established in October 1960 to assist the Somali Government in preparing legislation for this purpose. Four years later the Commission was reconstituted as Consultative Commission for Legislation and given broader functions.

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