Why Somaliland people don’t participate in the political power of their own country after elections and see themselves as subjects or servants of the government they elected? What those who are in power think of themselves when the people who put them in the positions of trust fail to rant and raive after them – hold them accountable for their actions and intents?

Political power, the power of any country – when a state is structurally democratic – derives from the subjects (people) of the state. The common belief is that any power structure relies upon the peoples’ obedience to the rule of law, without distinction and discrimination.

Fundamentally, democracy has certain elements which make democracy the best preferred form of government today. The most important elements of democray are participation, conflict resolution and concern for equality and justice. In democracy it is the people who give power to the government to make decisions and enforce laws.

Nevertheless, people are not obliged to participate in politics. Political participation is optional, but not obligatory. The law does not even oblige citizens to participate in politics and elect the people who will run their country. It states that every citizen has the right to vote.

Principally, participation of people in politics is a process in which citizens take part, whether on a voluntary basis or whether acting alone or as part of a group or party, with the purpose of expressing their opinions in how they are ruled and more importantly in decisions involving significant issues that affect their lives as a community.

Procedurally, choosing leaders who will lead the nation through periodic elections is the citizen’s responsibility and that is part of political participation. Without elections people would not be able to choose the leaders who will run their government and the representatives
that represent them to protect their interests.

In fact three factors are to Somaliland democracy and social order system what a cancer is to human body. These factors are tribalism, a national disease that cannot be taken away from Somaliland’s social system at any rate; greed, a constant worrying of about what one has is not enough; and ignorance, an inability to understand the fact that everyone’s best interest lies in the common interest.
We will take as an example how the effects
of tribalism in fact infantilizes Somaliland’s political democracy and social order system.

Tribalism in social order system

In the social context, tribalism is literally a social order in which people, young and alike, are overly loyal to their own clan. It can also mean discriminatory behavior towards out-groups, based on in-group superiority and loyalty.

In Somaliland, everyone, regardless of who one is and which social or political position he or she holds, is tribal-minded, since everyone is culturally recruited into a clan loyalty. Clan disloyalty means as if one is going against the tribe and that is pure betrayal that is subject to isolating the person. Moreover tribalism is a religion that shapes what all individuals of the clan are able to think and know any point un time.

Basically, tribalism begins with the definition of “US”, the act of mobilizing in-groups, in order to make the cycle of clan unification. The origin of “us-mindset” stems from the sense of which clan a person hails from or belongs to. The “us-mentality” finally, as it trurns into a regular tradition, breeds a culture in which customs, concepts and beliefs are transmitted from generation to generation

The idea behind “us-mentality or “us- solidarity”‘ never stops within the borders of the in-groups, the clan. It becomes conventional culture in which all individuals that constitute a particular clan always use to favour one another in all social and political situations and disfavor all those who belong to other tribes.

It is this conventional culture in which members of each clan favor one another and disfavor all other individuals of all other clans that divides tribes into “‘us versus them.”

The “us-versus-them mentality” is nothing more than a self-centered-clan concept under which every tribe in a given state tries to take a lion’s share in the power of their country, without concern for equality and justice.

Literally, “us-versus-them mentality” is a political tribal order in which tribes are incredibly manipulated as to who counts as an “us” and who counts as a “them.” This triball mentality ultimately turns the whole nation into clans and subclans that see each other as aggressors, agitators, and enemies, who always spend their time in how they elbow each other out of power
and cannot not be able to reconcile their social and political opposing perspectives.

In political discourse, tribalism is a contest for supermacy where every major tribe tries to win the power of their country not by leading the country better than others, but by trying to keep other tribes out of the power and its accompanying opportunities.

The reality is that combination of tribalism, greed and ignorance is the only thing that slows Somaliland progress; the only thing tha divides Somaliland citizens into tribal lines; the only thing that sows enmity among the people; the only thing that pulls all units of society apart; the only thing that lags Somaliland country
behind; the only thing that causes political immaturity, corruption practices and lack of transformational leaders.

The dangers of tribal politics

Acting without integrity is what usually evolves from tribalization and its accompanying irrational political aspects. Of course, tribal politics is the agency of corrupt leaders who are unable to adapt and appreciate the distinction between what is honest and dishonest by moral standards.

The below observation easily explans and explores how peoples’ division into “We and They” helps those in power run the affairs of the country according to their own outlook, even when effects of greed and ignorance
are in fact left aside.

The risks that might evolve from the “us-versus-them attitude” give the hint that Somaliland tribes might conquer their own territory, which will reinforce sort of mini-market-like-tribal states.

Risk one: When mujshids lead the state
according to their own outlook, people lose faith in the state.

Risk two: When mujahids play the tribal card and smears their political rivals, people lose faith in their government

Risk three: When mujahids bring people of their own tribes into government, put them into the positions of public treasure and more importantly into the army, people lose faith in the government.

Risk four: When national treasury becomes the mujahids’ private bank account, people lose faith in the state.

Risk five: When mujahids secure the rights of some people by the denial of the rights to others, peope lose trust in the state.

Consequences: When people lose faith in the state, they take solace in the tribe, and tribe is the enemy of the nation.

The lack of government in Somalia for the last 20 years effidently shows the dangers of tribal differences that just underscores the importance of building nations around ideas rather than clan identities.

Tribalization of politics is not built on democratic ideas and thrives on zero-sum advantage. In essence, tribal politics mostly occupies a vacuum created by lack of strong enlightened and intellectualised institutions.

Tribal differences are triggered by the fact that tribes blindly defend the leader of the incumbent administration and others complaining about the incumbent’s inability to lead the nation into the right direction.

Explicity, the division of tribes usually comes out of the presidential race, where the incumbent gets blind support from the tribe he hails and the contenders get their support from the tribes to whivh they belong. The fever and friction that arise from the presidential contest ignites tribal confrontation which turns into a conflict.

Actually the division among tribes is not a big problem. The problem is the difference that will never be sorted out – either through constitutional grounds or concessionary compromises.

In politics, internal tribal frictions are inimical
to both social advancement and political advantages that can improve the living conditions of the people in general. As we are aware of, Somaliland tribes have been and still continue to be bridges over which politicians walk on their way to Somaliland presidency.

The ugliest part of tribalization begins when mujahids avail of peoples’ weak points and begin to manipulate them into foes and friends and practically pull the public in different directions through bribes, biases and prejudices.

Since the year 2010 the mujahids of Kulmiye administrations have overly exploited tribal loyalty to advance their personal gains, parochial interests, patronage, and cronyism. Whether they were in or out of election campaigns, the mujahids have been primarily focusing on pursuing their own interests as well as their tribal ones rather than uniting on a common political ground.

Precisely, much of the mujahids’attention over the last two decades has been devoted to removing opposition parties out of the ruling faculty and promoting coalition party politics that no other political party could challenge in control of Somaliland political power.

This shows that “tribe” is the character of Somaliland; its people are tribal-minded; its mujahids are tribalists; its politics is tribal; its administration is tribal; its government is tribal.

But the saddest part of Somaliland politics just begins when people become subjects and servants of the government they elected and the mujahids in the government think of themselves as masters.

To be continued….

By : Jamafalaag
Hargeisa, Somaliland

As per usual the opinions expressed in this articale are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions of qarannews.com