Democracy is a tug of war, a contest
in which two teams pull at opposite ends of
a rope until one team drags the other over a central point, a playground in which two or more evenly teams play matches and the team which beats all other teams and wins all matches becomes the best team and winner of the competition.

Like any other condition, political democracy cannot function without a contest between parties that cannot also work without emotions that come from the hearts, mind and arteries.

In view of this, politics is a system with policies and plans that affect how people live, because politics and its accompanying principles are initially made to control human behavior and deal with what is good or bad for individuals and society.

If the way government officials use political system is right, the system becomes good.
If the govermment officials use the principles of political system wrongly, the whole system becomes bad, and causes negative impacts. The proper use of any government system only happens when authorities principally deal equally with all citizens and serve the general public interest with ethical awareness and empathetic actions.

If authorities give wrong order to operation room, the result will be wrong action. And that is when the arteries of opinion go with the parties that can stand up to authorities.

To get the obvious out of the way, there is no politics that is good or bad in the first place. It is how we use politics that makes it good or bad. And so is power. Leaders who encourage the proper use of power are re-elected; while those who don’t kiss the dust and lose office.

Giving a brief definition about the subject Hanad was going to talk about to Hinbir was a rule that Hanad had never overlooked during sessions. He used such briefings
as informal and out of the two-way-flow conversations.

So after finishing that briefing, Hanad said,
“Hinbir, if neither revelation nor acquired knowledge can change how S/land citizens think, what else can change their mindset? Do you think that S/land citizens’ attitudinal thinking will be changed by magic wand? Or do you still stick to the point that S/land people will never change the way they think, particularly when it comes to politics and power struggle?”

“According to my opinon, S/land people
can only change how they think when they understand on what exacfly the formation
of their thoughts are based and how their thoughts impact their life. Period.”
“‘What is the common mistake in how most
S/land people think?”
“Nearly all individuals who belong to in-group or to same clan tend to love people who think like them. The more likely a clan’s thoughts or beliefs match up with another clan’s worldly views, the more likely these clans become alliances. Worse than useless, the people of same clan mostly ignore any suggestion that opposes their worldly views since they always surround themselves with people and news that agree with what they already thought.”
“Hinbir, my friend, what makes S/land citizens social beings, I mean how does the process of human socialization take place among them?”
“Hanad, to be frank, you are asking me questions that are truely, truely higher than my level of understanding. What is socialization in the first place?”
“Socialization is the way in which individuals in societies acquire culture, enculturation, which is the learning of the norms and values that are the appropriate and expected behavior and habits that are acceptable to societies and are generally held by most members of the society. Precisely, socialization is behaving in a way that is acceptable to society.”
“Somalis are social people culturally, but their problem is that they have never been socially and politically trained to the importannce of social cohesion, what helps to keep societies functioning properly as a nation.”
“How can S/’land people be socially responsible?”
“This is the defect of S/land culture, the missing part in S/land’s social and political culture. S/land people, young and old alike, are not totally trained to social responsibility as a role of moral duty, which people as individuals have a responsibility toward their society. The only responsibility all people recognize and respect as a moral duty is answering the defensive call that comes
from the tribe. So national irresponsibility
is S/land’s main social problem.”
“What is a social problem?,” Hanad asked.
“A problem or behavior that affects many people within a society and needs to be addressed,” replied Hinbir.
“Is corruption a social problem or a political problem?”
“Corruption is partly a social problem because it always involves in deception and dishonesty and partly a political problem because it involves in abusing power for personal gains. In sum, corruption is a crime against human development.”
“Is politics important in peoples’ life?”
“Politics, if properly used, is important in public life because it is about enhancing and improving the lives of the people.”
“Hinbir, political systems that exist in the world are many. What kind of political system does S/land have?”
“S/land political system is in name democratic, but in practicality tribal.”
“How can democracy and tribalism go
hanf in hand?”
“One of the best attractions of tribal politics is that one doesn’t actually have to think very much. The core concept that always controls one’s mind in any given time is to remember which tribe he or she belongs to. No debate or discussion over which direction to take or over which formula is better than the other for national economic sustainability or stimulation is considered. Democracy is much more complicated than tribalism because it is based on accountability, transparancy, checks and balances and S/’land people are not ready for having these hectic principles. For most of S/land citizens, the system must be simply based on you-take-it- and I-take-it attitude.”
“Is there any area in which democracy and tribalism are similar?”
“They are similar in the process of elections.” “What is an election?
“A process by which people elect government officials – presidents and parliamentarians.”
“How are elections important?
“Elections are the means by which people elect periodically their representatives who make laws for the country and who form the government and make major decisions.”
“Is voting a right or responsibility?
“Voting is partly a right because every eligible person has the right to choose the cadidates they see them competent and capable and partly a responsibility because citizens are responsible for who sits in the presidential palace and in the house of parliament.”
“What are the factors that influence a citizen’s political opinion?”
“1. Privilege and position. 2. Depends on who sits in the presidency.”
“How do S/land people decide who to vote for?”
“S/land people are tough-minded and strong-willed towards tribalism. For this, tribalism is the only factor that always drives how people choose who they want to vote for.”

“Somaliland people always expect their leaders to govern in a way that puts their needs above anything else and that is the promise any president who sits in the presidency swears to when taking the office.
Do you think that S/land presidents fulfill the oath of office faithfully?”
“All S/land officials who take oath of office never fulfill that promise. They do otherwise and disregard the importance of the oath,” replied Hinbir.
“‘Hinbir, an oath of office is not a mere formality. An oath is a public pledge that officials should understand the requirements of the position and work to meet or exceed those requirements. It is not possible that those taking the oath simply ignore to fully consider the meaning of the oath and all of its important implications. Will they not be impeached if they intentionally neglect to fulfill the promise?”
“They will not even be blamed for dishonesty, leave alone that they get impeached.”
“Do you mean to say that those taking oath of office are not accountable to the law?”
“Government officials are immune from accountability.”
“Who is responsible to enforce the laws created by the legislative body?”
“The head of the executive branch is responsible to enforce the laws.”
“Who is responsible to protect and preserve the constitution?”
“Protecting and preserving the constitution is not something that can be left to the court to decide. Every branch of government has an equal responsibility to uphold the constitution.”
“What is the president’s highest responsibility?”
“‘The president has no higher responsibility than to protect the country and its people.”
“In S/land country, are there any specific principles that are made to ensure adherence to the supremacy of the law?”
“I don’t know that. I just know that the executive branch and opposition parties differ in the interpretation of laws whenever elections approach.”
“Hinbir, my friend, I am not talking about election laws. I am talking about the required measures that are made to ensure adherence to the supremacy of the law.”
“Hanad, I have never heard anything other than that S/land constitution requires modification. I don’t even know which laws this modification will refer to, leave alone to have an idea about the measures that ensure adherence to the supremacy of the law.”
“Hinbir, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance
of arbitrariness, and procedural transparency are the basic principles that are especially made to ensure the supremacy of the law.”

Hinbir reclined his seat and stared at Hanad with a withering look, followed by a burst of laughter that actually filled the place and drew the attention of those who were closer to where Hanad and Hinbir were sitting.

“What are you laughing at?,” Hanad cried out.
“That is not the question of the hour, isn’t?,” Hinbir replied.
“That is a matter of knowing what I don’t know,” said Hanad, nearly crying out in exasperation,
“‘Hanad, to be frank with you, S/land authorities pay lip service to equality, accountability, transparency, separation of powers, checks and balance, freedom of expression etc and don’t really act in accordance with the rules and regulations. And anyone who argues that no one is above the law is like the idiots who create self-punishing thoughts like: If I start selling candles, the sun will stop setting, if I start selling shrouds, people will stop dying.”

“‘Then how do the mujahids filfill the responsibility to protect the rights of the people, if no official acts according to the law?”
“What people?,” cried Hinbir.
“The public?”
“Which public?,” returned Hinbir.
“S/land citizens, goddamnit,” Hanad yelled.
“Their Great God takes care of them.”

In this country of “I have been a mujahid,” what govenment officials say day and night doesn’t totally match up with what they say they do every day.

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