By:Saeed Hasan Mohamed
Somalilandsun – Tribalism is the cornerstone of politics in Somaliland since independence. Although tribalism has paralysed Somaliland its role in politics has been overestimated if not concocted in the pursuit of power and wealth. The cause of the civil war in Somalia is a great example of how the politicians in Somaliland use tribalism to deceive the public and eliminate any discourse on accountability. According to all credible historians the civil war in Somalia that overthrew the Siad Barre government in 1991 was not a tribal war. The Barre administration simply used tribalism as tool to stay in power but their overall ideology was not based on tribalism. The People of Somaliland did not oppose the Siad Barre government simply because he was from the Marehan tribe but they rebelled against the corrupt policies of his administration.
To blame an inherent tribal society for the atrocities committed by corrupt power hungry politicians would be a great insult to the people that died in the civil war. Tribalism did not kill thousands of Somalilanders but it was power hungry individuals that committed these atrocities and they should be held accountable no matter where they are in the world. Organisations such as the Anti-Tribalism Movement and the Somali federal government should stop blaming tribalism and in essence the Somali people for the destruction of Somalia and talk about the real issues that have lead to the death of thousands of Somali’s. They should talk about the policies of the Siad Barre government and the crimes it has committed.
Somaliland should now learn from the mistakes of the past and its people must hold their politicians accountable. They must not allow politicians to use tribalism to mask their corruption and to stop all discussions on transparency by using slogans such as ‘they hate our tribe ‘. For example the needs of the people of Burao the capital city of the state of Togdheer are the same but the city is in a stalemate which is in the interest of the politician’s to create havoc to hide the lack of developments in city. Every building in the main hospital of Burao has been built by the British (how embarrassing is that) before independence as well as all the main roads in the city. The Port of Berbera generates almost 90 percent of the annual central budget in Somaliland but their healthcare facilities and their schools are in dire needs. The lack of fair trading has also destroyed small businesses as big companies operate without any regulations. How embarrassing is it when we hear that young people from different schools or football clubs within the country are fighting each other along tribal lines. Schools should be places where our future is developed not a place where local politicians insight hatred to garner support for their political parties. The biggest tool for our politicians is offcourse the never ending supply of Khat that has basically desensitized the whole society to any logical reasoning.
The opposition parties only highlight the frustrations of the people but they never state any ideas for the country. They only promise change as the Kulmyie party did when they were in opposition. The people of Somaliland deserve a healthy discourse on the policies set by any political party without the use of the tribal card to threaten their peaceful coexistence. In fact the people of Somaliland just want the chance to discuss the lack of policies and vision in our political arena. The citizens of Somaliland should demand accountability and transparency from their politicians rather than demanding the success of a politician that hails from their tribe.
We need leaders that are more than just accountants for the meagre taxes collected from the hardworking Somalilanders. Almost seventy percent of our politicians in the lower house chamber are from our Diaspora community and we wonder why they lack understanding to our needs. Our politicians always remind us about their contribution to the Somali National Movement (SNM) while thousands of our veterans and their families across the country live a life of poverty as they guard the diminishing light of hope and justice within their hearts. Freedom is without a doubt a certainty in Somaliland and for the sake of the thousands of Somalilanders that died we should patiently endeavour to a prosperous and dignified life.
Saeed Hasan Mohamed