Somaliland: Tribalism Works When Used In Good Faith


By: Mohammed Ali MuseMohammed Ali Musa

Somalilandsun – Somaliland is inhabited by the same people with same ethnicity, culture, tradition, religion, and language.

Unfortunately tribalism has overtaken all those rich characteristics and has taken its roots in the peoples’ hearts. It is part of their blood. It has an influence in their daily actions and activities.

It has disadvantages to some Somali Scholars and educators who think they are grown up from tribalism and freed from its handcuffs and shackles but still follow the bath of their clans and without it they cannot survive socially and politically. These educators argue that tribalism is an obstacle to our democracy and that it is a source of hate, nepotism, corruption, and divisionism in our society. But what they are not telling us is that they are from tribes and that they give their loyalty to those tribes. Every Somalilander has an affiliation and loyalty to his/her tribe/clan and depends on it in many ways. Extended family and clan play a role in the Society.

According to Somali tribalism, a person can only achieve happiness by being part of a tribe. From birth to death the Somali is always part of a tribe. A person who belongs to a tribe or a clan feels that he/she is not alone. In bad times, we know that we turn to other members of the tribe and feel confident that they will help. Tribalism has more advantages in Somali society. We all know without tribalism so many of Somaliland educators could not have led the life they have today. So many Somali professors who now despise tribalism could not have the opportunity to get the good life they are enjoying today. Many Somalis were brought from the nomadic and/or farming life and helped by a relative in the cities. Many orphans have been raised by a far relative in the tribe. Tribalism in Somalia is equivalent to sharing and/or helping. Without tribal connections many Somalianders would have perished for a long time particularly in the last two decades. The Somali educators are lying to themselves and denying others to get help in the name of tribalism. As long as we are devastated by poverty, we need each other through tribalism.

It has been noted that tribalism has worked in Somaliland. Somaliland’s democracy has come through tribal dialogue and negotiations. Tribalism was used here in good faith and many of us still could not believe how smart the people were. Our elders from the tribes have proved to us more than once that tribalism is a sense of identity, community, cooperation, family, belonging, and tool for problem solving and mediation. Somaliland has found the treatment of tribalism by creating a power-sharing system, though it is not complete yet and needs to be fixed and balanced. Even though some tribes has endured the imbalance and feeling betrayed, Somaliland has reached this position by making use of it and creating a peaceful Nation which is a model for Africa.

The people of Somaliland know that we have come from a long way to claim secession from Somalia. There is no doubt that some of us have severed more than the others but we have to realize and must not forget that all Somalilanders are sailing in the same boat. If that boat is rocked hard, it is sure that we will all sink. It is a general understanding that we need each other in order to succeed and make Somaliland a better place. We have to realize that the road ahead is not yet safe and full speed bumps and uncertainties.

Truth is sometimes sour and hard to swallow. The way things are developing are not in the interest of our people and will definitely hinder our dreams and success. The authority in Somaliland today has to rethink and help us to attain our long standing dream: SECCESSION. Somalilanders on the other hand have to advice our government to steer us away from dark past and lead us to where we all have equality, fairness, and respect. Our leaders today must not repeat the past of DIVIDE and RULE which has destroyed Somalia and has brought only pain. History has to teach us and not to reclaim its ugly past.

The common sense sometimes is the best teacher and guides you to the right path. The political situation in Somaliland needs courage, bravery, and wisdom in order to avoid miscalculation and misjudgment of the people’s power. We must stop crying over split milk but focus what is ahead and how the coming days will evolve.

Hope in sovereignty is alive and gaining momentum but we should treat it with equality and proper vision. The world today is not yet ready to recognize Somaliland but if Somalilanders are united, we would see that dream happening.

By: Mohammed Ali Muse