Tribalism and tribal mindedness: An incurable disease and a scar on the conscience of society


By: Eng. Hussein Adan Igeh (Hussein Deyr) [Hargeisa, Somaliland]

Somaliland people are traditionally organized along the clan and tribal lines. In most of the cases however, the frame of mind of adherence to a particular clan cannot coexist with a wider societal context where Somalilanders are considered to belong to and being part of a democratic constitutional state.

Changing the clan and political colour by turn is the real dilemma of our people. The statehood and clan loyalties have a destructive effect on each other. When the citizens of the country are the main obstacle that holds back for an adequate state functioning, I wonder what for power the state yet will have to fulfil its obligations! In Somaliland, the main stumbling block of the statehood and state institutions is the tribal mindedness of Somalilanders themselves. Tribalism and tribal mindedness is an incurable anathema and a scar on the conscience of Somaliland society.

Fulfilments of individual civic duties (such as paying of taxes, abiding the national law and country’s regulations on the whole) are the factors that promote the sense of citizenship, nationhood and belonging to a wider society rather than being confined to a particular clan circle. These aspects are the cornerstone for fostering of a collective social value and nation building ideology in which the citizenship and individual responsibilities are the main social pillars that carries the nation as a whole.

Somaliland society is increasingly fragmented and polarized on economic, social and political aspects. It is of a paramount importance therefore to stress and promote the nationhood, unity, tolerance and social cohesion among Somaliland people. In addition, a social justice and equality applied in every level of Somaliland people has to reflect the values and history of our great nation. The Somaliland citizens must also have the rights and ability to speak their mind freely and have a say in how they are governed; they should have confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice. The Somaliland citizens are very keen to see a government that is transparent and doesn’t embezzle and pinch from the people.

We ought to fight for what we believe in

A constructive criticism generates binding rules and trust among the society and it is beneficial to all of Somaliland citizens without exception. A well measured criticism towards the government has a valuable social purpose. It contributes to the protecting and safeguarding of the public interest on one hand. On the other hand, the government may take this criticism seriously and it may have the tendency yet to correct its mistakes. But the problem is when some people endlessly continue with a damaging propaganda, improper and unsubstantiated accusations against the President and the government he leads; solely based upon point scoring ping-pong policy or gaining personal interests. This kind of behaviour puts Somaliland’s national credibility in jeopardy and it increases only the social split and contradictions among the public and it may cause an irreparable damage to our country’s interests.

In persuade of a better future for our country, the past cannot be ignored. We shouldn’t be also defined and confined by the presence of a permanent reliving of the traumatic historical mistakes made in the past, we have to move forward! Our country is surrounded by geographically hostile and hate-breeding countries. At a time of rising hostility, animosity and jealousy towards the existence of our nation and country, we need to distinguish the fundamental differences between opposing the incumbent government and fulfilling our patriotic obligations towards our country. When we condemn and criticize every move the current administration makes, who will do the job then? It sounds like “my kinsmen or no one else is capable of leading the country”!! We must stop some eccentric and odd interpretation of facts! We should be sensible and find out more non-destructive ways to express our views and to make known our discontent and disagreement with regard to the way in which the current government leads and governs the country. Come up with well considered and more constructive debates that can be part of the general cause for our nation and may contribute to the advancement of our people and country’s future challenges.

Finally, I urge and encourage to my fellow Somaliland-citizens to strengthen the key elements that work for the social fabric and public interest and bring our citizens together, putting emphasis on our shared values, history and common destiny that enables us to pull together as a nation in on hand. On the other hand we must combat everything that divides and breaks up our nation; preventing those factors that cause social conflicts and contributing to inequalities, division and disagreement. We all know that our country’s future is as bright as we make it! We ought to fight for what we believe in!

Long Live the Somaliland Republic and its Noble people

Eng. Hussein Adan Igeh (Hussein Deyr) [Hargeisa, Somaliland]