The tremors and rift created by political parties could have been felt well before this approaching presidential elections in our country. the apparent social cleavages in our nation have been created by our evermore tribally centered party politics, and for that we must counter by ensuring that our nation’s foundational-political-structure can withstand the looming seismic pressures being posed with the advent of Somaliland’s presidential elections before it metamorphoses to titanic-proportions.
The perilous potential of the Presidential elections should not be underestimated as our national sovereignty and hard earned peace is at stake, and although the presidential debate between the candidates was remarkable and a monumental achievement for Somaliland, it does not however negate the tribal propensity of our political parties, and our tribally- based voter blocks who will toe the line irrespective of the outcomes of the debate.
We are void of the essential salutary pillars to commensurate with our modern political polity ecosystem, because we have opted for a modern multi-party politics but yet, we do not have modern democratic institutions with the buy in from all of the stakeholders to help steward our political system. Somaliland party politics have not only reverted back to tribal-voter-blocks through the steering of political parties and traditional mechanisms, but in the process have perverted our customary practices to where now tribal identity and its affinity remain in equal footing with the loyalty to the party agenda.
Political parties were meant to break our shackles from tribal bondage but more than ever party loyalty and tribal interest are intertwined, thanks to polemic traditional leaders, party platforms are permeating with tribal sentiments.
Somaliland needs astute citizens who will assiduously work for and put the interest of Somaliland first, to avert these dark clouds gathering over our political realm and before it eclipses us. The election fiasco over the speaker of the parliament and constantviolations of Electoral Commissions rules along with the commandeering of political parties by tribal interest should give us all a pause for concern, because the foundational structure of our political system seems compromised, and the hinges could loosen.
What risk aversion means can we take to hedge our safety and security given the current regression back to tribalism by our political Parties, especially given our deficiencies in the viable impartial institutions in either traditional or civic capacity adjudicate?
All of us, elders, students, women organizations, youth groups, religious leaders albeit current capacity limitations, must withstand the polarizing political party element forces before irreparable harm is done to us all. We must gain strength in numbers to become the pillars of our society referencing our commonweal through whatever means including the customary practices in our traditional system, the Islamic tenets in our laws and civil practices. We have to coalesce around the essential creeds of our nation with a mutual cooperation and coordination among all of our citizens as we all have to uphold our principles and ethos for our social cohesion and common purpose to prevail, and more importantly, as Somalilanders, we have to turn to each other and not turn on each other.
As Somaliland’s official political campaigns commences, it falls on us all to demonstrate respect for the rule of law as well as ensuring the rights of every citizen is upheld regardless of their party affiliation.
Geleh Ali Marshall