A new narrative is being written in the realm of Somaliland’s political-discourse, the end story remains to be seen however, if Somaliland’s the nascent institutions, traditional pillars along with a civic-minded public can withstand the umbrage attacks of polarizing party-politics aided by social-media’s palatable platform for the most extreme poisonous views.
Our people and institutions cannot withstand the maelstrom of the current divisive politics with its various forms of mendacity and duplicity closely associated with it. Somaliland Institutions proved no-match to the polluting chicanery perpetrated by political-parties and as a result, our traditional leaders, youth groups, and the media have not been able to stay above the fray of this divisive politics with zero-sum inclination. In the vicissitudes of the campaigns as parties try persuading the electorates by appealing to them we are seeing the constant pandering of prejudicial sentiments with the tribal-baiting remaining paramount especially in the disparaging invectives unleashed by the proxies of the political-parties. Cleavages in our citizenry and not consensus is becoming the norm, common issues of concern for Somaliland are only being viewed through the prism of party-politics, which as it seems is also taking precedence over patriotism. This way of thinking by our people along party-lines, is why our public cannot agree on whether the elections should be held or postponed due to the ongoing drought, such a way of rationalizing does not bode well for us collectively, if we are going to only mimic our party stands on issues regardless of severity.
Social-media has also exacerbated a divided electorates who have attached so much including tribal identities and regional pride to their political-parties, where now even trivial and petty issues have become fiercely contested. Social media has become an eyesore to Somaliland’s civic engagement and a bastion of vitriol mostly based on party rhetoric of unsubstantiated allegations. Social media is a progeny of the party aligned websites under the aegis of Somaliland’s free media that have been far from being objective or professional, but rather offer nothing more than execrable platitudes being peddled by tribal demagogues and partisan surrogates.
We must stand as the edifice upholding the bond of our nation’s unity, and we dare not stand idly by as our social cohesion, common purpose and most prized possession of Peace is brought to question. We have to uphold decency in our politics so we can all embrace the plurality of our participatory democracy. It is imperative that likeminded citizens of our society come in alignment and coalesce around these principles, while ensuring the topography of our politics remains unconducive for divisive politics. We should stand in solidarity across-party lines so we could all be able to distinguish the forms of behaviors that are antithetical to our principles and ethos.
We must ensure that our political party’s do not succumb to the parochial politics that can retrograde our political ecosystem, and stand guard of contentious, combative patronizing issues that are animus to others and serve the mere purpose to degrade and alienate our opponents. We all must abstain from questioning the loyalties of political opponents and remain firm in never questioning the intentions or assuming others are less patriotic or do not share what is best for Somaliland, just because they belong to a different party, such gimmick are only distraction and great disservice to us all.
No political party or a candidate has a normative ideological hegemony over Somaliland’s sovereignty and no particular group or a region has a monopoly on the beliefs and perceptions of our nation. Political parties are just a medium that we as Somalilanders have chosen to have our differing viewpoints to be shuttled through, and we must ensure all citizens regardless of their political choosing are able to perform their civic duties in a safe environment. Every political party and their affiliates should have the same access to every region and its electorates, no law-abiding individual or group should be hindered in fulfilling their duties.
We as the public have a great responsibility on our shoulders and must not lose sight of the fact that we joined political parties whose platform and ideas we ascribed to and believe will best serve the interest of Somaliland. Serving the interest of Somaliland is what we all should remain cognizant of instead of solely furthering our party agendas. We should stand united in building and strengthening our institutions, our political-ecosystem must ensure that minorities, women and all tribal groups from west to east and in-between are represented. I commend the unifying organizations and people that labor on behalf of Somaliland’s collectiveness like Traditional-leaders who took the initiative of getting the three candidates together and requiring a dial-down in the divisive rhetoric, the Poets that reminded the political-parties of the importance of discourse and the plight of the enduring draught, as well as the forums like Hargeisa Cultural Center that enhance civic engagement.
Let’s write the concluding remarks of this narrative together as Somalilanders, united by the values and virtuous that bond our social-cohesion, and in the name of our Party-affiliations, let’s not sully our communal-weal, rather let’s be civil and decent to one another, and let’s stand in solidarity as equal patriots.
Geleh Ali Marshal