A tribe is a group of people who have a common origin, language, culture and sometimes geographical area. Tribalism is the selfish exercise of this commonness to deny or deprive others who are not of the same tribe of their rights and access to opportunities and resources in order. It is the act of privileging those from one’s tribe be it in social, public or economic decisions and discriminating against all others solely on the ground of their clans.
It retards the progress and drags the country back and divides the people within the country into smaller groups who compete nearly for everything including resources, lands and opportunities. Tribalism is responsible for underdevelopment, corruption, the rigging of elections and violence.
In Somaliland context, it is indeed a major stumbling block to democracy as well as socioeconomic development because people in Somaliland see reality through the filter of Tribalism and sometimes, it happens that loyalty to tribe is given ever greater relevance than loyalty to the country.
The problem of tribalism has even extended to the private sector and community foundations. People are recruited on the basis of clan affiliations but not on the merit ensuing poor service, inefficiency and in return for weakening institutions. It is not bad to be from one tribe because we all belong to a tribe or another in Somaliland and we should be proud of that tribal diversity.
The problem arises when our tribal identity becomes the basis of our association and decision-making. Tribalism is bad when people in power prefer to enroll their departments with fellow tribesmen, and is equally hurting when matters of promotion and transfers and other management issues are heavily influenced by tribe.
Colonialism is cited as the origin of the escalation of tribal animosity in Somaliland and Politics has also been blamed for distortion of the differences amongst us for selfish gain. In the present day Somaliland, even though the government made legal that political parties should represent people from all corners of the country, they seem to be seen as tribal outfits for political muscle. Whereas good politics is characterized by healthy competition based on ideology, tribal politics is not based on merit and democracy has suffered greatly.
The negative aspects of tribalism will remain until we reverse the trend towards a merit or a quota system whereby all institutions, both public and private treat the people as equal citizens where your success depends exclusively on personal merit.
Some people argue that tribe if it used positively is powerful and can be used as a network to defend the weak parts of society and the most vulnerable groups within the kin group and furthermore governments can utilize it as a power to advance peace and discourage all sorts of aggression that is posing a threat to national security and through tribe, we can establish and run schools and hospitals in the distant regions of the rural area where governments cannot pass because of scarce and critical imagination.
Moreover, the people of Somaliland are equal before the law and constitution whoever and from wherever in Somaliland such as Sool, Sanag and Awdal have the right to govern in this country since this country is inclusive and is not exclusive for certain people.
Therefore, if one is determined to rule in this country; He or She must earn that the paradises of politics lie under the multitude of all regions failure to acquire them all or partially would lead you to disappointment. Tribalism is active and continues to stay so unless and until the president decides to carry out a novel scheme that boosts the positive aspects of the tribe and removes the evils of nepotism.
It appears that the current president is’nt the most appropriate to produce the necessary changes regarding tribalism that we desire to go on in this state. while politicians in this nation are busy in airing never-ending challenges of tribalism.
I strongly think that the majority of Somalilanders is in the same boat regardless of their geographic backgrounds, they are all in need of peace and bread with dignity. We, the Somalilanders should always have in mind that the most significant thing is to preserve the public security and integrity of our masses and bringing our nation ahead.
Therefore, we need to wipe out this evil and make the country for all Somalilander….
However, prayer and peace.
By Abdiqani Salaf Kaptanka