The Re-incarnation of SNM and Militia Mentality in Somaliland
Nabad iyo Caano – an SNM slogan during the campaign
Since the inauguration of Kulmiye Party as the ruling party of Somaliland and Silanyo’s achievement of his long sought dream to manoeuvre himself into the Presidential Palace in Hargeisa, the reverberating undercurrents of rancour and grievances have progressively expanded to curb the peace and stability enjoyed by Somaliland. At the centre of the many premonitions about Kulmiye Party’s long dreaded policies is the reincarnation of unadulterated tribalism.
The party’s slogan tries to capture the imagination of its perspective voters through three simple words: Unity, Justice and Development – Midnimo, Caddaalad, Horumar. These are beautiful words but can be applied differentially across the spectrum of people in Somaliland. The practical execution of that slogan came to mean that some are more equal, deserve more justice and development than others just like the SNM slogan of the time meant peace and prosperity for “us” only. Silanyo’s government is a prime example of the preferential equality among the Isaq rather the equality of all of Somaliland people’s. But then even when it comes to the Isaq, some are still more equal then others – a perfect embodiment of the true nature of tribalism.
Kulmiye’s leadership promised to clean up corruption. However, it is widely understood today that what is being cleaned up is everyone but the supporters of Kulmiye. The multitudinous sub-rosa deals and favours bestowed upon the faithful financial supports of the President’s supporters and kinsmen speak volumes about the kind of cleanup he promised. Somaliland websites are replete with petitions from groups, cities and tribes all of which elucidate that it is time that Kulmiye party scratches the back of the stalwarts who financed its campaign. It all comes at the price but none is greater then the price of kinship.
Behind these underhanded deals presides a cabinet dominated by members from the Diaspora. The President’s much touted small government has two glaring flaws: it is mostly made of individuals from the Diaspora who lack pertinent knowledge of the social problems of their former home. Irrespective of their academic credentials, these, probably well meaning individuals, are disconnected from the practical problems of the society. Secondly, the unfiltered application of western policies regardless of the culture and ways prevalent in Somaliland creates distance between the society and the current cabinet. A perfect example is Kulmiye’s platform which is a carbon copy of the UK’s Labour Party platform. Granted that new ideas and ways are necessary to move a society forward, the blind application of these ideas into a system that does not relate to their society is a whole different cup of tea. Continued