Somalilandsun – After two Presidential elections and two local and parliamentary elections Somaliland political elites have not succeeded to form political parties based on ideas rather than personalities or clan interests.
This is the judgement of Dr. Hussein A. Bulhan, the founder and President/Chancellor of Frantz Fanon University who In 1994 left a tenured professorship at the medical school of Boston University to play a peace-making role in Somaliland, where a civil war was then raging.
He cofounded the Academy for Peace and Development , as well as initiating the establishement of a psychiatric hospital in Hargeisa the capital of somalilandf where he also took up a two- year Chancellorship of Hargeisa University.
Dr Bulhan’s verdict is not a cause for disappointment but an opportunity for political soul-searching. His emphasis on ideas as a basis for forming political parties does not necessarily mean that only ideas lead to political change; action is inseparable from political ideas as a stepping-stone to changing to the status quo. Clinging to clan loyalties means resistance to change.
According to Adam Musse Jibril Somaliland has succeeded by marrying the clan system with a multi-party political system. The credit to this creative synthesis goes to the second President of Somaliland, Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, who introduced the most successful, locally conceived reconciliation in Somalia.
Out of the reconciliation initiative emerged two seminal policies that put Somaliland on the path to creating political institutions: the dissolution of Somali National Movement and the agreement that all clans in Somaliland share common political history in the fight against the military regime.
When Somaliland adopted this progressive, peace-making agenda Southern Somalia’s politicians had barred clans with no clan militias from participating in reconciliation conferences held in Djibouti and Ethiopia.
Dr Bulhan’s judgement shows Somaliland needs leaders with a new political agenda to transform political parties into parties based on inclusive policies. Fourteen years have passed since Somaliland adopted multiparty systems after ten years of transitioning from governments formed by the first Somaliland president ( 1991-1993) and Egal ( 1993-2002). If Somaliland has no genuine political parties it is political leaders who should take responsibility for failing to revitalise Somaliland political landscape. They will find it hard to be taken seriously when they talk about change but seek to zoom to the top on the back of parties based on clannish ideas.
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