SOMALILAND: The Unique Hybrid System of Governance

By Mohamed Adan Samatar

After successfully reclaiming their long lost independence from the failed union with neighboring Somalia. The people of Somaliland started nation-building from scratch. This was not an easy task to undertake as cities were leveled to the ground and human remains were littered under the ruins of the buildings and on the streets. The most daunting task of all was clearing the landmines and the cluster bombs which later would claim the lives of thousands of innocent civilians during the repatriation of the refugees returning from Ethiopia and many years to follow.

The Somalilanders learned from the beginning the power of self-reliance after defeating the most powerful military might in Africa with the bare minimum handheld weapons, but with the ultimate bravery and courage.

It is undoubtedly very difficult to build a whole nation from scratch. However with unparalleled desire and drive to self-govern they established a unique system of government by merging two fundamentally different systems. They incorporated a western-style democracy and traditional system of conflict resolution through reconciliation by elderlies (GUURTI), which today represents one of the legislative chambers.

This unique system allowed them to preserve their traditional way of conflict management, which is the basic foundation for traditional peacekeeping and stability. They also established a multi-party system and they conducted multiple free and fair presidential elections. H.E. Muse Bihi Abdi is the current elected president of Somaliland by one-man-one-vote.

Because of these hybrid systems, Somaliland maintained a stable functioning system of government and democracy in the Horn of Africa, hence, the beacon of democracy as it is mostly referred to by the western nations.

Another equally important factor that is usually overlooked is the importance of self- reliance. When you are indebted to your donors, they would dictate your agendas and your progress by imposing their own priorities. This is especially true in the neighboring country of Somalia. International communities and donor nations spent billions of dollars in Somalia for the last thirty years; however, it is still struggling to maintain peace and stability because of incompetent leadership, particularly the current leadership of Villa Somalia.

Rightfully, today the international communities are fed up with the lack of tangible progress in Somalia and it’s members are suffering from what’s called the Somalia-fatigue syndrome.

On the other hand, Somaliland decided to determine it’s own destination by relying on no one but themselves. Today, the Somaliland name could be heard from the corners of the globe because of their new and aggressive foreign policy.

Although Somaliland would continue it’s quest for recognition, they’d never sacrifice their sovereignty for the lack of it no matter how long it takes.

Mohamed Adan Samatar

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