Party Building Policy in Somaliland: What the Somaliland Political Party Leaders Should Realize- By Adam Muse Jibril


When there is Lack of conceptual knowledge on party building and political strategy of party promotion, there emerges questions on whether party should be based on the idea of Clan solidarity or National based principles. This is a question which the general public can’t answer, even the educated people can’t answer, but only the specialized thinkers can do. Here, in Somaliland people usually argue that in Somaliland there are only clans and sub-clans accordingly one is obliged to form his/ her party from their own clan constituency. Although this looks quite logical, yet what the Somaliland political party leaders need to focus is to study the party building experiences according to political science. Without deep study into this issue gaps would remain as strong obstruction to grasp the concept and Political dimensions of the party’s essence and its leading role. The most important way to understand Party Building problems is to have clarity about what political party is, and what its role in different countries (on Global level) that understanding leads to comprehensive awareness about the fact that political party issue is not a local phenomenon but a Global Socio-political complicated question. Through such an understanding distinction between Party identity and clan Affiliation would be possible. From here question about whether to deal with party building issue by trial-and-error practices or by theoretical and conceptual point of view would require clear answer. By studying this subject-matter in a scientific way specialists and expertise of this area are essential to dealing the issue properly.

Understandably, after late president Mohamed Ibrahim Egal the Party building policy in Somaliland, had not been addressed seriously and in a systematic manner. This is because of lack of proper attention and absence of Intellectual mindset and assertiveness towards the issues that are closely related to Nation Building strategy.

Out of my readings and experiences, I am here below presenting some key ideas about the tasks of party building. First and foremost, it should be made clear that the Somaliland political parties share with the other sectors of the political system both the credit for the great achievements realized and also the grave setbacks in military defeats and the interruption in the election process. However, what my message is trying to address is not about glories but the real gaps that we failed to bridge them, the following points reflect these key issues:

1-The most important way to address the Party Building knowledge is to deal with what a political party is and what its historical background in different countries on global level, this would lead to deeper understanding of the knowledge about party building in a modern manner. Through such an understanding distinction between Party as national institution or clan Affiliation would be clear. Here comes question about whether to create party by trial-and-error practices or by theoretical and conceptual point of view. By studying Political Party characteristics scientifically through engaging specialists and expertise on this area one would recognize the fact that there are great differences between political parties in the world in relation to ideology; Leftists, Conservatives, mass parties, cadre parties extra. In our Somaliland historical context, parties should have both local and global dimensional characteristics. As an example, Somaliland political parties should have Political National Agenda embodying in the party-program. This program should not be on papers only, but it should be something in the minds of the people, Somaliland political parties should also have international world outlook, because of the interdependence of the entire world. To educate party members there is a crucial need to School of political party studies to train the young members of different generations.

2-Party should not focus on its own clan constituencies, but also on other clan’s constituencies in a sustainable manner in harmony with a national reform-oriented-strategy. From here the need is about how to address other clan constituencies. For this, a National political agenda would be necessary to addresses the needs, requirements and rights of all sectors of the people of the nation, men and Women. That is to say, all people have common needs regarding their livelihoods, how they could realize their rights in wages, housing, school for their children, medicine, retirement are the most urgent issues to address. This should be put on the top agenda of the party in order to fight for the rights of everybody. The opening and strengthening Trade Unions that can defend the rights of Workers and employees through which the party could transform itself from clan party to national representative which is also important to the party’s future of development from clan party to National party.

3-In the historical battle of ideas in which Somaliland is experiencing right now, responsible political parties would necessarily have the task to challenge Radical ideas, all kinds of Political jihadism, Chauvinism, Clannism, and Ethnic Irredentism and so on. This is because of the need for building of an open-minded and tolerant society in Somaliland. Impartiality and passiveness in this battle of ideas are marks of unawareness or apathy or both.

4-Without enough farsightedness, the party would remain just a structural milieu governed by clannish dogmatic clique, isolationists against other segments of society that rules out any kind of harmonious ties. Imagine, when all Somaliland Political parties are operating on the same grounds, the whole country would remain divided, separated into clan entities, where political discourse circulates in a so narrow clan minded cycles focusing only on clan against other clans, and reason between political parties involves on sequence of events motivated by Clan Politics without horizon to progress. In such a situation there are no chances for reform for parties. On the other hand, in such countries where the Clannish elite dominate politics chances of progress are not only remote but almost impossible. An outlet from such historical deadlock the difficulties to realize emergence of new generation of leadership would remain a matter of impossible unless significant socio-economic development takes place and emergence of a strong middle class with meaningful trends for changes to the better is obtained.

5-Finall, What the leaders of the Somaliland Political Parties need to understand is what many of African leaders failed to take into consideration, that is about the fact that leading politicians need to acquire certain indispensable leadership qualities, first of which is Enlightenment, Integrity and Commitment, that means Intellectual integrity and refine qualities of leaders are needed as an indispensable requirements.