As Somaliland Democracy Builds, How the World Can Help Us
By Abdirahman M. Dirye
Less than 12 years ago Somalilanders were chanting “Democracy, Democracy!” without deep understanding; some says it’s the Sharia Law of the West, others think of as imperial culture which simply replaced the costly colonialism of maintaining armies in foreign countries in the early 17th- to late- 19th centuries in order to retain control over large territories of oil and minerals without bloodshed. A pro-western majority of the society adamantly insisted that the multi-party system introduction would be panacea for social ills in Somaliland from recognition to reconstruction of infrastructure. But so far the socioeconomic and security situations are deteriorating in a troublesome manner; democracy and peace dividends had never being materialized—besides, fanatics’ accelerating participation in the on-going democratization process started to coincide with Al-Shabaab’s utter military defeat in Mogadishu.
The legions of extremists—frightened by the deadly drone attacks—are chasing Somaliland’s parties for de-terrorization to be their character witnesses after their efforts to turn Somaliland into little Afghanistan were rebuffed. Far worse, Islamists are the official sponsors of the new political parties which the incumbent president, Mr. Silanyo, recently unlocked to distract his government’s inactions in the country from the public: shortage of water, and dilapidated roads in the capital. A party needs finance, but terrorists want legitimacy.
The fact that our society and national parties are based on tribal lines is quite alarming. This loophole has given terrorists an easy access to political parties. Furthermore, the democracy in Somaliland turned to political maneuvering and empty slogans totally irrelevant in real life—worse than Sharia law that sparked the most disastrous famine in Somalia’s history from time memorial. Municipal elections, which are only weeks away, will produce 24 corrupt councilors stealing the country’s meager resources in parallel unless a fundamental reform takes place.
The extremists bankrolled the political parties when militancy failed to take advantage of the seemingly ill-fated democracy and the abject poverty in the country. The fanatics linked with global Jihadist networks are campaigning for political parties throughout the day, an unprecedented phenomenon in Somaliland. The unregulated democracy is giving birth to criminal theocracy and may lead to devastation as wealthy radicals overwhelm the budding democracy in “Africa’s most disputed region” to borrow David Shinn’s words.
There are chains of cafés, restaurants, and Madrasas, or alien schools in Somaliland run by the Wahhabi school of thought that generate millions of dollar a month, where the staff are underfed and underpaid—and yet intoxicated too. However, what the huge income is spent on is yet unclear and no institution has authority to examine.
Neither Somaliland Intelligence nor the Parliament heads off this systematic infiltration into parties. Is the IRI, advancing Democracy worldwide, really about to keep power out of clerical thugs? Some widely known dangerous faces acting as milquetoasts finance parties only with friendly-attitudes toward the Jihad, which condones: Justify terrorism as the weapon of the poor against the strong. Their ill-gotten gains from leaderless Jihad are funded in adverts, and campaign commercials in return for decriminalization.
Multiparty politics developed into destructive force in Somaliland. We are heading towards sham democracy. Unless the National Election Commission is given an ultimatum to change the direction our democracy won’t be on the right track. Radicals use Somaliland’s democracy for their own advantage.