By Abdishakur Ali Mohamed

Somalia is a Horn African country that has been plagued by conflicts, instabilities of all kinds, and poverty for decades. While the original causes of these problems are complex and multifaceted, one factor that has played a significant role in the challenges facing the country is the clan-based political system and the deep-rooted issue of clannism.

Clannism, or blind loyalty and identification with one’s clan, is deeply ingrained in the very being and fabric of the Somali individual and the wider society. The country has a long history of clan-based conflicts, with the conflict many a time spilling into the country’s political spectrum.

The political system in Somalia is characterized by the dominance of a few powerful clans on the one hand, and the exclusion and marginalization of others on the other, leading to a deep division in the society, with political power and resources being concentrated in the hands of a select few.

Political factions and clannish interests have long been the dominant force in Somali politics. The country has seen an authoritarian regime, and the toppling of that regime was followed by a period of instability and recurring, endless conflicts. In recent years, the power struggle between different political factions and clan leaders has exacerbated the challenges facing the country and hindered efforts to rebuild and develop it.

A major consequence of the clan-based political system in Somalia is that it has contributed to a lack of accountability and transparency. Clan leaders often prioritize the narrow interests of their own sub-clans over those of the country as a whole, leading to a culture of corruption and abuse of power. The absence of effective checks and balances and the lack of oversight have allowed corruption to thrive and hindered efforts to address the challenges facing the country.

The clan-based political system has also had a major impact on the economy of Somalia. The concentration of power and resources in the hands of the elites of very few clans has led to a lack of economic opportunities and development for many Somalis. This, in turn, has resulted in high levels of poverty and unemployment that plague the country and its citizens.

Another major flaw of the clan-based political system in Somalia is how lacking representation and inclusivity it is for parts of the community. Many Somalis feel that their voices are unheard or not taken into account in the political decision-making processes and that their interests are not being adequately represented. This has contributed to a sense of disenchantment and frustration among many Somalis and has fuelled the long-existing resentments.

The clan-based political system in Somalia has also had a negative impact on the country’s ability to address its many challenges. The power struggle between rival clans and political factions has hindered efforts to rebuild the country and has massively contributed to the ongoing instability and conflicts.

One of the main issues facing Somalia is the lack of a strong and effective central government. The collapse of the government in early 1990s led to the complete fragmentation of the country and emergence of various autonomous/semi-autonomous, local authorities. This has resulted in a power vacuum and a lack of coherent policies and strategies to address the country’s many challenges.

Corruption is another major problem in Somali politics. The country is consistently ranked as one of the most corrupt in the world, with government officials looting and mismanaging its meagre resources. This has had a negative effect on the delivery of basic services and the ability of the government to tend to the needs of its citizens.

Political instability coupled with corruption have majorly impacted the economy of Somalia in an adverse way. The country has one of the lowest GDP per capita in the world, and many of its citizens live in extreme poverty. The lack of economic opportunities, and absence of investments in infrastructure and developmental projects have further worsened the issues the country is grappling with.

In conclusion, the clan-based political system and the deep-rooted tribalism have played a significant role in multiplying the challenges and problems facing Somalia. The concentration of power and resources in the hands of a few clans, the lack of accountability and transparency, and the lack of inclusiveness and representation have all contributed to the instability, conflict, and poverty that had set back the country . In order to move forward and address these challenges, it is essential that there is a concerted effort to reform the political system and create a more inclusive and comprehensive government. This will require a commitment to transparency, accountability, and applying the rule of law, and a sincere willingness to prioritize the interests of the country as a whole over those of individualistic, clannish or cliquish political factions.

Abdishakur Ali Mohamed – A freelance writer.
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