Recently many societies and certain clans and regions of Somaliland were posing for tribal quota systems claiming that they deserve to have more than current positions of parliamentary representatives and executive government positions held by the descendants of their lineage. Nonetheless, there were no voices who paid attention to the negative impact of the matter from the government or any other institution.

Tribal division is the start of the transition from working towards the civil state path to having conflict over power. The informal Regional or Tribal Quota system is an indirect violation against all citizenship rights due to the discrimination it holds between one citizen and another based on their ethnicity or settlement background, contradicting the legal doctrine, the principles of human rights and citizenship rights. It only favors members of a certain tribe over others and the inequality turns into violation, corruption and finally national failure.

Allegiance to tribal institutions more than the state hinders the prevalence and protection of all kinds of corruption and encourages waste of public money and the continuous political dispute, as well as the disruption of the political process, the collapse of the economy, the deterioration of services, and the citizens’ complaints about the living conditions to reach this position of a failed state.

Apparently anyone responsible for the enforcing of the informal tribal or regional quota system is either benefiting from rising powers of the tribes and political parties’ inability to present a convincing political and economic project to the people or rather informally adopting political quota system. Furthermore, the absence of a powerful civil movement to enforcing the statehood is also another factor.

The informal political quota system lobbies ensure to control the high decision making positions and expanding its leverage by appointing relatives and cousins and forming a web of influential centers that control politics and economy through violating the right of specialty and eligibility to assume positions which have led to poor services. Despite the presence of competent and highly experienced figures, the conviction to respective tribal or regional weakened decline the government’s ability to providing services to all citizens and its inability to meet the needs of the people in all cities can result in the complete mistrust in the system and bringing it to a failed state.

Tribalism destabilizes democracy when it diminish citizens loyalties and turns rival tribes into enemies, ruins political party systems and even threatens the government system, paralyzes economic, social and political development of the nation. New employments and opportunity offer criteria will be based on the tribal basis as major government officials are accountable to their respective tribes resulting in marginalization and inequality. Tribal or regional quota gives leverage to uneducated, unqualified members to hold crucial responsibilities for the nation and downgrades education and skills as the primary requirement for new positions and opportunities.

What are the possible solutions and alternatives?

  • Establishing social networks of tink-tank, foundations, journals and open forums to promote interaction of people from different ethnicities and regions and enforce more patriotic statesmen
  • Strengthening civil society institutions and their willingness to uphold the rule of law.
  • Fostering the private sector and an economic shift. In our case the economy is monopolized by few major traders with strong influence of the government, thus its essential to give a room to smaller traders and entrepreneurs
  • Integration within the global economy.


Ahmed Al Amir