The problem Somali’s will never tackle – Tribalism

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Somali’s are one of the most homogeneous people in the world, in general and especially in Africa. With great historical background and rich religious heritage, they are one of the rarest kinds in Africa. But with all this there is one setback that has forever been part of their history and upbringing, Tribalism. Somali’s can be seen as pleasant people to foreigners in the United Kingdom for example, but to each other, tribalism comes into play once they come across you for the first time. Instead of greeting you with an ‘’Hello, how are you?’’, it’s a well-known fact that many Somali’s approach one another by asking ‘’Yaad Teheey?’’(What are you? Or what tribe are you?). By this, they will judge you based on your tribe instead of your personality and who you really are.

A British colonial officer by the name of H. B. Kittermaster, who worked in British-Somaliland, wrote the following about the Somalis: “Why do the Somalis occupy today their present position in the scale of civilization and development? This is a question which perhaps demands a passing thought. They are undoubtedly still primitive, having reached only a system of loose tribal organization in which even the tribal elders and herdsmen exercise but small control.” 70 years down the line and Somali’s are still in the same mentality where they prioritise tribes and look at that before they pass on judgement and it’s quite pathetic.

The 4.5 formula is a system whereby Somali’s are divided into four major clans, then the other minor ones are formed together as a half clan. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, it’s a well-known fact that a cabinet of over 90 positions had to be formed in order to gratify every clan and sub-clan which is dismal and unacceptable. Even The United Kingdom, a super power in today’s world only has 23 Cabinet ministers, which really does exemplify the way some Africans run their countries and how problematic tribalism is.

The most disturbing reality is that Somali’s have endured the most painful chapter in their history and when you would take all the suffering and onslaught as a raison d’être to get closer together and unite, tribalism is the first thing they turn to and start to prohibit themselves from other tribes, such as Somaliland and Puntland has done, by no means am I criticising the move of the Somalilanders. It is really disappointing when US Library of Congress publication say: “Somali society has retrogressed to a collection of warring clans reminiscent of pre-industrial times.” It’s almost a furtive insult to Somali’s that they haven’t yet evolved and shouldn’t be put in the same bracket as the other ‘developed ‘western countries.

If Somali’s abolished tribalism and come together moreover unite, it’s believed that they could achieve great things, economically furthermore also build a great nation, if not the greatest in Africa. Mr. Kittermaster who said when he was talking about the Somalis and their future: “But these people are by no means unintelligent or decadent. It is probable that they must be regarded as among the most virile and intelligent of any African peoples.”  He then concluded by affirming: “Their intelligence and their keen ability as traders mark them out as capable of development, but there appears to be little hope of a radical change in them unless it is possible to destroy the camel complex.”

The solutions have been addressed many times and have been ignored repulsively, there comes a time when man asks himself, will Somali’s ever tackle this obstacle blocking them of better and thriving days to come? And the question is very hard to answer because you

really want Somali’s to progress to a better future but we cannot see that happening in the near future unfortunately. All Somali’s can do now is prevent future Siad Barre’s and Mohammed Farah Aidid’s, these are the very men that led the failure and warfare of Somalia, if there were to be replica’s of them in future, the prospects of Somalia will look revoltingly faint and that’s something no one wants to see.

 

Allin Nuh

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