A need for change: Traditional Leaders become agents for politicians and the administration (By Abdullahi Haji Said)

Somalis held many ceremonies in recent years to inaugurate new tribal chiefs and Sultans. These ceremonies are usually aired on the mass media repeatedly. Consequently, this phenomenon led to many social and political chaos that might not be noticed in the spheres of the Somali society.  As traditional leadership style and structures are widely perceived to be very redundant and are apparently a lifetime appointments without retirement and replacement, serious consideration should be given to whom they are accountable to?

Neither do I oppose specific inaugural ceremonies held by certain or particular tribal settings nor do I deny the fact that these traditional leaders contribute to the conflict resolutions and the peace building process. But what I would like to highlight is that the roles of traditional leaders have been manipulated to a large extent in the political process. They turned to be voices for politicians and co-ops of the state administration and they implement personal agendas of those politicians. I would say this is the epoch of the demise of the roles that traditional leaders used to play in our society.

I therefore strongly urge that we give special attention to those senseless inaugurations and their negative and positive aspects. Particularly, we need to understand that Sultans and chiefs have collectively been unable to independently take constructive actions to solve the many cultural and political challenges that confront us today.

The questions that need to be answered are: what is the role of the youth in our society? Whose interest is it if we all back the interests of our respective clans? Why are we not trying to seek a future that is different from the past?

My fellow Somali youth, our society was expected to engage in full reforms and renewal of the way we live which did not happen. Things will not change unless we as youth come up with effective reform oriented solutions based on knowledge, skills and innovation.

This is the right time we should establish social organizations that are based on ideologies. This is the time to get rid of the unelected traditional leaders who have long been using their roles for personal agenda. this is the time to unlock our brains from the traditional clan system that we have been hostages over centuries. This is the time we should break the ceiling glass and unite for utilizing our knowledge, skills and thoughts for the better. This is the time we need to make meaningful changes in the leadership structures of our society.

By: Abdullaahi Haji Said

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