How did we get here: Disoriented and Internally Combative (By: Dr-abdikarim D Hassan)

For three decades they prided themselves by keeping outside intervention at arms’ length while mending their problems wisely with mutual concessions and compromise.

They earned an admirable reputation for their locally devised mechanisms of conflict resolution and state-building; shrewdly dismantling the most complex social challenges with patience combined with arduous grassroots consultations that never excluded anyone or ostracised anybody.

Today, and after such countless commendable achievements on many levels, they handed their dignity and pride to the same outsiders they so passionately believed should be kept at bay when we were at our weakest point.

Alas, in those days, we were confident of our cause, hopeful about the future, trustful of our fellow countrymen, even when they represented the occasional foes, and adamant at succeeding on our own terms.

Today the foreigners we shunned yesterday are deciding, dictating and demanding on the issues that define our future, delegate roles to the real stakeholders and impose penalties on those who challenge their consigned assignment and dare to be oblivious.

While any agreement locally brokered is worthy of encouragement however grotesque and illogical it is, receiving a humiliating clap on the hand and a list of to-do-list from the so-called international community is deeply offensive to Somalilanders. Those who opened the gates for such disgracing interference in our affairs will be judged unfavourably in the immediate future.

Three foreigners will be part of the national commission of election; a constitutional body that will oversee the legality, procedural framework, and the fairness of the process through which Somaliland’s next parliament will be elected. When did we lose honour and the ability of men to feel shame and self-respect?

This is a clear indication that Somaliland; the previously acclaimed best-kept secret of the horn of Africa and the once shining democratic beacon in a region devastated by rogue states and tyranny, has lost its attractive veneer. The inclusivity of its democratic process is replaced by an ugly facade that neither enthuses the growing internal displeasure nor satisfies the ever disenchanted external players.

The incessant disheartening political bickering; the conspicuously celebrated foreign interventions, the complete absence of political insight and innovation from the contributors to the current impasse, the blatant disregard for the real everyday struggles and plights of Somalilanders, are some of the manifestations of an erst ambitious national project which reached a fateful cul-de-sac.

Considering all the surrounding seismic changes currently happening in our region, the frightening ineptitude of our political class towards their responsibility and the gloomy clouds of uncertainty hovering over our fragile state, the incoming cold nights will be long and lonely. Our existential nemesis is edging ever closer to the seems of our system, and their influence on our internal argumentations is greater than ever before.

A Somali proverb says “truth never kills, merely scares” and unless Somaliland ruling elite – political parties, traditional order, scholars and other influential circles- envision a new way out of current encompassing disorientation; unless we revive the faded traits of inclusive leadership and voluntary concessions; unless we focus on the actual threats on our self-determination and existence as a sovereign nation; unless we put aside the short-sighted personal interests and unite for the common perils our society faces, the ship is condemned to sink, and the bitter taste of defeat has no equal.