Tribalism as divisive tool in Somalia


While Somalia is under recovery mode
from the ashes of civil war, it is still facing many social problems but
Tribalism is a crave one. Tribalism is not necessarily a bad thing as it serves
as an identification tool among society but now it plays a divisive role and
creates power struggle among various tribes with the same ethnicity.  Somali historians argue that clannism was the
pushing factor of the regime collapse After the government has intentionally
started to empower a specific clan while at the same time putting down others,
this creates greater inequality follows by anti-government protest that finally
overthrowed the regime.

The collapse of the state and the
civil war have increased the mistrust between the people.  During the civil wars, the clans have fought
over power, land, and other resources, that increased their division and

Main Causes of Tribalism in Somalia:

 Clannism is seen as a very serious and endemic
problem that hinders the recovery, rebuilding and the prosperity of this
nation. Here are some root causes of it:

Resource control competition:  Everyone believes that resources have caused
many clan tensions in Somalia. Since 1991 people have been fighting over
resources badly, even after the independence the clans used to fight over land
and water in the remote areas where the government can’t reach easily.

Marginalization: this is another important cause of
tribalism in Somalia, the marginalization has taken different levels from one
committed in the name of government to the ones committed by other clans. , in
the last years of the regime rule, the government started to empower specific
clans, and it shared the resources in a bias, that  was how the elite clans started in Somalia.  moreover, during the civil wars, the minority
clans have experienced severe discrimination unitl they have been denied from
the access of natural resources and public opportunities. Lack of shared vision: since the Somali government is always
formed out of different tribes who have their own motivations, sub-cultures and
traditions, patriotism became the last thing they talk about.  due to the civil war and its negative impact;
it’s very hard to instill the patriotic feeling in the citizens,

way forward:

Answer to this question lies in the
fact that the main reasons of negative tribalism in Somalia is lack of social
awareness, poor literacy rate and lack of government efforts to tackle the
issue. I recommend the following two important policies:

Education and Awareness programs:

Fighting tribalism is very
significant for every Somali citizen. Instead of pointing out each other’s
differences and blindly following the stereotypes, people should address this
issue as a common problem. It is good opportunity that Today’s generation Have
tired of tribalism and at the same time thirsty for social unity that is based
on understanding other than clannism.

The religious leaders should hold speeches and gathering against tribalism and nepotism. Promoting Somali patriotism and nationalism is important, the citizens also need to have common values and respect each other. The education institutions should add civic education subjects to their curriculum – This will save the next generations to have better view on the society’s coherency.  

Legislation and Policy:

As the tribalism is rooted to the
public resources and power sharing it’s very important to introduce a
legislation r that outlaws the practice of tribalism in the country. Such
legislation should instruct that all public and private opportunities should be
shared and distributed equally and ensure that no one is discriminated because
of their clan. in addition, the government should also give affirmative action
to the marginalized clans who suffered from segregation during civil wars.

SOURCE: Tribalism as divisive tool in Somalia

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