Oodweyne News - Latest Somali News Update

Somaliland government is manipulated by the few rich people

I wonder how one puts together a democracy based on the concept of equality while running an economy with ever greater degrees of economic inequality. We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few people who manipulate our government politically, economically, commercially, and administratively; but we can’t have both. If the population of a country is divided into a small number of rich and a large number of poor, it always develops governments manipulated by the rich to protect the amenities represented by their properties; then the majority poor population of that country stay poor forever or even becomes poorer. Governments manipulated by the few rich take the taxes from the poor & the weak and give the benefits to the rich and those who rule. The last two governments of Somaliland from Kulmiye party are exactly these types of government.

In our country the most obvious source of influence over politics is money, or the rich people spend their money on politics to gain much of what they spent. These powerful rich companies or groups and the ruling group of this country who were often lavished by the rich with donations have run roughshod over the poor and middle-class people; sucking up a horrifying proportion of the nation’s wealth in the process; not caring how their selfishness is affecting the larger part of the population. These last two governments cared only about the interests of the few rich people; because the government elites themselves want to be rich; and money is in the hands of the rich. That is why they always respond to the preferences of the rich; putting all immovable and movable state properties and public properties in the hands of the few rich and ruling persons.

Kulmiye governments used to exploit the common people regularly to suit their purpose and the preferences of the few rich people. In the election campaigns the political leaders of Kulmiye party succeeded to make the people follow them by promising that they are putting the moon in their fists, and subdue their senses to make them blind supporters. But when they secure the leadership they look only at what the rich people care about, ignoring what the common people generally care about. I can describe these governments “the governments of the rich, by the rich, for the rich”. We understand that the few rich people unfairly dominate the policymaking process of our country; but the main worry is that the rich groups are using the power of their wealth to restrain or prevent the government from doing fair distribution of the country benefits and serve for the betterment of all citizens.

We were hoping Somaliland become a nation where all citizens will be given due respect regardless of tribe, region, rich and poor, minority and majority, fit and disability. Our constitution says “the protection of the rights of all citizens and non-nationals is at the heart of development and progress and should be exercised gradually in a skilful manner”. When you look at politics, the country is now more divided than any time before. There is a bright true image that the government divided its citizens in to two groups; some few rich who have been privileged and protected by the government, and the other forgotten larger poor group who are disregarded, neglected and denied by the government or not receiving proper attention from the government. All the people are the citizens of this country with the same rights to develop themselves; some are not subjects under others. You can see injustice happening every day in our courts, that the rich exploiting the poor, because their wealth is influencing the decision of the courts.

We have to know that with in such situation our political system is not Democratic, but we are in Plutocracy political system in which the wealthy classes of a society rule or control the government and its decisions. Kulmiye governments have created in Somaliland what the economists call rent-seeking profit that is absolutely bad for the country economic efficiency. Rent-seeking profit is the practices of the rich group of a country with the help of those who rule to make profits through the political process; rather than by using clean commerce in the market values. The leaders and other governing elites of the government that practices the system of making profit through political process always become income seekers for themselves only; not thinking to help and serve for the society they rule. Really this is exactly what is happening now in Somaliland.

The mindset of our leaders is based on selfish material gain and property possession of their own, and that is why they are lenient to the few rich groups. These last two governments put all the country benefits, properties and commercial privileges in the hands of some very few people owning companies and businesses and those who rule, supporting them to become richer and richer; while in the last ten years of Kulmiye rule the majority of the population are becoming poorer and poorer, moving from relative poverty down in to absolute poverty or have-not population. That means these governments failed to improve the livelihoods of its people whose majority became poorer with absolute poverty in the last ten years of their rule.

This poverty in our society does not come from the sky; but its root cause is the social injustice, the income inequality and the bad governments that abet it. If a government does not help and care the many of its people that are poor, it cannot save the few that are rich. The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have nothing or have too little. Good leadership chooses to practice the thoughts of moderation and reduce the gap between the poor and the rich to the extent of its honest efforts. The concept of moderation in our case embraces a wide range of issues, from economic inequality, social injustice, neglection of power sharing, and political disputes to ease the challenges of the existing tension that the country is now within.

Because of poverty, unemployment or lack of fairness in job opportunities, income inequality among the society, rising prices of the consuming foods, goods and schemes, and inequity access to the social services increased the gap between the rich and the poor which now reached its tipping point. The majority of the population cannot afford the basic necessities of life; or cannot afford to pay the full price of the essential living items and services. That means substantial and important part of the population was intentionally disregarded to support to have the opportunities of advancing themselves to secure their daily life.

Somaliland needs a government clean from this policy of privileging few rich group and forgetting the larger other group of the society. Somaliland needs a government not playing with its full stomach, while the stomachs of the majority of its people are starving. Somaliland needs a government which serves and helps the poor majority part of the population and improves their livelihoods. Somaliland needs a government whose vision is to work for its people to alleviate poverty and set a strategy ensuring that every family has their daily food and other essential needs in the future. Somaliland needs a government which its absolute aim is to secure a better tomorrow for its people in general. Somaliland needs the type of government described by Nelson Mandela “a government with principles to dream big, to promote equality, to shape a country which is beautiful and developing, to build a society who are equally benefiting from its development, to respect freedom, to be selfless and to uphold persistence & confidence”.


Adam Ali Younis