Why Western Multi-party Democracy will Fail in Somalia?

Posted by on Oct 10, 2015 | 1 Comment



By: Abdullahi M. Adan ( Cawsey)

Many commentators and scholars represent Somalia as a space where modernity and democracy fail consistently. Most of the analyses by scholars focus on the extent in which Somalia and other war-torn countries fail to understand or apply the basic principles of western multiparty democracy and human rights (Jarstad, &Sisk, 2008). Mostly, the premises of such analysis are based on the notion that Africa is underdeveloped because most African countries lack “democratic good governance”Which is the only way to achieve good governance, political stability and prosperity (Leftwich, 2007).

Furthermore, the same argument is based on another implicit premise that is “democracy is solely a Western creation, stems from a confusion between the principles of democracy and their institutional manifestations”( Ake,1991,p.34). In this paper, I will argue that Western “multiparty democracy” may not be the solution to the political turmoil and instability in Somalia, because Western democracy in practice is not compatible with the structure of the political organization and the socio –cultural history of Somali people since “traditional Somali society, the clan was a social and political unit of organisation and government”(Ssereo, 2003, p, 26)

Accordingly, I will argue that there is a major difference between the end result of Somali traditional system of governance and the political objectives of Western multi party system. Wiredu, (1995) argued, that some African traditional governance, such as the Ashanti group is based on “cooperation, not confrontation” (187). Following Wiredu (1996), I will shed light on how “consensus” is both the content and the objective  of Somali Traditional way of governance, while “ competition” is main aim of Western multi party system. Hence, if we do not understand such differences between cultures around the globe, imposing or importing the contemporary concept of democracy may seem ‘Eurocentric’ notion that brings more problems than solutions to Africa.

Read More: Why Western Multi Party Democracy will Fail in Somalia.

1 comment

  1. Mustafa Aadan says:

    Asc…. First, thanks Mr Cawsey for your contribution to this point. Second,somalia is one of the modern countries around the world, which its people are needed to adapt the challenges of the new modern world. Wherever there is human beings, rules and laws are necessary to guide that people. my country has been in a clan-based rules in which the elders decide the consequences of the events. But with the light of technology and its influence, it will hardly be possible to follow that road, simply, because the current elders will act as our forefather who were free of foreign influence. And democracy,in action, is not how the dictionaries define . Countries always define democracy according to their national interest. Democracy as- they say- gives the individual a freedom to say what is in his/her mind and dictates full respect to the privacy. But if you look the current events of US– the country which mostly advocates democracy– violated two of its main principle. Creation of the PRISM by NSA and threatening of the whistleblowesr violate teachings of democracy. So, since democracy is double-faced, Somalia has no other choice other than to follow Sharia-Law which dictates freedom for all and respect under any circumstances.

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