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.