The Republic of Somaliland has been a ‘new’ country in the midst of hostile region for the last nineteen years. For almost these two decades, enormous achievements have been brought to fruition. Clans wars are no longer significant obstacles. So is the security. The country is progressing despite the little support from the World. Every Somalilander is milking in peace, and the hopes are high. Our strength as a nation lies in unity, not division. With solidarity, we can accomplish great things together. We must be thankful to Almighty God for He has kept us together when in fact our neighbours are still shedding their blood. Our traditional state-building approaches have attracted the world attention, and many scholars recommended that our system can serve useful lessons for African states who have failed to put their pieces together again.
In this piece, however, I am very concerned ( and little more critical) about Somaliland’s development. As a Somaliland student who has a bright future ahead of him, I feel obliged to comment about our state of affairs before it gets too late. I can not be silent and soldier on with my ‘private business’ when the national duty is calling. So let this brief article be a wake-up call for Somalilanders.
Somaliland has longed for a visionary leader who does not lead us astray. I dream of a leader that is elected not because of the clan he happens to be, nor the mere promises he makes during election campaigns, but instead is chosen because of the wisdom of his political character. We are desperately in search of a leader who thinks seriously about the means of taking services closer to where life is impossible and no more get hectic about the worldly things but instead puts Somaliland first.
I look forward to a country where people get serious about the value of education and understand that schools are the platform where tomorrow’s religious scholars, doctors, engineers and civil servants are trained. A country where useless degrees and examinations are done away with, and only students with an aptitude and talent go for further education while the others are given a chance to re-define where passion lies. If our students are not well-taken care, needless to say, they will end up in dark future.
In the same spirit of patriotism, I look forward to a country where its youth will genuinely interact in a meaningful way beyond their localities instead of quarrelling about the ‘dirty politics’ and making short stories about ‘clannism’ in streets and tea shops.
I dream of such a country where transparency is the catchphrase for governance. I wish a state where the police improve their work ethics, become people-friendly and where teachers are respected and well-paid. I look forward to a country where people are no longer crazy at consuming khat but rather take books and go to schools, work for the well-being of their families and on the top of all services for their communities.
I am as a result of this calling upon every Somalilander to put the public interests way above their private interests. Fortunately, for all that I suggested, none requires a big conference to debate. They are all just do-it-matter! Because they are dreams built upon attainable pillars and for whose realisation, many like me, are committed to seeing it turn to reality till the last drop of their blood. Let’s work for a time where we will be an example of peace, prosperity, progress and brotherly co-existence to our neighbors and world at large.
Abdikadir Askar is a Vice President of Uganda Somaliland Students’ Association (USOLSA). He is currently studying a Bachelor’s of Arts in Public Administration at Kampala International University.