To be or not to be a democracy is the question; A Party with a difference: By Omar Ibrahim Hussein (PhD)

Published On: Friday, June, 15 2012 - 02:08:34 This post has been viewed 1046 times

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This is the most opportune time to have a Political Party of my own. For long I dreamed to join one that reflects my thinking and ideology.
All the Unions or prospective Parties that have been recently established in Somaliland do not meet my political aspiration. They all look alike…rooted in tribal ideology and secession. I was looking for a Party that has a different ideology; but I could not discern that from any of the eighteen so tribal unions.

I don’t see a choice between different values and platforms of the 18 different political Unions. I honestly don’t know how to choose one tribe over other tribes. The plethora of tribal unions is affront to our great leader Mohamed Ibrahim Egal who left us with three all inclusive Parties. Ideally we should have 3 Unions divided on ideology; a Secular Party, an Islamic Party and Unionist Party.

When I meet my friends in Hargeisa in tea shop debates, I see everybody supports the Union headed by his tribesmen. That will not be a Party of my choice.

The Union I and like minded people are determined to form is a Party for all who believe in ideological diversity and it will be called “the United Somaliland Party” (U.S.P). Our motto will be peace with diversity and political pluralism. We believe without political dialogue in a tribally charged environment fighting is inevitable.

So that’s why we should address the dichotomy of tribalism and democracy. Our Party firmly believes in Somaliland and will respect the wish of its people. But I am not sure whether secession is carved on a rock or whether there will be yet another change of heart. I am perfectly aware that the history of the people of Somaliland repeats itself. It makes no sense at least to me to call ourselves a democracy and yet have limited choices.

Our Unionist Party will advocate democratic pluralism. We think it is high time we practiced what we preach. We should express our differing ideology without anyone raising an eyebrow. What my friend Bashir Goth said in a recent article might be read as “a U turn” on his known ideological thinking is not in fact a U turn; it is the right turn; for we always believed in democracy. In a democracy views evolve, situations change overtime and could dictate otherwise.

Views are not static overtime, but democracy is. Thus why do you have a different view than yesterday is a non-starter? Three percent of the population voted against secession. The United Somaliland Party will serve and protect the rights of those three percent and all that it can convince of its Unionist ideology in a democracy.

Although a minority, webelieve the minority too has the right to form its political Party. We uphold the inalienable principle of the right to association as guaranteed by our constitution. We have the right to belong to a Party as the current political Parties do not meet our ideological aspirations.

We want to convince our- selves that we could not persuade the people of Somaliland to our political agenda, not because we were denied the right to have a differing view or a different political agenda in a democracy. A great man once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has”. Another one said, “Democracy is the counting of heads, not what is in them”.

We accept democracy with all its limitations, because it is the dictatorship of the majority. What about the rights of the people of Sool and East Sanag who are not united on secession? The Sool region is the soul of Somaliland and I can’t envision Somaliland without its soul. Our Party believes that Sool can be won but only after a long honest sool search, and not by the use of force.

When I think of Somalia and Somaliland, I find myself between the rock and the hard place. Part of me loves unity and the other party rationalizes secession. My heart loves United Somalia and my mind likes Somaliland. My mind accuses my heart of being Fagash, and my heart accuses my mind of being a Mujahid; the two antagonists will never get a common ground.

USP party is the embodiment of this contradiction within me. Somaliland will prevail but the dream of united Somalia will remain in my loving heart and in the spirit and imagination of USP party.

I have no regret that I could not get a common ground between my heart and my mind, but I am convinced time will. The hopes and aspirations of USP will prevail as love and democracy are the two sides of the same coin. USP Party will rigorously oppose any attempt to force unity with Somalia. By the same token USP party can’t accept the use of force to keep its unionist ideology under lock or to silence it with impunity. We also believe the best way to accommodate the political wishes of the people of Sool and East Sanaag (Khatumo) is to open a dialogue and allow them to have their unionist ideologies accepted. They will be free to campaign for their political views as a matter of right. Our Party will correct, advocate and protect the rights of all citizens of Somaliland without exception. With full confidence and a heart full of hope; may the Party with a difference be registered with immediate effect.

Accepting the registration of our Party will signify that democracy is firmly rooted in Somaliland; its refusal says otherwise.

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