It is a well-known fact – in the Somalia’s post-civil war epoch (implying that Somalia is no longer mired in a civil war) – that disgruntled clans played the boycott card if they were not allocated one of the key ministers in any administration. Sadly, these occurrences are not the unfortunate impacts of Somalia’s post-1991 period but have been in existence since the inception of our young fragile nation.
Excerpt from the book ‘Somali President: Mohammed Siad Barre, His Life and Legacy’:
Tribalism remained one of the formidable foes that the newly formed Revolutionary government had to tackle, a concept notoriously exploited by the previous regime under the banner of the multi-party experiment. Siad, in an interview, remarked the grotesque level of tribalism manifested in the political level:
Some of these people sent me a telegram saying that a certain clan did not get their share in the new Somali government. Have you ever heard of such rubbish? (Barre, 1970)
On 30 May 1971, Chairman Siad proclaimed the campaign against Tribalism. The first step of the campaign involved stripping all power of all tribal chiefs and heads of clans and replacing them with a new figure acting as an intermediary with the Revolutionary government, the “nabadoon”, literally meaning the ‘peace seeker’. The new title served an official representative of the community.
They were employed to serve the broad span of initiatives taken to bring down any tribal organisation to a critical pitch. The government, on a daily basis, for two straight months, used the radio and the newspapers to highlight why it was crucial to demolish tribalism, pointing out its negative aspects, the services it had rendered to neo-colonialism, its incompatibility with the socialist perspective, the corruption and the oppression it had lent itself to during the last administration and the use it had then been put to by the petty politicians in their manipulations of patronage.