Hybrid Political Orders: In the case of Somaliland

AFRICA, 2 Feb 2015

Nubar Piriyeva – TRANSCEND Media Service

The Concept of Hybrid Political Orders vs. the Concept of Failing or Fragile States

  1. Introduction

The researchers like Volker Boege, Anne Brown, Kevin Clements and others have recently developed the concept of hybrid political orders. What does Hybrid Political Orders mean? In order to answer to this question, first of all, we should analyze and understand an ideal type of statehood based on Weberian concept and a real type of statehood.

According to Max Weber, the ideal type of state has three important characteristics: it controls a particular territory, exercises the monopoly of legitimate coercion in this given territory, and is based on legitimacy. The modern state apparatus in this concept is rationalized, impersonal, and represents the general public interest. The state also has the monopoly over taxpaying and jurisdiction, i.e. it is able to establish effective norms (Weber 1964). In institutional terms, statehood is defined as a centralized form of representative government based on electoral procedures and a set of administrative, policing and military organizations. On the contrary to the Weber’s ideal state, a real type of statehood can be explained by the reality of state and such a real-type of the state cannot be defined with regard to the monopolization of violence, to administrative structures or to territoriality (Migdal and Schlichte 2005). It is obvious that many existing, especially post-colonial states, do not comply with the criteria posed by this ideal type concept: fiscal constraints mean little state revenue and less room for maneuver; very often private actors exercise coercion locally or in wide parts of the country; norms and laws are only partially implemented by the central state. Many of those states are therefore called “failing” or “fragile” by some authors (Goldstone 2000).

What do failing or fragile states mean? According to the Weberian/Westphalian liberal state model, the states have been categorized either to be strong or weak/fragile/failing/collapsed ones. However, there are some political entities in the world that are not similar to the Weberian/Westphelian liberal state model. According to the new theory, these states and institutions within them should not be accepted “not properly built” or “failed”. However, this new approach suggests that these so-called fragile or failed states should be taken into consideration in terms of hybrid political orders, which analyzes the forms of political order in these states labeled as fragile or failed states on national context. The concept of Hybrid Political Orders was introduced to replace and re-conceptualize the concept of failing or fragile states. It presents a blend of the two spheres where there is a connection, an intermingling and an interpenetration of the norms and institutions of the formal state on the one hand and the norms and institutions of the informal (traditional, customary) sphere on the other (Boege et al. 2009). By combining “elements of the introduced Western model and elements stemming from local indigenous traditions of governance and politics” (Clements et al. 2007), such a process generates new forms of governance. The concept of HPO gives opportunities for peacebuilding/making, as well as for a new type of state-building. The solution recommended for these states is state-building, which is presented as sustainably strengthening state institutions in addition to enhancing the capacities of state actors for control, regulation and implementation, particularly in the core fields of statehood, namely internal security, basic social services, the rule of law and legitimacy of government (Boege et al. 2009). Weber (1956) distinguishes between rational, traditional and charismatic authority.

  • Rational authority dominates in modern state structures. These are based on bureaucracy that functions according to rules and laws that are considered rational and make the execution of authority calculable.
  • Traditional authority is typical for medieval European and contemporary so-called ‘tribal’ societies. It builds on the personal relationship between ruler and ruled.
  • Charismatic authority characterizes-leaders, kings, religious leaders, prophets and others who, in the eyes of their followers, have magic abilities at their disposal
  1. Historical background

The historical background of Somaliland can be divided into three major sets of periods. The first is pre-colonial period, the second is colonial period and the third one is post-colonial period.

2.1. Pre-colonial period

Historically Somalis were nomadic pastoralists, moving from place to place in the horn of Africa, mainly due to search of pasture and water for their livestock. “Prior to the arrival of the European colonizers, majority of Somalis were mainly nomadic pastoralists (and few agro-pastoralists) sparsely scattered over an arid land where miscellaneous rival clans were constantly competing over scarce grazing land and water” (Daud 2012). Specific territories were inhabited by specific clans, who see that territory as their own land and try to protect the intervention of other clans. However during drought and famine times clans used to cross over to other clan territories for survival. “Under this harsh environment, each clan strives to outmaneuver other clans in order to gain access to the scarce resources” (Daud 2012). Although Somalis had no centralized political hierarchy, each clan has its own head known as suldaan, boqor, ugaas or garaad, whose functions are customarily ceremonial and/or honorary (Daud 2012). The struggle over the scant resources emerged establishment of a special social structure in order to continue Somalis’ pastoral life peacefully based on cooperation and sharing of these resources. Therefore, each clan was grouped by members and formulated oral norms and rules within a distinctive social structure based on kinship in order to be responsible for the actions of its members. “Political and social relations were regulated predominantly through solidarity within patrilineal groups (tol) and customary law (xeer)” (Hoehne 2011). Two key elements of the kinship Xeer are blood ties and a concept known as xeer (pronounced “hair”), which is, essentially, an unwritten but loosely accepted code of conduct (Yusuf & Mare 2005). Xeer, which is a basis for social contract, combines Islamic sharia and customary law. It defines obligations, rights, and collective responsibilities, sanctions of the group. Within this xeer, members are obliged to support each other. According to Andre Le Sage the general principles of xeer law include:

1   collective payment of diya (or blood money, usually paid with camels and other livestock) for death, physical harm, theft, rape and defamation.

2   maintenance of inter-clan harmony.

3   family obligations.

4   resource-utilisation rules.

With the concept of xeer, we can understand cooperative obligation of the group’s members and protection of their rights. For example, there is a diya-paying group, through which, the group’s members collectively receive or pay blood compensation (diya) for homicide or injury committed by or to members of the diya-paying group (Gardner & Bushra 2004).   Xeer does not reduce either internal or external conflict, but maintains of inter-clan harmony by providing accepted and practical ways of solution on disputes and conflicts. Xeer rules rights to common resources such as water and pastureland. Disputes and conflicts over resources, such as water and pastureland or other issues were judged and solved by elders. “When disputes arise over matters such as grazing rights, water, other resources, or political influence, they are arbitrated by what is known as a shir- a council of elders” (Yusuf & Le Mare 2005). When dispute or conflict occurred between clans, respectful and wise elders representing different clans held a meeting with the participation of adult men and considered the issues and tried to solve the conflict. “The shir deals with relations between groups, in war and peacetime, and lays down the laws and principles by which members act. While all adult males are entitled to participate and be heard in a shir, reaching agreement is usually delegated to the elders, who are drawn from all levels of society. An elder (usually a man) may gain prominence and influence through attributes of age, wealth, wisdom, religious knowledge, and powers of oratory. An elder is a clan representative or delegate, rather than a leader with authority” (Yusuf & Mare 2005). Gatherings are assembled on an ad hoc basis and can last from a few hours to many months, depending on the complexity and gravity of the debate. The size of the shir also varies to account for the number of constituents and clan aggregations involved (the larger the aggregation, the larger the shir). The shir was a traditional way of meeting between the elders who are in charge with dealing relations between clans and solving disputes and conflicts based on mutual agreement. “A democratic and consensus-driven community forum, shir is a diffuse, decentralized and broadly participatory system of rule” (Lewis 2003).

2.2. Colonial period.

In nineteenth century Somalia was colonized by British in Somaliland and Italians in southern Somali. Some historians explain that there were different interests behind the colonization of Somalia by British. It started when the Suez Canal was opened in 1869 and Britain wanted to control the route because it concerned about the fact that the route was open to India. “Britain wanted to take over the coast of Somalia, in order to guard the Suez Canal” (Cahnman 2009). The traditional clan-based system has been indirectly changed by British and Italian colonial powers. “They integrated traditional authorities in their system of indirect rule or undermined and replaced independent traditional leaders with loyal colonial agents” (Hoehne 2011). This gradual change by the colonial powers had an impact on the roles of elders of Somaliland as well. “Through the indirect rule, Somaliland elders were made part and parcel of the state and assumed diverse titles, e.g., chiefs, caaqilo, receiving government stipend. Others were incorporated into the government as judges, Qaadiyo, presiding local courts and their authority was reinforced with local police officers, Illaaho” (Daud 2012). British and Italian colonialism differed from each other in terms of their approach to traditional-clan based system of Somalis. “British did not crush Somaliland’s traditional institutions but rather introduced the incorporation of traditional- and modern-institutions. This was however different from how Italians approached their colonial endeavors in Somalia” (Daud 2012). Colonial development of commerce, education and bureaucracy was also urban-based which further marginalized the rural population and meant that the nationalist leadership was largely drawn from the urban areas (Kibble 2001). Somalis were not treated well by colonial powers especially by Italians in the southern part of Somalia and the colonial powers did not respect local culture and tradition. The colonial powers had only interest of power over their territories, interest in the resources. “Italian fascist regime in 1923, led by Bennito Mussolini, utilized the horrendous direct rule, or kolonya system, intended to achieve three objectives: first, to wholly wipe out traditional institutions of southern Somalis; secondly, to confiscate forcibly all the fertile land without any compensation; and thirdly, to enslave southerners in order to provide free labor” (Daud 2012).

2.3. Unification of Somalia.

The British Somaliland Protectorate became independent on June 26, 1960, and was the first Somali country to become a member of the United Nations[i]. After the unification of the British and the Italian territories to form the Somali Republic on 1 July 1960, the post-colonial Somali elite was eager to marginalize traditional authorities who were considered to be in the way of progress (Hoehne 2011). Aden Abdullah Osman Daar, who led Somali Youth League (SYL), which was a nationalist organization campaigning for an independency of Somalia from colonial powers, was elected as a President of the United Republic of Somalia. Abdirashid Ali Shermarke was elected as a Prime Minister of the United Republic of Somalia. Daar ruled a civilian government from 1960 until 1967. Then Prime Minister Shermarke became a President of the United Republic of Somalia from 1967 till 1969 and Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal was appointed as a Prime Minister by Shermarke. Egal was in the USA when Shermarke was killed by his body guard. A military coup under the leadership of Siad Barre came to power in 1969. Barre named the country the Somali Democratic Republic and ruled it till 1991. He declared Somalia as a socialist state in 1970. “Through his policies of ‘scientific socialism’ Barre sought to transform Somalia into a modern nation-state that would “substitute the clan in providing leadership, security and welfare” (Scholiswohl 2004). “ Clan elders were integrated into the central government in an attempt to marginalize their power within local communities” (Forti 2011). There was only one political party the Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) under the military rule of Barre. Under “socialism” policy of Barre the SRC was altered by the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party (SRSP) in 1976. The government developed the south particularly the capital Mogadishu, most towns in the north remained undeveloped. Schools, universities were mainly based in Mogadishu. The people from the north were obliged to go to Mogadishu for a job and higher education. Provision of social services was less in the north in comparison with the south. The economy was shifted to the south. Port, airport were situated in the south. Under the Barre regime, the Isaaq clan, who was predominantly in the north of Somalia was marginalized and it was intensified by Barre’s divide and rule principle. “The failing economy and political system reawakened long suppressed discontent over the regional neglect of the north, compounded by the fact that various clan groups in the north were not treated equally. The historically strong and wealthy Isaaq had been systematically undermined in military and civil service posts and through the unequal development of resources and the location of development projects” (World Directory of Minorities 2011). The clans, particularly Isaaq clan from the northern part of Somalia started to raise their voice against brutal tyranny, oppression carried out by Barre’s regime.

2.4. Somaliland National Movement (SNM)

The north-west Somalis, mainly the Isaaq clan took advantage to establish the Somali National Movement in 1981 based in London, after Barre’s failure in the occupation of Ogaden region of Ethiopia in 1977. SNM started to fight against the Siad Barre’s regime in the northwestern part of the country in 1982. The rebellions possessed military base in Ethiopia which initially was limited with Soviet military arms and launched guerrilla attacks against military government headed by Siad Barre, this was followed by a severe civil war between the SNM and military government ranging between 1988 and 1991. The civil war had increased the magnitude of the conflict, claiming substantial loss of civilian lives, destruction of almost all major towns in the region, while tenth of thousands of other civilian people were forced to become either Internally Displaced Persons in their home country or to seek refugees in the neighboring countries or elsewhere in the world. “For money and manpower the guerrillas depended on the support of ordinary members of the Isaaq clan family (in Somalia, the Somali region of Ethiopia and the diaspora). This support was usually channeled through the hands of traditional authorities” (Reno 2003). The government in the south of Somalia under the leadership of Barre started to weaken; meanwhile the SNM took control over the northwest of Somalia, including main towns as Hargeisa and Burco. The Somali government launched a full-scale attack against the northern Somali clans (primarily the Issaq), killing over 40,000 people between May 1988 and March 1989 (Lewis 2003). The houses of Isaaq clans were destroyed and their settlements and water points were mined. In 1988, SNM carried out a massive attack on Hargeisa.

In 1991, SNM took control of major cities in Somaliland. As a result, the army of Barre’s regime Army was defeated by SNM. The Barre’s regime was overthrown by SNM in 1991 and this caused a chaos in southern Somalia. The government was out of control in the region and various militias and warlords started to fight for power and control over the government. In the wake of the collapse of the Barre regime, the northern part of Somalia, which was British Somaliland during colonial period, declared its independence on May 18, 1991 and proclaimed the Republic of Somaliland. However, Somaliland has failed to gain international recognition.

2.5. Independence of Somaliland.

Though the SNM took the whole control over the northwestern part of Somaliland, there was still conflict between clans, sub-clans, militias. There were three main non-Isaaq clans such as Warsangali clan inhabited in Erigavo, capital of Sanaag, Dhulbahante clan mainly inhabited in Las Anod, capital of Sool, and partly in Erigavo, Gadabuursi clan mainly inhabited in Borama, capital of Awdal. The Isaaq clan mainly lived in main towns of Somaliland such as Burco, Hargeisa, Berbera, and Erigavo. The non-Isaaq clans sided with the Barre’s regime and fought against the SNM during the armed conflict between the SNM and military government of Siad Barre. During the conflict between the military government of Baree and the SNM, many people from Isaaq clan were killed; their settlements were destroyed by the government’s national army. The people mainly from Isaaq clan were forced to leave their homeland and fled to other neighboring countries. However, the three main non-Isaaq clans still remained in country at that time. When the SNM took all control over the northwestern part of Somaliland, the Isaaq clans started to revenge the non-Isaaq clans. However, this has not taken long as the SNM which is predominantly Isaaqs did not want to revenge the non-Isaaq clan. With the help of the traditional leaders from both the Isaaq and non-Isaaq clans the targets against the non-Isaaq people were contained.

The lack of effective order and rule of law, lack of international recognition of self-declared independence of Somaliland, lack of confidence in the rule of the SNM and mistrust, interest of control over the resources between the sub-clans, grievances between clans in fact in capacitated the SNM to manage the widespread violence. Inter-clan disputes, rape, widespread looting, robbing, fighting, killing, and inter-clan and other crimes in continued to happen in Somaliland in the early 1990s even after its declaration of independence. There was no central government that could control the widespread chaos; the SNM was incapacitated to act upon it due to the lack of financial and resource base, but more importantly due to lack of technical capacity to establish a full functioning central government that could oversee the entire territory of the Somaliland republic. This was coupled by the lack of the international community support in rebuilding the nation. This has laid the foundation to seek an indigenous approach to transform the conflict.

3- Reconciliation Process

After declaration of a formal ceasefire in Berbera peace conference in February, 1991, the SNM called a meeting of the elders of all non-Isaaq clans in March “to reconcile any potential differences between them and the Isaaq clans – as agreed upon by all liberation movements before the end of the war-of-liberation” (Davies 1994). During the Berbera peace conference, there was a tense among the elders of non-Isaaq clan and some elders from non-Isaaq clan did not want to accept Somaliland’s declaration of independence, because of their past grievance and mistrust towards the SNM. “This was a tense conference with many non-Isaaq elders who were afraid of being killed by the SNM” (Jhazbhay 2009). However, majority of Somaliland’s people including “returnees from refugee camps in Ethiopia (Jhazbhay 2009)” made demonstrations on the demand of independence and supported the declaration of the independence of Somaliland. The Berbera peace conference was like a stepping stone to the principle of SNM on peaceful coexistence among all clans of Somaliland.

The holding of the Guurti Congress of Elders which represented of all clans played a significant role on the declaration of independence of the Republic of Somaliland. After the declaration of the independence, SNM interim government was formed. There were two key priorities before the interim government. One of them was to create condition and opportunity for non-Isaaq groups to participate in newly-established interim government. Second one was to develop constitution and set up and elected government.

As I mentioned above there was a fighting between the SNM and its clan militias and disputes among Isaaq sub-clans like Habaryoonis, and Ciise Muse clans over the resources. The situation worsened in Berbera in 1992 when the interim government tried to control the port and its profits. With the help of the elders gathering in the Burco conference, this confrontation between the Isaaq clan and other northern clans was removed and it established peace among these clans. The Burco conference strengthened the role of the elders and made their role permanent.

The most significant conferences organized by the elders of Somaliland since early 1991 were Sheikh, Erigavo and Borama conferences which were held in these towns in early 1990s respectively. The conflict over the Berbera port was solved with the help of the Sheikh conference. The conference affirmed the port as a public asset. Another agenda of the conference was to establish a framework for the participation of the council of elders in newly-established interim government of Somaliland and identify their roles with the tasks on “controlling clan militia, preventing acts of aggression against other communities, and protecting Somaliland” (Farah & Lewis, 1997). The Sheikh conference was inclusive with the participation of non-Isaaq clan elders.

Another main conference was the Erigavo conference. This conference was significant with its creation of a peace charter which ended conflicts in many regions of Somaliland and recognized the Somali people’s rights to move, trade, and pursue their aspirations within the clan. The charter also envisaged the return of property, land and other resources, which were invaded, stolen, or looted during the war. Conflict resolution committees were established in all places to keep the peace and with the help of this process in place, peace has been maintained.

The Borama conference differs with its significance from previous conferences. It covered above one hundred and fifty members of council of elders representing almost all the Somaliland clans including many internal and external delegates and observers. The Borama conference’s important achievements were the peaceful transfer of power from the liberation movement (SNM-led interim government) to a civilian government, where Muhammad Egal was elected as a President of this elected government. The conference also produced a Peace Charter which set up a national security structure and a National Charter which established a National Guurti (Assembly of Elders), which was a non-elected upper house of the parliament. Bradbury et al. contend that the Borama conference was important in the post-war context for the way in which it addressed issues of representation and power-sharing, namely “by institutionalising clans and their leadership into the system of governance. The National Charter was basis for establishment of clan (beel) system of governance. The government was functioning based on a hybrid of Westphalian/Weberian and traditional forms. The government consisted of an executive (Golaha Xukuumadda) with a president, vice-president and a council of ministers, a legislature, comprising a bicameral parliament with an upper house of elders (Golaha Guurtida) and a house of representatives (Golaha Wakiillada), and an independent judiciary (Jhazbhay 2009).

The emerging government faced with the conflict between its army and a militia associated with an opposition clan in 1995-1996. The Guurti did play an important role in the solution to the conflict in 1997. The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process of clan militias, which was a task of the Guurti to solve, was carried out by the following phases:

  • Solution of factional disputes and collection of both small arms and heavy weapons
  • Dissolution of local militias and recruitment of militias into one of the three security forces: the army, police, and custodial corps
  • Mandatory training for recruits

One of the most prominent disarmament and demobilization process was held in Hargeisa’s football stadium, where clans paraded their arms and weapons. During the recruitment of militias, a major part of weapons and arms was collected. The clan militias had to bring their militias’ weapons as well as personal arms during the recruitment and reintegration into the security forces. The mandatory training for recruits, which was held in 1997, played an important role on the selection process of those, who wanted not to go to security forces voluntarily, handed over their arms and weapons and those who wanted to leave the armed forces received compensation.

Originating in the anthropology of law, the concept of legal pluralism is generally defined as multiple sets of laws existing in the same social field (Griffiths 1986). The Republic of Somaliland exercises the hybrid legal system consisting of Islamic law, customary law and statutory law. In May, 2001, Somaliland implemented a new constitution. Somaliland’s political structure is based on presidential system, which can deal with the restrictions imposed by clan-based politics. There are executive, legislative and judicial forms of government in the Republic of Somaliland.    

Somaliland has three legal systems: Islamic law, customary law and statutory law. The majority of population in Somaliland is Muslim. Therefore, the norms and values of Islamic religion play an important role in the constitution and legal system of the country. The constitution envisages that promulgated legislation will be considered invalid, if it breaches the basic principles of Islamic law. There are informal courts engaging in specific issues such as marriage, divorce, succession, which are related to Islamic law. Another legal system of the Republic of Somaliland is customary law, which exists in the country before the colonial period. Customary law is based on customs and traditional norms and values. Somalilanders are still using the traditional methods of justice system in combination with Islamic law in order to bring to end the disputes and conflicts. Through the impact of Western colonization of Somaliland, it implemented a statutory law. The statutory law was integrated with the above-mentioned effective laws and established a hybrid legal system in the country. These three different legal systems in Somaliland regulate civil and criminal acts.

4 –Challenges

The political structure of Somaliland is based on hybrid political system. There are presidential and parliamentary systems in Somaliland, which the latter consists of National Guurti, a non-elected upper house and an elected lower house functioning based on key traditional elements. There are multiple political parties functioning in the country. According to a scholar Mohamud A. Jama (2003), “The Council of Elders legitimizes the presidential exercise of power by providing political justification for controversial and difficult actions and decisions by the President.” However, the scholar is sceptical about the hybrid arrangement and the challenges of it. According to him, “The system of clan-based political representation is effective in establishing a basis of stability and peace, but inherently incompatible with holding elected officials accountable for their performance.” Although the indigenous and traditional methods on reconciliation and peace-making/building in Somaliland played an important role initially, however potential challenges of political hybridity should be taken into consideration. According to Renders and Terlinden (2010), traditional and local elements, while useful in providing short-term legitimacy to nascent state institutions, may not be well suited to delivering proper governance and development over the long term. For example, in Somaliland integration of traditional or informal communities within formal democratic institutions through the institualization of the Guurti had a significant role in the peace process for a long term and political support for local authorities. However, nowadays, the hybrid political system in Somaliland is a risk for a political stability. Today, traditional or informal institutions function together with the formal ones in Somaliland. It creates competition over legitimacy and authority between them. According to Hoehne (2011), “Mixing legitimacies does, in the long run, rather prevent modern states from be-coming effectively democratic and/or damages the credibility and effectiveness of traditional authorities”.

5 -Way forward

As mentioned above, there are substantial challenges facing the political hybrid system in Somaliland. Some of the challenges are embedded in the constitution while others are institutional. However at the current status quo, it may not be wise to think of eliminating the political hybrid system in Somaliland. In this regard, I would suggest the following as the way forward

  • There is a need of limiting the legislative powers of the Guurti. In this regard, their involvement in politics should be limited and their traditional as well as religious and cultural responsibilities should be emphasized. This rules out the current situation of putting the clan as the driving force of political influences in Somaliland.
  • Knowing the Guurti’s, crucial role in peace making and peace building, through the traditional conflict resolution mechanisms, their involvement in this regard however should be clearly defined. This is because there are other governmental institutions that are also dealing with conflict resolution mechanisms such as the police, the army, ministries while the role of the court is also crucial in this sense.
  • Although the Guurt’s establishment through clan representation was important in early 1990s due to the absence of effective government, this time the Guurti, should be elected officials and not clan appointed officials.
  • The criteria for electing the Guurti should also be revisited and expanded from the current criteria which are limited to only having knowledge on customary law and religion. For instance, a certain level of schooling should be considered
  • The current male dominance status of the Guurti, should also be revisited and the inclusion of women should be thought of.

6 – Conclusion

In this paper, I tried to analyze how and why hybrid political orders exist in Somaliland. Before analyzing how and why hybrid political orders exist in Somaliland, I tried to explain and make understandable the new concept of hybrid political orders in general. Then I explained why this new concept was introduced by analyzing Westphelian/Weberian modern statehood and other statehoods which were not established based on this modern statehood concept and why most of them are considered fail or fragile states. The paper also discusses the different historical event that the Somaliland has undergone. In this paper, I tried to cover how the traditional communities had impact in political developments during different periods of historical background of Somaliland. These traditional or non-formal authorities have been engaged in communal politics during pre-colonial period, their involvement in reconciliation process during the civil war and government politics since the formation of civil state. In this regard, particularly the role of the Guurti is significant. In terms of reconciliation and peace-making/building process, the Guurti’s (the Council of Elders) role is undeniable. Peace building process was realized with the help of the traditional methods of reconciliation or resolution limited to any foreign assistance. Besides this, the statebuilding process of Somaliland was also locally realized and it was bottom-up statebuilding process. Being established during the Boroma conference under the National and Peace Charters, the roles and responsibilities of the Guurti were to address cultural, religious, traditional, security, conflict resolution issues. The Guurti played an important role in the transformation of the SNM-led interim government into the elected or civil government. The Guurti takes a seat in the Parliament as a non-elected upper house. However, the lower house of the Parliament is elected members. Although, the Guurti addressed to key challenges such as reconciliation process, maintaining peace and stability and territory in the country through transformation of rebel movement into the civil government, nowadays the Guurti’s role has been changed by the facts that it has been politicized and the changing of members of initially-established Guurti, which consisted of mainly men serving to their clans and communities. Some clans do not benefit from their representatives in the Guurti, because of the fact that the representatives involved in the politics without understanding main responsibilities and fulfilling them other than getting seat in the Parliament and using the power and legitimacy given to them.

Although the above-mentioned shortcomings in the hybrid political structure of Somaliland, we can see from this paper that Somaliland is one of the good examples on bottom-up peace-making and state-building process in African continent. However, we can understand by this paper that Hybrid Political Order (a mix of legitimacies) can be very essential during initial state-building or peace-making/building process in the short run, but it cannot be effective during the long-term in terms of shaking the democratic capabilities of formal institutions on the one hand, and on the other hand breaking the effectiveness and trustworthiness of traditional authorities.


 Andre, Le Sage. 2005. Stateless Justice in Somalia, Formal and Informal Rule of Law Initiatives, July 2005 Report, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Geneva, Switzerland,   32-33

Boege, Volker, Anne Brown, Kevin Clements and Anna Nolan. 2009. Hybrid Political Orders and Emerging States: What is Failing – States in the Global South or Research and Politics in the West? In: Sabine Fischer and Beatrix Schmelzle (eds) Building Peace in the Absence of States: Challenging the Discourse on State Failure, pp. 15-36. Berlin: Berghof Research Center.

Clements, Kevin P., Volker Boege, Anne Brown, Wendy Foley and Anna Nolan. 2007. State Building Reconsidered: The Role of Hybridity in the Formation of Political Order. Political Science, p.50.

Eva, Cahnman. 2009. “Somalia: Colonilization”. Accessed March 15, 2013 (http://hj2009per2somalia.weebly.com/colonization.html).

Daud Abdi Hussein. 2012.”What Went Wrong?-Why Southern Somalia Failed And Somaliland Succeeded?”. Accessed March 15, 2013 (http://www.somalilandtimes.net/sl/2012/533/41.shtml).

Daniel. R. Forti. 2011. A Pocket of Stability: Understanding Somaliland. Occasional Paper Series, p. 15.

Davies, J.L. 1994. The liberation movements of Somalia. Retrieved June 22, 2008, (http://www.civicwebs.com/cwvlib/africa/somalia/1994/lib_movments/lib_movements.html)

Farah, A.Y., and Lewis, I.M. 1997. Peace making endeavour of contemporary lineage leaders in Somaliland. In H. M. Adam & R. Ford (Eds.), Mending rips in the sky: Options for Somali communities in the 21st century. Lawrenceville, NJ: Red Sea Press.

Gardner, Judith and Judy El Bushra. 2004. “Women and Peace-Making in Somaliland.” In Somalia – The Untold Story: The War Through the Eyes of Somali Women, edited by Judith Gardner and Judy El Bushra. London: Pluto Press.

Griffiths, John. 1986. What is legal pluralism? Journal of Legal Pluralism 24, 1-50.

Goldstone, Jack. 2000. “State Failure Task Force Report 2000: Phase III Findings”. Accessed March 14, 2013 (http://www.cidcm.umd.edu/publications/papers/SFTF%20Phase%20III%20Report%20Final.pdf).

Hoehne, Markus Virgil. 2011. No Easy Way Out: Traditional Authorities in Somaliland and the Limits of Hybrid Political Orders . DIIS Working Paper 2011:18, p.8.

Iqbal, Jhazbhay. 2009. Somaliland: The Journey of Resistance, Reconciliation and Peace. Department of Religious Studies and Arabic, University of South Africa, p. 59.

Lewis, I.M. 2003. A modern history of the Somali: Nation and state in the Horn of Africa. Ohio: Ohio University Press.

Migdal, Joel S. and Klaus Schlichte. 2005. “Rethinking the State”. In Klaus Schlichte (ed.): The Dynamics of States: The formation and crises of state domination, 1-40.

Mohamud, A. Jama. 2003. Somalia and Somaliland: Strategies for dialogue and consensus on governance and democratic transition, Accessed March 17, 2013 (http://www.mbali.info/doc24.htm).

Marleen, Renders and Ulf Terlinden. 2010. Development and Change: “Negotiating Statehood in a Hybrid Political Order: The Case of Somaliland,” p. 742. The Hague: International Institute of Social Studies.

Reno, William. 2003. Somalia and Survival in the Shadow of the Global Economy. Queen Elisabeth House Working Paper No. 100, p. 24. Oxford: University of Oxford.

Steve, Kibble. 2001. Somaliland: Surviving Without Recognition; Somalia: Recognised but Failing?, p.11. London: Catholic Institute for International Relations.

Scholiswohl, M. 2004. Status and (human rights) obligations of a non-recognized de facto regimes in law: The case of ‘Somaliland’. Leiden, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

Somaliland: An African success story, Accessed March 30, 2013 (http://probeinternational.org/library/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/SomalilandMiracle.pdf).

Weber, Max. 1964. Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. Koeln [Tuebingen 1922], Kiepenheuer & Witsch.

World Directory of Minorities. 2011. Somalia Overview. Accessed March 14, 2013 (http://www.minorityrights.org/?lid=4515&tmpl=printpage).

Yusuf, H. and Le Mare R. 2005. “Clan Elders as Conflict Mediators: Somaliland.” In P. van Tongeren, M. Brenk, M. Hellema, and J. Verhoeven, People Building Peace II: Successful Stories of Civil Society, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. [1]

[1] Somaliland: An African success story, http://probeinternational.org/library/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/SomalilandMiracle.pdf (last visited March 30, 2013).

January 31, 2015


Nubar Piriyeva is an Azeri translator, economist, as well as an independant researcher in peace and conflict studies. Her research areas are state –building, human trafficking, social rehabilitation of victims of trafficking, dometic violence, and others. She is a former student of European Peace University under Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution and a co-founder of Social Care and Researches Public Union in Azerbaijan.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 2 Feb 2015.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Hybrid Political Orders: In the case of Somaliland, is included. Thank you.

If you enjoyed this article, please donate to TMS to join the growing list of TMS Supporters.

Share this article:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

Comments are closed.