Breaking the Barriers of Somalia’s Traditional Leadership

Things are changing and Somalia’s leadership status is changing as well. The country’s highest leadership has traditionally revolved around two tribes: Hawiye and Daarood. If one gets the presidential position, the other one gets the prime minister’s position. 

Left Prime Minister Hamza & President Hassan

This trend has been the status quo of the country, especially after the collapse of the central state in 1991. Individual clans of the two tribes have also vied for the two positions. In the case of the Daarood tribe, some clans traditionally held either the presidential or the premier positions. But that practice is falling apart.  

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has appointed an Ogaaden Prime Minister, which is breaking the traditional leadership of the Daarood tribe. Being one of the biggest clans of the tribe, it’s the first time a person from the Ogaaden clan occupies such a position. The newly-selected Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre is from this clan. 

And it means that other Daarood clans can ascend to one of the highest chairs of the country. Jidwaaq clan is in line now. It must follow suit and aspire to hold either the first or the second position currently held by its younger brother. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. 

The Jidwaaq clan immensely contributed to Somalia’s freedom and has held Somalis’ fabric together. Hawo Osman (Hawo Tako) exemplifies the clan’s contribution to the country’s freedom. She’s from this clan and died in downtown Mogadishu in 1948, fighting colonialist forces. Somalia has memorialized the freedom fighter woman, so her monument stands high at the core of Mogadishu now. Unfortunately, some of the clan’s parliamentary seats have recently been expropriated by the Jubbaland administration, but times will change. 

Hawo Osman (Hawo Tako)

Somalia is a country grappling with tedious challenges. But the new president is committed to improving its condition. His motto is “Somalia at peace with itself and with the rest of the world.”