Mogadishu ( PP Editorial) — The return to the 4.5 power-sharing system as a basis for 2021 elections seems to have dashed hopes of many influential members of the Fifth Clans in Somalia. Once known as Others or 0.5, Fifth Clans of Somalia are Somali social groups that participants from some Somali clans in the Djibouti-sponsored 2000 reconciliation conference relegated to a lower citizenship status for not owning armed clan militias and marauders. 

The agreement on the poll model reached several weeks ago reflects a major political setback: the infamous 4.5.  received a new lease of life twenty years after it had seen the light of day in Djibouti. The plight of the Fifth Clans has deteriorated since 2000. There is no Federal Member State associated with Fifth Clans. In this situation it is reasonable to think other militaristic Somali clans have a vested interest in keeping Fifth Clans in lower citizenship status.

Dalha (left), Khadija and Ma’ow (right) are influential members of Fifth Clans.

Combining the 4.5 power-sharing system with one person, one vote elections would constitute a deadly mix that can deepen the subordination of Fifth Clans.

MPs and Senators of Fifth Clans make up  one block of the Parliament and the Upper House. What unites them is the unfair status of political inequality imposed on them. Why are MPs and Senators from Fifth Clans silent on the source of their marginalisation? Advocacy for representation in districts historically associated with clans now subsumed fiefdoms of self-styled powerful clans is  what can make the voices of the politically marginalised heard. 

Khalid Ma’ow (MP), Mohammed Omar Dalha (MP) and Khadiijo Mohammed Dirie (Cabinet Minister) belong to the Fifth Clans but find it hard to unite their political resources to fight the injustices their clans suffer. 

Through advocacy Fifth Clans can form alliances with other progressive members from Somali clans.  Many people in other Somali clans suffer similar political and economic marginalisation. Somali think thanks  protect the interests of powerful clans. There is no think tank that writes about the plight of Fifth Clans. How has the gravity of  Fifth Clans’ political insubordination been under successive Somali Federal Governments? Do we have to judge a government on the basis of expectations or what it is required by law to treat law-abiding citizens equally ? The International Community urges Somali political leaders to practise inclusive politis. What inclusive politics means in practice is hardly understandable without members of Fifth Clans speaking out against different forms of political marginalisation they suffer. Only then can their fellow citizens join the fight against political inequality based on the 4.5 system.

No political leader from other clans has shown commitment to ending political subordination of Fifth Clans. Promises about what a politician will do is not enough. The right of Fifth Clans to political equality is enshrined in the Draft Constitution.  It is crying out for implementation.

 © Puntland Post, 2020

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