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Publication Detail
Beyond polarity: negotiating a hybrid state in Somaliland
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Walls M, Kibble S
  • Publisher:
    GIGA, Institute of African Affairs in co-operation with the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation Uppsala and Hamburg University Press.
  • Publication date:
  • Place of publication:
    Hamburg, Germany
  • Pagination:
    31, 56
  • Journal:
    Africa Spectrum
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
  • Language:
  • EISSN:
  • Keywords:
    Somaliland, democracy, hybrid state
Many African states struggle to reconcile traditional social institutions with the precepts of nation-state democracy within colonially defined borders. Since the 1991 fall of the dictatorial Somali regime of Siyaad Barre, Somaliland has gradually pieced together what appear to be a durable peace and an increasingly sophisticated, constitutionally based nation-state democracy. It is still negotiating the relationship between identity, nation and territory in which there is a differential commitment to democracy between the political elite and the wider population. Accommodation between a clan-based social structure and a representative democracy has been enabled by local socio-cultural traditions. External intervention, while minimal, has on occasion proved fruitful in providing a way out of crises. The territory has escaped the violence and political breakdown experienced in southern Somali areas. This contribution argues that the remarkable resilience of the present socio-political system in Somaliland is challenged by present and forthcoming problems in the fields of democratic representation (inter alia of women), delivery of public goods, a fragile sub-regional context and foreign investment.
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