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Puntland State has never had mature and effective public institutions due to the fact that its constitution exist by name only and never embedded in the consciousness of its owners, the people. There are mainly three factors holding back the people of Puntland to embrace man-made solemn accord:

1. Some religious elements never accepted the notion of binding agreement between men, which is the foundation of modern statecraft. They keep confusing the general public to come to peaceful harmony and binding civil contract.

2. The nomad doesn’t recognize authority beyond his realm.

3. There is no citizenship in a modern sense in tribal societies. Here there is no collective responsibility towards common good beyond clan interests. For instance, residents of Puntland towns don’t see things differently but along their individual self-interests. What are public institutions meant to such folks?


Nothing else matters amid absence of strong public institutions in the life and culture of a nation. Have you ever heard Somali political leaders talking about building institutions? Why not? There must be sinister reasons for avoiding the subject. Any opinion on the matter? Ok, put in another way: Why the military Regime of Siyad Barre had undermined post-independence Somali constitution, parliament and independent judiciary upon taking over the government by coup?

What is the highest public institution in a given country? Parliament, Judiciary, anybody else? Let me remind you that the constitution of a country is the highest and supreme public institution any country could have. The strength of rule of law depends on the loyalty to the constitution. Rate any political leader by his/her attitude towards the letter and spirit of this fundamental public contract. Somalis are familiar with their failed public institutions: The three branches of government in which the Executive Branch acts as winner takes it all, a political culture known in Somalia as Madax-ka-Nool (only the president matters and decides all).

Among public institutions include the State Capital, which is subject to power-sharing in the case of Somalia. There is a growing political culture by residents of Federal and State capitals to use them as political leverages to gain undue influence, power and resources, turning them into Koofka (clan fox-holes). Mogadishu has become the head clan fox-hole, followed by the capitals of Federal Member States. To act as public institutions, these capitals should have public approved legal instruments to safeguard them from Koofka influence, otherwise they aren’t public properties and should be vacated and left alone to their own devices.

Look very hard at Somali Federal and State leaders, follow their speeches, to find out that they don’t intend to leave behind viable public institutions for the survival and continuity of Somalia’s nation-state. They pursue “After me, the dèluge”. “Poor is the nation looking for a hero”.

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