The Horn Of Africa States: Global And Regional Politics – OpEd


The Horn of Africa States does not perhaps need to discuss matters of global or even regional concerns. It still struggles with its traditional problems. We have clans and sub-clans fighting over scarce resources, usually the only source to which they look at, is the power corridors. Horn Africans do look at the wealth around them but at the seat of power and each little clan thinks it should be the one sitting on it. In the process, they forget the bounties of God around them and spend their time and energies fighting their fellow brothers and sisters until they perish in the process or become old and useless. But what happens to the region, in the meanwhile?

Agriculture becomes less productive, famines as a result of mainly made factors, and affects most parts of the region. Education, health and general social services decline and the hardware in terms of roads and rail and streets and even airports deteriorate as most energies are spent on matters that really should be the concern of a few only.

The leaders of the region spend most of their time defending themselves against their own opposition brothers and sisters in the form of clans and tribes, with no agendas other than replacing those in the peppery seat of power. Why should then one expect the region move forward from the socio-economic-political doldrums it has created for itself? It will not.

This becomes the joy of those who exploit the region, be it the West or the East for their own ends and when a regional leader among the Horn of Africa States countries signs an accord with one country or its corporations or even multi-lateral organizations they think they have achieved something good for his country. It is far from the truth. Most agreements are edited to be in favor of the foreign party and down the road, one finds that the country was really had! These foreign parties, indeed, become the benefactors of the leaders who, in turn, control the populations, and this basically is how the governance, economies and politics of many a nation are controlled. The Horn of Africa is no different and at present either the Chinese or Western corporations are wreaking havoc in the lands. No wonder the Horn of Africa States region does not even have a block for itself but is forced to join other presidential and prime ministerial clubs elsewhere. These could be IGAD or the EAC or the Arab League or the Indian Ocean Community and others and all serving parties that are not Horn African.

In the past, there used to be, at least, strong military leaders, who disrupted the normal development of the region through their revolutionary zeal, but they were at least nationalist and patriotic. I know many would find this offensive, but what has the region replaced them with? Every country or region is a reflection of its own leaders and perhaps the poor state of the region is a reflection of its state and regional leadership. And here is where most people make the mistake of considering leadership of ruling parties only. Leadership includes both the ruling parties and the opposition parties. The both bear responsibility on what is happening in the region and if there are famines and droughts and there is no food, they must be held responsible, for the Horn of Africa should not be hungry. It has seas and oceans, rivers and lakes with plenty of fish and it has plenty of agricultural land and fresh waters to grow its own food and it has a large animal population to provide meat and proteins. Unless there is something wrong with the leadership, the Horn of Africa States should be helping others with food and not be starving itself.

Now that Europeans and Americans are busy fighting off Russia, this must provide a breathing space for the leaders to think of their lands and region. But it seems not to be the case. They do not even sit down together as a group to discuss regional matters and each country behaves as if it is a unitary space. They have forgotten that the world is inter-connected through many means and what happens in one affects the other, and in particular, when the same people are living in all the states, the Cushitic people. They all seek help from foreigners when they should first be seeking help from each other. Serving the foreigner seems to be a priority, although they may not be acting on their own, for some reason or other.

The Horn of Africa States will survive the current leadership, but they should consider what they would leave behind – a normal developing region or the ruined states they inherited.

Dr. Suleiman Walhad

Dr. Suleiman Walhad writes on the Horn of Africa economies and politics. He can be reached at [email protected].

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