The Horn Of Africa States: Where The Elites Have Failed – OpEd


The elites of the Horn of Africa States have stayed in the sidelines over some forty years now, as they watched the region disintegrate and slip down a steep gradient, to nowhere, perhaps, a cliff, not reached yet. They have stayed calm and sat tight to ride the steep ride, hoping against hope that this would end up one day and that the process would be reversed. It will be, then, they thought, when they would deal with the aftermath.

Hundreds of thousands and may be millions have perished in the region during these part forty odd years, but the region does not appear to have moved one iota, any where. Indeed, the region seems to be worsening everyday that passes, and the elites keep waiting, although many of them have chosen to support the evil forces stacked against the region. They took the easy way out of the picture and sided with the tribe, the clan, the terrorist and the mercenaries. They have, indeed, encouraged the NGOs with their multitude of colors to thrive in the region.

Four decades is not a short period and many who were aware of nationhood and regions have passed away, while others remain still on the sidelines unable to have any influence on the region. They would all soon be out of the way too. Few have tried to get re-engaged in the process of restoring, at least, the nation states as they were before the collapse of the region into the wrong hands and perished in the process. Only those with little institutional memories are now the actors and they wreaking havoc on the region.

The region would appear to be perfectly in the hands of forces unknown, much stronger than the individual countries and the elite of the region, instead of coming together to address these external threats are drifting apart. Indeed, they appear to be undermining each other, instead of working together to face the challenges of the region. They do not realize that each state has been turned into a banana republic and each banana republic is enmeshed in its own tribal kiosks and the problem of the region gets deeper and deeper in these marshy muddy waters without a clear way out.

The elites of the region have accepted casually the new nomenclatures that have been designed to instill total amnesia on the people to forget their ancient and modern history to become zombies with no particular directions to move to, other than to hate their old selves and unquestionably collaborate with the enemies of the region, feeling pride in the wrong things they are doing.

When a region’s elite are divided and disunited, it usually spells the death of that region and its people, and the Horn of Africa States elite remain a perfect example of regional elite zombies that compete on how to serve the others better. The region is still alive, for some years ago, there was, at least, attempts to reconcile the nations of the region and create a regional block. But it appears these days, they are back to being the old kitchen boys of some others’ houses.

The elite of the Horn of Africa States remain disunited and think and act as tribal/clan elites and not even national, let alone regional elites. The election processes in each of the states, if any, are designed on tribal/clan basis and some of the constitutions are even based on clans and tribes and here is where competency goes out of the window. Skills are not appreciated and the few that dare to work diligently and professionally, soon become targeted and destroyed. Many elites are frozen in time and dream off the long ago national prides, but they do not contribute, in any way, to saving the region and its nation states from the deep wells they have fallen into.

There are elites who believe that their tribe or clan would be the only salvation for the region and the nation states within and they have contributed more to the chaos. And so the good ones, still dream without doing anything about it, that if only the elite could prove the skeptics wrong and worked together and if the they would come together and put the tribal/clan motivations aside, and if only each would tap on the shoulder of his tribal brother/sister and convince them it is better to live with the other brother tribesmen in peace, and if the elite could only look back into those terrible forty years past and vow never to go back there and put the interest of the region and state, ahead of his/her personal interest, then the region and its states may stand a chance of getting out of the dark holes they find themselves in.

Life in the Horn of Africa States seems to have no value for in this age and 21st century, there are elites fighting each other over tribal/clan issues and this is a clear indication that the elite of the region has failed. Life in the Horn of Africa States seems to have no value. It is where a person can die without committing a sin or crime except that he or she belongs to another tribe or clan. Life in the region seems to be meaningless and then the elites would consider themselves human!!!! They forget that they are responsible for the mess and mayhem. They forget that they have the destiny of the region and its nation states in their hands.

How have they forgotten the hard work and the blood shed by their grandfathers to maintain and own this strategically located region? How have they forgotten all those ancient histories that the region owns and it was always counted in the roundtable of nations? How come they have easily accepted to being pushed out of the way for being a nuisance to others? It is perhaps, time the elite of the region woke up from the slumber and helped the region walk away from the tribe/clan motivation to nationhood and regional advancement. The Horn of Africa States, would survive, but it is better it survives as a proud region, away from its current troubles and it remains on the onus of the elite to achieving that goal.

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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