The state collapse of Somalia was a result
of clanistic factions as well as corrupt leadership. After being
granted independence from colonial powers in 1960, Somalia set up a democratic
system of government. Elected leaders, though, were tied to clan
interests. With Somalia’s leaders looking out only for the good of
their own clan, the Somali government quickly became ineffective at dealing
with the needs of Somalia as a whole. In addition, corruption by
the Prime Minister and other high-ranking officials led to Somalia becoming
virtually a one-party state.
When President Abdirishiid Ali Shermaarke
was assassinated in 1969, a military coup led by General Siad Barre took
control of the country, attempting to make the government more effective.
Barre, though, soon became a socialist dictator unconcerned with the needs
of the Somali people. He wanted only to keep the power for himself
and his clan. Twenty-one years after taking power, Barre fled the
Somali capital of Mogadishu in fear for his life. With no government
structure in place, Somalia fell into a state of anarchy.
Muhammad Ali Madhi of the USC was set to take
control of the country and restore democracy when Muhammad Farah Aideed,
the leader of a rival faction in the USC, declared himself as the president.
Fighting between the two sides, and between other clans broke out, leading
to mass starvation. International Humanitarian and Peace efforts
over the next three years failed miserably as the fighting continued.
To this very day, a solution for the conflict has not been implemented
as the hostilities and death by starvation continue.
The civil war showed the rest of the world
that the people living in Somalia saw themselves first as members of their
respective clan, and second as Somalis. Therefore, when conflict
broke out, Somalia was no longer unified, but a country split among its
several clans. The state collapse of Somalia is a prime example of
what happens when there is more loyalty to clan than country.
In addition, corrupt Somali leadership contributed
to state collapse by ignoring the needs of the people and seeking only
personal gain. This angered the Somali people, who formed groups
to overthrow the corrupt government. The corrupt leadership’s lack
of government structure left no one to take the reins of power once the
regime collapsed. This left the country in a state of anarchy, as
clan groups fought for the vacated seat of power. Somalia is a lucid
illustration of how corrupt leadership leads to state collapse.