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A Gap in the Somaliland Constitutional Process: Reform of the Guurti House

The Guurti is an essential institution in the Somali traditional non-state governance structures. The Somali society, usually characterised as stateless in the advent of colonialism, manages its social, political, and security affairs through its guurti systems which could be ad-hoc in nature or also are standing bodies affiliated with a sultanate or a traditional strong ruler. In the Somaliland context, the traditional understanding of Guurti is usually any group of dignitaries who are appointed to solve a problem between opposing parties in accordance with the existing xeer (Somali customary law). Cases like murder, rape, trade and property dispute, defamation and family problems usually trigger assignments of a body of guurti. A body of guurti could also be appointed when a beel65 is facing a crisis such as war, famine, or anything that threatens the livelihood or survival of the group. The use of the guurti system is not only confined to the rural nomadic settings but is also adopted in the urban culture and even by the Somali diaspora communities.

Dr. Mohamed Fadal


Dr. Mohamed Osman Fadal is the Board Chair of Social Research and Development Institute (SORA DI) and the coordinator of the Independent Scholars Group in Somaliland.. He holds a PhD in Political Economy. He is a specialist in participatory research and post-confl ict recovery programming, public policy and institutional development, especially in the contexts of Somaliland and Sudan.