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Traditional Institutions in modern governance: the House of Elders

Since 2002 all of Somaliland’s governing institutions have been subjected to public elections, with the exception of the Upper House of the parliament – the House of Elders (Guurti). The Somaliland’s elders have been commended for their role in establishing peace and stability in Somaliland in the early 1990s. Their incorporation into government was an innovative fusion of traditional and modern government that increased public representation and participation in government and contributed to the stabilization. In recent years criticism of the role that the Guurti has played in Somaliland has been growing and there have been calls for a fundamental review of how the Guurti is selected and its function. In this article Sadia Musse considers the relationship between traditional and modern governance institutions in Somaliland.

Sadia Musse Ahmed

Country Representative of PENHA Somaliland/Somalia, with Msc in Social Anthropology and with extensive experience on environment, livelihoods and gender. Sadia is also involved for more than twenty years in civil society work in the Horn of Africa Region.