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A Rejoinder: Dr. Baadiyoow’s Revising Somali Political Rhetoric

By Deeq S Yusuf

I read engaging and thought-provoking article Revising Somali Political Rhetoric: What do we share, and what do we differ?  by Dr. Baadiyoow published by on the 12th of October, 2023 with admiration and fascination.


I concur Dr. Baadiyoow’s ideas are valid and warrant the attention of genuine Somali statebuilders. Adopting the Western system of statehood at independence has been at the root of Somalia’s crisis of governance. However, the post-colonial theory Baadiyoow used to debunk the modernization theory is not sufficient enough to explain the crisis of the neo-colonial state. While the theory is important, it ignores the neo-colonial reality.

What we have in most African countries is the neo-colonial state, not necessarily post-colonial.  Post-coloniality alludes to the idea that the failure of the “post-colonial” states primarily stems from internal rigidities. Dr. Baadiyoow should have employed the Dependency Theory, which is the strongest rebuttal of the Modernization Theory.  The Dependency Theory takes into account the colonial and post-colonial realities demonstrating that it is the continued economic exploitation of the countries in the periphery by the world metropolis (core countries) that is responsible for underdevelopment and in turn, the crisis of governance in the developing world.

Also, there is a need to distinguish between Modernity and Westernization. Modernity is not inherently synonymous with Westernization. Again, it is Islam that is originally synonymous with modernity because it was the Golden Age or the Golden Era of the Muslim World (the latter half of the Umayyad caliphate and entirety of the Abbasid caliphate) that laid the foundation of modern science, literature, medicine, and philosophy and more as the Muslim civilization centered around Bagdad was considered the civilized world in an era when Europe was still in the Dark Age. More to the point, the Golden Era of the Muslims did not only excel in the realm of science and innovation. It also achieved a higher level of statecraft, with functional governance structures, well-developed bureaucracy, courts and legal systems.

Simply put, Muslims were the pioneers of modernity, which today’s Western world benefited from. Dr. Baadiyoow didn’t provide any examples while articulating his well-taken points. For example, Turkey of today, which is considered a model democracy for the Muslim world, is an excellent example that demonstrates Islam can co-exist with non-Western Secularism in such that the secular state plays a role in promoting Islamic values and principles without forcing islamization on the public. In Turkey, the majority of citizenry that backs the state have voluntarily adopted Islamic way of life without being dictated upon by the state. When Ataturk dismantled the last vestiges of the Ottoman Empire, he adopted European codes to force his Kemalist agenda on modern Turkey.  But as we all know, the pro-West Kemalist agenda contributed to the weakening of the Turkish state and the decades that followed were marked by evolution of an ineffectual state dogged by corruption, rocked by a series of military coups and relying on Western European handouts. Turkey became a peripheral member in Europe with a waning footprint in the region.

But the emergence of Islamic-inspired Erdoganist state restored democracy and stability as Turkey emerged from one of the darkest chapters in its history (Kemalist state) to become a prosperous regional power in its own right whose political and economic influence and military footprint extends beyond its borders.

In the interim, while waiting for the ideal conditions, Somalia can emulate Turkey’s model by adopting an Islamic-inspired (not necessarily Islamic-ruled) system of governance till society is mature enough to transcend clan loyalties and transition to a democratic, just and fair, Islamic ruled system of governance devoid of extremism and clannism.

Deeq S. Yusuf
Email: [email protected]

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