n Journal of Somali Studies : Research on Somalia and the Greater Horn of African Countries - Politics as a profitable business : patronage, patrimony, predatation, and primordial power in contemporary Somalia

Volume 2, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 2056-5674
  • E-ISSN: 2056-5682


This article offers new insights into the nature of politics as it is played out in contemporary Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. It both examines and offers solutions to the multilayered, multifaceted, and multidimensional factors hindering Somalia in its attempt to properly reconstitute itself as a viable State. Based on five-month's research fieldwork in Somalia (May-September 2015), the article argues that the political crisis and the solution could only be located within the unique political culture of contemporary political actors. To fathom the conundrum, one must delve deeper to trace the underlying sociocultural and political dynamics that sustain the players on the political field. By proposing a new understanding of politics as a profitable business, the article explains the structures and systems in which political players tend to play in everyday politics, which is not well-understood. Drawing from participant observations in Somali politics and building on the classic text by Chabal and Daloz (1999), the insights offered aim to inspire the international community to rethink efforts and initiatives toward contemporary Somalia.

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