[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 25 November 2004, 16:58 GMT
Is Somalia proof we need governments?
At present, Somalia is the only country in the world where there is no government.

Instead the country is divided into fiefdoms run by rival warlords who occasionally clash with each other for territory.

Last month the country's transitional parliament, based in Kenya, elected Abdullahi Yusuf as president, but he has not been able to return to Somalia because of security fears.

Are you a Somali citizen who could tell us what life is like in the country at the moment without a government? Or do you live in a badly run country and think no government would be an improvement? Send us your comments and experiences.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Your comments:

Somalia needs goverment and not fighting between clans, as there is a saying: "Peace can not be kept by force but achieved by understading." I hope we all as Somalians be one nation.
Ali Jama, Toronto, Canada

We need governments, no matter what we think of those who run them. I would think that we can have issues with politicians and bureaucrats, but not with a government. I have talked to a couple of Somali nationals visiting Nairobi and they are unanimous in their desire to have government for which they'd pay taxes so long as security and transport infrastructure can be provided by the government, because those two are currently very expensive for businesses.
Muchina, Nairiobi, Kenya

I witnessed both negative and positive things
Abdiaziz, London, UK

I travelled back to Mogadishu in January this year to see my family. I can say I witnessed both negative and positive things. On one hand, there was destruction towards the city caused by the war, chaos and the legacy of lawlessness. On the other hand, I could see private sectors providing food, clothes, medicine, telecommunications and education of both basic and academic level although I have to admit that these facilities were not widely spread to the whole community due to poverty and low income.
Abdiaziz, London, UK

I'm British and never lived in Somalia but my parents originate from Somaliland (the self pro-claimed state in the north). The situation is dire especially in the south and the world community doesn't seem to care. I would like to insist on the fact that Somaliland is a former British colony and only decided to join the former Italian colony in the south in 1960. There is order, an elected government and peace in Somaliland, so surely it's about time the UN and the world recognised it.
Mahdi, Sheffield, UK

Somalia may be proof we need governments. More importantly, however, it is proof that the will of humans to survive cannot be underestimated. I suspect Somalis will be the most astute judges of any future government. Having seen the alternative, any government that is not exponentially better than the status quo will be dismantled. In the long run, that should be a good thing.
Omer Ofleh, Somali in Pittsburgh, PA, USA

I have a dream that one day the Somali people will end their humiliation and create one of the strongest Islamic democratic republics ever. I am a Somali student living in Norway are locking forward to return to my homeland.
Adan, Norway

A stable, reliable and honest government is what Somalia needs. There is a distinction to be made from having a government and having a government that is democratic and aimed to helping its people. Even when there was a government in Somalia, there were still problems. Somalia mainly needs its warlords to step away and let unbiased people control the country, people that don't have a personal political agenda and truly care about Somalia's future.
Rahma, USA

In a land without order one becomes an orphan of legitimate authority. In the modern contemporary world we live in, political order is extremely needed. Being Somali, this lack of order makes me feel an orphan; there is nothing glamorous in anarchy.
Shirwa Jama, Las Anod, Puntland, Somalia

Not only does this prove that governments are necessary, but also that a level of 'nannying' is a good thing. If the government had greater control then people could fulfil themselves rather than carry guns and take drugs.
Gawain Towler, Brussels

I am from Somalia and currently live in London where there is law and order you can see how the real world is working. I've lived most of my life in Mogadishu where the life there is hopeless, danger, and now I feel better because I am in better place. I urge my fellow Somalis to lay down their weapons and rebuild their country. There is an English saying which is "united we stand, divided we fall", so let us take as an example the developed society that is Britain.
Abdikadir Roble, London, UK

I am an Ethiopian living in England and I often wonder what life would be like if people here would have to endure a fraction of what goes on in places like Ethiopia and Somalia. It is a miracle that so many people live with no government or a government that does no good to its people. I hope to see in my life a time where African leaders and politicians stop their greed and selfishness and think of their country and people. They need good food, good clothes, decent housing, education and health care. Running to the West... is no longer an answer.
Hirut Fajembola, London, UK

I immigrated from Somalia in 1992 and have lived in Canada ever since. My family was not so fortunate, they saved up enough money to send me to university here. I had not heard from them for two years after I moved to Canada, but after I got a steady job, I was able to contact them. I support six members of my family in Mogadishu and another two in a village called Timbandi. Life was cruel and bad, i was only 12 when I came to Canada.
Nguku Balengai, Somalia

Have you ever heard of Zimbabwe? Their government is definitely worse than no government
Tomo, OH, USA
Have you ever heard of Zimbabwe? Their government is definitely worse than no government. I am glad to be gone from there.
Tomo, OH, USA

I live in a country unknown to the world (Somaliland) where I feel internationally isolated. Somaliland has claimed its independence since 1991, so far it has not been recognised by the outside world, but what must be mentioned is that it is relatively peaceful environment.
Mohamed Ali Dubbe, Berbera, Somaliland,

How I wish all "professional" government critics would have a re-think in their call for anarchy in Nigeria. What the inhabitants of Anambra state in southeast Nigeria are going through is a glimpse into what would be when the whole country is without leadership. We should be wise and learn from the pitfalls of others; rather than being the scapegoats.
Clement Akinbode, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

I went to Mogadishu in 1997 when I was 11 years old with my family. The main reason was to go and visit our relatives. at that time there was no heavy war going on but we would see people with weapons and we would hear bombs. I never saw any trouble except one day, there was an accident where a lorry carrying weapons crashed with a bus full of people, the big guns went off and many people died. Other than that I'd say Somalia is quite amazing for a country with no government, because the people there, although poor, were mostly happy and they had faith that eventually good times would come.
Asma, Swansea, Wales

I'm a Somalian born in Mogadishu and I think that Somalian people are too selfish. Some clans and their people are not thinking to help each other but to hold on to their gun.
Rash Nur Mohamed, London

I am surprised that Ramon would prefer no government to parliamentary democracy. Did he even read the story? Was Ramon able to go to school? Can he afford to go to a doctor if he is ill? Probably yes. Has he ever had to travel around Scotland with armed guards as protection? Probably not. Those of us living in countries where we can take such things for granted should be grateful for that, even if our governments appear inefficient and unrepresentative. It could be a lot worse!
Jon Roiser, Washington, DC, USA

Somalia is a good example for the problems faced by the citizens of the ended nation state. Although nobody can be proud of living under anarchy, lawlessness and hopelessness, Somali people have managed to survive under these difficult circumstances for many years, it is time for them to support their new infant national government and reconciliation process.
Ismail Adam Mohamed, Somali resident in Dubai, UAE

In my country we have a so-called government with four vice-presidents and most of them are former warlords. None of them respect the law. Although the peace agreement was signed nobody respects it and these vice-presidents are not under the control of the president and the eastern part of the country is still not under the control of the government, the warlords still control it. How can a country be run by four vice-president even the US is only run by one president and one vice-president?
Richard Monga, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

I can't help thinking that this is the future US neo-cons dream about - a pure free market.
Nick Grealy, USA in UK

I am from Somalia and to live without government is the most dangerous system because there is no law and order, so there is no life. Life in Somalia, particularly Mogadishu is very, very bad.
Abdow, Vingaker, Sweden

I live in the ultimate badly run country - I live under three tiers of government, Edinburgh City Council, the Scottish Parliament and the UK government - all three are so focused on political correctness that they've forgotten about their duty to improve the lives of ordinary working taxpayers - no government sounds most appealing!
Ramon, Edinburgh, UK

Yes - I have lived in a country without government since 1991, I have a job, my children have schools and health and everything is okay, everyone can live without government except politicians.
Ahmed Ahmed Abdalla, Bosaso, Somalia


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific