NDI: Citizen Attitudes about Peace, Governance and the Future in Somalia

Jan. 21, 2011, 3:37 p.m.

The National Democratic Institute (NDI) has released a publication exploring public opinion in Somalia.

This report explores public opinion in Somalia. Based on 38 focus group discussions with average Somali citizens1 and 35 one-on-one interviews with traditional and religious leaders conducted in June 2010,  the report examines attitudes toward and perceptions of the current political landscape in Somalia and desires for the political future of the country.

Participants yearn for peace and security, but have little faith that the current government can deliver these benefits. In addition to seeking an end to the chaos around them, citizens want the government to improve their quality of life through improvements to education, healthcare, and infrastructure as well as the creation of economic opportunities. Many believe that interference from foreign countries is fueling the conflict. The public strongly supports Shari’a (Islamic) law, and there is some concern about wholesale adoption of Western concepts, such as democracy, federalism and a constitution, as some participants see them as threatening to Islam and Somali culture.

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