Somalia: The Indelibles

If one-party democracy is often hard to tell from no-party dictatorship in Africa, Somalia is an exuberant exception. Election day brought 1,000,000 Somalis to the polls to choose among 21 political parties, including one fringe group running on the single fervent conviction that the country should import only Fiats, to ease the shortage of auto parts. If the proliferation of parties resembled the nightmare of French politics before De Gaulle, the Somalis' fist-swinging, rock-throwing, vote-early-and-often electioneering style seemed more like vintage Chicago. With African differences.

One difference is the absence of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!