Despite the great odds facing Somaliland from the
devastation and the virtual destruction of their homes as
well as all the infrastructures of their county by the Barre
regime of Somalia, the people of Somaliland collectively
decided to tally the results of their union with Somalia,
which had lasted 30 years from the day when their newly
independent state of Somaliland amalgamated with Somalia.
Accordingly, whatever the future offered, they
decided to reclaim their sovereignty and, took their destiny
in their hands. Exactly, 16 years ago, on May 18, 1991, they
reinstated the Republic of Somaliland within its colonial
During those 16 years, the people of Somaliland,
without any significant help from the outside world, have
quietly rebuilt their homeland, formed real democratic
institutions and fulfilled all criteria for statehood. While
the world has poured billions of US Dollars to sort out the
endless problems of Somalia proper.
has forged unique democratic institutions that African
countries should well heed to copy; its bicameral parliament
is a combination of both tradition and modernism; the senate
consists of traditional elders, whereas the house of
representatives consists of modern day representatives.
There is a multiparty system which the current president H.E.
Dahir Rayaale won only 280 votes by fair election witnessed
by international observers. The local councils were elected.
The judiciary is independent and the press is free.
Somaliland’s demand for independence is
consistent with the right to self-determination entrenched
in the Charters of the African Union and the United Nations.
This right was freely and democratically expressed on 31
May, 2001 by the people of Somaliland, who voted
overwhelmingly in favor of a new Constitution that affirms
Somaliland’s sovereignty and independence. Of 1.18 million
ballots cast, 1.15 million (97.9%) approved the new
Constitution in a process described by international
observers as having been conducted “openly, fairly,
honestly and largely in accordance with internationally
recognized election procedures.”
The report of the observation team estimates that
two-thirds (66%) of those eligible actually turned out to
vote, meaning that the total “yes” votes cast were
equivalent to approximately 65% of eligible voters.
this may sound strange, some of the most concerted efforts
to derail Somaliland's independence have come from the very
world body that is supposed to safeguard the rights of the
people of the world.
The United Nations,
The Secretariat of the United Nations and some of its
agencies have worked hard to push Somaliland under the
carpet in a quest to revive Somalia. For 16 years to this
date, the Secretariat's memos avoid to mention Somaliland by
name, and try to project false and negative images about
Somaliland by deliberately confusing it with Somalia.
UN Secretary General's recent report to the Security Council
on the situation in Somalia illustrates this unjustifiable
practice of lumping together the two distinct states of
Somaliland and Somalia. This is all the more outrageous
given the fact that the Secretariat's files report under the
names 'Kosovo', ‘East Timor’ and other entities which
have less historical existence, and less population than
officials often try to justify their trampling on the rights
of Somaliland's people for self-determination by invoking
the AU's principle of the inviolability of colonial borders.
However, Somaliland, just like Eritrea which separated from
Ethiopia with the blessing of the UN, cannot serve as an
example for the application of this principle, since
Somaliland had its own colonial frontiers inherited from
Britain on June 1960, and was juridically a state on its
own, before its merger with Somalia on July 1st, 1960.
The government of Italy has
also tried to thwart Somaliland's quest for international
recognition by siding with efforts to resurrect Somalia, its
former colony, which the Somalilanders say is "still
nostalgic dreaming of a formal colony whose capital is
supported by Egypt and Libya,
thinks an independent Somaliland sets a precedent for
dividing warring Sudan into two independent countries, North
and South. They would also see a reunited Muslim Somalia to
outflank Ethiopia from south and east, to be used to secure
Egypt's unlimited use of the Nile waters and to forestall
any form of future Israeli presence in the area.
recently, Djibouti, the
smallest state in the Horn of Africa, and the one that has
actually benefited the most from Somaliland's heroic
reconstruction efforts, has been busy trying to destabilize
the most potent argument against recognition centers on a
very fine, albeit dubious, technical point. We know those
who flatly against our recognition because it meant
redrawing colonial borders. One of the pillars of the OAU/AU
is that African colonial borders should not be redrawn.
There are many powerful players trying to nix Somaliland's
quest for independence:
However, we extend friendly hands to all the
nations of the world. We reiterate that we, as a people,
have stood united in reconstructing our country and, in
spreading the benefits of peace and economic growth in the
Horn of Africa.
deserves a better response and cooperation from the UN
instead of the unfair and unjustified treatment that it has
gotten so far. The machinations of some governments, and the
undeclared war that some UN bureaucrats, particularly
African ones, have exercised against Somaliland, must stop.
On a continent where success stories are rare,
Somaliland's modest progress deserves a better response than
the international cold shoulder it has received so far. This
is especially true because its brand of peacemaking is real,
grounded in the cultural traditions of its people and not in
the benevolent but ill-informed efforts of foreigners.
But the lack of international recognition
casts a long shadow over Somaliland's future, seriously
hindering economic development, strangulating the burgeoning
private sector and eroding public trust in the country's
future. It cannot sign agreements with multilateral donors
such as the World Bank or International Monetary Fund.
It cannot receive more than token aid - for
emergency and humanitarian reasons - but no meaningful
bilateral development assistance from other governments let
alone substantive loans to rehabilitate its dilapidated
infrastructure. It cannot drill for oil, build new industry,
improve its universities or rebuild its roads. It can not
create jobs for the tens of thousands of refugees returning
to Somaliland's relative stability, nor build a substantial
police force or army to protect it from the threats of
has earned its place in the community of nations at no cost
to anyone. The world should not hold Somaliland hostage to
the chaos in Somalia or the agenda of a particular country
or the biases of some UN bureaucrats. The world should deal
with Somaliland on its own merit.
ill-fatted union with Somalia (ex-Italian colony) to create
what used to be known as the Great Somalia, resulted tens of
thousands of Somalilanders were murdered by southern Somali
Army officers. Bodies are still found today, bound together,
and buried in mass graves, with bullets through the backs of
their heads. The human rights organization African watch
estimated in 1988 that more than 50, 000 innocent civilians
dead. This was one of the most brutal genocide's in African
How on earth would some one force a relatively
prosperous and peaceful nation (Somaliland) to merge once
more with the warring clans of Somalia at the hands of which
it suffered such oppression and hardship before and during
the Civil War.?
such a dreadful union, who would want rejoin Somalia again?
As it turns out, it is almost no one in Somaliland. We say
"never again" to a reunion.
IM. Abdi Halim M. Musa