Republic of Somaliland is not breaking away region of Somalia, as the international community see, instead Somaliland declared independence on 26/6/1960 from Britain and more than 30 countries recognizes as new an independent government.
Independent Republic of Somaliland united with Somalia (UN Trusteeship of Somalia) to form Somali Republic on 01/07/1960. A delusional ideology of uniting all Somali-speaking ethnic groups, in horn of Africa, led to such unity due to a political enthusiasm. Somaliland is withdrawing from the above union with Somalia.
On 18th May 1991, the people of Somaliland announce rebirth of Republic of Somaliland, as an independent nation, which is not new as similar separation of nations took place between Pakistan and Bangladesh or Syria and Egypt. Somaliland is withdrawing from failed state of Somalia, while Bangladesh retrieved from an active state Pakistan.
This is a political, not a legal problem. The original charter of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) contains no explicit reference to borders although it does underscore respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states. The second OAU summit in Cairo in 1964 passed a resolution that contained the following language in the preamble: “the borders of African States, on the date of their independence, constitute a tangible reality.” Even more significant for Somaliland, Article 4 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union signed on June 12, 2000, in Lome, Togo, states that the African Union shall function in accordance with the following principle: “respect of borders existing on achievement of independence.” On the basis of its brief independence from June 26 until July 1, 1960, Somaliland meets the definition contained in the resolution passed in Cairo in 1964 and the Constitutive Act of the African Union signed in 2000.
The Mogadishu administration, and its henchmen, claim possibility of people who believe unity with Somalia in Somaliland. In 2001, Somaliland authorities organized, under independent observers from EU and AU, referendum where 97% of the population voted for ‘YES’ for withdrawing from 1960 unity with Somalia. For example, Montenegro gained its independence with only 55.5% in favor of self-determination.
The people of Somaliland reconstructed their country, after Somalia military and air-force destroyed Somaliland’s major cities during 1988 public upraising against Siyad Barre government in Mogadishu, in which more than 50,000 people killed. Somaliland developed a unique and one of the best democracies at horn of Africa, in addition to creation of peaceful Somaliland.
Unfortunately, international community is not willing to listen the freedom voice of the people of Somaliland, although, regional countries and international community are directly dealing Somaliland government but still unwilling to grant diplomatic recognition. In many occasions the world is pressuring Somaliland into another union with the failed state of Somalia, and asked Somaliland to participate in the Reconciliation Conference of Somalia, which the government and people of Somaliland rejected.
In 2013, United Kingdom hosted a conference for Somalians to settle their difference, as a desperate attempt to stabilize Somalia and confront the growing terrorist groups. One of the agreed points was Somalia to open direct dialogue with Somaliland. The current Kulmiye-led government in Somaliland acquired the majority support of Somaliland Parliament, as direct talk with Somalia was forbidden by the constitution of Somaliland except high majority of parliament support.
Somaliland government engaged into direct talks with Somalia, despite public anger, to show to the international community the unreliability of the Somalia government in Mogadishu. The officials in Somalia do not represent the public view, as it is not elected by the people. Always Somalia government makes statements which violate the agreed articles with Somaliland, in order to misinform the public in Mogadishu and avoid the anger of the people.
After Somalia London Conference, the EU led an international campaign to stabilize and install government in Somalia, which finally brought the current regime in Mogadishu to the power.
The international community is sponsoring the entire budget of such shaky government including the salaries of the president and cabinet ministers. The African Union Forces (AMISOM) is protecting the government premises and embassies.
Mogadishu is ghost city and people live in green-zone areas and sound of bullet and explosions are common during night.
International community is forcing Somaliland to discuss its future political stance with Mogadishu administration, which don’t even control the capital and surviving on the payroll of the aid donors and EU. The political fate of Somaliland must not be allied to a government that does not exist practically. The international community has no right to holding diplomatic future of the people of Somaliland back until a failed states stabilizes.
The Somalia government does not meet the criteria of an independent government, as it doesn’t control its territories and cannot decide on its own future without conferring with the foreign stakeholders in Mogadishu.
The international community tried to help Somalia in 1993 through ‘Operations Restore Hope’ which intended to deliver food aid to the drought hit areas in Baay and Bakool regions. Regrettably the warlords in Mogadishu confronted the operation and forced the international forces to retrieve out of Somalia, leaving thousands of people die for starvation.
Somalia is an example of ‘failed state’ due to civil war and lack of central government. The Somalians don’t get the basic services like clean drinking water, public schooling and health services.
Terrorists and pirates are using Somalia as safe-haven to organize their attacks and destabilize the regional countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Somaliland and Djibouti. It is also transit hub for drug smugglers across Africa and to Asia.
Somalia’s geographical location is strategic to international maritime; however, the pirates off the Puntland coast formed threat to the commercial vessels in the international water.
Today Mogadishu is ‘Robin Hood’ City, where the killing and organized crime is very common. Al-Shabab and armed militia control the city during the night, as the capital of Somalia is ‘Ghost City’ and not fit for decent human life.
After 23 years of lawlessness, the international community led by the African Union forces (AMISOM) is trying to restore the law & order in Mogadishu. AMISOM is training former militia and battling Al-Shabab.
Thousands of Somalians are facing devastation in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. There three generations without proper schooling in Mogadishu, who know how to shoot than using pen.
Instead of challenging all the above difficulties, the Federal Government of Somalia in Mogadishu is giving all its energy on blocking Somaliland from gaining an international diplomatic recognition.
Mogadishu administration is arming and financing terrorist groups inside Somaliland like KHAATUMO to destabilize Somaliland’s far-east regions. KHAATUMO militia leaders plan their attacks against Somaliland in Mogadishu.
Both International community and Mogadishu Administration must know that Somaliland independence is public demand, and neither Somali politicians nor international community can change such decision.
In contrary, Somaliland self-determination will help the international community in destabilizing Mogadishu, using the unique disarmament experience of Somaliland. Somaliland Scouts, British Somaliland military of 1960, was used to restore order in Mogadishu by first Somali President Adan Adde.
The current illegal diplomatic and military activities of Mogadishu administration against Somaliland is like an old Russian joke which says the story of a peasant who requests a genie a wish, the genie offers a wish but says that whatever the peasant gets his neighbor will get doubled. The peasant thinks for a bit and then says “Make me blind in one eye”.
By\ Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi