In its quest to inform and support the electoral process in Somalia, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) stepped on the wrong foot of the people of self-declared independent Somaliland on Twitter and in press statements.
UNSOM’s offence was tweeting and releasing statements about Somaliland’s participation in Somalia’s election, which was indeed the case as some candidates “representing” Somaliland were voted into the parliament in Mogadishu.
Examples of the tweets are: “3 women elected today 2 seats in House of People from #Somaliland, 10 of 26 #Somaliland MPs-elect are female for 38% share of seats so far”, and “Elections for MPs representing Somaliland community to resume soon. delegates occupy their seats. #SIEIT on its final Pre #Doorashada2016”.
— UNSOM (@UNSomalia) December 19, 2016
The people of Somaliland expressed their displeasure using the hashtag #educateUNSOM to tweet about the difference between Somalia and Somaliland as well as the achievements of the latter over the former.
The campaign started since December and it is trending in Somalia and other neighbouring countries.
Although not recognised as a sovereign state, Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia on May 18, 1991.
Somaliland, with a population of about 4 million, can boast of an army, its own currency and legal system and is appreciated for holding credible elections.
The territory has been experiencing stability and economic prosperity and has been influential in the fight against piracy and terrorism in the horn of Africa.
The territory had been under pressure to hold talks with Somalia which have so far been futile.
25 years of diplomatic isolation has made it difficult for Somaliland to have access to loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Below are some #educateUNSOM tweets that are making huge political statements.
— Ibrahim A. Madar (@mwacays) January 3, 2017
— Farduz M Dheere (@Baxsan23) January 4, 2017
— Rooble Mohamed (@Rooble2009) January 4, 2017
— Somalilanders (@Somaalilanders) January 3, 2017
— Jama Musse Jama (@JamaMusse) January 2, 2017
— Yacqub Ismail (@Yacqubismial) January 2, 2017
— Zamzam (@regocnition) January 2, 2017