Firstly, it struck me when the writer suggested that the democratically elected Silanyo administration has decided to change course in regards to Somaliland’s future. Before debunking this argument it is useful to touch on a particular issue, President Silanyo has the unwelcome distinction of being the most well-known Somaliland President to date amongst the so called Unionists and Somaliland antagonists. However, sadly you often find Silanyo being ridiculed and disrespected by these pro-union websites and intellectuals. So despite all of this, often these intellectuals still believe that Silanyo is a unionist at heart and that he will bring Somaliland back to the union. They say those in despair try and clutch at straws. Notice in my opening paragraph I used the term “democratically elected” this is because even if your ludicrous claims had any basis (which they don’t) you have to understand that the President of Somaliland is always under the jurisdiction of the Somaliland peoples and the Somaliland constitutionally which are unanimous in their rejection of union. What genuinely irks me is how much these so called intellectuals believe that the politicians of Somaliland wield all the power to change the course of Somaliland, when will you people understand that this is a project that has come about through People Power and only through People Power will there be an outcome for Somaliland. The politicians have a democratic mandate, nothing more or nothing less, if they fall short in their duties they will be replaced, no man or woman is bigger than Somaliland, rather the people matter. Ours is a nation of reconciliation and consultation, surely as fellow Somalis this is something to want to emulate?
You then made the regrettable statement of Silanyo having to “tell chauvinists and tribal hardliners…”. So who are the chauvinists and tribal hardliners? Those that have opened their country to barbaric slaughter of innocent women and children, those whose leaders invited the Ethiopians into their country in 2006 to slaughter innocent Somalis in their homes, those who allowed Al-Shabab and pirates to find a safe haven, those who due to their lack of respect have made the long suffering women and children of Southern Somalia be the cannon fodder to the countless massacres, famines and insurgencies. Of course not, according to you it’s those that chose reconciliation over war, those who chose self-defence instead of near-certain annihilation from one of the most well equipped African armies in the 1980s, those who chose grassroots state building over internationally imposed warlords, those that chose to democratically elect a President from what is considered a minority clan in the region.
What surprises me is that many from Somalia believe that as soon as Somaliland holds talks with Somalia then it has unconditionally re-joined the union, my friends this is not 1st July 1960 whereby Somaliland unconditionally joined the union with no strings attached. Rather you all need to understand that Somaliland is politically mature and it is able to hold talks with those that it disagrees because of this refined vision of its statehood and sovereignty. Somaliland is talking to Somalia for one reason and one reason only, to make it clear to our fellow brothers and sisters that although we are economically, culturally and religiously forever connected, we will be politically distinct, the people have spoken. Somalia believes that Somaliland will be re-joining the union, in economics the word “incentive” is key to every political, social and economic event, therefore what exactly is the incentive for Somaliland to re-join a union that has caused it nothing but bloodshed and economic, political marginalisation?
You then fallaciously stated; “Somaliland ‘politicians’ have taken voodoo of tribalism to an extra mile. They used this potent tool to implant superfluous animosity and hatred in the blood stream of ‘their’ people against other Somali communities. Look at the dictatorship-era MIG plane monument at the centre of Hargeisa to fathom this. What message does it convey to the common man?” Firstly, these politicians are not the ones that embedded Somaliland’s philosophy of statehood it is the people of Somaliland and if you want a scapegoat to blame for your broken dreams of a unified Somalia controlled by a revived Mogadishu then blame them as it is they who chose democracy and development over despair and dependency. You then laughably criticize the MIG plane monument in Hargeisa and refer to it as a dictatorship era plane. Indeed this is delusion at its finest, are you aware what dictatorship era the plane is from, it is from the era of your hero Siad Barre, the hero of all anti-Somalilanders, the man who led an active campaign to wipe out his own citizens in the “North” at the time. This monument is powerful; it exists to remind the people the high costs of our independence, the 50-70,000 lives lost, the planes that mercilessly bombed our cities into submission day and night, the many men in the SNM who gave their lives to see this ideal. This message conveys to the common man in Somaliland that we will not make the same mistakes and re-join the union, nor will we ever forget the mammoth sacrifice those that are no longer with us have made. We Somalilanders have moved on and it would be wrong for us to say that every citizen from Somalia is to blame for the genocide that happened in the North during the 80s. However, it is a known fact that those who committed these atrocities are hiding behind the banner of union and the blue and white, let me give you a brief example, the indicted war criminal General Samatar who admitted his guilt to a US Supreme Court, yet thousands of unionist Somalis came to his defence, despite the fact that he himself admitted to the war crimes he was charged with. The sheer hypocrisy; you claim you want union and a fresh start yet all you support those who mercilessly killed your fellow Somalis in the North.
You then refer to Somaliland as a political sham: in your own words “The second strategy is the well-acted political show. Let’s give credit where it dues – this was plausible. Somaliland taught a lesson to African countries on how to conduct credible and democratic elections with minimum donor support. Traditionally, it is rare to defeat a sitting president – with the access to state machineries – in Africa. But this took place in Somaliland.” So you yourself acknowledge Somaliland’s genuine political strides, however you have undermined and downplayed them instantly when referring to it as a political show. Is it a show if the majority of the population choose participatory democracy as their system of governance? Is it a show when an internationally supervised referendum shows that 97% of Somalilanders have ratified and supported their nation’s path?
You then give anecdotes of one of Somaliland’s opposition party figures who controversially stated that Ethiopians and Somalilanders have something in common. Personally I do not agree with this statement and you would find that most Somalilanders know that it is with all the Somali peoples that we share our closest connection. However, if this politician stated this it does not mean that we agree with it, Somaliland is built on consensus and not on the worship of politicians. During the Abdullahi Yusuf inspired Ethiopian occupation of Mogadishu in 2006 it was the then Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin who spoke out against Meles Zenawai’s policies in Mogadishu as it was regrettable to see our fellow Somalis suffering in South all because its leader at the time wanted to gain power by through Ethiopian sponsorship. You then touched on Edna Adan’s speech at the Belgian Parliament wherein she said some controversial statements but you people call us renegade secessionists and tribalists and Qaaldan and pray to see the downfall of our country every day and yet you expect us to re-join u in a “brotherly union” talk about sheer contradictions.
Edna is an institution and when she referred to Somalia as full of terrorists and warlords she was talking about the leaders and elites not the general long suffering peoples. If you chose to listen to the rest of her speech you would have heard her saying how can Somaliland ever deny our fellow Somalis from South who come as refugee’s access to public services such as education, healthcare etc. She said Somalis from South as fellow Somalis deserve every help they get in Somaliland. Yet of course you people did not hear that, you were too busy exploding in rage over anything to do with Somaliland.
You then try and discredit Somaliland economically; yet you fail to understand this was a country that was levelled to the ground thanks to your so called patriotic Father of the nation. Yes Somaliland is a poor East African nation, but so too is Somalia, in fact poorer as proven by how Somaliland was one of Africa’s biggest donors to the Somalia famine of 2011. Yet Somaliland is striving, free markets and enterprise is thriving, however Somaliland has a long way to go and every small step is crucial during a long journey. Achievements such as the multimillion dollar Coca Cola Factory in Hargeisa, the Banking Law, the National Development Plan (2012-2016) and the creation of the Somaliland Development Corporation to circumvent the lack of international recognition has proven that Somaliland is moving in the right direction. I agree with you Somaliland is not just Mansoor and Ambassador Hotels, it’s the countless private villas and mansions littered from Boorama to Burco, it is the countless mobile phones providing mobile banking, it is the countless infrastructure and development projects taking place in the young Republic. You Somaliland antagonists believe that by discrediting Somaliland economically and politically then this will cause the people to change their course, however I have this to say to you, keep wishfully hoping because this is a path no-one but the Almighty can change as this is a path chosen by the people and the people of Somaliland are the guardians of this great Nation, not the politicians. I am not from the majority clan in Somaliland, but it is my country as much as a person from the majority clan because I know that it can offer me security, stability and a proud national identity and through democracy it is possible for us to achieve our aspirations. I have this to say to all of you Somaliland antagonists, instead of wanting to create conflict and collapse in Somaliland, try and build your country from scratch because I pray that I can one day see a Somaliland next to its neighbour Somalia, a fully functioning and prosperous state. Yet that day will not come until you anti-Somalilanders acknowledge that this is the path we have taken and this is the path that its people will always protect by any means necessary.
You stated in your final paragraph; “visionary leaders thoughtfully strategize beyond the wishful thinking of the common man”, this sentence alone has proven by whole argument correct throughout. Somalia and Somaliland really are polar opposites in their political maturity and their views on people participation. You wish to see the wishes of the common people subordinated to the wishes of the elites, whereas in Somaliland the visionary leader has to personify the wishes of the common man, woman or child and that is our defining legacy and defining National Character, so thank you for helping to reaffirm my pride in Somaliland, my country.
By Jawse MN