Unknown to many people in the world is a yet-to-be-recognized state with three and half million population in the Horn of Africa. It is a phenomenal country that has emerged out from the ashes of the collapsed Somalia. Up till now it stayed stable for over two decades without any external support. It is a country that has set brilliant records in terms of government institution building and peace maintenance which was based on a unique blend of traditional conflict-resolving approach and modern democracy. This happens to be Somaliland – Africa’s bonfire of peace and democracy.
The 18th of May marked the 20th anniversary when Somaliland regained and declared its independence from the rest of Somalia. And since then Somaliland has not been formally accorded recognition by any country even though it has realized unparalleled successes. However, I would like here to share with my readers of why Somaliland has to be recognized as an independent state.
It is not a bombshell to any person that a country which was once an independent state and voluntarily joined their brothers, in search of the so called ‘Greater Somalia’, can anytime decide to withdraw from the union if need arises. Therefore, it is the people’s wishes to stay away from the mess of their united partner in order to move forward and do their business separately.
Many popular bodies that have been established in this world to protect and preserve the basic constitutional rights- in which self-determination comes on top- are regrettably violating the very same rights. For example, African Union has discarded to admit the possibility of Somaliland’s statehood. Let me tell you AU members, Somaliland neither created new borders, like Southern Sudan, nor defied AU’s principle article which rejects African colonial borders to be redrawn but simply re-established itself from the unsuccessful marriage it had once with Somalia.
Somaliland has now everything to qualify for statehood; be it a permanent population, a defined territory and a functioning government. There is also a flourishing democracy with multi-party system whereby the president, the parliament and the local councils were elected through a process of fair and free election. It has handled peaceful transfer of power from one regime to another, which has colored Somaliland’s move with unmatched civility.
Constant killings and mayhem in many parts of Africa is everyday’s practice but Somaliland has been an exceptional one. Due to its well-armed and equipped forces, peace on their part has been fully guaranteed. It has not posed any kind of threat to its neighbors, but instead maintained friendly relations albeit the many terrorist elements which are determined to destroy it. Truth thus is, without such outstanding efforts the miseries, frustrations, terrorism and piracy would have spilled over on other neighbors.
What Somaliland has accomplished single-handedly is reasonably glorious. It has stabilized its economy which relies mainly upon livestock, tax receipts and remittances from the Diaspora. With the little revenue gotten, much has been done in terms of providing social services, maintaining peace and nurturing democracy.
One will be astounded to observe that the voiceless society has been given a platform to engage in the active politics. Women, for instance, are now taking a lead in every single aspect of life from parenting to the leadership! Such a country with this puerile democracy cannot execute to give three ministerial positions to women; Somaliland is a unique case though.
The exercise of the human rights is vibrant in Somaliland. It is the government which acts responsibly in protecting primary rights- including freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and freedom of press. The impossibility is that an African country as young as Somaliland is actually unable to safeguard such rights but Somaliland did it with all greater popularity.
Recent research in Somaliland showed that the region has large offshore and onshore oil and natural gas reserves. There are several wells that have been unearthed over the past few years but due to its unrecognized status, foreign oil and coal companies have not been able to benefit from this.
Because of thea bove-mentioned reasons, I humbly therefore appeal to the civilized world by quoting my honorable former president’s words, HE. Rayale Kahin, that Somaliland should not be punished for the success it has achieved by its own efforts, but rather should be given a full diplomatic recognition.
To sum up, Somaliland fulfils all the criteria that the international law requires for the attainment of statehood. The international community should no longer ignore Somaliland’s pursuit for recognition. It is in the interest of the World to have an independent state that is stable and free of anarchy, with a viable economy and a functioning democracy.
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