SOMALILAND: We have our own Constitution and Elected Representatives
The people of the independent Republic of Somaliland are saddened by the fact that Somalians have yet again chosen to include Somaliland in their dispensation, when it is clear to everyone that since 1991, Somalilanders have not only established peace but have also adopted their own Constitution which was finally approved in a national referendum in 2001. Somalilanders hope that Somalians will achieve the peace and stability that has evaded them so far, but also urge them and the international community to accept and respect the irreversible decision of the Somaliland people to re-gain their sovereignty in May 1991.
After two decades of building democratic institutions and conducting peaceful and smooth transfers of power through popular elections, one would have expected that the international community would no longer remain blind to the presence of a genuine democratic representation in Somaliland that can speak authoritatively for the Somaliland people. The international community was aware of and accepted Somaliland’s non-involvement in the “Roadmap” to end the “transition in Somalia” and in the making of the new Somalia constitution which was devised by the Somalia Transitional Government (TFG), the various regions/groups of Somalia and the UN.
And, yet when it came to the adoption of the Somalia constitution and the selection of the new Assembly, the formula that was used again was one which denied the existence of Somaliland’s elected representatives and was first used in 2000. A spokesman for the Somaliland Diaspora Groups said:
“It is bad enough for Somaliland to be denied the international recognition that it rightfully deserves, but it is duplicitous, to say the least, to disregard all the state building efforts undertaken by Somaliland over two decades and to reduce the whole of the Somaliland people into one newly invented majority clan and one minority clan that would both be counted as part of the other Somalia clans. Attempting to dismantle Somaliland into a patchwork of clan regions will not bring about a new union of Somaliland and Somalia, but is likely to lead to more conflict and disintegration which is of no benefit to anyone.”
The vast majority of Somaliland’s real traditional leaders, who were instrumental in building Somaliland’s peace and institutions, rejected immediately the blandishments to go to Somalia. Attracting, therefore, a few mainly self-appointed persons from Somaliland to Mogadishu, neither co-opts Somaliland into the Somalia “Roadmap process”, nor does it give the Somalia constitution or the new government any legitimacy in Somaliland. It simply reinforces the Somaliland people’s belief that the prevailing attitude in Somalia is still the desire to run Somaliland from Mogadishu. This casts serious doubts on the future of the planned talks between Somaliland and the Somalia Government agreed at the London Conference only six months ago and will pose a new threat to the fragile peace and stability in the Horn of Africa if the new Somalia government starts interfering in Somaliland’s affairs.
As the Somali sayings go, only a blind person can fall into the same hole more than once, and that losing your way on a road makes you learn it well. We lost our way once in 1960 when we gave up our sovereignty and have since counted the cost of that mistake in loss of liberty, limb and life, especially throughout the 1980s. So, good luck, Somalia, with your new constitution and new government; we, in Somaliland, have our own which we will never lose again.
SOMALILAND DIASPORA ORGANISATIONS:
1. The Promotion of the Somaliland Constitution Group
3. Somaliland Societies in Europe (SSE)
4. African Rural Health & Education Trust
5. West London Somaliland Community
6. Somaliland Society UK (SSUK)
7. Somaliland Brain Trust Youth Organization
8. Somaliland Ambassadors Without Borders
9. Somaliland Development Organization
10. Ottawa Somaliland Community Service
11. Somaliland American Association
12. East Africa Policy Institute