Friday, June 22, 2012

SOMALILAND: Respecting Somaliland’s Democratic choices

Somalilanders mark their 21st anniversary of independence in Freedom Park, Hargeisa, 18 May 2012 (Photo: Yusuf Dahir).

Somalilanders mark their 21st anniversary of independence in Freedom Park, Hargeisa, 18 May 2012 (Photo: Yusuf Dahir).
OPINION | JUNE 20, 2012
by Yusuf Dirir Ali, MD
The people and the democratically elected government of Somaliland Republic are grateful to the International community and especially to the United Kingdom for hosting and spearheading the Somaliland-Somalia dialogue on their future relations. Somaliland values the great contributions being made by the Norwegian government to this dialogue.  We hope this London discussion will pave the way for a permanent peace and cooperation between the two neighborly nations and to the greater Horn of Africa region.
Somalia’s insistence in claiming that Somaliland is a part and a parcel of its territory is solely based on covet and on nothing else. There were no legal bases of a union between Somaliland and Somalia to start with, because there was no act of union signed between the two entities. The people of Somaliland have overwhelmingly voted against the 1962 constitution, which created the annexation of Somaliland through an illegal Somalia’s presidential decree.
On the other hand, Somaliland does not claim a Somalia territory since the borders of the two countries are based on the well demarcated Anglo-Italian borders of the colonial era.  Both the African Union and its predecessor, the Organisation of African Union strongly insist in their charters that the colonial borders of African countries should not be altered. Somaliland’s territorial borders are fully in line with the OAU and the African Union charters.
Somaliland was treated as a Somalia colony for thirty years and the people of Somaliland went through all forms of inhumane treatment under the Successive Somalia lead governments.  Eventually, the Somaliland cities were levelled to the ground by heavy artillery and aerial bombardments by the Somalia lead dictatorial regime. Somaliland citizens were raped and massacred by the tens of thousands. Millions of Somaliland citizens were forced to leave their country and seek refuge in all continents.
The people of Somaliland have annulled the union with Somalia on national referendum and fully recuperated their sovereignty democratically and peacefully. 97% of Somalilanders voted for the recuperation of their sovereignty in that national referendum.
Somaliland holds the flood- gates of international terrorism, sea piracy and human-trafficking originating from Somalia. A Somaliland-Somalia union will undermine Somaliland’s efforts in fighting terrorism and will escalate international violence and insecurities.
Based on all those facts, the Somaliland people and their democratically elected government see no point in discussing a union with the anarchic Somalia and its unelected TFG government.  Only a two state solution will benefit both countries and will contribute to the stability of the Horn of Africa region.
However, Somalia’s unelected TFG President and prime minister have openly and shamefully stated that they will infinitely heave the Somaliland-Somalia dialogue. They want this dialogue to be akin to the Somalia’s endless internationally mediated and never ending conferences. They want this dialogue to be held in as many venues as possible, because they aim to extort moneys from the international community through endlessly dragging this dialogue.  Similarly, since 1991 the successive Somalia governments have extorted billions of Dollars from the international community and produced more bloodshed and anarchy. They all failed to make tangible effort to form a functional government in their own country.
The International community must respect the self-determination and democratic choices of the Somaliland citizens.  The anarchic Somalia must not be allowed to take Somaliland as a hostage. The people of Somaliland have accomplished a lot in the last two decades and their accomplishment should not be allowed to go in vain.
by Yusuf Dirir Ali,MD

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