AN OPEN LETTER TO Ambassador Augustine Mahiga
I write this letter as a Somaliland citizen who values International rules and regulations in the community of nations and also as an African brother of the small nation of Somaliland which you must be made aware and to which you are morally bound to give a fair hearing and judicious consideration.
First of all, I have to extol your tireless effort in bringing lasting peace to Somalia nevertheless it’s important to know that all previous 17 or 18 peace conferences held to effect reconciliation and establish credible government for Somalia since 1991, including the Garowe conference have miserably failed. It’s also worth mentioning that many political analyst and commentators believe that London conference will be the same. The most important underlying reason for their failure is ignoring Somaliland’s de facto existence and independence from Somalia. The problem of Somalia should have been viewed from the beginning as being in two parts. A) The succession of Somaliland and B) the conflict in Somalia.
I am sure that you are made aware of Somaliland’s statehood by Somaliland leaders in many different occasions but I believe it’s my responsibility to give you brief history about Somaliland.
What is relevant and deserve attention here is the fact that Somaliland was not a newly formed geo-political entity. Indeed, it has a long history as a country with its own political and geographic identity. In the 19th century, it came under suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire and then from 1884 until June 1960 it was administered by the United Kingdom as a protectorate in the basis of treaties freely negotiated between clan Somali leaders and the British.
On June 26, 1960, Great Britain granted Independence to the protectorate, officially ending 80 years of colonial rule. Some 38 nations officially recognized Somaliland’s independence including Great Britain and Egypt. Somaliland existed with its own recognized borders for five days. The now defunct Somali Republic was founded in 1960 by the union of the British Protectorate Somaliland and the former UN Trust territory under Italian Administration. That union was to have been the start of the process of unifying the five segments of the Somali Nation into what we have lovely termed “Greater Somalia”. This once cherished aspiration of all the Somali people has now atrophied by the attrition of external opposition and oppression of callous domestic dictatorship.
That burning and once inspiring aspiration to unite a nation had intoxicated a newly independent nation and in its neophite years of sovereign existence, divorced its budding diplomacy from the constrains of logic and from the balanced traditions of moderation. Only mindful of the undeniable justice of our cause, we plunged head on into a simultaneous conflict with Ethiopia, Kenya and France. We have not even spared brief reflection for the combined international weight of three prestigious octogenarians, Emperor Haile Sellassie, President Jomo Kenyatta and Charles De Gaulle, who were respectively ruling the three countries we have taken on. We went forward with insouciant unconcern and defied cynical world that had long exchanged its principles for political expediency and its believes for power and patronage. Of course we have lost and to hoot were consigned to the unrelenting shackles of international ostracism.
Today, neither that political entity nor the constitutional basis for that union exists. Political developments within the region have led to the abandonment of the concept of a Greater Somalia and the political and constitutional basis of the 1960 union was shattered in every respect when General Siyad Bare seized power by military Coup d’etat in 1969, scraped the constitution, established a communist dictatorship and subjected the population of Somaliland to reign of terror that lasted more than 20 years.
After experiencing 31 years of harsh oppressive measures in which they have been treated as as a second class citizens in their own land by the dictatorship government of Mohamed Siyaad Bare, Somaliland finally reclaimed its independence in Burao conference which all clans of Somaliland gathered and agreed to abrogate the un ratified “Act of Union” of 1960, and further declared independence from Somalia.
Somaliland succeeded to establish a fully functioning democratic government by successfully overcoming many challenges including demobilization, reconciliation of clans and establishing government structure and also holding referendum. Somaliland has also successfully held quite number of democratic elections which international community declared free and fair elections.
Somaliland fulfills the broad criteria of statehood under the Montevideo on the Rights and Duties of States, defined by the following parameters: a permanent population; a defined territory; a government and the capacity to enter in to relations with other states.
Mr. Ambassador, as you know London conference was the first conference that Somaliland participated in the last 20 years. During London conference, our president has been given an opportunity to speak there and share with the international community Somaliland’s experience in institution and peace building. At the end of the London conference, International community has acknowledged the importance of having talks between Somaliland and TFG, Somalia by adding the communiqué that it’s imperative that Somaliland hold talks with TFG of Somalia. Our president, Mr. Ahmed Silanyo has appointed five member technical committee to lay the ground work for the talks with the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia. Unfortunately, The TFG undermined the talks following their inclusion of Ministers origin from Somaliland in their technical committee. This has caused Somaliland’s refusal to hold talks with TFG, Somalia.
Mr. Ambassador, It’s very clear that TFG government has violated the clause in the London conference Communiqué. I hope that you will be able to pass on the international community especially United Nations Security Council that Somaliland fulfilled its criteria while TFG failed. I also believe that Somaliland will not be participating the Turkey conference for Somalis since no one respected the outcome of London conference. Somaliland people are not willing to engage Somali peace conferences again.
Mr. Ambassador, its perhaps great irony that United Nations previous missions including UNOSOM failed miserably because they tried to destabilize Somaliland. It was also an irony of immense proportions that those who were appointed and entrusted with the task of helping Somalia to find itself and stand on its feet engaged in the opposite task of destabilizing and destroying the only peace in Somaliland.
A man of your Excellency’s stature and experience should not turn blind eye the facts on the ground in Somaliland.
Somaliland will never accept anything less than full recognition; any arrangement attempted to be made regarding less than full recognition will result war between Somaliland and Somalia and the consequences will engulf the whole region with common tragedy.
Therefore, we appeal to your Excellency to assist in Somaliland in getting its denied rights in the United Nations and also to facilitate us the long due recognition that would save us from returning to the humiliating servitude of new colonialism, in the company of our poor and unfortunate former compatriots, whom we hope to aid and assist as a separate sovereign state.
Long life to Somaliland
Mohamed Abdilahi Duale