Somaliland born in1960, but prematurely; sadly died in the hands of narrow-minded so-called statesmen—in ill-fated union with Somalia, immediately, a coup d’état led by Hassan Kayd failed; around 15 years later, Somalilanders inspired by the American song or similar “freedom is not free, it takes folk like you and me” begun to fight for their nationhood, freedom, and dignity to restore its “auctioned” sovereignty after oppression and arbitrary massive killings. As a result, Somaliland has experienced devastating conflict, in 1991 in Buroa, Togdheer, Somalia before Siyad Barre’s humiliating ouster but much Somalia’s territory was out of the government control, a determined group of visionary men, victorious warriors decided to unilaterally declare Somaliland. But the country again entered in political turmoil from 1994-97. However, despite the ups and downs, Somaliland survived amidst volatile, chaotic region. Nonetheless, Somaliland’s, a democracy once widely recognized as “Africa’s best kept secret” fate is dim; the emergent uncertainty is a result of maladministration.
“I’ll run for presidency, its our turn” announced exhausted politician, Ahmed Silanyo who went to London for retirement. This irritating, opportunistic statement came after Egal’s death is confirmed.
Once Silanyo became the president, he scraped fundamental principles of the country: non-revenge, forgiveness, and non-negotiation with Somalia’s rumps nationally alleged with Somaliland wide-scale massacre.
Exploiting minor clash in Kalshale over water dispute between sisterly tribes, president as commander-in-chief ordered the national army to wage war in alliance with his sub-clan, tanks rolled across innocent Camel boys with metal tyre belts whereby making their bodies brutally flattened! Universal TV, Somali channel, televised the shocking footages to the world! Universal TV was temporarily shut down by Silanyo’s government for retaliation.
Moreover, Somaliland’s unconditional acceptance to join London Summit about Somalia has threatened the very existence of Somaliland: the hosting country made no assurances that Somaliland’s de fact status would be respected never mind recognizing, so, certainly Somaliland has just participated in the conference like small region from Somalia. The tale that Somaliland was treated differently is myth.
The mere participation weakened Somalilanders’ confidence in the ruling government which raised funds from both Somalilanders and pan-Somalis in the US during Silanyo’s trip to State before the election. And wrongly depicted how Somalilanders are unable to decide whether to join Somalia or stay adamant on their country’s independence. The world thought they are sitting on the fence. When set of wrong rulers are put in power, the country is likely to disintegrate.
President Ahmed Mohamoud Silanyo is politically unstable man whose faith in Somaliland got thinner adversely proportionally to his growing religiosity; besides, landmark developments are taking place in Somalia: Mogadishu is back to normal as Al-Shabab militants are evicted out of Mogadishu. And there is a massive migration of talented youth to Mogadishu for anticipated job opportunities, therefore; Hargiesa, Somaliland capital is started to empty out. In the past, Somalilanders were very resistant to any temptation during darkest days in Somaliland, but now they lost confidence in the status quo will ever change.
The government sacks every decent public voice from the job from Boobe Duale to Engineer Hashi to cast doubt over Somaliland’s direction and creates unnecessary conflict among sister clans.
Somaliland’s future is rather dimmed now than ever before: Somaliland president is very aged and seems unaware of his foreign minister’s deceptive tactics including taking photos with foreign dignitaries via back channels without telling them anything about his title never mind Somaliland and making pleasant stories about mere photos to post in the local sites to mislead the masses hungry for good news with heaps of half-truths if not lies. Over 20 years of search of real answers to Somaliland’s lack of recognition, the president has to prevaricate by participating in Somali Language Forum in Djibouti or similar insignificant gathering and the foreign minister has to fabricate. But that may eventually cause precious Somaliland slipping out of hands once again.
You cannot discount the drastic decline of statehood characteristics under Silanyo’s administration: tribes’ rebellion; hijack of the people’s will in the recent bloody elections, and apparent erosion of press freedom including the recent arbitrary arrest of Xuuto, the chief editor of Waaheen newspaper in Hargaysa. After he published a critical, revealing article of the First Family and extended family’s, including the sons-laws and daughters-laws’ involvement in fattening their pockets from the poor masses’ levied money selling in the streets just to survive, not to live. “…, fighting to eat” Knaan Warsame’s World Cup’s lyrics accurately applies to this context.
Predecessors repeatedly said that Somaliland’s statehood is “irreversible” and “non-negotiable” or even “sacrosanct” but the congratulation of Somalia’s constitution by Somaliland’s ruling party not just heightened Somalilanders’ concerns but also put question mark on Somaliland’s existence as viable, credible state along side Somalia. Nonetheless, people’s optimism suddenly turned to anxiety.
More than 20 years, Somaliland was neither in unity with Somalia nor has real independence to be proud of! But at the least the people consoled themselves that their little country is better off than the main land, Somalia, for the ‘negative’ peace or the mere absence of war without the necessities of life they enjoy but the self-soothing excuse is over as African “peace-making” forces swept militants to sea; people were exposed to bitter reality leaving no room to doubt.
The international community is focused on Mogadishu “we won over Somalia but the international community is carrying dead Somalia off on stretcher to catch us” Faysal Ali Warabe of UCID Party hilariously stated. Of course, it’s true because “the Death City” or “the Walking Dead”—as the international mass media often calls Somalia— is not just chasing Somaliland but went miles ahead with the help of international community including Turkey’s New Love Affair With Somalia; the reason for this bias is bothering Somalilanders all. Why do they prefer Somalia, the failed country over functioning democracy of Somaliland? This is the question being asked by many Somalilanders.
Silanyo’s but Hirsi-run government created a dangerous scenario to dismantle togetherness of the tribes in Somaliland by demarcating controversial borderlines among tribal districts to keep the people at the unfruitful quarrel.
If the current government stays the ambiguous course and Somaliland’s fate remains unknown, then Somaliland again will slip out of hands, saddest day, but does Somaliland’s democracy worth fighting once again? No one knows for sure.
Dirye is Somaliland Activist and Senior Editor at the Democracy chronicles Africa’s News Edition, dirye@dem ocracychronicles.com
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