This is indeed a unique period in the development of the Republic of Somaliland, and its path to sovereignty.
In an era where most of Africa is ruled by a dictatorial government.
Somaliland’s exemplary electoral process over the past thirty years has been recognized around the world as a sign of the emergence or imminent appearance and a new dawn for Somaliland’s independence.
How does Somaliland become an independent country?
Somaliland has been a free country for 30 years now, it is free because Somaliland has not received concessional lending or loans from international banks, international organizations or the international community, some may claim it’s due to its lack of international recognition, but I say it’s a good thing because, this status makes Somaliland the only country in the world without debt and without interference of external creditors in its domestic politics, where the majority of the countries of the Horn of Africa, in particular Djibouti and Ethiopia, and the entire African continent is deeply and painfully indebted to China.
What makes Somaliland a free country.
Because Somaliland has thirty years of functioning democratic system.
Thirty years of building a strong army.
Three decades of peacefulness and tranquility.
Three decades of experience in conflict resolution.
Thirty years of self-determination.
Thirty years of self reliance
Thirty years without borrowing from the World Bank or any other international community or international organizations.
Thirty years of law enforcement.
Thirty years, keeping pirates away from our coastlines.
Thirty years to ward off the deadly terrorist with our own Coast Guard army.
Thirty years to fulfil all the conditions of a sovereign country.
Three decades of using our own money.
Thirty years to five elected presidents.
Thirty years of democratic voting.
For 30 years, the international community and the West have put a lot of time and effort into creating a government in Mogadishu.
Thirty years free from violence.
Thirty years of self-government and self-sufficiency.
For 30 years, Somaliland has been taken hostage as a result of the chaos in Somalia.
For 30 years, the US has spent $4 billion on military operations and failed conferences in Somalia, while the equivalent of 0.0025% of this amount was devoted to similar (and more successful) peace building efforts in Somaliland.
30 years disconnected from the global aid architecture, unable to access funding from the World Bank or the IMF and still living.
30 years of solid relations with neighbouring nations, Asia, the Middle East and the West.
30 years of attracting international investors, which led to a strategy and agreement on infrastructure, such as the UAE, which has signed a concession agreement to manage the port of Berbera.
30 years of self-help and successful rebuilding of its own economy and infrastructure, shattered by Siad Bare’s army, where a large part of its population has taken refuge in refugee camps in Ethiopia.
Somaliland’s 2021 budget is $339 million, up 2.9% from last year’s budget, where the West and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have continuously projected and embarked upon the federal Somalis economy.
Thirty years of monitoring and maintaining security, justice, health, education, production, environmental, energy, good governance, elections without international assistance.
Thirty years of doing all the right things, more than what the West preaches about.
Over the past 30 years, Somaliland has been a discreet symbol of peace, democracy and good governance, while neighbouring Somalia remains mired and embroiled in an apparently fatal and irreconcilable civil conflict.
Despite Somaliland’s international isolation, Somaliland continues to be an integral part of the Horn of Africa policy and regional prosperity.
No matter how and what, Somaliland is entering a new phase of history regionally and globally.
During this volatile period, Somaliland stands out and highlights a new geopolitical disclosure and plays a more neutral role, where it focuses its attention on its interests.
Additionally, the relationship between Taiwan and Somaliland is a breakthrough in the pursuit and the quest for recognition of Somaliland, By simply using its Geo-strategic leverage in a judicious and appropriate way, Somaliland will no doubt regain its path to their long-awaited recognition.
In 2020, this marks a new beginning for Somaliland, whose isolated international and regional status has changed dramatically with the establishment of new diplomatic engagements.
30 years of unbroken belief and faith in their independence and existence, the belief and faith that Somaliland can sustain over the next 30 years if necessary.
In addition, over the past 30 years, Somaliland has embarked on a journey of accountability to demonstrate its capacity to be recognised, by essentially responding to all the demands of a state and to the fact that Somaliland has clearly demonstrated its superiority’s over the poor and the impotent federal government of Somalia.
Somalilanders are grateful to all their elders for their participation in the four decisive and crucial benchmarks that paved the way for 30 years of peace.
First, and most importantly.
- The Burco conference on May 1991, during which the sovereignty of Somaliland was declared and a government for the new Republic was created. It was the humble beginning of Somaliland’s 30-year journey – clans gathered under a tree to arrive at a political settlement and set a new path to peace and progress.
The evolution of the progressive development process in Somaliland started or commenced on 18 May 1991, when SNM leaders and traditional clan elders held an inter-clan conference in Burco
The Second most significant landmark is.
- The Sheikh’s Reconciliation Conference in November 1992, when the warring factions in Berbera were reconciled and the foundations for the Borama Conference were established,
The third key benchmark.
- The 1993 Borama Conference, where both a Peace Charter and a National Charter were approved, In addition, a House of two chambers, a President and a Vice President were elected. The Borama Conference of 1993 is indeed historical because it is an important milestone for the re-establishment of peace and governance in Somaliland.
The fourth key Benchmark
- The 1997 Hargeysa Conference in which the Legislative Chambers, the President and the Vice-President were elected. The groundwork has been laid for the drafting of a new Constitution and the appointment of a drafting committee.
The above benchmarks are just some of the most important milestones in the success of Somaliland’s peace and state strengthening efforts, as a result the Constitution of Somaliland was endorsed by a national referendum on 31 May 2001 by 97% of the voters. Since then, five successful presidential elections have taken place in accordance with the Constitution:
These noble, magnanimous and altruistic efforts, and struggles of the people of Somaliland have changed the attitude of global opinion and further enhanced Somaliland’s image to international communities.
The success of Somaliland is the result of dialogue between our leaders on peace processes and the desire of the people of Somaliland to maintain unity, respect and abide the rule of law and work out a social and political agreements to select and elect their leaders at the Borama Conference.
We also are thankful to the Somali National Movement (SNM) heroes who maintained the mobility of its leadership by virtue of their constitution while being an armed movement that has been fighting the military regime for the past ten years.
We also thank the elders for their efforts in the peaceful resolution of the civil conflict that erupted in 1994.
The most worrisome and pressing challenge facing Somaliland is/has been the postponement of the elections, which, thankfully and finally, are underway in the coming week.
Somaliland’s primary goal now is to continue to promote free, fair and peaceful elections and to ensure that the electoral process remains on track and democratic.
Previously, Somaliland was able to hold six successful elections in the face of legal and technical difficulties. The presidential elections in June 2010 and 2017 were an enormous success, not only in Somaliland, but for all Somali regions and the Horn of Africa as a whole.
The Somaliland’s nation needs to understand the importance of the elections, particularly those of May 2021, where the entire world is waiting for the results. Any obstacles or challenges associated with the electoral process should be understood and minimised in advance.
Advice to the current President and the three party leaders
As defined in the Constitution, the President exercises and retains tremendous power, much of the fate of the upcoming elections depends on your leadership and political will. The three party leaders must also ensure that the development and political reform agendas are addressed as a whole and that elections are appropriately and successfully organized.
Admittedly, the arrival of political parties in Somaliland has been an important step in completing the clan’s political transition (Beel). The successful House of Representatives elections in 2005 paved the way for Somaliland’s system of representative democracy based on the one man – one vote principle.
Somaliland’s political parties were remarkably well organised and were able to run in all previous rounds of elections under challenging circumstances and therefore must shine again as the upcoming elections are the ones that the international communities are eagerly awaiting.
The general public is hopeful that the leadership of the party will and will have to demonstrate balanced leadership in the upcoming May election.
The previous National Election Commission (NEC) has been able to carry out all previous elections in a tolerable and relatively successful manner and with a minimum of errors, the public, therefore, expects that the new NEC will carry out its responsibilities in the most perfect and honest manner possible.
The Somaliland media rejoice at a certain degree of freedom, but, due to the lack of appropriate journalism and know-how in Somaliland., Somaliland media continue to act irresponsibly by reporting inaccurate and unidentifiable information, media mus and should act responsibly and by the way, the time has now come to the right time that Somaliland introduces journalism schools, institutions or colleges.
The pro-government and private media must take responsibility for what they deliver to the public. There has to be a law enforcement agency that controls the media and imposes fines on people who violate the law. All media outlets that disclose untruths that cannot be verified, whether by an individual, a party or a government, should be subject to heavy fines.
Media polarisation infects the political environment and can affect peace and the electoral process. For instance, both public and private media demonising each other is a disaster waiting to happen
The Civic Organisations.
The Local civic organisations should also start getting involved in the country’s democratisation process. As far as I can tell, civic organisations do not exist in Somaliland.
The civic institutions should be holding public debates on critical issues, they should be conducting trainings on leadership, governance and capacity building
They should provide training on advocacy and issues related to elections.
There are NGOs that advocate specifically for certain groups or issues, such as those that work to strengthen the role of women in the electoral process. Their involvement was considered a step in the right direction, but they are fighting to translate their claims into concrete political actions.
Happy 18 May and 30th anniversary to the entire Somaliland nation all over the world.
Ahmed Yasin Mohamed Jama