Hear Voices of Somaliland
_____________________________________________________________ Press release by: Hear voices of Somaliland (HEVOS).
As you may already be aware the Somaliland Mission to the UK is organising a one day conference in London on 1st December 2018. The aim of the conference is said to be ‘’constructing diaspora Somaliland identity in an ever-changing Europe: Unity, patriotism and contributing through positive activism. In simple terms, their objective, as they claim, is to harmonise and unite Somaliland communities in Europe. This topic raises many questions including the simple ones of why now and what does it really mean?
We ask these questions, because we all know Somaliland has existed for the past 27 years and its people both inside and outside Somaliland have been working very hard to convince the international community about their self-determination and aspiration to secede from the union it entered with the Italian Somalia after its independence in 1960, and the causes for its withdrawal from the union.
This statement is to address whether holding this kind of conference in Europe, particularly in London is the right answer and solution in uniting the Somaliland Diaspora in Europe and elsewhere when we realistically consider the social, economic, political and geopolitical challenges Somaliland is currently facing. If we want to achieve the aforementioned objective of the conference we will need to be sincere and truthful to ourselves and we can only do that if we are thinking realistically and not idealistically. Therefore, it is of significant importance not to shy away from pointing out issues that unite us and those that divide us and unless we can find a sound balance on these issues we will be doomed to fail and history will repeat itself.
Before we outline the serious challenges Somaliland is currently facing, we would like to make one thing very clear, we are and will always support and encourage the peace, stability and unity of all Somalilanders wherever they are as we believe this is the only way we can build a solid statehood. But, at the same we must not and cannot ignore the real problems and challenges Somaliland is facing and how best to address them, then I believe we can talk about sense of patriotism and activism.
Social Cohesion – anyone with little knowledge of Somalis knows they are generally a homogenous ethnic group inhabited in several countries in the Horn of Africa i.e. Somaliland, Somalia, Djibouti, parts of Ethiopia and Kenya, united by common language, religion and culture but their diversity is defined by tribal lineages, and this is a significant social structure which one must not ignore, because if tribal balance is lost in the system, then that system will undoubtedly fail to maintain peace, stability and to harmonise the various tribes and regions.
It is unfortunate that since the Kulmiye party took over power in 2010, the trust between tribes has gradually declined and this is due to the divisive policies promoted by the Kulmiye leadership in which favouritism, nepotism and massive corruption by particular groups have become the norm and many feel that the system has encouraged those groups to enrich themselves from public resources. Development projects were corrupted and many regions in Somaliland have not benefited from the increasing international assistance such as the projects funded by the Somaliland Development Fund which Britain and Denmark contribute to.
One example of many projects misappropriated by the administration is the multimillion Dollar Humbowayne Water project funded by the United Arab Emirates which failed due to corruption. Both previous and current Kulmiye administration failed to shed a light on why the project failed, how they spent the money earmarked for the project, and why those responsible for the failure of this lifeline project got away with impunity. Furthermore, the lack of equal opportunities for work, government contracts, development projects between regions and tribes have damaged social cohesion, polarised public opinion and the vast majority of the population were hoping a new political direction from the new government but nothing has changed, and Somaliland has never been so divided before.
Public services – many regions, particularly those in the east of the country lack the basic public services such schools, health centres, clean water and child and Mother mortality is the highest in the world, yet the president’s priority is to build a new presidential Palace in his tribal backyard, which is a testament to his priorities for the country.
Peace and security – there have been recurring tribal clashes in the east of the country where hundreds of people lost their lives, and the government failed to intervene in a timely fashion to save lives and find lasting solution for their problems. Hundreds of government soldiers defected from the military, because they have been complaining growing injustices within the military forces. It is thus HEVOS’ view that this conference is no more than a public relationships exercise aimed to camouflage the fundamental issues facing the country at present and the government’s failure to find solutions for them. Therefore HEVOS will not be supporting this conference and feels it is a waste of badly needed money that could be used to save lives of Mothers and Babies in Somaliland.
HEVOS is urging the government to focus on improving those above named areas.
HEVOS executive committee
Lost in translation! The problem with Somaliland organisations is that they lose purpose and become individualistic. There is Somaliland Society in Europe which meant to be the umbrella of all the organisations that exist in Europe. There is also Somaliland Society in UK that meant to be the sub umbrella of all the Somaliland societies in UK, but they appear not to understand their role as umbrellas that connect all the organisations and sub organisations in Europe and UK and foster collaboration instead they all acting individualistically and see themselves as the only and all-encompassing authority of Somaliland affairs. If an ethos of collaboration existed in the thinking of these organisations we would not have organisations, such as the one released the statement in here (though I never heard of it before) encouraging a boycott of a diaspora conference regardless of who is organising it but there would have been a collaboration and a line of communication between all Somaliland organisations and between the organisations and the Somaliland Representative Offices in Europe and elsewhere. As an outcome, this conference would have been an opportunity for all Somalilanders and the Somaliland organisations to pull their thoughts together, exchange ideas, share experiences and set the direction for their organisations as they claim to act for Somaliland Diaspora instead they can’t get past their individual egos and political views! This is not about government, political party or another individualistic agenda and there should never be a connection between the conference and tribal issues. The organisations which were supposed lead people are obsessed with tribal debate instead of what they meant to be doing, i.e. encouraging the improvement of Somaliland Diaspora as well as their ancestry home. People should disregard this statement and support the conference.