By: Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi
(Somalilandsun)- It has been 52 years from the independence of Somaliland on 26th June 1960. Somaliland people ended 73 years of British rule in peaceful manner, unlike many African countries who gained bloodshed sovereignty. At the start of British rule, the Somalilanders accepted British into Somaliland with conditions including that British must leave the country anytime asked.
Secretary of State for the Colonies (1959-1961) Iain Macleod announced independence of Somaliland after extensive meetings with Somaliland politicians including Statesman Mohamed H. I. Egal in London on constitution and independence related topics. Mr. Macleod underscored that people of Somaliland demanded the independence, and based on earlier agreements, Her Majesty, the Queen decided to fulfill the wish of the people of Somaliland to unite with Italian Somaliland, which ended UN Trusteeship on 1st July 1960.
Somaliland, Nigeria and British Cameroon become independent same period of time. Britain’s handover of Reserve Area (currently part of 5th Region of Ethiopia) to Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie accelerated the end of 80 years of British protectorate. Such handover triggered anger between Somalilanders and all people wore white sheet on their forehead, as an expression of disappointment.
The newborn nation named State of Somaliland was celebrated for two days across the country from Elayo to Lowya Addo. Statesman Mohamed H.I. Egal was nominated as Prime Minister by the elected parliament of State of Somaliland until 14th July 1960. He was MP elected from Berbera City and General Secretary of SNL Party. A large number of dignitaries attended the celebration including Speaker of the Parliament in Italian “Somalia” Mr. Aden Abdallah Osman (Aden Adde). Mr. Aden Osman, who was later nominated as first President of Somali Republic, said during the Somaliland flag-hoisting ceremony “the people of Italian Somalia were eagerly awaiting independence”.
A message from the Queen was delivered in Hargeisa by Mr. T. E. Bromley, British Consul-General, on the occasion on Somaliland Independence Day. The Message said: “I, my Government and my people in the United Kingdom, wish you well on this day of independence. The connection between our people goes back some 130 years and British administration of the Protectorate for 60 years. I look forward to a continuing and enduring friendship between our two countries.”
The elected Prime Minister of State of Somaliland Mohamed H. I. Egal responded with a tribute to the British association, saying: “We have not always seen eye to eye, but we share a Common ideal in the simple things of life. This is not the end of British-Somali relations. These relations are simply taking another shape for the better.”
Unfortunately, the independent Somaliland united with Italian “Somalia” unconditionally throwing away its sovereignty. The dark history of Somaliland started exactly after the unity, where angry Somalilanders plotted a coup just one year from the unity to restore their misplaced nation, but failed. Somalilanders lost all their rights in the new Somali Republic.
Until today, Somalians failed to understand the reality on Somaliland-Somalia relations. They claim of discussing with Somaliland about possible remarriage, while Somaliland government underlined that Somaliland sovereignty is not negotiable and Somaliland can talk to “Somalia” on sorting out the shared issues, and that Somaliland will help “Somalia” on democratization and post-war conflict resolutions.
I personally believe talking to Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of “Somalia” at the present will be unfruitful because of many factors: Foreign Forces are protecting the TFG offices and too weak to stand on its feet. TFG don’t control majority of the “Somalia”, in another meaning, TFG government in Mogadishu don’t represent Somalians. TFG mandate will end mid-August, and it is almost impossible for TFG to establish complete functioning government all over the former Italian “Somalia” in the remaining days. The international community accused President of TFG Sheikh Sharif and his cabinet ministers for financial irregularities, which puts under suspicion.
TFG is appointing Somaliland-born individuals in both its negotiation committee for Somaliland-Somalia Dialogue in London and the cabinet, which shows TFG’s lack of respect of the desire and decision of the people of Somaliland. Somaliland must speak to TFG only if it avoids the appointment of Somaliland-born mercenaries, who are after money and personal gains in Mogadishu.
The international community cannot block Somaliland right of self-determination due to instability in “Somalia”. Somaliland people who support Somaliland Independence can easily make more than 80% of the 3.5 million population of Somaliland. We know that 51% voted for independence in Montenegro, where Bosnia Herzegovina and East Timor had large Anti-Independence groups during referendums in these territories. These minorities of such countries could not stop the majority, and Somaliland will be a nation in the very near future.
The below link carries the World Press reaction to Somaliland Independence Day on 26th June 1960: http://somalilandpress.com/somaliland-independence-26th-june-1960-the-world-press-6954