As participants accuse UN Habitat the organizers of Trampling over the
Sovereignty of Somaliland
By: Yusuf M Hasan
The opening of a three days Joint Programme on LocalGovernance-JPLG in Hargeisa turned hostile after the organizer distributed note books and pens embossed with the flag of Somalia.
The meeting organized with the objective of fast checkingactivities and subsequent progress of the JPLG program run by UN Habitat in both Somalia and Somaliland was officiatedby the Somaliland vice president Abdirahman Sayli who was accompanied by finance minister Zamzam Abdi Aden, Presidential spokesperson Eng Hussein Deyr and Mayor of Berbera Abdishakur Mahmud Hashi among others.
Upon the official opening participants were shocked after UN Habitat staffers distributed notebooks whose front cover was adorned with the five star blue coloured flag of Somalia, the neighbouring country whose union with Somaliland was dissolved in 1991.
Following vehement objections by local citizens and government officials in attendance the UN body not only apologized but quickly withdrew the note books terming it as an unintended error of magnitude, which was not supposed to be.
Despite the apology and notebook withdrawal gracious accepted by Somalilanders, UN Habitat failed to grasp the contentious situation at hand rather went on to add salt to injury with a documentary detailing successes garnered by JPLG
“Initially the documentary covered Somaliland cities where JPLG activities implementation take place like Borame, Hargeisa,Las Anod, Sheikh, Burao and Berbera etc” Somaliland presidential spokesperson Eng Hussein Aden Egge ‘Hussein Deyr’ told THT adding that things took a different turn at the end when cities in Somalia appeared.
According to the Engineer the inclusion of Somaliland and Somalia cities in the documentary that was titled JPLG activities in the Federal republic of Somalia was the last straw.
Stressing that neither the citizens norgovernment of Somaliland were against development projects in Somalia funded by the UN or other bodies, Eng Hussein Deyr said the portrayal of Somaliland as an administrative region of Somalia was unacceptable from any quarters now or ever.
Despite expressions of further apologies by the top UN Habitat staffer on site the culminating disagreement ensued with a large walkout from the meeting by participants led by finance minister Zamzam Abdi Aden, Presidential spokesperson Eng Hussein Deyr and Mayor of Berbera Abdishakur Mahmud Hashi.
According to Eng Hussein Deyr the walkout was in protest of what he termed as a very overt “demeaning of the sovereignty of Somaliland” which is as a result of the continued negation of 25 years of self-rule by Somalilanders practised by various UN agencies and other international organizations operating in the region
After the unprecedented walkout and subsequent negotiationsbetween organizers and participants the meeting went on to conclusion on the third at Ambassador Hotel where the minister of Interior Yasin Mahmud Hiir ‘Faratoon’ officiated a subdued closing ceremony.
Though this is the first time for a mass public discord against numerous Somaliland sovereignty transgressions by international bodies that never cease portrayal of this country as an administrative region of Somalia, irony is blame rests on the laurels of local agencies and individuals with the mandateof coordination.
So rather than blaming the apportion blame to UN Habitat for implementing policies of its parent body, the question is,
Does the Somaliland ministry of planning and coordination, which is the Somaliland line ministry for international organizations know in advance the objectives, agenda and content of meetings or workshops provided by partners.
And for this specific project was the local JPLG coordination committee also in the dark on meeting activities, what is it they coordinate? Or do we conclude they were too busy counting the accruing allowances, rather than doing their job?
In the meantime Somaliland continues to watch in astounded silence the now 25 years and counting belittling of their sovereignty while bracing for never ending disparagement of their wishes and desire for recognition as a nation among others of its ilk.