Somalilandsun-Somalia’s Latest Selections Process & Somaliland: Here we go again!:‘Lies will never build a house’
1. Since the collapse of the Somali Democratic Republic state in 1991 and the reassertion of the people of Somaliland of their sovereignty in May 1991, there has been a considerable number of conferences (mostly outside Somalia) held to bring back peace and some form of governance to Somalia. It is a matter of public record that the Republic of Somaliland which established peace and democratically elected governance arrangements never participated in any of these numerous conferences, four of which have set up governmental structures for Somalia. Yet for most of these 25 years, Somalians have told themselves and the world that everything they decided in all these conference included Somaliland. The saying that ‘marna beeni aqal ma dhisto – lies will never build a house’ is apt, and the defunct 1960 union of the independent states of Somaliland and Somalia will not be resurrected by these continual false claims.
2. Somaliland’s successive elected governments have repeatedly and unequivocally confirmed that Somaliland was not and will not be a party to any post 1991 Somalian political arrangements, and the current on-going selection procedures for Somalia are no different from the numerous previous Somalian selections. We endorse that message again, as we have done in the past, for example in this 2012 Statement.
Co-opting individuals that represent no one
3. Co-opting individuals from Somaliland, who represent no one but themselves, into these Somalian conferences and processes (as well as any governing arrangements formed)has become a common feature of Somalian politics and is used as a window dressing to cover up the reality of the defunct union of Somaliland and Somalia. It is not surprising, therefore, that someone from Somaliland is invariably appointed as the Somalian Foreign Minister! The Somalian Government may want the international community and the international media to believe this canard, but this will not fool anyone who knows anything about Somaliland and Somalia.
4. One Somalian political commentator who was recently examining critically the few decision makers of the current plans for Somalia’s forthcoming selection process listed them as the various current ‘5 federal and regional states ofSomalia’, the Somalian Prime Minister (PM), the Assembly Speaker and the ‘ex officio President of the state of Somaliland’ or, as he described also, the ‘the leaderof Somaliland (Northwest, Awdal, Sol, Sanag, and Togdher regions)’! This pretend ‘President’ or ‘Leader’ of Somaliland is someone hailing from Somaliland who was appointed as a Deputy PM in 2015 by none other than the current Somalian PM (and the President). The irony of all this is not lost on the international community that has also been actively supporting Somaliland’s popular national elections of successive presidents!
Somaliland’s absence is acknowledged but the ruse is maintained
5. Although it was specifically acknowledgedby the Somalian leaders in a communique dated 12 April 2016 relating to their 2016 selections procedures that Somaliland is absent from the whole process, the pretensions of inclusion of Somaliland are still maintained. The latest ruse is the setting up of what was termed a ‘Somaliland ‘Regional State’ Indirect Electoral Implementation Team’which is apparently meant to organise the planned Somalian September/October 2016 selection processes for persons who ‘shall be representing Somaliland’ in the two Houses of the Somalian Assembly.
6. Apparently it is planned that this ‘Indirect Electoral Team’, the candidates and their intended panels of selectors handpicked by some so called ‘traditional leaders’ will all be gathered somewhere in Somalia (probably Mogadishu) where the selections (presumably for both Houses)will also take place. In contrast, the Indirect Electoral Implementation Teams of the current Somalian five (or four)‘regional states’ (Dawlad-Goboleedyo), which shall each consist of Eight members appointed by their state and three members by the Federal Government shall implement the processes, with the selections taking place in each ‘regional state’ capital.It is even envisaged that the selections of the members of the new upper House will be undertaken by the presidents and assemblies of these Somalian ‘regional states’, and the relevant lower House selections will be undertaken by panels of selectors of 51 persons for each seat. These persons and the candidates for each House seat will be selected by ‘traditional leaders’.
7. These selection procedures for the Somalian regional states were lauded as providing more ‘enhanced legitimacy’ than the previous selections processes (from 2000 to 2012) which were undertaken by invited persons including former politicians, warlords and traditional leaders in venues which, until 2012, were invariably abroad. How Somalians arrange their selections processes (and any future elections) is entirely up to them, but we find it perplexing how any degree of‘legitimacy’ can be claimed for the intrinsically illegitimate planned proposals relating to Somaliland!
8. Since 2000, Somaliland held a national referendum on its constitution, and set up its own statutory National Electoral Commission which has already organised successfully 5 nation-wide one person/one vote elections and two nation-wide voter registration schemes, one of which (based on ground breaking iris recognition) is about to be completed soon.In our view, had the 5 July 2003 Somalian Embagathi (Kenya) Conference plenary resolution which adopted, by acclamation, a policy of building a new government (and parliament) for Somalia which would then enter into discussions with Somaliland not been countermanded by the then Somalian Transitional President, Mr Abdiqasim S Hassan (a former Interior Minister in the late1980s), talks between the Somaliland and Somalia might have been started well over decade ago.
Two countries and not two regions united in 1960
9. At a time when Somalia is again following a constitutional federal arrangement of its own design and based on the pre-1991 regions, we emphasise (again) that Somaliland has never been a party to any of these post 1991 constitutional arrangements and is not concerned at all about how Somalia wishes to govern itself. We should, however, remind everyone (and in particular the vast majority of the young population of Somalia) that two independent states, Somaliland and Somalia, and not two regions, united in 1960 to form the now defunct Somali Republic. Indeed both versions of the Acts of Union quiet clearly refer to the independence as states of Somaliland and Somalia. The Somaliland 1960 versionstarts with‘the State of Somaliland and the State of Somalia’ after referring in the preamble to the independence dates of both states, and the 1961 Act of Union version starts with ‘Somaliland and Somalia’ and both refer also to the existing rights and liabilities of the two independent governments/states.
10. Secondly, the 1960 independent State of Somaliland consisted of six (6) ‘Principal Districts’ and at the time of union with Somalia, the latter consisted of six (6) regions divided into numerous districts in each region. The Somaliland principal districts were grouped into two regions (Hargeisa and Burao regions) in the early 1960s and it was only in the dictatorship era when the 8 regions were increased by Decrees to 18 of which only 3of the new additions were in the territory of Somaliland.It is up to Somalia whether or not it wishes to revert to its 13 pre–1991 regions, but neither the pre-1991 regions nor the proposedSomalian federal arrangements hasany relevance to Somaliland which has already establishedfunctioning electedgovernance institutions at both national and local levels.
The defunct union of Somaliland and Somalia
11. It is again worth reminding that however tenuous the legal foundationsof the union were, there was one common agreement in both Acts of Union, which was that the two countries shall ‘form an independent, democratic and unitary republic’ which shall be known as THE SOMALI REPUBLIC. The Constitution of the Somali Republic which was drafted for Somalia (hence the reference to Somalia in some of its provisions) also re-emphasised democracy and rights. Both Acts of Union also confirmed the initial composition of the first National Assembly, and the Assembly seats division between Somaliland and Somalia, which waslater re-confirmed in the Electoral Laws of 1964 and 1968. Furthermore, on the proposal of Somalia, the constitution itself was also made an integral part of the 1961 Act of Union.
12. All these principles and the constitution,which were central to the formation of the union, were swept away by the military dictatorship in 1969 when the constitution was initially abrogated and then annulled. With the abolition of the political parties and associations, democratically elected parliaments and local authorities, and the restrictions of liberties and freedoms, the central planks of the unionwere immediately demolished by the military dictatorship. In 1979, a new constitution was promulgated and put to a nationwide referendum, thereby finally obliterating the last vestiges of the 1960 Constitution.
13. In our view, even before the dictatorship regime started bombing the main Somaliland towns in the late 1980s, the legal foundations of the union have already been demolished, and the final nail in its coffin was when, after the overthrow of the dictatorship regime, a Mogadishu Somalian politician crowned himself as Presidentin January 1991, thereby throwing away the 1979 constitution. The people of Somaliland, who voluntarily entered into the union in 1960, then decided to reassert their sovereignty in May 1991 – this marked the end of any shared constitutional arrangements.
14. The Somalian government and its people are fully aware of the reality that the union of Somaliland and Somalia no longer exists and that the issue is whether Somaliland and Somalia can live side by side in peace as two sisterly independent states of populations of Somali ethnic origin. We would urge, therefore, that they should continue building peace and governance in their Somalian country and as called for in their 2004 conference resolution (see para 8 above) concentrateon these endeavours and then enter into meaningful talks with Somaliland on the future relationship of the two countries.
15. This means giving up the senseless claims and ruses of co-opting individuals from Somaliland who represent no one. As the Somaliland President announced recently,any of these individuals who decide not to be involved any longer in these matters, which are criminal offences under Somaliland law, may receive a pardon and return to his/her country.