Somaliland: “Our Ties with Kenya are Centuries Old” Dr Sifir


Dr Sifir during the interview in Hargeisa“Kenya is not only an important ally but a tremendous laboratory for Somaliland”

“Somaliland does not have conflict with any country thus welcome positive diplomatic and economic relations from all”

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The incoming Kenyan government of President Uhuru Kenyatta is very sympathetic to the Somaliland’s quest for international recognition as a sovereign nation.

This is per the top Somaliland diplomat in Kenya Dr Mahmud Abulahi Jama ‘Sifir who is currently in Hargeisa where he told Somalilandsun that the good standing of the country with the Nairobi authorities is as a result of centuries old relationships established during colonial eras.

Said he, “Kenya is home to a third generations of Somalilanders who are considered nationals thus integrated in all aspects of life both in the private and public sectors”

Similarly Somaliland has become second home to a large number of Kenyan expatriates and commercial concerns that have continuously provide essential services and goods since the country reclaimed its self-rule two decades ago.

As early as early 1800’s Somalilanders are known to have had relations mostly commercial with Kenya and as Britain entrenched itself in both countries where it established protectorates a large number of landers migrated to Kenya as members of the British civil service or King African Rifle-KAR Army regiment that saw service in the first and second world wars in the early 1900’s in later years the

Dr Sifir attributes these relations to the ease in which his diplomatic duties in Nairobi are received despite the country not being recognized internationally as independent.

“While in Nairobi where I am in the first year of my diplomatic post no door has ever been closed for me, which is a measure of how Kenyan authorities and citizens view Somaliland and its relentless quest for sovereignty recognition” revealed Dr Sifir

On the issue of the expected opening of a Kenyan diplomatic mission in Hargeisa the ambassador said that the permanent secretary in the Kenyan ministry of foreign affairs informed him-Dr Sifir- that plans are at an advanced stage and were pending the just concluded elections and installation of the new government.

Queried on his take as per the implications of the Kenyan intervention and subsequent war against the Al-shabaab Islamists group in Somalia Dr Sifir had this to say.

“While every nation has a right to defend its people against terrorism as Kenya is doing and done in Somalia for the past year, its intervention there is a blessing in disguise for Somaliland”

“With this intervention in south Somalia where the Kenyan army is an accredited member of the AU fronted African Mission in Somalia-AMISOM the Kenya authorities are receiving daily briefings on developments not only of south Somalia but the entire Horn region which includes Somaliland.

He informed that his appointment that almost coincided with the Kenyan intervention in Somalia has thence seen him being consulted on a regular basis on the position of Somaliland Vis ‘a’ Vis the on-going in the neighbouring Somalia.

On the basis of this constant briefing of the top echelons of the Kenyan government Dr Sifir Postulates that once Uhuru Kenyatta the president elect is sworn to office on the 9th of this month, the impact of daily briefings that started immediately he was announced winner of the presidency shall be visible.

While postulating on the possibility of Kenya taking its sympathetic stance of Somaliland’s recognition as step forward, Dr Sifir said the 50 years of post-colonial strides taken by the giant east African nation in all spheres of life and the devolution of power to regions entailed by the new constitution might make this a very realistic possibility in the not distant future.

Said he, ” Kenya could swing the sway for Somaliland internationally due to its muscles garnered from various achievements in spheres of life diversified that has placed it at the apex not only in east Africa but the continent and world as well thus a powerful ally whose sympathetic stance needs to be cultivated further”

According to the diplomat Kenya is among the leading African countries that have a well-developed infrastructure and robust economy with major international investments which is driven by its highly structured public and private sectors that work harmoniously to ensue with a modern civilization.

Adding that Somaliland is sure to benefit more from strengthened bi-lateral relations with Kenya, Dr Sifir says that to this factor does not only emanate from its multi-faceted developments but the strategic importance of Nairobi which is houses the headquarters of UN agencies, all major international donor organizations and diplomatic missions accredited to Somalia.

The ambassador says that his favourite adage is “Hargeisa is two hours from Civilization” which indicates the flight time from Hargeisa to Nairobi is a clear portrayal of the significance of Kenya-Somaliland relations.

He is of the opinion that more and better from Kenya is expected sooner rather than later with the opening of the diplomatic mission in Hargeisa and the soon to be opened Egal airport in Hargeisa.

Dr Sifir says that the minister of civil aviation Mr Mahmud Hashi Abdi has informed him that works at the Egal International are in the final stages and the airport shall be reopened on May 18th with the first passenger flight being East African Airways from Nairobi.

Concluding with the issue of the 21 years quest for sovereignty recognition Amb owing to the negative results from the unyielding purportedly foreign friendly governments and regardless of regional affiliations the Somaliland ambassador to Kenya Dr Mahmud Abulahi Jama ‘Sifir, says that any country to the contrary be it Russia, Israel, Iran, North Korea or such is welcome.

“Somaliland does not have conflict with any country thus welcome positive relations from all”