Somaliland: Relations With Somalia Similar To 1960


By Ahmed Kheyre
(Somalilandsun)-The relationship between Somaliland and Somalia is at the same stage as in 1960 prior to the non-ratified union of 1st July.

Somaliland has once again attained its sovereignty due to the collapse of the union with Somalia, whilst Somalia (Italian Somaliland) is once again under a form of a trusteeship, this time not under the United Nations but the African Union.

Somaliland has managed to revive its national institutions and they are more or less similar to those existing prior to non-ratified union of 1960 with Somalia. Meanwhile Somalia has reverted to the exact political climate of the days before the non-ratified union, i.e. a political marriage between the two major communities in the country with a few “dollar” mercenaries from the rest of the regions thrown in for good measure.
So, the question remains, if we have already seen how this picture ends; a brutal and violent dictatorship with mendacious tribal basis; then why should Somaliland entertain another dance with the devil it already knows?
The difference between Somaliland and Somalia is as clear as night and day.

Somaliland is an inclusive, tolerant, stable and progressive democracy. Somalia is not. Not at the moment and not for the foreseeable future. As long as the old dictum of the two major communities in the region jostle for power and a non-democratic administration is in existence, nothing will ever change.

For example, Somaliland and Somalia recently signed a small accord in Djibouti which was merely a code of conduct for future relationship and talks; no political antagonism, no development hindrance, etc.

The ink was barely dry on the accord before Somalia attempted to place some political pressure on a Chinese company working in the Awdal region of Somaliland. Jobs for the people of Awdal? Who cares? Benefit for Somaliland and for the whole region? Who cares?

Nothing has changed in the way things are done in Somalia. Despite the protestations of the current federal entity, politics in Somalia will always be about obstruction, animosity and personal gain.

On the other hand, Somaliland has seen the steady progress of democracy. This process began literally under the acacia tree in 1991 (aside from the traditional angle, there was no large enough building standing after the civil war to host such a meeting) through the subsequent years, it had seen the peaceful transfer of power to a serving Vice-President and again to his successor. The building of state institutions, the peaceful resolution of internal conflicts and so on.

In over two decades Somaliland has demonstrated the winning formula of dialogue, discussion and consensus to move the nation forward, resolve community conflicts and build a strong foundation for a fledgling nation.

This formula will help to resolve the future relationship between Somaliland and Somalia. A dialogue to set the agenda, discussions to debate the causes of the failed union and the future relationships and a final consensus to define the ties between the Republic of Somaliland and Somalia.

When the union imploded in 1991 and the Somali Republic ceased to exist, all its previous members returned to their own indigenous regions to find after more than thirty years of union; nothing, and in some cases even less than nothing.

Since then, we have seen the progress of these regions, and with the residents able to determine their lives, improve their living conditions and building democratic institutions.

Therefore, the question remains, since Somaliland has all these attributes, what can it gain from reviving the defunct union with Somalia? The answer, of course, is nothing. There will always be cultural, social and business ties, but never again political ties. Somaliland is Somaliland, and Somalia is Somalia. Let us all accept the reality on the ground and work towards making this happen in a peaceful manner.

The failed union has exposed the myth of the “greater Somalia”, pan-Somalism has failed and Somaliland, Somalia and Djibouti are the final outcome.