Somaliland: Act of Union an Early Lesson


By:Ibrahim Hashi Jama Emblem

Somalilandsun – It has been brought to my notice that published today a copy of the Somaliland Law No.1 – Union of Somaliland and Somalia passed by the Independent State of Somaliland Legislative on 27 January 1960 which has been available on my website since 2006 and earlier and was attached to a short commentary I added.

Clearly someone is trying to make a point, but whatever it is, and to set the record straight you can see the Law and a short article, as well as the final Act of Union, which turned to be different from what we in Somaliland passed, at this page (at not 4) and the attachments.

Here is the brief introduction and the attachments at item 4 of the page:

Note on the Somaliland version of the Act of Union with Somalia (Law No:1 of 1960) titled “SOMALILAND & SOMALIA: THE 1960 ACT OF UNION – An early lesson for Somaliland”. This Somaliland Law of Union was disregarded even though the agreement was that two similar laws of union should be passed by the independent State of Somaliland legislature and the soon to be independent Legislative of Somalia. No union law was formally passed as a law until 7 months later on 31 January 1961 – see the Act of Union, Law No. 5 of 31 January 1961. Article 10 of Law made Act of Union retrospective and stated that it “shall be deemed to have come into operation on the 1st day of July 1960”. Article 9 repealed formally the Somaliland Act of Union except for Article 11(4) relating to the international agreements Somaliland has entered as a sovereign country, and also repealed the independent State of Somaliland’s first 1960 Constitution (see above for a copy of the Constitution).

The important point is that although we did unite willingly, to our lasting cost, the legal formalities of the union were never done as was indeed required under the previous agreement between the government of Somaliland and that of Somalia. There was supposed to be one single agreed international treaty of union (of the same text, of course) to be executed by both sides before the union. It was our failure to ask for pre-conditions but the very few we did add to our Union Act were actually changed by the time the new Act was finalised in January 1961!!! and was passed by an Assembly that composed of Somalia members numbering three times more the number of Somaliland members.

We ended up therefore with a constitution that we have no input and had very little to add anything to, as well as all the symbols of the new united Somali Republic which were all already adopted by Somalia before we even joined them – see here on the same page:

The symbols of the new Somali Republic set out in the Constitution (flag and emblem) were also all adopted in Somalia well before the union with Somaliland- The flag was that of Somalia adopted on 1 July 1954 by the Somalia Territorial Council – see Ordinance No. 17 of 6 September – Bandiera della Somalia – Flag of Somalia. The emblem was also the Somalia emblem adopted in 1956 under Law No. 11 of 10 October 1956.

And to cap it all, although the formal name of the new united Republic was the “Somali Republic” as set out in the title of the “Constitution of the Somali Republic” (1960), the same constitution kept incongruously referring to “Somalia” in it first few clauses, and so we ended up with the united country being referred to Somalia – the name used commonly in Somalia before July 1960. So there ended the “State of Somaliland” – we were written out of history with our collusion although, thank God, our “national origin” continued to survive …but that is another chapter…

Ibrahim Hashi Jama