This began on the first day of the so called unity on July 1/1960. The number of seats in Parliament was 121 with only 33 for Somaliland. The President was elected from such unequal representation. The Prime Minister, Chairman of Parliament, key ministers posts, commanders of the security forces were all given to Somalia. Only 4 Somalilanders were given cabinet posts.
The referendum for the constitution was rigged and we can deduce from looking at the 200,000 voters in Dhuse – Mareb (with no abstention) who voted in a town were less than 50,000 live today almost 50 years later.
In 1961, the elite in our armed forces – trained Sandhurst revolted against the so called unity and the injustice. They failed due to the Pan African and nationalism such as Greater Somalia which was the aspiration of the people in the early sixties. This gives Somaliland the right for the reclamation and being accepted as an independent state without conditions attached.
One of the hidden causes of the revolution of 1969 was to put an obstacle and hinder the late President Egal from being a President. He was the man whose statesmanship resulted in 120 MPs to be SYL members with only one opposition former PM Abdirizak Haji Husein. This can be supported when the Supreme Council of the Revolution arrested Vice President Jama Qorshel (A Somalilander) to have plotted to overthrow the revolution. This is a unique case where one man without an accomplice was charged of coup d’état. This was to keep away a northerner from being a President even by faith. The positions of President and the first 2 vice Presidents posts were also in the hands of Somalia, including other ministerial key posts except one.
This gives the right for the people of Somaliland to reclaim their sovereignty and break merger but it’s unfortunate that the world has opened a new chapter in denying to join the free world again.
The 1974 Drought – Daba -Dher
This was the severest drought since Britain left the country. People and livestock were dying and no one would have heard about them if it were not for the third Vice President Ismail Ali Aboker who was on a visit to the northern regions. The drought was more severe than that of Ethiopia which had received international support.
The socialist state led by Siad Bare used the Stalinist style of removing community from their land and resettling them by thousands in an environment which is completely alien to them. This could have been humanitarian if refugees from Ethopia (Ogaden and Oromo) were not resettled in a fertile area of Somaliland, 3-4 years later after Ethio – Somalia war.
In addition to this the massacre of officers of Somaliland origin in Jijiga (Ethiopia) at the end of the war was the removal of senior officers from the national army. Not a single officer from the south was included in the massacre.
In an international perspective, these are sufficient for the uprising of the people and the reclamation of Sovereignty which is being denied by the developed and under developing states.
The economic, education and health war
During 30 years of the union dominated by Somalia, there was an undeclared war in education, economy and health. There were only 2 high schools in Somaliland which were inherited from Britain (Amoud and Shekh) a vocational school in Hargeisa and the technical school built by the Russians in Burao, at a time when colleges a university and high schools were abundant in Somalia. Experienced teachers were transferred to the south and almost illiterates were brought here.
Intellectuals who tried to do something about the sanitation of one of the 2 hospitals in the country (Hargeisa Group Hospital) were arrested, and sentenced to death and life prison.
The only trade that was dominated by people from Somaliland was totally banned. It would have been a humanitarian contribution if the trade was not taken over by southerners in Somalia and the army in Somaliland. This was the Kat trade. These issues illustrate that there was a hidden war against this people who have the right to take revolt against a regime which waged a war in all aspects of life.
History will be a witness on how freedom and re-recognition (illegal and injustice is being denied to the people of Somaliland)
The armed struggle of SNM
This began due to increase oppression and suppression of the people. People were put in prison without committing crimes for ransom. This was what one could call a state kidnapping by its armed forces and authorities.
The Jazeera massacre, the extra judiciary killings, the ethnic cleansing proposed by Morgan (son in law of Siyad) and published after being leaked by the New York Times in 1988, the using of former SSDF Militia in the cleansing of the majority clan, the new map to annex Somaliland territory as far as Burao by the then northeast region. The shelling and air bombardment of civilians in Hargeisa and the other part of the country and lastly but not least, the Siad and Mingistu accord to stop all liberation front from using both countries and the support of the people to the movement are sufficient for the reclamation of the sovereignty and declaration of being a separate state, a right that is being denied by the international community.
SNM on victory didn’t take any reprisal action against the supporters of the dictatorial regime in the struggle. Reconciliation of all communities was reached. Traditional and intellectuals from all Somaliland communities declared Somaliland Republic as a separate state in Burao1991.
In 1993, the communities established the national charter in Borama where the first President of Somaliland Abdirahman handed over the presidency to 2nd President Egal peacefully.
In 1996, the last and 3rd Somaliland community conference, the constitution was approved (a constitution that was put to a referendum). Egal was elected for the 2nd term. Political parties were formed. On the death of the 2nd President, power was peacefully transferred to the 3rd President Rayale – who was the Vice President.
The first multi-party Presidential election was won by the incumbent with only 80 votes. The 2010 presidential election, internationally acclaimed and peaceful transfer of power illustrates that the people of Somaliland are mature and are right in seeking their rightful seat among the nations.
The Elections in the democratic way of doing things is part of their nature, a part of their tradition, part and parcel of their struggle era. They accomplished such democratic transfer of power during SNM struggle, when chairman or a commander replaces each other peacefully. The illegally unrecognized Somaliland which is beacon of peace, stability, democracy to many recognized states has achieved this at a time when elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe have introduced and a new chapter of forcing coalition between opposition and the incumbent. At a time when the international community is historically reminded of so called democratic elections by autocrats in Africa and the other parts of the world, Somaliland achieved the unbelievable.
At a time when nations refused the trend of democracy to be applied in Ivory Coast where blood were shed, Somaliland that is denied to re-enjoy it’s freedom and take its seat at the international organizations is accomplishing the un dream of.
Somaliland has a good cooperation with its neighbors. Ethiopia the once traditional enemy is a close friend that dares not re-recognize Somaliland.
Djibouti with past actions forgiven, a brotherly state, an ardent supporter of Somali unity is historically the 3rd territory that became independent. It changed its name from COTE Francaise D’Somali (French Somaliland) to Afar and Essa territory and then to Djibouti Republic in 1976. That was the end of the dream of greater Somalia. It still denies accepting Somaliland passport as a travel document and has so far not opened its liaison office in Hargeisa – though signed an accord thrice.
These are indicators that Somaliland deserves the recognition it is forced to look for.
• International community should have the guts, the moral obligation by giving justice to Somaliland which was free, recognized before the merger.
• Accepting Somaliland as a free and separate state will not open a Pandora box as it was an independent state before breaking merger like Gambia and Senegal.
• Somalia still considers Somaliland as satellite state under its domination. A policy that caused the uprising of the people of Somaliland and the plunging of Somalia in to the blood bath of the last 2 decades.
• Injustice should not continue against Somaliland due to little interest of the developed world.
• The lost of the strategic importance since of the Soviet Union.
• The number of population and economy should not be considered as factors for continuing injustice against Somaliland. Smaller countries with less population and resources are enjoying the fruits of being a recognized state.
• We call on nations of the world to remember what an old Somaliland statesman Haji Abdi Warabe said in 1992, when the first largest UN delegation came to Hargeisa “The West fights for the individual freedom when a girl becomes 18 and a boy 21. It is flabbergasting to deny almost 4 million people their basic rights of being free and independent.”
By: Husein Ali Noor.