- Formally, Somaliland and Somalia willingly joined together in July 1 in 1960 to make what was once referred to as the “Democratic Republic of Somalia” but the concept was to unite Somali-speaking territories including Ogaden, a region of Ethiopia, sooner or later. Somaliland, the pioneer for unity, gave its independence to Mogadishu without any written treaty between the two and this technical fault made Somaliland vulnerable both locally and globally.
The southern Somalia known as Italian Somaliland has been devastated by its colonial master, Italy, Italian governors of Somalia ran Mogadishu as a “slave colony” for instance, Somalis under Italian rule have no right to possess land or any other property, in other words, the farmers in the southern Somalia were only laborers in the farms of their country; they work in the banana plantations for food, sometimes even without sustenance like South American slaves. The right to own was denied by their master, Italy, in fact, they were foreigners in their own motherland! The landlords used to export Somali sweet banana for the wealthiest nations including UK, and Germany for over a century!
Unlike the hair-raising case above, Somaliland was ruled by Great Britain through tribal hierarchy of a decentralized system; the people in Somaliland had basic rights like any other country. They were better off than their counterparts in Somalia.
Having two different colonial experiences; one with grim bondage and the other with a protectorate and some sort of autonomy—I refer to Somaliland as state, not a region as some people may call it because Somaliland had been independent from Great Britain for five days and lost its sovereignty afterwards— commenced to encounter head-on collision as there was no ratified constitution to guide an exit; however, the southern Somalia became the president, prime minister, and defense minister as well as all major post went to them from the two states of Somalia .
Somaliland which was better educated, higher paid, and enjoyed a better standard of living at the time of the hasty unification, was deliberately marginalized. Sanhurst and RMA military graduates were brought under the command of the bogus military officers from Southern Somalia.
However referring to recent history, in 1991, Somaliland held inclusive meeting of all tribes including vanquished ones such as tribes from the eastern regions of Somaliland to consult collectively on the fate as well as the future of the 3.5 million people in ex-British Somaliland. The other tribes outside the border were out of the parameter of the discussion. Representing his tribal realm, Garad Hirsi Qhani, the late Suldaan of Sool, voluntarily joined the conference.
It is true that Somaliland is predominantly Issaaq, the tribe that toppled Siyad Barre’s military junta, through a combination of both military force and diplomacy, and it is also true those Gudubirsi and Dhulbahante tribes were allied with the regime and hence might feel unhappy with the reality on the ground but changes are not chosen but are inevitable. Some people, regardless of what part of Somaliland they are from, may not be convinced that Somaliland is independent because of personal reasons but that does not necessarily mean whole tribes are fighting to unify Somalia again. This is ridiculous.
For example, Ismail Buubaa of Hargessa, contrary to those who hate Somaliland for ethnic grounds or affiliated with the downfall regime, opposed the secession for personal thinking.
Death parts couples, similarly, Somaliland left the business of Greater Somalia behind for reasons we know. I know the majority in Somaliland is in favor of secession, we do not want to unite with Somalia but it is up to other Somalis whether in Zone Five of Ethiopia or NfD of Kenya or Djibouti to join Somalia if they wish to do so, they have their own choices “everyone should mind his or her business.”
By Abdirahman Mohamed Dirye
Abdirahman Mohamed Dirye is a Somaliland volunteer and activist currently based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The views expressed in this article do not reflect that of The Reporter he can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.