By Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi
The Somali Republic (Somali: Jamhuuriyadda Soomaaliyeed, Arabic: جمهورية الصومال ) was formed as new nation, following the union of the former Italian Somalia, today’s Somalia, and British Somaliland, today’s Republic of Somaliland.
The high-profile one-day 28th extra-ordinary session of Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit held in Mogadishu, ‘Somalia’, on 13th Sep 2016 declared 12 points communique that supports the democratization process in ‘Somalia’ and AMISOM’s fight against Al-Shabaab group.
The first article of the communique reaffirmed IGAD’s respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of ‘Somalia’. The summit renewed commitment of its member countries to continue support towards stabilizing ‘Somalia’ and endorsement of upcoming elections.
The summit’s venue was located near AMISOM military base, which is close to the airport, for security reasons. The meeting lasted for one-hour where every leader travelled back to his country in two-hours of their arrival except the President of Uganda who spent one-night with Uganda force in Mogadishu who are part of AMISOM.
The 12 points communique, which was prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of ‘Somalia’, has eliminated the existence of Somali Republic and focused on ‘Somalia’ which is officially the Former Italian ‘Somalia’. ‘Somalia’ was under UN Trusteeship for 10 years until 1st July 1960, and according to UN Records the Somali Republic was a result of unity between Somaliland and ‘Somalia’ on 1st July 1960.
IGAD reaffirmed the second OAU (Organization of African Union – today’s African Union) summit in Cairo in 1964 that passed a resolution which contained the following language in the preamble: “the borders of African States, on the date of their independence, constitute a tangible reality.”
The more significant resolution for Somaliland is article 4 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union signed on June 12, 2000, in Lome, Togo, which states that the African Union shall function in accordance with the following principle: “respect of borders existing on achievement of independence.”
IGAD’s Communique in Mogadishu on 13th Sep 2016 reassures the independence of Somaliland and demise of the former Somali Republic. The communique supports the AMISOM’s efforts to stabilize ‘Somalia’ while the other part of former Somali Republic – Somaliland – is having peace and democracy.
Executive Secretary of the IGAD, His Excellency Ambassador (Eng.) Mahboub Maalim during a visit to Hargeisa, Somaliland in 2013, called for ‘Somalia’ to learn from Somaliland in rehabilitation and building security. In 2014, IGAD in coordination with the government of Sweden organized a visit to Somaliland by members of ‘Somalia’ elders in order to learn traditional ways of conflict resolution adopted in Somaliland.
Former Somali Republic was formed in an attempt to reclaim Somali inhabited areas in east Africa including 5th Region of Ethiopia, Djibouti and NFD of Kenya. The policy led to instability in the region and diplomatic rift. Both Ethiopia and Kenya know that having back former Somali Republic is not at their best interest because such policy is based on territorial expansion deep into Ethiopia and Kenya.
The former Somali Republic ended after military coup led by Dictator Mohamed Siyad Barre (known af-wayne in Somali) twisted the power and constitution in former Somali Republic, in which the people of both British Somaliland and Italian Somalia voted for it, nullified. The dictator overlooked the northern parts of former Somali Republic by forming a government dominated by the Italian Somalians.
Returning to my original point, this communique was engineered by incompetent government in Mogadishu. Ethiopia and Kenya welcomed in order to eliminate long-term possibility of the return of former Somali Republic. Mogadishu administration with its limited diplomatic and governance experience violated their own constitution that unlawfully claims ownership of all Somali populated areas of east Africa.
After collapse of the Barre’s military regime and revert of Somaliland’s independence in 1991, ‘Somalia’ felt deep into chaos and civil war, where international community organized more than 14 conferences to end Somalian’s differences but all doomed. They, politicians of former Italian Somalia, set up a nation with new name called ‘Somalia’ and ruled out the agreed Somali Republic during unity of 1960.
The new ‘Somalia’ is globally branded a failed state in last quarter century. Refer the below article from economist:
The first elected Prime Minister of Somaliland (1959 – 1960) Mohamed H. Ibrahim Egal confirmed that Republic of Somaliland has never been part of a country called ‘Somalia’. Mr. Egal asserted that 1st July 1960 unity was between British Somaliland and Italian Somalia to form Somali Republic, a name registered authentically. Refer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nb8CjzoOnZQ
So, the communique statement from IGAD has legally identified the current administration in Mogadishu as newly established country called ‘Somalia’ within the border of former Italian Somalia before 1st July 1960. This solidifies Somaliland’s case of self-determination.
Dr. Edna Ismail, former Director of WHO, Founder of Edna Maternity Hospital and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, underlined that history of Republic of Somaliland goes beyond the creation of both IGAD and ‘Somalia’. She continued saying “Somaliland is hostage for the endless insatiability and corruption happening in former Italian Somalia.”.
Another remarkable mistake by the inexperienced diplomats in Mogadishu, is related to article 6 of the communique, which notes “encourages all ‘Somalis’ to participate in the 2016 electoral process and hoped that free and fair elections conducted within the timelines.”
As we know the name “Somali” is an ethnic community living across east Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Somaliland, ‘Somalia’ and Djibouti). The questions lingering are:
- Does the communique allow Mogadishu Administration mean that all citizens of these five countries affiliate to new ‘Somalia’?
- Can Ethiopia and Kenya hand over Somali-inhabited territories in their respected countries to Mogadishu administration?
- Will Ethiopia and Kenya allow their Somali citizens to vote in ‘Somalia’? Or those citizens of Somali ethnicity in Ethiopia and Kenya lost Somali identity?
These and many other questions need to be clarified after the communique was approved by IGAD. The communique outcome was intentionally twisted to the interest of some members due to diplomatic illiteracy in Mogadishu’s foreign department. Here, Somaliland is biggest winner as the communique outcome solidifies the case of Somaliland independence.
Somalilanders will not cower, the truth will prevail