53rd Anniversary of Independence From Britain marked at the presidency where president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo reiterates citizens determination to sustain their nation’s hard won sovereignty despite all odds and at all costs.
By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – “For want of unity for all Somali people and despite contrary advice from the British Government we entered into a hasty union with Somalia in 1960 that turned sour for us a few years later”
This was said by the Somaliland president Ahmed M
ahmud Silanyo during festivities marking the country’s 53rd anniversary of independence held at the Hargeisa presidency on the evening of 26th June 2013.
In a speech that revisited the country’s history since it relinquished the tag of British Somaliland on 26th June 1960, president Silanyo said that the government and citizens remains committed to the ideals of freedom that led to withdrawal from the fateful voluntary union with Somalia.
After being a British protectorate since 1884, Somaliland became an independent country on June 26, 1960 and On July 1, 1960, just five days as an independent country five days after it entered into a voluntary union with the Trust territory of Somalia to form the Somali Republic.
“Today we are celebrating our true independence day that occurred 53 years ago on the 26th June when Britain granted us the mantle of self-rule after 86 years as its colony’ the head of state told guests who included ordinary citizens, foreign dignitaries, parliamentarians, government officials and service commanders as well as business, civil society, political and traditional leaders .
Reminiscing on the hasty decision to unite with Italian Somali, which was entered upon without any agreements and subsequent events that led to the brutal pull out thus collapse of the Republic of Somalia president Silanyo said, that the 1991 resolve of Somalilanders to obtain their sovereignty at all costs remains.
“We withdrew from union with Somalia after a costly war that caused the loss of thousands of lives, property and displacement of hundreds of thousands of our citizens who remain scattered in the diaspora” added the president
Immediately after the union Somalilanders felt slighted almost from the start, since most of the power from president, Prime minister, senior government officials went to the south of the country.
Attributing the myriad of difficulties encountered by somaliland in a period of three decades (1960-1991) of union president Silanyo said that the country’s citizens who are now fully recovered from the Union inflicted traumas and misery are not only committed to their hard won sovereignty but to its defence as well.
As the years went by, with the Somali leaders in Mogadishu intent on asserting control over Somaliland, even to the extent of massacres of innocent citizens, the straw broke in the early in 1980’s resulting in a full-scale civil war between the Somalia National army and Somaliland National Movement-1991 rebels.
In May 1991, as Somalia descended into anarchy with the fall of the government of Gen. Mohamed Siad Barre, Somaliland re-declared itself independent. A decade later, a referendum in Somaliland on the issue showed 97% of the population in favour of independence, and Somaliland has essentially ruled itself, though without international recognition as a sovereign nation
“We waged war to withdraw from the union we voluntary entered in order to salvage the pride of our people and their self-rule after decades of degradation in the hands of people we had thought brothers and sisters”
Stressing that Somaliland’s sovereignty is neither for negotiation nor irrevocable and urging Somali authorities to tread carefully on this issue which came as a result of a unanimous decision by 97% of the population during a nationwide referendum in 2011, president Silanyo said insinuations of Somalilanders wavering resolve emanating from Mogadishu were not conducive to continued friendly neighbourliness .
Said he, “We shall not dither from informing our brothers in Somalia and the world at-large that the sovereignty of Somaliland is irrevocable, regardless of tribulations encountered in the past and in the future”
Terming prevalent status as the best the country has ever enjoyed in a period of 53 years, since Britain granted it internal self-rule, in view of the security and multi-sectorial developments enjoyed by citizen’s president Silanyo who attributed these achievements to the resilience of Somalilanders said the much sought international recognition shall be attained “one of these days”
“While two decades might seem a long time to live without recognition, Somalilanders have not just been biding their time they have been hard at work, rebuilding their country and lives that was in a shambles when they reclaimed their independence in 1991, and one of these days their quest for recognition as a sovereign people shall come true, Inshallah “
The Head of state also took the opportunity to show appreciation to the people and government of Ethiopia and other countries in the world that have continued to offer their hand of friendship as well as treating Somaliland as an equal thence thriving bilateral relations even without formal recognition.
In conclusion President Ahmed Mahmud congratulated Somalilanders both in the country and the diaspora for the belief, in their country thus the massive strides taken through their patience and sweat thus the peaceful co-existence and people’s driven economic and social developments prevailing in the country.