Somaliland has been made a “pariah region” by default-African Union-2005
By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun – The Somalia Federal Government of Federal-SFG has received a grant fund from the African Water Facility administered and hosted by the African Development Bank to finance the “Preparation of Water Resources Management and Investment Plan”
According to an ADB statement The objective of the project whose Executing Agency is the African Water Facility is to improve water resources management and catalyse water sector investments in Somaliland.
Procurement of Works, Goods and Services necessary for the execution of the Project shall be undertaken by the African Water Facility, using the AFDB’s Rules of Procedures for the Procurement of Goods and Works and the Rules of Procedure for the Procurement of Consultants, both issued in May 2008 and revised in July 2012. The bidding documents are expected to be available in August 2015.
Though this is a very noble and long overdue project from the continental bank its viable is in doubt considering that Somaliland and Somalia are two separate entities not to mention the political acrimonies that prevail within corridors of authorities in both Hargeisa and Mogadishu since collapse of their greater Somalia Republic union in 1991.
While many will argue that most in the international community cannot distinguish between the two countries since Somaliland is yet to be recognized as a sovereign nation, the ADB is not among them, for its parent organization, The African Union, is well versed on the ugly history between Somaliland and Somalia.
In an on the ground fact finding mission between April 30 and May 4, 2005, the AU had expressed the opinion that Somaliland had been made a “pariah region” by default in lieu of the actuality since its declaration of independence in 1991, Somaliland has been steadily laying the foundations of a democratic “modern state” It strongly recommended the country’s recognition
On the other hand The authorities of Somaliland have successively visited the AU Commission in 2003, 2004, and early 2005, seeking an observer status for Somaliland within the AU, not only to be able to follow developments on the continent, but also to gain a platform from which the country can state its case for being recognised as a sovereign state.
In addition to these the ADB cannot justify award of Somaliland development funds to the Somalia federal Government for apart from internal information within the AU is most definitely supplemented by those from other regional and international bodies as well as foreign governments that, though yet to provide formal recognition treat and relate to Somaliland as a de-facto one, e.g. IGAD, EU, World Bank, SDF, USA, UK, Ethiopia, Kenya and Scandinavian countries among many.
With Other examples of the empirical knowledge of Somaliland available within AU echelons like the appointment of a local citizen Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar as its joint EU peace ambassador and numerous one ‘o’ one’s in Hargeisa and Addis Ababa latest being a high mission by the body’s African Commission on Human Rights and Peoples Rights- ACHPR on 26th May 2015, the ADB cannot use ignorance as justification According to the ACHPR chief Mr. Bahame Tom Mukirya Nyanduga who led the delegation during heights of the presidential and parliamentary polls dates dispute “The African Union-AU is confident that the locally brewed Somaliland conflict resolution mechanism shall prevail in solving prevalent election dispute in the country ” thus crystal clear that AU is aware of distinct status of the two countries
At the same time numerous bodies of global repute most notably the International Crisis group-ICG had upon comparing, the two formerly united countries of Somaliland and Somalia, since dissolution of their 1960 voluntary union of greater Somalia in 1991, urged the AU to rise up to realities.
in a report of 2006 the ICG Informing the AU that “Although only a small but growing number of governments in Africa and the West have shown sympathy for its cause of sovereignty which is still unrecognized by any country, the fact that Somaliland is a functioning constitutional democracy that distinguishes itself from the majority of entities with secessionist claims, and that The territory’s peace and stability stands in stark contrast to much of southern Somalia, especially the anarchic capital, Mogadishu, where countless continue to loss lives due to clashes between rival militias the then in office TFG and now the SFG, which is still struggling to overcome internal divisions and establish its authority in southern Somalia while claiming sovereignty over Somaliland”, urged the continental body to engage in preventive diplomacy.
“the continued Jurisdictional clam by the SFG over Somaliland is becoming an increasing source of tension and The African Union (AU) needs to engage in preventive diplomacy now, laying the groundwork for resolution of the dispute before it becomes a confrontation from which either side views violence as the only exit” warned the ICG in its May 2006 report titled Somaliland: Time for African Union Leadership
Similarly recent warnings by Somaliland about the negative security impact within the Horn region if an SFG 3000 strong special force it termed hostile was deployed within its borders, coupled by announcements from Egypt that the authorities in Cairo shall avail the SFG fund to develop the Berbera port in Somaliland closely followed in the heels by the ADB with water sector funds cannot be attributed to ignorance or mere coincidence.
This accumulation of ill political and diplomatic motive makes one wonder whether Somaliland is being punished for creating stability and democratic governance out of a part of the chaos that is managed out of Villa Somalia in Mogadishu and rewarding Somalia for being reigning world holder to title of “failed state”
What International Players Have Done Thus Far
When François Lonseny Fall, the UN Special Representative to Somalia, was asked to comment about the status of Somaliland in 2006, he said that Somaliland was part of his mandate, that it had declared its independence, but that recognition of said independence was “up to all United Nations Member States.” This statement came after years of the UN refusing to acknowledge Somaliland’s secessionist claims, let alone offer it a place as a member state. Commenting on the quest for peace in Somalia, Kofi Annan reported to the General Assembly in 2000 that “‘Somaliland’, in particular, remain[ed] firmly outside the peace process.” So it is that the UN has seen Somaliland’s struggle for independence at best as an inconvenience, at worst as a sabotage to the Somali peace and reunification efforts.
As for the role of the African Union (AU), the fact-finding mission report on Somaliland in 2005 stated, “the AU should find a special method of dealing with this outstanding case. Unfortunately for Somaliland, the “special method” has not yet involved a formal recognition of sovereignty or their much sought-after admittance into the Union.
it is therefore difficult not to fathom ill motive political brinkmanship against Somalilanders averred thence irrevocable aspirations for self-determination as motive behind the ADB awarding the SFG in Mogadishu funds and authority to manage development project/s in Somaliland not to mention the nomination of its African Water Facility as Executing Agency and the only conclusion is that concerted high level and powered strategies to exacerbate prevalent tension between war torn Somalia and peaceful Somaliland exists as a prelude to an all out armed conflict.
Maybe the only peaceful way forward to deter imminent conflict and establish sustainable peace and harmony between Somaliland and Somalia and in the wider region as well is for the International Community to respond to the four central and practical questions namely:
• should Somaliland be rewarded for creating stability and democratic governance out of a part of the chaos that is the failed state of Somalia?
• would rewarding Somaliland with either independence or significant autonomy adversely impact the prospects for peace in Somalia or lead to territorial clashes?
• what are the prospects for peaceful preservation of a unified Somali Republic?; and
• what would be the implications of recognition of Somaliland for separatist conflicts elsewhere on the continent?
Somaliland asks of the international community to be recognized as a sovereign state. They understand that the isolation they have experienced was central to their development in both positive and negative ways. For instance, the fact that they cannot receive bilateral technical assistance from other countries; and that the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the African Development Bank, and bilateral development agencies cannot offer it loans and financial aid has meant that they have total ownership over every step of their path to stabilization. The time has come, however, when the disadvantages outnumber the advantages.
. To the African Union:
1. Appoint a Special Envoy to consult with all relevant parties and within six months:
a) report on the perspectives of the parties with regard to the security and political dimensions of the dispute;
b) prepare a resumé of the factual and legal bases of the dispute; and
c) offer options for resolution.
2. Organise an informal consultation for members of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) – modelled on the UN Security Council’s “Arria Formula” sessions – involving presentations by eminent scholars, political analysts and legal experts.
3. Pending final resolution of the dispute, grant Somaliland interim observer status so that both sides can attend sessions on Somali issues, make presentations and respond to questions from member states and generally be assured of a fair hearing.
Suffice is to say Somaliland is an African success story, largely acknowledged in the West and by the AU that identify with its, established foundations of a constitutional democracy, the rule of law and peace, after its single handedly rise from the carnage and chaos of the Somali civil war, Yet the international community refuses to reward this achievement by granting this country dubbed ‘Oasis of Peace in a Sea of Chaos” the formal recognition it deserves.
Read the full ADB statement calling for Bidders to the SFG funded Building Resilience to Water Stress in Somaliland Project