By: Latifa Yusuf Masai
Somalilandsun – Contrary to norms citizens of Somaliland woke up to a quite 18th May devoid of any pomp and nationalism based activities that occur on this date annual.
The 18th May Day occasion is commemorated annual as Independence Day that marks the day Somaliland officially withdrew from it fateful 1960 union with Somalia 26 years ago.
Though a sombre mood ushered in the day intense fundraising activities were in place nationwide with groups of youths knocking on every door to solicit drought relief funds and materials from ordinary citizens.
This turnaround 18 May Day that shall proceed unto 26th June 2017 the day Somaliland garnered independence from Great Britain was occasioned by president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo who decreed scrapping festivities and utilizing the day and related expenditure towards alleviating difficulties within a large segment of citizens inundated by a myriad of drought related constraints.
Though the day was low key in the capital Hargeisa where the head of state made a few technical appearances in support of drought relief and the national artists troupe entertained a select guest at the presidency later in the evening, some regions held pompous festivities.
Among the areas that saw citizens come out in full swing seemingly in defiance to the presidential decree were Las Anod , Erigavo, Berbera and Burao in Sool, Sanaag, Sahil and Toghdeer regions respectively.
With various cabinet ministers in session at the regions all of them members of the national 18th Drought Relief Committee appointed by presidential Silanyo tried but in vain to pursue effecting the fundraising decree citizens in these areas which are the most drought affected in the country opted to commemorate the 26th anniversary of their country’s withdrawal from union with Somaliland.
Back in Hargeisa their colleagues in the national 18th Drought Relief Committee announced major success in the day’s fundraising drive that ensued with a total of over $4million in the kitty.
According to sources of the now at hand amount from the $10m targeted by the 26th June has $1.5m contribution from the United Arab Emirates government.
While the country is surely undergoing its severest drought in over six decades that has in the last two years ensued with massive internal displacement and death of almost 75% of livestock, its economic mainstay, the scrapped 18th May independence commemorations came at a cost.
Among the negative impacts include economically for the many big, medium and small scale traders who are vibrantly employed in the sale of assorted national colours adorned clothing, stickers and billboards.
Other negatives pertain to the quest of International recognition that sees a huge boost on this day annual courtesy of the huge number of international journalists in attendance who send back glowing reports of the country.
Click to continue reading more of the negative impacts and what citizens feel about the scrapped Independence Day festivities