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AU And IGAD Should Support Somaliland’s Homemade Democracy
By Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi
Somaliland is committed to uniting the political powers so we move forward stronger and more ready than ever to take back the lost integrity from Somalia. The government and Opposition Parties in Somaliland proved their compliance to protect the peace and stability in the country. They settled their differences over the timetable of the Presidential, Parliament and Municipal Council elections. Somaliland people said no to one party system that survives in many African and Muslim world; they established multiparty democracy with little support from outside world.
The international community including the regional authorities is closely monitoring the unity of the people of Somaliland towards establishing peaceful society. The world remains silent witness to the Somaliland democracy and development and does little to promote it.
Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and African Union (AU) are not taking courageous step to recognize Somaliland because of a fear that recognizing Somaliland may open chain of disintegration in the troubled region.
Both AU and IGAD should follow the report of AU fact-finding mission to Somaliland in 2005, led by His Highness the Deputy Chairman of AU Patrick Mazimhaka. The report recommended that Somaliland Case should be considered different from other parts of Somalia.
The mission ruled out IGAD’s fear of disintegration, which considered Somaliland recognition as opening Pandora box.
IGAD and AU should take the lead in helping the functioning parts of the black continent like European Union (EU) policies towards Kosovo. AU and IGAD should not let Somaliland democracy down; instead they should lead the way for Somaliland.
Why, we Africans cannot decide good destiny to our members? IGAD and AU know that Somaliland received independence from Britain on 26th June 1960 and than mistakenly united with Italian Somalia on 1st July 1969 – means four days after independence.
IGAD and AU know that Somaliland suffered 23 years at gunpoint due to the mistake of uniting with Somalia. The question lingering in my mind is, how many years more, do AU and IGAD want Somaliland to suffer?
Somaliland needs neither financial support nor democracy analyzers from AU, IGAD and even from the international community. Somaliland demands the world to admit its existence.
Somaliland built up the entire infrastructure needed in modern state including functioning institutions, Military, Police, Jails Authority, independent judiciary and many others. Somaliland has all eligibility to win seat at the United Nation.
Assistant Undersecretary of African Affairs at U.S. State Department Dr. Frazier highlighted the importance of recognizing Somaliland, and how such move will have positive impact on reducing the size of Somali problems.
" U.S. will encourage the Africans to recognize Somaliland but will not take first step of recognizing Somaliland before AU." Frazer said in an interview with Somaliland media during her visit to Hargeysa. This throws the ball on the table of AU.
AU should act fast on granting recognition to Somaliland, because the country needs it very badly, as they cannot do business with outside world. AU, as African authority, should support its people but not downgrading them.
Dr. Frazier visited Hargeysa – Somaliland Capital – in an attempt to show the goodwill of the United States of America towards Somaliland recognition. Recently, Frazier told Somaliland Times that U.S. government is willing to open diplomatic office in Hargeysa.
Also, U.S. Forces in the neighboring Djibouti are frequent visitors the Somaliland’s main seaport Berbera.
In 2006, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed his administration’s willingness to establish military base in Somaliland. These events can be good example to AU and IGAD to take courageous step in recognizing Somaliland. AU should know that Somaliland is held between two rocks and cannot deal with other countries due to lack of diplomatic recognition.
Somaliland case is timed bomb that can blow up if no proper support is provided. AU and IGAD should understand if Somaliland falls into chaos then the problem of Somalia will be double or may be triple. The Somali problems need to be solved in modules or units. Today, Somaliland is the most developed and functioning part in Somalia and they deserve to be saved from the chaos they paralyzed Somalia for almost two decades.
Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin officially submitted application to AU and IGAD to get membership but unfortunately till today, there is no response from both the organization.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomed Somaliland delegate to London, even the delegate were invited to visit the British Parliament. This shows international community’s eagerness to support the Somaliland search of independence.
In other hand, Somaliland remains solid and strong in addition to committed to promote democracy and good governance in the country. This attracted both U.S. and UK but unfortunately IGAD and AU are unable to hear the voice of freedom and democracy development in Somaliland.
The problem of Somalia cannot be solved in one shot, Africans and UN Security Council should know that theory of "United Somalia" failed. Somali problem can only be solved if put into modules, which will make the process of reconciliation easier. The world should be fair with Somaliland and its unique homemade democracy.