by Muuse Yuusuf
The secessionist enclave in the northwest region of Somalia is facing the wall, corned by the unionist communities like a carnivorous hyena being hunted down by an angry mob. The feeling of potency and invincibility created by the declaration of “independence” on 18th May 1991 is fading away fast as though it was good night’s dreams. The much talked topic of “Somaliland will be recognised soon” is yesterday’s fairy tale that only children will remember when they grow up. Indeed, when they grow, today’s children will be recounting to their children that there was a time when “our country” could have nearly being recognised by the international community as an independent state. That will be a sad day for them but not for the rest of Somalia.
As we all know, since the creation of the secessionist enclave, integrating Sool, Sanaag and Ceyn (SSC) regions into the Somaliland project was always a thorny issue that has never gone away, only lurking around waiting to be invigorated. From Garaad Abdi Gani’s rejection of the secessionist project when he fell out with the late President Egal over power-sharing in the Borama conference to the present day violence in the Sool region are reminders that all communities in the former British Somaliland protectorate do not and will never support wholeheartedly the dismemberment of their beloved country. The fast majority of these communities knew that hand-feeding and cajoling some unscrupulous and corrupt politicians from the SSC regions by the secessionist will never deter them from pursuing their legitimate demand for a union with the rest of Somalia, and that the majority of the Somali people from Zeylac to Ras Kamboni and the international community will always support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Somalia.
Surely, the tide is now turning against the secessionist enclave. At its door step, new regional states are being created by the day from Maakhir to now Khaatumo in the SSC regions. Even the Awdal region, the “loyal and faithful” boy of the secessionist project, has grown up, erecting his own regional state and flag, the Awdal state situated within federalised Somalia. Gone are those day when heavy-weight ideologues and intellectuals from the Awdal region, from Dr Abdishakur Jowhar to Bashir Goth, advocated painstaking for the balkanisation of our beloved country, the Somali Republic. The ink in their pens has dried up. Their day-dreaming has come to an end, waking up to the reality that the tide of unionists’ demand is gathering momentum and that people in these regions have spoken loud and clear: they want unity. Put it blunt, the secessionists have failed, the unionists are winning.
William Hague, British Foreign Secretary with President Sheikh Sharif in Mogadishu
At the international level, the highly organised campaign to secure recognition for the enclave led by some international lobbyists, from Prof J. Peter Pham to Matt Bryden have all gone badly wrong. No result so far, only disappointments. Gone are those day when these ruthless characters used to promote the Somaliland initiative through their biased reports: “Somaliland: Africa’s Best Kept Secret,” and “Somaliland: Time for African Union Leadership,” which was concocted by the International Crisis Group (ICG), which became a mouthpiece for the secessionist enclave. No matter how hardly they tried, the international community rightly closed its doors firmly to any lobbying campaign intended to dismember Somalia, a wounded and bleeding country.
And finally, to the secessionists’ dismay, the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has visited Somalia, becoming one of the few daring foreign diplomats to visit the warn torn city of Mogadishu. This is good news for the unionist intellectuals who have always been anxious of a British conspiracy and have had an eerie feeling that, Britain, a former colonial power of the region, would be the first state to recognise the breakaway region. Indeed, the secessionists have placed too much hope and expectation on Britain, conducting their campaign from London, lobbying British ministers and MPs to secure British tax-payers’ money to support their cause. One only needs to remember those years back when thousands of “Somalilanders” used to stage demonstrations in front of the Downing Street and the House of Parliament to support their ill-fated “Somaliland” project. One only needs to remember those days when British diplomats, ministers and ambassadors visited “Somaliland” and how this broke the hearts of the unionist communities who were sacred these visits were prelude to eventual recognition. Indeed, Britain was one of the very few countries that high ranking diplomats visited the region regularly.
However, by his current visit and meeting with the Somali President, the Foreign Secretary has shown that Britain respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Somali Republic and that it is not interested in dismembering Somalia, a nation that was already divided into enclaves by his ancestors. While this symbolic visit allays fears of the unionist camp about a British conspiracy, it surely rings alarm bells in the secessionist camp which is now realising that it cannot use Britain as a surrogate mother for its conceived secessionist baby. William Hague’s official visit has applied the last death nail to the secessionists’ coffin, or perhaps as the saying goes: his action has hit the nail on the head.
Long Live a United, Strong and Prosperous Somalia.