ALM EXCLUSIVE: SOMALILAND-How The World Would Benefit From The Country’s Recognition

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The world has more to gain from officially recognizing Somaliland as a country. The country’s minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Saa Ali Shire made this known in an exclusive interview with African Leadership Magazine UK.  Mr. Shire who has led a sustained campaign for the country’s official recognition and delisting from the Trump’s travel ban list stated that the “last terrorist act was 10 years ago, and there was not one single act of piracy in our territorial waters. Our Coastguard force did their job. This hasn’t come cheap. We spend up to 40% of our budget on security. This benefits not only Somaliland but the whole region, and if we were recognized we would have additional resources to deal with the twin evil of terrorism and piracy for the benefit of everyone. “

Continuing, the minister maintained that, the travel ban, by president Trump, has clearly failed to recognize Somaliland as a sovereign country, hence issuing a blanket ban that treated Somalilanders, as Somalians. In his words, ” the ban did not make any distinction between Somalia and Somaliland even though the two are different. Somaliland is peaceful, stable and democratic while Somalia is not. It was a blanket ban that affected Somalilanders as well as people from Somalia. It affected even those of us who hold European passports and who happen to visit Somaliland or Somalia.”    

Down South, Zimbabwe’s first poll in over 32 years was marred by post-election violence, which has claimed over 6 lives and saw the destruction of properties worth millions of dollars. To the East, the post-election violence and fever pitch tension that greeted Kenya’s 2017 general elections, claimed over 36 lives, but, this little country in the horn of Africa has held three successful elections and has arguably become a standard bearer for democracy and good governance in the horn of Africa – just why is Somaliland, yet to gain official recognition? This raging question has defied logical answer in the past decade.

Though, some analysts and foreign relation experts have espoused reasons why the country’s quest for recognition have remained a mirage; most of the reasons have been unable to stand the test of logical reasoning.  For instance, some have argued that granting the country official recognition will spark off, secessionist agitation from other groups around the continent that have maintained a sustained call for secession; Mr. Shire, while responding to this argument, observed that”    this is a false argument. Somaliland is not secessionist; it just dissolved a voluntary union between two independent Sovereign states. This is nothing new in Africa. It happened many times: Gambia and Senegal; Senegal and Mali, Egypt and Syria, Ethiopia and Eritrea. ” Even more telling is the report of the African Union fact-finding mission to Somaliland in 2005. The report read thus, “the fact that the union between Somaliland and Somalia was never ratified and also malfunctioned when it went into action from 1960-1990, makes Somaliland’s search for recognition historically unique and self-justified in African political history. Objectively viewed, the case should not be linked to the notion of ‘opening a Pandora’s box: as such, the AU should find a special method of dealing with this outstanding case’.

The detailed and exclusive interview with Mr. Shire, which provides more insight into the country’s quest for recognition, economic growth, and possibilities, is billed to be published in the September edition of the African Leadership Magazine.