Jul 22, 2019

Somaliland: Somaliland Objects to Appointment of Former President's Son-in-Law to the Commission

On Saturday, June 20th 2019, Somaliland pulled out from negotiations with Somalia, following the appointment of the son-in-law of the former president, Siad Barre, to the new commission for reconciliation. These talks constituted the first real effort to resume dialogue between Somalia and Somaliland since the failed negotiations facilitated by Turkey in 2015. Somaliland has enjoyed de facto independence from the rest of Somalia since 1991, but is still struggling to achieve international recognition.

The article below was published by The East African

Somaliland has withdrawn from talks with Somalia in protest against the new commission appointed by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo that included the son-in-law of the former president, Siad Barre.

Somaliland is objecting to the appointment of General Abdirahman Hussein Guulwade, which reminds of the massacre of the members of the Isaaq Clan in 1980s during Barre’s reign.

Gen Guulwade, former commissioner of police—who fled with Barre during the popular uprising in Mogadishu in January 199—was deputy head of the six-member national commission for reconciliation dialogue with Somaliland.

Yusuf Gabobe, a veteran Somaliland journalist said that President Farmaajo by including individuals he knows are not acceptable to Somaliland has proved once again how insincere they are about engagement in a serious dialogue.

Others in the commission are Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail, Dr Abdirahman Maalin Abdullahi “Baadiyow”, Dr Ali Sacid Fiqi, Gen Ahmed Jaama Muse and MP Ali Ahmed Jaama “Jangeli”.

The talks between Somaliland and Somalia facilitated by Turkey in March 2015 failed because Somalia included people from Somaliland in their delegation for the talks.

There have been no negotiations following the collapse of the last meeting in Turkey in 2015 and since then any attempts to revive them have not been successful.

Somaliland cancelled its participation similar talks in March this year following a falling out with the Federal Government over the Berbera port.

Sweden, Turkey, Ethiopia, Djibouti and EU member states are actively jockeying for the opportunity to hold the talks on the unity of the Horn of Africa country.

Somaliland, which declared unilateral independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, has been seeking international recognition.

In a recent interview with The East African, Somaliland head of liaison office in Kenya, Bashe Omar, said that Somaliland has been attending the talks to make clear that they seek independence because the people had voted in referendum for separation and that there is no turning back on that aspiration.

A report by the International Crisis Group released on July 12 said that getting back to talks will not be easy because of historical grievances and decades of separate rule, and that efforts to restart dialogue face opposition from both sides.

“With elections approaching in 2020 and 2021, respectively, Somalia’s President is particularly susceptible to pressure from his nationalist support base to shy away from talks and the give-and-take they may entail,” the report said.

It added that Somaliland leader Muse Bihi, a former rebel commander who fought against the government in Mogadishu in the late 1980s, is less open to compromise than his predecessor.

“He will also face political pressure from hardline separatists, including other former insurgents, for whom any concession to Somalia is anathema,” says the report.


Photo courtesy of Clay Gilliland/Flickr