Somaliland: A Need to Blow Its Own Horn
Bellow is an abstract of an article, published on Business Day’s website, by Mr. Hill who is Africa correspondent for The Washington Times and author of several books on
AN OLD saying goes like this: “The squeaky hinge gets the oil,” meaning that those who howl the loudest gain attention, while the meek soldier on. And when we don’t hear much about a country, it can often be a sign of success: what do you write about in the absence of war, famine or bad government? In Central America, for example, Costa Rica is rarely in the headlines: it has no army, has been democratic since 1882 and attracts thousands of retired folk from the US whose pensions can land them a villa near the capital San Jose, when back home they’d be lucky to buy a bed-sit.
So, in Africa, it’s not surprising then that few people I meet have heard about
We all know
Like Yugoslavia, Senegambia (the short-lived union of Senegal and Gambia), and Libya’s attempt to merge with Egypt in the 1960s, the marriage existed in name only, while the people retained a mental independence; so it wasn’t surprising that, in 1991, when the Mogadishu government collapsed and dictator Said Barre fled, the English-speaking north declared itself independent. A decade-and-a-half later, no country recognises
Tar roads cover much of its 137000km², children are in school, hospitals have been set up, towns bombed by the late Said Barré have been rebuilt and, last year, Somaliland held the kind of general elections one would hope will come one day to Zimbabwe, Swaziland and even Somalia. Parties campaigned without hindrance, most of the media is in private hands and there was no intimidation of voters.
So why is the country not recognised?
The European Union, the
But the African Union (AU) has real fears. In 1993, it recognised the split of
More worrying is the precedent of recognition which could see other enclaves in the Democratic Republic of Congo,
But this is a nonsense because, like
The AU recognised this in a statement following a fact-finding mission to Hargeisa last year and called on members to “find a special method of dealing with this outstanding case”. The mission report commends the new nation for its progress, but this document has yet to be tabled and discussed. If SA doesn’t want to be the first to open an embassy in Hargeisa, it should at least push the issue at AU meetings.
Maybe that’s not a bad thing. But it doesn’t change the fact that 3,5-million Somalilanders, having worked so hard to build a free, stable and economically viable nation, should be rewarded for their efforts.