The government of Somaliland has distanced itself from any unification talks with neighbouring Somalia.
Somaliland, officially the Republic of Somaliland, is an unrecognised sovereign state in the Horn of Africa, recognised internationally as a de jure part of Somalia.
In a statement, the country’s ministry of foreign affairs said the country only discusses cooperation and recognition with every government they speak with, not unification.
“The Somaliland Government affirms that any dialogue that transpires between Somaliland and Somalia will not discuss unification, but rather how the two previously united countries can move forward separately,” reads in part, a statement by Somaliland’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.
“Therefore, the Republic of Somaliland once again confirms to the African Union and the rest of the international community that it has no plans for dialogue to discuss unity with Somalia,” adds the Ministry.
The statement follows claims that Dr. Jama Musse Jama, an envoy from Somaliland, asked the President of Uganda to lead in negotiations to have Somaliland and Somalia unified.
Dr. Jama Musse Jama met President Museveni at State House, Entebbe, on Friday.
A press statement by Uganda’s Presidential Press Unit (PPU) claimed that Dr. Jama “informed President Museveni that there is an agent need for Somalia and Somaliland to unite because they are missing out a lot on development.”
“Dr. Jama also requested the President to take the centre stage in uniting the two countries because of his influential role in Somalia,” claimed PPU.
In response, President Museveni agreed to be the unification facilitator between Somaliland and Somalia.
The President said that he does not support the secession of Somaliland from Somalia because it is wrong.
“We don’t support secession because strategically, it is wrong,” President Museveni emphasized.
The remarks attributed to Dr. Jama Musse have since been received with contempt in Somaliland and around the world since they contradict Somaliland decades’ long quest for international recognition.
Today’s statement by Somaliland’s Foreign Affairs Ministry also states that: “The Republic of Somaliland’s constitution is founded on the country’s sovereign rule and makes no reference to a union that collapsed 32 years ago.”
“The President of the Republic of Somaliland actively upholds the pillars of the Somaliland Constitution and the aspirations of the Somaliland people,” it adds.
It is now clear that the remarks attributed to Dr. Jama Musse, while in Kampala, don’t represent the position of the Somaliland government and the aspirations of Somalilanders.
The development also raises questions on whether actually Dr. Jama Musse’s visit to Uganda and his message to President Museveni were sanctioned by the country’s President, H.E Muse Bihi Abdi.
Did he visit in personal or official capacity? Was Dr. Jama Musse Jama misquoted or quoted out of context by Uganda’s Presidential Press Unit, now that his government has distanced itself from talks of unification? It is only him who can clarify. He has not said anything on the same since.
Somaliland and how it became independent
Although Somaliland and Somalia are neighbouring countries in the Horn of Africa, the two nations are totally different in terms of history, geographical location, and political situation.
Somaliland has never been part of a country called Somalia. Somaliland is a former British protectorate which got her independence on June 26, 1960.
It shares borders with Ethiopia to the south and west, Djibouti to the west, Somalia to the east, and the Red Sea to the north.
These borders are the most vivid and clearly demarcated borders in the world based on international treaties between the colonial masters.
Somaliland is the 12th African nation to become independent from the colonial rule with an official Royal Proclamation of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This means Somaliland became independent way before 42 African countries.
Soon after Somaliland’s independence from the British rule, 34 countries recognized it as an independent state, including members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, but after only 5 days, the people of Somaliland voluntarily decided to unite with their neighbour, Somalia which had just got independence from Italy, to create the Somali Republic.
The dream was to have a greater Somali Republic in the Horn, waiting for other Somali inhabited territories including Djibouti, North Eastern Province of Kenya, and Somali region of Ethiopia to join the Union. This is the reason Somalia’s national flag still has a white star in the middle with five edges, each representing the 5 territories that Somali people permanently inhabit.
However, the Union, which was not ratified by any Act by the way, hit a dead end 31 years later as it was characterised by intrigue, turbulence, and dissatisfaction.
After 31 years of difficulties, injustice, inequalities, and prejudice, the marriage of the two neighbouring countries ended horribly with 11 years of War against Somalia’s military regime which claimed lives of a quarter a million of Somaliland people where civilians were shelled and cities bombed and brought to the ground by the military.
In 1991, Somalilanders defeated and destroyed the military deployed in their land by the military government. After which, Somaliland declared withdrawal from the Union they were part of, for more than 3 decades.
The country has been independent since 1991, and it is one of the most successful nations on many fronts, including democracy. The country has its own flag, currency, passport, government system, public institutions, and national army, which fully controls its territory.
It it considered the most democratic and politically stable nation in East and Central, according to Freedom House.