Opinion:- Without going into the details of Somalia’s political discourse, primarily ethnic Somalis reside in the horn of Africa.
And in the late 19th century, they were divided into five parts as a result of the Berlin Conference where European powers began the Scramble for Africa. Two of those divisions, Somaliland (northern part) colonized by British and Somalia (southern part) colonized by Italy, of the Horn of Africa reunited and formed what is known today the Federal Government of Somalia after many decades of being under two different colonial suppressions even though, there was no a real border rather nominal/imaginary one that separated between the two colonies and therefore, the free movement of the people was unabated. Additionally, they believed of being one people and one nation. Again, these two names, Somalia and Somaliland, are interchangeably used to differentiate between the two colonial powers’ sphere of influence and also among from the other parts of Somalia. British adapted British Somaliland Protectorate to call the northern Somalia while Italy called Italian Somaliland/Somalia to the southern Somalia .
Fast forward, the British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland finally proclaimed their independence from the two imperialists after a very long, costly and dreadful struggle, and they reunited on July 1st, 1960 while two parts of Somalia had still remained under the occupation of Kenya and Ethiopia, NFD and Ogaden territories respectively, with the exception of Djibouti which declared its independence from the French colony in 1977.
Gliding onward to the current political showdown of Somalia and the soon to be held talks in the United Kingdom between Somalia and “Somaliland” in the context of large spectrum of issues from terrorism to piracy to civil war that has crippled Somalia and kept it in the stateless status for over two decades, the same colonial powers of the 19th century who sliced Somalia up into pieces are once again on the move of shaping for her political destiny while disregarding their division and conquer philosophical concepts from the 19th century and the associations with the current mayhem and conundrum that this nation has been experiencing for many years.
Upcoming Talks between Somalia and Somaliland
United Kingdom (U.K.) is once again leading for the people of Somalia to what could possibly be another fiasco unless a well crafted, neutral set of policies are not envisaged that can perpetuate a whole set of new issues on the top of many current unresolved problems suffered by Somalis which most of them have root causes of favoring one particular group over the others and subjugating the wishes of that group against others. The part of the above mentioned pie that British colonized is set to have talks with the other part of the pie that Italy had, singling that they are two nations favoring for one side over the other and disregarding they were one people and one nation before U.K. forcibly own it. Recently, Somalia representatives passed a new professional constitution ending the transition, assembled new Parliament, and elected a new president for Hon. Hassan Sh. Mohamud. Apparently, the formula that was set up with the new government has all Somalis represented regardless of where they live within the pie since it is based on a clan prescription where every major clan lives in most of the five parts of the pie.
Therefore U.K.’s initiative talks between Somalia and Somaliland oversights the above facts about Somalis and their clan formulation. The talk is organized as it is between two nations which are in a way of seeking a solution hypocritically and erroneously. Consequently this will lead into more bloodshed. Without even glimpsing the historical inferences, this is completely irrational for setting up a talk between two nations or groups when in fact there is no clear definition about the relationship between the two sides talking, the talking itself, and the matters to be talked about.
The upcoming meeting between Somalia and Somaliland if it is actually intended to be between two nations as many secessionists assume and would like to have it as such, at the same time many of the claiming Somalilanders held top posts in the current Federal Government of Somalia which is the other side of the talk, and to complicate this more most of the four out of the five clans dwell in what is used be known as British Somaliland are not in part of this self-proclaimed independent seeking nation of Somaliland, one has to clearly rethink and reevaluate such talks’ end results and its long term detrimental connotations. In fact some of the clans have had deadly conflicts recently with Somaliland rejecting its imposing one clan ideology over their territories. These and many others exposed facts will completely void this talk and will lead to a counterproductive conclusion because there are no such two nations though many packers and sympathizers of Somaliland sing such lyric tunes. One hopes U.K. will not fall into this trap of believing this one clan project known as Somaliland is serious and substantial.
On the other hand, if the talks are between two groups such that Federal Government of Somalia and one of the clans in northern Somalia as it’s factually speaking based on the facts on the ground without luring one group’s desire over the other, one ought to be clear and make sure with all the indications and terms are been given in around the framework to be partial and fair for the sake of achieving a lasting peace in Somali peninsula.
U.K., delegated, and interested parties of these talks must walk on this fine line carefully without trying to please one group over the other. Partialities and favoritisms had have caused many unresolvable issues within the Somali people over the years. This talk should not be another one that inflicts new atrocities on the Somali people once again and further deepens them into more chaos. For the humanity and morality sake, this talk should not in any way or shape be a paving path to recognize one clan of Somalia so they can cleanse the other clans in the area. More than half of the people dwell in what is known the former British Somaliland territory were and will be a part and parcel of Somalia, and fragmenting Somalia further is just like separating a family that had already missing some of its members. This talk should give a consideration and voice to the people that will be affected by its outcomes such as Khatumo, Awdal and Makhir communities who consistently state that they are not part of the clan enclave of Somaliland, yet they are more than half of the people in the territory that Somaliland claims, and unfortunately they have no representatives in these talks from either side as of yet.
Abdi M. Hassan