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Source: Somaliland Times, Issue 63 April 5, 2003

Mistakes by Interior Minister to Cost UDUB Votes

Hargeisa (SL Times): In a series of politically sensitive blunders committed in the last few days by Somaliland's Minister of Interior, Ismail Adam Osman, the government-controlled UDUB party has reportedly witnessed large scale desertions by its supporters in the northern sections of Hargeisa city which are considered the most densely populated residential areas in the capital.

Residents have told the Somaliland Times that the arrest on Thursday of 3 traditional elders who live in the area has caused a mass defection of supporters from UDUB in the 26 June and Koodbuur neighborhoods. The elders were picked up by the police in the morning but were released later in the evening.

Residents have blamed the Interior Minister for giving the order of arresting the 3 elders. The Minister has however denied involvement saying it was a police action apparently taken to forestall plans by the elders to disturb public order.

The 3 elders had clashed with the Minister of Interior a few days earlier in connection with a government policy on demarcation of regional administrative authorities in the northwestern coastal areas of Somaliland. The elders have accused the government of incorporating constituencies that traditionally belonged to the Hargeisa region into the Awdal region. They said the coastal localities of Eil-Sheikh and Abdi Geedi have been deliberately annexed to Borama in order to deprive Hargeisa of an access to the coast. In a statement to the press, more than 20 elders and Aqils have called on President Rayale "to act as president of the country and not the governor of Awdal."

Meanwhile, the newly elected Municipal council of Hargeisa has accused the Minister of Interior of embarking on a systematic interference in the affairs of the local government. "The Minister is unable to come to terms yet with the fact that the city has elected its council and that he has no authority over here anymore," said Jama Shabeel, a council member and spokesperson, on Thursday. The council stressed that they will not allow the incorporation of Hargeisa constituencies into other districts. "We understand that a number of Hargeisa Aqils have been arrested and we are going to investigate this matter very closely as the detainees belong to our constituency," the spokesman said.

It was not known yet why the government chose to antagonize leaders and inhabitants of Hargeisa city when presidential elections are only days away. But according to one rumor that has been in circulation since Wednesday, the government might have wanted to create enough tension in the capital and the coast as reasons for postponing the elections.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 63 April 5, 2003/Mohamed H. Dahir

Drug - The Double Edged Knife (Part 3)

I don't want to be an alarmist, since there already is an overabundance of people proclaiming disaster around every corner, but I do intend to make people aware of the properties of some of the things we consume so casually. I am definitely not a food freak or on a puritan trip suggesting that you stop smoking or chewing Qat or drinking. However, I want you to be aware of what you expect when your doctor gives you something to take.

Because people today, as well as their doctors, are so cavalier about consuming many different agents simultaneously without the awareness that they are in fact consuming "drugs" it is important to talk about interactions between these agents. By now everyone is probably aware of the potentially lethal interaction of alcohol and barbiturates or tranquilizers. In this case the simultaneous consumption of alcohol and a few tranquilizers can together produce an additive effect greater than either one alone. The result can be an unintentional suicide. They can just as easily happen between something in the diet or in environment. However, there are many reactions, which can be severe and at times life-threatening. Your doctor may not be aware of the various medications you are taking simultaneously, so you will have to guard against potentially dangerous combinations very carefully.

The ability of a drug to effect a cure or relieve a symptom is often a mystical process. Part of the process is a direct scientific cause-and-effect relationship, but much of medicine relies on your own body to do the job. Antibiotics, for example, often only slow down the invading bugs, allowing the body's own defense mechanism to take over and get a better hold on the little devils. In many cases, drugs can only provide symptomatic relief rather than actually produce a cure; they can decrease the intensity of diarrhea, peptic ulcer, or angina pectoris without actually curing the underlying problem. Thus your own body, and especially your psychological state, can profoundly modify the manner in which a drug exerts its curative powers. If a person wants to believe that the medicine he buys will help him go to sleep, it will. If someone thinks he is taking a powerful pain remedy, it will help alleviate his suffering. And if he has to pay through the nose for medication, the chances are that it will "work" that much better.

Although we have been taught to scorn anything "mental", it is important to recognize that the role of our heads play in our attitude to and recovery from disease is probably tremendous. There are countless examples from disabling infirmities under the guidance of a friendly radio preacher, or at various miracle cure locations. Even though modern medicine refutes such cures, it is often unable to determine the role of the placebo effect in its own practices. A visit to your white-coated doctor provides significant psychological support for any cure.

To be continues next week


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 63 April 5, 2003

The International Community and Somaliland's Presidential Elections

Several European countries spearheaded by Britain have decided to contribute ? 200,000 - 250,000 in support of presidential elections to be held in Somaliland on April 14, 2003. The amount could be termed as only modest if weighed against the magnitude of assistance needed by the country's National Electoral Commission. But this support from the international community has a wider symbolic importance for Somaliland. The move indicates a shift in the previous position of the international community, or at least some of its members, who used to ignore Somaliland's self-made achievements in such areas as peace and reconciliation, disarmament, governance and democratization.

Obviously, leading democratic governments in the world and a number of countries in the region have opted in the past not to lend support to the democratic transformation that Somaliland has been undergoing over the years, lest their involvement be interpreted as tacit recognition of this country's proclamation of independence. This was a mistake.

The previous policy has not only deprived Somaliland of the opportunity to get international assistance for its efforts toward economic recovery after long years under dictatorship and war, but has also led many Somalilanders to question the seriousness of claims by certain world governments and institutions that peoples yearning for the institutionalization of peace, democracy and good governance may turn to them for help. Instead of helping, some members of the international community have actually sought to create problems of political, economic, security and diplomatic nature for Somaliland. The Saudi ban on the entry of Somaliland livestock animals into the Kingdom (other Somalis exported little if any to this market) is nothing other than a sort of punishment for Somalilanders for sticking to their right to self-determination. Because of this cruel stance by the international community, this country's emerging institutions in such non-political sectors as health, education and Sports have been denied external help or participation in internationally recognized forums or events. In the wake of the Arta conference, the international community, ironically, gave the mandate of Somaliland's representation in world bodies to the TNG, a staunchly anti-Somaliland group that controls a small segment of Mogadishu and many of whose members are wanted for war crimes committed against Somaliland civilians in the eighties.

Therefore, the decision of certain European countries to provide assistance to Somaliland's presidential elections is a welcome departure from the previous policy of passive engagement that the international community has pursued when dealing with this republic. This gesture will certainly have significant positive effects on the electoral process in Somaliland. The move will help remind Somalilanders that the world will be watching them with great interest when they cast their votes later this month in the country's first presidential elections.

Since Somalilanders have already had successful municipal elections last Dec 2002, they ought to do even better this time. The 3 political parties contesting the elections should play by the rules of the game. Stakeholders must bear in mind that any attempts to rig the elections will automatically kill this country's chances of eventually winning recognition from the international community and might also undermine its hard-won peace and stability. The stakes involved are much higher than winning the presidency. Success or failure will to a large extent depend on whether Somalilanders, particularly the incumbent government, observe the principles of fair and free elections.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 63 April 5, 2003

Taking the Tiger by the Tail: The National Electoral Commission and the Presidential Elections

Rakiya A. Omaar

I am looking forward to 14 April, in common with most people living in Somaliland. It will be the first time ever that I vote in my homeland. Having missed the December municipal elections, the prospect of taking part in a free and fair election to choose the next president of Somaliland will not only be a new experience, but given what it has taken us to get here, a deeply rewarding one. The people whose job it is to ensure that the elections fulfill our expectations are the six men and one woman who make up the National Electoral Commission (NEC). Their task is not an enviable one, given the unique circumstances of Somaliland.

The last presidential elections took place so long ago, in 1968, that more than 60% of the electorate has no memory of them. And for those who do remember, they recall the violence, the political tensions and the deeply flawed nature of the exercise which paved the way for a military coup d'?tat. Everyone agrees that this time, we must all play by different rules. But with everything so new, we are all learning, including, and especially, the Commission itself.

The Commission was established in December 2001 with a five-year mandate to prepare municipal, parliamentary and presidential elections. In December 2002, they organised countrywide local council elections contested by six political parties, a milestone in Somaliland's political journey. They were not perfect, with a lower than expected voter turn-out, allegations of vote-rigging in at least one region and complaints by the opposition parties that the government used national resources to further it's party interest, shortages of human and financial resources, transport and communication equipment.

Despite the lack of familiarity with voting, political parties and procedures, the calm and orderly manner in which the vote took place throughout the country came as a pleasant surprise to everyone. The Chairman of the Commission, Ahmed Haji Ali, known as Adami, paid a warm tribute to the voters. "The success of the election was due to the public. They policed themselves, stood for hours in the blazing sun and showed in every way possible their commitment to the electoral process. Our confidence in the voters is the most important legacy of those elections." Candidates from the three most successful parties-UDUB, KULMIYE and UCID-are now the contenders for the post of president.

There were other lessons as well that the NEC has been trying to address in the run-up to the presidential elections. One of the most important is their decision to bring in a chairman and a secretary for each of the polling stations who will not be a native of that area, so that local people cannot collude in electing a person of their choice. As the Chairman put it, "they are less likely to blow whistles to each other when outsiders are in charge." To better service urban areas, polling stations have been increased from 800-900. To pre-empt double voting, a penalty of one year in prison has been introduced for anyone caught casting their vote more than once. Women, in particular, are being targeted as their use of henna and hair dye on their fingers made it easier for them to multiply their votes. But now equipped with the facilities that detect this ruse, the NEC is looking to women's organizations to spread the message among women. And to give the police the time and flexibility to prepare its force adequately, the NEC has decided to transfer funds to the regional forces directly.

One of the major weaknesses of the local council elections was the quality of the representatives of the political parties, who were often young and inexperienced. Since then, the parties and the Commission have worked out an appropriate training programme. Each of the three parties will select 36 candidates who will be trained from 6-8 April and who will in turn train the 900 agents that each party will field on election day. The NEC will finance the full training programme which will take place in Erigavo, Burao, Borama and Hargeisa and which will cover all the regions.

Although local council members were selected by their parties, the ease with which people abandoned party loyalty to vote along clan lines disappointed many people. But where poverty and unemployment are widespread and the family and clan are the only reliable social security system, and where political parties are uncharted territory, it is not difficult to understand the choices people make. "After all", said one of the Commissioners, Shukri Haji Bandere, "the municipality is not going to bury you when you die." As the election draws closer, alliances are shifting rapidly as each party seeks to boost its electoral chances, bringing people of different clans together.

While the parties look to the Commission to organize a fair election, the Commission is asking the parties to use the forthcoming elections to help transform the political landscape of Somaliland. "They must not appear to be the property of an individual or a group", said the Chairman, "but be national in their composition, outlook and policies. Above all, they must show the people that they are responding to their needs." Confidence in political parties is the only hope of diluting the importance of political allegiance to clans. But even with goodwill, progress will be slow since economic insecurity limits people's choices.

Clashes and tension between Somaliland and Puntland have raised concerns about voting in parts of Las Anod and the El Afweyn area of eastern Sanaag, which border Puntland. The NEC knows that worries about safety will inhibit voters, keep out its own staff as well as observers, and make it easier to stuff ballot boxes. Commissioners have been sent to the areas to verify the situation, and voting will take place in those areas only upon their recommendation.

Accusations that UDUB, the party of the incumbent president, is misusing the resources of the government, prompted the NEC to issue guidelines which forbid the use of official cars for campaign purposes and the use of shared national symbols, such as the flag, as the logo of UDUB. After consultations with the Commissioner of Police, it was agreed that cars violating these rules would be taken to the headquarters of the traffic police until the slogans were removed. So far, seven cars have been taken in by the police. But only two days ago, the Vice-President traveled to Berbera with a huge fleet of government vehicles to campaign for UDUB. The Commission also criticized the recent appointment of new ministers of state without portfolio, dubbed "ballot-box ministers." The Commission recognizes that there is little it can do in reality. "We don't have investigators or people who can arrest the offenders", commented the Chairman, "and the institution that can monitor and control these wrongs doesn't exist." He added that he and his colleagues sought to prevent abuses "by the shovel", but that mistakes "by the teaspoon" were to be expected.

Lack of funds and transport continue to worry Commission staff. Most of their funds have come from the government, with contributions from Britain, Denmark and Switzerland. It is particularly unfortunate that the United Nations, which has spent millions of dollars on meetings that reinforce the power base of the warlords in Somalia, has given no support to the elections.

Looking beyond the April elections, establishing a census and the provision of identity cards or voter registration cards are essential in order to help Somaliland move forward politically. But most important of all is to come up with a well-thought out, and on-going, civic and voter education programme that aims to take politics to the people, and not merely to bring the people out for periodic elections. In this context, the Commission said they have begun discussions with the Ministry of Education about the teaching of civics in schools. They also want to train local council members, many of whom do not understand what is expected of them or how to do their job. And as Shukri Haji Bandere pointed out, local councils do not operate in a vacuum; their shortcomings cannot be corrected if the police force and judiciary do not function well.

Addressing these inter-connected issues is not a responsibility that lies only, or even principally, with the Commission or the government. Political parties and local NGOs should raise the political awareness of their constituents and help them to keep politicians to their election promises. It would be a huge mistake if voter education becomes, like so much else in Somaliland, a subject discussed in the same small groups meeting in workshops in the hotels of Hargeisa. The wider public, whose welfare has been ignored for the most part, will continue to be shut out, and the political process, on which our collective future depends, will make little progress.

The very fact that vigorous campaigning is taking place peacefully in Somaliland for presidential elections is a remarkable feat in itself, given recent history. That this is happening despite the lack of recognition reflects the go-it-alone approach that has marked Somaliland's emergence from the political ashes. Much rides on how well the NEC acquits itself of this important responsibility. We all wish them well, and must do our best to help them help us.

Rakiya A. Omaar is the director of the international human rights organisation, African Rights.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 63 April 5, 2003

Somaliland and The Crises In Puntland

I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's. - Mark Twain in Eruption

Politicians in Somaliland are making political hay about the crisis in Punt land and its spillover into Somaliland sovereign territory. The intent is clear: connect the governing party UDUB, in some surreal way with the problems in Puntland and by extension suggest that UDUB and, clearly, President Rayyale, have bungled the issue. Showing Somali Landers another reason not to vote for UDUB and President Rayyale.

Obviously, Somali Landers are now quite used to the new phenomenon of "defections", where our politicians can defect to several parties, and indeed, their former principles and commitments simultaneously changing in the same record speed. Somali Landers, struggling to make ends meet every day, are watching these developments in "shock and awe" to use current international political nomenclature. To their morbid amusement, the opposition has taken to convince the electorate that those who have defected to their ranks have based their defections on high-minded and principled objections to the current purge within UDUB.

One important issue that has been a lightening rod for these defected politicians has been the issue of Puntland and the issue of General Ade Musa's presence in Hargeisa.

To wit, the issue that these defected politicians are calling the "art of the possible" is the entry into Somaliland of military forces loyal to General Ade Musa and Jama Ali Jama. These defected politicians argue a simple logic. They suggest that we should put our heads - not unlike ostriches - into the sand and bury our heads so that we shall not see nor hear any evil from Puntland. Secondly, they posit that since these factions do not recognize Somaliland, we should not pay any attention to their tribulations nor pay any heed to their comments. Our precious leaders in the opposition has even said that unless they recognize Somaliland neither succor nor aid should be extended to these factions fighting for the control of Puntland.

Pace dear reader and see below why the policy of the office of President, the minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minster of Internal Affairs is sound and accurate.

First, Somaliland stands for the rule of law, it is opposed to coup d'?tat and unlawful rebellion against a legitimate government. That is the basic law of Somaliland and it is also the basic law of its Foreign Affairs. It is also the basic law in its vigilant Internal Affairs policy. That said, Somaliland is also a state with all the accoutrements of a legitimate state. In short Somaliland must behave and act like a state and not like a clan.

The proponents of what has been called by the immediate former Minister of Education, that the state of Somaliland ought not to act in that old and tested, real politic policy of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" is completely erroneous when it comes to states that are democratic.

It should be remembered that the term of office of that brutal nemesis to democracy, Abdillahi Yusuf - a warlord it should be remembered who is responsible for the assassination attempt at Las Anood - had expired as every child knows, and the supreme court of Puntland impeached Abdillahi Yusuf and his administration. The warlord subsequently refused and was chased out by popular insurrection by the people of Puntland only to return with hired guns to reign a new tyranny on the people of Puntland. This is why Gen Ade Musa is fighting the warlord Abdillahi Yusuf. Once we take out the clan calculus one understands the underlying issue. This is not a fight between two sub-clans, but between the forces of democracy and those of dictatorship.

What then should be the position of the State of Somaliland, any child can deduce from the above comments that we ought to support morally the popular aspirations of all Puntlanders - a state in neighboring country Somalia - for democracy and the rule of law. We gain a friend in Puntland, and by extension peaceful co-existence by supporting the forces of democracy there. We gain nothing if we appease the warlord Abdillahi Yusuf who sees elements of cowardice and lack of resolve in Somaliland by his repeated claims over our sovereign territory in every conference and setting that this particularly distasteful warlord speaks.

The Government of Somaliland's policy on this issue is sound and accurate, the militia in Somaliland should be disarmed and quartered with General Ade giving assurances of not using the territory of Somaliland as a place for military expedition to Puntland during this important election period. The Government of Somaliland must support an active opposition grouping to Abdillahi Yusuf because he poses a clear and imminent danger to Somaliland and its territorial integrity, whilst Gen. Ade Musa supports the aspirations of the people of Somaliland. The government of Somaliland has acted in a proper way by calming nerves and keeping the peace. Ruining the fabric of peace in our neighborhood is easy, mending it however is complicated.

The enemy of democracy and the rule of law is my enemy and the friend of the rule of law and democracy is my friend. Somaliland gains friends by this policy and does not appease a strident warlord.

The opposition ought to pay more attention to these concepts rather than making political hay over sound government policy.

A.M.Ali Hashi "Dhimbiil", Ottawa, Canada, Dallo57us@yahoo.com


AFP, Apr 19, 2003

Somaliland's Kahin elected president in country's first poll

Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin of the Unity of Democrats casts his ballot. Kahin's UDUB won the election with a very thin majority.(AFP/Jean-Jacques Cornish)

HARGEISA, Somalia (AFP) - President Dahir Riyale Kahin of Somaliland was declared the winner of the country's first presidential poll since it broke away from Somalia 12 years ago, with a razor-thin margin of 80 votes, officials said. Kahin garnered 205,595 votes in last Monday's election against 205,515 for the opposition Hisbiga Kulmiye (Solidarity Party) candidate Ahmed Muhammad Silanyo, the deputy chairman of the electoral committee Abdullahi Jawan said.

The third candidate, Faisal Ali Warabe of the Justice and Restoration Party (UCID) garnered 77,433 of the total 498,639 votes cast during the Monday election.

Some 800,000 Somalilanders were eligible to vote out of a population of around three million.

Immediately after the announcement, supporters of Kahin's Unity of Democrats (UDUB) Party took to the streets of Hargeisa and other major towns in the breakaway republic to celebrate, raising both the party and the country's flags.

Minutes before the announcement of Kahin as the winner, his main opponent Silanyo said he would accept and abide by the electoral committee's verdict.

Warabe also accepted defeat and congratulated UDUB and its leader for winning the election.

The elections were contested by the ruling party and two opposition parties. Several organisations and countries, including South Africa, sent observers. "We observed that the voters were free to fill in and cast their votes free from any sign of intimidation or undue influence. The atmosphere at the polling stations appeared relaxed," declared a representative of the Addis Ababa-based Inter-Africa Group, a democracy advocacy which observed the election.

Somaliland, a former British protectorate, became independent on June 26, 1960, but days later united with the Italian colony in the south to form the republic of Somalia. It seceded from Somalia in May 1991, five months after late Somali strongman Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown, plunging the east African country into anarchy. Somalia still has no central government and is wracked by clan warfare. Abdulkassim Salat Hassan, the president of the Transitional National Government (TNG), which only controls pockets of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, congratulated Somaliland on its peaceful election. Salat, who, like much of the international community, has not recognised Somaliland as an independent entity, said Somalia's northern region had made considerable progress in pacifying its fiefdom.

Kahin, 51, started his political career as governor of the western Awdal province, and subsequently served as Somaliland's ambassador to Djibouti, before late president Mohamed Ibrahim Egal appointed him vice president in February 1997. Trained in Russia as a security officer, Kahin is the first president to be elected popularly by the people. The country's first president Abdurahman Ali Tur and his successor, the late Egal, were both appointed by the Council of Elders. Kahin succeeded Egal on his death last May.


Reuters, April 19, 2003

Somaliland President Wins Election by a Whisker

HARGEISA: Somaliland's President Dahir Riyale Kahin was declared winner on Saturday of the first multi-party presidential elections in Somalia's breakaway enclave, beating his closest rival by just 80 votes."It's a historic success," Kahin told Reuters. "I thank the people not only for their vote, but also for holding it peacefully. "My government will give priority to development and will seek (international) recognition."

The enclave's National Electoral Commission said Kahin received 205,595 votes, 42.08 percent of the those cast, against 205,515 votes, 42.07 percent of the total, for his main challenger, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo. The enclave, which has not been recognized internationally but is relatively stable, is hoping that holding a democratic election will win it international recognition.

The April 14 vote was monitored by international observers.

Previous presidents in Somaliland have been picked by parliament.

Kahin, of the United Democratic Party (UDUB), pledged to work jointly with the defeated opposition parties in developing the enclave of 3.5 million people.

Silanyo, of the Solidarity party (Kulmiye), a veteran politician who was once a minister in Barre's government, was not immediately available for comment.

The third candidate Faisal Ali Warabe, of the Justice and Development Party (UCID), received 77,433 votes.

Electoral Commission chairman Ahmad Haji Ali Adami urged the losing parties to accept the result: "There is no other asset that Somaliland can rely on than peace, and as such I would like every candidate, whether defeated or not, to respect the result of the elections."

An estimated 900,000 people had been expected to vote. It was not immediately clear how many had cast ballots.


Associated Press, Apr. 19, 2003/OSMAN HASSAN

Kahin Is Re-Elected in Somaliland

MOGADISHU, Somalia -Incumbent Dahir Riyaleh Kahin was re-elected president of the breakaway republic of Somaliland by 80 votes, the electoral commission said Saturday. Kahin, leader of the Democratic United National party, or Udub, received 205,595 votes, or 42.08 percent of those cast, in the April 14 election.

Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud Silanyo of the Kulmiye party received 205,515 votes, or 42.07 percent, officials said in the capital, Hargeisa.

Faysal Ali Warabeh of the U'id party finished third with 77,433 votes.

The supreme court is expected to confirm the results in 10 days.

Kahin assumed office in May after President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal died. Warabeh said he would cooperate with Kahin but it was unclear whether Silanyo would accept the results.

Earlier, Silanyo accused Kahin of manipulating the electoral process, including by allowing residents of neighboring Djibouti to vote.

All three candidates campaigned on the promise of obtaining international recognition for Somaliland, which broke away from the rest of Somalia in 1991 as the Horn of Africa nation descended into chaos after the ouster of longtime leader Mohamed Siad Barre.

The region of an estimated 2.5 million people has been relatively peaceful, compared with the rest of Somalia, where heavily armed clan-based factions control regional fiefdoms. More than a dozen peace conferences have failed to produce a comprehensive settlement.

Somaliland relies on revenues from the port of Berbera on the Gulf of Aden and on aid agencies for development and rehabilitation funds.


BBC News, 19 April, 2003, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK

Somaliland leader wins poll

WATCH AND LISTEN: BBC's Robert Walker on Focus on Africa. "It is the beginning of democracy"

Somaliland's leader won the election by 80 votes

Results from presidential elections in the self-proclaimed state of Somaliland - the first since it broke away from Somalia 12 years ago - show a narrow win for the current leader, Dahir Riyale Kahin. The National Electoral Commission announced on Saturday that Mr Kahin had defeated his closest rival, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, by just 80 votes. The third candidate was Faisal Ali Warabe.

Commission chairman, Ahmad Haji Ali Adami, urged the losing parties to accept the result. "There is no other asset that Somaliland can rely on than peace and, as such, I would like every candidate, whether defeated or not, to respect the result of the elections," he said.

But it is not clear whether Mr Silanyo will accept the result. He has accused the president of exploiting his powers to manipulate the electoral process, including allowing residents of neighboring Djibouti into the country to vote.

Officials of Mr Kahin's party, the Unity of Democrats (UDUB), said he won most of the votes in the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa, while the opposition took the majority in the western Burco area.

Independence claims

The relatively stable area of Somaliland announced its secession from Somalia in 1991, as the rest of the country descended into anarchy.

President Kahin took office last year, following the death of the long-standing leader of the breakaway republic, Mohamed Egal.

He has promised to introduce greater democracy and to fight for international recognition of Somaliland.

The vote, nearly a week ago, was reported to have been largely trouble-free and fair, although there was no voting in three eastern districts.

A South African team which monitored the voting, has said the process was peaceful, orderly and transparent.

Somaliland's administration relies on revenue generated at the port of Berbera on the Gulf of Aden, and depends heavily on aid agencies for development and rehabilitation funds.


Deutsche Presse-Agentur, April 19, 2003\

Incumbent president wins Somaliland elections by a hair

In the breakaway Somali republic of Somaliland, the Udub party led by incumbent president Dahir Riyaleh Kahin has narrowly won the presidential elections which took place on April 14, the territory's electoral commission announced Saturday.

The Somali electoral commission announced that the Udub party received 205,595 votes, or 42.08 per cent, a whisker above the vote won by the Kulmiye party led by Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud Silanyo, which obtained 205,515 votes - 42.07 per cent.

The Ucid party received 77,433 votes.

The announcement means that Kahin will remain president of the breakaway republic of Somaliland for the next five years, while his party's deputy chairman, Ahmed Yusuf Yasin, will become vice president.

The leader of the Ucid party, Faysal Ali Warabeh, announced he would cooperate with President Kahin and his administration, but it was not known whether the Kulmiye party leader, who was not seen in public on Saturday, would accept the results.

Before the official election results were announced, Silanyo's supporters were celebrating victory in the streets of the major city of Hargeysa. Before the election, Silanyo accused the government of electoral abuse and asked for the closure of the borders with Djibouti, claiming that people from that country were being allowed in to vote in the election. Silanyo also called for a stop of all travel within Somaliland so as to avoid multiple voting of individuals.

During the campaign, each of the three parties promised to deliver international recognition for Somaliland, which claimed independence from Somalia in 1991.

The eastern Sanag region and most of Sol and Buhodleh districts did not participate in the election due to territorial disputes between the autonomous administrations of Somaliland and Puntland in northern Somalia. dpa ow mga sc


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, April 18, 2003/SOURCE: Jamhuuriya web site, Hargeysa, in Somali 17 Apr 03

Somaliland's opposition presidential candidate Warabe to accept poll outcome

The presidential candidate of Somaliland's opposition Welfare and Justice Ucid party, Engineer Faysal Ali Warabe also a businessman , said he will accept the outcome of the elections for the interest of the Somaliland people although there had been some irregularities during the election period.

Speaking to Jamhuuriya last night, Mr Warabe said members of both opposition Kulmiye and ruling Udub parties had been involved in double voting, especially in Burco east of Hargeysa and that he will not do any follow up. "I see the two parties Kulmiye and Udub , said to be leading in the election, as parties that will not bring any change. I really have no hopes and I don't see if they can take the country anywhere" said Mr Warabe...


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, April 18, 2003/SOURCE: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 18 Apr 03

Somaliland: Elections results to be announced 19 April - electoral commission

The chairman of the Somaliland Electoral Commission, Ahmad Haji Ali Adami, has said the results of the elections of the president and the vice-president which were held on 14 April will be announced tomorrow, 19 April. The commission chairman urged parties which took part in the elections and their supporters to remain calm and to avoid situations which can rise tension in the country.
Agence France Presse, April 16, 2003

South African observers declare Somaliland vote transparent

South Africa's team monitoring Monday's presidential elections in northwest Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland has said the voting process was peaceful, orderly and transparent. "Although technical difficulties were experienced by some polling stations visited, generally polling stations opened on time and voting got underway as planned and voters were enthusiastic and came out in large numbers, especially women, to cast their ballots," the team said. "Overall, the voting process was peaceful, orderly and transparent," the team said in a statement released here Wednesday.

"The counting of ballot papers was also rigorously transparent," the South African observers noted in their statement obtained by AFP. "We believe democracy was served by this exercise," the statement quoted mission leader Shannon Field as saying.

The statement added that the delegation was proud to have been associated with the people of Somaliland at "this historical juncture". "We wish the people of Somaliland the very best for their future and we are assured that they will build on their stability and democracy," the statement concluded.

The South African observer team toured all parts of the country where elections took place and were due to meet Somaliland Election Commission (SEC) team on Thursday befor leaving the country.

The announcement of the results of the presidential vote has been delayed until Friday due to flooding in the country.


Agence France Presse, April 16, 2003

Rain delays declaration of results of Somaliland presidential vote

Heavy rains have delayed the results of Somaliland's first presidential poll until the end of the week, the electoral commission in the breakaway republic said Wednesday. Results of Monday's peaceful poll, in which incumbent President Dahir Riyale Kahin faced two challengers, are now expected to be released Friday.

Deputy Electoral Commissioner Shukri Haji Bandaro said delays had also been experienced in counting votes cast in Buroa, Somaliland's second city. One of the two opposition candidates, Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo, has already claimed he would emerge the winner. "I am not the electoral commission and I can't tell you figures at this time. But from the result I got from Kulmiye poll agents, it is clear we won," Silanyo said. Silanyo told AFP: "Unlawful arrest and intimidation against my supporters was rife in Hargeisa during the night."

Police dismissed this allegation.

Also Wednesday, armed police broke up a demonstration staged by some 200 people demanding the electoral commission pay them for their monitoring work during the election.

One witness said police fired live rounds over the heads of the protesters. Police were deployed outside the commission's offices in the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa, an AFP journalist reported. "The protesters have no right to stone anybody and block the main highway. At least they should demand their rights in a peaceful manner and in a lawful way if they have not been paid," Interior Minister Ismail Aden told AFP at scene of the demonstration.

Police said nobody had been arrested.

Somaliland, once a British protectorate, unilaterally declared its independence from Somalia in 1991, five months after the overthrow of President Mohamed Siad Barre and more than 30 years after forging a union with the rest of the country.

But despite setting up all the institutions of statehood -- a government, civil service, flag and currency -- Somaliland remains unrecognised internationally.


Agence France Presse, April 16, 2003

Opposition leader calls for recognition of breakaway Somaliland

An opposition leader in the breakaway republic of Somaliland, Faisal Ali Warabe, on Wednesday urged the international community to recognise his country following a peaceful presidential election. "The undeclared sanction by the outside world against Somaliland is unfair and should stop, so that the elected president can enjoy a better relationship with the international community," said Faisal Ali, chairman of the Justice and Restoration Party (UCID). Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from war-torn Somalia in May 1991, five months after dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled, plunging the Horn of Africa country into anarchy.

Political observers here believe that the UCID would emerge last of the three parties that contested Monday's presidential elections, Somaliland's first. "Whoever wins the election is recognized in the hearts and minds of our people, so please acknowledge our freedom," said Faisal Ali.

Faisal Ali pointed out that foreign countries "paid undeserved attention to the warring factions in Somalia by hosting more than a dozen high profile conferences, but they deny the right of recognition to Peaceful, democratic and self-governing Somalilanders."


BBC Monitoring Reports, April 16, 2003/Source: UN Integrated Regional Information Network, Nairobi, in English 16 Apr 03

SOMALILAND: RESULTS OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS EXPECTED ON 18 APRIL

Nairobi 16 April: The authorities in the self-declared republic of Somaliland are due to announce the preliminary results of Monday's 14 April presidential elections on Friday 18 April , according to a senior official. The chairman of Somaliland's electoral commission, Ahmad Haji Ali "Adami", told IRIN that the commission was planning to release preliminary results by Thursday 17 April but "heavy rains have impeded results from coming in from outlying districts". He said results from Hargeysa, the capital, were in, but "we are still waiting for the others. This has pushed back our timetable by at least two days", he said...

Somaliland's incumbent president, Dahir Riyale Kahin of the ruling Udub Party faces a strong challenge from Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo of the Kulmiye Party and Faysal Ali Warabe of the Justice and Welfare Party. Both opposition contenders have expressed concern that the polls may not be free and fair....


BBC Monitoring Reports, April 16, 2003/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 16 Apr 03

CANADIAN OBSERVER HAILS SOMALILAND ELECTIONS

A Canadian MP Zakatir Charjani both elements phonetic who is in Somaliland as a presidential election observer said the election was held under a calm and peaceful atmosphere. The MP, who was speaking at a luncheon hosted at Adna Hospital in Hargeysa, was also accompanied by representatives of Somaliland nationals living in Canada. The MP expressed his satisfaction with the Somaliland election process. He said he came to Somaliland as an observer so that he could have first hand information on the Somaliland elections. He said he was at Gebiley District during the voting day and said he was impressed to see the freedom under which the election was held. The MP said they as heard, presumably implying Canadian government would work with the Somaliland government after this successful and democratic election... This is the second time the Canadian MP has visited Somaliland.
BBC Monitoring Reports, April 16, 2003/Source: Jamhuuriya web site, Hargeysa, in Somali 16 Apr 03

SOMALILAND: SOUTH AFRICAN OBSERVERS HAIL PRESIDENTIAL POLLS

South African observers who have been monitoring the Somaliland elections have released a statement thanking the people of Somaliland and saying that they were happy to take part in an important Somaliland historical landmark. The South African observers said 10 of them were in Hargeysa city, Hargeysa Region, Awdal, Sahil and Toghdeer regions. The observers speaking about the elections, said they will provide a detail report to the electoral commission and other parties which have been assisting them. They however, said the elections were peaceful, orderly and there was no impropriety. They however said there were some technical problems in some polling centres which they had visited. They said polling stations were opened at the right time, and that the elections were held according to plan.

Mr Shannon Field who was the chairman of the South African delegation, said people especially women were very keen to vote.


BBC Monitoring Reports, April 16, 2003/Source: Ayaamaha web site, Mogadishu, in Somali 16 Apr 03

SOMALILAND'S INCUMBENT PRESIDENT SAID LEADING IN EXIT POLLS

A preliminary report from the Somaliland Electoral Commission say the UDUB United People's Democratic Party, governing under the leadership of Dahir Riyale Kahin is leading in the votes so far counted. Some political analysts have predicted that Dahir Riyale Kahin will emerge winner of the presidential elections of the self-declared republic of Somaliland. In a statement, the two presidential candidates running against Dahir Riyale, Mr Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo and Mr Faysal Ali Warabe said they would work with Riyale if he emerged the winner of the current elections. Similarly, Mr Riyale said he would accommodate Mr Silanyo and Mr Faysal and some of their party members in his government, in case he emerged the winner.
BBC Monitoring Reports, April 16, 2003/Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 16 Apr 03

PUNTLAND REPORTEDLY BARS SOMALILAND ELECTIONS IN DISPUTED REGIONS

The Puntland regional administration spokesman has said the region has succeeded in stopping the Somaliland administration from bring ballot boxes to the disputed Sool and Sanaag regions. The spokesman said after the Puntland administration launched a serious campaign against Somaliland holding elections in these two regions, it succeeded in achieving its goals. He said elections in the Somaliland districts had been concluded without holding elections in the two regions. This is considered to be greater achievement for Puntland administration, the spokesman added. The Puntland administration was fully prepared to use force to stop any ballot boxes being taken there if Somaliland would have attempted to do so, the spokesman further said.
BBC Monitoring Reports, April 16, 2003/Source: Jamhuuriya web site, Hargeysa, in Somali 16 Apr 03

"SOMALILAND ELECTIONS FAIRER THAN THE NIGERIAN ONE" - ELECTION OFFICIAL

The chairman of the Somaliland electoral commission, Ahmad Haji Ali Adami, has confirmed that the Somaliland presidential elections ballot papers have been counted and that most ballot boxes have arrived at the electoral commission offices in districts and regions. Mr Adami who held a news conference at the commission's HQ in Hargeysa yesterday, discussed various aspects of the Somaliland elections, including the number of ballot boxes that have reached the commission and the ones which were still in polling centres in districts and regions... He said the commission was jubilant about 14 April elections. "Without making a jest, the Somaliland elections are fairer than the Nigerian one if subjected to a rational appraisal," said Mr Adami.

Mr Adami thanked all politicians who contested in the elections, international observers, the local and international media and all those who have participated in the election of the president and the vice-president. He declined to state the number of ballot papers counted and who was leading and said the commission will announce preliminary results on 18 April.


SOMALIA: Somaliland preliminary results due on Friday

NAIROBI, 16 Apr 2003 (IRIN) - The authorities in the self-declared republic of Somaliland are due to announce the preliminary results of Monday's presidential elections on Friday, according to a senior official. The chairman of Somaliland's electoral commission, Ahmad Haji Ali "Adami", told IRIN that the commission was planning to release preliminary results by Thursday but "heavy rains have impeded results from coming in from outlying districts".

He said results from Hargeysa, the capital, were in, but "we are still waiting for the others. This has pushed back our timetable by at least two days", he said. Adami said the voting had been "peaceful and orderly with not a single report of violence". He added that voter turnout had been heavy, with most of the estimated one million or so Somalilanders eligible to vote, casting their ballots. He admitted, however, that there were problems in the disputed regions of Sool and Sanaag. He said voting was proceeding normally in some districts, but in others "it is not going very well because of security reasons".

The two regions fall geographically within Somaliland, but most of their clans are associated with the neighboring self-declared autonomous region of Puntland. The Puntland authorities had warned that they would not allow elections to go ahead in Sool and Sanaag.

Somaliland's incumbent president, Dahir Riyale Kahin of the UDUB party, faces a strong challenge from Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo of the Kulmiye Party and Faysal Ali Warabe of the Justice and Welfare Party. Both opposition contenders have expressed concern that the polls may not be free and fair.

Meanwhile, other sources in Hargeysa told IRIN that Kahin was ahead of his main opponent, Silanyo, in early results. Adami, however, dismissed this "as mere speculation". He stressed that "a fair picture of how the election is going will not be known for another two days".

Foreign observers from the UK, the US, South Africa, Ethiopia and the EU, who were monitoring the election, have not yet announced their verdict on the process.


BBC World Service, 15 April, 2003, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK

Somaliland awaits poll result

Delegations from the EU and US are observing the polls

People in the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland have voted in their first multi-party presidential election. Almost one million voters were thought to have cast their ballots, hoping the election could boost its attempts to secure international recognition. Votes are now being counted after a largely peaceful poll, with a final result expected on Thursday.

The current leader of Somaliland, Dahir Riyaale Kahin, is being challenged by candidates from two opposition parties.

Mr Kahin took office last year, following the death of the long-standing leader of the breakaway republic, Mohamed Egal, in May.

The relatively stable area of Somaliland announced its secession from Somalia in 1991, as the rest of the country descended into anarchy. Mr Egal was elected president two years later, but the territory has never won international recognition.

The vote was reported to be largely trouble free and fair, but there was no voting in three eastern districts bordering neighbouring Puntland, where some violence was reported.

Main challenger

The three parties are known as:

the ruling UDUB, or United Peoples Party, the Kulmiye party, which translates bringing people together; the UCID or Welfare and Development Party.

The president's main challenger appears to be veteran Somali politician, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, of the Kulmiye party. He was a major player in the united Somalia Government of Siad Barre in the 1980s. But he left to lead the Somali National Movement which fought against Barre and ousted him from what is now called Somaliland.

During the campaign UCID candidate Feisal Ali Waraabe expressed doubt that the election would be free and fair.

Although Somaliland has yet to gain international recognition, delegations from the UK, the US, South Africa, Ethiopia and the European Union will observe the polls.

The Election Commission chairman has criticised the authorities for not handing over all the promised funds to supervise the polls. He has also expressed concern about a hostile atmosphere in the eastern areas.


CNN, April 15, 2003 Posted: 4:23 AM EDT (0823 GMT)

Thousands vote in Somaliland

Incumbent Somaliland President Dahir Riyaleh Kahin casts his vote at a polling place in Hargeisa.

HARGEISA, Somalia (AP) -- Thousands of voters cast ballots Monday in the first multiparty presidential election since the Somaliland republic broke away from Somalia in 1991 to escape the violence and chaos that has beset the rest of the nation.

The polls opened at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) and were to close at 6 p.m. (1500 GMT) as voters chose between incumbent President Dahir Riyaleh Kahin and veteran politicians Faysal Ali Warabeh and Ahmed Mohamud Mohamed Silanyo.

The former British Somaliland, which joined with the Italian colony of Somalia in 1960 to form the Republic of Somalia, declared its independence in 1991 as civil war raged across much of the southern part of the country following the ouster of longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Somalia has not had an effective central government since then.

In contrast to much of southern Somalia, which is ruled by heavily armed, clan-based factions that have carved the country into a patchwork of fiefdoms, Somaliland, with an estimated population of 2.5 million, has enjoyed relative peace, although it has failed to gain international recognition.

All three candidates have pledged to ensure that the region remains stable, to create more jobs and to try to gain Somaliland the recognition many Somalilanders crave.

"I am happy that Somaliland is making a history; it is the first time that the Somaliland people are voting for a president of their own," Kahin said while casting his ballot.

Votes were to be counted at each of the 97 polling stations, and preliminary results will be released Friday, Ahmed Hajji Ali Adami, chairman of the electoral commission, said. The supreme court will announce the final results 10 days later.


AFP, April 15, 2003

Somalilanders Hold First Presidential Election

HARGEISA, Somalia -- Voting proceeded calmly Monday in the first ever presidential election in Somaliland, a breakaway region of the East African country of Somalia, amid renewed calls for international recognition of the territory's independence, AFP reported.

A presidential guard casts his vote at a polling place in Hargeisa.

Very early in the morning in the capital, Hargeisa, queues of several hundred people -- men and women -- lined up separately, waiting for the polls to open at 06:00 A.M. (0300 GMT). The electoral commission said it expected more than 800,000 people to vote Monday, out of a total population of around three million.

President Dahir Riyale Kahin of the Unity of Democrats (UDUB) Party, who hopes to be returned to the post he inherited from the late Mohamed Ibrahim Egal -- who had been appointed to the job by a council of elders -- voted at the civil service commission near the presidential palace at 06:30 A.M.

His two opponents in the race, Ahmed Muhammad Silanyo of the Hisbiga Kulmiye (Solidarity Party) and Faisal Ali Warabe of the Justice and Restoration Party (UCID), both voted at the same polling station within the first hour.

The crowd enthusiastically cheered the three candidates as they arrived, dipped the tips of their little fingers on their right hands into indelible ink and registered, before voting.

Kahin has pledged that he will spend most of his efforts to democratize Somaliland and to secure international recognition for the state, which unilaterally broke away from the rest of Somalia in 1991.

Although it enjoyed a few days of true independence in 1960, just before it united with Somalia proper shortly after ceasing to be a British colony, Somaliland remains unrecognized by the international community.

From the early 1990's, as Somalia degenerated into anarchy and the rule of the gun, Somaliland built up many of the institutions of statehood.

It adopted provisional Constitution in 1997, which was ratified by a referendum in May 2001 and, as well as a president and government, boasts a police force, penal code, currency and customs.

Yet it has no seat at the United Nations General Assembly and is unable to enter into bilateral or multilateral agreements with lenders. Its budget for this year is some 30 million dollars (28 million euros).

Only neighboring Ethiopia has a diplomatic presence in this country at the top of the Horn of Africa.

"My hope is that the international community will support this democratic progress," Kahin told AFP on the eve of polling day. "We should be praised for this wonderful thing we are doing. The international community should give us credit for this and recognize us," he said.

"If the election takes place peacefully Somaliland should gain the recognition of peace-loving countries. Our children will then get scholarships to go other countries," Asha Liban, a mother of six, told AFP near a polling station. "If there is peace and recognition, six of my children will be doctors, engineers and maybe prominent politicians," she added.

Votes will be counted at the polling booths when balloting ends.

Municipal elections last December drew 440,000 people to the polls. More than a million people voted in a 2001 referendum on the country's new Constitution.

A throng of observers and photographers and 32 international observers from 14 countries have arrived here to monitor the process. More than half of these observers are from South Africa, which currently chairs the African Union.


Source: Allafrica news, April 15, 2003/ Somaliland Times (Hargeisa)

Voting Progresses Well in Somaliland's First Multi-Party Elections

Voting has been in progress today in Somaliland's multi-party presidential elections, the first of its kind since the country withdrew from a 30-year union with Somalia and proclaimed independence in 1991. Hundreds of people including women and members of minority groups stood since dawn in long queues in front of polling stations awaiting to cast their votes. The polling began at 6:00 A.M. and over one million voters were expected to cast their ballots. The three candidates contesting the country's top job are

* Somaliland incumbent president and UDUB party Chairman, Dahir Rayale Kahin,

* Ahmed Mohamed Sillanyo, KULMIYE party boss and former leader of Somaliland resistance against dictator Siyad Barre's rule, and

* Faysal Ali Warabe, a returnee from the Diaspora who recently founded the UCID opposition party.

With one hour to go before the polling came to an end at 6:00 P.M., voting has reportedly gone peaceful at polling stations throughout the country.

Voting didn't take place in some parts of Sool region, including the provincial capital Las-Anod. In the Sanag region, five polling stations were not opened in time.

According to the National Commission Electoral Chairman, Ahmed Haji Ali, plans for holding election at these localities have been canceled at the last minute due to delay in forwarding the electoral material intended for polling stations there.

Teams of international observers are in Somaliland to scrutinize the polling. The largest observer mission has come from South Africa, the current chairman of the African Union. The delegation of South Africa consists of 12 people who represent various institutions in that country, including the South Africa Electoral Institute.

A mission led by Swedish Liberal party parliamentarian Birgitte Ohlosson has also arrived. Accompanying her are Peter Schuckink Kool and Hanad Mohamed Abdi, also from the Swedish Liberal party (Folk Partiet). Other delegates include a Canadian Parliamentarian, diplomats from the UK and USA as well as representatives of organizations in Ethiopia, Norway, Holland and a number of other countries. The process is also being observed by experts from the EU.

Local observers have predicted a hot contest between incumbent President Rayale and KULMIYE candidate Silanyo. Though being a sitting President may work in Mr. Rayale's favor, however the elections were expected to be a close race between him and his major opponent, Mr. Silanyo.

Rayale and his running mate Ahmed Yusuf Yassin were predicted to carry the votes in the two regions of Awdal and Sahil, their respective birth places while Silanyo was expected to emerge as top winner in his hometown Buroa, Togdheer.

There were also indications that people who have stayed undecided until the last minute might have increasingly voted for UCID's Faysal Ali Warabe.


Source: Voice of America, Washington, 14 Apr 2003, 16:26 UTC

An Analysis Of Elections In Somaliland

Ashenafi Abedje

Ashenafi interview on Somaliland (MP3)
Ashenafi interview on Somaliland elections (RealAudio)

A Somali-born analyst says today's presidential election in the breakaway republic of Somaliland represents yet more proof of stability in the self-declared republic. Professor Said Samatar of Rutgers University says the election also sends a powerful message to the international community that, despite its fragility, Somaliland is capable of cleaning its house and maintaining itself. He says on the issue of recognition, he senses some flexibility on the part of the international community. He points to the presence of South African, West African and American observers at today's election.

Regarding the war in Iraq, Professor Samatar says Somaliland exhibits what he calls a split personality, a sense of islamic solidarity with the Iraqi people, coupled with a cautious approach not to upset the United States.

In Monday's elections, President Dahir Riyale Kahin faces a strong challenge from two opposition candidates: Ahmed Muhammad Silaanyo of the Kulmiye Party, and Faisal Ali Warabe of the Justice and Welfare Party. Mr. Kahin succeeded the long-standing leader of Somaliland, Mohamed Egal, after his death last May.

Somaliland, a former British protectorate, declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 after the collapse of the Siad Barre regime. The territory has yet to win any international recognition.

Professor Samatar spoke with English to Africa reporter Ashenafi Abedje.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 14, 2003/Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 13 Apr 03) BBC Monitoring

SOMALILAND: GOVERNMENT URGES FOREIGNERS TO STAY INDOORS ON ELECTION DAY

The Somaliland Ministry of Interior yesterday issued a statement urging all foreigners in Somaliland to remain indoors on 14 April until further notice. The statement urged the foreigners not to travel from their respective working areas on this day, 14 April. Although the ministry has not given any reason for these restrictions imposed on the foreigners, it is expected that this is part of the general security measures during Somaliland's presidential elections scheduled for 14 April 2003. The statement also called on all public transport vehicles not to transport people to the voting centres. The ministry further appealed to the political parties and members of the public to observe the general security measures countrywide during the elections and exercise restraint.
Agence France Presse, April 13, 2003 Sunday

Somaliland president confident of reelection in Monday poll

HARGEISA: The president of the breakaway republic of Somaliland Dahir Riyale Kahin said he is sure of victory in Monday's election and that his ruling party would again lead the next government. "We will form the next government of Somaliland and within 48 hours everybody, including the opposition, will witness that reality," Kahin told AFP in an interview Sunday at the presidential residence in Hargeisa. "The ruling Unity of Democrats (UDUB) party is the party of peace and stability, democracy and the restoration of Somaliland's integrity," he added. Kahin pledged that he would spend most of his efforts to democratise Somaliland and to secure international recognition for the state, which unilaterally broke away from the rest of Somalia in 1991.

"Our unrecognised democracy, peace and stability is much better than those in many other African countries, but it is unfortunate that the international community has failed the people of Somaliland by denying them deserved recognition," Kahin said.

But the chairman of the main opposition Hisbiga Kulmiye (Solidarity Party) Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo maintained his party would prove to be the "winner of the hearts and mind of Somaliland people and will emerge victorious." "Riyale printed money for the election, nominated ministers without portfolio only for the current election and gave funds to popularize UDUB," Silanyo said, charging: "Monday's election would be free, but not fair." "There is a difference between free election and fairness. No person would be barred from voting, but the use of state funds for the elections undermined fairness," Silanyo said, a charge that was rejected by Kahin.

But Silanyo pledged that he would comply with the outcome of the elections, but quickly added that he would "not have vied for the presidency if he was not sure of victory."

A top official with the Justice and Restoration Party (UCID) said his party will rely heavily on non-corrupt and true Somalilanders who care about the well-being of their people to win the elections. "Those who look for money are not welcome at the UCID offices, people with dignity and integrity will vote for us," the party official told AFP.

All three political parties contesting the Somaliland presidency meanwhile assured supporters that they would never accept unity with war-torn Somalia, which has lacked an effective central government for well over a decade.

Somaliland gained independence from British colonial rule on June 26, 1960 and days later united with the Italian colony in the south to form the republic of Somalia.


Associated Press, APRIL 14, 2003 08:44:40 PM ]

Thousands vote in first Somali presidential polls

HARGEISA: Thousands of voters cast ballots Monday in the first multiparty presidential election since the Somaliland republic broke away from Somalia in 1991 to escape the violence and chaos that has beset the rest of the nation. The polls opened at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) and were to close at 6 p.m. (1500 GMT) as voters chose between incumbent President Dahir Riyaleh Kahin and veteran politicians Faysal Ali Warabeh and Ahmed Mohamud Mohamed Silanyo.

The former British Somaliland, which joined with the Italian colony of Somalia in 1960 to form the Republic of Somalia, declared its independence in 1991 as civil war raged across much of the southern part of the country following the ouster of longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

In contrast to much of southern Somalia, which is ruled by heavily armed, clan-based factions that have carved the country into a patchwork of fiefdoms, Somaliland, with an estimated population of 2.5 million, has enjoyed relative peace, although it has failed to gain international recognition.

All three candidates have pledged to ensure that the region remains stable, to create more jobs and to try to gain Somaliland the recognition many Somalilanders crave. "I am happy that Somaliland is making a history; it is the first time that the Somaliland people are voting for a president of their own," Kahin said while casting his ballot.

Votes were to be counted at each of the 97 polling stations, and preliminary results will be released Friday, Ahmed Hajji Ali Adami, chairman of the electoral commission, said. The supreme court will announce the final results 10 days later.


Source: Independent Online (Johansburg), April 14 2003 at 06:16AM

Voters of Somaliland go to polls full of hope

By Jean-Jacques Cornish

The governor of Hargeisa, the capital of the breakaway republic of Somaliland, Mohamud Amin Igeh, uses his cellular phone to deploy police at all stations in Hargeisa.

Hargeisa - Somaliland has taken a further step down the democratic road with a presidential election that is expected to be closely fought but peaceful.

South Africa has the largest observer team for this event, which was due to happen on Monday.

Dahir Riyale Kahan is asking his largely nomadic people to return him to the office he assumed when President Mohamed Egal died at 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria in May.

The other contestants in the three-way contest are former guerrilla leader Ahmed Muhammad Silanyo, who fought the dictatorship of Mohammad Siad Barre, and Faisal Ali Warabe, one of the 200 000 who returned from the diaspora to rebuild the country Barre had reduced to rubble.

In terms of the new constitution endorsed by a 2001 referendum, the presidential race is restricted to candidates from the three parties that came out on top of municipal elections held in December.

This is designed to filter the effects of the clan system that has paralysed neighbouring Somalia, leaving it with a government that controls little more than a few blocks of the capital Mogadishu.

Having borne the brunt of Barre's military repression, Somaliland ended its 31-year union with Somalia soon after the dictator's fall in 1991. The country remains unrecognised by the international community and has rebuilt itself without international loans or aid.

The economy is based on livestock trade, remittances from the diaspora, and local taxes.

Somalilanders take pride in their self-sufficiency, and the one issue uniting all three parties is the rejection of any notion of reunifying with Somalia. "We wish them no harm, but we also wish them to leave us alone. We have forgiven the genocide of Barre but we have not forgotten," said Edna Adam, the only woman in Kahin's government.

Adam and other women have said they will want a greater share of governance whatever candidate is successful.

The minimum voting age is 16, and voters will have to be identified by village elders because they have no physical form of identification. - Independent Foreign Service


Source:http://jadedafrica.dekarabaw.com/, April 12, 2003

Election Fever

Electoral commision staff load ballot boxes on trucks in Hargeisa.

It's a weekend today, Friday. I had a meeting with youth groups who could only get together on Fridays. On the way to the meeting, the streets of Hargeisa were bustling. I've seen not only 2 groups of women clapping and singing, cars with speakers and stickers busily roaming the streets. Songs and chants of the two more active political parties were everywhere. People teasing and heckling each other, shouting Kulmiye! Kulmiye! the other group chanting Udub! Udub! This is election fever Somaliland style.

There are very few posters on the walls of buildings, posters are too expensive. What is noticeable however are cars with stickers, and flags with Green and Y sign for Udub, and the green and yellow flag for Kulmiye, and a green and white flaglets of UCID (pronounced with silent C) you would find in stores. Small offices of the three parties suddenly mushroomed, complete with billboards and their flag. Women are the most active campaigners, they come in groups with a small drum made of camel skin on hand, they would go from village to village campaigning, singing and clapping for their political party. On major roads one would find busses full of singing women, clapping women, women beating their camel drums.

Children enjoy the election fever too. We passed by this group of children and women from the Kulmiye party dancing and singing in the streets. It was 8:30 pm and the streets of Hargeisa are still alive with songs and jubilation. They have something to rejoice about, the 12 years of relative peace in the country brought them at this point.

Being a clan-based society, government positions usually were divided according to clans. It was the clan elders who meet and decide what position should go to what clan. Late last year, Somaliland held its first democratic elections after 33 years choosing the local government officials in the process screening the political parties that would participate in this year's presidential elections. That election was noted to be the most peaceful in the whole of Africa for the past 20 years.

While the South of Somalia are busy with the UN sponsored peace conferences trying to keep more than 300 warring clans and warlord headed groups into the peace negotiating table, Somaliland is silently building its country.

It is expected that like last elections, there would be long lines of people in polling stations. Nomads would go to the election areas to cast their votes, the urban based population would do the same. Some people treat Somaliland's political construction as an internal affair, simply because the country had been relentlessly refused international recognition. But the people of Somaliland are equally determined to prove to the world that they are a nation worthy of recognition and respect.

Unlike the UN staff here who were ordered to shy away from the polling stations, my Somali colleagues together with our expat staff members were told to BE in the election stations. A proposal, which we willingly accepted. Who wouldn't like to be a first hand witness to the making of a proud nation like Somaliland?


Agence France Presse, April 12, 2003

Somaliland's sole woman minister calls for greater emancipation

In her remarks at Honors Convocation, Somali development activist Edna Adan Ismail described her work in Somaliland, where she has fought for adequate health care for women and children and recently opened a maternity hospital. "? hope that this proves to this year? graduating class, and to all who have been blessed with an access to education, that with adequate training, good discipline, strong commitment and unwavering determination against all odds, that each one of you can have a profound impact in your chosen and different areas of specialization. If an old woman can do it, anybody can," Ismail said. .Clark University, Worcester, MA

HARGEISA: The only woman in the cabinet in Somaliland, a self-declared independent state in northwest Somalia, said Saturday that women deserved a greater share of power there. "I don't think women anywhere are satisfied with their share of governance," Edna Adam, the minister for social affairs and family development, told a group of international observers in Somaliland to monitor Monday's presidential election. "In Somaliland we're making progress with my symbolic presence in the government and we have recently appointed the first woman director general," said Adam, the widow of late president Mohamed Egal. "We are half of the population here and woman have always had the vote in Somaliland. We have provided the majority of the votes for candidates," she said. "Nevertheless we have not been consulted enough and we are sometimes excluded unnecessarily," she added, pointing out that there was only one woman on the six-person independent electoral commission.

"Seven of Somaliland's 900 polling station will be headed by women on Monday, and that has never happened before. We welcome the little progress made and remain determined to fight for our rights," said Adam.

Using her personal resources and international funds Adam, a midwife by training, has built and runs the foremost maternity hospital here.

Khadra Kaliil, representing the ruling Democratic Movement for a United Community (UDUB), said women would expect a bigger slice of government if President Daahir Rayale Kahin, was returned to the office he took up on Egal's death. "We have already said we want more women in cabinet," she said.

Ahmed Abdillahi Awale of the Welfare and Justice Party (UCID) that is fielding outsider Faisal Ali Warabi as presidential candidate said they were in favour of affirmative action for Somaliland women. "We would amend the constitution to get more participation by women in all branches of the government. We would practise postitive discrimination," he said.

Mohamed Jama, speaking for candidate Ahmed Silanyo, said one of the two vice-president's posts in their Junction Party (Kulmiye) was filled by a woman.

Women demanded a third of the party agents posts in the cities and got them, he said.

Women are the principal wage earners in 60 percent of Somaliland homes. Most of the voters on Monday will be women, while the men sit around chewing qat, he said referring to the mild narcotic leaf widely consumed in the Horn of Africa. Anyone who want to attain power and keep it in Somaliland must toe the women's line, said Awale, whose party ran a close second to UDUB in the municipal elections last December.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 11, 2003/ Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 11 Apr 03

BRITISH ENVOYS, ELECTION OBSERVERS ARRIVE IN SOMALILAND

The British envoy in charge of Somaliland and Somalia, who is based in Nairobi, name indistinct and (Richard Owen) from the British embassy in Addis Ababa, arrived at Hargeysa's Egal Airport today. Some observers from South Africa and the Inter-Africa Group also arrived at Egal International Airport. They were accompanied by Somaliland's representative to South Africa, Mr Iqbal Jhazbhay. The officials arrived in Somaliland to monitor the the 14 April elections in Somaliland. The officials were received at the Hargeysa airport by the minister of information, Abdullahi Muhammad Du'ale, and the foreign affairs minister, Muhammad Si'id Ges, and the electoral commission chairman, Ahmad Haji Ali Adami.
Agence France Presse, April 11, 2003

Presidential poll in Somaliland on Monday

Kahlil's churlish take on elections held in Third World countries

Hargeisa: Voters in the breakaway republic of Somaliland in northwest Somalia go to the polls on Monday to elect a fourth president since its unilateral secession from the rest of the country in 1991. "We are moving from a traditional form of government to a modern democratic state. The presidential elections are a milestone on this route," Foreign Minister Mohamed Saeed Gees told AFP on Friday. Monday's poll will be Somaliland's first presidential election since 1969. Since it broke away from the troubled Horn of Africa nation in 1991, previous heads of state have been appointed by a council of elders.

Incumbent president Dahir Riyale Kahin of the ruling Unity of Democrats (UDUB) party will be challenged by opposition politicians Ahmed Mohamud "Silanyo" of the Hisbiga Kulmiye (Solidarity Party) and Faisal Ali "Warabe" of the the Party of Justice and Restoration, known by its Somali acronym, UCID.

Somaliland's electoral law allows the existence of only three political parties, which become legal by virtue of holding a majority of local council seats in its six regions.

A vice president will also be elected on Monday.

A former British protectorate, Somaliland united with the Italian colony in the south in 1960 to form the independent Republic of Somalia.

But it unilaterally broke away from the rest of Somalia in 1991, five months after the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

As Somalia proper degenerated into anarchy and the rule of the gun -- it still lacks any semblance of a working central government -- Somaliland, ironically, given its lack of international recognition, built up many of the institutions of statehood.

It adopted povisional Constitution in 1997, which was ratified by a referendum in May 2001.

Somaliland, which has a population of about three million, now boasts a president, government, police force, penal code, currency and customs. Yet it has no seat at the United Nations general assembly and is unable to enter into bilateral or multilateral agreements with lenders. Its budget for this year is some 30 million dollars (28 million euros).

Faction leaders in Somalia proper often call upon Somaliland's authoritites to renounce their secession.

Somaliland's council of elders chose Kahin as the president in May last year following the death of his predecessor, Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, in a South African hospital.

A member of the Gadabursi clan which is predominant in western Somaliland, Kahin had been Egal's vice president since 1997.

Silanyo held ministerial positions in both in Barre's regime and in Somaliland's government.

Warabe was one of the founders of the Somali National Movement (SNM), one of several rebel groups that fought for a decade to topple Barre's regime. Silanyo was at one time SNM's chairman.

Silanyo and Warabe are both members of the Issak clan, the dominant group in Somaliland.

The electoral commission has declared Saturday the last day of campaigning.

More police have been deployed in the capital, Hargeisa and other areas to beef up security in the run up to the poll.

The European Union and other donors funded a civic education campaign last year. Britain has donated 125,000 pounds (182,000 euros) for the presidential election.

Observer missions from Britain, the US, Denmark, Canada, Ethiopia, Norway and South Africa will be in Somaliland for the polls.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 10, 2003/Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 9 Apr 03

SOMALILAND: ETHIOPIA SAID SENDING ELECTION OBSERVERS

Reports from diplomatic sources in Addis Ababa say Meles Zenawi's government is fully involved in the forthcoming Somaliland presidential elections. The reports says Mr Zenawi desires to see an unnamed presidential aspirant win the presidential elections. The reports further say the Ethiopian administration would not like ruling Udub Party, which is led by President Dahir Riyale Kahin, to win and favours Kulmiye Party, which is led by Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo. Unconfirmed reports say Mr Zenawi held private talks with Mr Silanyo during his recent visit to Hargeysa as published, which were more important than those he held with President Kahin and the Ucid Party leader. Meanwhile, the Ethiopian government is sending another delegation to Somaliland - the second in 10 days. The delegation will officially represent Ethiopia as observers in the presidential elections. The action follows a directive by the minister of state for foreign affairs who has returned to Ethiopia.
Africa News, April 10, 2003/UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

Somalia; Puntland Warns of Drought

Parts of the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland are facing serious water shortages, Puntland's acting information minister, Abdishakur Mire Adan, told IRIN on Thursday. He said the problem is most acute in the regions of Sool and Sanaag, which are claimed by both Puntland and the neighbouring self-declared republic of Somaliland. Also seriously affected by are the districts of Bargal, Iskushuban, Qandala, Alula, Badar Beyla and Qardo, all of Bari Region, and parts of Nugal Region, said Abdishakur. "We have had very little rain in the Gu season [April-June] so far and the delay of Gu season has exacerbated an already bad situation."

He said the Puntland administration had dispatched fuel to some of the most seriously affected districts in Sanaag to help in the trucking of water. Abdishakur told IRIN that the Puntland authorities "do not have the wherewithal" to deal with the situation, and they had called on international aid agencies to intervene before the situation deteriorated even further. He said the first priority was to deliver water to affected areas and to distribute food to those who had lost their livestock. "Some of the population have reached the stage where they are no longer able to cope," he warned. He appealed to the international donor community to come to the aid of the people of Puntland "before it is too late".


Source: UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, April 9, 2003

Somaliland Warns of Water And Food Shortages

Nairobi: Almost all parts of the self-declared republic of Somaliland are facing serious water and food shortages, according to its minister of pastoral development and environment, Muhammad Muse Awale. The problem is most acute in the eastern regions of Togdheer, Sanaag and the Hawd. "We had very little rain in the Gu season [April-June] and we have had even smaller Deyr rains [October-November] so far," he told IRIN on Wednesday. Awale, who heads the newly created inter-ministerial Committee for National Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation, warned that if there were no rains in the next two to three weeks, "we will have a disaster on our hands".

The livelihood of most of the population of Somaliland, like the rest of Somalia, revolves around livestock, and "livestock has already started dying", he said. He added that the Somaliland administration was calling on the international community to assist before the situation turned into a catastrophe. Trucking water to the most affected areas should be a priority, Awale said. Water points which had fallen into disrepair needed to be rehabilitated quickly, while those still functioning needed pumps to enable them operate, he stressed. Awale also said that food distribution in the most seriously-affected areas should be undertaken "as a matter of urgency".


Source: Somaliland net, Apr 07 2003

SOMAID/CURE Concern benefits three Somaliland hospitals

Mohamed Hussein Egal, Chairman of SOMAID delivered a sizeable consignment of assorted medical supplies, hospital equipment and some office accessories, end of last week, that are expected to greatly enhance the services, patient-confidence and capacities of three major hospitals in the Republic of Somaliland. Delivery of supplies, Mr. Egal said, would not have been within SOMAID means if not for the humane interventional of Project C.U.R.E. - an international organization based in the United States of America.

"Mr. William Douglas Jackson, founder and President/CEO of Project CURE, came to Somaliland on a needs assessment visit an February 2001, following a proposal we submitted him and few follow-up meetings we subsequently held on matter. Upon return to the States, Mr Jackson did not rest for a moment until he put together these supplies", Mr. Egal said.

Before Mr. Jackson, himself, made that first trip to Somaliland in the Company of SOMAID officers, who introduced him to the sort of shoe-string services the hospitals were providing patients, it was not easy, Mr. Egal said, to convince anybody not bred and brought up in these climes to conjure up on his own - health conditions on the ground as they existed here in Somaliland.

"That 2 of 3 containers of supplies destined for, initially, a hospital each in, respectively, Hargeisa, Berbera and Burao, have safely reached the beneficiaries - with the other soon to follow - more than make up for any of the sleepless nights CURE and SOMAID officers spent in putting this first consignment together", Mr. Egal told The Republican on Tuesday, shortly before he flew back to his adopted home in Denver, Colorado, of the United States.

Egal, briefing members of the governing council of the newly formed association for Somaliland Journalists - SOLJA - the week before, said a great many of the migrant Somalilander communities would have taken more visible steps to contribute to the development and reconstruction of Somaliland if the local media took upon itself to assume the role of sentinel over deliveries and how they are exploited in practice.

Egal - as are many of his more enlightened compatriots in the Diaspora - was, obviously, a little troubled by stories of diverted materials and assistance packages that, inevitably, bombard the good Samaritan in developing regions. The fact is, though, the good use one puts to any assistance given him - even if it was partially delivered him - is something to thank God for.

As attested to by grateful officials at the three beneficiary hospitals, SOMAID has more than fulfilled the role it played in canvassing for and delivery of the supplies shown in its shipment manifesto (see table 1 and 2 for more details).

Minister for Health and Labour, Dr. Hassan Ismail Yussuf, himself, was present, at the Hargeisa Group Hospital take-over of supplies from SOMAID on Friday, March 28.

Besides items shown in tables 1 and 2, materials and health/treatment aids and accessories below the unit costs depicted were most abundantly evident among packages delivered to each hospital. Gloves, dressings, surgical masks, vacutainer tubes, birthing kits, splints, braces, casting supplies, patient restraints, respiratory supplies, oxygen masks, anasthesia supplies, cardiology supplies, wound care kits, urinary supplies - medical textbooks. medical journals, optic supplies, office supplies, sterile surgical gowns, urology surgery packs and supplies, ENT surgery packs and supplies, cardio - thoracic packs and supplies, nasal gastric and gastric large tubes.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 8, 2003/Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 8 Apr 03

VISITING SOMALILAND VICE-PRESIDENT TO MEET PUNTLAND RIVAL LEADER SHORTLY

The vice-president of Somaliland, Ahmad Yusuf Yasin, arrived in Ceel Afweyn in Sool Region eastern Somaliland; disputed with neighboring Puntland yesterday and held talks with some people in the area. The vice-president was also planning to meet Gen Ate Musa opposed to Puntland leader Col Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad whose forces are based in the region.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, April 8, 2003/UN Integrated Regional Information Network, Nairobi, in English 8 Apr 03

Somaliland, Puntland wrangle over disputed regions ahead 14 April polls

There will be no elections in the disputed regions of Sool and Sanaag when Somaliland holds its presidential polls next week, according to the neighbouring self-declared autonomous region of Puntland. Both the self-declared republic of Somaliland and Puntland claim the regions, which geographically fall within the borders of the former British Somaliland, but where the majority of the clans inhabiting them are associated with Puntland. "There is no way that elections will take place in Sool and Sanaag," Isma'il Warsame, the chief of cabinet of Puntland's president, Col Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad, told IRIN. He said the people of the area did not want the elections, so "their wishes must be respected".

"The people of these regions have decided that their destiny is with Puntland and not with Somaliland," he added. He warned that any attempt to bring election materials to Sool and Sanaag would be regarded as "a hostile act against Puntland". However, Somaliland Information Minister Abdullahi Muhammad Du'ale told IRIN that elections would take place as planned in the two regions and that ballot boxes would be sent there. "Sool and Sanaag have been part and parcel of Somaliland and will remain so," he stressed. Somaliland's presidential elections are due on 14 April.


Source: Somaliland net, Apr 06 2003/Jamuuriya EDT EUR.

Hargeisa short of water swims in flood of banknotes

Residents of the capital of Somaliland - Hargeisa is alternately looking up longingly at an unyielding sky for succour from the painful spasms of thirst while pummelled from every side by a flood of sharp-cutting, newly printed banknotes that spooked local markets to climb fast on an upward spiralling hyper-inflation.

Queuing jerry cans and up-turned donkey water-carts line and cluster at and around dry water kiosks. Parched throats listen to optimistic platitudes.

Hoarse whispers hiss to and forth among despairing mothers.

Unrelenting enterprising water vendors ask for the skies - and in cash upfront - when one is found.

Harassed family bread - winners cry in exasperation, impotent against the ferocious onslaught of distraught wives, who have to find water for wailing babies.

This has been a typical scene in the capital for the past several months. The siege under which an acute shortage of water put the city started mildly enough at the end of 2002, only to tighten the noose gradually around resident's throats to a stage where an irritating but tolerable has become a life- draining vice slowly dissipating at semblance of patience.

Only on Sunday, the week before (March 30), the President, Dahir Rayaleh Kahin, addressing a join session of the bi-cameral Parliament spoke of securing international assistance for the development of city water but said nothing of how people should cope with the current threats of shortage, or what the administration would do about it. in the meantime.

The very existence of Somalilanders, as a whole, is presently inching forward towards a nonnegotiable precipice of despair and deprivation.

What of a fast declining consumer powers of purchase, an upward spiralling inflation fast climbing up a steep incline, an ineffective regulating mechanism, excuses for the absenteeism, a campaigning administration that thinks nothing of forfeiting citizenry lives by flooding a weak, already teetering market with banknotes, freshly smelling of the offset they rolled from. Moreover, the notes only super facially look genuine but are, in fact, not so going by the new notes in departure in design and layout from old notes. That the public was not prepared for the changes by the bank of Somaliland or the government and the way the government is taking off all the plugs to garner, ostensibly, more support, as critics contend, makes the new banknotes suspect, too


Source: Jadedafrica.com, April 06, 2003 (http://jadedafrica.dekarabaw.com/archives/2003_04.html)

Diaspora Story (1)

She left Somaliland when she was 5 years old. Spent her teens studying in England. She already had a job there when she decided to travel back to Hargeisa. This got her friends so confused. "I couldn't explain, I just tell my friends to come here and see. When you've lived in a country like England where everything is well in its place, you couldn't just relate to the situation here" she said. She further narrated that during her first month here in Hargeisa, all she noticed was the garbage and how depressed the condition is.

"I've met the people in HAVOYOCO, they're young and idealistic. Imagine, the organization started with young Somalilanders collecting garbage and selling them to generate money" she added. HAVOYOCO is well known in Somaliland as a youth organization doing circus. They cater to the visual hunger of Somalis for entertainment. HAVOYOCO utilizes circus to educate the public about issues affecting the environment, HIV/Aids education, Female Genital Mutilation among others. They are hired by International Organizations and local non-government organizations for their awareness campaigns. "The money HAVOYOCO gets from the circus goes to the organization to fund its activities. The group now has 9 projects intended for the communities. It has a soap factory that employs women, a maternal and child health program, literacy programs for women and youth, now the organization employs 54 project staff, including paid teachers, and the group started 10 years ago by collecting garbage!" she added.

Because of poverty and the influx of international aid doing rehabilitation and reconstruction work, the 12 years of peace in Somaliland witnessed the mushrooming of local non-government organizations. It is a common but sad fact that some LNGO leaders are accused by communities of opportunism and corruption (a condition found in civil society circles worldwide, well almost). "So what is HAVOYOCO's secret I asked. "It's their sense of volunteerism, idealism and commitment. They are young and they just don't want to stop dreaming" she said. With sad eyes one could see her frustration "I just wish Somalis from the diaspora could see how Somalilanders despite the poverty and their struggle in everyday life continue to believe in dreams."

"It's not just about money, there are so many changes in my life ever since I decided to stay here, I don't have the comfort I had in England, but the impact I make in seeing how the lives of my countrymen are changed is enough, all these are not and cannot be bought by money" she quipped. "At the end of the day, I reflect about the things I did and by the implications of the decisions I made, I realized that every single day. I become richer."

Ayaan is one of the participants in the Health Advocacy Training I am facilitating, she's a Somalilander, one of the new generation of Somalis from the diaspora who have decided to return to Somaliland. She is one of HAVOYOCO's program coordinators, managing its Family Life and Child care program. She has been here for a year now and has no plans of going back to England. Not yet. She continues to dream with her fellow young Somalilanders from HAVOYOCO, she continues to struggle with their everyday problems and search for solutions.

We parted agreeing that indeed a person's spirit dies when dreaming stops.


Agence France Presse, April 3, 2003/

Hundreds in Somaliland protest Iraq war

Nairobi: Hundreds of people took to the streets of the breakaway republic of Somaliland in northwest Somalia Thursday to condomn the war in Iraq, witnesses said. The demonstrators carried placards calling the war in Iraq a "flagrant aggression" and illegal, the witnesses said. They also shouted "stop the war, don't kill innocent children, the war in Iraq is a battle for oil," among others slogans. Somaliland, which has yet to be recognised by the outside world, declared independence from the rest of Somalia in May 1991, five months after dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled.
BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 3, 2003/Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 3 Apr 03

SOMALILAND PRESIDENT IN TALKS WITH VISITING ETHIOPIAN DELEGATION IN HARGEYSA

The president of the republic of Somaliland, Hon Dahir Riyale Kahin, today held talks in his office with a delegation from the federal government of Ethiopia led by the Ethiopian state minister for foreign affairs, Tekeda Alemu. On arrival, the Ethiopian state minister thanked the Somaliland government for the warm welcome given to him and his delegation. The minister also delivered a message of greeting from the president of the federal government of Ethiopia to President Dahir Royale Kahin.
BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 1, 2003/Jamhuuriya web site, Hargeysa, in Somali 31 Mar 03

SOMALILAND PRESIDENT ADDRESSES PARLIAMENT, HOPES FOR SUCCESSFUL ELECTIONS

The president of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, Hon Dahir Riyale Kahin, yesterday at a joint session of the two houses (House of Elders and parliament) delivered the annual national presidential speech, which the president does once a year in parliament. The president covered, among other things, issues concerning the country's internal affairs and foreign relations, the Iraqi situation, social issues and the forthcoming 14 April elections in the country.

Internal and foreign affairs

On matters regarding the country's internal affairs, the president said security had been tightened, while expansion of the administration has been completed in Sool Region eastern Somaliland; disputed with neighbouring Puntland by sending a reconciliatory committee, the outcome of whose work had been fruitful. He said the country advocated a policy of coexistence with neighbouring countries and the world at large in order to live in peace and non-interference, and urged the public, political parties and other institutions to refrain from provocative utterances about neighbouring states.

Terrorism

We hold the same position as the international community in regard to terrorism, in all its forms and aspects, as stipulated in Somaliland's constitutional charter the president said. We shall not accept those suspected of working for or aiding the Al-Qa'idah network or Al-Ittihad militant Islamic militant group accused of links with Al-Qa'idah, whose operations are not found in Somaliland. He said Somaliland was part of the international coalition in the fight against terrorism and would soon form a national anti-terrorism committee.

Iraq

On the Iraq issue, the president said he would like the matter to be resolved peacefully and diplomatically on the principles of international law and peaceful coexistence.

Emergency areas

He suggested that areas of Somaliland currently under emergency rule such as Laas Caanood, Hudu and Taleh be removed from such a status, to facilitate the forthcoming elections in the area. He said the Ministry of Interior Affairs was in charge of drawing border points and the level of taxation.

Foreign policy

On foreign affairs, he said Somaliland had dispatched various delegations into the Diaspora, with special attention had been given to our neighbouring countries, west Africa, Senegal and Mali. "We have representatives in the UN, Europe, Asia (Middle east) and North America," said Mr Riyale.

Elections

On the forthcoming elections, he said: We have completed parliamentary elections, which passed off very fairly and smoothly. We are now approaching the presidential elections which I think will mark the completion of our democratic process, which is also monitored closely by the international community, as a requirement for the recognition of our country.

Therefore, it is an obligation of parliament, the general public and the contesting political parties to undertake collectively their responsibilities and safeguard security, which is the basic foundation for holding elections. We also urge MPs to observe the electoral regulations.

It has not been possible to present to parliament this year's budget at the same time as completing the electoral rules and regulations, as you required. Our relations with Ethiopia grow stronger day by day and there are no rifts between us. I appeal to all the people of Somaliland to vote peacefully during the forthcoming Somaliland elections, just as they did at the previous one. I pray to God that the elections end in a peaceful manner.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 62 March 29, 2003

Feature: Somalia And Survival In The Shadow Of The Global Economy (Part 5)

Continued from the previous issue]

Patronage Politics, Foreign Aid, and the Start of State Collapse

The 1960 unification of British Somaliland and Italian Somalia as an independent state did not result in a reduction of external financial support, nor the economic irrelevancy that IMF investigators and scholars predicted. Though no magnet for foreign investment, Somalia's rulers discovered that they could turn prerogatives of sovereignty into tools to attract external economic assets. Somalia's government perfected the art of playing to the diplomatic and strategic interests of former colonial rulers, superpowers and others willing to exchange aid for affirmation of a particular ideology, diplomatic alignment, or access to military bases. Rulers used these resources to attract popular legitimacy and manage domestic political rivals. The latter presented more pressing challenges and dominated the conduct of Somalia's external relations. As southern Somali agricultural projects shows, capital-based strongmen used foreign aid to build political networks that later provided key agents of violence and armed groups of followers when central control over this network collapsed. Ironically, the preferred strategies for building a state and political community on the margins of the global economy after 1960 also lay at the heart of state collapse and violent community fragmentation after 1990.

The high water mark of this centrally managed political project began with the coup of General Mohamed Siyaad Barre on 21 October 1969. Initially it appeared to be a state-building project. Barre (a former member of the Italian Somaliland and British wartime interim administration police) announced that all speakers of the Somali language should be unified in a single state, and supported crash literacy programs to propagate a new Somali script. In 1970 he unveiled an official `Scientific Socialist' ideology and invited the Soviet navy to lease the deepwater port of Berbera, in former British Somaliland. Barre took ideological cues and foreigner's cash where he could find it, combining Islamic poetry with the centralizing vision of Lenin, the cult of personality of North Korea's Kim Il-Sung and advice from Western creditors and donors who in fact remained his primary financial supporters even during his alignment with the Soviet Union. Barre also admitted to admiring Benito Mussolini, who he called `my former commander'. While Barre was insistent on ideological consistency, he did maintain a consistent pursuit of a centrally organized state-building project, whether of fascist or socialist inspiration. In this sense, Barre responded to the global incentives of his time, a political and economic world that supported state regulation of domestic economies and that provided financial support to leaders of new states who embarked on these projects.

Barre went even further, and vigorously pursued an irredentist project of consolidating all Somali speakers in a single state. This translated into official support for a Northern Frontier District Liberation Front in Kenya and a Front de Liberation de la Cotes des Somalis in neighboring French Somaliland. Somali state-building continued with the infiltration of Ogadeeni clan fighters of the Somali-Abo Liberation Front (SALF) and the Western Somalia Liberation Front (WSLF) to `reclaim' ethnic Somali territory in Ethiopia's Ogaden after a coup in 1975 amidst challenges from separatist movements in Eritrea, Tigray and Oromo. SALF and WSLF ties to the Somali government were tight enough that a government office in Mogadishu distributed their propaganda in the consolidated Bulletin of Somali Liberation Fronts, denouncing `Abyssinian colonialism' and calling for these regions to (re)join the Somali nation. By March 1978, however, Ethiopian counter-attacks reached Somali territory after Ethiopia's rulers made their own bid for Soviet aid. Barre's attack on Ethiopia had consequences decades later as Ethiopian leaders concluded that keeping Somalia very weak and disorganized after Barre's fall in 1991 was integral to their own security. Barre's Soviet backers abandoned him in 1978, preferring instead to align with a seemingly more genuine Marxist-Leninist ruling party in Ethiopia (which also is ten times more populous than Somalia). This came on top of the bad news for Barre in 1977 that French Somaliland voters rejected union with Somalia and opted for independence as the Republic of Djibouti in a referendum.

Despite Barre's loss of Soviet patronage, his regime managed to find a new external source of income. The US government established its own (more modest) military presence and gave Barre's regime more than $800 million in aid. A quarter of this was devoted to military expenditures. Italy was more generous. Conveniently for Barre, his Italian patrons were willing to include local politicians in insider deals in providing over a billion dollars in the 1980s for more than one hundred projects, which contributed to Barre's role as a distributor of largesse to his informal political network of associates, both inside government and in `private' (but politically well connected) business.

Overall, outside aid generated $2.8 billion for Somalia between 1972 and 1989, making Somali people Africa's greatest beneficiaries of aid on a per capita basis at that time. The geographic, sectoral and political distribution of aid, however, shows that most Somalis benefited very little as aid, not just from his Italian patrons, became a major source of corruption and kickbacks to regime favourites. The extreme dependence of the country on foreign aid for 90 percent of recorded development spending underlines the centrality of Barre in all avenues of economic life-as manager of formal state allocations and as patron to political allies-at the expense of broader community or commercial efforts. Barre's domination of these economic channels also entrenched his power in the institutional frameworks of communities targeted for development spending. He used these initiatives to overlay his own political network over old informal local networks. The consequence later would be that informal mediating institutions such as xeer and the authority of `traditional' leaders would be weakest in these areas once sustained conflict broke out in the late 1980s. Thus economic globalization in this manner laid the groundwork for state collapse. When examined in its patrimonial context, it also provides a guide for predicting which communities would organize their own responses to state collapse and which ones would not, and how each category would respond to economic opportunities in the 1990s and 2000s.

Meanwhile, agricultural projects and programs absorbed 22 percent of development spending in the 1980s, with 90 percent of that allocated to large-scale commercial crop farming. Favoured groups benefited from the construction of dams, irrigation and plantation farming in the south. This southern area was the dominant beneficiary of this category of spending. Foreign experts complained that this priority excluded more numerous pastoralists, especially those in northern areas affected by conflict that continued long after the Somali invasion of Ethiopia, even though agriculture spending rose as a proportion of development spending during this period. Further accentuating the social differentiation that development spending promoted, social service expenditures fell from 6.3 percent of development spending in 1975 to less than one percent in 1989. By the 1980s, even this small amount was reserved in large part to provide housing for faculty and staff at the National University in Mogadishu.

Even though state support declined politically favoured groups continued to benefit. Industrial firms, for example, received 35 percent of development spending in 1975, dropping to 10 percent in the mid 1980s. This decline reflected the regime's acceptance of creditor advice to privatize industrial enterprises. This was carried out on the basis of political favouritism, and was immediately followed with massive manipulation of credit markets to benefit regime cronies. Administrative regulations depressed formal market interest rates for credit to -80 percent in real terms in 1984, compared to marginal positive rates in the late 1970s. Not efficient in economists' terms, negative rates ensured that credit would be distributed to politically powerful groups and businessmen. Lucky recipients later paid their creditors in severely depreciated local currency, which effectively meant that the state provided its favourites with a bonus for holding these loans. The fiscal demands of this policy meant that the politically marginalized had to seek credit on their own in much more expensive informal markets that did not enjoy patronage from the state. Alternatively they could leave the country in search of economic opportunities abroad. This further marginalizing politically disfavoured groups from Barre's informal patronage networks, though it would have positive significance in later years when their community leaders would find that they had influence over these overseas sources of income independent of strongmen associated with Barre's regime.

Likewise, policy failure coupled with a steady flow of foreign aid helped civil servants migrate into regime-sanctioned clandestine channels. By 1989, civil servants were paid only three to four percent of the real value of their 1975 salaries, and had to support themselves through corruption, bribes and kickbacks. Despite declining salaries, Barre increased civil service employment from approximately 20,000 in 1969 to over 56,000 in 1983. This made association with foreign financed development projects a vital part of the survival strategies of civil servants. Uncertainty and scarcity helped turn these projects into an even more valuable political resource for Barre. A foreign consultant observed, however, that the civil service lost a disproportionate portion of more educated employees, particularly those who came from the north who Barre regarded as less desirable as political clients. As shown below, politically marginalized communities in the north were forced to became more adept at exploiting the economic opportunities of clandestine markets and overseas employment on their own, often in defiance of the regime and in conflict with clandestine rackets that regime favourites ran.

Even when Barre's irredentist adventure and destructive economic policies brought growing popular insecurity, foreign relief aid offered him additional political resources that he could plow back into his `official' clandestine economy. UN officials, for example, complained that $100 million in relief aid to refugees of the 1977-78 war was distributed on the basis of clan leadership loyalties to Barre, and was used to reinforce the control of regime strongmen who were responsible for controlling distribution of relief aid in the camps. Aid workers testified that food was pilfered from convoys and sold in local markets with the connivance of local officials. UN officials used this same complaint over pilferage to justify intervention in the early 1990s. Nor is it coincidence that the same individuals and armed groups were responsible for this use of violence in both periods, though prior to 1990 this was an informal `official' state policy, while freelance in the latter. One aid worker estimated that three quarters of all supplies were stolen, with some going directly to pro-Barre militias that attacked clans that Barre believed opposed his rule. Massive over counting of refugees, 1.5 million by Somali government estimate versus 650,000 in the view of aid agencies also were geared toward generating resources for patronage.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 62 March 29, 2003

Hargeysa Mayor Orders Payment of Subsidies for Maandeeq

Hargeisa (SL Times): The new Mayor of Hargeisa, Hussein Mohamud "Guray", has authorized the continued payment by the municipality of the staff salaries and fuel costs of the central government-owned newspaper Maandeeq. Hargeisa Municipality has been meeting this expenditure ever since May 31, 1998 following an order to this effect by the late Somaliland President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal. Before the local council election held in Somaliland on Dec 15, 2002, mayors used to be appointed through a presidential decree. The incumbent Mayor, Guray had been elected, together with other 24 members, to the local council of Hargeisa Municipality. He was chosen as Mayor by the elected members of the council in early February. Meanwhile the Mayor has accepted to subsidize Hargeisa's only private TV with a monthly amount of $600. A number of council members have vowed to raise this issue at the next council meeting. Meanwhile, some members of the Hargeisa local council have been appointed by the Mayor to administrative positions within the Municipality.
Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 62 March 29, 2003

Funding Somaliland's poll

HARGEYSA, 26 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - Somaliland's Electoral Commission has urged international donors to plug a gap of about half a million US dollars it says it needs to organise the self-declared republic's first multiparty presidential polls on 14 April. The Electoral Commission, which was set up in December 2001 ahead of Somaliland's first multiparty local elections, says the extra money is needed for election logistics and voter education.
Lessons Learnt

"We had a lot of experience from that election," Commission chairman Ahmed Haji Ali Adami told IRIN. "There were some difficulties, we learned a lot of lessons, we put them on a very long list and we are trying to improve according to our ability and according to the finance we receive." For the presidential poll, the Commission says it submitted a budget request to the Somaliland government of $1.5 million, but was granted only about $1 million. Although it has received some financial pledges and training support from the international community, Commission members told IRIN that donors had been less forthcoming this time. For example, the European Union (EU) provided support for voter education in the local elections but has not extended funding this time.

"The reason is political," said Commission member Mohammed Sheikh Abdillahi. "Supporting a presidential election in a country that is not recognised would be construed as a political act."

The Electoral Commission nevertheless hopes to receive support from individual countries, notably Britain, Norway and Switzerland. The Electoral Commission has seven members. Three were selected by the government, two by the House of Elders and two by opposition parties. Two opposition candidates are running against incumbent president Dahir Riyale Kahin. There will be only one round of voting, with the winner requiring a simple majority.

The lack of a proper census means that there is no voter list. The Commission says it abandoned attempts to register voters in advance of the local elections, because it did not have the means.
900 Polling Stations

Commission chairman Ahmed Haji Ali Adami told IRIN there would be 900 polling stations across Somaliland. He said the ballot papers, printed in the UK, had already arrived, along with indelible ink that would be put on the hands of voters to prevent fraud. He added that the ballot papers had been counted, given serial numbers and put under lock and key. "As a commission we are ready," he said. "Apart from that financial constraint, we are ready. You can go around and see that everything is planned according to date. And I think technically we are ready."

The Commission says it is committed to taking ballot papers to all parts of Somaliland, including the eastern Sool and Sanaag regions, where the government has imposed a state of emergency. These areas have been experiencing insecurity owing to a territorial dispute with neighboring Puntland and spillover from fighting there.

But Commission member Mohammed Sheikh Abdillahi told IRIN that reaching remote areas posed considerable logistical problems. "You know this country has no roads and communications are very poor, and the country is very large," he said. "So to cover that is a big logistical nightmare."

The Commission says security is also a concern. The government will provide the necessary security personnel, but Abdillahi said voter education could also help. "There is a need to emphasize security," he said. "Somaliland people were the real heroes last time, the self-discipline in the queues was extraordinary, there was no need for policemen or anything. But we don't take anything for granted, and we want to emphasize again the need for security and peace during the election time."
Voter Education

The Commission says voters are highly politically aware and are likely to vote in big numbers. It expects at least a 50 percent increase on the 450,000 people who voted in the local elections. However, the Commission says it needs to provide more education on how to vote, especially for women. "The majority of the voters last time were women," says Shukri Haji Ismail, the only woman member of the Electoral Commission. "Last time they were asking many questions," she said. "About 70 percent of the Somaliland women are illiterate, and there were certain problems when they were trying to mark the ballot papers. But this time we will be trying to show them.

"Specifically we will be targeting the women and showing them, and telling them that if they want to vote for a certain party they should not be intimidated or pushed into voting for somebody else," she added. During the local elections, polling stations closed at 6pm. The Commission says it is considering an extension of voting hours this time, to ensure that everyone gets the chance to cast their ballot.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 62 March 29, 2003

Drug - The Double Edged Knife (Part 2)

Mohamed H. Dahir (Chairman, Pharmaceutical Association of Somaliland)

Those people studied made mistakes in the way they took their medication - either too much, not enough, or at the wrong time. Doctors like to blame their uncooperative patients for these errors, but according to these researches for the problem really lies with the physician for not communicating the instructions simply and clearly.

The true goal of this article, then, is to provide people with basic information regarding the potential hazards of drugs as well as of those medications physicians prescribe most often. My hope is to enable people understand how the medicines they take work in their bodies and how to approach simple medical problems before, during, and after professional medical intervention. It may help save you some money, but more important, it may help save your life.

What is a Drug?

With so much misinformation, emotion, and plain ignorance surrounding the whole field of "drugs" today, it is no wonder that people are confused and apprehensive. Our so-called drug culture is a never-ending source of editorials, commercials, and apprehension. Yet drugs are nothing new to our generation. The ancient Egyptians were masters of drug therapy, and one medical papyrus lists over nine hundred prescriptions. In fact, it is very likely that as far back as 2000 BC, Egyptian physicians were treating wounds and infections with a chemical derived from a fungus which probably was a near relative to penicillin. There is even a suggestion in some ancient manuscripts that the Egyptians might have had a birth control pill. Almost every culture has taken advantage of the chemicals nature has provided in the form of leaves, roots and bark in order to fashion remedies and cures. Such staples of modern therapeutics as aspirin, digitalis, and quinine (first used for fevers, then for malaria) are derived from natural plants. From a bird's-eye view, it is only fairly recently that we have learned how to isolate the active ingredients in plants and synthesize our own by-products chemically.

So what is a drug? Well, in reality it is just a word, which exists in people's minds. When potato first reached arrived in Europe, it was considered something very special, selling not as a food but rather - at high price - as a "medicine" for its aphrodisiac quantities. In its broadest sense, most people would consider any prescriptive agent a drug and, as a result of the current furor over abuse, any agent which is used illicitly for its physiological effects. Either naively or unconsciously, people generally fail to realize that many of the chemicals they casually consume are themselves drugs. As defined by standard pharmacological textbook, a drug is "any chemical agent that effects living matter".

Are vitamins drugs? Most people would say No without thinking twice. However, when Vitamin C is ingested in very large amounts - for example - it is no longer the simple vitamin you find in your orange juice. Nor does the eighteen-year girl who was taking really huge amounts of Vitamin A daily for her acne typify a simple case of the ingestion of a natural product found carrots. She wound up in a hospital with severe headache, blurred vision, sleep disturbances, signs of mental illness, and an initial diagnosis of a brain tumor. All this was due to excessive amounts of Vitamin A.

No one in his right mind would ever classify cigarettes, aspirin, food additives, or air as drugs. Yet nicotine, alcohol, aspirin, nitrates, and yes, even air-or more specifically oxygen-each has a distinct pharmacology with special effects upon your body, (premature babies given large doses of oxygen may suffer from irreversible blindness.) Perhaps I overstate the case; yet we have been lulled into complacency about what we put into our bodies, both by the industries that manufacture and advertise their products and by the doctors who prescribe them. Remember, one study reported that 60 percent of patients consider their drugs completely safe.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 62 March 29, 2003

"The First Lady of Song."

Abdirahman Ahmed Shunuuf, Mohamed Ahmed Shunuuf and Mohamoud Ahmed Shunuuf

Sahra Siyaad is known as "The First Lady of Song." She was discovered in Somaliland's "Independence Garden Theater" in Hargeisa during an amateur night contest. The singer made her first recording cassette with the famous singer Ahmed Mogeh in 1969, and went on to appear with some of Somaliland's best recording artists, including the renowned "Barkhad Cas Group."

In 1971, she was the only female singer to perform with the male vocalists in the group. The "Barkhad Cas Band" which toured the entire country and catapulted her to fame. From that concert on, she set the standard for Somaliland female singers. Famous Somaliland vocalists, such as "Shankaroon," emulated and copied her style of singing, which later made her a superstar in her own terms.

When she first sang with Ahmed Mogeh in 1969, the song became number one in Somaliland, and remains a collector's item to this day. (The song is called "Jaalahaa Waalaal," and was about a friend, Ahmed Mogeh, soothing his female friend, Sahra Siyaad, by reassuring her that her lover still loves her.)

During the following years, Sahra sang again with Ahmed Ali "Drum," a song called "Shacni iyo wanaag." She made music history at the time, because she was the first Somaliland female vocalist to release two recordings in a row.

Again in 1971, she fulfilled her ultimate dream of performing in one of the most memorable concerts ever put on stage. She was the star performer since she was the only female among the talented singers. Her hit single, "Allah Caagoor Boogseexeh" or "Allah is the only one who cures illness," was a metaphor for the life and times of Mohamed Ismail Barkhad Cas, the great nationalist poet, playwright, and songwriter. Since the whole concert was a tribute to him, the song depicted the last days of the poet's life.

The song in English:

  1. Didn't the masses and the youth
  2. Love me?
  3. Is it because of my illness?
  4. That they stop saying Hi?

  5. Allah curses all sickness
  6. But you begin to wonder
  7. About people's intentions fully
  8. When you are in need!
Mohamed Ismail Barkhad Cas died of tuberculosis at the tender age of thirty-three. Most of his close friends believed in the misguided notion of catching the disease through simple exchange of greetings. Therefore, they abandoned him entirely, leaving him to suffer alone in an empty hospital bed.

Sahra with her hauntingly sensual, sexy, raspy singing voice, mixed the sadness and grief, and brought down the house when she performed the song for the audience. In her stunning, emotional, and powerful voice, she radiated so much feeling and conviction that the audience mistook her for the poet she represented in the performance. It was one of the best performances by a female vocalist in a long time. Her style, stage presence, and singing ability made her a superstar. The song was so powerful it left many people to wonder and ask questions about her health status after the concert. She must have been too convincing in her role, for people to ask such questions!

Sahra collaborated again with Ahmed Ali "Drum" in another beautiful song called "Maad ee yoo Laamaanaan," or in English, "Can you be my partner?"

The lyrics in English:

  1. I was waiting for you
  2. All day yesterday

  3. You are connected emotionally to me
  4. Through umbilical cord as well as the backbone

  5. From the corner of my eye
  6. I catch a glimpse of you
  7. And turn quickly shying

    Can you be my partner?

Sahra Siyaad did not record any more songs ever since her friends and fellow artists fled the country in the late 1970's and `80s. She now lives in the northwest area of Somaliland, near the city of "Geeleeley," perhaps waiting for a reunion someday! When Sahra Siyaad sings Somaliland songs, she instinctively puts her emotions into the lyrics, giving her a visceral, earthy, coarse singing style. In addition, she turns her emotions sometimes into turbulent personal dramas, brimming with love and heartbreak. A good illustration is the song mentioned above, that she sang during the "Barkhad Cas" concert. The song was arranged to tell the story of one woman's ups and downs in the `roundabout' search for a lasting relationship. At the end of the song, one felt that Sahara put all her singing ability into it, and a rare practical sensibility that grasps the downside of love emerges. She is at her best when she sings sad songs, or in other words when she sings the blues that is Somaliland Blues.

During the concert and later, she found herself lionized as the spokeswoman of a nation. But the mantle of courage rested heavily on a woman who had never intended to do anything but sing. Her sweet but strong voice evoked a land where song and poetry has a life-saving ability to the hearts of all people. She sometimes sang with a slinky Qaaraami feeling, but she also summoned up a thunderous force.

Radiating hope, however, was not easy for her because the man "Barkhad Cas" that she was playing, was a man to whom sickness, burden, and loss were a way of life!


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 62 March 29, 2003

Flawed Election Might Derail Recognition

Ali Gulaid, San Jose, USA

The country is gearing up for the upcoming presidential election (April 14th, 2003). Somaliland prides herself with stability that eluded the rest of Somalia. In order to bolster her claim to sovereignty, Somaliland is poised in surpassing another milestone that isn't currently characterized nor practiced in Africa: Holding free and fair elections. To accomplish that, the election commission should be an independent agency with an earmarked budget. An agency that is free from undue government influence. However, the commission's work is hamstrung by the Administration's unwillingness to confer the Commission an independent status and that bodes ill for Somaliland. The fear is flawed election could derail the prospects of recognition.

Ambassador David Shin's "the little country that could be" (CSIS, November 2002) has echoed this sentiment. The analysis has touched some issues that have shaped Somaliland and others that need attention. It remarked that the upcoming election demands careful planning and consideration before embarking on it.

Further, it has indicated that election could be double-edge sword. While it has pointed-out that free and fair election at both the municipal and national levels could strengthen the prospects of recognition, it has also warned that conducting flawed election could hinder recognition. Well said. Few have dared to question the possibility and practicality of holding free and fair elections within the constitutional time frame at that time. To their credit, the Somaliland Forum has, in a letter addressed to the Gurti, hinted to postpone the presidential election within the confinement of the constitution. Prior to that, I have also raised serious concerns about the feasibility of conducting reasonably free and fair elections in "is it too late to hold multiparty elections?" ( Somaliland Times , issue 20, June 1st, 2002). As usual, these advices were ignored. That was then. Now, it is too late and all that Somaliland could hope for is to minimize the fall out of an election destined and designed to be rigged.

Holding elections without proper planning would only benefit those who have the power, the will and the means to rig the process and the current Administration is intended to muscle-out the opposition, wheel itself into the Presidency without fear and shame in whichever way it can. The obstacles, the procedural deficiency and the ill preparedness that I have outlined in "is it too late to hold elections" are more resounding today than they were ten (10) months ago.

Here it is again, in part. "Limited resources, decayed infrastructure, remote polling stations, poor telecommunications, the lack of census and proper documents and the inexperience of both the election commission and the electorate would be daunting to over come. .the organization of the upcoming election is monumental: It requires planning, appraisal, coordination, facilities, logistics, equipment, observers (local and international), mobilization of security officers, and many more tasks that require comprehensive analysis. .There should be no illusion; this isn't going to be a walk in the park like the uncontested referendum".

"A permanent independent election agency should be established. The longer the election commission remains part-time, the longer elections would be delayed. In order to conduct a reasonably satisfactory election, there must be an independent agency assigned to conduct the election. Since, Somaliland has embraced the democratic principles, which require periodic elections, referendums, initiatives and the like, it can't afford to assemble each time an inexperienced commission and disband it after the election. The election is the foundation of good governance and to assign ad-hoc committee, and part-time personnel for such an important office would be a disservice to democracy. The election office should be held to the highest regard and for that reason; it should become a permanent agency. The agency should recruit immediately permanent professional staff with regional representatives and secretarial staff. In order to conduct free and fair elections, the agency should have a budget earmarked for discharging its duty".

"The fact that an ill equipped election commission is appointed isn't the end of the road. The road is long; it has many turns, it has uphill, and it is rough and there is no Samaritan along the way handing over cold water. Only a seasoned marathon runner could afford a respite but an impoverished Somaliland with worn-out and squeaking wheels would have to approach the upcoming election with a desire to survive."

"Somaliland should prepare and standardize the election procedures. The custody, the security and the procedures of counting of the ballots, the training of the staff, detecting and deterring to vote more than once, chronicling problems and resolving conflicts at the polling station are only a few of many tasks that would require identifying and prescribing standardized procedures. All of these tasks consist of minute details that need planning. If these procedures aren't standardized, each polling station would be implementing a separate procedure and that could be enough grounds to contaminate. Standardizing the system and the procedures across the board would enhance the efficiency, the transparency and the fairness. Whenever the standard is established, there is less chaos and less improvisation, and any deviations can be analyzed, evaluated and assessed against the prescribed standard."

That was ten months ago. Today, the Presidential election is one month away and sadly the preparation is limping and the finish line is looming. Conducting reasonably fair Presidential election is an event Somaliland could have used to her benefit but that prospect is loosing credibility fast. No one disputes the benefits of an internationally acclaimed and certified free and fair election but it appears that the Administration has circumvented the system for shortsighted political gain. And that might cost Somaliland dearly.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 62 March 29, 2003

Kulmiye is Winning; A True President is Waiting in the Wings

Hamza S. Yusuf

A new dawn under the Kulmiye Party is coming. In the streets, the countryside, the houses, and the hamlets; amongst the everyday people, the traders, the businessmen/women, and the farmers there is a true sense of expectation in the air. A seed has been planted. Belief in themselves, belief in their democratic right to vote, a palpable taste of a different, forward looking, corruption-free, gender neutral, developed Somaliland is in the air. Support for the Kulmiye Party is at an all time high and continuing to grow. Thousands of people turn out at every party function. This is not hyperbole but fact.

The UDUB party is not the solid Corinthian column its name suggests but rather a convergence point of highly different political entities and individuals who share not a single ideological mantra but are held together by other forces, namely, money and political expediency. With all the advantages that being a party in power would confer, they have not been able to convince us, the people of Somaliland, of a single achievement under the Rayaale administration. Not a single one. Yes there has been peace following the death of Egal but that has nothing to do with Riyaale and UDUB but everything to do with the political maturity and restraint of the people of Somaliland.

At the recent Kulmiye Party reception in Washington D.C, some of the most senior figures in the United States with respect to African affairs were present. Amongst them, John Prendgrast, Director of African Affairs at the National Security Council and Ted Dange from the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. These very powerful men wanted to lend their support to the Presidential candidate, Ahmed Silanyo (a man whom they know very well) and a Party that they saw that could do justice and honour to the aspirations and needs of the people of Somaliland.

The vast majority of people of Somaliland are for the Kulmiye Party and the international political world trust the leadership of the Kulmiye Party. It is becoming more and more obvious that unless UDUB literally steals this election, they will loose and they will loose BIG.

As Ahmed Silanyo has reiterated time and time again, the peace and stability of this nation precedes everything. Consequently, we know he will accept the results regardless. Such is the nature of true leaders and the worth of this one. But, we the people of Somaliland WILL NOT be robbed of our democratic right to elect our chosen leaders. We must continue being visible, we must come out by the thousands and we must make our voices heard. They can't silence a million voices.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 62 March 29, 2003

Why We Shouldn't Elect Rayale Kahin As President

M. A. Suleiman

The people of Somaliland are facing a major challenge. In less than six weeks, they will be presented with an opportunity to elect a president through a popular vote, for the first time in the history of the new republic. UDUB, the Government Party, has nominated Dahir Rayale Kahin for the highest office in the land and there are many inside and outside the country, who support his candidacy. Rayale is not the right candidate and should not be elected. The people of Somaliland should not take this responsibility lightly; they should resist the pressure to elect a man who has a questionable past, a mediocre track record as interim President and who lacks the most basic qualifications to lead the nation. As the age-old saying goes, "those who do not learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them".

A cursory look at Somaliland's history over the past couple of decades clearly depicts a disturbing pattern of courageousness and naiveness that is intertwined in an oblivious manner. We have shown remarkable resilience and steadfastness when it comes to defending our new sovereignty and denying any association with the rest of Somalia - because we all remember the inhumane treatment Somalilanders had suffered during Siyad Barre's reign of terror. But when it comes to the "enemy within", we demonstrate an incredible political naivet that is far too quick to "forgive".

Let me set the record straight from the beginning. What happened in Somaliland and the events that led to the creation of the new republic are a common knowledge. The heroic struggle of our people against oppression is well documented and accessible to anyone willing to delve deep into it. My purpose of writing this personal opinion note is to expose the hypocrisy being thrown around these days in the name of "political correctness" by some individuals and groups who are hell bent on rewriting history and manipulating facts to serve their political purposes.

Ever since Rakiya Omar published her recent article about the atrocities that were perpetrated in Somaliland in the 1980s, I have read a plethora of negative reaction to her timely advice that the victims of these atrocities should not be forgotten. These are words of wisdom coming from a highly respected human rights activist who has injected a rare introspection into the current political debate in Somaliland. Those who have taken cheap shots at Raqiya's motives cannot succeed in smearing her internationally acclaimed reputation. Indeed, no amount of smearing can detract from her powerful argument that Somaliland cannot afford to elect to the highest office in the land someone who has been accused, and not yet absolved, of serious human rights violations against our people. That message is loud and clear. Attacking the messenger is a fashionable tactic - a thinly-veiled attempt to change the subject and it will not succeed. Remaining silent and not speaking about this smear campaign is nothing short of complicity. I am sure that no one in his right mind and conscience will feel comfortable with that characterization, particularly considering the magnitude of the crimes that were committed in Somaliland during the period Rayale was a senior member of the notorious National Security Service (NSS).

The person at the center of the storm is Dahir Rayale Kahin, the President of the Republic of Somaliland, who has been appointed to complete the term of the late President, Mohamed I. Egal. The storm itself is whether this man could be or should be the legitimate president of the young fledgling nation. That storm has generated a heated debate among the Somaliland people everywhere, a legitimate debate that must be encouraged. But the rule of the debate must be properly defined, so that people can be given an objective analysis to make informed decisions. Democratic governance demands no less.

Rayale's long service as a senior official of Siyad Barre's dreaded National Security Service (NSS) is a matter of record, not conjecture. He was the man in-charge of the NSS's headquarters in the strategic port city of Berbera in the 1980s, a sensitive time that was the peak of Barre's genocidal campaign against the Isaaq. The NSS as we all know was an organization that was in the vanguard in that campaign. Modeled after the KGB, the NSS used the worst forms of torture known to man.

As Raqiya Omar documented in her much celebrated book," A Government At War With Its Own People", there were witnesses who lived in Berbera and elsewhere in Somaliland whose testimony directly implicated Rayale Kahin in the atrocities that were committed there. Admittedly, Rayale has not been tried and is not yet convicted of these alleged crimes. That is because Somaliland has not yet developed a system to try those people accused of crimes against humanity. The fact that he has not been tried does not absolve him of complicity either.

Even if he were found to be not directly responsible for the massacre in Berbera (and that is a big "if"), there is amble circumstantial evidence to show that the notorious organization that he led perpetrated these crimes. The NSS's main role was to terrorize the people of Somaliland to discourage them from supporting the Somali National Movement, the very organization that finally liberated the country and declared Somaliland a sovereign nation. Honorable people, who did not participate in the terror campaign against the Somaliland people, in those dark days, did one of two things: They either left the service of that brutal regime in disgust and fled, or they joined the SNM and took up arms against the regime. Rayale did neither and continued to serve the regime loyally until it collapsed.

The electorate of Somaliland must not ignore this undeniable fact. I can understand why Rayale is completely silent about this matter, since it broke out into the political debate. It is embarrassing! I can also see why Rayale's loyal supporters are so eager to purge it from public debate: They have lost the moral ground by defending the indefensible! Imagine a world were the perpetrators rule the victims; where the villains preside over the heroes; where justice succumbs to the injustice; where truth is folded under covers and falsehood is given a legitimate footing; and where the perpetrators become the voices of victims which are rendered voiceless. To take the argument up a nudge, imagine if Sharon was to become the president of the Palestinian Authority, or Hitler was to preside over the Knesset, or Slobadan Milosevich was to be the president of the new Republic of Bosnia-Herecegovina.

As much as a lot people will be uncomfortable with the parallels that I am drawing here, the truth of the matter is: people who abuse their powers and commit heinous crimes against innocent civilians should be held responsible and should be forced to face the charges against them in a court of law, be it local or international in jurisdiction.

There is a disturbing aspect to all this. The Somalilanders in the diaspora have jumped on to the political correctness bandwagon and appear to be watching events that could have serious consequences for their newly found nation. Many, it appears, are not daring to speak out simply because they may offend someone or they are afraid that they may be branded "qabiili" by another. That is wrong!

Those of us who sought refuge in Diaspora should take the high moral ground as many governments (like Canada) have enshrined a clause in their immigration policies that people who held senior level positions in regimes that were deemed to have committed human rights violations should not be admitted in. Similarly, we should enlighten our brethren in Somaliland not to accept to be governed by individuals who participated in their persecution. If we don't, what kind of message are we sending to the likes of Ganni and Morgan and the rest who are closely watching the events that are unfolding in Somaliland.

For the benefit of those who might be reading this out of context, here is a brief historical background of Rayale Kahin's ascension to power.

Rayale Kahin was the officer-in-charge of the NSS's headquarters in Berbera in the 1980s. When the liberation forces of the Somali National Movement (SNM) drove Siyad Barre's forces out of Somaliland early in 1991, he fled the city of Berbera via a barren, dusty coastal road, which eventually took him to the town of Las Anod. Witnesses who saw him escape indicated that Rayale was traveling in a convoy of cars and trucks that included brand new land cruisers. Remember that as part of a decree issued by Siyad Barre to the NSS, people who were Isaaq by birth were not allowed to own or drive land cruisers. Hence, Rayale and his NSS forces were in effect confiscating all these vehicles upon arrival at the port of Berbera. There are some corroborated allegations that Rayale Kahin cashed on his loot, as the convoy was auctioned in Las Anod shortly after his arrival there.

When the SNM liberated the country, its leadership wisely chose a policy of reconciliation as opposed to that of confrontation and revenge. This gesture of goodwill on the part of the SNM gave some people with questionable backgrounds an opportunity to creep up the political mainstream. The late president, Egal, whose animosity to the SNM veterans was well known, handpicked Rayale Kahin as his vice-president. Egal's intention was to alienate the SNM and keep it out of Somaliland's mainstream political arena. With the passing away of Egal, Rayale Kahin found himself sitting at the helm of a fledgling democracy.

Putting aside his dubious background, Rayale's track record as Interim President is at best very poor. His decision-making process is defective, flawed, and unpredictable. The following blunders that he committed during his brief term in office are testimonial to his lack of sound judgment: His first state visit was to Djibouti. Ismail Omar Gelle, Djibouti's president, is a staunch opponent to Somaliland's drive to sovereignty. He was the sponsor of the Arta Process, which resulted in the so-called Transitional National Government (TNG). Gelle is still committed to deny the people of Somaliland their right to self-determination. One wonders then why Rayale saw it fit to pay a state visit to someone who is clearly hostile to the notion of Somaliland becoming a sovereign state. This is the sort of stuff that gives conspiracy theorists something to buzz about.

His total ignorance of the geopolitical situation of the Horn has also already translated into a serious hardship for many Somalilanders. During his term in office, the Somaliland-Ethiopian border and the goods and services that cross between the two nations has suffered a major setback. There have been border closures and the Somalilanders who used to crisscross the border freely are currently dealing with major restrictions including payment of tariffs. While he was courting president Gelle who is very much anti-Somaliland, he alienated the Ethiopian government, which is sympathetic to the creation of a sovereign Somaliland. Our poor people are paying the price for Rayale's diplomatic incompetence.

His ill-fated decision to go to Las Anod cost Somaliland an enormous political capital in two critical ways. First, it started a civil conflict that tarnished Somaliland's peaceful image internationally and damaged reconciliation efforts internally. Second, by his rapid retreat, he acknowledged that Sool was indeed outside the jurisdiction of Somaliland. No one can understand why he ventured into that territory without the necessary preparation. Finally, the Presidency of a nation is an honorable, challenging, and demanding job. In today's very complex and intricate world, progress, and even survival, of nations depend on enlightened leadership that can articulate a vision and an agenda to achieve national goals. Rayale Kahin has demonstrated neither. Only seasoned politicians with relevant academic backgrounds could withstand the trials and tribulations of today's ever-changing world. In this regard, Rayale Kahin is void of any of the basic leadership qualities that a nation looks for in its head of state. In fact, he has no personal, professional, or moral legitimacy to be the president of Somaliland. I have reached this conclusion based on objective analysis of this man's past record and experience. I strongly believe that the people of Somaliland, who have suffered for so long, deserve a better candidate. It is about time that the people of Somlailand take a critical look at the man and boot him out of office. If the people of Somaliland miss the opportunity that April 14, 2003 presents, then God, the almighty, help us and help Somaliland.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 62 March 29, 2003

Women Peace Delegates Lobby For Their Rights

Nairobi, March 28, 2003 (IRIN): Somali women attending the ongoing peace conference in Nairobi, Kenya, have called for women's rights to be included in all stages of the peace process. Their call came at a three-day workshop for women delegates, supported by the regional body Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The workshop ends on Friday. On Thursday, the women met the mediator, Bethwel Kiplagat of Kenya, to urge his support for their cause. Somali women delegates have agreed to advocate for at least 25 percent representation in the new institutions, including parliament. "We will start our effective lobbying soon after we finish this workshop," Somali women's activist Asha Haji Elmi told IRIN. "We are not lobbying for only the 25 percent, but we are advocating a package for women's inclusion in this process, and women's inclusion in every document of this process."

The women's workshop has been reviewing draft reports from six technical committees on core issues of the conflict. Drafts from the key federalism committee recommend only a 10 percent quota for women's representation in the new Somali institutions. Kiplagat stressed his support for the Somali women and urged them to play a strong part in the peace process. "I believe the problem of marginalisation of women is discrimination when it comes to education," he told the workshop. He emphasized the need to educate girls. "We need now affirmative action for the girl child," he said. "This continent and Somalia will not develop if you freeze such a great asset - women." In this regard, he proposed a charter for the education of girls. "The issue of women is international," said Atsede Zerfu of Ethiopia, who heads IGAD Women's Desk. "The only thing we can do is to use international conventions, the international community, and also influence our men."


BBC Monitoring International Reports, March 25, 2003/Source: Jamhuuriya web site, Hargeysa, in Somali 25 Mar 03 /) BBC Monitoring

SOMALILAND: FOUR MINISTERS IN CHARGE OF DISPUTED REGIONS APPOINTED

The president of the Republic of Somaliland, Hon Dahir Riyale Kahin, has appointed four new state ministers to his cabinet. This was announced at a news conference by the presidential spokesman, Abdi Idris Du'ale, yesterday. Two of the ministers will be in charge of Sool Region. The others, Sanaag Region. They are: Fuad Adan Abdi (Ade) - state minister in charge of Sool Region; Yasin Mahmud Hir (Faraton) - state minister in charge of Sool Region; Anis Salah Hasan - state minister in charge of Sanaag Region; Muhammad Mahmud Farah (Oday) - state minister in charge of Sanaag Region.

The spokesman stated the reason why the president had appointed the new ministers. He said the president was strengthening the administration of the two regions for the sake of national building.

However, there is a feeling that the appointment of the ministers to the new posts is a political move related to the forthcoming elections.

Apart from Anis Salah Hasan, who was a former Sanaag Region deputy governor and a member of ruling Udub Party, the other three hail from Sool and Sanaag regions. They are hard-liners from the opposition Asad Party faction which has merged with Udub.

There is suspicion that the appointment of the ministers is a move to implement an agreement between Udub which is led by Dahir Riyale Kahin and the Asad Party faction which was led by Saleban Mahmud Adan (Saleban Gal).

The parties had agreed that members of Asad Party who had joined Udub would be given important posts in government ministries and state corporations.

This appointment follows last week's appointment of three other ministers from another Asad faction which has merged with Udub Party.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, March 26, 2003/Source: UN Integrated Regional Information Network, Nairobi, in English 26 Mar 03/) BBC Monitoring

SOMALILAND: ELECTORAL BODY APPEALS FOR MORE DONOR FUNDING FOR 14 APRIL POLLS

Hargeysa: Somaliland's Electoral Commission has urged international donors to plug a gap of about half-a-million US dollars it says it needs to organize the self-declared republic's first multiparty presidential polls on 14 April. The Electoral Commission, which was set up in December 2001 ahead of Somaliland's first multiparty local elections, says the extra money is needed for election logistics and voter education.

Lessons learnt

"We had a lot of experience from that election," Commission Chairman Ahmed Haji Ali Adami told IRIN. "There were some difficulties, we learned a lot of lessons, we put them on a very long list and we are trying to improve according to our ability and according to the finance we receive."

For the presidential poll, the commission says it submitted a budget request to the Somaliland government of 1.5m dollars, but was granted only about 1m. Although it has received some financial pledges and training support from the international community, Commission members told IRIN that donors had been less forthcoming this time.

For example, the EU provided support for voter education in the local elections but has not extended funding this time. "The reason is political," said commission member Mohammed Sheikh Abdillahi. "Supporting a presidential election in a country that is not recognized would be construed as a political act."

The Electoral Commission nevertheless hopes to receive support from individual countries, notably Britain, Norway and Switzerland. The Electoral Commission has seven members. Three were selected by the government, two by the House of Elders and two by opposition parties. Two opposition candidates are running against incumbent President Dahir Riyale Kahin. There will be only one round of voting, with the winner requiring a simple majority. The lack of a proper census means that there is no voter list. The commission says it abandoned attempts to register voters in advance of the local elections, because it did not have the means.

Nine hundred polling stations

Commission chairman Ahmed Haji Ali Adami told IRIN there would be 900 polling stations across Somaliland. He said the ballot papers, printed in the UK, had already arrived, along with indelible ink that would be put on the hands of voters to prevent fraud. He added that the ballot papers had been counted, given serial numbers and put under lock and key. "As a commission we are ready," he said. "Apart from that financial constraint, we are ready. You can go around and see that everything is planned according to date. And I think technically we are ready."

The commission says it is committed to taking ballot papers to all parts of Somaliland, including the eastern Sool and Sanaag regions, where the government has imposed a state of emergency. These areas have been experiencing insecurity owing to a territorial dispute with neighbouring Puntland and spill-over from fighting there.

But commission member Mohammed Sheikh Abdillahi told IRIN that reaching remote areas posed considerable logistical problems. "You know this country has no roads and communications are very poor, and the country is very large," he said. "So to cover that is a big logistical nightmare."

The commission says security is also a concern. The government will provide the necessary security personnel, but Abdillahi said voter education could also help. "There is a need to emphasize security," he said. "Somaliland people were the real heroes last time, the self-discipline in the queues was extraordinary, there was no need for policemen or anything. But we don't take anything for granted, and we want to emphasize again the need for security and peace during the election time."

Voter education

The Commission says voters are highly politically aware and are likely to vote in big numbers. It expects at least a 50 per cent increase on the 450,000 people who voted in the local elections. However, the commission says it needs to provide more education on how to vote, especially for women. "The majority of the voters last time were women," says Shukri Haji Ismail, the only woman member of the Electoral Commission.

"Last time they were asking many questions," she said. "About 70 per cent of the Somaliland women are illiterate, and there were certain problems when they were trying to mark the ballot papers. But this time we will be trying to show them. "Specifically we will be targeting the women and showing them, and telling them that if they want to vote for a certain party they should not be intimidated or pushed into voting for somebody else," she added.

During the local elections, polling stations closed at 6 p.m. The commission says it is considering an extension of voting hours this time to ensure that everyone gets the chance to cast their ballot.


SOMALIA: Feature - Continuity or change in Somaliland

HARGEYSA, 24 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin faces a strong opposition challenge in the self-declared republic's first multiparty presidential elections on 14 April. His challengers are Ahmed Muhammad "Silaanyo" of the Kulmiye party and Faisal Ali "Warabe" of the Justice and Welfare party (UCID).

The government believes Kahin will win on merit. But the opposition fears the poll may not be fair, and there is some concern that logistics may not be ready in time for polling.

Information Minister Abdillahi Duale stressed that local elections in December had gone smoothly. "Now that we are going ahead with the presidential elections, everything is in place," he told IRIN. "The electoral process has been tested. The government has already passed the budget for the Electoral Commission."

The Electoral Commission was set up in December 2001, before the local elections. It has seven members, of whom three are selected by the government, two by the House of Elders and two by opposition parties.

Duale also invited the international community to send observers. "Our main objective today is to make sure that the democratisation process is in place, that elections are held in a fair manner," he said. "And I would like on behalf of the government and on behalf of the nation to invite international observers to come, as they did for the local government elections and the constitutional referendum."

OPPOSITION UNSURE OF FAIR POLL

But leading opposition candidate Ahmed Muhammad Silaanyo says he is not sure the elections will be fair. "That's what we hope, but from the experience we had in the last local elections, it is most unlikely," he said. "Because the government is using all its powers and financial resources, working obviously and without shame for UDUB [Somali for pillar] so-called government party."

Silaanyo stressed that the current government had not been elected by the people, and that UDUB was the creation of former president Muhammad Ibrahim Egal, who died in May last year. Riyale, who was Egal's vice-president, took over from him under the terms of a newly adopted constitution.

Fawziya Yussuf Haji Adam had been planning to run as the only independent candidate in the upcoming presidential polls, but accuses the government of having influenced a last-minute Supreme Court ruling that barred her from standing. "UDUB, the government party, published the decision before even the Supreme Court wrote to the [electoral] commission," she told IRIN. "Their spokesman wrote an article in the national newspaper saying that no independent candidate should be allowed to run. By then I could say that almost 60 percent of the voters were on my side."

Fawziya said the Supreme Court decision came so late that it left her no time to take further action, and she was forced to withdraw, although she believes there is nothing in the constitution to bar independent candidates.

"Certainly it is not a level playing field," says Dr Hussein Bulhan of the Academy for Peace and Development, a civil society organisation based in Hargeysa. "There are some advantages that anybody associated with the government has. But I think we have to begin somewhere. It is a question of whether we have a democratisation process to start with or not, and in my view it's important that we get started."

Somaliland, a former British protectorate, declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 after the collapse of the Siad Barre regime, but has not been internationally recognised. In the last decade it has moved away from conflict, while the rest of Somalia has been locked in civil strife.

CONTINUITY OR CHANGE

Information Minister Duale says current President Riyale will ensure continuity of peace and stability for Somaliland, as well as continuing the quest for international recognition. But opposition candidate Silaanyo accuses the government of mismanaging the economy. He says he would clean up corruption and establish a "lean government to deliver the goods".

Silaanyo also told IRIN he would work harder for international recognition. "We need to make more friends," he said. "We will put much more effort towards publicising our cause, and put our case to the international community much more effectively." Silaanyo, who was a senior minister in Siad Barre's government before he quit in the 1980s, joined the armed opposition Somali National Movement (SNM) and eventually became its leader. From 1991, when Somaliland declared its independence, he held various senior ministerial posts until 2001 when he resigned from the government of the late president Egal. Observers rate him as a leading contender in this election.

But presidential candidate Faisal Ali Warabe says both Riyale and Silaanyo are part of the old guard of politicians who are at the root of Somaliland's problems. He says he stands for a real change. "We would like to make a massive shake-up," Warabe told IRIN. "This country needs a system, it never had a system. We want to modernise our parties, institutionalise our parties, as they are not institutionalised yet. We want to make a modern state, based on law and order."

Warabe is an engineer who served in the ministry of public works of Somalia. He has been a chief engineer of Mogadishu and president of a private construction company. Warabe told IRIN his priorities would include gender equality, the environment, and building a healthy economy. He said his government would spend 20 percent of its budget on education and 20 percent on health. It would also implement a five-year plan for rebuilding Somaliland's roads, he said.

c UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2003


Source: Togdheer.com, Mar 23, 2003

Kulmiye Cannot Survive Five Years As Opposition If Defeated In This Election

By Ahmed Ali Aden, Birmingham, UK

I, and the others who have the same view as me long to see the definition of the word Kulmiye, what is it uniting? What is it unifying? What is it bringing together? Is it the people of Somaliland that it is uniting? Well, one may say yes, but it is a debatable question. I thought the people of Somaliland were already united. There was a consensus of opinion that the Somaliland's people have agreed 12 years ago when they brought their independence back from the former Republic of Somalia, then again on second occasion they have re-iterated that decision in May 2002 by holding a referendum in which 97o/o [ninety seven per cent] have voted in favour of the secession. Many people still do not understand that the people of Somaliland are scared of any word starting with the letter, U, like unity,united,unifacation,unify,unison and etc. Likewise the Somali words starting with the letter, M, like midnimo, midoobid, midqudha, muqadas and etc. and above all, the word starting with the frightening letter, K like Kulmiye.

In this article, I am snubbing neither Mr Siilaanyo nor Mr Riyaale personally but I am shedding a light about their political activity, because personal insults are barred. There are five point which I am prohibited to make a comment about, they are: a) Persons age and ethnicity. b) Personal appearance. c) Private life such as persons family, marital status. d) person's addiction such as smoking, chewing qat and etc. and last one but not least. e) Person's background when this is the negative side. Apart from those five above-mentioned subjects I am scathing about Kulmiye's principles, believes, policies, performances and also the characters of both men {Mr Siilaanyo and Mr Riyaale.} and their cronies.

For many months I was wondering why Mr Siilaanyo established Kulmiye when Egal has passed away, UCID was announced long before the death of the late president, Asad and Sahan were in existence as well. Some may argue that he had something else in mind but I wouldn't have said that he was afraid that he will not win an election while Egal is around but the answer is far more than that. Ask Mr Siilaanyo what his stance on greater Somalia is, his answers are evasive not straightforward.

When every now and then, the Somali warlords and the so-called delegations at the Somali peace conference in Kenya make requests to the Kenyan summit envoy to summon Somaliland to the conference, Kulmiye is very reluctant to answer their cheap and dirty argument while UCID and UDUB are promptly defending Somaliland's position with a sharp tongue. This does not mean that Kulmiye is out of touch with the people and lost the sense of Somaliland's self-determination and the desire of its people to be recognised as an independent country from the former Somali republic. But it is confusion within the Kulmiye party that the party policy makers are indecisive to which policies are first imperative to be pursued. Is it Somaliland's self-determination and finding an international recognition or winning this election.

I think the latter is Kulmiye's most important policy, that is why Kulmiye's reply to aggressive calls from the Somali warlords is always so late and it is the last one of the three parties. Kulmiye in theory is a very big party now you can find peole from all walks of life in the party, It has a massive supporters in the Diaspora who inundated its central office with letters, calls, and e-mails, all pledging their financial assistance and commitment to the party. Despite that influx of loyalist into the party Kulmiye has yet failed to attract substantial number of people from the middle class.

In spite of making long and unprepared speeches at political rallies in every region of the country, their rhetoric and ambigious speeches lack of substance and direct focus of agenda. During the local government elections Kulmiye embarked a long and tiring journey into the heart of the country to woe waverers and get potential supporters for the party but came back to its headquarters with having a little impact on people. Kulmiye's prominent leaders are often boasting that they are the people who liberated this country from the horror and the military regime of Siad Barre. well, no doubt about that we all respect and appreciate what they have done for us all but now the time and the task with which we are to overcome are totally different from the scenario they were in when they were fighting against the Siad tyranny.

The people of Somaliland are now at a different front, they are fighting on the peaceful front, on the recognition front, on the economic front, on the health front, on the education front, and they are trying to make progress on all fronts bar war front. It is irritating when you see scores of people who believe that Mr Siilaanyo can be called a legend, it was a surprise to me to hear that for I understand that a legend is a title given to a person who endured and suffered a lot for a long time for his political struggle and also fighting for his people's rights but at the same time who is naturally impartial and not politically greedy and above all who is once he reaches his goals ready to give way to other generations. Can Siilaanyo fill those criteria? yes, but not all of them, therefore he cannot be called a legend.

I am not conducting a personal vendetta against him (Siilaanyo) but the only living legend that I know in this world is Nelson Mandela as he filled all the above criteria. Will Siilaanyo step down after five years if we elect him now? Will five years at the top be enough for him? well, I doubt it, you may say that he resigned voluntarily at the summit of Bali-Gubadle in 1990. no, he did not resign, he was forced to resign by the military hardcore the so-called red flag group who surround now. Remember that, Egal may Allah rest him in peace was not a legend as well, he may have been hero or the father of the nation as some people call him now but one way or another he had a different character and a leadership skills from that of Siilaanyo and Mr Riyaale.

Although a crack is already beginning to appear I am sure that if Kulmiye is defeated they will fight internally and a raw will erupt not over the objectives and aims of the party but amazingly over the phrase of: the cup is half full or half empty.

While many families in Somaliland live below the level of subsistence UDUB's fat cats are busy with building luxurious houses for their families, buying posh expensive cars and getting their household shopping from the Emirates namely Abu Dhabi and Shariqa each week. It is patently obvious that many Somalilanders were observing Mr Riyaale's activity since he changed course on some key issues laid by the late president. Mr Riyaale ignored the fact that Ethiopia is our first and best friend hence gave priority to Djibouti, he softened our position towards the native Somaliland dissidents and invited them back to the country without them making a declaration to renounce their position. Contrary to the popular peace he unveiled a new war front in the Eastern regions close to the border between us and Puntland.

I think the most dangerous U-turn that he (Riyaale) has made so far is that there is conspicuous imbalance of power sharing between the major clans of Isaq and this the result of the president pushing himself further to one side. He may be trying to copy Egal's clever manoeuvring of the wheel of the tribal politics but he is playing with a deadly time bomb. For the first time in the history Somaliland's presidential election is now on the horizon, It is a turning point for this country but while that Kulmiye is not an alternative government to the current administration, knowing that UDUB's prospect of winning this election is highly likely is also a bleak outlook.

This government's focus is on three only area, a) the defence policy: spending two folds of the budget on the military, b) the collection of revenue: recruiting many embezzlers and putting them at customs, ports and airports, c) Intelligence service: scattering eavesdroppers all over the country to gather information. On the other hand it neglected all the other areas, the Education system was set up under the auspices of the Diaspora initiative, better healthcare still out of the question, Road signs and national traffic regulations are still a dream to the public, corruption is rife and sticks out like a sore thumb, taking measures to protect the environment is history to many, nine out of ten are unemployed yet the government has certainly no plans for them.

As the election approaches the parties are moving into top gear and it seems that there is an utter disregard of the code practice shown by Mr Siilaanyo when he began personal attacks on the president a few weeks ago, but astonishingly, when he heard those venomous words coming from Mr Siilaanyo's mouth Mr Riyaale had managed to restrain his anger and kept his mouth shut. This kind of behaviour will work for none of the candidates and it is not the path to democracy. If I believe it would work I could swallow my qualms, but, I don't, I believe the reaction to this way of campaigning will be as dangerous as the problem we trying to resolve. We are trying to turn the whole world not against us but in favour of us.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 61 March 22, 2003

Somalia And Survival In The Shadow Of The Global Economy (Part 4)

Prof. William Reno

[Continued from the previous issue]

Northern Variation in Marginality

While Italian Somalia depended heavily upon subsidies to underwrite exports and maintain state agencies, officials in British Somaliland insisted that the colony remain economically `undisturbed' and get by with a smaller state apparatus compared to its southern neighbour. British administrative responses to the anti-colonial resistance of Sayyid Mohamed Abdille Hussan, the `Mad Mullah of Somaliland', whose fighters held off British expeditionary forces for twenty years from 1900 to 1920, explains some of this caution. `The expatriate administration', wrote Lewis, `consequently received stern admonitions from London that nothing was ever to be done again that could possibly provoke the Somalis'. Thus it appears that Somali regions experienced very different legacies of colonial rule, depending whether they were included in Italian or British realms.

Differences in style, however, did not translate into dramatic variation in levels of colonial intrusion in local societies. Albeit, British officers no doubt thought that direct rule and economic intervention of the Italian sort would lead to too much resistance, would be too costly, and would weaken the willingness of local leaders to collaborate with, or at least tolerate colonial rule. These concerns informed the British doctrine of Indirect Rule elsewhere on the continent, which mandated appointment of customary authorities as agents of the colonial state wherever possible. The legal and administrative goal in Somaliland was to concretize social organization, as understood by British officials. This meant that while Italian officials were trying to destroy linage control over potential workers, British authorities recognized diya-paying groups as basic political institutions. These were groups pledged to pay blood money to the families of victims of violence to resolve feuds. Diya is an element of customary law in that it regulates social interactions. But it does not concern the standing of in individual before the law so much as the relations between groups. Lewis takes these groups as integral to local society and stresses the minimal impact of colonial rule on local society, and even asserts `during the colonial period, hardly any attempt was made to artificially erect a system of Indirect Rule'. This interpretation conflicts with British colonial budgets that list stipends paid to individual headmen and observers who complained that appointees had an entrepreneurial tendency to make British colonial authority a tool for fighting their internal rivals or engaging in self-enrichment.

Colonial rule actually did considerably change Northern Somalia. The concretization of diya paying groups gave local headmen a stake in enforcing colonial ordinances, since transgressions netted them a portion of fines. It was in British colonial administrative interests to reinforce the position of headmen, since diya gave justification to British ordinances prescribing collective punishment for infractions in lieu of a large and expensive bureaucracy. The practice of collective punishment, in which any member of the diya paying group could be fined or dispossessed even if another individual was suspected of an infraction, gave headmen an interest in ensuring that diya boundaries remained static. Headmen wanted to rigidify social boundaries to make sure that individuals and families did not try to reinterpret their lineage to escape obligations incurred by people unknown or distant from them. This artificial rigidity reinforced the colonial legal notion of blood group solidarity and recruited blood groups to control `members' to avoid liability for their actions. Thus British, like Italian administration, laid foundations for less flexible definitions of clanship. This legacy also should aggravate group security dilemmas and provide opportunities for political entrepreneurs amidst conflict in the 1980s and 1990s, just as Italian and nationalist economic policies did in the south.

The British north, however, lacked the Italian south's history of state appropriation of economic assets on behalf of outsiders, at least during the colonial era. This condition continued into Barre's regime and became a major factor in shaping the local development of social regulation of violence in the 1990s and 2000s examined in detail below. Unlike every other British colony in Africa, except the Gold Coast (where resistance to colonial rule also resulted in armed struggle), colonial authorities levied no head taxes, subsisting instead on taxes on trade to pay for administration. From 1951 to 1957, average annual British Somaliland internal revenues amounted to only $860,000. The colony was distinguished as one of the few that required regular subventions from the Exchequer. London's subsidy, along with postwar Colonial Development Corporation grants, added an average of $1.2 million to the colonial budget during the 1950s. As in the Italian colony, administration required subsidies for about two-thirds of its expenditures, though British officials rejected statist pretensions of their Italian colleagues. Regardless, colonial authorities in both places saw little prospect for viability without outside financial support, and London shed its burden upon Somali Independence in 1960.

Meanwhile, British officials pursued their goals by simply foregoing economic development. Lewis, then a member of the British Somaliland civil service, reported that when he arrived in Hargeisa in 1955 about 200 senior officers ran the entire colony. An official from London charged with charting a development plan for the colony in the 1950s complained that the local administration actually resisted the whole notion of economic development. He was astounded that, taking prewar London's fears of disorder to heart, they feared social disruption and `modern' social pressures, and to avoid these evils, they actively defied postwar economic policy directives from London that local officials considered imprudent. `As a result', reports Lewis, `the traditional attitudes of pastoral Somali society were even more strongly entrenched in the north, while the south, by contrast, appeared in many respects more modernist in outlook'. Local society may have seemed `traditional' and `in comparison with other segmentary lineage societies fictional kinship seems strikingly rare', although administrative intervention in local social categories suggests otherwise.

Given these similarities, it is even more baffling that armed entrepreneurs in the south failed to build a stable political order after 1991 while armed northern leaders found ways to manage conflict, build cross cutting alliances and rein in violence without the aid of outside force or subsidies. As evidence below shows, colonial experiences were not decisive in shaping contemporary identity and political organization, though they are important for their significant influence on shaping social categories and the social distribution of resources. The key variable shaping these outcomes lies in the nature of rule in post-colonial Somalia, specifically the extent to which local elites either joined with or were excluded from political networks that dominated commerce, as the fate of commercial farms and state economic development policies in southern Somalia showed.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 61 March 22, 2003

Drug - The Double Edged Knife

Mohamed H. Dahir (Chairman, Pharmaceutical Association Of Somaliland)

This is an article for people. It is an attempt to dispel the secrecy, which surrounds medical treatment today. People are fed up with being treated as objects by doctors who often do not care about, or can't discuss in easy-to-understand language, the medicines they prescribe. Instead of encouraging their patients to actively participate in their treatment, many doctors prefer to keep their patients in ignorance. "Take as directed" is often the most information patients receive about the chemicals they are expected to put in their bodies.

There is no such thing as a safe drug. Each medication is a double-edged knife, with a good side and a bad side. Successful treatment is a careful balance between the beneficial and harmful effects, hopefully weighted in favor of the beneficial. Unfortunately, just the opposite is often the case. The original disease may be less of a problem than the reaction to treatment.

Too many drugs are prescribed in our pill-popping society. The evidence that we are overmedicated is voluminous. It is clear from the distribution of popular kinds of medicines that the quantities which are sold far outnumber. . .The evidence for overmedication also includes the proportion of total prescribing made up of drugs for which the practitioner has only a probable, possible, or placebo expectation of success.

Although modern medical science has developed highly sophisticated methods of diagnosis and surgery, the average physician still relies almost exclusively on drug therapy in the treatment of illness. The typical doctor gives at least one drug to 75% of his patients. In fact, we have reached a point where a patient feels cheated if he is not given a prescription for something when he leaves a doctor's office. What distinguishes our modern-day practitioners from their medical ancestors is not so much the great quantity of new agents at their disposal (though that in itself is a gigantic difference), but rather their almost total reliance upon this form of treatment. Today's overworked doctors, in fact, have little choice but to turn to quick, impersonal remedies.

This article is not meant to replace a trip to the doctor, but rather to explain in an understandable way just what those pills your doctor prescribes really do. The medical profession has too long ignored people's curiosity and concern about their illnesses and the drugs which they are supposed to take. Unfortunately, people have too readily assumed that they were incapable of understanding "medical language". It is time medicine was demystified. One need not be familiar with the gigantic words doctors so commonly employ to describe the best treatment for pyrosis (heartburn) or cephalagia (headache). Nor it is necessary to know the chemical structure of your medications to understand how it works.

Drug-taking errors are far more common than anyone would imagine. An investigation carried out revealed that 58% of those people studied made mistakes in the way they took their medication - either too much, not enough, or at the wrong time. Doctors like to blame their uncooperative patients for these errors, but according to these researches, the problem really lies with the physician for not communicating the instructions simply and clearly.

The true goal of this article, then, is to provide people with basic information regarding the potential hazards of drugs as well as of those medications physicians prescribe most often. My hope is to enable people to understand how the medicines they take work in their bodies and how to approach simple medical problems before, during, and after professional medical intervention. It may help save you some money, but more important, it may help save your life. To be continued next week.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 61 March 22, 2003

Tribute To Mothers

Dr. Maryam Hassan

Those of you who still have your mothers with you, this is something to ponder and to witness as your life unfolds. Those of you who, no longer have your mothers with you, this may be something that sparks a memory for you. Those of you who are mothers, this is something for you to think about as you move through life with your children.

Those who have no children, this is something to think about when you encounter children along your life's path - you know mothering is not relegated to a biological parent only!!!

The young mother set her foot on the path of life. "Is this the long way?" she asked. And the guide said: "Yes, and the way is hard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning." But the young mother was happy, and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams; and the sun shone on them, and the young Mother cried, "Nothing will ever be lovelier than this." Then the night came, and the storm, and the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle, and the children said, "Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come." And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary. But at all times she said to the children, "A little patience and we are there." So the children climbed, and when they reached the top they said, "Mother, we would not have done it without you." And the mother, when she lay down at night looked up at the stars and said, "This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage.

Today, I have given them strength." And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth, clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped and stumbled, and the mother said: "Look up. Lift your eyes to the light." And the children looked and saw above the clouds an everlasting glory, and it guided them beyond the darkness. And that night the Mother said, "This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children the awareness of the lmighty." And the days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years, and the mother grew old and she was little and bent. But her children were tall and strong, and walked with courage. And when the way was rough, they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill, and beyond they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide. And mother said: "I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and their children after them." And the children said, " You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates." And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her. And they said: "We cannot see her, but she is with us still. A Mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a living presence." Your Mother is always with you.

She's the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street, she's the smell of bleach in your freshly laundered socks, she's the cool hand on your brow when you're not well. Your Mother lives inside your laughter. And she's crystallized in every tear drop. She's the place you came from, your first home; and she's the map you follow with every step you take. She's your first love and your first heartbreak,and nothing on earth can separate you. Not time, not space. .not even death!

TO ALL OUR MOTHERS. MAY WE NEVER TAKE YOU FOR GRANTED: O Allah, forgive us and our parents, and reward them with the finest reward. O Allah, elevate their position in the hereafter and this Dunya; make that which befalls them an expiation for their sins. O Allah, grant them residence in Firdaus, the highest level of Jannah, with the Prophets, the Siddeeqeen, and the Martyrs. Ameen.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 61 March 22, 2003

Open Letter To Ahmed Mohamed `Siilanyo'

A. M. Ali Hashi "Dhimbiil"

"Circumstances make man, not man circumstances." - Mark Twain

Dear Siilanyo,

Sir, my name is Dhimbiil and I am a patriot of Somaliland. I believe in writing to our leaders about my country whenever I feel the Republic is undergoing difficult times. This tradition of writing and debating our public issues on a broad national canvass has had - as you are well aware - a sterling tradition in our country for a long time. This tradition was put to the sword by the dictatorship that we overthrew. I believe in this tradition and that is why I writing to you.

Sir, I am worried about my country as you are. Your current preparations through the political party you founded to contest all levels of government, demonstrates your commitment to leading this country through this intricate and complicated process that we are trying to root into our social and political landscape. In a past `open letter' I urged you to do this during the time of the late president. I am glad that you have taken this political route of asking the people of Somaliland to vote for your candidacy and your political party - even though this has happened after the transition. No repetition of your achievements is needed here, nor is there any need to dredge up you record; suffice to say that you are a political giant in a field of ordinary politicians.

This perception has the added responsibility of an elder whose weight in our social and political matters carries authority in the country when it comes to warning the nation on the ways of humanity. Quite recently, you have reiterated this responsibility in the international press. Statesmanship sir as you are quite aware has its responsibilities. Let me at the outset set the record straight: I am not a member of your political party. However, if you were just another ordinary politician, I would not be writing to you because I know you believe in this country and you were part of the movement that liberated this country and therefore sir, people listen to what you have to say.

The central political issue of our time - given the experience of Africa - is to find a political process that is, by and large, legitimate. The record of African political illegitimacy need not be recorded here, suffice to say that, thirty years of lost opportunity and thirty years of continental dictatorships, gross human rights violations, and massive corruption has left the majority of the countries that make up this continent reeling from the subsequent suffering and torment. Africa has become synonymous with autocracy and military rule; it has become synonymous with corruption and massive starvation, and finally with civil war and genocide.

As I write, the military has taken over in the Central African Republic; reminding Africa that the struggle for democracy and Africa has just begun and this particular example will serve to remind the continent that the forces of regression and military dictatorships continue to plot against popular democracy. Somaliland will hopefully condemn this practice of illegitimate politics and hope that the people in that country demand a return to civilian rule immediately.

Indeed, right here in our neighborhood - the horn of Africa - another dictator has risen from the ashes of the Eritrean revolution, Issayas Efowrki is holding our sisterly country of Eritrea hostage, he has sent leading members of that country, including the Vice -President, the head of the Armed Forces, much of the cabinet, elders and leading journalist into detention without any access to the writ of habeas corpus. Their whereabouts are un-known. Half the diplomatic corps of Eritrea have resigned, Eritrea in a word, has been sent to the dark ages. We share with Eritrea a struggle against dictatorship and oppression and the idea of self-determination. The regression in Eritrea is a dark and ominous sign of the continuing betrayal of the peoples struggle and their rights to democracy.

In Djibouti we have in Ismael Omar Gelle a tin pot dictator who lives on foreign aid while plotting against this country. In Sudan the military holds the country to ransom and democracy has been exiled, in Ethiopia our closest ally and neighbor, the Meles Zenawi government has yet to live up to its promise of direct multi-party politics. Kenya is the only country in our neighborhood that has achieved multi-party elections and is on its way to rescuing Kenya from the corruption of the last regime. We live, to say the least, in the toughest neighborhood in Africa.

The people of Somaliland have been through their own struggle, the memory of this conflict is still fresh in the popular imagination. The Somali National Movement (SNM) which you served as its fourth and longest serving chairman, fought and defeated one of the largest and best equipped armies in tropical Africa. The dictatorship, backed by the then Soviet Union and arms shipments by the Reagan administration, was confronted by a movement of young men and women who defied conventional military logic by directly confronting the dictatorship. They liberated us from a tyranny that we believed would last forever.

The dictatorship's power was everywhere, its dread and might at close quarters, its spies and hanger-on in our hamlets and tea-shops, in our towns chasing after our young men in the mid-day sun to fight "invaders", the NSS and the Hangash were everywhere, the dictatorship seemed like invincible police state. The social and cultural fabric of society had been invaded by a cancer of division and suspicion based on the dictatorships strategy of divide and rule. Thugs and petty thieves posed as `governors' and `ambassadors' the entire bureaucracy had `PhD's' from the university of Villa Somalia, the dictatorship, to put mildly, put a knife to the center and things fell apart.

The Somali state, and its most senior officers, in its highest hour of treachery, plotted the genocide of Somaliland, not unlike the Rwandan government and the recent genocide in that tragic country. Had not the people of Somaliland fought the dictatorship, this country would have been wiped out of the memory this crooked part of Africa. During the darkest times of this dictatorship the people of this country, ordinary men and women, military officers and political leaders from Somaliland committed themselves to their heritage of rebellion against oppression, and regained their humanity.

Once liberated the human condition set it. Self-indulgence, greed, ostentation, deceit, false pride, false consciousness, and the personalization of politics took over as politics in the early days of our first government. In fighting and factionalism based on-pure deceit; a criminology that was learnt from the late dictator became part of our politics. Clan representation, a calculus that defies logic and indeed democracy became our political system. The final outrage was the betrayal of the country itself and the ensuing conflagration.

The civil war; one of the most traumatic and darkest incidents in this country, where brother was set upon brother, and father against nephew, and mothers against sons, where those who liberated the country pounded each other with the arms surrendered by the forces of the dictatorship, is a stain on the moral sheet of our politicians. They, our leaders, collectively, bare ultimate responsibility for this outrage on the people of Somaliland. A people it should be remembered who sacrificed everything to free this country. The people of Somaliland have forgiven each other, and have learned a very important lesson: no politician is going to lead them down the path of war ever again; Somali Landers have become a mature people who believe in peace, order, and good government. This leadership from the people must be an example to our politicians and must be a lesson to the country on the pitfalls of national consciousness. The people of Somaliland are an enduring and resilient people. The character and will of Somaliland is second to none. We are as well a democratic people, a race that has been called fierce and republican. We are in word: a people with predisposition to democracy.

The late Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal left this country with a legacy, that legacy is the constitution of Somaliland. Before the constitution came into force, the country was on edge, the social infrastructure was searing, and the nervousness in the country was at a high pitch. Two social forces and two diametrically opposed visions of the country opposed each other. Every Somalilander was anxious; will the political process be transformed into armed conflict? Or will the politics of the country be settled in a peaceful and democratic process? The second President of this country and the leading politician of his time, died as Somaliland was creeping closer to conflict. The death of the President was mourned by the whole people; it was also a cathartic time. The one man who represented such political heat within society was no more, the Shiir Beeled system that brought the late president to power passed on with him as the constitution came into force with the ascendance of the new president. The political template of the country followed the will of the people and foundational change has occurred.

Sensing the end of a certain period of history and the beginning of another the people of this country went to the graveside of their son, Mohamed Hajji Ibrahim Egal and said goodbye forgiving this president as is customary in Islam and praying for his soul to rest in that eternal peace in the heavens. No one had ever seen such a gathering in Somaliland as the one witnessed in Berbera, the president had meant a lot to the people, and they were witness to the end of a something great and the birth of something new. A new era had begun.

Sir, you were part of that government and its record as was this president. However, you have also chosen to participate in this new era, this new era of transition, here is where I believe you have a responsibility, a duty, to caution our citizens on the transition to democracy and many pitfalls that seem to widen as the days go by. Your added responsibility of a leader of a political party need not greatly confuse the two roles. There is a role for you play as a leading statesman in the country and your role as a candidate for the Presidency.

Sir, elections are a pillar of democracy. Elections tend also to cause at times, and in the heat of passions, confusion and bedlam. The people of Somaliland no doubt will vote peacefully and with dignity, they have done so twice now. The elections for the presidency is different, it is the election of the highest official in the country. It is the symbol of the people of Somaliland. Sir, recently, the fractionalization that we are famous for has reared it ugly head, political parties and personalities are switching parties and beliefs in record numbers. Parties are crumbling and coalescing into larger ones. This is healthy, but only to a point. For, the underlying traditional structures will be appealed to, by this process, to the detriment of the issues of this election, which are basically: experience or change. The message must go out that political parties represent beliefs and not simply a coalition of traditional forces. Recent movements in this direction ought to be condemned and defrocked as a game of politicians that the people of this country are tired of. The uncertainty of what the voter will do is the beauty of democracy. When the voting ends only one party will stand and its leader will assume power. This in itself is a great victory for Somaliland, for the first time in recent memory voters will determine their leaders.

Sir, I believe it is your responsibility to add your voice in this election process to those progressive forces that want to make sure that violence will not be an option after the election. That the political party that loses will accept the results of a fair and free election; that your voice will be clear during and after the election on issues concerning the peace; that you will personally ask the country to observe the dignity of calm and patience as we participate in these historic elections; that your voice will not only be a voice for the political party KULMIYE but a voice for Somaliland; that, if the people of Somaliland elect someone other than yourself you will be the first to legitimize - when free and fair - the new president of this republic, an expectation that is not only directed to you but to all the contenders; in a short: that you sir irrespective of the results will remain a pillar of calm and dignity and a symbol of reason to the people of Somaliland in these dramatic days.

I wish you the best of luck in the coming elections.

God save Democracy

God save Somaliland

A. Mohamed Ali Hashi `Dhimbiil' Dallo57us@yahoo.com


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 61 March 22, 2003

UDUB and KULMIYE Candidates are Sides of the Same Coin" - Faysal Ali Warabe, UCID Party

Hargeisa: UCID party presidential candidate, Faysal A. Warabe told supporters on Thursday that voters should bear in mind how both his rival contenders from UDUB and KULMIYE parties, in the next April 14 Presidential election, served in the past Egal Administration. He pointed out that UCID candidates for President and Vice President bring with them a public record untainted with past political wrongdoing. He asked voters to compare the background of UCID candidates for president and vice-president with that of the other two rival candidates. Incumbent President Dahir Rayale was first elected as vice-president in Feb. 1997 by an electoral college meeting held in Hargeisa that also chose the late Mohamed Ibrahim Egal as president for 5 years. Egal died on May 3, 2002, and Dahir Rayale was sworn as the new president of Somaliland on the same day. KULMIYE party's current candidate for president, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, had served at one time as Minister in the portfolios of Finance and Planning in one of late President Egal's cabinet; while KULMIYE contender for Vice-President, Abdirahman Aw Ali was Egal's Vice President until Feb. 1997. Recalling how Rayale, Silanyo and Abdirahman Aw Ali all served in previous Egal governments, Faysal A. Warabe who was addressing an election campaign rally at Al-Khayria Plaza on Thursday said KULMIYE and UDUB teams represent an extension of the same style of governance. He went on to say that KULMIYE and UDUB Presidential candidates are two sides of the same coin.
Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 61 March 22, 2003

Lupe's Sister

A short story by Nick DiMartino

Nick DiMartino is a Seattle author of three published novels, all ghost stories, and over twenty produced plays. This true story was told to him by a nurse at Swedish Hospital during his overnight stay there following an emergency hernia operation.

"You don't believe in ghosts, do you?" said the night nurse. "I know that ghosts are real. I know because something happened to me."

"You saw a ghost?"

"No," she said. "I never saw her. But there was a ghost, all right.

"I come from a family of five sisters. When my mother died, my eldest sister took over. She became our little mother, our mamacita. She was a bit of a bully. We four must have been something to handle. But one of my angriest memories is the way she would discipline us.

"She was always after us for something we didn't clean. Or catching us in the middle of something we shouldn't do. When she lost her patience with us, she'd start swinging. With the others she'd spank and whack and paddle. But for me it was always one thing."

She made the motion suddenly with her free hand. It was like an ax blow.

"The chop on the back of the neck. Me, she always hit from behind, a chop between the shoulders, all of a sudden, to try to scare me. To try to make me cry.

"You never had any sisters, did you? I can tell. Having sisters changes you forever, even though you grow up and go your separate paths.

"She married first, and went to live in Santa Fe. One of my other sisters bought the house. We all go back every year for the holidays, drag our husbands along. That's the only time I saw my oldest sister, every Christmas.

"Last year I went to a nursing conference in Santa Fe, and I thought at first I could go visit my sister. Her husband was dead. She lived alone. I'd never been to her apartment. Once I got to the conference, however, I changed my mind. She lived farther away than I thought. I would have to take a bus from the hotel. My schedule was too tight. Besides, she didn't realize I was in Santa Fe. She would never know.

"I didn't go visit her.

"A week after the nursing conference I got a phone call that my sister was dying. Of course, I took the first flight out. I got there just as they were pulling the plug. I never got a chance to say goodbye.

"I didn't cry at the funeral. I couldn't. I was so wracked with guilt that everything knotted up inside me. Everyone else was sobbing. Me, I was a rock. After the graveside service my second sister took me aside. She is a curandera, someone who studies the old ways of medicine and healing. She could see something was wrong with me.

"Forgive yourself, Lupe,' she said. She could tell, just by looking at me. `You didn't know it was your last chance to see her. You love her. She knows it.'

"But I couldn't forgive myself. And I couldn't cry. I was miserable all day after the funeral. That night I slept upstairs in my old childhood bedroom. I was catching a flight home in the morning.

"It was late, everyone was in bed, the house was silent. I heard something in the hallway outside, on the landing between the bedrooms. I went out, thinking maybe it was one of my sisters, maybe she couldn't sleep, might need to talk, to cry. No one was there. I stood in the dark hall, trying not to make a sound, holding my breath. I couldn't see anyone. Then I heard someone come up behind me. Wham! I felt it, hard, no mistake.

"A chop at the back of my neck.

"I almost fell over. I spun around. No one was there. I was alone in the hall. Suddenly the tears came at last. I knew my sister had forgiven me. She had made me cry."


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 61 March 22, 2003. Press Release

UDUB Reception in Washington DC

The Somaliland community in the metropolitan Washington DC had a reception on March 15, 2003 to support UDUB. The reception was very well attended by the community, the mood was very festive and you could see patriotism and a feeling of "proud to be Somalilander" on their faces. Somaliland and American flags were displayed in the meeting hall. The reception was as much to rally UDUB supporters as it was to celebrate Somaliland democracy. The theme was to support UDUB and help Dahir Rayale win 2003 elections. Those who spoke also talked about Somaliland Democracy; how it all started, current democratic process and where it needs to go.

Yassin opened the reception with prayers and read verses from the Quran. He reminded all of us the importance of praying, reading the Quran and following the teachings of the prophet.

Yassin also touched on his support for UDUB and thanked for those who made the effort to organize this reception. He said "our people have chosen UDUB before and they will do so again".

The speakers touched on how important it is that we help our people to protect and nurture the current democratic process, which will help our people leave behind the era of clan dominated process and enter into a democratic process where the will of the people determines the leadership of the Republic of Somaliland.

Ibrahim Warsame had known Dahir Rayale over 30 years, starting from school days and he talked about Dahir Rayale's leadership quality. Ibrahim told a story about president Dahir Rayaale when he was in high school. He talked about how Rayale as a young man decided that he needs to work. He started working at a very young age to help his family and still completed his school. This shows Dahir Rayale's character, work ethic and strong leadership. Those are qualities we need in our next president.

Mohamed Hassan encouraged everyone to get involved and help the democratic process in Somaliland by supporting the candidate you believe will provide good leadership to our people and country. He said it is our responsibility to know the differences in political parties and their leadership in order to choose a candidate to support. He repeated that it is important we should not choose a party based on the make up of its clan, but rather what they stand for. He talked about his experience in traveling to Somaliland in 2002 and that we in the Diaspora seem to focus on clan more than our people inside the country.

The people overwhelmingly voted for UDUB in the local government elections, because they believe it represents their interest. That was few months ago. The people will vote for UDUB in April 14, because UDUB is for the all the citizens of Somaliland.

The people will reject those who discriminate on the basis of clan, Rashid said "UDUB is the only party in Somaliland that represents all of Somaliland citizens. It is the only party that can lead the nation under the current circumstance". He also reiterated Dahir Rayale's accomplishments while in office, starting with normalizing relationship with Djibouti to open border traveling and commerce between the two countries, making his government's relationship with Ethiopia stronger, establishing new relationship with Senegal, making relationship with South Africa stronger, for the first time establishing direct relationship with EU and UK government, fighting corruption in his own government, and improving services of his government by visiting government offices.

We all remember the violent confrontation between Egal and traditional leaders and the opposition parties calling for national conference to elect the next president instead of elections. Dahir Rayaale's leadership in the last 9 months prevailed where today the opposition are contesting in the elections and traditional leaders ended their confrontation peacefully.

Bashir congratulated Somaliland and its people for showing political maturity and accomplishing so much in few years. He also credited Dahir Rayale for some of that success.

He said "much has been said about Dahir Rayaale tonight and I don't have much to add to it other than to say that I'm convinced he is the right man for the job and that he will provide a good leadership to our people and country. He repeatedly said "Somaliland ha noolaato, Somaliland ha guulaysato" and everyone chanted with him "Somaliland ha noolaato, Somaliland ha guulaysato".

The community members from Baltimore, Northern Virginia and Washington DC have attended the reception and this was a night to celebrate Somaliland and everyone was proud to be Somaliland citizen.

The night was as much celebration for UDUB as it was for Somaliland and the people who attended this celebration represented all the regions of Somaliland.

The community was proud of UDUB and the leadership of president Dahir Rayaale Kahin and everyone here believed that our people in Somaliland will once more trust UDUB and recognize that it is indeed the only party that is not based on clan and survive successive leadership change. If the other parties lose their leaders, no one expects them to survive such a loss. The community recognizes that UDUB passed that test and our people recognizes that the future of the country is too important to trust on other parties whose future and viability is not certain at this time.

The reception was concluded by Saad Noor who compared Somaliland to most of the African nations. He said "Most of them are ruled by dictators and have not reached where Somaliland democracy is today". He went on to say that most of those nations have received independence in the 60's similar to Somaliland before the unity with Somalia. Saad Noor is the Somaliland representative to USA.

The community members who attended this reception shared strong support for UDUB party and have confidence in Dahir Rayale's leadership. Our people inside the country have given their mandate to UDUB before and this community believes that the people will vote for UDUB again.

Rashid Garuf, Washington DC, March 15, 2003


Addis Tribune (Ethiopia) - AAGM, March 21, 2003/ (Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media. (allafrica.com)

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CHRONICLES: THE CAMPAIGN - PART V

BYLINE: Dr. Abdishakur Sh. Ali Jowhar

Presidential elections are scheduled in Somaliland for April 14, next month. This series of articles will provide an in-depth analysis of the election. Two diaspora-based Somalilanders, a political scientist (Dhimbiil) and Psychiatrist (Jowhar), will provide the analysis on alternate weeks.

The Greatest Day So Far

In Hargaysa, the capital city of Somaliland last Jan. 31 was a sunny day, like all others days in this geographical region. The elite of the city woke up to a bold headline in their English-language weekly proclaiming that President " Riyaale is Unqualified and Unfit to Rule."

The author of the article, Ali Gulaid, is a prominent Somalilander and a supporter of the opposition party KULMIYE. Gulaid did his homework diligently. He reviewed the academic background of the president and found it wanting, he checked on the president's experience in life and found it uninspiring even disturbing and he evaluated the president's current achievement in office and found it deficient, maybe even perilous. He paid particular attention to the fact that the president served as an officer of the feared National Security Service in Siyad Barre's regime and found that record "undesirable to say the least". The author then juxtaposed this CV of the president to that of the two competing candidates Silaanyo (KULMIYE) and Faisal (UCID) and found the president not only unqualified but also unfit to rule.

He concluded " but Rayaale's experience under the Siyad Gestapo, the indelible record of being loyal to the butcher to the last minute and the allegations of crimes against humanity documented by Africa Watch are serious enough to disqualify him for seeking the Presidency. Additionally, Rayaale's high-school level of education, lack of political exposure and understanding of geopolitics, inability to inspire and articulate the vision of the nation makes him unqualified to lead the country. But more importantly, his current record demonstrated his poor judgment, lack of confidence, indecisiveness and incompetence."

What interests me here is what followed; a loud and rancorous debate, a political storm pitting the supporters of the president against his opponents right in the middle of the political street, a washing of one's dirty linen in public so to speak of who did what in life and to whom, and an airing of tribal sensitivities laying bare hidden wounds to the antiseptic and healing effect of daylight.

What interests me also is what did not follow. The government of the day did not try to rob the public of its right to know and to reach its own enlightened conclusions in this national issue. The ever-present repressive inclinations of the African State did not rear its ugly head and no one vilified the press, tried to control it or threatened its freedom in anyway. On the contrary, the press gained prominence and won the hearts of many for covering a delicate debate in a sensitive manner that avoided sensationalism, tribal rubble-rousing and overkill.

Somalilanders living in the West, under the shade of freedoms fought for and built by generations past, are energized by the winds of an open society visiting their homeland, the place of their birth. The president may not be qualified to rule but last January 31, definitely qualified as the best day of the campaign trial so far.

Interestingly enough, what was designed to be a fatal blow to the presidential aspiration of Riyaale may have served as a booster for it. The free public debate that followed, unencumbered by government intervention, became a demonstration of the president's achievement. We only hope that this president and those who will follow him will learn from this experience that siding with freedom of speech pays well and that the truth shall always set them free.

This brings to mind an alternative hypothesis. What Somaliland needs, what the African State needs, may be, just may be a vulnerable president who cannot dominate the political discourse. Such vulnerability will allow the public a breathing space to grow and assert its rights, it will be the recipe for nurturing national institutions other than the presidency (Judiciary, legislative, Electoral Commission etc.) and it will allow other distinguished nationals to serve up to their optimal capacity, uninhibited by petty rivalry from the top office. Indeed it may precisely be because of this president's vulnerability that other national stars are shinning so bright. Edna, Jirdeh, Adami are some of the eminent personalities that come to mind as Somalilanders of national stature who are actively putting their own stamp on the evolution of the nation.

Given the record of the candidates, it is reasonable to postulate that Somalilanders in the coming presidential election of next April 14, may be actually choosing between the benefits of competency and those of vulnerability. And, of course, there will be a price to pay for each course of action. All decisions carry a price of their own and perfection is not an attribute of the human.

But old habits die hard. Important members of the ruling party have difficulty learning that their best electoral interest is in championing the cause of freedom. The governor of Sahil (Berbera) region is among this selected few. A journalist of the outspoken daily (Jamhuria), Mr. Mohamed-Biid wrote an expose on the regional government's tardiness and inefficiency. The outraged governor ordered the arrest of the journalist on the basis of "only the presidency can supervise my work". The public and the press reacted with vigor and the journalist was released forthwith. Somaliland also has a highly partisan Ministry of Information that occasionally seems to function like George Orwell's Ministry of Truth. The optimism of the moment may lead to complacency. Vigilance will prove to be prudent in these early days of intoxication with freedom.

Days of Testing the Constitutio

Somaliland's constitution reflects the tender age of the nation. It evolved from the national charter of 1993 and remains to be a document that has a long way to go before it reaches maturity. Yet it has to rise to the occasion as it put to test again and again now, when it is still in its infancy. Any breakdown, any stalemate will be followed by untold consequences. Somaliland's Supreme Court had to deal with a number of legal questions regarding the elections. We will mention two.

A number of politicians, unaffiliated with three official political parties expressed an interest in standing for the April 14 presidential race independently. Prominent among them is Ms. Fozia H. Aden, a major figure in Somaliland's cultural and civil societies. Fozia actually announced her candidacy and started her campaign. Other outstanding politicians were on the brink of announcing their own candidacy.

There was a political consensus that only the three main political parties could nominate candidates for the presidency, the constitution itself however was vague on the point. Allowing independent candidates threatened to open a Pandora's box. Independent candidates could potentially lead to a political inflation. In a tribal society this raises the risk of each clan getting its own candidate, a process that carries the risk of nullifying a state's claim to being the sole source of political authority and that may eventually lead to the fragmentation of society along clan and sub-clan lines.

The matter was taken to court and last February 27, the Supreme Court made public its decision that only official political parties have the right to nominate candidates for the presidential election. The potential independent candidates were irate. Eventually they came around and expressed their acceptance, albeit grudgingly, of the court's decision.

In another development the court ordered the candidates for the presidency and vice presidency to register with it their financial assets as dictated by article 82 of the constitution. This simple statement brings forth the fears of Somalilanders that their elected leaders will rob them blind if given half the chance. They may still do but, at very least, this represents a legal effort towards prevention of official corruption.

A Day for KULMIYE: February 25, 2003

The political party KULMIYE is a major contender for the presidency of Somaliland. I have previously described its leader as a great man with a stellar record in public service. KULMIYE elected a vice presidential candidate last February 25. Abdirahman Aw Cali became the party's candidate for the post. KULMIYE could not have made a better choice. And a ticket that was already strong became formidable, as close as you can get to unbeatable.

Few Somalilanders need any introduction to Abdirahman Aw Cali. If Silaanyo CV is intimidating, Abdirahman's goes a notch or two in the same direction. He was after all Egal's Vice-President for the latter's first term in office. Abdirahman has been a permanent fixture in Somaliland's politics in the last two decades. He spent time in all the possible roles of a national leader. He was a fierce liberator, he was just and fearless in governance and he was effective in opposition. The Vice-presidential candidate is a trained engineer by trade. But he is widely read and well informed in culture, politics and philosophy. Before and after everything else Abdirahman Aw Ali is a democrat at heart who would abide by the ballot and by the rules of the political process. This is good for Somaliland.

In spite of the appearance of invincibility this ticket has yet to show that it can assemble a collision of clans, sub-clans, hopes and fears that could win over the masses to their side. The real danger they face is that of arrogance and underestimation of the president; a man who has done so well, so far with the masses, contrary to the expectations of KULMIYE's talking heads.


SOMALIA: Presidential contender urges support for Somaliland poll

HARGEYSA, 20 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - As campaigning kicked off for Somaliland's first multiparty presidential elections, leading opposition contender Ahmed Muhammad Silaanyo said the international community should support the self-declared republic's fledgling democratic process. "What Somaliland is doing is an experiment which is, yes, nebulous and new, but worthwhile and which I believe the international community should help with," he told IRIN on Thursday.

"The international community is now spending so much money on Eldoret [Somali peace talks, now moved to Nairobi] and what is going on there?," he said. "If the international community could give a fraction of those resources to help the election system in Somaliland, that would be worthwhile, and I am sure the world would be very proud of what we are doing."

Silaanyo is one of two opposition candidates running against incumbent president Dahir Rayale Kahin in polls scheduled for 14 April.

Somaliland, a former British protectorate, declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 after the collapse of the Siad Barre regime, but has not been internationally recognised. In the last decade it has moved away from conflict, while the rest of Somalia has been locked in civil strife. Last December, Somaliland's first multiparty elections at local level passed off peacefully.

If elected president, Silaanyo said his priorities would be maintaining peace, the quest for international recognition and the development of Somaliland.

Seeking international recognition is a top priority for all parties running in the elections. There is also a political consensus on the refusal to join the Somali peace talks, currently taking place in Kenya. Somali delegates at those talks continue to press for Somaliland to come. "The one thing they are agreed upon is not to allow Somaliland to be independent," Silaanyo said. "That's a very, very negative thing. I think it would have been much more fruitful, useful, intelligent, positive, if they were to say - congratulations to our brothers in the north, or in Somaliland, we wish them well."


Source: Togdheer.com, Mar 17, 2003 To Kulmiye Supporters In Abroad By Ibrahim Mahamoud Suleiman

As a Somalilander Diasporas, I am gasping to get a good and effective government in my homeland country (Som/Land). After a long observation and weighing up the all political stance of the three presidential contenders parties it's becoming increasingly obvious that the only one which reveals overall qualities and experience is Kulmiye Party with its candidates Ahmed Mahamed Mahamoud (Siilaanyo) and Cabdirahman Aw-cali. President and vice president respectively.

To be more precise the Kulmiye Party is the youngest of all the three parties as well as the most flourishing and rapidly growing party. It is the one with the biggest supporters on abroad, when I said on abroad I mean those Som/landers who live in the countries we all envy to be in, And I would be very much right if I say those are the ones who have tasted so called 'democracy' and in a certain level have matured from tribally (qabyaalad). Also it can be detected from the members of the party that it is clean from tribe connections.

It will not be easy to get rid off the current and dubious party UDUB, for it has the power using all the government resources, i.e. medias, money, vehicles and more importantly people. The people do not understands the democracy and anyone has any connection with the government thinks that if he/she votes against the UDUB will loose that connection so he/she must vote for UDUB and try to get as many as other people to vote with them. Luckily this people has a pedigree of shaking off from the ineffective parties as we have all witnessed what happened to old ruling party of Somalia XHKS.

However if you are a Kulmiye Party Supporter and sharing same ideas with me it's necessary to make a change a real change and improve our country by electing the right party with the right people. Now it's time to act decisively. The opportunities are there at the moment to be grasped with both hands. Our country and its people deserve to be in a better state. If you are with me in this article, you must have a sense of what acts or change is he (myself) talking about. If that's is the case, here is the answer.

As our people in Som/land are heavily dependent on their relatives on overseas financially and advices, it seems very easy for us (qurbajoog) to communicate with them expressing our ideas, involving the campaign, pulling them out of the old and distractive fashioned tribally (qabyalad). And anyone of us who can manage to take time off from the work or least likely from the families has to make the little journey to join the liberation party (kulmiye) while the campaign goes on to the deciding day 14/04/03. It will be asked, were you there? Be the one who gives the affirmative answer. YES.

All in all I am very much hope the people (Somalilanders) will choose and elect the suitable party (kulmiye) to lead them from this bewilderment.

Ibrahim Mahamoud Suleiman, London


SOMALIA: Somaliland reiterates it will not join peace talks

NAIROBI, 17 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - The authorities in the self-declared republic of Somaliland have reiterated they will not take part in the ongoing Somali reconciliation talks in Kenya.

According to a statement issued on Sunday by the region's information minister, Abdullahi Duale, Somaliland was not a party to the Somali conflict. "There are no Somaliland military forces operating on Somali territory," the statement said, adding that Somaliland had "refrained from interfering in Somalia's internal affairs despite numerous provocations". The minister was reacting to media reports that the Kenyan chairman of the talks, Bethwel Kiplagat, was awaiting an invitation to Somaliland to discuss the peace process. Some Somali leaders attending the peace talks in Kenya have, in the past, proposed that extra delegates be allocated to represent Somaliland and have repeatedly called for the region to be brought into the process.

Duale's statement said that the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is mediating the talks, was aware of Somaliland's stand on the issue. "Somaliland will not take part in the IGAD peace process nor send observers unless accorded by IGAD the status due to a sovereign state," the statement stressed. "When a legitimate, representative government is established in Somalia, the GOS [Government of Somaliland] is prepared to enter into talks with that government concerning the nature of the relationship between the two states," it added. The minister concluded by saying that Somaliland regretted attempts by some governments to utilise the peace process "as a means of undermining Somaliland's stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity".

Somaliland, a former British protectorate, declared unilateral independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, but has received no international recognition.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, March 17, 2003 (HornAfrik Online text web site, 16 Mar 03)

Somaliland: Two opposition parties merge ahead of presidential election

Reports from Somaliland say the opposition Hormood pioneer party yesterday merged with the Kulmiye United opposition party, headed by Ahmad Muhammad Silanyow. Reports from Hargeysa Somaliland's administrative HQ say the two parties merged at a function held in Hotel Mingsing. Speaking at the function, Mr Silanyow and his deputy Mr Abdirahman Au Ali Farah, said they were delighted by the merger. Hormood is one of the three parties which lost in Somaliland's civic election on 15 December 2003. Successful parties in the civic election had been strongly lobbying to win a merger with the Hormood party. There are no details regarding whether the leader of Hormood party, Muhammad Umar Hashi, will support the Kulmiye party in election .
Source: Somaliland Times , ISSUE 60, March 15, 2003

Somalia And Survival In The Shadow Of The Global Economy - Part 3

Special Guest Writer for the Somaliland Times , Prof. William Reno, Northwestern University

[Continued from the previous issue]

Foreign aid enhanced the importance of commercial farms in elite political strategies and increased the disruptive impact of state `development' strategies on the local population. Foreign support for the three largest commercial farms in the Jubba area during the period 1976 to the late 1980s totaled at least $325 million, while direct state aid exceeded $50 million annually, a considerable sum given the country's GDP of $1.7 billion in 1987. Privatization of enterprises, begun in 1981, reinforced close ties between political power and one of the country's primary economic assets. A 1975 land tenure law expanded the assets available for patronage through giving legal means to civil servants and businessmen who could get government backing to claim village lands that were not included in commercial farms. Registration of titles became `a political rather than an economic process' reported a foreign technical expert. `The successful individual is one that has contacts in the bureaucracy, knowledge of how to "work the system", clan and personal ties with high government officials', at the expense of the mostly Gosha small holders who held land on the basis of custom and lineage ties solidified through marriage. The land grab in southern areas alienated a further 6,000 ha in addition to the 16,000 ha lost to plantations, increasing the importance of this region as a source of political patronage beyond its value as a recipient of foreign aid, and put most of the region's economy under control of powerful outsiders.

The top-down merging of political networks and official economic policies destroyed local customary authorities' capacity to control resources. It also helped determine the contours of conflict in the 1990s, since it drew into the region outside elites of mixed origins, several of whom became important political actors in the river valleys by virtue of their positions in the hierarchy of the military dictatorship in the capital. Their economic power was tied to the coercive power of the state. As state control diminished in the 1980s, they developed their own capacity to act as political entrepreneurs to recruit and field armed forces. The significance of colonial and nationalist policies, however, lay in providing these actors with tools to become violent entrepreneurs as these policies weakened local capacity to resist this process.

Southern river valleys consequently became a site of frequent conflict since 1991. Control over major plantations played key roles in the strategies of two major militia leaders in the early 1990s. General Mohammed Aydeed, who had held positions in the government in the 1980s, and his backers provided land in the river valleys on which disaffected mooryaan (`dispossessed ones') could settle. Aydeed used the attractions of this region to recruit followers from his own Habr Gidir clan to join his faction of the United Somali Congress (USC). Other strongmen from the Barre regime saw a strategy of survival in southern farms. Aydeed's principal businessman backer, Mogadishu-based Osman Ato, organized the looting of farm equipment, then provided backing to set up militia-controlled plantations. Ato already had a base in the area, since he had been allocated a farm in the 1980s that his sister ran. Barre's former defense minister, Adan Abdullahi Nur `Gabeeyow' also used southern farming lands as a patronage resource of his own once his president had fled to attract and organize fighters, first after teaming up with Col Omar Jess, and continuing after he switched to the side of General Mohammed Said Hersi `Morgan', another Barre crony and head of the Somali National Front (SNF).

Continued exports of bananas to Europe provided hard currency to entrepreneurs, estimated to total $26 million in 1990, and still generated export incomes in the range of $6 to $8 million in 1994. These resources and opportunities drew in more mooryaan from other regions for refuge, employment, and food. Col. Omar Jess, for example, used the southern region as a base for displaced members of his Ogadeen clansmen who had fought in an earlier conflict once Jess recognized in 1990 that his presidential patron was going to fall. Thus the report of an aid worker in 1995 reflected the presence of large numbers of armed outsiders: `In lower Jubba, the district commanders and militia are the only structure of authority. .there is no civilian administration. Osman Ato's farm is where the main commander is based'. Despite the absence of state-like administration, this merging of economic and coercive power shrank the social space for indigenous resistance. Defensive groups of local farmers from the Shebelle and Jubba valleys such as the Somali African Muki Organization (SAMO) have remained weak because they lack access to hard currency with which to buy weapons and cannot recruit their own mooryaan from distant urban areas or other battlefields like their much stronger opponents.

This organization of conflict hardly counts as a societal consensus on virtues of clan politics. Instead it follows from a colonial, then national labour policy that undermined local customary contract arrangements and political institutions based upon elders' control of marriage and land allocation. These changes indicate that woman once played an important role in maintaining flexibility in lineage boundaries and thus in political arrangements. As outsiders disrupted local matrimonial customs, then seized local farms, local people were unable to control enough resources to oppose these interlopers. Indigenous people and newcomers alike became `stabilized' around rigid lineage identities as a consequence of the coercion, then outright violence of economic policies that created security dilemmas for entire communities. Denied means or incentives to make local political accommodations, newcomers petitioned patrons in the capital to hold onto their assets and positions. Eventually they had to seek protection from clan militias that also served the same entrepreneurial purpose, except now in more outwardly violent ways.

Indigenous inhabitants had fewer choices. If they lacked weapons, they had to seek protection as subordinates to local armed groups, or take their chances in poorly armed home guard militias. These rigidified lines of conflict fit the expectations of scholars that political entrepreneurs will exploit these security dilemmas to get control of local resources. This is especially true among new arrivals who lacked mechanisms to settle disputes among themselves, since all were `foreigners' who could call upon distant kinsmen to tip the balance of power. The relative violence in southern regions illustrates the proposition above that outsider elites who had benefited from privileged access to the political networks of the crumbling state fit best into the expectations that state collapse and violent exploitation of resources will lead to long-term conflict, rigidified ethnic defensive groups, and will fail to build large-scale political communities. Economic globalization in this setting adds resources to sustain the battles of political entrepreneurs, and thus creates formidable obstacles to organizing stable political authority.


Source: Somaliland Times , ISSUE 60, March 15, 2003

HORMOOD expected to announce today its merger with KULMIYE

Hargeisa: The campaign for Somaliland's presidential election has begun, with incumbent President Dahir Rayale leaving Hargeisa last Tuesday on a tour of the country's Northwestern coast. Mr. Rayale's visit to the Western parts of coastal Somaliland came as the National Electoral Commission gave the green light for political parties to launch, with effect from last Wednesday, their campaigning for the presidential election, to be held next April 14.

President Rayale's tour of the districts of Lughaya, Zaila and Borama was officially described as the final leg of a planned country wide fact-finding mission that the President began last year with visits to the regions of Sool [Las-Anod], Sanag [Erigavo], Togdheer [Buroa] and Sahil [Berbera].

Mr. Rayale's tour of the regions last year, actually began a week or so before the local elections that were held on Dec 15, 2002. His sudden departure from the capital on the early hours of Wednesday, to the coastal area north and west of Hargeisa, has however been described by many people as nothing short of an election campaign.

In fact, the President needed to raise voter support for his election among the area inhabitants who have been divided by a dispute over the regional jurisdiction under which their territories should be administered. Both Hargeisa and Borama regional authorities claim territorial jurisdiction over large chunks of coastal land. The center of the dispute are the two coastal towns of Lughaya and Eil-Sheikh, which historically came under the jurisdiction of Hargeisa. However, under a regional administrative sub-division introduced by the former Siyad Barre regime in the early eighties, the two areas had been re-designated as being part of a new region named "Baki" which was then re-named as Awdal.

Local elections in the disputed localities belonging to Eil Sheikh and Lughaya had to be postponed for one day to allow the central government to reinforce its security personnel there.

President Rayale visited Lughaya on Wednesday before proceeding to the port town of Zaila at the Somaliland and Djiboutian border on the same day. He was expected to discuss the dispute over territorial jurisdiction with the elders of the Sa'ad Mussa, Gadabursi and Isa clans who inhabit the area. Though a breakthrough on this issue was unlikely to materialize as a result of this visit, failure to make some kind of a progress may cost the president the loss of the area's Isa and Isaq votes.

Mr. Rayale was also expected to hear bitter grievances from the local communities over the lack of developmental assistance. Water is considered as the main priority. Despite the many clinics and schools built in other parts of Somaliland, most of the area's localities there received none of them. The area lies behind the mountainous Golis range and has been left isolated from the rest of the country due to lack of accessibility by motor transport roads.

President Rayale arrived in Borama by road from Zaila on Thursday. He was expected in Gabiley today.

Meanwhile, UCID party's presidential candidate, Faysal Ali Warabe has accused President Rayale's government of using state resources for election campaigning. Speaking at a workshop organized by the NEC on Tuesday, Mr. Faysal said the upcoming presidential election couldn't be expected to be fair unless the government desisted from abusing public resources.

Abdul-Aziz Samale of KULMIYE opposition party had also taken issue with President Rayale's reshuffling of his cabinet to accommodate 3 new appointees from ASAD, a faction of which joined the government controlled UDUB party recently. "Offering governmental posts in exchange for allegiance to UDUB is an undemocratic practice and undermines the multi-party political system," Mr. Abdul-Aziz said.

Moreover, the chairman of the NEC, Ahmed Haji Adami criticized the government for failing to arrange an early release of budgetary funds allocated for the Commission. He also expressed concern over what he termed as lack of a government effort to evict Puntland militiamen from parts of Eastern Sanag region. He said, "election in some parts of Eastern Sanag could be jeopardized if the presence of foreign militia men was not dealt with properly."

Attendants of the NEC workshop, held on Tuesday and Wednesday for the 3 contesting political parties and civil society groups, called on the Commission to hold more public debates on the issue of preparedness for next presidential elections.

Somaliland's Minister of Interior stated on Wednesday that the policy of his government was to hold the upcoming election all over Somaliland territories, including the Sool region.

The NEC Chairman disclosed that about 900 polling stations would be established in the country for the next presidential election.

The political organization HORMOOD is expected to announce today its merger with the political party KULMIYE. The two organizations will hold a joint press conference in Ming Sing hotel to announce the merger.


Source: Somaliland Times , ISSUE 60, March 15, 2003

UCID's Acting Secretary General Resigns

Hargeisa: UCID party's acting secretary general and shadow Minister for Security and Defence, Ali Haji Mohamed has resigned. In a letter of resignation addressed to UCID Chairman on March 11, 2003, and copied to the press, Mr. Ali Haji Mohamed said he was resigning his party posts because of his dissatisfaction with the way UCID was being managed as of late. "While I wish the party victory in the next Presidential elections, I must however stress that UCID should try all possible avenues for winning over the supporters of the political organizations that failed in the last municipal elections," he said. Ali Haji Mohamed concluded by saying, "there is no reason why seeking the support of these organizations should been seen as a risky business." Somaliland held successful municipal elections on Dec 15, 2002. Six political organizations (ASAD, HORMOOD, KULMIYE, SAHAN, UCID and UDUB) had contested these elections. UDUB, KULMIYE and UCID were declared winners of the local elections and hence are eligible for taking part in the coming Presidential and legislative elections, slated for April and May 2003 respectively.
Source: Somaliland Times , ISSUE 60, March 15, 2003

ASAD Group Rewarded with 3 Cabinet Posts

Hargeisa: An ASAD group, which joined the ruling UDUB party, has been rewarded with 3 cabinet posts. ASAD was among 3 political organizations that after contesting last year's local elections, failed to muster enough votes to become eligible for fielding candidates to run in coming presidential election. As a result, ASAD split last month into two groups with one of them joining UDUB and the other merging with KULMIYE. Last Wednesday, President Rayale appointed Ismail Omer Adan as the country's new Minister of Defense, while the portfolio of Public Works went to Osman Jama Qodah. Abdirahman Mohamed Ismail "Dihod" was named as Minister of Water and Mineral Resources. The 3 new Ministers have been in the opposition for a long time before switching sides last month. On the other hand, ASAD's former Vice-President Abdirahman Aw Ali won KULMIYE party's nomination for Vice-President. Mr. Aw Ali, a former Somaliland Vice-President and an SNM veteran joined KULMIYE last month. KULMIYE's candidate for President is Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud "Silanyo", a former SNM chairman and a one-time Somaliland cabinet Minister.
Source: Somaliland Times , ISSUE 60, March 15, 2003

UN Press Release

Hartasheik, UNICEF (New York), March 12, 2003 - Five-month-old Kadar lies on the floor of the therapeutic feeding tent whimpering quietly. He is too weak to cry. An IV tube feeds the emaciated infant therapeutic milk. "I have no more (breast) milk," laments his mother Fatimo Abdi, 25, who lives at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Hartasheik with her husband and four other children. "I have nothing in my home to eat. They're fighting for food. I'm worried about my baby."

Kadar is one of the lucky ones. His mother brought him to the UNICEF-supported therapeutic feeding center in Hartasheik where he was treated for phase one malnutrition, the most serious stage. Since the camp's inception in May 2001, 442 children have been admitted and treated for varying degrees of severe malnutrition. Another 347 beneficiaries have received UNICEF-supported supplementary feeding as of 31 January, including 83 children under five, 68 pregnant women, 89 lactating women and 107 elderly.

Miriam Abelb, 27, came to the IDP camp at Hartasheik two years ago during the last drought with her husband, 4-year-old Fatimo and 2-year-old Abdi and has been struggling to feed her family ever since. "All the goats and sheep died. "My husband is looking to dig in the fields, wash the clothes. One day he gets a job. The next there is no work," Miriam said. "When the baby became weak, I ran to here. He was very severely malnourished."

Like other children who come to the UNICEF-supported center, Abdi received emergency therapeutic feeding every three hours over three to four days while he was in phase one. He was in transition for two days, but is now considered in phase two and out of danger. "I was afraid he would die, but now he's okay. I'm very glad for my child," Miriam said. "Now I have the experience to make sure it doesn't happen again."

During the current drought crisis, UNICEF estimates that there are currently 57,200 severely malnourished children, or two per cent of the 2.86 million children under five in drought affected areas, who require 675 metric tones (MT) of F-100 therapeutic food. One MT of F-100 rehabilitates around 85 children. More than 500 MT of therapeutic food is still needed in the next few months for the current crisis, much more if relapse rates are higher. "Many of these children are suffering from dehydration and low glucose levels. They are at a critical stage and if it continues, in no time they could die from heart failure," said James King'ori, a Kenyan nutrition consultant working for UNICEF based in Jigjiga. When therapeutic feeding begins "you can see the changes within the first hour - that is so exciting."

"Many times the children are suckling the mothers, and there's no breast milk. " The mothers are fed enough and within the first 24 hours you can see a response in the amount of breast milk," King'ori continued. "By increasing milk production and the child is rehydrated, the mother and child recover simultaneously."

Even with UNICEF's interventions, the health situation of Hartasheik's 1042 IDP households is poor. The number of cases of malnutrition remains high, and there is a serious deterioration in the population's nutritional status and increased episodes of disease. Many of the IDPs in Hartasheik are victims of the last drought in 1999-2000 when they left their places of origin in search of pastureland and water for their livestock. When their animals died, these pastoralists lost their main food and income source and had still not recovered when drought hit again last year. "These people are pastoralists who have lost all of their livestock in the 2000 drought. These people have nothing," said UNICEF national nutrition officer Anwar Ali. "If things don't change, it will get worse than 2000."

Fatimo Mohamud, 25, arrived on the day of our visit to the therapeutic feeding center with her one-year-old son, Dekabidi. His expression is listless and his eyes are unfocused. Mohamed Ibrahim, the camp supervisor for Mother and Child Development Organization (MCDO), a national NGO working in the Somali Region working with UNICEF, said a healthy boy Dekabidi's age should weigh about 8.5 kilos. He weighs a paltry 6.3 kilos. "We will try for three to four days on (therapeutic feeding) to get him out of phase one," Mohamed said. "We hope to help and cure him."

For Somali and other drought-affected regions around the country, UNICEF is sponsoring five-day training workshops for 150 health professionals to teach updated guidelines on the management of severe wasting and edematous malnutrition. "They'll be given basic supplies and training to go all over the region," said King'ori. So far, 27 health care professionals have been trained in Somali Region. "For the cases they can not manage on their own, they can refer back to the center."

Participants learn how to assess the effectiveness of a Therapeutic Feeding Programme as well as the specialized food needs to support them. They will also have the training for infant feeding emergencies for malnourished babies. UNICEF has recruited therapeutic feeding experts Irish Professor Michael Golden and French nutritionist Dr. Yvonne Grellety to conduct the training workshops with assistance from the Health and Nutrition Section from the Ethiopia Country Office.

UNICEF has a variety of other Health and Nutrition programmes underway in the Somali Region to assist those suffering during the current crisis. Twenty emergency medical kits, each supporting 10,000 persons for a period of three months, were sent to the region in January 2003. An additional 20 emergency medical kits were donated by UNICEF to the Regional Health Bureau (RHB) in July 2002 to contain disease outbreaks when the crisis started.

UNICEF has also pre-positioned therapeutic foods in the RHB's warehouse for use in therapeutic and supplementary feeding centers in Hartisheik and Fafan and for the nutrition training center in Jijiga. In order to control the persisting outbreaks of diarrhea and malaria in the region, UNICEF has agreed to support the RHB with additional operational costs for emergency health interventions in Shinile, Liban, Warder and Degahbour zones. "We have received a lot of assistance for the most vulnerable - women, children, elders," said Muktar Mohammed Sayid, NGO co-ordinator with the Food Security Bureau and DPPB based in Jijiga. "Therapeutic food, milk, water - the partnership with us and UNICEF is more like family. UNICEF has done a lot to build capacity and fill the gaps."

In Hartasheik, malnutrition is not the only problem that the IDPs face. An increase of waterborne disease cases has been reported because of contaminated water and poor sanitation. Clean water from boreholes is provided to the Hartisheik IDPs with funding from UNICEF. To improve the sanitation of the camp, pit latrines and garbage pits have been introduced. Both measures have significantly reduced the incidence of water-borne disease. "There was a gap with water," said King'ori. "UNICEF has come in and water is being provided to the IDP camp."


Letter to Mudane Cabdi Xasan Buuni

Hamza S. Yusuf

We are in the midst of a truly dynamic political metamorphosis in our fledgling country. We are finding our feet in what has previously been uncharted territory. The formation of political parties, the establishment of regional representative bodies, the implementation of a written constitution. In short, the process of political democratization, which under the right experienced leadership will see the political map of the Horn of Africa redrawn.

You Sir were a member of arguably, the youngest, most dynamic, most qualified party to guide us through this epoch of change, The KULMIYE Party. A party that as an entity in of itself has come to house the best thinkers our country has to offer. Sir, every individual has been given freedom of will and choice to do as they wish. At the offset you aligned yourself with the party that one assumes you felt best represented your wishes and aspirations for a better Somaliland and a better country for your people to live in. You put yourself forward as a candidate, along with numerous others, as the Party's Vice-Presidential running mate to contest the upcoming elections.

Sir, after what has been nationally hailed and observed as a truly democratic process of voting, the party chose another candidate. It can only have one. Everyone is entitled to freedom of action but what you have done does not best serve your country or yourself. To cross benches for ideological reasons is one thing, but to quit a party you have worked for under a fit of pique in loosing a position sought is something else. Were you looking/working for the best for your country or the best Quursi for you? A fundamental question.

Sir, to run around now, bending the ear of any journalist who will listen and harping on about the mythical no-existent divisions you allege that have occurred within the party does not do justice to your honorable self. What is the point of the democratic process of unification under parties if every member who isn't given one of the finite positions available decides to run away and cry foul.

Are you, our politicians here for us your people, to collectively make a better country for today and for future generations of Somalilanders or to get the best individual position in the now and present.


Ahmed Ali "Drum"

"Drum," short for "Dararamleh," has been a Somaliland music icon since the 1950's. He also released a series of influential, classical songs in the `60s, `70s, `80s, and `90s. Arguably, his masterpiece was "shacni iyo wanaag," a 1971 cassette recording in which he led a stellar ensemble, which included the great "Oud" player "Xodeydeh." "Drum" recently reissued "shacni iyo wanaag," a fine recording that features "Drum's" "Oud" playing for the first time.

His latest effort proves that the singer's touch and talent are very much intact. Whether he is singing or playing the "Oud," "Drum" singularly investigates the possibilities of musical space and pushes harmonic and melodic limits.

When "Drum" visited Somaliland in 1998 for the first time since independence, he began his homage by performing in front of a live audience at an open air theater called "Timacade." The audience responded by giving him ovations. The strong response was so gratifying that "Drum" declared in public that he will move back from London - where he resides now - to Somaliland as soon as possible. In fact, the public response reminded him of his youth in Hargeisa, as a singer/musician and actor. He collaborated with such luminaries as Barkhad Cas, Abdillahi Qarshe, Mohamed Ismail "Xudaydi," Mohamed Mogeh, Ahmed Mogeh, Faisel and the rest of the famous "Barkhad Cas Band" during those early days.

It was through playing and singing alongside such masters that "Drum" found his own voice and his own path.

In an interview with "Jamhuuriya ," a daily newspaper from Hargeisa, Somaliland, "Drum" emphasized how his music is deeply rooted in Somaliland musical traditions. Furthermore, he points out, "Since Somaliland music is just like any other art form, it's impossible to move ahead without properly appreciating what has been done so far by Somaliland music pioneers."

"Drum" points to predecessors who inspired him such as Abdillahi Qarshe, the foremost Somaliland singer/musician in the 1950's and early 1960's; Mohamed Saeed nicknamed "Gu' Roon Jire" the great composer/oud player and singer in the 1940's, `50s, and `60s; and last but not least Saxardiid Mohamed "Raaxeeye," poet, songwriter, playwright, and composer.

"Drum" considers "Raaxeeye" to be one of the most talented composers of all time. He says, "Saxardeed is to me one of the most gifted of all the composers, because he does not play any instrument or sing. But, yet, he composed some of the best Qaraami songs ever put to music.

School Days

Upon finishing school at the clerical Training Center (CTC) in Hargeisa, Somaliland, in the late 1950's, he was hired by the Somaliland postal authority as an accountant. He worked there until he got a scholarship to Cairo's prestigious "Academy of Music," along with his two close friends and co-singers - Ahmed Mohamed Goode "Shimbir" and Faisel Omer Mushteeg.

"Drum" came back to his hometown Hargeisa in the mid 1960's, where he became one of the city's cultural and musical stars. "Lii La Low," a popular song in the 1960's, became "Drum's" signature song. Incidentally, this song is considered by many Somaliland music critics as a masterpiece. He sang another famous song that praised black women's beauty, called "Weli wa Caaruroo."

"Xudaydi," who arranged the music and wrote the lyrics, shows his musicianship in this song. The music literally blows your mind. While longtime fans will relish "Xudaydi's" anarchic imagination and exploratory way with a melody line, they may also be surprised with "Drum's" voice and musical vision. "Drum's" voice is ever on a journey of discovery, with each performance taking new detours, as listeners keep their ears tuned to every turn.


Africa News, March 14, 2003 (Addis Tribune, Part IV)

Ethiopia; Somaliland Presidential Election Chronicles: Back to the Future?

Presidential elections are scheduled in Somaliland for April 14, next month. This series of articles will provide an in-depth analysis of the election. Two diaspora-based Somalilanders, a political scientist (Dhimbiil) and Psychiatrist (Jowhar), will provide the analysis on alternate weeks. "Constitutions do not create democracy, democracy creates constitutions." Benjamin Barber - in Jihad vs. MacWorld

Somaliland's transition towards multi-party politics and constitutional government is precious yet precarious. Indeed, Somaliland is at the most important time in its political history. The elections are tied to the future of the country itself. Will this transition to democracy succeed given the innumerable obstacles to achieving a democratic dispensation in Somaliland? Or, put another way, will the transition be hijacked and defined more exclusively in traditional norms or/and in exclusively in modern terms? And lastly, what responsibility does the international community have given their calls for democracy and the rule of law, given the continuing experiment in Somaliland.

It is clearly a challenge for Somaliland to put institutions of governance on a firm root let alone handling the competing needs of traditional institutions and modern institutions. After ten years of debate and conflict about representation, Somaliland initiated a process of constitution making that would act as a provisional document as far as beginning the process of democratization in Somaliland is concerned. Steeped in clan representation and generally mistrustful of ideas beyond those of clan representation, the people of Somaliland discussed and debated the ideas in the constitution for months before ratifying it. The ratification and its aftermath have shown that constitutions are important pathfinders in the transition to democracy or what I have called in other opinions about Somaliland our "democratic dispensation".

The smooth and predictable way in which the presidency moved from one political template to another is to be applauded and indeed cherished. Predictability and the rule of law are the hallmarks of constitutions; they banish other illegitimate political agents from usurping power and indeed constitutions act as well to fill the power vacuum that is often created when leaders are incapacitated.

Somaliland's commitment to constitutional government should not mean that Somaliland should immediately abandon the traditional institutions that built the peace in Somaliland and, indeed, continue to resolve any threats to the peace. Somaliland must continue to evolve its own hybrid of modern systems of government that in fact represent the culture and world-view of the people. The transition to democracy is not instant, nor is it immediate. It must be nourished and indeed built in an evolutionary fashion. Far from being conservative or hampering the journey and experience of democracy in Somaliland, I argue that the commitment to the constitution is the fundamental basis of politics in the country. However, Somaliland must continue to build the transition, setting institutional anchors along the way in the process of protecting democratic gains. The political and economic landscape in Somaliland is fragile; all transitions to democracy are delicate; and indeed, democracy has failed to take root more times that not precisely because the transition was not effective at all. Nor did they [transitions] contain any protective structures to guard against fragmentation and collapse.

An important traditional institution that has been the basis of creating the wherewithal of politics in the country has been the Guurti. The Guurti (Senate), to clarify my position, must be elected, effective, and competent in the long run. We are, however, not there yet; the Guurti as every Somalilander knows is either loved or loathed. We cannot deny its usefulness though in the current political context. Nor can we wish it away as a caricature from the times where the people of Somaliland did not have a constitution. Clearly there are many positions on how to proceed on this issue of the Guurti. One important suggestion is to wait and consider the views of the elected parliament whose legitimacy as the representatives of the people is clearly important.

However, we cannot leave to our politicians all the business of the country. Many groups, such as the intelligentsia, civil society groups and women groups have a role in the discussion about the Guurti, the people of Somaliland being the final arbiters on this issue. I am suggesting here in my arguments about protecting this transition to more formal institutions of rule a waiting period or a time period that would ensure the Guurti remains a viable institution pending a national debate or a constitutional debate on the way forward. We are already in the throes of a national election, it would be irresponsible of the country to burden itself further with more elections given our lack of resources. It should be remembered that elections have not happened in this country for nearly fourty years. This experience will be the epicenter of our democratic experience. The Guurti should be left in place as an insurance procedure during and after these elections.

Given nearness with which the country has traveled away from the Shiir-Belled system, remnants of this peace and confidence building institution - the Guurti - should serve its purpose of consolidating the confidence and peace of areas in Somaliland where the writ of the government is weak, such as Las Annood in the province of Sool. One clearly important part of the Guurti must be those Sultans and Gaarads of Somaliland who have been burdened with producing the peace in Somaliland. But this is beyond the subject of this essay. Suffice it to say, traditional systems of rule must be those of confidence building and peace building processes. They are not, in a word, institutions with a political substance that can serve the long-term objectives, be they political, social or economic of the state of Somaliland and its citizens. However, they represent social anchors in this transition to our democratic dispensation.

The move towards more modern institutions of rule is characterized fundamentally by electorate politics or elections. Transitions to democracy, I have argued, are fraught with dangers that lurk in seemingly obscure and shadowy places. Nothing does more damage to the transition to democracy in contemporary African politics than the instinct of incumbent governments in an electoral period to corrupt the ballot-box process. This single issue often leads to the corruption of the entire political process and indeed subverts any democratic gains or any vision of a democratic dispensation.

Opposition parties in Somaliland have repeatedly called upon the government to ensure that there is transparency and openness in this period of elections. This call is clearly clarion call against any interference in the election process. The government in times of elections is traditionally responsible for creating the basis of a free and open election through an independent electoral commission. Somaliland has won high marks in the recent municipal elections with the United States Government, through the state department calling the municipal election "generally fair". It is customary for the government in times of elections to build confidence measures so that the opposition can legitimize the election results. Whether the incumbent government comes back to power or the opposition elected, is irrelevant if the process was illegitimate. Elites in Somaliland - and there are elites - must understand that the process at this period of Somaliland's development is critical to the well being of the entire country. The transition to democracy must be anchored to the social and political landscape for successes to be realized.

The international community and non-governmental organizations have a role to play in these events and that is human and material support. The international community cannot keep on calling for democracy and the rule of law and indeed abandon those countries that have set their national aspirations towards these human goals to their own devices. This would be reckless and negligent. Democracies tend to be friends; they tend to have the same ideas of human secularism; and they tend to believe in open societies and plural politics. In democracies, famine is rare, civil war un-heard of and indeed democracy is in the end the bulwark of authoritarianism. Young democracies need help. Without help authoritarian tendencies gain courage and begin the process of un-raveling the gains of democracy. Somaliland has just begun the path to finding its own particular system as an independent, confident and democratic country. It is, in a word, going back to the future!

Somaliland is going back to its future because it once had this chance, this transition to being a country. No record of that mistake is needed here, for it is common knowledge that history played a cruel joke on the people of Somaliland. Today there is another chance for this country to fulfill its national ambition, and that ambition is to once and for all find a particular vision that is democratic. No country can justify any nationalism if that nationalism is not democratic, not inclusive and does propagate the idea of social and economic justice as a basis of nationalism. Given the failure of the state and market in the last four blighted decades in Africa, let us hope and pray that the experiment of my people in Somaliland lives. It must live!


BBC World Service, 12 March, 2003, 15:36 GMT

Somaliland begins campaign

Campaigning has begun in the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland for its first multi-party presidential election, which is to be held next month. The current leader of Somaliland, Dahir Riyaale Kahin, is being challenged by candidates from two opposition parties. Mr Kahin succeeded the long-standing leader of the breakaway republic, Mohamed Egal, following his death in May last year.

Somaliland declared independence in 1991, as the rest of Somalia descended into anarchy.

Mr Egal was elected president two years later, but the territory has never won international recognition.

Concerns

One of the candidates, Feisal Ali Warabe, expressed doubt that the election would be free and fair. Election Commission chairman Abdirahman Hagi Ali Adami has also criticised the authorities for not handing over all the promised funds to supervise the elections. He also expressed concern about a hostile atmosphere in eastern areas. On Monday, two soldiers died and six others were wounded when a armed car overtured near the town of Lughaye. The vehicle was carrying the president's bodyguards.


BBC Monitoring Reports, March 12, 2003/Somaliland net, 12 Mar 03

Ahmed Siilaanyo meets a British deligation

Hargeisa: The chairman of kulmiye partry, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Siilaanyo) met in his house in Hargeisa a British Delegation who were in Hargeisa for a visit for the past few days. The delegation which was composed of three officers led by Bernard Hardborn, who is the chief adviser of African affairs, David G.Bell and Owen Richards, the British second secretary of political affairs in Addis Ababa. They came to the country on Thursday this week. The purpose of their visit was described as the review and evaluasion of the relations between Somalia and Somaliland.

The chairman of the kulmiye party who is also presidental candidate of the party, Siilanyo,discussed several points including the election of the president which is currently being coducted and the kulmiye party's viewpoint. He also discussed the need of Somaliland for international aid and role of Britain in this. The chairman and the delegation also discussed the elections conucted in the country and difficulties that were noted. The chairman mentioned hat the British government decided to reevaluate Somaliland and decide to aid in the best manner. The chairman who was accompanied by members of the Kulmiye party stated his stand of the talks in Nairobi and and that Somaliland is not a part of it.


DAILY MAIL (London) March 11, 2003, Pg. 51

BILLY PULLS HEARTSTRINGS

Billy Connolly in African Hospital (BBC1); The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (BBC1) IF comedy is the flipside of tragedy, and laughter close to tears, who better than Scotland's funniest man to convey the suffering of the world's thirdpoorest country.

Billy Connolly established a bond of humanity between the people of Somaliland and viewers here - all fabulously rich by comparison. Connolly pulled no punches as he took us to a hospital in the capital, Hargeysa: 'This isn't one of your feel-good, nicey-nicey films. If you want one of them, change the channel - there's probably some talentless jerk trying to be a pop star on the other side. 'Life is hard here, ridiculously hard,' continued the Big Yin, perhaps recalling his own upbringing in Glasgow which, though tough, was never like this. 'Get your guts together, this is not pretty. I'd like to show you how common humanity, common decency, should make us all want to help.' Mankind cannot bear too much reality TV and this was far more real than Pop Idol. It was asking a lot of an audience to watch for an hour without compassion fatigue, yet Connolly knew how to ask for our money for Comic Relief.

Shock tactics came first, taking us straight to a near-derelict operating theatre with bloody scalpels, a man crying out in pain and a dirty plastic bucket to catch surgical waste. You could be forgiven for thinking it was a scene from Dickens. It had taken days to get an eightyearold boy with a badly broken arm to the hospital. Without rapid treatment, it would require amputation. The boy needed sterile dressings that his family would have to buy, but they had no money. When another patient gave them some spares, the boy's father's gratitude knew no bounds.

Not that Somaliland is a complete disaster area, despite a civil war that has left thousands in resettlement camps. Comic Relief funds clean water and animal husbandry projects to keep breadline village economies from collapse.

Jibril, the smiling vet in charge of one, had bright orange hair, much admired by Connolly. Jibril dyed it after it turned white overnight - a result of being pursued by soldiers and seeing his friends massacred. 'My hair turned grey over ten years,' said Connolly. 'I didn't get a fright, I just got old - that's frightening enough.' The Big Yin then took us to see a baby being born, attended by a birth assistant trained with GBP 50 of Comic Relief cash: 'It's like a scene from the Nativity, but it's 2,000 years on and still women are bringing children into the world on a dirt floor in a cramped hut.' The baby was born healthy and Connolly was radiant with joy as he cradled it with the same wonder he once experienced at the birth of his own five children in clean, wellequipped hospitals.

From joy to sorrow; Hodan, a beautiful girl of 18, had two broken legs caused by falling down a deep hole in the dark. She lived only three hours' drive from Hargeysa, but her father Mohamed could not get her a lift for three days. Infection had set in and she needed antibiotics and an operation to rejoin the bones - total cost, GBP 20.

Her penniless father had to take her home untreated. With hindsight, any self-respecting fly on the wall should have switched off the cameras and reached into his back pocket for 20 quid - bad television, perhaps, but good humanity.

Tragedies such as this happen in Somaliland every day with no benefactor at hand. Television has a duty to tell it like it is, not how we'd like it to be. Two days later, Hodan died.

It wasn't Connolly's fault, yet he had to face her family. Scots reserve made his condolences sound stilted: 'Can I say, on behalf of all my friends, how deeply, deeply sorry we were to hear about your daughter's death.' A bitter father might have replied: 'We would rather have had your GBP 20 than your condolences.' But Mohamed was resigned: 'It's God's will that she died. I'm a very poor man. I had to bring her home. I had no choice.' As Connolly said: 'Out here, you see hearts breaking every day.' But that doesn't make each individual tragedy any less real. As flies on the wall, we were witnesses - and if the reality upsets us, perhaps we're the ones who should be reaching for our wallets.

SCOTLAND'S stealth actresses were out in force last night in the very English Inspector Lynley Mysteries, without the Home Counties suspecting a thing.

In fact, Johnstone's own Phyllis Logan is so good at middleclass matrons with cut-glass accents and formidable hauteur that she has virtually cornered this guest slot in English murder mysteries.

Neve McIntosh from Paisley played her drug-addicted prostitute daughter with heartrending vulnerability, although giving her motor neurone disease to cope with as well seemed a bit over the top.

The lasting delight of Lynley is Sharon Small, born in Drumchapel but playing a wee Cockney sparrow to perfection as DS Havers (noun, Scots, meaning 'nonsense').

And she has a lot of nonsense to put up with as partner to the suave, upper-crust Lynley, who has the hots for her but is in denial, unable to call her anything more intimate than detective sergeant.

Small's delicate features register every nuance of emotion. Beside Nathaniel Parker's Lynley she seems fragile enough to blow away, yet Havers is tough and walks with a Chris Cagney swagger - Sharon Gless meets Sharon Small.

Only once last night did she give away her Scottish origins. While investigating the murder of an England cricketer, she mused innocently: 'Cricket - it's all kind of cucumber sandwiches, isn't it, not sudden deaths' Only a girl from Drumchapel would be unfamiliar with the phrase 'England batting collapse'.


Somaliland Times , Issue 59 March 8, 2003

The Horn of Africa: How Does Somaliland Fit?

David H. Shinn

Presented at a Discussion Seminar Introducing Somaliland in Umea, Sweden On March 8, 2003 Sponsored by Forum Syd

Thank you for inviting me to come so far to speak to you about the position of Somaliland in the Horn of Africa. I also bring greetings from your colleagues in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. I speak today as a private American citizen who has been interested in the Horn of Africa since the early 1960s. Although I spent 37 years with the U.S. Department of State, my views are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the American government. Nor do I speak for any foreign government. My goal is to analyze dispassionately, factually and constructively controversial issues confronting the Horn of Africa.

Arbitrary Borders

Conflict in the Horn of Africa goes back centuries. Although there have been periods of peace, conflict has been more the norm than the exception. European colonialism further complicated the situation. The Berlin Conference of 1884-85 and numerous colonial treaties created boundaries in Africa that are especially arbitrary. In fact, the Horn of Africa was impacted more negatively than many other parts of the continent by borders agreed upon in foreign capitals. Great Britain, France, Italy, Ethiopia and even Egypt had a hand in partitioning the lands inhabited by the Somalis. Great Britain established a Somaliland Protectorate in 1887 and by 1897 the partition of Somaliland was largely complete.

Independence and Unification

Those of you attending this seminar recall that the United Kingdom granted independence to the people of Somaliland on 26 June 1960. Somaliland was an independent country for five days. Some 35 states recognized independent Somaliland. The U.S. Secretary of State, Christian Herter, sent a congratulatory message. The United Kingdom signed several bilateral agreements with Somaliland in Hargeisa on 26 June 1960. At about the same time, Italy granted independence to former Italian Somalia on 1 July 1960.

The concept of unity between British Somaliland and Italian Somalia had been discussed extensively during the year leading up to independence on the basis that Somalis are the same people, speak the same language and have a common religion. For the sake of Somali unity, the new Somali governments in both Hargeisa and Mogadishu agreed to merge into one nation. The legislatures of both entities met in joint session in Mogadishu and agreed formally to join together as the Republic of Somalia effective 1 July 1960. Somaliland became known as the Northern Regions and former Italian Somalia as the Southern Regions. There was never a referendum on the act of union.

The idea was to hold a national referendum to ratify the new Republic's constitution within a year. This referendum took place on 20 June 1961 and, in the case of Somaliland, served as a vote of confidence or lack thereof for unification with former Italian Somalia. The leading political party in the Northern Regions boycotted the referendum. Just over 100,000 persons out of an estimated total population of 650,000 in the Northern Regions participated in the referendum, suggesting that at least half of the electorate boycotted the vote. Of those who did vote, about 60 percent opposed the constitution. It is apparent that as early as 1961 a majority of Somalilanders were troubled by the decision to join the Somali Republic. As if to underscore this unhappiness, there was an attempted military coup in Somaliland late in 1961. Although it failed, one of its goals was to secede from the Somali Republic and establish an independent government.

Africa and Boundaries

In view of the arbitrariness of boundaries throughout the continent, it is not surprising that Somalia received virtually no support among African countries for a Greater Somalia. At the 1963 summit meeting that established the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the President of Somalia argued that the case of Somalia was unique in Africa because all of Somalia's boundaries cut across grazing land that divided Somalis. The Ethiopian Prime Minister responded that "it is in the interest of all Africans now to respect the frontiers drawn on the maps, whether they are good or bad, by the former colonizers." Interestingly, the Charter of the OAU contains no explicit reference to borders although it does underscore respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states.

The second OAU summit conference in Cairo in 1964 passed a resolution that contained the following language in the preamble: "the borders of African States, on the date of their independence, constitute a tangible reality." Even more significant for Somaliland, Article 4 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union signed on 12 June 2000 in Lome, Togo, states that the African Union shall function in accordance with the following principle: "respect of borders existing on achievement of independence."

On the basis of its brief independence from 26 June until 1 July 1960, Somaliland would seem to meet the definition contained in the resolution passed in Cairo in 1964 and the more recent Constitutive Act of the African Union. Yet the African Union and its member states have not so far been willing to accept independent status for Somaliland. At a meeting in Washington late last year the Interim Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Amara Essy, implied that Somaliland was not independent when the United Kingdom relinquished power to Somalilanders on 26 June 1960. One can only assume that he was unaware of the five days of independence or chose to conclude that this period did not meet his definition of independence. In any event, the African Union and its members most probably are reluctant to recognize the independence of Somaliland for fear that it would increase pressure by other groups in Africa to support changes in borders inherited at independence. The fact that Somaliland does not fit in the same category as other cases on the continent has not yet persuaded the African Union and its member states to give serious consideration to the arguments made by the government in Hargeisa. In fact, the African Union was quick to recognize the Transitional National Government in Mogadishu. Under the circumstances, it is not surprising that Somaliland officials have a low opinion of the African Union.

Live and Let Live

During the early years of the Somali Republic, the Northern Regions worked out a modus vivendi with Mogadishu. A Somalilander, Mohammed Ibrahim Egal, even became Prime Minister of the unified country in 1967. He did not last long in the position. In 1969, a bodyguard assassinated the President of the Somali Republic, and several days later a group of army officers seized power and installed Major General Mohammed Siad Barre in power. The new military government arrested Egal, who remained in jail until 1982 except for a six-month period in 1975 when he was assigned as Ambassador to India.

Barre's rule rekindled discontent in the Northern Regions and by 1981 Somalilanders formed the Somali National Movement, which had the goal of toppling the Barre government. By 1988 an all-out civil war developed and Somaliland experienced considerable devastation at the hands of government-sponsored forces. The brutal repression resulted in more than 20,000 killed and left a deep bitterness among Somalilanders. The war ended in January 1991 with the fall of the Barre government.

The Failure of Pan-Somali Unity

From its inception, the Somali Republic dedicated itself to the unity of all Somalis in the Horn of Africa. This meant that the government in Mogadishu tried in every way possible to incorporate into the Somali Republic those Somalis living in neighboring Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. The result was constant tension along all three borders, sporadic fighting and a major war with Ethiopia in 1977-78 when the Siad Barre government captured most of Ethiopia's Ogaden Region. It was only with the assistance of Soviet military advisers and some 15,000 Cuban troops that the Mengistu Haile Mariam regime in Ethiopia was able to turn back the Somali forces. Although Somalia's relations with Kenya and Djibouti did not deteriorate to this extent, there was always deep concern in both countries about Mogadishu's intentions and policies.

Somalilanders were never particularly enthusiastic about the Pan-Somali goal of uniting all Somalis in the Horn of Africa under one government in Mogadishu. This was a concept that had more resonance in former Italian Somalia. The concept of Pan-Somalism, also known as Greater Somalia, disappeared as a significant issue with the overthrow of the Siad Barre government in 1991. In fact, factional clan conflict within former Italian Somalia essentially replaced Pan-Somalism. Somalia's three neighbors are probably not convinced, however, that the goal of a Greater Somalia has gone forever. Should there be any effort by Somalis to revive this policy, it will certainly be met with hostility by Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Somaliland's Second Independence

The Central Committee of the Somali National Movement (SNM) assembled in Burao in May 1991 and declared unilaterally that Somaliland would henceforth become the independent Republic of Somaliland. The SNM named Abdirahman Ahmed Ali "Tur" as interim president for two years. Near the end of his term, the 150-member Council of Elders began meeting in Borama to determine the political future of Somaliland. They agreed to establish an executive president and a bicameral legislature. The Council then elected Mohammed Ibrahim Egal as President of the Republic of Somaliland in 1993. They reelected Egal in 1997. The Conference of Somaliland Communities, formed by various Somaliland leaders, adopted a constitution at Hargeisa in 1997. It was to remain in effect for three years and would come into full force only after a referendum, which took place in May 2001.

In the meantime, Somaliland opted not to participate in the process aimed at unifying Somali factions that was initiated by the government of Djibouti in 2000 in the Djiboutian town of Arta. The Arta Conference resulted in creation of the Transitional National Government (TNG) that took up residence in North Mogadishu and claimed to represent all of Somalia, including Somaliland. The TNG occupied Somalia's seats at the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union), and the Arab League. Somaliland continues to reject both the Arta process and the government it created, arguing that the independence of Somaliland is nonnegotiable. For the same reason it is boycotting the Somali peace process that began last year in Kenya.

Referendum on Somaliland Constitution

Somaliland conducted a referendum on 31 May 2001, which endorsed a new constitution and reaffirmed its status as an independent state. The referendum offers some useful insights on the thinking of Somalilanders on the issue of independence. The Initiative and Referendum Institute, an international nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. sent a 10-member team to observe the referendum process from 28 May until 7 June 2001. Eight of the delegates were from the United States, one from the United Kingdom, and one from Switzerland. The Institute acknowledged that its ability to observe the referendum was imperfect. On the day of the referendum, it was only able to visit 57 of the 600 polling stations in five of Somaliland's six regions. The Institute chose, for security reasons, not to send any observers to Sool Region and had only one observer in Sanaag Region. The Institute concluded, however, that overall the referendum was conducted "openly, fairly, honestly, and largely in accordance with internationally recognized election procedures." Irregularities and procedural deviations were de minimus, and occurrences of fraud were insignificant and very rare. The referendum was peaceful and without violence.

Ninety-seven percent of the voters approved the constitution. The Institute believes that the referendum was primarily a vote to show support for independence rather than an endorsement of the numerous provisions of the constitution. It concluded that approximately two-thirds of eligible voters participated. The Institute suggested that some of those who chose not to vote were probably exercising their opposition to the referendum. In Las Anod District of Sool Region, for example, where there was the greatest opposition to the referendum, voter turnout was only 31 percent, well below the national average. The opposition was not unified around one issue. Some opposed Somaliland's independence while others supported independence but were opposed to the administration of President Egal. But even assuming that all eligible voters that did not vote were opposed to the constitution, independence, and/or the Egal administration, 97 percent of two-thirds of the voters still supported the constitution and independence.

Elections

Political parties only returned to Somaliland following the passage of enabling legislation in 2000. Late in 2001 Somaliland postponed for one year the previously scheduled municipal elections and the 2002 presidential and legislative elections to allow more time for preparation. President Egal died of natural causes in May 2002. In accordance with the Somaliland constitution, his Vice President, Dahir Rayale Kahin, who was also elected by traditional leaders, succeeded him.

Six political parties took part in the municipal elections held on 15 December 2002. The process was peaceful although there was no voting in the disputed Las Anod District. The ruling UDUB party had the highest total at 198,000 votes but the combined total of the five opposition parties was more than 260,000. The outcome of the balloting suggests that Somalilanders were able to express their views freely although two opposition parties said they were not satisfied with the results, citing voting irregularities. It should be noted that these were the first multiparty elections in Somaliland since 1969 and the first occasion that Somaliland women were able to vote. They also took place with minimal outside assistance.

Presidential elections scheduled for January 2003 have been postponed until April 14. The electoral commission explained that it needed more time to deliver electoral materials to the polling stations, train poll officials and resolve budget issues. The three political parties that received the highest vote totals in the municipal elections will contest the presidential election. This includes President Rayale's UDUB party together with KULIMIYE led by Ahmed Mohamoud Silanyo and UCID founded by Faysal Ali Warabe. Parliamentary elections will probably take place in May. In view of Somaliland's inexperience with the holding of democratic elections, most Somalilanders and outsiders seem to be understanding of these postponements.

Reaching a Solution with Puntland

One issue that has a direct bearing on Somaliland's ability to attract international recognition is neighboring Puntland's claim to most of Sool and Sanaag Regions, a claim that Somaliland rejects. In 1998, the Harti leaders of northern Somalia and eastern Somaliland declared Puntland an autonomous republic within a federal Somalia. Unlike the leaders in Somaliland, they decided not to opt for independence and opposed the independence of Somaliland. Puntland's boundaries correspond roughly to those areas where the Harti, a subgroup of the larger Darod clan, reside. The Majerteen, a subset of the Harti, predominate in that part of Puntland known as northern Somalia, which borders Somaliland. Two additional Harti subsets, the Warsangeli and the Dulbahante, reside inside that part of Somaliland claimed by Puntland. The Warsangeli predominate in the eastern part of Sanaag Region while the Dulbahante predominate in Sool Region. Two Harti leaders that come from different subgroups-Abdullahi Yusuf and Jama Ali Jama-have been competing for power in Puntland. Abdullahi Yusuf achieved a military victory last year over Jama Ali Jama and established a new regional government. Clan reconciliation has not yet occurred, however, in Puntland.

Sool and Sanaag were part of British Somaliland and the Republic of Somaliland when it became independent in 1960. Puntland's claim to most of the two regions is based on clan ties. This complicates the issue for Somaliland in spite of the fact that there are differences of opinion among the Harti themselves. The fact that voters in Sanaag and, especially, Sool were decidedly less supportive of Somaliland's 2001 referendum and that Las Anod District did not participate in the 2002 municipal elections is evidence of opposition to Hargeisa. This is a vexing issue for Somaliland that cries out for a political solution that would enhance Somaliland's case for international recognition. It may require some kind of innovative proposal such as special status for those parts of Sool and Sanaag that oppose rule from Hargeisa. Ideally, such a resolution would be acceptable to both the residents of the two regions and the Puntland leadership. Failure to resolve peacefully Puntland's conflicting claims over parts of Sool and Sanaag will complicate international acceptance of Somaliland's independence.

Some Political Issues

Although not perfect, Somaliland has done amazingly well in managing the electoral process. Continued progress towards democratization, including free and fair elections, will help to convince the international community of Somaliland's bona fides as an independent state. One area that requires constant attention is the suppression of corruption. A problem endemic around the world, Somaliland has its share of this affliction. When Somaliland declared independence in 1991 for a second time, it had a militia of some 40,000 men that it began to reduce to less than 10,000. An estimated 50 to 70 percent of the Somaliland budget goes to the military, primarily to pay salaries. Some payments go to soldiers who do not exist or are no longer in uniform. Although corruption is pervasive in Somaliland, the amounts involved appear to be modest and its overall record may well be better than is the case in most developing countries.

As Somaliland continues to build democratic institutions, one of the critical areas that requires attention is a free press. There are few institutions that are more important at the early stages of developing democracy than a vigorous and open press. One need only look as far as Kenya to see the positive role that the private press can play in this process. There have been discussions in Somaliland's legislature of a draft press law. So far, they have not resulted in new legislation. The passage of any oppressive law aimed at controlling the press would be a serious setback for democracy in Somaliland. It is equally essential that the press, whether it supports or opposes the government, act professionally and responsibly.

HIV/AIDS

Although Somaliland declared HIV an epidemic in 1998, it is not paying sufficient attention to the problem. UNICEF conducted a useful HIV/AIDS behavioral survey in 1999, but there is still no UNAIDS presence in either Somalia or Somaliland. Somaliland's National HIV/AIDS Coordination Body held its first meeting in 2002. The civil war destroyed the health service delivery system, which is only slowly reviving with assistance from international nongovernmental organizations, agencies of the United Nations and private clinics. There is a severe shortage of skilled health workers, and except for efforts to raise awareness, little is being done. Testing is almost nonexistent. Blood donors found to be HIV positive are not informed of their status because there is no counseling service. The stigma of HIV/AIDS is huge. Neighboring Djibouti has an adult prevalence rate of at least 12 percent and neighboring Ethiopia a rate of somewhere between 7 and 18 percent, although the rate is lower in the Ogaden, the rural Somali Region that borders Somaliland.

It is generally believed that the HIV prevalence rate in Somaliland is relatively low. The 1999 UNICEF study, drawing on anecdotal information, concluded that the prevalence rate for the general population is about one percent. At the same time, the study noted that young people are sexually very active, and condom use generally is very low. Knowledge about the way that HIV/AIDS is transmitted is also low. Those who follow the subject suggest that the prevalence rate today is about four percent. If Somaliland, aided by international organizations, bilateral donors and nongovernmental organizations were to wage a major campaign now against HIV/AIDS, it might actually be possible to prevent the catastrophic situations that confront its neighbors. This is an area where Somaliland should seize the initiative and request international assistance and a UNAIDS presence. There has been some positive movement in recent months. Several Somali nongovernmental organizations are ready to help as soon as they can identify funding. A delegation led by Somaliland's minister of health participated in early February in a conference on combating HIV/AIDS at Arusha, Tanzania. But this is only a beginning; much remains to be done.

The Menace of Khat

The habitual use of khat is not, of course, confined to Somaliland. It is widely used in Somalia, Djibouti, Yemen and increasingly in Ethiopia. When Somalilanders hear friends from the West complain about the evils of khat, they must be thinking that Westerners have their own problems with the abuse of alcohol and use of hard drugs. This is a legitimate response, but it does not lessen the damage being done to Somali society by the growing use of khat. As serious as alcohol abuse and use of hard drugs is in the West, the percentages of abuse and use do not reach those of khat usage in Somaliland. When you ask Somalilanders what percent of the population regularly used khat at the time of independence in 1960, the responses tend to vary between one and five percent. A Somalilander who recently researched this issue estimated that five percent of women and 75 percent of men now use it on an almost daily basis.

The green leaves of khat, which are chewed during lengthy sessions, contain cathinone, an active brain stimulant that acts much like amphetamine. Khat ingestion results in decreased appetite, euphoria and hyper alertness. Chronic use of khat often produces sleeplessness, nervousness, impotence, constipation and nightmares. The average daily cost of a khat session is $5, a huge amount for most Somalilanders. It is having a severely negative impact on family life as the men ignore or even abuse their families. Prolonged lack of food, associated with khat use, causes malnutrition and increased susceptibility to infectious diseases such as TB, hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. It impacts significantly economic productivity of the workforce and removes from the economy scarce capital that could be used for productive purposes. Khat is an illegal drug in the United States.

There is no organized effort in Somaliland to combat to combat this scourge. This is one of several areas where the Somali diaspora can make a positive contribution by emphasizing the dangers and negative implications of the regular use of khat. One Somaliland diaspora Web site, http://www.somalilandforum.com, currently contains a lead item that speaks out against the use of khat. There are also stirrings in Hargeisa that suggest there is real concern about khat. Last fall President Rayale issued a directive that limits the number of daily khat flights from Kenya and Ethiopia to no more than 50, which is down from about 150. He also ordered that khat no longer be imported by surface across land borders. It is not clear, however, if this order can or will be enforced.

Somaliland and the Region

Somaliland's longest border is with Ethiopia and ethnic Somali pastoralists on both sides of the border regularly cross it seeking seasonal pasturage. Landlocked Ethiopia has made minimal use of Somaliland's port of Berbera, even after ports in Eritrea became off limits. The European Union used Berbera in 1999 to ship 15,000 tons of food aid to Ethiopia. The EU resumed the use of Berbera late last year to send 20,000 tons of food aid to Ethiopia. If there is regular maintenance of the road between Berbera and Jijiga in Ethiopia, it is possible to ship 30,000 tons of food each month to eastern Ethiopia. For the first time ever, Ethiopian Airlines has established regular service between Addis Ababa and Hargeisa. Ethiopia and Somaliland have opened liaison offices in their respective capitals. There are regular high level visits between the two countries. President Rayale was in Addis Ababa early this year and a senior Ethiopian military delegation visited Somaliland last month.

Somaliland sees Ethiopia as an ally in its quest for support and recognition. Although Ethiopia understands that a stable, peaceful and independent Somaliland is in its interest, it is unwilling to be the first to recognize the government in Hargeisa. Somalia would immediately attribute nefarious motives to Ethiopian recognition of Somaliland, arguing that it wishes to balkanize Somalia and weaken Somali unity.

There are important clan ties between Somalilanders and the some 60 percent of the Djiboutian population that is Somali. Relations between Somaliland and Djibouti are correct and improving. President Rayale commented recently that Somaliland now has good relations with Djibouti. Nevertheless, Somaliland resents Djibouti's initiative in helping to create the TNG in Somalia and is still not entirely comfortable with the current Djiboutian leadership. Djibouti continues to have a complex set of financial and commercial links with the TNG. Its commitment to the preservation of Somali unity suggests that it wants to prevent the emergence of a viable and independent Somaliland. Even with the current tension in the relationship, there is considerable informal trade between the two countries, and because taxes are lower in Somaliland, many Djiboutians buy goods there. Somaliland officials suspect that Djibouti fears competition from the port of Berbera once it is fully rehabilitated.

Saudi Arabia poses a major dilemma for Somaliland. A significant financial backer of the TNG and supporter of it within the Arab League, Saudi Arabia was traditionally the major importer of Somaliland livestock. For the better part of the last five years, Saudi Arabia has banned livestock from Somaliland on the grounds that it might be infected with Rift Valley Fever. Somaliland denies the charges, and there does not appear to be any current scientific evidence to support the claim. Recent investigations by the Food and Agricultural Organization and World Health Organization found no evidence of Rift Valley Fever in Somaliland. Several Gulf States that import small quantities of Somaliland livestock have lifted the ban. Some observers suspect that the ban is linked to Saudi business interests involved in the importation of livestock from other countries.

In the meantime, the Saudi ban is doing grievous damage to the Somaliland economy. The ban has harmed nearly every kind of employment in the country-pastoralists, truck drivers, livestock traders, animal health staff, brokers, port employees and private business people. The impact is especially great in the port of Berbera. The town has been hard hit economically by the Saudi livestock ban although the recent arrival of food aid for Ethiopia should temporarily offset some of the loss. The large international airport built during the Soviet interlude is effectively shut down. The problem is aggravated because the government of Somaliland, at least until late last summer, did not have any access to the Saudi royal family and has been unable to make its case directly to the Saudi government. Somaliland is working to obtain international certification that its livestock is disease free in an effort to remove any pretense for the ban.

Egypt has maintained an interest in the Somali coast dating back several centuries. In more recent years, Egypt has been a supporter of Somali unity and a strong Somali state that can serve as a counterweight to Ethiopia. Eighty-six percent of the water reaching the Aswan Dam in Egypt emanates from Ethiopia. The Nile River is, of course, Egypt's lifeline, and the leadership in Cairo wants to maintain maximum leverage over Ethiopia. A unified Somalia that might one day reassert its claims to Somali-inhabited areas of Ethiopia and has close links to Egypt would add to this leverage. As a result, Egypt is one of five countries that has recognized the TNG and opposes an independent Somaliland. An Egyptian envoy visited Hargeisa last fall, congratulated Somaliland for the success it has achieved, and then urged it to participate in talks in Kenya on Somali unity with groups from Somalia. The Somaliland President rejected any suggestion of participating in the Kenyan-sponsored talks and reminded the Egyptian envoy that Egypt was one of the countries that recognized Somaliland's first independence on 26 June 1960.

Eritrea, which received de facto independence from Ethiopia in 1991 and de jure independence in 1993, seemingly is a country that would be sympathetic to Somaliland's independence. On the contrary, it supports the unity of Somalia and is one of five nations to recognize the TNG in Mogadishu. For its part, Somaliland is dismissive of the Eritrean precedent to bolster its own argument for independence. President Rayale stated recently that Somaliland, which first became independent in 1960, has "a better case" for independence than Eritrea. Eritrea's hostility towards Somaliland probably stems from the aftermath of the 1998 Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict. Both Ethiopia and Eritrea have realigned their relationships in the region in order to strengthen their respective positions against each other. Eritrea in 1999 and 2000 supported Oromo Liberation Front elements operating out of Somalia against Ethiopia. Like Egypt, Eritrea also sees a strong and unified Somalia as a counterweight to Ethiopia. It is not surprising, therefore, that Somaliland and Eritrea do not see eye to eye.

Sudan's policy on Somaliland is especially intriguing. Sudan has traditionally supported Somali unity and is one of the five countries that recognized the TNG in Mogadishu. Sudan has been dealing with its own civil war since 1983 and does not wish to take any step that would provide additional justification for an independent southern Sudan. Acceptance of an independent Somaliland might weaken its own case for Sudanese unity. In fact, Sudan sent a delegation to Hargeisa late last year to encourage Somaliland to take part in the Somali unity talks in Kenya. On the other hand, Sudan received the Mayor of Hargeisa in Khartoum last June when there were discussions on training for Somalilanders in Sudan, Sudan Airways flights to Hargeisa and a joint university program. Khartoum reportedly even agreed to establish an FM radio station to relay programs from Radio Khartoum and Radio Omdurman to Somaliland. Although little if anything has come of these discussions, it does suggest Sudan is willing to consider seriously closer cooperation with Somaliland.

Of all the countries in the region, Kenya's policy on Somalia and Somaliland is currently the most delicate. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development has charged Kenya with leading the Somali peace talks. These discussions are continuing in Nairobi without the participation of Somaliland. Like Ethiopia, Kenya is primarily interested in a peaceful and friendly neighbor that does not export refugees and is in complete control of its borders. Kenya is also concerned that terrorist acts in Nairobi and Mombassa may have had some support from elements in Somalia. At the same time, Kenya does not want a strong neighbor that one-day revives the Greater Somalia concept. For this reason, it is probably quietly sympathetic with an independent Somaliland. But as long as it is trying to solve the larger issue of peace in Somalia, it must remain completely neutral.

Somaliland and the United Nations

Somaliland is deeply disappointed that the United Nations played a key role in the process that led to the creation of the TNG and then allowed it to take Somalia's seat in the General Assembly. Somaliland also has a bad memory of the UN Mission to Somalia (UNOSOM) in the early and mid-1990s. UNOSOM spent hundreds of millions of dollars in Somalia to end a famine and engage in nation building, but took virtually no interest in Somaliland. For several years, UNOSOM officials did not even visit Somaliland.

On the other hand, Somalilanders acknowledge and appreciate a variety of assistance provided by specialized agencies of the United Nations. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has been instrumental in resettling in Somaliland Somali refugees from Ethiopia. The World Food Program periodically coordinates the delivery of food aid to the country. UNICEF and the World Health Organization have funded a number of small projects in Somaliland.

Somaliland and the Donor Community

Bilateral donors have not been very forthcoming in providing assistance to Somaliland. Some probably shy away for fear that provision of assistance connotes diplomatic recognition. That concern can be avoided, however, by channeling assistance through international and indigenous nongovernmental organizations. The European Union has been the most helpful over the past decade. Earlier this year the European Commission approved a 4.2 million Euro project to rehabilitate the core road network in Somaliland. The European Union earlier rebuilt many of Somaliland's bridges and rehabilitated some of the Berbera port facilities. United States development assistance to all of Somalia totals about $2.5 million annually. Most of it now goes to Somaliland because it is the only safe and stable part of the country. Somaliland is an excellent choice for increased rehabilitation and development assistance.

Somaliland and the Future

Those of you attending this conference know that Somaliland is almost obsessed with the question of recognition or, more correctly, nonrecognition. It is understandable when one considers that the United Nations, African Union and Arab League were quick to accept the TNG as the legitimate government of all of Somalia. Lack of recognition makes it especially difficult to attract foreign assistance and prohibits membership in such important organizations as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Somaliland officials have mastered all the arguments and precedents for recognition. They cite East Timor, Western Sahara, the breakup of Yugoslavia, etc. The government even published in 2001 a booklet, entitled Somaliland: Demand for International Recognition, to make its case.

Somaliland must now convince the rest of the world, and especially the members of the African Union, that its case is special and deserves support. So far, Somaliland has had no success in convincing the Assembly of the African Union that its independence should be accepted and that it should be granted membership. A more productive approach may now be to convince several key African countries to support it within the African Union. Important countries like South Africa, Algeria and Senegal, if convinced of the merits of Somaliland's case, could make an important difference. This does not rule out the possibility that an independent Somaliland accepted by the African Union could propose unification at a later date with a Somalia that finally achieves its own peace and unity. In this regard, the government of Somaliland seems to be taking a more assertive position. Visits earlier this year by President Rayale to Senegal and Mali and meetings in Addis Ababa with a range of diplomats underscore this point.

So long as the rest of Somalia remains a failed state, it is unreasonable to expect peaceful Somaliland to join willingly with its compatriots to the south. Nevertheless, it is up to Somaliland to convince others to accept its independence. It should continue to make its case with key African countries. It can also underscore its arguments by way of example. Building democratic institutions in Somaliland and resolving differences with Puntland are hard. Obtaining international recognition for these efforts is equally difficult. Dedicated Somaliland communities in the diaspora, like this one in Sweden, can have and are having a positive influence on achieving success for these goals. It is essential to continue the progress on creating a democratic Somaliland; African and international acceptance and recognition will eventually follow. In the meantime, international organizations and donor countries should provide more assistance to Somaliland. Disputing factions in Somalia might even learn from the Somaliland example that they, too, could benefit by achieving peace and stability. Thank you again for inviting me to address you today.

Note about the author: David H. Shinn was desk officer for Somalia at the U.S. Department of State from 1969 to 1971; deputy director of the Somalia Task Force in the State Department in 1992-1993; State Department coordinator for Somalia in 1993; director of East African Affairs (including Somalia) from 1993 to 1996; and U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia from 1996 to 1999. He is now an adjunct professor in the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.


Somaliland Times , Issue 59 March 8, 2003

Why Make Somaliland an Issue?

The on-going peace talks on Somalia seem to have reached the stage whereby participating faction leaders needed to find a scapegoat for their failure to come up with a solid agreement. Somalia's warlords at the talks now claim that unless the participation of Somaliland's is secured, the peace process cannot succeed. This stance is hardly surprising. Ever since the "Somalia Peace Process" was invented in Djibouti in 1991, Somali warlords have made it their practice, whenever peace talks were underway, to demand from the international community to bring Somaliland to the fold. On every occasion however, Somaliland opted to stay away from attending such gatherings due to the very simple reason that it was not a party to the conflict between armed factions vying for power in the former Italian colony of Somalia. On the contrary, Somaliland has been a peaceful place for much of the last 12 years or so. While war raged in Somalia, Somaliland had other priorities to address, including the urgent tasks of demobilizing thousands of SNM combatants and clan-based armed militia men and repatriating hundreds of thousands of its citizens from refugee camps in eastern Ethiopia. Not to mention the burden of reconstructing a whole country and state from scratch.

While Somaliland struggled alone for meeting the above challenges, it at the same time embarked on a parallel process of democratization. Though a lot still needs to be done, yet Somaliland's tremendous achievements in all the above areas cannot be overlooked. Instead of learning from this uniquely successful experiment for conflict resolution and nation-building, Somalia's defacto leaders continued, unfortunately, to deny that it even existed. In fact, the reasons why most of those leaders always insist on Somaliland's inclusion in any peace talks on Somalia has nothing to do with the idea of preserving Somali unity. They know that Somaliland will never reunite with Somalia. The actual cause for their anti-Somaliland stance stems from the fact that most of them are wanted in Somaliland in connection with war crimes committed against the civilian population during the eighties. These suspected war criminals live with the fear that an independent Somaliland could succeed in bringing them one day before justice, to account for the atrocities they had committed in this country while working for Siyad Barre's regime.

Pretending allegiance to the cause of "Greater Somalia" is also a good tactic for squeezing cash from Arab leaders who are interested in seeing Somalia as a "strong and unified" country that can possibly be used as a Trojan Horse against Ethiopia whenever the need arises. This familiar tactic utilized by Somalia's warlords for extortion and blackmailing seems to have worked on Bethwal Kiplagat, the Kenyan Mediator of the reconciliation process.

The talks are already in danger of collapsing, not because Somaliland is absent, but because the delegates have shown their inability to come to an agreement. Kiplagat will be wasting his time if he thinks Somaliland can be persuaded to send delegates to the talks over which he is presiding. Independent and peaceful Somaliland is in fact in the midst of a presidential election campaign. For the first time in over 30 years, Somalilanders will go to the polls on April 14th, 2003, to elect their next president with the election of legislators slated for May 2003. Under such circumstances, wouldn't it be utter foolishness and a great insult if the Somaliland government were asked to send representatives to Nairobi to discuss peace with Somalia's warlords?


Somaliland Times , Issue 59 March 8, 2003

"The People's Candidate - Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo"

Hamza S. Yusuf

"Every nation has the government it deserves" Joseph de Maistre

I am not a politician, I am not a member of any party machinery, I am not a professional pundit. I am an educated Somalilander who sees the future of their homeland hanging by a thread. I made an educated choice based on reason.

I see a candidate on the one hand, who doesn't campaign, who doesn't debate, who doesn't answer damning accusations, who isn't educated, who has gone from one catastrophic blunder to the next. President, you are this man.

On the other hand, there is a man whom history will record as one of the great patriarchs of the Somali people, Ahmed Silanyo. A man who truly believes in democratic ideals, not the pithy lip service paid to it by detractors. A man not only highly educated in the Western discourse, but a true "wise man" in the best tradition of our people. A man whose entire life is a testament to honesty, decorum and decency. There is an old saying -the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Look around at your chosen leaders people of Somaliland, past and present and ask this same question of yourself.

During the years of the Siad Barre regime, who was the most outspoken defender of northerners and human rights whilst holding the most senior positions in the former government of Somalia? Who stood up to the brutal Siad to his face without fear at huge personal risk? Who left behind a life of comfort, security and a young family to defend our nation during its hour of need whilst others waited it out in Mogadishu until the time was good for them? Who initiated and organized the famous Forum For Peace, which brought about the ceasefire agreement between the warring parties in the so-called Xarbal Aqnam war around Berbera in 1992? Who initiated the movement, which brought about an end to the internal war of 1996, which ended at Beer in the Burao region where formal agreement of cessation of hostilities was finalized and exchange of prisoners was undertaken? Who has been your rock when the ground beneath your troubled feet was shaking Somaliland?

Certain pundits under the noxious spell of UDUB have been spouting endless socio-political quasi-philosophical jargon to dress up an essentially boneless, defunct argument, that UDUB is something worth voting for. It is not. If we have a FAIR and FREE election in the truest sense, UDUB will get their marching orders by mid-Spring.

Our roads are still hazardous and un-built. Our sewers are over flowing, our economic condition critical, our schools under resourced and under manned, our hospitals under equipped and over burdened. They say Rome wasn't built in a day but this government has not even lifted a finger. UDUB has virtually achieved NOTHING for our people in the period of time they have held the reigns. Instead they try and distract our people by sending ridiculous little spurious missions abroad headed by some semi-recognizable name in an effort to convince the people that they are acting like a state. Put your house in order UDUB!

UDUB and Rayale are petrified. They have resorted to resurrecting political dinosaurs, let alone anything else in their desperate effort to throw everything they have against the tide that has turned against them for good. One UDUB pundit writes that the main bete-noir of the opposition parties is the issue of money. Of course it is, and rightly so. He himself admits that "inexperienced and unethical employees of the state use the resources of the state" for electoral purposes! And what is his solution? The implementation of certain "protocols". How more academic and removed from the de-facto ground situation in Hargeisa must this man be? The all-pervasive arrogance that pervades entire UDUB machinery from Rayale down to the foot soldiers is reflected in another comment by the same UDUB writer. He states that the opposition should be given "some resources so that their campaign efforts are not seriously retarded". So is a little retardation acceptable then? He goes on to qualify this modicum of conciliation by stating however, that "the municipal election results" show that they were "not too greatly impacted by this problem". How ridiculous. The very fact that in the face of such huge obstacles the parties managed to fight the UDUB/state controlled election is a testament to the fact that some people cannot be bought by UDUB and wanted to make their voices heard. They did their best but they couldn't compete with a government/party that was getting 90% approval and turnout in regions formally inhabited by a few donkeys and a goat.

The People of Somaliland will not be fooled by hollow gestures coated in "constitutionalism" to hide more nefarious goings on in the dark and sinister corners of UDUB. We all have copies of the Constitution. Rayale has NOT been "constitutionally elected". His position is provided for "under" the constitution because he took over from the deceased President Egal, God rest his soul. The first constitutionally "elected" President of Somaliland is YET to be decided.

DO NOT give yourself the laurels just yet Rayale, look behind you, the people of Somaliland are waking up from slumber, there's a new dawn coming. Watch for the rising sun.


Somaliland Times , Issue 59 March 8, 2003

Who Is Abdirahman Aw Ali?

Ali Gulaid, San Jose, USA

Sadly, the fallen heroes are already out of mind and the veterans are marginalized. Worse, Somaliland has handsomely rewarded the ("faqash"), by design, those who resisted the Somali National Movement (SNM). It is sad. For over a decade, the brutal dictator of Siyad Barre with one of the largest army in Sub-Saharan Africa under his command has bombarded and shelled the cities and innocent civilians of Somaliland without mercy. As if that wasn't cruel enough, he hired mercenaries from South Africa to finish the job; but it was not meant to be. The SNM Mujahidiin have fought to the last drop and defeated the despot. Like any other war, the victory was achieved with blood and lots of it. Mujahid Lixli, Axmed Dhagaq, Koodboor, maxamed Cali, Cali Jowher, ina koosar are only few of the fallen heroes. Out of respect one would think Somaliland would at least assign a day for the remembrance of the fallen Mujahidin and the veterans. Rather, the Mujahidin are endangered species and that is a shame. Fortunately, it appears the days of the "faqash" are numbered and that Somaliland would soon pay tribute to their heroes and heroines. The Kulmiye Party central Committee has recently elected Cabdirahman Aw Cali, a veteran, as its candidate for the vice-presidency. I find this a fitting occasion to remind us who Cabdirahman Aw Cali is?

The SNM veterans have endured isolation, hunger, thirst, bodily harm and injuries and loss of comrades but Mujahid Cabdirahmaan Aw Cali has endured more. The Mujahid was shunned, excommunicated, stigmatized and ostracized for breaking ranks with his primary social base, the clan (even though a good number of the Mujahid's clan supported the Movement, he was the only one in the SNM military wing; I stand corrected). Moreover, the Mujahid has endured the derogatory remarks directed at him whenever tempers flared.

The Somaliland familial and clan structure is deep rooted and those who break away from the tentacles of that octopus and sever that bond are few who have attained a state of mind and inner peace within themselves. The Mujahid has trusted his moral judgment and for health and for sickness, remained a staunch Mujahid. The SNM Mujahidiin as a group was selfless brave men/women with determination and Cabdirahman Aw Cali typifies and embodies that spirit and more. Mujahid Cabdirahman is independent minded leader and not a follower. His character and integrity is beyond reproach and his loyalty to Somaliland is beyond doubt. His conscience is clear and he has no chip on his shoulder.

Many believe that Cabdirahman Aw Cali would have been the President of Somaliland today if he kowtowed to Egal. Mujahid Cabdirahman isn't a man easily intimidated. His classmates found that out early in life at the hockey-play ground in Sheikh Secondary School; Siyad Barre and his formidable evil forces found that out when the Mujahid met them at the battle ground; some of his clan found that out when he challenged their conscience; and Egal found that out the hard way. For the record, it is worth mentioning that Egal was forced to pick SNM Mujahid as his running mate by the SNM Mujahidiin who called him from exile and later nominated him for the candidacy of the presidency. Among the SNM group, Cabdirahman was the candidate chosen by consensus and hence Egal had no other option. This time Egal was a man in need and his tendency to pick the weak was thwarted. The Mujahid who defeated the well-armed Siyad forces wasn't about to pander to Egal's dominance and prominence. He firmly stood on his ground and Egal made no secret of his plan to drop Cabdirahman off the ticket next time around. In spite of that threat, Cabdirahman refused to flinch. As a man of principle, he continued tabling the proper course of action to resolve the issues without fear and reservations. Once again, Mujahid Cabdirahman Aw Cali listened to his heart and not his head. Indeed, he is a man of conviction. That is Cabdirahman Aw Cali but who is Ahmed Yassin?

True to his political dogma of picking the least qualified as his subordinate, Egal choose Rayaale as his running mate, a close relative of Abdirahman, after finding out that Cabdirahman Aw Cali wasn't a YES man. As usual, the Gurti rubber-stamped Egal's choice and the rest is history.

Today, as a result of Egal's choice, Somaliland is breaking at the seams. The hope for recognition is fading, the ban of livestock export is standing, the Ethiopian border is still closed, owners of the goods and other property Ethiopia confiscated aren't being compensated, the border skirmishes are alarmingly getting more frequent, Sool is off limit to elections, corruption is being legitimized and criminal activities are increasing by the day. Additionally, the term of the two Houses is coming to an end on May and the election laws haven't been commissioned yet much less earmarking resources for the upcoming milestone. And guess what? The fear is another extension is inevitable. There is slew of other issues including the budget hemorrhaging in red and the besieged President, which illustrates that the President of the Nation is incapable of governing. Obviously, the President is weak and by extension Somaliland is weak. The result: Peace and stability, the hallmark of Somaliland is in danger.

But hope is on the way, in light of this paralyses and fear, Mujahid Mohamed Ahmed Mohamoud (Silanyo) and Mujahid Cabdirahman Aw Cali as a team are determined to resuscitate and rescue the country once again. Compare this team with Rayaale and Ahmed Yassin. No chance.


Somaliland Times , Issue 59 March 8, 2003

Government Clarifies Position on Somalia Peace Process

Hargeisa: Somaliland's government has reiterated its long-held position that it was not prepared to take part in the Somalia peace talks currently underway in Nairobi.

Responding to statements attributed to IGAD's envoy to the Somali peace talks, Bethwel Kiplagat, Somaliland's Minister of Information Abdillahi M Duale said his government regretted attempts by some governments to utilize the peace process as a means of undermining Somaliland's stability and sovereignty.

The full text of the Minister's statement is as follows:

"In a recent interview with the East African Standard (Feb 17-23, 2003) Kenya's special envoy to Somalia, Ambassador BethweL Kiplagat stated that the 'Council of Ministers of IGAD Frontline states have not recognized Somaliland.' Hence, you could say they are for territorial integrity and the unity of Somalia." "It is implied that Somaliland is included in Somalia. Secondly, they have a request from the delegation here that Somaliland should be invited."

Well, the special envoy seems to have misread gov't of Somaliland's (GOS) position that was presented to IGAD and frontline states on numerous occasions. The following is the clear position of GOS.

Somaliland's Position with regards to current peace process for Somalia

The GOS is encouraged by the efforts of the lGAD member states especially the "Frontline states" to reinvigorate the Somali peace process conference, under the auspices of the gov't of Kenya. The GOS also welcomes the support extended to this initiative by the African Union, the United Nations and the donor countries.

The GOS urges all authorities, factions and groups in Somalia to participate constructively in the upcoming reconciliation conference without preconditions.

Somaliland is not a party to the Somali conflict. There are no Somaliland military forces operating in Somalia's territory and the GOS has refrained from interfering in Somalia's internal affairs despite numerous provocations.

The GOS is prepared to join other governments of the region in bringing peace to Somalia. However, Somaliland will not take part in the IGAD peace process, nor send observers, unless accorded by IGAD the status due to a sovereign state.

When a legitimate, representative government is established in Somalia, the GOS is prepared to enter into talks with that government concerning the nature of the relationship between the two states. The GOS seeks to establish peaceful co-existence and fraternal relations with a future government in Somalia.

The GOS regrets the attempts of some governments to utilize the peace process as a means of undermining Somaliland's stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity and urges them to channel their energies in a more constructive way towards the restoration of peace and governance in Somalia. The GOS regrets the attempts of some governments to utilize the peace process as a means of undermining Somaliland's stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity and urges them to channel their energies in a more constructive way towards the restoration of peace and governance in Somalia. Any claims to sovereignty over Somaliland by a future Somali authority will be viewed by the GOS as an indication of hostile intent. The GOS urges Somali leaders, member states of IGAD, the AU, the UN and donor countries to abstain from any unfriendly declaration or act that could bring further conflict to the region.

Somaliland received its independence from Great Britain on June 26th, 1960 and was immediately recognized by the international community as a sovereign states. Somaliland's subsequent, voluntarily union with Somalia was dissolved on May 18th 1991 when Somaliland retrieved its sovereignty and established a separate government.

Somaliland's independence is based upon the right to self-determination entrenched in the Charters of the Organizations of African Unity and the United Nations. This right was freely and democratically expressed on 31 May 2001 in a referendum. An overwhelming majority of the electorate voted in favor of a new constitution that affirmed Somaliland's independent status. International observers described the process as free, fair and consistent with international norms for referenda and elections.

The GOS has no mandate to compromise Somaliland's sovereign status. Any modification of Somaliland's sovereign status requires endorsement by referendum and the approval of an absolute majority in parliament.

Somaliland's demand for international recognition is consistent with Article III of the OAU Charter and Article IV of the Constitutive Ac of African Union, which pertains to the integrity of borders existing on achievement of independence. Other African states have been united with neighboring states and subsequently reclaimed their independence in accordance with these principles, including Eritrea, Gambia, and the Sahrawi Republic. The dissolution of the United Arab Republic followed a similar pattern.

Somaliland's declaration of independence is predicated upon the territory's prior existence as a recognized, independent state. It therefore does not set a precedent for the break-up of Somalia or for other secessionist groups in Africa. To the contrary, Somaliland fully respects the unity and territorial integrity of (Former Italian) Somalia."


Somaliland Times , Issue 59 March 8, 2003

Scandinavians to Assist in Teachers Training

Hargeisa: Sweden's Goteborg Initiative, the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Danish Refugee Council are going to assist in provision of training for Somaliland teachers. According to a team of Swedes and Norwegians who arrived in Hargeisa earlier this week, the program has been initiated following a seminar held in Sweden last summer. About 70 Diaspora Somalis were reported to have taken part in the seminar. The objective of the seminar was to encourage Somalis in the diaspora to take part in the rebuilding of Somaliland and Somalia. The project foresees bringing about 12 Somalis from the Scandinavian countries back to their country and get them trained in teaching skills, with an equal number of Somalis already working as teachers here. Funding for the project is not yet ready but signals from the donors have been encouraging so far. About 300 teachers are envisaged to benefit from this training, which will emphasize participatory methods for teaching and raising awareness on such issues as AIDS and children with psychosocial problems.
Africa News, March 7, 2003 (Addis Tribune)

Somalia; Somaliland Presidential Election Chronicles: Back to the Future? - Part III

Presidential elections are scheduled in Somaliland for April 14, next month. These series of articles will provide an in-depth analysis of the election. Two diaspor-based Somalilanders, a political scientist (Dhimbiil) and Psychiatrist (Jowhar), will provide the analysis on alternate weeks.

A constitution is the arrangement of magistracies in a state, especially of the highest of all. The government is everywhere sovereign in the state, and the constitution is in fact the government. Aristotle, Politics (Book 3)

Two forces are vying for the future of Africa: one is authoritarian, the other democratic. Curiously, the authoritarian strain was once democratic; previously, it had embraced the ideology of democracy so as to awaken the masses for insurrection against imperialism and colonialism. At the dawn of independence many of these once democratic organizations and leaders transformed themselves into one party states and later into deadly and predatory autocrats. There are many reasons for this transformation. Two clearly important points were: first, national movements and their charismatic leaders were products of history, the necessary opposite to the forces of colonialism. In a word, colonialism created its own antagonist and in so doing set the seeds for its eventual end. These movements and leaders became, as it were, the mirror image of the forces that they were trying to dislodge because no other political action was open to them at that juncture. Etching up the radical nature of their message at time of the cold war would have made the colonial power more intransigent and with less incentive to quit their respective countries - Mozambique, Angola and Guinea Bissau being ready examples.

The system of government inherited from the colonial power, as well, was by definition set on a template that was hardly appropriate for development - both human and material. In short: the system was autocratic and its manifestation in post-colonial life would produce the same results: authoritarianism.

Secondly, national movements became chauvinistic and authoritarian precisely because of their own historical raison d'etre. The leaders of the national movements were men in a hurry, they had to "catch up" with the Europeans, and they had to show their mettle by disproving the racist characterizations of Africans as a people "without a history". Their transformation into authoritarian one party states in turn has wrought havoc in Africa, betraying their democratic credentials and the very people who stood up against colonialism. International authoritarianism was replaced by local ones.

Writing some five years after the fall of the Berlin wall, a writer on transitions to democracy suggested that "the aftermath of authoritarianism, then, may be far less rewarding and far more dangerous than we thought in 1989-it may be a precursor of a new authoritarianism as the genesis of new threats undercuts the potential for any sustained democratic transition." After Authoritarianism: Democracy Or Disorder? Contributors: Daniel N. Nelson - editor. Publisher: Praeger. Westoport, CT. Page Number: vii. Publication Year: 1995.

The author is suggesting an important if not profound dilemma. How does a country sustain or even give root to democracy given that history has proven more than once that transitions to democratic rule often end up, to use a worn-out 1970s word, in a counter-revolution? Put another way, how can these negative and anti-democratic tendencies be avoided particularly when the struggle for democracy was/is a bloody affair that exposes the people of Africa to untold suffering? These questions on democracy and the state in Africa are central questions to the future of this continent. This short intervention cannot replace a more sustained debate on the issue. However, it is this discourse that is material to my understanding of my country which has started along the long journey to democracy. By showing some facets of political life in Somaliland, I believe that the future of Africa can already be seen in many countries that are undergoing this transition to democracy, Somaliland being a close example in the Horn of Africa.

To be sure, Somaliland is a land of camels and poetry. Richard Burton, traveling to through Somaliland in the mid 1800s, called the people he met on his way to the famed court in Abyssinia, "a fierce race of republicans". Fierce in that he was attacked and nearly killed and republican for his romantic view - from a Victorian order nonetheless - of a free and near anarchical social landscape. Somaliland, though, has always had deep roots as far as "political authority" is concerned. Somaliland has about six major clan institutions that have hereditary legitimacy as Sultans. Most of the clans signed protective treaties with the British in the mid-1800s. After about a hundred years, nationalist-anti-colonial groups emerged. Later Somaliland was granted independence and was a recognized state for five days.

To run history along for our purposes, Somaliland's main claim to self-government is through the colonial question, through this contact and, subsequently, like all African states, a drawing up of borders. Only Somaliland chose a different path that in hindsight was - to use a quote from none other than Churchill - "an enigma wrapped up in a mystery". While most countries inherited their respective states, Somaliland was one of the only few states that pursued a pan-Africanist, pan-Somali dream.

Somaliland gave up its state and sovereignty to its neighbor and sisterly people in Italian Somaliland. What followed is public knowledge and need not be recounted here. Suffice to say that Somaliland is back some fourty years after lost sovereignty, genocide, and the wholesale destruction of the country by a dictator, Somaliland is again trying to disprove everyone by building a second chance "one thorn tree at a time." I thank Rakiya Omeer for this quote, which is in an article that she wrote about how peace was achieved in Somaliland. But this is to anticipate.

What then is special about Somaliland, when the very word Somali is now associated with cruel scenes of barbarism and chaos? This picture is flawed when it comes to Somaliland. Indeed, the facts in Somaliland give me the courage to write in such high-brow terms precisely because Somaliland, at least in my eyes, represents the beginning of the end of the ideas about authoritarianism that is deeply etched in the consciousness of this crooked part of Africa

The three main principals that characterize the emergence of democracy in Somaliland: the ratification of the constitutions by the people of Somaliland; the ascendance of the Vice-President to the Presidency of Somaliland after the death of the late M. H. Ibrahim Egal; and, the coming multi-party elections in Somaliland.

These three pillars constitute a major political breakthrough as far as norms and customs are concerned. Moreover, they represent a fundamental shift to the ideas of the rule of law and the constitution as the legal guide for the affairs of government. The people of Somaliland after years of discussion and debate, including bouts of civil war, signed on to a constitution which was ratified by 97% of the population. The constitution is the one single legacy of the late President. It is not perfect, it has flaws, but it is a document that can be improved upon and in the process help Somalilanders experience and give their constitution root in the coming years.

The death of the late president tested the resolve of the people of Somaliland and their institutions. The ratified constitution took effect immediately as the new President was sworn in. This one event unfolded the next sequence of events that has led most observers to look in awe as ordinary men and women welcomed their new President with open arms and goodwill. Municipal elections have been held and have been given a passing grade. Somaliland's meager resources and the coming parliamentary and Presidential elections present real challenges - an issue that I will be writing about in the next issue of my collaboration with Dr. AbdiShakur Jowhar - for Somaliland. However, there is no turning back; Somaliland has tentatively set on foot forward towards its own democratic dispensation.

Many of the questions raised in this piece will be answered by the next article.


BBC Monitoring Reports, March 5, 2003/HornAfrik Online text web site,

SOMALILAND COURT ORDERS PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANTS TO DECLARE THEIR WEALTH

In the run up to the presidential elections in April, the Somaliland high court ordered the three key candidates to declare their personal properties as soon as possible. The court also said that if they failed to obey the order this would threaten their candidature for presidential elections. Meanwhile, the Somaliland information minister Abdullahi Muhammad Du'ale has denied an earlier reports that Somaliland army have been put on high alert. "They are carrying out their normal duties," he said. Mr Du'ale also said that 58 per cent of the budget was earmarked for defence purposes. Earlier reports indicate that Ethiopian troops have crossed the border and killed three people in the border city of Togwajale. Reports from Togwajale say that Ethiopians have agreed to give compensation to the families of the victims.
BBC Monitoring Reports, March 2, 2003/HornAfrik Online text web site, Mogadishu, in Somali 2 Mar 03 SOMALILAND FORCES REPORTEDLY PUT ON HIGH ALERT AT ETHIOPIAN BORDER Forces of the Somaliland administration have been put on high alert. According to reports from Hargeysa Somaliland administrative HQ, the administration's military commander has ordered the forces to be fully ready in their camps. No explanation has been issued as to why the Somaliland forces have been put on such high alert. Emerging reports say Ethiopian forces have been deployed in large numbers at the border with Somaliland in the course of the week. .
Somaliland Times , ISSUE 58 March 1, 2003

Somalia and Survival in the Shadow Of the Global Economy (Part II)

Special Guest Writer for the Somaliland Times , Prof. William Reno, Associate Professor, PhD, University of Wisconsin Reno is a specialist in African politics and the politics of "collapsing states." He is the author of Corruption and State Politics in Sierra Leone (Cambridge, 1995) and Warlord Politics and African States (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998). His current work examines violent commercial organizations in Africa, the former Soviet Union, and the Balkans and their relationships to state power and global economic actors. Reno's research takes him to places such as Sierra Leone, Congo, and Central Asia where he talk to insurgents (including so-called "warlords"), government officials, and foreigners involved in these conflicts

With the world economy. It is unlikely that this political project will generate nation-state identities of the sort seen among dominant states, as indeed independent Somalia failed to become. Instead, the organization of identity and political community adapts to manage connections with the rest of the world within constraints and adaptations to marginality.

Divergent outcomes are explained in this work in an institutional framework shaping the calculus of opportunities, much like those who attribute conflict and networks leading to state collapse to rational calculations of vulnerability and fear. Institutions are not limited to clan, ethnic groups, or remnants of the collapsing state. They include novel business and legal arrangements within networks in the world economy, diasporas, and new alliances with non-state international agencies. They may or may not be rooted in custom and tradition, but are central to regulating who is prestigious, who gets resources, who is considered legitimate, and most important, who exercises coercion. Douglass North identified them in his classic broad definition of institutions as `the rules of the game in a society, or more formally, the humanely devised constraints that shape human interaction'. In the cases here these institutions include unofficial and clandestine linkages, which often play an integral role in how local leaders construct their authority. Somali overseas traders, for example, have long relied upon inter-clan networks of trust and accommodation for economic survival. The persisting lack of international recognition of Somaliland's sovereignty encourages authorities in Hargeisa, the country's capital, to continue to place a premium on these accommodations. But it also forces authorities to contract out state services to local communal enterprises in lieu of the economic regulatory opportunities and access to global commercial practices that outsiders' formal recognition of Somaliland's sovereignty would permit.

Four tentative hypotheses incorporate this modified institutional approach to explaining divergent experiences with conflict and identity formation in the wake of state collapse in the cases examined below:

One: Unofficial, non-state institutions, including those that respond to global economic shifts and increased marginality, in some instances reduce risks of fragmentation that come with state collapse. The pursuit of a state-building project and the consolidation of identity around new syncretic adaptations to global conditions can be explained with reference to informal, mediating institutions that defuse inter-clan (and inter-ethnic) security dilemmas.

Two: When formal and informal institutional frameworks favour old informal patronage networks and clandestine economic channels over the interests of new or outsider elites, the successful intervention of clan (or ethnic) entrepreneurs is less likely, reducing the risks of violence.

Three: When elites adapt old informal institutions to maintain an old state or build a new one, the risk of fragmentation is lower. New institutions and channels of resources such as roundtables, national conferences, NGO aid, and outside military intervention can increase security dilemmas, offer new niches for political entrepreneurs, and thus increase risk of political fragmentation.

Four: If internal conditions noted above are met, local actors are able to exploit opportunities in the international economy to pursue self-determination. These strategies counterbalance and manipulate otherwise strong pressures implicit in international norms and laws that otherwise undermine self-determination efforts outside the framework of existing boundaries of globally recognized states.

Taken together, these hypotheses acknowledge that marginal status in global economic and political networks can become political tools in the hands entrepreneurs. This can take the form of exploiting inter-clan or inter-ethnic conflicts. It is also compatible with strategies that do a better job of containing violence, and are capable of sustaining more diverse political communities, though not in the mold of old fashioned nation-states.

Some scholars cite an immutable `call of kinship' and durable `ethnocratic state' predating colonial rule to explain the failure to sustain a centralized state in Somalia after 1990. In this work I recognize that clan and lineage play important roles in Somali politics and are crucial units of analysis. A Somali scholar, for example, identifies six major clans and at least 67 sub-clans that have become defensive networks against predation in the 1990s. Clans are taken as basic determinants of social order elsewhere such as in Chechnya: `in peacetime, they recognize no sovereign authority and may fragment into a hundred rival clans'. Yet if social structure, the subject of the next section, plays an important role in shaping the organization of conflict, assumptions of immutability do not explain why some clan groups are able to contain entrepreneurs of violence in their midst while others cooperate with them or become their targets. If, as propositions above propose, people in these social units can tailor their own organization, procedures and solutions to concrete circumstances, then it is more useful to look at clan and lineage structures through the lens of political and economic institutions, both formal and informal in this light. In that case, colonial rule emerges as an important influence on social organization and social control of resources used in warfare in the 1990s. Differences in colonial rule and local responses also help explain contemporary variations in politics.

State Collapse and Violent Fragmentation in the South

Italian administrators imported into Southern Somalia their own experiences with state economic planning and heavy state support for large-scale enterprises. This tight connection between state policy in the capital and commerce appeared when the Duke of Abruzzi (famous for Alaskan and Himalayan adventures) in 1919 established the Societa Agricola Italo Somala (SAIS) in the fertile river valleys of southern Somalia. He and other concession holders discovered that they could not attract workers from among the Gosha people of the area that had migrated to these river valleys from the Zanzibar coast in the pre-colonial era. Small holders were reluctant to leave their farms and trade social obligations and protections of family and lineage based production for wages. European concessionaires identified the problem as following from the tendency of local elders to discourage young men from accepting paid labor that would undermine elders' control over bride price. Oral histories from the Jubba River Valley cite worries over the potential for local disruption that loss of elder control over matrimony would cause. If young men could afford to marry whomever they pleased, this would favour some families over others, perhaps permanently. This risked giving young men means to ignore local sensibilities concerning what constituted appropriate marital matches, which involved concerns about family alliances and redress for past wrongs or disadvantage, all social constraints that are important later if one is interested in controlling fighters or freeing them to prey on communities.

The launch of the Italian invasion of Ethiopia from Somalia in 1935 helped to `solve' this labour problem. The conscription of 40,000 Somali troops gave Italian officials the means to forcibly remove local farmers from their land and give it to Italian enterprises. Removing young men from among settled populations in southern river valleys, disrupted local food production in the late 1930s. Food shortages and higher prices ensured that more local people sought wage labour contracts, some of which provided food as in-kind compensation. Some young men discovered what elders feared, that employment on plantations growing bananas for the Italian market freed them from local customary constraints. Employers also recruited young women to provide workers with wives from outside the area to convince their workers to settle on plantations. This change increased matrimonial options for young men but undermined the role of married women in elders' constructions of flexible, cross cutting ties between local lineages.

Heavy state subsidies for commercial farms also initiated a pattern that outlived the Somali state in the 1990s of drawing powerful actors from the capital into southern economic and political affairs. It was the intention of colonial administrators from the start that large-scale commercial agriculture be distributed according to political criteria, not simply efficiency. Specifically, investment was designed to uproot local producers' control over land and force them to engage fully with a national economy. By the mid 1930s SAIS became Italy's main banana supplier and Somalia's largest commercial agricultural enterprise behind the shield of import tariffs and state subsidies. The export quota survived the collapse of the Somali state through terms of the Lom, Conventions that protected Somali banana exports to the European Union up to 1999. This colonial policy resembles later policies of `national self-sufficiency' that masked capital-based elites' manipulation of state economic policies to divert assets for themselves and weaken regional power bases of rival politicians. This patronage-based allocation of economic opportunities drew outsiders into the region to control land and monopolize access to economic opportunities with help from the coercive force of the state to back up their claims. When violence increased in the 1980s, this elite was able to replace state militias with young men of their own kin from outside the area. These young men were refugees from conflict in other regions, freed from customary limits that their home communities would have exercised over their use of violence.

Thus economic expansion and government revenue in Italian Somalia and the independent Somali state did not develop on the basis of global competitiveness. Instead it relied on violent accumulation and privileged connections to political authority in the capital. Colonial officials used this strategy to bolster a formal economy export market that could provide revenues to the state. Despite the eventual diminishment of formal state control over transactions, colonial policy resembled later practice in that beneficiaries relied upon the support of key officials-later, patronage bosses-who used coercion and public asserts to ensure commercial success. For example, 1955 banana exports to Italy provided $7.6 million of the colony's total exports of $10.8 million only because SAIS still enjoyed prewar tariff exemptions and state-regulated pricing in Italy. A World Bank team estimated that Somali bananas cost 40 percent more to produce and ship to Italy than did West African and Canary Island bananas. Likewise, SAIS also produced textiles, soap, and sugar for local consumption at 40 percent above world prices, again with the benefit of tariff protection and easy access to state credits, policies that continued after colonial rule. Thus the World Bank report accurately predicted that Somalia would require heavy financial support long after achieving independence in 1960, a responsibility that expanded with large-scale aid projects that boosted commercial farming to include about 20 percent of all farming land in southern Somalia's river valleys.

Despite state support for agriculture-or rather because of it-Italian Somalia entered the 1950s heavily reliant upon direct subsidies from Rome to pay for administration. From 1951 to 1957, the colony generated average annual revenues of only $5.4 million, requiring an additional Italian government subsidy averaging $9 million. `The hard facts', wrote investigators, `are that the traditional sectors of the economy offer little prospect for rapid expansion, while European agriculture has grown up on a largely artificial basis'. This did not deter multilateral creditors and foreign donors from taking the burden of financing projects after independence in 1960. During the 1960s and 1970s foreign donors and creditors supported a large expansion of plantation agriculture. From Independence to 1981, 18 percent of remaining small holders in the Jubba River Valley had their communal and private holdings forcibly expropriated to state farms, not including land lost to reservoirs. This was usually done without compensation. The impact on local communities was more dramatic than figures suggest, since water diversions to large irrigation schemes left additional land unfertile.


Somaliland Times , ISSUE 58 March 1, 2003

"I Am Less Optimistic About The Situation In Somalia Except For Somaliland"

Excerpts From Interview With David Shinn:

Washington DC, Feb 24, 2003 (The East African/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) - David Shinn worked in Africa for 17 years as a US ambassador and as an officer in Foreign Service. He also directed the Office of East African Affairs at the State Department, and helped coordinate US relief efforts in Somalia in 1992 and 1993. He currently teaches courses in African affairs at George Washington University. He spoke to Special Correspondent Kevin J. Kelly on the Kenya government's anti-corruption campaign and the prospects for peace and stability in the region.

How about the Kibaki team's policies regarding East Africa? Do you think they'll be substantially different from Moi's?

There won't be any significant difference regarding East Africa. I'm glad to see Gen Lazarus Sumbeiywo is continuing his efforts to mediate the conflict in Sudan. I'm convinced that Kenya will continue to exercise leadership in regard to Somalia as well as Sudan. Kenya is the only country in IGAD that is able to do this now. It has the ear as well as the respect of all the countries in IGAD.

Do you share the optimism others have expressed concerning a peace settlement in Sudan?

Positive things have certainly happened, and I'm optimistic that they will continue to happen. But there are sure to be setbacks as well. It's not going to be a smooth process. If the majority of members of both warring sides agree it is in their interest to end the civil war, then perhaps we will see peace. But it's sure to be a long, hard slog.

Do you see any prospect for stability in Somalia?

I'm much less optimistic about the situation in Somalia, except for Somaliland, which is doing quite well, thank you. Civil society does seem to want peace in Somalia, but it's the guys with the guns and the militias who will ultimately decide whether there's going to be peace or not.

Is it likely that Somalia will be split into several parts?

I think that eventually some sort of federal structure will be put in place. There's obviously going to be reluctance to move in that direction, but it's probably the best way to bring about peace and stability. I don't believe that Somalia is going to remain a failed state forever.

How do you assess the role of al Qa'eda in the region? Do you think it now has a base in coastal communities in Kenya?

Al Itihaad clearly did have a base at Ras Kamboni during the 1990s. But the United Nations inspected the area after September 11 and found that it had been cleared out. Al Itihaad does have some kind of connection with al Qa'eda. In my opinion, however, it's not been satisfactorily proven yet that there are close links with Osama bin Laden. I'm reluctant to suggest there is an al Qa'eda base anywhere in Somalia. I've seen no proof that there is. It was part of my responsibilities while working at the US embassy in Kenya in the mid-1960s to stay in touch with what was happening on the Coast. Some of the communities on the Coast do appear to have become more radicalized. I don't think al Qa'eda has a base there, but there are probably links to al Qa'eda among some people on the Coast.

What will happen on the Coast and elsewhere in the region if the United States does attack Iraq?

There will probably be demonstrations and such, but the real damage for the United States will be more subterranean - behind the scenes. There will be a much greater concern about US policies. There will be a negative impact on the United States' ability to man-oeuvre there in the future.



Somaliland Times , ISSUE 58 March 1, 2003

Ministry of Finance Fails to Account for Billions of Shillings in Gov't Revenues

Budget for Fiscal year 2003 Estimated at SL SH 97 Billion with Some Ministries Allotted Highly Inflated Figures

Hargeisa: Somaliland's Ministry of Finance has failed to account for how at least 19 billion Somaliland Shillings in government revenues for fiscal year 2002 were spent. According to account statements by the State Accountant General, the amount represented a surplus income over the Sl Sh 88.9 billion previously budgeted for 2002. However, the Ministry of Finance has only acknowledged a surplus of 16 billion shillings out of the 19 reported by the Accountant General's office.

These discrepancies and others were uncovered earlier this week by Haatuf and the Somaliland Times as the Minister of Finance, Hussein Farah Doodi, struggled to finalize the government's new budget for fiscal year 2003. The budget, which is expected to be around Sl Sh 97 Billion, will come before the House of Representatives today.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the total of government revenues for 2002 amounted to 105 billions while a figure of 106 billions is indicated in a report by the Accountant General that reveals the total actual expenditure for 2002 as Sl Sh 87,503,459,694 instead of the budgeted Sl Sh 88,852,000,000.

Though the Ministry of Finance concedes that a surplus has been achieved, it yet reports owing private creditors a sum of Sl Sh 7.8 billion as expenditures incurred by the government in 2002.

The Minister of Finance also appears to have violated government financial regulations when he wrote on Feb 1, 2003 to the Bank of Somaliland to honor payment of Sl Sh 20 million for the rehabilitation of the residence of the Minister of Information, Abdillahi M. Duale, a close friend of his, as an advance against "Emergencies Head."

The payment order did not go through the normal accounting procedures but was made in the form of a letter signed by Doodi, despite prohibitive standing instructions disallowing usage of funds under the emergencies budget line before the month of September.

Allocations for the Ministry of Information under the budget proposal for this year appear to be comparatively quite generous. According to Doodi's plan, the Ministry of Information is to get around 311 million shillings as stationery, fuel and telephone costs, a sum that is roughly equivalent to the total allocations assigned under the same sub-head to the four larger ministries of Interior, RR&R, Commerce and Foreign Affairs put together.

Under a sub-head titled "allocations for outstanding bills", Sl Sh 165.35 million are to go to the Information Ministry against Sl Sh 339.4 million for Ministry of Aviation. The two ministries actually get between themselves the largest and second largest of the funds allocated under this budget line.

It is also unclear why Sl Sh 313.5 million will be granted to the Aviation Ministry as allocation to cover fuel costs against Sl Sh 329 million allotted for the whole police of Somaliland. The way the funds have been appropriated shows fiscal irresponsibility on the part of Minister Doodi and his staff.

For instance, there is no apparent logic in allocating 31 million shillings in telephone expenditure to the obscure Ministry of Industry that occupies one room office in the Maandeeq compound against none for the Somaliland police. This Ministry's budget allocation for telephones exceeds the appropriations given to the Army, Interior and Custodial Guards (Prisons) added together.

Finance Ministry officials remained non-committal on allegations of corruption directed against them. Frustrated by their lack of response, our sister newspaper Haatuf had in its Monday edition challenged Doodi to deny a story it ran that day on missing government revenues. Minister Doodi is expected to appear before the House today to submit a budget of approximately 97 billion Somaliland Shillings or 8 billions more than last year's. About 58 billions are earmarked as an allocation for salaries and allowances, 13 billions for security forces rations and 3.3 billion as national emergencies with the last budget head being administered by the Presidency.

Allocations to the offices of the President and Vice-President will amount to Sl Sh 3.25 billion and 1.19 billion respectively. Around 18.5 billion shillings will be allotted to other government agencies.

Meanwhile, the Somaliland Times has learned that Minister Doodi is building himself a two-story villa in Hargeisa.


Somaliland Times , ISSUE 58 March 1, 2003

Lessons Learned from the Civil Society Symposium

Last month, Hargeisa consecutively played host to two regional conferences where Somalilanders rubbed shoulders with delegates representing international organizations and civil society groups in neighboring Somalia. On the first occasion, an Amnesty International workshop for human rights defenders from Somaliland and Somalia was held. Facilitators and lecturers at this meeting included AI's Martin Hill and the UN Independent Expert on Human Rights in Somaliland and Somalia, Dr. Ghanim Al-Najjar, Mohamed Barud of Samotalis and representatives of 23 human rights organizations working in Somaliland and Somalia. The organizers of the human rights workshop were people who are familiar with the internal situation in both Somaliland and Somalia. More importantly they were knowledgeable about the recent past of the former Somalia, particularly the tragic period of the eighties during which wide-scale atrocities had been committed against civilians in present day Somaliland. As individuals, these organizers were the type of people who closely followed what has been going on in Somaliland and Somalia since the collapse of Barre's regime. Moreover, participants knew in advance the issues to be discussed at the meeting and most of them had formed some kind of a vision before or during the meeting as to the outcome. As a result, the workshop went on smoothly and was concluded successfully.

The other meeting, a symposium on civil society organizations, was held in the last week of February. This was a much bigger meeting, attended by hundreds of delegates, mostly from Somalia, and to a lesser extent Somaliland. Bringing such a large number of people together was certainly a very ambitious project. However, one of the weak points that later had a negative impact on this meeting was the fact that the organizers, NOVIB, have not been conscious enough about Somaliland's sensitivities, particularly when it comes to the issue of independence and past war crimes.

Operating from Nairobi and served by Somali political entrepreneurs and consultants posing as human rights or civil rights activists, NOVIB presented two studies: Mapping Somali Civil Society and Donor Assistance towards Somalia. But it seemed that the authors had only "Somalia" in their minds for most of the time while writing these two reports. The two studies not only smacked of anti-Somaliland perspectives but also contained such misleading and deceptive statements as "There is recognition that it was not only the people of Somaliland who were wronged under the regime of Siyad Barre but that the majority of all Somalis suffered during this period."

This is of course something often repeated by Somalis who fear that they as individuals, or members of their clans, could be implicated in the genocides that took place in Somaliland during the eighties. It is also akin to saying "It was not only the Jews who had suffered during the holocaust but also most of the Germans as well." Because of the repetition of some insensitive literature, Somaliland organizations boycotted signing the Hargeisa Consensus Declaration during the last session of the symposium on Wednesday.

NOVIB's Somaliland counterparts that were involved in launching the symposium cannot escape blame for not sensitizing the organizing Dutch NGO as well as stakeholders from Somalia with the prevalent attitudes, values and aspirations in Somaliland. The reservations voiced by representatives of most of Somaliland's civil society organizations against the final declaration should be understood within this context.

Despite this setback, a lot of good work was done in the symposium in terms of exchanging experience and networking. To some extent, the people and government of Somaliland should feel proud for hosting two big regional events. But if international organizations want to sponsor gatherings of this type in the future, they should bear in mind that Somaliland need not be confused with Somalia. At least for the people of this country, these two places are not the same and can't be the same. It is also essential not to engage consultants who are politically biased against Somaliland in the preparation of reports on the state of affairs in Somaliland. And above everything else, Somaliland's local NGOs and government agencies must be involved from the beginning in any studies or reports to be made on Somaliland issues. Before and during engagement in any local or regional endeavors, it is necessary that Somaliland's public is kept informed about what is going.

Finally, international organizations should avoid thinking on behalf of Somaliland's people and government; the agenda of every collaboration must be laid down and legitimacy of representation established in a transparent manner; and Somaliland's government should show a more pro-active involvement in leading and coordinating such efforts in the future, for Somalia may not have a central government but Somaliland does have one.


Somaliland Times , ISSUE 58 March 1, 2003

Empowering Should be Reciprocal

Hargeisa: The Somaliland Society for Independent Journalists And Writers (SSJW) has issued the following press release on the occasion of the conclusion of the Somali civil society symposium: The "Somaliland Society for Independent Journalists And Writers," an organization that incorporates independent journalists and writers and committed to promoting and defending the free press, free speech and social justice in the Republic of Somaliland, wishes to convey its sincere greetings to the participants of the Civil Society Symposium being held at Ambassador Hotel, Hargeisa.

We believe that the decision to hold this unprecedented large gathering for Somalia and Somaliland civil society organizations in Hargeisa, has not come by choice, but rather by default: because no other place in the territories of former Somalia was felt safe enough to host this grand meeting, the meeting was held in Somaliland. We mention this fact not to offend our brothers and sisters from Somalia who are here today to participate in the symposium. Neither is this simple fact stated here out of xenophobia. No, it is for the sake of raising a very important issue that those of you who come from Somalia need to be aware of. It is an issue of vital importance for Somaliland's society as a whole, and to a great extent, for the future of civil society in Somalia, as well. It is the issue of peace and future relations between the civil societies of Somaliland and Somalia.

But first we feel obliged to let you know that the single most vital determining factor for the realization and consolidation of peace here has been the proclamation of this country as the independent Republic of Somaliland. In other words, the task of preserving and promoting Somaliland, as an independent entity, has been the pole around which people came together to make peace and reconciliation a reality in this country.

Following the genocides and wide-scale atrocities committed against the people of Somaliland by the former unitary state of Somalia, Somalilanders resolved on May 18, 1991 that the only way for avoiding similar tragedies happening to them again, was to reinstate the independence that Somaliland achieved on June 26, 1960. The existence of Somaliland as a fully independent entity is therefore still seen and will be seen for a long time to come if not forever, as an indispensable safeguard for the protection of the physical security and well being of Somaliland's citizens.

It is amidst this immense sense of solidarity among the people for the promotion of Somaliland's cause that social organizations flourished and found power. And any external attempts to remove this factor from the Somaliland equation would have catastrophic consequences for the cause of peace, not only in Somaliland and the region, but would also lead to the re-emergence of the long suppressed militaristic tendencies within Somaliland's society at great peril to its currently vibrant civil society.

Brothers and sisters from Somalia

We know that, as civil society organizations, you are operating under very difficult conditions. We know that you are being marginalized and constantly harassed by those who resort to violence as a means and an end by itself, to perpetuate their self-interests. We also know that that to survive and develop you need help. However, we honestly believe that assistance from the international community alone, cannot guarantee your survival, let alone nurturing you as civil society organizations now or in the future. Neither could it lead to your empowerment as civil society activists.

We believe that you can find more crucially important support for your efforts in the Republic of Somaliland itself, particularly among its civil society groups, provided you respond positively to the aspirations of Somaliland's civil society. To put it in clearer terms, Somaliland's civil society is in a position to assist in empowering the civil society in Somalia if the latter would agree to reciprocate by accepting the new political reality that exists here - Independent and Sovereign Somaliland. Recalling the instrumental role that the SNM played in the past in the liberation of your country from the former dictatorial military regime, there is no other reason -except your lack of acceptance and recognition of our people's right to self-determination - that can stop Somaliland from assisting the people of Somalia establish themselves in power in the same way as people have done here. The choice in yours.


Somaliland Times , ISSUE 58 March 1, 2003

The Blind Leading the Blind

Ali Gulied, San Jose, USA

Twelve years and some have passed since Somaliland withdrew from the Union. And as friends and foes alike say no one has recognized yet. The ill effects of two decades of neglect, a decade of under siege and bombardment and a decade of non-recognition have taken its toll. The fact that Somaliland authorities pose the question to every Dick and Harry that stops-by clearly reflects that desperation. Naturally, one would expect the actions of the government towards that quest would match the level of desperation and anxiety. But the government's record for the recognition quest is perfunctory, unfocused and lacks a strategy. To make matters worse, the appointment of Dr. Dixood as a special envoy (recognition czar) might derail the quest rather than enhance it. This brief perspective would attempt to point-out, with minimum illustrations, that Somaliland's foreign policy is mediocre, the prospects and ill effects of Dr. Dixood's appointment and finally it would provide a brief suggestion of how to proceed on the recognition quest.

Somaliland has neglected the recognition quest. The message it wants to communicate to the World community is absent when and where it counts most. For example, at the most recent conference of the African heads of States (AU) held in Addis Ababa, Somaliland was absent. Conferences of that level where world leaders, other dignitaries and journalists congregate at the same time are rare and present a golden opportunity to meet as many as time allows. Political action groups, activists, environmentalists and many other interest groups such as associations and societies that want to advance their causes, beliefs and ideals view such conferences as a chance to educate, as chance to influence and/or at minimum as a chance to neutralize the critics. Somaliland should have similarly taken her cause to the streets, alleys, inside the Sheratons and the Hiltons, wherever it finds her target. The Transitional National Government (TNG), Abdulqaasim and company were present in full force and they have made some big scores. Scores made within days but might take years to undo. Many other occasions held in East Africa, West Africa, Southern Africa, the Americas have slipped without notice. It is troubling that Somaliland has, once again, missed a golden opportunity. One keeps saying, may be, next time. But, time isn't on the side of Somaliland.

Besides, it is common knowledge that the issues that concern Somaliland and Somalia for that matter are formulized, debated and adopted for blanket application in some epicenters like Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Brussels and to a lesser extend Washington, New York and Egypt. The European Union is the largest donor to Somaliland and yet, Somaliland doesn't have a representative in Belgium. Ethiopia is important to Somaliland economically and politically, yet the envoys Somaliland assigned to the country lack any political acumen and diplomatic experience. No wonder relations are deteriorating. New York and Cairo aren't even factored into the equation. The only relatively shinning spots are Nairobi and Washington. In Washington, the highly qualified, articulate Washingtonian, Saa'd Sheikh Isman Nur is making the rounds but languishing without the Mighty Dollar - no budget; In Kenya Xusseen Cali Ducaleh (Cawil), a seasoned diplomat has been re-activated few months ago. Already, Cawil has made a difference but why did it take so long? If Somaliland continues to be absent where and when it counts most and if Somaliland continues to under-finance the recognition quest, the misery of non-recognition would prolong.

There is another development that might blot out the gains and the goodwill that Somaliland has earned so far towards the recognition quest. According to a press release from the office of the Presidency, President Rayaale appointed Dr. Omer Dixood as a special envoy to secure recognition for Somaliland from the International Community. It is fairly common practice to appoint a special envoy for the resolution of a nagging problem such as the reconciliation of the Somalia warring factions. However, the reason an envoy is selected over others is primarily for the in-depth knowledge, experience, power or talent that particular envoy has for the task he/she is expected to under-take.

But in this case, the wrong expert is appointed and for the wrong reasons. In light of the poverty and the anticipated prosperity and economic development, rightly or wrongly, associated with the recognition, it is expected of Somaliland to marshal the energy, the resources and the experts to achieve recognition within the shortest possible time. Undoubtedly, Dr. Dixood is an able person who has accomplished a lot with a handicap and for that he should be admired. But Dr. Dixood is neither a political scientist nor is he an expert in international law. Moreover, he is no Michael Mariano, the late beloved diplomat, and he has no background in public relations. Interestingly, the press release mentioned that Dr. Dixood has resided in Europe for about 20 years. If this meant to be the basis of his selection, he is the right person (no argument there); I couldn't have come up with a better one myself either.

Aside from the obvious lack of credentials, Dr. Dixood's response to a question posed by Jamhuuriya uncovered his naivet, on the task ahead. It went like this: "Dixood oo wargeyska Jamhuuriya weeydiiyay sida uu u arko in uga bixi karo hawshan loo igmaday, waxa uu sheegay in ay fududahay. Isaga oo hadal kiisi sii wata waxa uu sheegay hadii S/L sii waado nabadgelyad jirtaa maanta waxa aan hubaa in aggonsigu daaqda saaranyahay"

Let us say "aamiin" to Dr. Dixood's prophecy. But Dr. Dixood's prophecy is simplistic and no one is expecting that recognition would be handed over on a silver platter. At the out set, I must tell you that like Dr. Dixood, I have no credentials on this subject either but from what I understand diplomacy is complex; it requires training in geopolitics, it has protocols to follow and certain etiquette to obey. It is delicate and fragile and those who don't walk and talk like one are ostracized.

Considering Dr. Dixood's ill preparedness, I am afraid that this appointment would derail the prospects of recognition. Based on an interview Dr. Dixood gave to Jamhuuriya (London) on February 18, 2003, Dr. Dixood would lead 100 Somalilanders into the British Parliament on February 28 to present to the House of Parliament, in six hours time, Somaliland's decision to withdraw from the union and to appeal recognition.

In explaining what would be the substance of his presentation, Dr. Dixood stated, "Waxaanu ku odhanayna maadaama Somaliland ka mid ahayd maxmiyadihii ay gumaysan jirtay Boqortooyada Ingriisku, isla markaana ay dad badan oo reer Somaliland ahi oo ka mid ah u dagaalamay Ingriiska dagaal-weynihii labaad ee Adunka ay ku dhinteen. . Sida darted, haddii dawladda Ingriisku aanay na siinayn dadkii.ku dhintay mag-dhawgoodii in aanu xaq ugu leenahay inay noo soo dedejiso ictraafka dawladnimo" Dr. Dixood continued, "Waxa kale oo aanu u sheegaynaa inay Soamliland ahayd dalkii madaxbannaanidiisa ka qaatay ingriiska 1960kii, Boqorada Ingriiskuna ay u Saxeexday madaxbannanidiisa. .Ingriiskuna uu ogyahay annaga oo ah dawlad madaxbannaan inaanu ku biirnay midowgii Somalia. "

Six hours is a lot of time. But the substance Dr. Dixood is planning to present is pathetic, litigious and insulting the intelligence of both the parliamentarians and that of Somalilanders. Lecturing at the British Parliament that Somaliland used to be a British Protectorate; that Her Majesty signed Somaliland's independence; that United Kingdom affirms that the union of Somaliland and Somalia formed Somali Republic, so on and so forth is a waste of a golden opportunity but more importantly it reflects how ill-prepared and ill-equipped Dr. Dixood is to under-take the issue at hand. It, also, unequivocally depicts the caliber of those who assigned him for the recognition issue, the single most important issue Somaliland wants to achieve. Somaliland could do a lot better.

If it is true that Somaliland is given an opportunity to present her case to the British Parliament as Dr. Dixood is claiming, Somaliland should reconsider the timing in order to prepare the presentation. It appears that this is a rare opportunity that shouldn't be tackled lightly. The likelihood that such an opportunity would present itself again is very slim and the chances that Dr. Dixood would mess it up are great. Assuming it is true, I would advise the Somaliland administration to request this opportunity be postponed for another six months or one year. In the meantime, Somaliland would hire experts in international law, public relations and marketing firms to prepare and prosecute the case of Somaliland in a professional, legalistic and comprehensive manner that matches the significance Somaliland attaches to this case. Researching, preparing, packaging and prosecuting the case of Somaliland would take at least six months, if not years. This service could cost Somaliland roughly between three hundred thousand United States Dollars to half-million. It seems too high on Somaliland coffers but if recognition was on auction, how much Somaliland would be willing to bid? At any rate, I hope that Dr. Dixood wouldn't present the recognition case to the British Parliament. That would hurt and not help Somaliland.

But contrary to what Dr. Dixood has stated in Jamhuuriya interview, the opportunity given to Dr. Dixood isn't that significant after all. It seems that Dr. Dixood has dramatized the event but the reality is closer to revelations reported elsewhere. Based on a report posted on HadhWanaag Website on February 17, 2003, Dr. Dixood is scheduled to meet with some parliamentarians, who represent constituencies with fair number of ethnically Somaliland electorate, to raise two issues: recognition and reparations for Somaliland soldiers who were killed the 2nd world war. This approach could explode like a minefield. The historical colonial relationship between Somaliland and the British is undeniable and how Somalilanders gallantly fought side by side with the British is inscribed in the annals of world records. As descendants whose ancestors helped the British Empire in time of need, it is appropriate for Somaliland to remind the British of Somaliland's sacrifices and loyalty but it is inappropriate to alienate and raise the issue of reparations concurrently. Broaching a litigious almost century old world war reparations that was never raised for three decades by the Somali government is ill advised. Raising it at this juncture, while Somaliland is attempting to appeal to Her Majesty for another more pressing issue would only antagonize Her Majesty and strain the slowly warming-up relationship. Mentioning the reparations with the same breath as the recognition in the British Parliament would definitely give the wrong signal. And that may set Somaliland and the British on a collusion course. Somaliland has to be mindful of the magnitude of the lethal minefield that the inexperienced and unsteady hands of Dr. Dixood could trigger.

Making an appointment with a British parliamentarian is also a fairly common practice, which doesn't require any skill other than being a member of his/her constituency. For the same token elected officials make an effort to meet their constituency and listen their concerns anytime anywhere. It is fine if that is what Dr. Dixood is doing. But it is sad if that is all Dr. Dixood could deliver as special envoy. Where is the beef? The individual effort, albeit laudable, is less effective than the community and organizational effort, which the Somaliland communities and organizations all over the globe are under-taking. The historical relationship that Dr. Dixood wants to confront with the British Parliamentarians isn't something he uncovered. The evidence is historic and plenty but the issue is how to package and present it to the right audience at the right time. Some who, among others, have succeeded in this endeavor and hence indirectly advanced the cause without fanfare are the Cardiff Somaliland Community, the Peace Institute, the Institute of Practical Research and Training, the Somaliland Forum and Edna Adan Ismail.

On February 13, 2003, the Somaliland Community in Cardiff has hosted a conference in which the under-secretary of development, Ms. Sally Keeble was the guest speaker. Few months earlier, the same community invited the Somaliland Deputy Speaker of the House, Abdulqadir Haji Ismail (Jirde). The Cardiff Community as a whole and in particular Cabdi Caagli Axmed Daad, historian and author, has displayed an array of documents and other memorable mementos depicting the long relationship between the British and the people of Somaliland at a conference held in honor of Cabdulqaadir Jirde and his counter part at the Wales parliament. The collaborative effort from the Community and the manner the Deputy Speaker effectively represented Somaliland with grace has resonated with the people of Somaliland both at home and at abroad. Another event that comes to mind is the one the Director of the Institute of Practical Research and Training (IPRT), Dr. Ahmed Hussein Essa has hosted few months ago on Capital Hill, where prominent diplomats and congressional members were the guest speakers. The work of Dr. Husseen Bulhan and the Peace Institute, particularly the Tokyo Workshop has elevated Somaliland to a higher level. Not to mention the indefatigable effort of Somaliland Forum and who could forget how Edna Adan (the jewel of Somaliland) had charmed South Africa and how the Press noted her eloquence and elegance. The goodwill these efforts generate stay in the minds of the people for a long time. But that isn't enough. This is a war and should be fought like one, with bunkers; command and control center manned by the best and brightest Generals, with enough resources and ammunition to last till Mandeeq is recognized. Anything less is a mediocre.

The fear is Dr. Dixood's approach would erode the goodwill and set the clock back, many years back. Indeed, this appointment is unorthodox. The piece of paper identifying the bearer as special envoy resembles more of a pipe fitter's testimonial than a diplomat's credential. The fact that the infrastructure such as an office, the budget and the like that is necessary to facilitate, coordinate and launch this mission were not addressed, not even in fine print, tells me that it is just another campaign ploy like the oil explorations. Additionally, the methodology employed in this assignment is outside the diplomatic channels. Government to government communication is channeled via the respective foreign offices. The fact that Somaliland isn't recognized doesn't alter this channel. It is granted that Dr. Dixood's official assignment entails visiting a lot of foreign offices and meeting a lot of dignitaries. Pulling a crumpled testimonial-like piece of paper out of his pocket to identify himself, whenever he meets dignitaries, is belittling and demeaning the important task he is appointed to resolve. Also, the appointment of Dr. Dixood didn't disclose the financial aspect of this task. Is Dr. Dixood volunteering his time? Is he paying out-of pocket-expenses from his resources? Or is the government footing the bill? The public wants to know.

There is another problem with this appointment; it has raised more questions than answers. Somaliland has already official representatives that deal with the recognition issue and other mutual issues of interest in most of the developed countries. For example, there is Osman Ahmed Hassan, a seasoned diplomat, representing Somaliland in England where Dr. Dixood is also currently residing. Would Hassan continue to deal with the British foreign office or would he hand over the correspondence and the records to Dixood? Does this mean Hassan is released from his duty by default? Would Dixood address other issues of mutual interest like the repatriation of refugees, one wonders? Additionally, this appointment doesn't identify the countries Dixood would be liaisoning. On the face of it, it appears that Dr.Dixood is an ambassador at large, was this intentional? No matter how unqualified Dr. Dixood is, if this appointment has stated that Dr. Dixood would represent the interest of Somaliland in such a country, it would have been more palatable.

Obviously, this isn't the proper way to handle this important issue. The purpose of this appointment is a part of a campaigning tactic to appeal to certain constituency and has nothing to do with the larger national issue (recognition), which it purports to address. As stated above, this appointment was for the wrong reasons. How insincere. Missteps like this could erode the amount of hard-won goodwill that Somaliland is trying to build onto. But again all isn't lost. The testimonial-like piece of paper might serve Dixood for another purpose; it is a nice piece of souvenir. He could frame it and hang it on the wall of his office or residence.

A better way to approach the recognition quest is to appoint a permanent focal group. In order to achieve timely results, the quest for recognition should be well planned, proactive, focused, systematic and pursued relentlessly at the following fronts: a) Somaliland b) Somalia and the front-line states c) The African Union and the Security Council and d) The worldwide community at large. The reasons of focusing the above fronts and the how-to are beyond the scope of this perspective. Anyway, the road map to the realization of that quest should be reviewed, revised and assessed regularly to reflect the accomplishments and to incorporate changes and new directives. The input should be solicited from seasoned diplomats, politicians and other community leaders but the stewardship and the execution of that plan should be trusted in the hands of respected diplomats and technocrats such as Abdirahiim Cabby Farrax, Omar Carte Qaalib, Xuseen Cali Ducaleh (Cawil), Cusman Axmed Xassan, Edna Adan Ismail and others of the same caliber in concert with the President and the Foreign Office. Rather than reactively jerking the knee whenever Somaliland is badly battered and assaulted by the critics, rather than employing the services of an amateur, Somaliland should put a systematic program in place to monitor, deter and minimize the effects of incoming storms and direct the operations like a war. Such a panel should be empowered with a generous budget, given terms of reference and burdened with a timetable. Furthermore, the panel should package the historical claim to sovereignty, document sufficiently the repression and the ethnic cleansing exacted on the people of Somaliland. This could be done with the help of lawyers that specialize in international law, public relations and marketing firms. Such experts could capitalize on the peace, stability, the democracy and the rule of law Somaliland have adopted and successfully sustained in the midst of turbulence. Anything less would be hodgepodge.

In case, Dr. Dixood insists to go ahead with his substandard presentation, cited below is the text of Somaliland Independence proclamation: On June 23, 1960, The Queen by a Royal Proclamation terminating Her Majesty's protection over Somaliland Protectorate proclaimed and declared that "as from the beginning of the appointed day (June 26, 1960), our protection over the territories known as the Somaliland Protectorate shall cease, and all territories and agreements in force immediately before the appointed day between Us or our government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and any of the tribes of the said territories, all our obligations existing immediately before that day towards the said territories and all functions, powers, rights, authority or jurisdiction exercisable by Us immediately before that day in or in relation to the said territories by treaty, grant, usage, sufferance or otherwise, shall lapse" Evoking the exact words might be more powerful than stating Her Majesty signed our independence; just another substandard thought! By the way, in case you aren't aware of, there are other members of the diaspora sporting with testimonial-like pieces of paper bearing not the signature of a minister but that of the President. One of those, states that so and so (name with-held), the bearer of this letter is appointed to raise funds in North America for the election in the name of Somaliland; I wonder if a copy of that letter has been provided to the election commission. Is this another scheme to raise funds for a political party? Keep guessing.

Frankly, Ambassador David Shinn has said it and Dr. Qaanim Al-Najaar of the United Nations, Human Rights has said it; recognition wouldn't be handed over by silver platter. Somaliland should try harder. Neither a panel nor an individual effort could guarantee anything but a well-planned systematic approach manned by seasoned diplomats is more promising than using the services of an amateur. One last thing, Dr. Dixood is undoubtedly an expert, but in a different field. Legend has it that Dixood knows more about churches, Sunday sermons, and ecumenical than diplomacy. If legend has it right, he would have served Somaliland better at the Vatican. Thanks to "dhanxeer" who reminded us that this appointment sounds like the blind leading the blind. One more misstep and the minefield wouldn't only dampen but paralyze the prospects of recognition to a bedridden condition. Act now.


BBC Monitoring Reports, February 27, 2003/Source: Somaliland Net web site in Somali 27 Feb 03 /BBC Monitoring

SOMALILAND: KULMIYE PARTY NOMINATES CANDIDATES FOR POLLS

The central committee of Kulmiye party today, 25 February, nominated the presidential candidate and the vice-president who will represent the party in the forthcoming polls. The nomination exercise was witnessed by Abdiqadir Jirde businessman and member of House of Elders and some independent newspapers. All persons were allowed to vie for the two seats. Mr Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo contested the presidency and sailed an opposed by the show of hands. Mr Silanyo was unanimously endorsed by all and there were no abstentions. The election of the vice-president was contested by Abdi Hasan Buni, Abdirahman Aw Ali Farah, Muhammad Rashid Shaykh Hasan, and Dr Muhammad Hadi. The election of the vice-president was carried out through secret ballot. The results were as follows: Abdirahman Aw Ali Farah 129 votes; Abdi Hasan Buni 52 votes; Muhammad Rashid Shaykh Hasan 9 votes; Dr Muhammad Hadi 0 votes; Hence, the Kulmiye presidential candidate is Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo and Abdirahman Aw Ali Farah is the vice-president.
Africa News, February 21, 2003/BYLINE: Addis Tribune

Somalia; Somaliland Presidential Election Chronicles Part 1

Presidential elections are scheduled in Somaliland for April 14, this year. This series of articles will provide an in-depth analysis of the election. Two diaspora- based Somalilanders- a political scientist (Dhimbiil) and Psychiatrist (Jowhar)- will provide the analysis on alternate weeks.

A Primer on an Embryonic Democracy

Somaliland gained its independence from the British Empire in late June of 1960 and lost it 4 days later, in a fit of postcolonial delirium, by merging with its southern neighbor to form the Republic of Somalia on July 1st of the same year. The union was driven by a chauvinistic ideology of "Greater Somalia", a scheme of "freeing and uniting" all Somali-speaking people in the Horn of Africa. The Somali Republic, formulated on this basis, disintegrated and failed - the first modern state to simply disappear and vanish. The Somali Republic no longer exists as a state. Somaliland reclaimed its independence in May 1991. Since then it has been struggling to establish its own statehood on the basis of a home-grown Africanized Democracy. Over the last 9 years it has succeeded to establish peace, reconciliation and law and order. On December 15th, 2002, municipal elections were held in a manner that neutral observers described as predominantly peaceful, free and fair. Hotly contested presidential elections are currently under way. And herein starts the real test and accompanying fireworks.

An electoral process is a high-stakes competition that is divisive even in the best of circumstances. The hyperactive free press of Somaliland is in its infancy and innocently oblivious to the massive power it wields and the potential for grave consequences of inaccurate coverage. The main presidential candidates are already accomplished practitioners of election-speak and some have shown a precocious mastery of the art of demagoguery to a degree that is worthy of Lee Atwater and the Willie Horton ads. All these considered in the context of a traditionally fractured society, that has a taste for the anarchic and a lack of familiarity with the business of the individual as a citizen, poses the risk of transforming an election into a free-for-all chaos that could set the whole region ablaze.

The other more optimistic possibility is that democracy may, just may, take root against the odds. The open free press may provide a vent for accumulated social tension and the young nation, populated as it is by pastoral democrats, may find a home and alternative to anarchy in the messy process of democracy. As a consequence the Somaliland State may gain legitimacy among its population, an achievement that is infinitely more basic and more essential than any recognition in the international arena.

Either way the stakes are very high. This real life drama will have grave consequences for Somaliland, the cost of which will be measured in the lives of hundreds of thousands of its citizenry-lives that will be either lost to anarchy or saved by a new era of home grown African Renaissance. This latter possibility will constitute a much-needed fresh breath for the whole region that could strength the gains recently won by the Kenyans in their peaceful transformation through the ballot-box. As I said, either way the stakes are high.

The Political Forces in Contention

There are three political parties competing in the presidential elections.

The late President Egal founded UDUB, the governing party. Egal was a beloved figure in Somaliland. He represented the old school of African politicians; the likes of Haile-Selassie, Jomo Kenyatta and Julius Nyrere. He created UDUB on the model of the one party state, for the express purpose of remaining the chief and then he died unexpectedly. The party was orphaned and afflicted with an identity crisis. Many wrote it off altogether as a potent political force. UDUB was on a death watch.

Egal's Vice President and Deputy party boss, the man who inherited the presidency of Somaliland, Dahir Riyaale Kahin, resuscitated UDUB and led it to a stunning, unexpected victory in the municipal elections of December 15/2002.

President, Riyaale who attained the presidency in a peaceful, legal manner after the death of Egal, is known to be a man of few. He introduced the practical language of the rule of law, and the practice of democracy and accountability to a society that was thirsty for them all. He managed the transition of power flawlessly on a solid basis of national consensus. He actively pursued a course of free elections based on the principle of one-man-one vote in a multiparty state, a course of action that may result in the loss of his power. Because of these actions that speak louder than his, the people of Somaliland rewarded him with a resounding political victory. UDUB became a force to reckon with, and Riyaale the man to beat in Somaliland's presidential elections.

The second party, KULIMIYE, is the party of the establishment that is not in power as yet. It is close though, very close, waiting in the wings, biding its time. KULMIYE was born in opposition not even a year ago, and it prospered in that environment reaching a position of national prominence in record time. The founder and leader of KULMIYE, Ahmed M. Mahamoud Silanyo, is a respected statesman/guerilla leader/ bureaucrat/economist/diplomat, in short a highly educated man with an intimidating CV. Most relevant to his ambitions for the presidency is that he was Chairman of SNM in the crucial years of its struggle against Siyad Barre (1984-1990). Since then he was a prominent peacemaker who always answered the call of his nation in its hour of need. His political capital among the populace emanates from this history.

During the campaign for municipal elections Silanyo was more of an educator to his people teaching the elements of constructive opposition, of demanding change while defending the system, of giving credit when it is due and of always being on the side of the state when national interest dictated it. Somalilanders felt blessed to have him as an opposition leader at a time when their young state needed the kind of nurture and love that only an enlightened opposition leader can offer. In the Municipal elections KULMIYE was rewarded for this performance by massive gains across the country that transcended tribal affiliation.

The third party, UCID, is a new phenomenon in Somaliland's political arena. It is a party that is based on modern thoughts of freedom and responsibility, on equality of citizens under the law and the necessity of good governance. At its most basic nature the party stands for uncompromising Somaliland Nationalism. Because of the clarity of its position and the persistence of its founder it has forced both UDUB and KULMIYE to take unequivocal positions on the question.

UCID was conceived and born in the diaspora in the rarified environment of a university setting or so it is seems. Faysal Ali Warabe, the founder of UCID is a civil engineer by trade and a politician by choice. He is a man whom opponents of the independence of Somaliland love to hate. What is most amazing about UCID is that it was able to establish itself on the Somali political map so effectively. Win or lose, this party has already succeeded in setting the national agenda. Its ideas on governance, accountability, independence and political honesty are already the measuring rod against which other parties are evaluated.

A Devastating Cultural Challenge

BUT the determined battles of men and women for power, with parties forming and coalitions being built, are nothing but mirages. Just below the surface, just under the individual differences, behind the ambitious men vying for power, behind the rhetoric of resumes, convictions, beliefs and promises, behind all of these, gigantic social forces are fighting for dominance in the determination of the destiny of the Somalilander.

History itself is imposing a fatal choice on this ill-prepared society. On the table now are the fundamental options of choosing nationhood and surviving or choosing tribal structure and becoming extinct like all other tribal societies around the world. And there is nothing theoretical about this demand for making a choice. It is urgent. It demands attention now. It cannot be delayed, postponed or ignored. Each issue that is raised, every position that is taken, every expression of support or opposition to a candidate or another, indeed the very essence of the presidential election, represents nothing less than a direct confrontation between clan and state in a merciless battle where only one will be left standing at the end of the day.

The survival of the Somaliland State in its fatal confrontation with the clearly disorganizing and destructive clan principle will depend upon the acceptance of the absurd position of adopting two dialectically opposed principles at the same time.

* Absolute acceptance of the clan system

* Absolute rejection of the clan system.

Why do I consider this issue as a cultural shock, why do I pose the absurdity of marrying the opposites above? For these answers and much more follow the subsequent articles under the title of "Somaliland Presidential Election Chronicles".


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 57 February 22, 2003

Somalia and Survival in the Shadow Of the Global Economy

Special Guest Writer for the Somaliland Times , Prof. William , Northwestern University

The Somalis have no indigenous centralized government. .the key to Somali politics lies in kinship. Political status is thus maintained by feud and war, and self-help - the resort of groups to the test of superior military power - is the ultimate arbiter in political relations. - I.M. Lewis The fact of the situation in Somaliland is that they have elected a government in the most democratic way possible, within the constraints of public finance; they have started the process of demobilization and disarmament; they have restructured customs services in the port of Berbera and introduced an audit system. None of this effort could be attributed to a single United Nations initiative. - J. Drysdale

Somalia was once considered one of Africa" s few real nation-states, based upon a shared Somali language and single ethnic culture. The five points of the star on its flag were meant as a call to" lost" Somalis in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti left out in 1960 when Independence led to the union of British Somaliland and the UN trust territory under Italian administration, a cause for which Siyyad Barre" s regime (1969-91) attacked Ethiopia in 1977-78. Yet in 1991 Somalia" s capital, Mogadishu, hosted forty distinct, mostly clan-based armed groups. Shortly before, the dying regime killed 50,000 fellow Somalis in a failed attempt to repress rebellion in the north. As of 2002, the closest thing to a central government in Mogadishu was a precarious administration that controlled a small area of the city, a result of protracted negotiations in neighboring Djibouti.

In Hargeisa in old Somalia" s north out came a new flag and slogans to celebrate Somaliland" s declaration of independence on 18 May 1991. Heads of clans transformed themselves into a national assembly. Even though no other government extended it formal recognition, its leaders issued currency, kept order with a new police force, and collected revenues to provide citizens with basic public services. In 1999 the president of Somaliland, Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal, upbraided Mogadishu politicians and warlords for their servility to clan interests and seemingly endless fighting. This was the same man who had been a Somali government official, then head of his own clan militia. Neighboring Puntland created a central administration by 1998, but one more a development organization than a formal government. Puntland authorities pioneer a new hybrid organization that contracts out to private organizations, including indigenous ones, essential tasks such as security that are conventionally assigned to states.

Leaders in Somaliland and Puntland contend with international laws and norms that hinder the creation of new polities. The United Nation" s 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (Resolution 1514) declared that self-determination was legitimate only within the context of ex-colonial boundaries, and that historical or new communities outside this framework did not qualify as authentic candidates. Resolution 1514 declared that" any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations," a sentiment reinforced in consistent Organization of African Unity condemnations of separatist movements over the last four decades. Thus no state recognizes Somaliland or Puntland sovereignty. Furthermore, many scholars cite internal factors such as foreign aid, clandestine rackets, and diaspora remittances that prevent groups from repeating the Western experience of state formation. This gives few incentives to strongmen to bother to negotiate with local people to construct the bonds of reciprocity and control over power that characterized state building in earlier times in Europe. Yet this is what Somaliland and Puntland leaders appear to have done, even as their southern colleagues conformed to expectations.

What explains these radically different responses of similar societies to state marginality and state collapse? Why do they create (or fail to create) such different new polities and identities amidst greater global economic integration that diasporas and clandestine trades bring even to collapsed states? Are Somaliland" s rulers unreconstructed clan politicians, their power undermined by the demise of a radically marginalized Somalia, abandoned by global economic and strategic interests, leaving them to preside over isolated, contentious clan-based enclaves? Or did Somalia" s collapse create in the north a reordered authority that accepts the social power of clan-based organizations, but also finds new, sustainable ways to configure internal politics and relations with a world economy? How do these people negotiate diplomatic norms that recognize only sovereign states and communities defined by clearly delimited boundaries?

I show how Somaliland society, and to a lesser extent, Puntland society reconstructed itself around three axes. The first involves a shift toward greater reliance on solidarity groups such as clans, sub-clans and lineage groups that claim people" s loyalties and resources. This organizing force in Somali society exists in interaction with other social factors. As contrasting statements at the beginning of this work show, it can appear to be an immutable boundary of conflict, but in fact is fluid and within certain limits is socially reconstructed to respond to political and economic exigencies of collapsing central state authority.

A second axis incorporates clandestine and informal economic channels in conflict. It is not true that collapsing state control automatically empowers self-interested predators who grab valuable economic resources. Somalia" s recent experience shows that not all who exercise coercion do so to maximize their personal economic gains. This still leaves unexplained why some pursue short-term personal economic interests and respond to global economic opportunities at the expense of community order, while others in similar circumstances do not, or at least not exclusively. Some who turn their backs on immediate economic gains survive and successfully encourage others to cooperate with them, even amidst predatory rivals. In fact, some Somali war leaders forego fairly easy predation, while others use violence even where gains are marginal. A key variable explaining this difference lies in the extent to which local notables were able to join a presidential clique and migrate into" official" clandestine markets in the 1970s and 1980s to manipulate state policies and grab state assets for personal benefit. Meanwhile, those excluded from corridors of power, especially in the north, had to take refuge in their own clandestine markets in defiance of presidential power. Highlighting differences in this aspect of state collapse is integral to identifying the social control of resources, and thus coercion after the disintegration of central authority in 1991. By extension, the same elements of social control underlie the construction and eventual character of political communities that succeed the collapsed state.

Changes in global economic norms and practices since the 1970s constitute a third axis. Some of these changes reinforce connections between state collapse, greater marginality and seemingly endless conflict. Other changes give some social networks chances to reconfigure economic ties to the rest of the world to their advantage. To the extent that northern elites can fake adherence to global norms, or convince outsiders that clan and community business networks ought to be treated as a state, or claim that they are something that they really are not (such as a development organization or a business enterprise), they acquire resources and political tools to build a new, post collapsed identity and political community. This" beyond state collapse" possibility suggests that the contemporary world economy and state system tolerate greater heterogeneity in strategies of engagement from the periphery than normally supposed. This tolerance is unintended. It arises out of the capacity of local leaders to represent their organizations as what outsiders may wish to see, to recruit external assistance for covert purposes, and to utilize norms and practices in ways other than what those who created and use them intended, much as Somalia" s president did when he destroyed his state. Where this process occurs, it is central to understanding how globalization affects the construction of identity and the formation of political authority on the margins of world economic and diplomatic transactions.

I argue that the nature of state collapse in the 1970s and 1980s, especially the distribution of social control over violence and markets, unintentionally left Somaliland leaders with more social raw material to reconstruct a single polity after 1991-to" self-determine" -compared to southern counterparts. Northerners had some flexibility to experiment, to tie nominally private businesses to the maintenance of central authority and order, and exploit norms in international commercial and diplomatic practice created for other purposes. Lessons of Somaliland apply wherever communally based solidarities (as in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and southern Nigeria) connect people to global economic networks in a context of weak or absent states. Subsequent political arrangements in Somaliland differ significantly from state-building models that privilege clear distinctions between public and private spheres of activity and centralized bureaucratic hierarchies. Somaliland authorities preside over a hybrid organization-not exactly a state in a conventional sense-but state-like in the more basic sense of preserving order, as a pole around which citizens establish a shared identity, and able to manage the community" s conduct of relations with outsiders, all integral elements of self-determination.

Political and institutional variation among Somalis occurs despite the fact that people in Somaliland and Puntland shared with the rest of Somalis similar economic constraints and historical experiences of state rule. All Somalis lived under the cold war era nationalist governance. All experienced its irredentist project in the 1970s. Especially important, all fell victim to the dramatic weakening of state institutions and faced fear, uncertainties and predations of political entrepreneurs attending the collapse of the state during the 1980s. All regions face risk factors for fragmentation such as exploitable grievances and intermingling of communal settlements, with high potentials to create opportunities for political entrepreneurs. In fact, northern Somalia, declaring itself the Republic of Somaliland, historically has been more marginal to world strategic and formal commercial concerns than the south and experienced greater violence in the late 1980s. Distant from the capital, it was short-changed in earlier efforts to build state institutions, a situation rooted in a British colonial policy emphasizing minimal administrative intervention. It is shown below that colonial administration had a disruptive impact upon local social organization. Taken together, these factors make the emergence of an autonomous Somaliland capable of defining a political community and organizing its relations with the rest of the world even more baffling.

Instrumentalist and rational choice approaches have a hard time explaining this outcome with reference to conventional calculations of group fears and individual gain. Somaliland especially suggests other instances of non-occurrence or early cessation of war in other places. While a rational choice model for post state collapse violence and persistent conflict may explain the violent warfare and the collapse of states in Georgia" s Abkhazia and South Ossetia, it fails to account for the relative absence of violence in places like Georgia" s Ajaria and Abazhidze regions. Likewise, Dagestan and Ingushetia attract little attention for their absence of wars. Yet they are among the most ethnically diverse polities of their size, sharing borders with war-torn Chechnya, and are targets of numerous provocations of ethnic entrepreneurs eager to create security dilemmas among these communities. Meanwhile, Chechen neighbors fight Russians, and when not facing invaders, they fight each other.

One could attribute good sense and foresight to political actors, ex post. Doing so glosses over highly unpredictable, violent and threatening environments and erratic decision making processes that characterize even those cases that avoid massive conflict and communal competition. It downplays the salience of variables such as ethnically defined units that served as the basis of Soviet administration and that should have heightened ethnic tensions during periods of uncertainty, much as the first quote at the front of this work attributes continuing Somali conflicts to pervasive clan affiliation in politics there. As throughout the Somali space, entrepreneurs in all these cases exploit clandestine commercial networks in niche sectors of regional economies and play a major role in controlling external financial resources to these societies. People throughout the margins of the world economy, whether they fight or peaceably reorganize their communities in some different fashion, contend with the breakdown of old economies, declining subsidies from former colonial powers or superpower patrons, and fighting nearby that exposes them to the risk of contagion of disorder and fear. Furthermore, Somaliland" s diaspora represents a larger percentage of total population and contributes more to societal income than any other major region of the Somali space. According to Collier this manner of economic and social externalization should lead to a greater likelihood of conflict, when in fact it is compatible with the opposite.

What these cases, and Somaliland and Puntland in detail here shows is that state collapse and shifts in the global environment can be compatible with the formation of orderly multi-communal polities that are able to manage their connections with the global economy, even as they are extremely marginal to it. While it is not a formula for organizing polities that will have great weight in the economic or political councils of global society, these conditions are compatible with the more modest claim that the destruction of states amidst economic globalization need not spell the end to local political order and peaceful economic engagement. .


Source: Somaliland Times Issue 57 February 22, 2003

Censorship Introduced at Government Owned Media

Hargeisa: President Rayale" s government has introduced censorship at the two media outlets it controls. Although it has been the norm for managers at government-owned media to suppress all information deemed by them as critical of, or embarrassing to the incumbent Administration, the government has more recently embarked on a policy of complete censorship of all material issued by the official media. Most affected by the new policy have been news and music broadcasts by Radio Hargeisa, as well as coverage of politically-related events and affairs by the Somali language newspaper Maandeeq.

Already a number of program producers and broadcasters working for Radio Hargeisa have been strongly reprimanded by their supervisors after they were accused of releasing commentaries and songs that allegedly carried anti-government messages of political nature, sources within the Ministry of Information said. The restrictions were believed to have been imposed by the Somaliland Minister of Information, Abdillahi Mohamed Duale.

To demonstrate how serious he was, Mr. Duale has even reportedly ordered deletion of all the speeches given by figures from the opposition at a rally held Thursday for the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the 20th February Somaliland school children uprising against the former military regime of Siyad Barre. In one of these speeches, the well-known SNM a veteran Mohamed Kahin accused both Radio Hargeisa and Maandeeq of following a policy of deliberate distortion when running stories on the history of the liberation struggle against dictatorship. "Their reporting on this issue is so malicious to an extent that even genocide perpetrators like Ganni and Morgan would have felt ashamed of," Kahin said. At this point a woman who was standing close to the podium shouted, "Kahin, I bet they won't broadcast this one."

Interestingly, only a brief speech given by Vice-President Ahmed Yassin on the occasion was broadcast by the government controlled radio. Opposition parties have long complained that Maandeeq and Radio Hargeisa report in favor of the government. Though Minister Duale promised on many occasions in the past to do something about the opposition" s grievances, he has never taken any practical steps to address them. As a result, the political parties in the opposition have relied heavily on the private press for coverage of their election campaigning. The government has remained tolerant of the fact that opposition parties could still have their opinions and activities covered by the much more popular independent press. This tolerance has apparently dried up after the private media ran stories on President Rayale" s past as former head of the dreadful NSS branch at Berbera during the mid eighties.

Earlier this month, Information Minister Duale had disclosed that the government was about to introduce a press law. The plan has drawn strong protests from the "The Somaliland Society of Independent Journalists And Writers." The SSJW reiterated that there was no need for a special law to govern the press. Instead, it called for the development of a "Journalists' Code of Conduct" by the journalists themselves. Minister Duale responded to this by hastily organizing a "Congress of Somaliland Journalists."

On March 10, the pro-government "Somaliland Journalists Association" or SOLJA was founded. Though in its articles of association Solja is defined as a union, this claim however does not conform to the background of its chosen leaders. Its top 3 executives and the entire executive committee members are either publishers of private newspapers (Jamhuuriya and Al-Huriya) or senior officials from Ministry of Information such as the director of Radio Hargeisa.

The Majority of Journalists working for the government, and the private media outlets that joined the SOLJA have not shown yet any signs of support for the new organization. When some of them expressed desire to join the SSJW, they were warned by Ministry of Information officials that they would lose their jobs if they did. According to one of these journalists, Mr. Duale was prompted to create SOLJA, not only for the marginalization of SSJW but also for accessing donor funding. In fact the Minister has campaigned with some success for obtaining funds from international organizations in the name of strengthening the institutional capacity of his Ministry. The Minister was told by at least one UN organization and the ICD that funds earmarked for supporting media organizations could be made available by them. Many journalists believe one of the main reasons that Mr. Duale wanted to establish SOLJA was to use it as conduit for aid money and for interfering in SSJW.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 57 February 22, 2003 20th Feb School Children Uprising Observed Hargeisa: The 20th anniversary of the 20th February school children uprising was observed on Thursday. It was 21 years ago when thousands of high school students went to the streets in protest against the imprisonment of members of the UFFO group by the dictatorial regime of Siyad Barre. UFFO was a self-help group whose members were mainly university graduates. They were arrested by Siyad Barre" s secret police for embarking on a scheme for cleaning Hargeisa" s only public hospital. After they were charged with acts of subversion and belonging to an illegal organization, members of the UFFO group were brought to Hargeisa regional court to stand trial. As thousands of students gathered in front of the court chanting for the release of the group, the security forces fired live bullets into the crowd. 17 student demonstrators were killed and many others were wounded as demonstrations spread to engulf much of the town.Most of the UFFO group members received long-term imprisonment sentences. The last bunch of them were released in early 1989. Early Thursday morning a wreath was placed at a memorial for the students that were engaged in Dagaxtuur "Stone throwing." Later, the occasion was marked by speeches at Al-khayria Plaza. Among the key-note speakers were KULMIYE party" s presidential candidate, Ahmed Sillanyo, UFFO veteran leader Mohamed Mohamud Omer Hashi, SNM veteran Mohamed Kahin and Somaliland Vice-President, Ahmed Yusuf Yassin. Somaliland" s former first lady Kaltum H. Dahir had also made her first public appearance on Thursday since the death of her husband, late president Egal. Kaltum was one of the demonstrating students on that Feb 20th day of 1982.
Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 57 February 22, 2003

Is the Ministry of Information Needed?

The Somaliland government has many ministries that it neither needs nor affords to maintain. One of these unnecessary and costly bureaucracies is the Ministry of Information, headed by the controversial minister, Abdillahi Mohamed Duale. With a staff of over 100 people, the Ministry runs a radio station whose transmission barely covers Hargeisa and 3 newspapers (The daily Maandeeq and the two weeklies, the Horn Tribune and the Arabic Qarnul Afriqi) that usually nobody bothers to read due to their lack of credibility.

Like the old days of Siyad Barre, the radio and the 3 publications are used as propaganda tools. This is hardly surprising given that most of the staff at the Ministry came from the former state-controlled media institutions under the Barre regime. In fact, Somaliland" s Ministry of Information is the only government agency where one could be deceived into thinking that Siyad Barre is still in power here. Fortunately, Somaliland has independent private media that have taken roots, over the years since independence, to provide people with information. Somaliland" s private media have taken the impartial role of informing the people and allowing them to express their opinions on issues in a free manner. In this role, the independent media have nourished democracy more than anyone else. Contrary to the government-owned media, the robust independent press is a constant reminder to Somalilanders that their huge sacrifices for freedom have not been in vain.

Since the government media has been totally useless, it is untenable and counter productive to continue maintaining it. Money spent in this area could be re-allocated and cleverly used for publicizing Somaliland" s cause to the outside world that until now remains unknowledgeable about this country. Even if the government decides to keep its media outlets for the sake of "prestige," as some countries do, then it should at least turn its publications and radio into an independent and cost-effective media enterprise, where journalists and audience can exercise freedom of information and freedom of expressing their opinions without censorship.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 57 February 22, 2003

Political Mudslinging Campaign Against Rayale

It is common knowledge that the false charges of 'war crimes' being leveled against President Rayale by supporters of Silaanyo are nothing more than political mudslinging of the basest kind. It is a well known, if rather dirty, fact of political life that when a certain kind of candidate cannot find any positive factor with which to enhance his electoral prospects, he or she will resort to mud-slinging in desperation. This is the politics of "win by any means, fair or foul".

This is precisely what the Silaanyo camp is doing and the electorate will judge them by it at the polls, to their cost. An interesting fact is that the ringleader of this particular circus of name-calling clowns is Mr. Muse Bixi. I seem to remember that when Silaanyo was Chairman of the SNM, during the Liberation War, a certain Mr. Bixi accused him of the 'war crime' of summarily executing brave, SNM officers & cadres who were opposed to Silaanyo's despotic rule over the SNM. Isn't this the same Mr. Bixi who is now using his name calling skills in the service of the same 'war criminal' Silaanyo? As they say, politics makes for strange bedfellows indeed!

Mr. Bixi should remember that the people of Somaliland are not children and that they remember his rantings & ravings of yesterday, as they will remember in the future his present fits of madness. Enough cries of 'wolf', Mr. Bixi, either engage in reasoned debate or keep your silence and your self-respect.

Finally, there has to be some integrity to political discourse if it is not to be debased to the level of braying animals. Somaliland is a country that has suffered state sponsored genocide and other crimes against humanity, while the perpetrators of these crimes proudly parade at international conferences as the self appointed rulers of their present victims in Somalia. We must, therefore reserve for these vampires their true label of 'war criminal', if we are not to rob the phrase of its true meaning and ourselves of the legitimacy to bring them to account for their deeds. For us Somalilanders, the term 'war criminal' has a very clear meaning and we also know who the criminals are. It is not a term to bandy about 'willy nilly' in the heat (desperation?) of the political" rough and tumble."

Regards,
Ahmed M.I. Egal


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 57 February 22, 2003

Abdirahman Hassan (Raas): The Singer/Songwriter Who Died Of Love

Abdirahman Ahmed Shunuuf

Adirahman Hassan' s career as a singer/songwriter was short lived. He only recorded three songs in his entire life. But his remarkable legacy as a great singer/songwriter and composer is remembered to this day, twenty-five years after his untimely death. His songs are played by some of his close friends and co-singers such as Ahmed Ali "Drum" and Faisel Omer "Mushteeg." (They were all members of the famous "Barkhadcas Band"). Faisel, a great admirer of the singer and a close friend remembers Mr. Hassan" s 1971 "Barkhadcas" concert debut as a turning point. " When Abdirahman came, it was the first concert of a three part series," Faisel recalled, "but he really lifted us up with his real, truthful, haunting voice, and carried me along. It was the most phenomenal debut since Mohamed Mogeh."

Hassan" s voice always made "Xodeydeh" s" "oud" scowl. His voice showed his deep seated feelings of suffering and intensity. He put on a blaring performance that held the audience rapt. In describing their chemistry - Xodeydeh and Hassan - you might say Hassan" s genial down-home bluesy style returned Mr. "Xodeydeh" to his serious "Qaaraami" roots. The expected song "Waan Ku Raadeeyaayoo," was delivered with freshness and heart. But the show" s most touching moment was Hassan" s rendition of, "hoordo Gaamaa Maa Leedo oo," an aching ballad that infuses agonized longing and despair with an almost Shakespearean sense of tragedy. Faisel adds, "When you sing Abdirahman" s songs, you must speak them in tune, because the love stories are so profound." Some of his lyrics:

  • I don" t sleep at all
  • Love never leaves me alone
  • The stress in my body
  • Drives me out of bed

  • A man who has so many to choose, from his age group
  • But who stays away from them, because of you!
  • If you have any intelligence or empathy
  • Do not foster harmful designs against me

  • Do not discard me
  • Do not reject me
  • I would never have dismissed you!

  • 2. I am trying to track you down
  • I cannot rest
  • My hair has a braided length
  • I have dreadlocks, because of you

  • When I look in front of me
  • My false dreams make your vision real to me

  • But, Allah has taken you to a place of honey
  • Green grass and plentiful water

    The song in English by Abdirahman Hassan

    First Part

  • When the earth is wet and full of moisture
  • Flowers on the trees blooming
  • You are like the efflorescent morning glory flower
  • When someone is smitten by love
  • You don" t just watch and stand by!
  • What has come between us?
  • Our state of affairs is in shamble!

    Second Verse

  • While I was waiting for your love
  • My compatriots have surpassed me (financially)
  • And I have neither money nor your love!
  • What inspires me with awe?
  • And hurt me badly
  • Is your grand sublime and powerful beauty?
  • My Dear Companion
  • You have pierced me with spears
  • Do not hurt me
  • Take this load or saddle off of me
Hassan" s songs raised questions about the abstract notion of love. He asked things through his songs, why loving someone created despair and agony for him. He asked, furthermore, why he was put into this miserable state of affairs. He felt neglected, unwanted, and unloved by the woman he loved and cared for. He was in agony, bewildered by this sudden misfortune; his lover, the woman of his dreams, songs, and music lived in the midst of plenty, enjoying every part of it, he explains in his songs. His songs raised more questions than answers.

Most Somaliland artists and music lovers knew a secret that other people didn" t know. They knew that his love was real. They also knew that when someone is smitten by love, you don" t just stand by and watch!

Who has come between us?
Our state of affairs is in ruins.

Love was the cause of his untimely death. This puts him in the same category with a rare group of Somaliland poets who died when they couldn" t attain the object of their love. Elmi Bodheri is one of the most famous in this category. He was a 1940" s Somaliland poet who died of love, many Somalilanders believe. Therefore, one can arguably say that Hassan is the second person, after Elmi Bodheri to have died of love during the last century in Somaliland.

Abdirahman Hasan died in the mid- 70s in Dijiboati. He was only twenty years old. Abdirahman had a famous singer as a brother called Omer "Rooraayeh." He is remembered by many artists and Somali music lovers as one of the most gifted and talented artists of all time. If there was a "genius award," Mr. Hassan would have won, without a doubt.

Somaliland misses him a lot!


BBC Monitoring Reports, February 19, 2003/Source: UN Integrated Regional Information Network, Nairobi, in English 19 Feb 03 /BBC Monitoring

BREAK-AWAY SOMALILAND DENIES BACKING FORCES AGAINST RIVAL STATE

Nairobi, 19 February: The authorities in the self-declared republic of Somaliland northwestern Somalia have denied accusations by the neighbouring self-declared autonomous region of Puntland northeastern Somalia of supporting and arming dissident forces.

Abdullahi Muhammad Duale, the Somaliland information minister, told IRIN on Wednesday 19 February that the charges "are absolutely false and baseless".

Abdishakur Mire Adan, the Puntland deputy information minister, claimed that the Somaliland authorities were arming and supporting forces led by Gen Ade Muse, which are loyal to Jama Ali Jama. Both Jama and Col Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad claim to be the legitimate president of Puntland. "We have evidence that the Riyale administration (in Somaliland) has allowed Gen Ade Muse to import 12 four-wheel-drive vehicles through the port of Berbera (in Somaliland), and that seven of them have already been turned into technicals (battle-wagons)," Abdishakur told IRIN. He also accused Somaliland of providing the anti-Puntland forces with 300 assorted small arms.

Abdishakur went on to say that Muse's forces were being trained in Hamilka, Sanaag Region, under the protection of Somaliland forces based at the village of Dararweyn, also in Sanaag. Both Puntland and Somaliland claim ownership of Sool and Sanaag regions, a dispute which led to an attack last month on the Somaliland leader, Dahir Riyaleh Kahin, who was visiting the area. Abdishakur warned that Puntland was "losing patience". "We will be forced to take action against any party posing a threat to our security," he said. "If Somaliland does not stop meddling in Puntland affairs, they will have to face the consequences. The activities of the Riyale administration will lead to a clan war between the Harti (Darod) and the Isaq (the dominant clan in Somaliland)."

However, Duale told IRIN that the only people the Somaliland authorities were helping were "displaced people running for their lives". He said Somaliland would never jeopardize its tranquillity by getting involved in other people's disputes. "Our greatest asset is our security and stability, and we will not jeopardize it for any reason," he said. He noted in this context that Somaliland was busy preparing for its presidential elections, due to be held in mid-April. "Our democratization process is our number one priority," he added. Duale said that the Abdullahi Yusuf administration was behaving like "someone who has set fire to his house and is now trying to extend the fire to his neighbours". "Our policy is and has always been to promote peace and stability in our region," he asserted.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 56 February 15, 2003

Meeting held by Amnesty International in Collaboration With ICD And NOVIB

Hargeisa: A successful two-day workshop on human rights issues in Somaliland and Somalia was concluded yesterday at Ambassador Hotel in Hargeisa. The workshop was attended by scores of human rights activists from Somaliland and Somalia.

Discussions of the workshop focused on the role of "human rights defenders". The workshop was held as a result of a collaboration between several international organizations such as Amnesty International represented by Prof Ghanim Al-Najar of the University of Kuwait, who is the United Nations Independent Expert on Human Rights for Somaliland and Somalia, and Dr. Martin Hill from AI" s international secretariat in London; Deborah Ossiya and Fouzia H. Dahir from ICD; Dorothy Abbel of the Dutch-based NOVIB NGO and Ms Indai Sajor, a Philippino woman known for her campaigning for the rights of Asian women abducted during the second world war by the former Japanese Imperial Army for the purpose of providing sexual comfort to the soldiers.

Besides Somaliland" s NGOs, there were human rights defenders from a number of locations in Somalia, including the Mogadishu-based Ali Jimale Center for Human Rights. Delegates also came from as far as Baidoa and Kismayo. Before the last session ended, the conference agreed upon a declaration for Somali human rights defenders.

The UN independent expert for Somaliland/Somalia has described the declaration as an important achievement that is hoped to pave the way for human rights defenders in Somaliland and Somalia to serve their constituents in a much better way. "We also hope that networking between human rights defenders will be enhanced as a result of this workshop."

Many questions were raised during the workshop including the issue of past crimes and impunity. Both Martin Hill and Al-Najar have expressed amazement at the substantial rise in the number of human rights organizations in Somaliland since the 1998 human rights workshop held in Hargeisa jointly with ICD.

Al-Najar said the results of the 1998 workshop went beyond all imagination. According to Al-Najar, at least 10 of the participants of that workshop had since either joined or participated in the creation of new non-governmental organization dealing with various aspects of public life and meeting the needs of the needy people. "I have seen people doing nothing after completing training. But here it is an amazing thing to see people who 5 years ago knew nothing about human rights, now running successful human rights organizations. You just can" t expect more than that," said Al-Najar.

It was the first time that such a large group of Somalis and international human rights activists were brought together to discuss human rights issues, not only in this region, but also elsewhere in the world. It was also the first time the issue of past crimes was given prominence at a gathering for Somali human rights activists. In this respect, it has been strongly emphasized that there can be no lasting peace unless gross human rights violations and war crimes against humanity of the past are addressed and perpetrators brought to justice.

In this connection, participants listened to Ms Indai Sajor as she went on to tell the story of Asian women abducted as sex slaves during the second world war by the Japanese army. About 300,000 - 400,000 women from South Korea, North Korea, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Pacific Islands were held captive to sexually comfort Japanese soldiers. When Japan agreed in 1991 to participate in a UN peace-keeping force for Cambodia, survivors of the" Comfort Women" and human rights activists went to the streets in protest demanding that the Japanese soldiers be stopped from joining the peace keepers until Japan admits its past war crimes against Asian comfort women. What started in 1991 as a small protest, turned over the next 11 years into a well-organized grass-root level campaign sponsored by many human rights organizations and other civil society groups across South and South East Asia.

The campaign demanded that the Japanese government admit publicly the war crimes committed by its soldiers against comfort women and issue a full apology for those crimes. The campaigners also wanted an adequate compensation for the victims in addition to inclusion of references to the crimes in the curriculum for Japanese high schools so that such crimes would never happen again.

During her campaign Indai Sajor met with three different Japanese Prime ministers. So far, the Japanese government has refused to acknowledge responsibility for the war crimes its soldiers had committed against the Asian comfort women. Campaigners rejected an offer of $20,000 for each comfort woman.

An apology letter by Japan" s Prime Minister was also found as falling short of admittance of crimes. The campaign continues. "For similar crimes not to happen again, it is important that Japan takes full responsibility for the war crimes committed by its imperial army against comfort women more than 50 years ago," said Indai.


Source: Somaliland Times , Issue 57 February 22, 2003

President Rayale Inclined Against Enacting a Press Law

Hargeisa: According to the UN independent expert on human right affairs in Somaliland and Somalia, Ghanem al-Najar, Somaliland President Dahir Rayale Kahin is not interested in introducing a press law in the country. Mr. Rayale Thursday received al-Najar along with Dr. Martin Hill of Amnesty International" s international secretariat and Samo-talis Chairman Mohamed Barud Ali.

In an interview with the Somaliland Times held yesterday, the UN independent expert for human rights in Somaliland and Somalia said the President had told them that the government" s position on this matter has been greatly misunderstood.

The Somaliland House of Representatives had on several occasions in the past 3 years turned down attempts to consider a draft press law submitted by the government. The document contained many articles intended to substantially curtail freedom of the press.

Journalists working in the private media and the great majority of the Somaliland public have been opposed to the concept of "Press Law. Arguing that there was no need for enacting a special law for the press, journalists proposed instead that they be allowed to establish a "Journalists Code of Conduct." This position has not changed since. Two weeks ago, however, the Somaliland government, through its minister of Information, Abdillahi M. Dualle, had renewed its intention of introducing a press law in the country. The announcement immediately drew a strong opposition from the "Somaliland Society For Independent Journalists And Writers" which was founded on Dec 14, 2003 and later from the newly established "Somaliland Journalists Association."

However, following his meeting with Mr. Rayale, al-Najar said: "If I got it right, the president was not for a press law." Al-Najar went further to say that President Rayale was rather interested in a "Code of Conduct" and more professional training for journalists. "We appreciated this because I thought the press law was an oppressive thing and if I understood the president well, we're on the right track." Al-Najar said this would also mean that Somaliland will be spared experiencing the much-talked-about oppressive press law. Asked to confirm whether Mr. Rayale" s position on the issue of press law was fairly interpreted by the Amnesty team, Somaliland Presidency spokesman Abdi Idiris responded by saying the President had reassured the senior human rights officials that it is the policy of his government not to take any actions that might compromise the rights, or run against the interests of its citizens.


Source: The Somaliland Times , ISSUE 56 February 15, 2003

Faysal Omar Mushteeg - Somaliland" s Indisputable Male Vocalist! II

Abdirahman Ahmed Shunuuf

Part II - Faisel" s Poetry and Song

Faisel is one of the most talented and gifted Somaliland singers alive. Besides being a teacher, a world class soccer player, an intellect of enormous capacity to recite both classical Somaliland poetry and classical Arabic poetry by heart, a singer of a huge following, a living legend who became part of the oral folklore of Somaliland traditions. A mystic man who was taught at an young age by one of the foremost Somaliland "Sufi" scholars, Sheikl Ali Ibrahim", and an accomplished poet who can be compared to classical Somaliland poets, or, for that matter, classical Arab poets such as "Imra' Al Qays". His poetry goes back to when he was just a teenager.

Unlike other Somaliland poets, Faisel incorporates his poetry into his songs. Most of his poetry is about love, which many Somalilanders consider as Real love. It is no secret that Faisel fell in love with Shamis, his true and only one. When you ask him about marriage, he always points out, according to Abdi Nasser, a close friend and excellent oud player, of Faisel, that his one and only true love is Shamis, and if he could not marry her, he would remain a bachelor for life. Abdi Nasser and Mohamed Ahmed "Busy", another "Oud player and a colleague of Faisel's, argue that most of the lyrics of the "Qarraami" songs, or the "oldies" were primarily Faisel" s. But they add, since he never takes credit for the lyrics, other people assign credit to some obscure artists. The writer of this article concurs with the two above mentioned artists' assertions, since I reviewed an unpublished manuscript written by Faisel. He explained in his manuscripts some of his lyrics and shows without a doubt that it was his creations. Reading this manuscript led me to believe that most of the lyrics in the "Qaraami" or oldies were his own, since he describes when and where he was when he wrote some of those lyrics.

In the following pages we will attempt to translate some of Faisels lyrics and poetry.

  • "Timaha halaqeed haldhaa moodiyo // Hair so soft like a bird's feather,
  • Haybadaa wajigee hida u dhaladka // Face not spoiled by make-up since birth,
  • Hubqaadkeedu hibasho igu reeb" // Her dressing style left me longing!

    A rough translation of the above will be something like this:

  • Daganeey sida dooxa daad marayo // Hey cool girl! Like the water that flows through a river,
  • Daristii kaga taal labadaa dacaloo // The grass singing from both sides of the shore and the livestock did not eat,
  • Dunyadii wali daaqin baad tahay // Yet to me, you are just like that.
  • Sidii cir ku hooray meel cosobloo // Like the rain that pours into a green pasture,
  • Cadceedi u soo baxdaad tahay // And the sun coming out, to me, you are just like that.
  • Qod baad tahay meel qabow ka baxoo // You are like a tree that grows in a temperate climate,
  • Qajeel ubaxii dhammaan qariyo // Flowers covering from top to bottom.
  • Qacdii aan ku arkaan is qoonsadayo // I felt something special the moment I laid my eyes on you.
  • Bal qabsoo waaban kuu qandhaysnahay // Honey, do you know that I love you!

    Night

  • Habeenyow dheeri waad idhibtoo // Oh long night! You give me so much pain,
  • Dharaartaaduna iima kaa dhaantoo // The day does not treat me well either,
  • Waa ii kala dhigantiin dhamaantiin // I feel miserable all the time.

    Time

  • Waan kula hadlaayaa waqtigan i hayow // Hey time! The one that is on me now. I am talking to you.
  • Hadmaad anna ii hogaansami? // When are you going to obey me?

    Sun

  • Cadceedan i haysa eey hadaloo // Hey sun! That is hovering over me,
  • Hadmaan anna kaa hadh galayaa? // Speak up and tell me when am I going to find a shelter?

    Money

  • Lacageey ragga kala labaayaay //You divide people into two,
  • Haween lahashadooday // You help the poor and you bring down the rich,
  • Liitaha gargaaray laqanna hoos u celiyaay // You are woman" s desire.
  • Hubka laysku laayaay // You are the weapon that people fight with.
  • Lisaanka iyo dooday // You are the tongue for those who want oratory.
  • Hadana lagama maarmaay // But people still need you;
  • Liibaanta joogtaay //you are the ever-present victory!
  • Taan anigu ku loofaray // Oh! The money I spent friviously
  • Een hore u lumiyaay // and lost at the end.
  • Ladhkeedii habeenadan, hablow ladiba waaye lacageey // Oh women! How many nights do I have to lose my sleep over it

    Shamis

  • Laysumaa daayo laba is doonaysoo // They don" t leave two lovers alone,
  • Dadkeenu waxyeeladuu doorbidaye // Our people love to create problems,
  • Ku doorataye may i dayaayaan // Since you are the only one I desire.
  • Hayaay Shamis sheekadiidii // Why can they not leave you alone? Oh how I long for Shamis" conversation!
  • Nasiibkaygiyay is nici mayanee // My lucky star, we will never fall out of love,
  • Intaad nabad joogto soo noqo // So come back to me in a healthy, good spirit.
  • I pray to Allah the merciful; the benevolent to bring you back "Siiydeh" in good and healthy spirit.
  • Dawee qalbigaa i daxalaystoo // I am heart broken.
  • Hadalka i damqaaye iga daa // I can talk no more since it hurts to talk. Say nothing to me!
  • Sidii baxarasaaf ku yaala bustaan // Like a tall tree growing in a beautiful garden,
  • ayuun baad hadba ii bidhaanta // You just keep on shining to me!
  • Like a love tree that grows in a vast empty space. // / Sidii geed ku yaal bankii giriyaad
  • Is loneliness a thing that has been assigned to me? // // Goonidu waa mid laygu talagaly
  • Ciilkayga kola caashaq dayn maayo // Oh! Pity me! I will never fall out of love.
  • Ciyaarta cid kale la garan maayo // I know of no other dance partner like you.
  • Carsaanyo sigaarka hayla cabtee // Take me to the sandy beach,
  • Ciidiyo badda cagaha ii dhigga // So that crabs can smoke cigarettes with me.
  • Cusbiyo kama maarmo geelu carro // Camels cannot live without grass and salt,
  • Cirkiyo uu ogyahay halkii cosob lee // Camels know the places with abundant water and vegetation.
  • ceeb maaha hadaan ku caashaqayay // It is not such a bad idea; I fell in love with you.
  • Cidliyo haygu tuurin ciirsi la // Don" t throw me into the empty wilderness.

Conclusion

Faisel has been touching the soul of music lovers for nearly four decades, thanks to his warm songs that celebrate romance and love. With no vain desire or dreams of earthly glory and money or status, he keeps onward to explore through poetry and song, extending the realms of music, with the hope of aiding others to fall-in-love. In an interview for this article, Faisel says, "I just tell it like it is in my songs, even when love doesn't make me happy, and most often it is sad anyway. Instead of trying to contemplate what people might say about my song, I just sing from my heart. Most often, my best lyrics come to me when I am singing. And you know, I believe that is what touches people; people know it is the truth, because it comes from deep inside me.


Source: The Somaliland Times , ISSUE 56 February 15, 2003

The Status of International Law in the Domestic Legal System: A Neglected Matter by the Somaliland Constitution

Modern democratic constitutions almost invariably include provisions on the status of international law in the domestic legal systems. While the extent to which constitutions should deal with the status of international law in national legal systems or the internal relationship between the two systems of law is not a matter of international law per se. In the interest of proper administration of justice, which more often that not, involves question of international law and the effective and transparent conduct of country's foreign relations and, in view of it's implications for the fulfillment of a states international obligations, constitutions do make appropriate references to international law and it's internal implementations.

However, it should be pointed out that the treatment given to international law by the constitutions of states is by no means uniform. While some constitutions give relatively detailed treatment others are restricted to one to two provisions of fundamental character on the status of international law leaving any lacuna that may manifest themselves to be taken care of by the courts in deciding particular cases raising questions of international law.

Regarding the recent Somaliland constitution adopted on 7th of May 2000, having broadly studied it, it's very unfortunate to conclude that it neither fails the former nor the later category. As will be shown on the following notes, the Somaliland constitution would almost be said to have nothing to say on the status of international law in the domestic legal system and its implementation in the country. To this connection let's briefly examine two clauses, which are normally incorporated to national constitutions pertaining to international law;

- Treaty -making power
- Status of International law in the domestic legal system
- Treaty-making power

Provisions on treaty making power are quite common in national constitutions. Since treaties are more then ever the most widely used instruments in the conduct of international relations and, as such, are the primary source of international law who, or which organ of the state has the power to bind the state in international agreements is of paramount importance in the conduct of a country's foreign policy. Although treaty-making power in strict sense is not a matter of international law but of domestic law, primary constitutional law, It" s ultimately related to international law by virtue of the fact that it gives notice to the rest of the world as to the law and procedure that has to be complies with if international agreements are to be binding on a particular state.

Now, what exactly is a treaty in its legal sense? Article 2\{1\}[a\} of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, answers us to that question by specifying a treaty to mean, as "an international agreement concluded between states in written form and governed by international law, whether embodied in a single instrument or in two more related instrument". But one would need to elude the misunderstandings in concluding that treaties are limited to states, as a treaty may be signed between a state and an international organization in which the case we could also call it a treaty. Obviously when we talk about treaty making power we are also talking about the power to inter in to international agreement.

With regard to capacity to conclude treaties, international law confines it self that "every state possesses the capacity to conclude treaties". This is clearly stated under article 6, of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Hence the question comes here, which organ of Somaliland state has the power to conclude treaties? Normally, most constitutions of states takes care of this query under the powers and structures of the organs of the states, mostly its confined to either on the executive, legislature or both. Regarding the constitution of Somaliland it got nothing to say on this issue, not a single provision in it is simplicity or implicitly mentioning the organ of the government, which has the authority to conclude treaties.

Status of international law in the Somaliland legal system

Let's now turn to the question of the status of international legal system under the Somaliland constitution. This is the single most important question on international law that any constitution has to deal with, given the significance of international agreements in the overall conduct of a country's foreign policy. Again on this point the constitution is silent on this essential aspect. To cite but a few examples on this matter relating to the other constitutions and how they determine it.

Actually, there are two doctrines expressing the status of international law in the internal legal system. First, there is the doctrine of "direct incorporation". It specifies the fact that treaties signed by the executive and which might be ratified by the parliament becomes an integral part of the law of the country, in other they have the status of the law of the land, i.e. laws enacted by the parliament and approved by it. Countries following the said doctrine are among others, Ethiopia, South Africa, Russia, Belgium, Hungary, Romania, etc.

The other doctrine is called the doctrine of "transformation". Under this one,a concluded treaty by who so ever organ of a state can not simply come under the category of the laws of the land unless a specific act expressing the fact that the international agreement concluded is passed by the legislature. A country known for following this doctrine is the United Kingdom. In the U.K in order for a certain treaty to be part of the law of the country there is a need of and act called "an enabling act of the British Parliament".

Notably, there is a considerable contrast between the "law of the land" and "supreme law of the land". The former, which we touched on earlier, is referring to the laws enacted by the parliament and at the same time endorsed by it, which is usually called "proclamations". While the later is concerned with the constitution, and normally there is in the constitutions a provision which is called "supremacy clause" expressing which law of a certain country is supreme to others laws. In connection to this, very few constitutions do make international agreements the same status as supreme law of the land, i.e. the constitution of U.S.A, which under article 6, provides "all treaties made or which shall be made under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land".

To summer up, one would question himself why in a world a single provision is not seen in the Somaliland constitution dealing with the issues raised. In fact that will not make me surprised because that's exactly my problem. But I wonder if the motive that led the above issues to be ignored could be attributed to the fact of lack of recognition, thus, there is no need for the constitution to talk about the international agreement. If that was the rational that led this significant subject to be set aside, to me it sound absurd .For one thing, a question can be raised why the constitution was drafted in the first place, if it weren't meant coping with every aspect of the country's policy, national or international. After all, Somaliland desperately needs international attention, and if the basic single most important legal document is not crafted so well that it's silent on the country's foreign relations and it's implementation, I'm sure there will be a great deal of uncertainty and skepticism regarding the determination by the Somali Landers for there plea of international recognition. Hence, the legislature of the country needs to rethink on this matter and provide convincing provisions dealing with the specified issues.

Wais Kassim H. Dahir (LLB)


The Somaliland Times , Issue 55 February 8, 2003

Britain May Consider Sending Asylum Seekers From Somalia To Somaliland

UK Home Office plan calls for establishment of UN "Protection Areas" in Somaliland for refugees from Southern Somalia; Turkey, Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan for Iraqi refugees; and Morocco for Algerians

London (The Guardian): A confidential government plan to slash the number of asylum seekers coming to Britain by deporting most of them to UN "protection areas" in their regions of origin has been drawn up by Whitehall and is to be presented to the prime minister this week.

The official figures for 2002 to be published later this month are expected to show that asylum claims topped 100,000 for the first time last year. Tony Blair has demanded weekly reports on asylum arrivals and has already made clear he wants to see a radical reduction in the number coming to Britain. Under the terms of the "restricted" joint Cabinet Office-Home Office policy document, which has been passed to the Guardian, the large majority of asylum seekers would lose their right to claim asylum in Britain and would be returned to "regional protection areas", where their applications would be processed.

Among locations mentioned for the regional protection areas, as part of a "new global asylum system", are Turkey, Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan for Iraqi refugees; northern Somalia for refugees from southern Somalia; and Morocco for Algerians. It also suggests Ukraine or Russia to stem the flow of economic migrants from the east of the new enlarged EU border.

Officials stress that care needs to be taken that the scheme is not seen as "dumping asylum seekers on the poorer nations" nor as "using money to enable us to wash our hands of the refugee problem".

Asylum seekers would stay in the UN special protection areas for six months while the position in their home country stabilized. The scheme envisages that those in need of longer-term protection could be resettled in Britain and other European countries under a burden-sharing quota scheme determined by each country's population.

The report also sets out a case for international intervention to reduce the flow from the main refugee-producing countries with a graded response ranging from aid packages through sanctions to armed intervention as a key element of what it calls a "new vision for refugees".

While conceding that "any coercive intervention in other states is of course controversial", the Whitehall policy document argues for international recognition of the need to intervene to reduce "flows" of refugees, including "military action as a last resort".

The report, which would require international agreement and funding, is to be presented to Ruud Lubbers, the UN high commissioner for refugees, when he meets senior British ministers in London on Monday. Under the policy, the UNHCR would be responsible for the regional protection areas and, if it agrees to take on the role, the detailed plans for the first pilot schemes could be ready this summer. Initially it could be taken forward by a coalition of five EU states willing to fund the scheme. The officials raise the possibility of Australia joining as well.

It is thought the plan could be carried out without changes to the Geneva Convention or European convention on refugees. The plan makes clear that the quality of protection in the UNHCR areas will have to be high enough to satisfy a British court that the human rights of those removed from Britain were not being abused by the scheme. Deporting asylum seekers to protection areas should "rapidly reduce the number of economic immigrants using asylum applications as a migration route", the report argues, as well as being a deterrent to "potential terrorists". The restricted policy document says the plan "should gradually reduce the number of asylum seekers who enter the UK and need to be processed in the UK. Therefore this takes the burden off the current asylum system but will not completely replace it."


The Somaliland Times , Issue 55 February 8, 2003

Information Minister to Found Union for Journalists

Hargeisa: A Conference organized by Somaliland's Minister of Information, Mr. Abdillahi A. Dualle, for the founding of a new Union for local journalists is going to be held this morning at Mansoor Hotel in Hargeisa, under the auspices of the Somaliland Presidency. The meeting is being held after Mr. Abdillahi Dualle wrapped up on Thursday a series of meetings held at his ministry to discuss the introduction of a government sponsored press law in Somaliland. As he concluded the discussions, the minister said the government was determined to have the press law in place very soon. However, the draft law lying before the House of Representatives since 1999 for action, had been described by independent journalists as draconian in the way it seeks to control freedom of the press and freedom of speech.

On Thursday, the minister of information assigned a special committee with the task of introducing the press law. A group of journalists consisting mainly of persons working for the government-controlled media, as well as owners and managers of a number of private media outlets are expected to take part in the meeting to be held today at Mansoor Hotel. The meeting comes in less than 2 months since another group claiming to be advocating for journalists rights and zero intervention by government in media affairs, had proclaimed the formation of "Society for Somaliland Independent Journalists and Writers."

According to one of the participants invited to today's meeting, the purpose of the gathering will be to be to formulate guidelines for journalistic ethics and rights, as well as, the launching of a new union to represent Somaliland's journalists. But SSJW Chairman Ahmed Ali Garas cast doubts on whether this would be the case. "Though I hate to make a prejudgment on what will be the outcome of this meeting, from what I know I will be very surprised if anything good came out of it," said Garas. In fact, many journalists think that the sole purpose for organizing the whole meeting has been to create an opportunity for introducing a pro-government journalists union, and declaring support for a government-inspired code to restrict the editorial independence currently enjoyed by the private media.

Despite the obvious heavy-handed role of the government in organizing the meeting, yet among the government employed journalists, only a small number have indicated that their labor rights would be better protected, or the extent of their editorial independence be substantially improved, as a result of this event. "Since it is the owners who are meeting to decide our fate, we can't expect them to decide raising our salaries or allowing us to speak our conscience while reporting," said a government employed journalist who chose to remain anonymous.

Actually, it was the media barons who had pre-selected the participants. Attendants are therefore going to be identified as representatives of their respective media outlet. To give the meeting a measure of credibility, organizers sought participation of both President Rayale and leaders of the two opposition parties in the opening ceremony.

The ICD, a UK-based organization was also tricked by the organizers into contributing an undisclosed amount of money in the name of support for holding a workshop on Somaliland's media. Meanwhile, in a statement issued last night, the SSJW expressed regret that it was not informed, let alone consulted, about the media meeting to be opened today at Mansoor Hotel.

The SSJW statement said there was no need for enacting a specific law for regulating the press. It reiterated its position that journalists be allowed to continue developing their own common "journalists' code of conduct." The SSJW Secretary General, Arale Mahmud Jama, said his organization has already drawn a journalists' code for its members to follow. He also said a panel has been named as a self-regulatory body to deal with violations by and complaints against the media. The SSJW warned that its members would not be bound to comply with any press law to be issued by the government in the near future."If someone feels unsatisfied by the actions to be taken by the disciplinary panel, then one could still go to court to seek legal action," said Mr. Arale.


The Somaliland Times , Issue 55 February 8, 2003

No to Censorship

Most Somalilanders agree that one of the best things that happened in post-independence Somaliland has been the emergence of its vibrant free press. By keeping the public constantly informed about developments at the domestic front, in the region and the world at large, the independent press has been able to a significant extent, to fill the huge information gap that has until then existed in this country. Not to mention of course the instrumental role that the free press has been playing in promoting and defending the principles and values of freedom of expression, democratic pluralism and good governance.

Somalilanders whether at the individual or community levels are very much unlikely today to be incited into violence by acts of injustice or humiliation as they are able to freely express their grievances through the independent media. It is unimaginable that the citizens of this country would have confidently welcomed the idea of multiparty free elections had they not been aware of the fact that the independent media was going to be there to act as the public's most reliable watchdog.

Only a fool would claim that the national press has not made mistakes. On the contrary, terrible mistakes were made in the past and continue to be made until now especially when covering local news developments. But then these kinds of mistakes are rarely committed intentionally. They can actually be attributed to a number of factors, but mainly occur due to poor academic training of media personnel, severe shortages in material and human resources needed for information gathering and thorough researching, as well as, a common tendency among government officials to suppress information from the public. And there is no doubt that Somaliland's independent media has still a long way to go. Nevertheless, improvements could be achieved through constant upgrading of the journalists' knowledge and the acquiring of adequate resources by media institutions.

The much-needed input could have been facilitated by the government. It chose not to do so. Surprisingly, however, the government of President Rayale intends to introduce draconian measures to curb the country's press freedom. As disclosed by his Minister of Information on Thursday, the Rayale Administration is determined to get the House of Representatives to pass a so-called press code, ostensibly for the regulation of the media. As the government owned media has never been even modestly free, the real purpose of enacting this repressive law is to deny Somaliland's public the chance to be informed in a free manner by the independent press.

This code has already been rejected by members of the independent media, not only due to the many restrictions it imposes on press freedom, but also because it is unnecessary. Instead, the government should leave journalists alone so that they can develop their own code of conduct and self-regulatory bodies. Somaliland journalists can and should strive for maintaining the highest professional and ethical standards. And there are ways for punishing those who fail to comply with the rules such as their being publicly disgraced. In fact this would be the job of the Journalists Union. Public officials and private citizens could still sue for libel damages at the country's civilian courts if they were not happy with any public measures taken by the union against offending journalist or media institution.

Somaliland's independent media has helped bring the citizens of this country more closely to each other than any time before. Thanks to the freedom of information they have been enjoying, Somalilanders have been able to articulate and voice in a much more stronger manner their common aspirations and concerns. With slightly over two months to go before the next Presidential election, candidate Rayale will be committing the mistake of his life if he allows his information minister to jeopardize the right of the people to know by introducing the draconian press law lying in his desk drawer.


The Somaliland Times , Issue 55 February 8, 2003

A Silent President, War Crimes And A Future In The Balance

Hamza S. Yusuf

A question of fundamental importance has been raised in the discussion of the criminal culpability of the incumbent President Mr. Rayale. It is an issue that cannot be submerged. Leaving aside considerations of his numerous deficiencies for the office of President, the man, the UDUB Chairman, the President must RESPOND to us, his people.

We are in the midst of heated Presidential elections; it is incumbent upon us to ask the right questions at the right time. We should not be afraid to leave no stone unturned. It is not "mud raking" or a character assassination to inquire into the suitability of a candidate who by default became President (though constitutionally correct) and through rushed political expediency has had his term extended, (though constitutionally very dubious) who deems himself fit to become our elected President.

Mr. Rayale's checkered past is well known among relevant international circles. Ms Rakiya Omaar's recent article was the icing on the cake. Ms. Omaar's is an academic with an impeccable human rights record whose word and findings are taken seriously. To dismiss her article as a clan biased stunt is to reduce the level of intellectual debate in our country.

The first comprehensive codification of War Crimes was under the Leiber Code issued by President Lincoln in 1863 during the American Civil War. Since then numerous international humanitarian law treaties have come about including, the Hague Conventions of 1907, the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Geneva Protocols of 1977. Under Article 8 of the Rome Treaty of the International Criminal Court, the ICC (International Criminal Court) has jurisdiction over a wide range of war crimes committed in both international and internal armed conflict, including civil wars. The Treaty makes it clear that the ICC has jurisdiction over the increasing number of war crimes committed during conflicts between armed political groups, as well as government forces. Very briefly, the treaty covers three types of war crimes in internal armed conflict: Violations of humanitarian law recognized under Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions, including: intentional attacks against the civilian population.

Violations of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions against civilians, wounded and detainees Killing or wounding treacherously a combatant adversary

On June 27, 2001, the United Nations issued a press release stating that a Memorandum of Understanding was to be signed between the United Nations and the Government of Cambodia in aiding to help bring about trial for the atrocities of the Cambodian civil war. People asked could Cambodia's domestic laws handle the magnitude of the crimes in question? Could the body of international criminal law, still in its infancy, be used to prosecute cases in Cambodian courts? What sorts of evidence would be admissible? How would the tribunal deal with the amnesty's granted by King Norodom Sihanouk? What would be the effect of Cambodia's notoriously corrupt judiciary on a genocide tribunal, and vice versa? Nevertheless the mechanism was established to put Pol Pot's former linchmen to court some 26 years after the civil war. By comparison our civil war was but yesterday afternoon.

We may be not at the stage of planning the mechanisms of trials but relevant questions must be asked. Why has Mr. Rayale, who has been accused of heinous crimes never publicly refuted the allegations or offered us an explanation? Why has Mr. Riyaale who is supposed to be "campaigning" never EVER been heard arguing or airing his views? What does he have to hide? The two other Presidential candidates are rightly in the public arena. Is he scared that we will see him for what he truly is?


The Somaliland Times , Issue 55 February 8, 2003

Rayale Is A Material Witness

Ali Gulaid, San Jose, California

Dahir Rayaale Kahin witnessed en masse crimes being committed against humanity. That is according to Dr. Tani. In order to avoid the mishap of taking it out of context and the art of slanting, Dr. Tani's relevant posted on various websites and in the print media regarding General Tallan and Rayale's tour of duty in Berbera is quoted below.

"General Tallan shot several of his officers for the atrocities they did to the civilian population of Berbera. He told me in 1991 while he was a Governor of the Somaliland government in Borama, that when he was transferred to Berbera in late 1988 it was Mr. Rayale who told him about the crimes that are going in the area, and how as a junior officer he is incapable of doing anything material about it other than hiding some people. Gen. Tallan told me that without Mr. Rayale's help and informations he could not have stopped the atrocities that were continuing under his nose."

It is clear from this important piece of information which Dr. Tani kindly shared with the World a) that Rayaale has witnessed crimes committed (under his nose) against humanity while in a position of authority but failed to save except few b) that General Tallan shot several of his officers on the spot without due process.

While Rayale's admission is hardly a bombshell because of the specific incidents chronicled by Africa Watch, General Tallan's admission is shocking and damaging. Needlessly, this new development incriminates general Tallan and substantiates the allegations leveled at Rayaale. In fact it corroborates the pattern and the specific incidents documented by Africa Watch. Tallan's admission of vigilantism by summary execution is poignant remainder of the kangaroo courts and what went awry in Berbera and throughout Somaliland in general under the "faqash" regime.

While Rayaale's claim of saving few is admirable if substantiated, he is obligated morally and legally to divulge the secrets that he kept from the public for a long time. According to Africa Watch and other human rights organizations about 500 people were summarily executed in Berbera and we learned from General Tallan through Dr. Tani that Rayaale knew these atrocities but was unable to stop. That being the case, Rayaale knows who gave the order, who carried-out the executions, the names and the number of innocent citizens executed, the locale of the hidden mass graves and other relevant evidence. Rayale might even be in possession of valuable documents. What is the right thing to do, Mr. Rayaale? Unfortunately, what we know is only the tip of the iceberg. We just learned that General Tallan shot point-blank on the spot several of his officers who committed atrocities against the civilian population in Berbera. Specifically, we know that General Tallan shot several and according to the dictionary, several is more than two but less than many. While the floor of many is more than two, the ceiling could be as high as hundreds or thousands and more. With the limited information Dr. Tani shared with the community, it is safe to say with certainty that General Tallan shot three at least but with less certainty at most the number he shot could be hundreds or. .or fill the blank.

These confessions recounted separately by Rayaale and Tallan is more convincing and more powerful than the allegations chronicled on the Africa Watch Report. One has to remember that the allegations on the Report remain to be allegations until proven by a court of law. But considering the confessions, it is no longer in the realm of allegation; Rayaale confessed witnessing these killings. I am a layman in law but common sense tells me that the fact that Rayaale knew these killings, the fact that he has failed to report it to human rights organizations at the time of the mass murder and the fact that once again he failed to officially come forward as of today, is serious enough to convict him in a court of law, if it comes to that. I hope, not. For your information, Mr. Rayale, I didn't do it isn't a defense.

For the record, Personally, I believe that the few who designed the horrific policy of ethnic cleansing like Murgan, Gani and Adan Gebyow and their cronies who carried-out willingly have to be hunted down and brought to justice, no matter how long it takes. But I also believe that the "junior" officers like Rayaale who witnessed such crimes should come forward and tell it all publicly in a forum similar to the truth and justice reconciliation Forum, which South Africa pioneered. The truth should come out. Only then, hatchets should be buried for good. But, I also believe that witnessing atrocities of that scale and failing to speak-out as of today mires the morals and the judgment of Rayaale. And that makes him unfit for the highest office. To my knowledge, no one is advocating prosecuting Rayaale but considering the voluntary confessions that came to light, it is appropriate to hold both Rayaale and Tallan as a material witness.

What makes this story credible is the reputation and the stature of its narrator, Dr. Tani. Dr. Tani came from a well-respected religious family from Borama. He is a well-liked physician, affable with a considerable intellect, prudent man who doesn't lightly smear people. Furthermore, Dr. Tani has no grudge against Rayaale or Tallan. Already, Dr. Tani has told us in his article that he isn't only related to Rayaale but he is also a good friend of him. This tells us that Dr. Tani has no intention to incriminate his relatives and friends and what he narrated in first hand is the truth and nothing but the truth. For that we thank Dr. Tani.

Let us hope that Rayaale and General Tallan would come forward and tell it all, with the same spirit, they confided with Dr. Tani for the sake of Posterity. Once again, for the record, it must be stated that Rayaale and General Tallan weren't under duress when they voluntarily made these confessions. On behalf of the families of the victims, we plead with Rayaale, as a material witness, to help his country document the atrocities committed against humanity. That is all we are asking.


The Somaliland Times , Issue 55 February 8, 2003

Open Letter to the President of Somaliland Mr. Riyale

Abdi Halim M. Musa, Hargeisa

As a citizen of this country and a patriot I have decided to share my thoughts with you Sir, and the people of this country.

Your Excellency, I believe that the idea of citizenship and the rule of law are the mark of civilization and the basis of a progressive political community. This country cannot be said to be at a stage where these ideals are in fruition; however, it is indispensable that the political template of this country be altered so as to organize the country towards that aspiration.

Sir, I believe it is not only a responsibility of a citizen to speak out when his government has gone out of kilter, I believe it is also civic duty. I also believe that exercising one's freedom of speech, a concept that is now deeply etched in the legal tablets of international law and morality, is above all what best describes the meaning of what it is to be a citizen.

Sir, Somaliland was freed from an inhuman dictator for thirty years of anarchy and disaster This tragedy need not be recounted in this letter, suffice to say that, Somaliland is the crystallization of the triumph of the people of this country over the dictatorship. There was a human disaster. The people of Somaliland suffered a daily humiliation that has left deep psychological wounds on the political culture of the country. This is why, it is still very difficult for the common man, and in fact the country's political culture to come to terms with the Somali question in general given our predicament. So this fledgling little country of ours is at a crucial period is its metamorphosis. In fact so delicate are the current geo-political and various candidates campaigning the power that is very survival and depends on a safe and trusted pair of hands.

I am personally quite worried; the current administration's tenure has been further extended by the council of elders (friends of the chair). They listened the claims and the proposals of the all opposition parties but closed their ears and supported the injustice vote plan. For all the ideological debates and views on suitability of various candidates, if the current government is allowed to retain total control of the means and assets of government it CANNOT be a fair election. Why are people so mute on this point? We, the people demand that our government abides by rules of fairness and transparency and allows crucial portfolios to be governed in a more inclusive manner. They are a political party as well as the government. But they must remember above all that they are only one party, the nation has chosen another five besides.

Political activities are no doubt of greater importance to the life a community than economic or social activities, deserving therefore to be accorded more respect and protection. You have the right for association at the same time you got limits; you cannot throw the nation into anarchy. Using division and hate to come to power is a dangerous game.

We must take into account Somaliland's history and culture, and the character of our people, and its social structure and other relevant factors. In particular the extent to which the people have accepted three times the object of politics as being to persuade and convince rather than to fight or to be scattered. The government should avoid not creating insecure political environment and leading the country into chaos.

I believe it is impossible to have a free election of the president voting since there were a great mismanagement of the last election and as we are aware the so called failed parties are insisting not to accept the victimized injustice and still they have their supporters and they are convincing their evidence of not being legally failed parties anywhere. Concerning the situation and the unity of our government of Somali land I would advice you sir, the following two points which I belief would lower the current tension:

All the six parties should exist and registered as national parties.

The commission of the elections should be changed since they have failed to be honest in the last election for the local governments, and created so many conflicts.

We want clean politics and responsible politicians.

Let me conclude my letter unless your government dramatically changes its political program it will unleash the forces of darkness and chaos. I hope the will of the honest citizen like mine shall have more consideration with your Excellency.


The Somaliland Times , Issue 55 February 8, 2003

The Silent Majority!

A. Mohamed Ali Hashi 'Dhimbiil'. Ottawa, Canada

Recently, a barrage of allegations and accusations against President Dahir Rayyale has surfaced accusing him of human rights violations. The accusers - defending a certain political line of course - have charged the President with one simple line: that he bears a heavy responsibility for heading a national security office at time of gross human rights violations. The defenders - defending a certain political line of course - have argued that a double standard has been used, effectively ruining the litmus test for a passing grade - objectivity. They point to other politicians who serve the government or are in the opposition as proof that Miss Rakiya Omaar only raison d'\'e8tre is not her human rights activist record but her rather clannish dispensation. The thesis is these discussions being that shackle or albatross that hangs heavy on the Somali psyche: the resort to that old and well tried line, when in doubt cry clannism, and let loose the dogs of confusion!

As a strong supporter of the President, and sometime scribbler of why we should elect him, these accusations against a sitting president stunned my vocal cords back to the pre-literate state. Shocked at the flippant and glib way that the accusers portrayed their case and appalled by the responses that followed, I decided to step back and ask, what is similar in the ways that both the accusers and the defenders acted that makes your senses recoil from their and thoughts? As a regular Somalilander, courteousness and good manners are not only important in our collective cultural lexicon; they are in a word, what distinguishes us in our daily intercourse with each other. It is normal for example, to meet a group of Somalilanders and immediately know that they hail from the same cultural matrix simply by the way one is say, invited to join a gathering, a home, a community, or a discussion. As a male, I can say without doubt that, even when discussing critical issues in male dominated meetings, there is transparency, passion, debate and even anger at some points of discussion. However, it is most of all, civil at its core. It is, to use a worn Latin description, our modus operandi.

What is different about the debates surrounding these debates is that they really are not debates about urgent issues of national importance, or the ability of the political parties to articulate an agenda for the people of this country, rather it is an attempt at politics gone crooked and awry. I am deeply disturbed by what is the sub-text of these debates, and that is, the wickedness and malice with which both groups have handled themselves. This is something new to our political vocabulary and it is cause for great concern.

Some of the writing I see for example causes one to think about how callous and ruthless politics makes of our passions. I am amazed as well at the people who are participating in deliberately destructive discourse.

The fundamentals of this clash, gentle reader, are/is simply this: on the side of the accusers, the theme is to destroy the moral credentials of an opponent so that even if the President is elected this case will always cast doubt on his actions and intensions. Once you shred the credibility of the President, voters will recoil from electing him paving the way for an opponent to cruise into the presidency. The collateral damage - to use an Iraqi word - done to the presidency itself escaping this logic. The question to be asked here is, isn't the presidency a pulpit where the ordinary concerns of the people can be articulated by an elected leader? Flowing from this, does there not reside the basic sovereignty of the people there? To answer these questions one needs to revise the word 'public interest" so as to lament the state of affairs.

On the side of the defenders, play the victim card and guilt trip every Somali Lander so as to vote for the President. Using the "our turn" philosophy that Somaliland has actually moved away from, and thus playing into that blame cycle that ordinary Somalilanders are trying to push into the dustbin of history.

Caught between these competing views are the actual victims of gross human rights violations: the people of Somaliland. That these two groups have abandoned all claims to basic decency and that their respective political agenda have been turned into 'cyber wars" characteristic of a time when we had to defend Somaliland on the net, has sent shivers among Somalilanders.

I believe that the "silent majority" in Somaliland will not buy into this discourse. I also believe that the strategists of both camps have made a mistake and I believe that they will pay when election time comes. The people of Somaliland are no longer playthings at the hands of politicians and know a duck if it walks like a duck and talks like duck, it is a duck. On this issue there are too many ducks quaking! Enough already!


The Somaliland Times , Issue 55 February 8, 2003

Faysal Omar Mushteeg - Somaliland's Indisputable Male Vocalist!

Abdirahman Ahmed Shunuuf

Faisel Omer is surrounded by musicians and singers in a smoky house in Saudi Arabia. One of the rooms of the house is turned into a studio of sorts. It is 1984, less than four years before he leaves Saudi Arabia for good, and finds himself in the middle of the Civil war in Somalia, and the program is to record what many Somaliland music critics call the best Somaliland tape ever to be recorded.

In the daunting company of Somaliland's music icon and king of "Oud", Xudaydi", Faisel has the presence of symphony conductor. Listening to that long ago cassette tape, one gets the impression that had he not been a singer of incalculable influence and a legend of his own time, Faisel would have found some other way of changing the world.

The 56-year-old singer/song writer/composer/teacher and poet, is by Somaliland's standards the indisputable male vocalist alive! Much has been said about Faisel's love of "Shamis", the woman who inspired his songs and poetry, which incidentally transformed him into a folk hero, a legend and mythic figure of enormous popularity both among the young and the old, women and men of Somaliland. This true, but rather exaggerated account has perhaps distracted people from his art.

In the four decades since Faisel's first song, he has come to represent the essence of the music: its beauty, its richness and yes, it's danger. His hauntingly sensual voice could transform even the most ephemeral song, for instance, a song called "intii aan ku baryaayey", sung by Abdillahi "Sooraan", was later sung by Faisel, and no one believes it is the same song, his voice made it into a work of overwhelming emotion.

Unlike most Somaliland singers, Faisel is considered better than those in the Bandstand. The only musician of equal stature is "Xudaydi", who when they play together literally transforms the "Oud", sound into Faisel's voice. Faisel is praised by many as the definitive modern Somali singer, after whom most Somali singing styles, since "Qaraami" in the fifties have been fashioned. He is without a doubt the best singer alive, after Mohamed Mogeh. True, he has his rivals, Mohamed Ahmed, Mohamed suleymaan, Ahmed Ali "Drum"; but Faisel has a way of touching listeners and of interacting with musicians, as if he is simply another instrument. His hands, mouth, fingers, palms and feet make sounds that are close imitations of rhythmic percussions.

In a Faisel performance, lyrics and music are interwoven and intertwined in his voice. When he sings "Subcis", for instance, it is all but impossible to imagine a more affecting rendering. In creating his distinctive style, he built upon, (1) the works of Abdillahi Qarsheh, one of the foremost Somaliland Nationalist singers, which many people regard as the father of Somaliland song and music, (2) his close Sudanese, "Nubian" national singers and musicians i.e., Mohamed Wardi, and Mohamed Al-Amin.

Like Wardi, Faisel could re-invent and improve upon the melody of a song. Not only did he evoke his raspy delivery, but he also shared his habit of lagging behind the rhythm, only to rush ahead without warning. From Wardi and Al-Amin, Faisel borrowed an instinct for the Sudanese/"Nubian" style, and performs Sudanese/Nubian tunes to this day. His recordings must have one or two "Nubian" songs or it would not be complete. Finally, Faisel's fluid singing exudes longing and melancholy.

Teenage Days

Faisel was born in 1945, to Omer Mushteeg and Amina Mohamed Bulxan. Both his parents were respectable community members in the city of Hargeisa, Somaliland. Amina's father was the great Berbera poet and chief of Somaliland, during the late 19c and the beginning of the 20c, Mohamed "Bulxan", who coined the famous Somaliland poem "Abtirsiimada Guud baa loo Golaaf tamayaa" or "people are fighting for their family tree". He also composed a great number of poems, such as the one we have in here called " Dal-dhameeye", meaning around the world.

He finished his grade school at Sheekh Bashiir Elementary School in Hargeisa, Somaliland, where he had the opportunity to be taught by such great teachers and world famous people. Late Sheekh Ali Ibrahim, an Islamic scholar who has written many books and Arabic and Omer Arteh Qaalib, who became a foreign minister of what was once known as "Somalia". He later went to a boarding school in Amoud, which is located thirty-five miles northwest of Hargeisa. He finished both his intermediate and teacher training at Amoud. Again, he had the good fortune obeying taught by such teachers as Sheekh Yuusuf Sh Ali Gurey, the 1982-83 President of the Somali National movement and Mohamed Ali "Sheef", who became an Ambassador.

As a teenager, his peers knew Faisel as a talented singer. But it was not until he finished school that he was discovered by the then- Minister of Education, Yuusuf Ismail Samater "Ghandhi". "Gandhi" took him to the then capital city of Somalia, Mogadishu. One night, "Ghandi" threw a party in order to show off to his friends this wonder kid, who could sing like no one else. The Sudanese Ambassador who was present at the party heard him sing "Sudanese/Nubian" songs and could not believe his ears. He offered Faisel an opportunity to go to Sudan and study there. But upon hearing he would have to wait another six months in Mogadishu before he can go, Faisel declined the offer and headed back to Hargeisa.

Faisel didn't want to leave yet because he fell in love with Shamis while he was in school at Amud. What he did not know at the time was Shamis would become his life long love and the only woman he loves to this day. With a collection of Mohamed Wardi and Al-Amine songs that were given to him as a gift from the Sudanese Ambassador, Faisel got a job as a teacher in Arabsiyo ten miles from Hargeisa.

Most Productive Years: 1960 - 1974

From early 60's to early 70's, Faisel recorded quite a number of excellent tapes; for instance, he recorded his most famous song "subcis" three times. Those years were also the most productive years of his life. The songs he recorded at the time always displayed a cool hallucinatory appreciation of Somaliland music and song. On stage, he had a visually spellbinding presence equivalent to a James Brown or Miles Davis concert. This period is also characterized by many Somaliland music critics, as the "Golden Age of Somaliland music and song."

The group that was in the forefront or the Vanguard was called "Barkhad Cas". This group in which Faisel was a member, included almost all of Somaliland's best and brightest singers and musicians. The group was combined of a nine man and a one-woman dynamo that played for huge, adoring crowds, in national theaters and clubs across the country. The group included singers, such as; Mohamed Mogeh, Ahmed Mogeh, Abdullah Zag Zag, Xodeydeh, Abdi-Qays, Abdirahman Hassan, Ahmed Ali "Drum", Ahmed Mohamed Good "Shimber", Faisel Qamar Mushteeg and last, but not least, Sahra Siyaad. Sahara Siyaad is considered by many Somaliland singers and musicians as one of the top female singers of all time.

During one of their tours across the country in 1971, which was the last tour of the group. Faisel and his co-stars enticed the crowds with a mixture of songs, poetry and romantic ballads. When the group pulled into a small town, it was big news. Teenagers and music lovers of all ages would race through the dusty streets, spreading the word, though the group was named after the late nationalist poet and playwright, Mohamed Ismail Barked Cas, the government of Siyad Bare, the brutal dictator from 1969-1991, considered the group subversive, but the group never paid attention. Faisel's sense of humor, winning smile and buttery smooth voice was always visible. His demeanor, which was both humble and dignified on stage, won the group friends and disarmed their foes.

During the next couple of years "Barkhad Cas" performed many times together by recording tapes that had become collector's items by Somaliland's music lovers. However, government interference and intrusion was becoming more viscious everyday. To Faisel, it was time to move on. By 1973, both Abdi Qays and Mohamed Ibrahim Hadraawi were in prison for composing what Siyaad Bare, called anti-governmental songs. Faisel knew it was a matter of time before they came to him as they did for Mohamed Mogeh. He decided to migrate to Saudi Arabia in 1974.

Artist in Transition 1974 - 1988

Faisel left Somaliland in 1974. He came to Saudi Arabia where he stayed for 14 years. Faisel never intended to stay in Saudi Arabia that long and showed his distaste and dislike to their rigid interpretation of Quranic texts. But Faisel did not stop making music, because Somaliland culture was always in his mind. When we use the word 'culture' he says, "we are not referring to something wedded to the past, but to the living, breathing everyday culture of Somaliland music and song that welcomed even actively pursues the creation of new musical styles that is based on our heritage and history."

Having said this, Faisel's songs and creative energies can be traced to a distinctive style and gen. He is never willing to stake out styles allegiances and is not likely to go anywhere the musician is going to take him, unless the musician "Xudaydi", or to a lesser extent Abdi Nasser Macalin Aideed, another "Oud" player. He has a strong commitment to rigid issues of Somaliland style and genre. But when it comes to "Nubian" music, Faisel has an innate ability to hear connections, and to make these connections apparent through his music and song. You can hear this style through some of his songs.

But if you want to hear Faisel and "Xudaydi" in action, you must find the tape they recorded during Faisel's long stay in Saudi Arabia, which we have mentioned in the introduction. This was quite a historic tape. It was well recorded and noteworthy for "Xudaydi's loose-limped, spacey oud, and Faysal's clapping, humming, drumming, chanting, exhilarating, moving and down home blues, Louis Armstrong like voice.

In the tape, Faisel plays with his old friend and co-singer, musician, Ahmed Ali Drum. He performed older work that he has played only rarely or not at all since the 1960's. Included in the hour long set were his favorites, "Subcis", "Lacageey" and "Riftoon", all pieces from the 1960's. They are also his most inward, enigmatic work, driven by tunes punctuated by "Xudaydi" plucking, in a call and response fashion. In this recording, Faisel pulled off a glimpse of his genius and also, of what has become his most too familiar signature, a rare show of strength and enthusiasm, working out brooding emotionally ridden improvisations.

On the other side of the tape, Ahmed Ali Drum", ripped into pieces like "Weli Waa Caruuroo" and "Hurdo gamm'a ma Lado oo". This tape shows a perfect balance between the singing and the oud on the one hand, a clear and un-oblivious vision both the singers and the oud player to let each other relax into their modes of provocation and discovery. This was a phenomenal performance by any standard.

By 1988, Faisel had enough of Saudi Arabia and its puritanical culture. Once more, it was time to leave, but this time, he decided to head home for good, come what might be!

War and Peace 1988 - 2000

When Faisel arrived in Hargeisa, he was immediately embraced by the local artists. On the night of May 27, 1988, he was featured as the main attraction in a concert labeled as the "concert of the century", held at the National Theater. It was the happiest night of his life, for he was performing in front of his fans, after an absence of almost two decades. The happiness did not last though, because it was the same night that the Somali National Movement (S.N.M.) stormed their way to the city center. The rest is history!

Faisel remembers that night clearly. What follows is a brief description of the events of that night and the following weeks. "Around two in the morning," he says, "I was still awake and dressed when the Somali National Movement stormed the military garrisons around the city and came in from the cold". He continues, "It was unbelievable"! I still cannot believe to this day, how a small guerrilla group, most of the urban youngsters could defeat the strongest Army in Africa, south of the Sahara. Ethiopia with its one million standing army could not defeat them and was scared like hell of the Somali National Army. Faisel describing the strength of the Somali army said, "Hargeisa was the center of twenty thousand strong army, three hundred or more tanks, Mig fighter planes, South African mercenary pilots, not less than a thousand militia artillery guns, Victory Pioneer units, military police units, Red Berets (Siyad Barre's special body guard units), prison army units, Dhaber Jabinta Army Units, Hangash Army Units, Filly Foos Army Units, Western Liberation Army Units, Somali Salvation Army Units called, "Dhafoorqiiq", Ogadeen Liberation Army Units, Oromo Liberation army Units, N.S.S. Army Units and other military Units, I can not recall now".

He continues, "You know, Hargeisa was not a city, when you come to think about it, it was rather a military Base." "I could not go to sleep that night", Faisel adds, "so I left my room with all my belongings early in the morning to check out the city. It was not clear who was in control of the city. The S.N.M. gave the Somali government a knockout. It became apparent to me when I met some of my friends and my ex-students in the streets of Hargeisa. They were S.N.M. guerilla warriors and I was happy to see so many of them alive. It was as if everyone I knew was an S.N.M. fighter."

After a few days, he explains, the defeated military government unleashed artillery bombardment to the city and its inhabitants. They also hired South Africa mercenary pilots, who were too keen to kill black people. Within a few days the rocket propelled grenades and the aerial bombardment leveled the city, forcing the lucky ones to flee to the border. Thousands of innocent children, women and elders who could not flee were killed. It was too much for me to watch, so much death and destruction inflicted on innocent women and children. I decided to run for my life, leaving everything I owned behind. Faisel concludes, "It took me twenty-eight days of dodging bullets from both planes and people, rugged mountains, thirst, thorns and thick bushes, empty plains with snakes and mosquitoes and man eating hyenas. I must have weighted about two hundred pounds when I was performing on that eventful night, but by the time I reached the Ethiopian border, I weighed about one hundred thirty pounds, a loss of seventy pounds in four weeks of hell on earth! I was just thankful to Allah that I was still alive! After a few months in the refugee camp in Ramaso Ethiopia, I knew I could not wait for things to happen, so I joined the Somali National Movement. My weapon (music and song) was the only thing I knew how to do, in order to stir and awaken the masses, so that they could fight back against the genocidal military dictatorship of Somalia.

On May 18, 1991, the Somali National Movement liberated the northern part of Somali and declared it as an independent country with its own flag, national anthem, national assembly, internationally recognized borders. Since they north was colonized by Britain and had its own borders, standing army, police and independent judicial system. Faisel was one of the first S.N.M. fighters to come back to victorious to his homeland. As usual, Faisel began to make his music in a civilian life far removed from the ravages of civil war, death and destruction. Faisel recorded several new tapes with Abdi Nasser Macalan Aideed, who is incidentally a good Oud player. Faisel feels lucky, since two of his best fiends and co-singer, Mohamed Mogeh and Ahmed Muhamed Good Shimber died during the liberation war and were not lucky to see a free Somaliland!


AI-index: AFR 52/002/2003
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PRESS RELEASE
21 February 2003

Somalia/Somaliland:Human Rights Defenders issue Declaration

As the four-month-long Somali Peace and Reconciliation Conference resumes at a new Kenyan venue and with a new chairperson, Somali human rights activists have issued an important declaration founded on their many years of mostly unacknowledged and risk-fraught human rights defence work.

Somali human rights defenders from 23 organizations, meeting in Hargeisa from 10 to 18 February 2002, declared that they will "increase the struggle against human rights abuses, such as arbitrary killings, torture, arbitrary detention and kidnapping, and work for the equal rights of all, with full protection for vulnerable groups such as women and minorities". They affirmed support for women human rights defenders campaigning for the eradication of violence against women and for women's full political participation in building democratic governance.

In addition, they called on all Somali political authorities to "publicly recognize the legitimate role of human rights defenders in the protection and promotion of human rights, as set out in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders", and that "human rights defenders will not be subject to reprisals for these activities".

They also called on the international community to protect human rights defenders at risk, and assist them to build up the capacities of their organizations. The declaration was adopted in the presence of the UN Independent Expert for Somalia, Dr. Ghanim Alnajjar.

Human rights defenders in conflict-riven central and southern Somalia face daily dangers of arbitrary killing or detention by faction militias or ransom kidnapping by gunmen whom faction leaders have done little or nothing to suppress in the areas they claim to control. In Puntland, civil society organizations documenting abuses receive little tolerance from the political authorities and are at risk as a result of the unresolved armed conflict. In Somaliland in contrast, where there is a long-established peace, general respect for human rights, a largely free press and a multi-party election process, activists are concerned mainly about a very poor justice system and declining political representation for women and minorities.

In November 2002, Amnesty International's Open Letter to the Somalia Peace Conference supported the demands of civil society groups attending it for greater priority for human rights and not just a sharing-out of violently-acquired power and its gains between armed faction leaders. The Somali Human Rights Defenders Declaration took up the concerns of other Somali activists at the peace talks and reiterated that there should be "no impunity granted to those who have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity . .if they were allowed to hold government office they could commit such crimes again".

"The outcome of the peace talks should not be a government of warring faction-leaders giving themselves total impunity for their gross violations of human rights", said Amnesty International. "Somali political leaders who believe in peace and human rights must unite now to stop the cease-fire violations, arbitrary killings, rape, kidnapping and financial extortion." So far there is little indication from the armed faction leaders that they are committed to rescue Somalia from a seemingly endless crisis threatening regional peace and security.

"The regional and international sponsors of the peace talks must strive harder to secure this commitment and see it in action as a basic pre-requisite for any new transitional government," they said

Background

Meeting in Somaliland at a workshop organised by Amnesty International, Novib and International Cooperation for Development in the only safe area of the former state of Somalia which disintegrated in 1991, the participants included human rights defenders from Mogadishu, such as the Peace and Human Rights Network, Coalition of Grassroots Womens' Organizations and Dr Ismail Jumale Human Rights Organization; Dulmidiid Centre for Human Rights from Puntland regional state; Isha Human Rights Organization from Baidoa; Kisima Peace and Human Rights Organization from Kismayu; and Nagaad Women's Coalition, Hornwatch and several others from Somaliland.

Somaliland's 12-year government is still campaigning for international recognition. The UN-supported Transitional National Government (TNG) holds little power even in Mogadishu as it approaches the end of its three-year term. Two rival coalitions of over a dozen armed clan-based factions - one linked to the TNG and the other backed by Ethiopia - continue to struggle for power. Violations of the October 2002 cease-fire persist unpunished.

The full text of the Declaration, and a link to the Somali-language text is available here: http://web.amnesty.org/web/content.nsf/pages/gbr_somalia_hrd_declaration

For the full text of Amnesty International's Open Letter to the Somali Peace Talks see: http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/AFR520022002?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIES\\SOMALIA

Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web: http://www.amnesty.org


http://web.amnesty.org/web/content.nsf/pages/gbr_somalia_hrd_declaration. 14 February 2003

Declaration of Somali Human Rights Defenders

We, Somali human rights defenders,

Representing civil society organizations covering issues of justice and the rule of law, women's human rights, minority rights, freedom of expression and association, and development, coming rom Somaliland, Puntland and Central and Southern Somalia, with a common aim of a better human rights future for all our Somali brothers and sisters,

Gathered together for human rights discussions and workshop training in Hargeisa, and determined to increase the extent and influence of human rights defence activities defenders seeking peace, reconciliation, justice, security and good governance,

Remembering countless Somali civilian men, women and children who have died as a result of political violence, including human rights defenders, and others who fled dictatorship and civil war,

Encouraged by the support for human rights defenders worldwide established by the international community in 1998 on the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, when the United Nations' General Assembly adopted the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,

Responding to the strong support of the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Human Rights Defenders, and appreciating the efforts of the UN Independent Expert for Somalia on behalf of Somali human rights defenders,

Recalling the signing of a worldwide Human Rights Pledge in 1998 by the Government of Somaliland, the President of the Transitional National Government, certain political leaders, and hundreds of members of civil society throughout Somalia and Somaliland - a pledge to "do everything in my power to ensure that the rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights become a reality throughout the world",

Noting the achievements of human rights defenders across Africa and the rest of the world in building democracy, strengthening the rule of law and resolving conflict,

Determined that there shall be no impunity granted to those who have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, and believing that if they were allowed to hold government office they could commit such crimes again;

Resolve that:

We will increase our struggle against human rights abuses, such as arbitrary killings, torture, arbitrary detention and kidnapping,

We will work for the equal rights of all, without regard to gender, social identity or status or regional origin, with full protection for vulnerable groups such as women and minorities, and for a sustainable livelihood and favourable humanitarian environment,

We recognize and support women human rights defenders in their work for the promotion of women's rights, the eradication of violence against women and female genital mutilation, their services to women victims of violence, and campaigning for women's full political participation in building democratic governance at all levels;

Call on all Somali political authorities to:

  • publicly recognize the legitimate role of human rights defenders in the protection and promotion of human rights,
  • guarantee our right, as set out in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, to hold meetings and rallies, conduct research and investigations into human rights abuses, publish reports, make complaints and recommendations, lead public discussions, look for and receive resources both nationally and internationally, and communicate freely with the international community and mechanisms of the United Nations,
  • publicly declare that human rights defenders will not be subject to reprisals for these activities, whether through arbitrary actions of security forces or laws incompatible with international human rights instruments,
  • ensure that human rights defenders have access to institutions of accountability, a free press, democratic political institutions, justice consistent with international standards, and redress when their rights are abused;
Appeal to the international community to:
  • respond positively to appeals for recovery, rehabilitation and development
  • assist especially those areas displaying evidence of commitment to human rights, peace, security and good governance, and engagement in development through their own efforts,
  • assist and protect Somali human rights defenders facing severe risks by bringing pressure on the authorities persecuting them, and by helping to build the capacity of their organizations and enhance their influence.
Adopted in the presence of the UN Independent Expert for Somalia, Dr Ghanim Alnajjar, and signed by the following Somali human rights defenders' organizations:
  1. Samo Talis Coalition for Human Rights
  2. Nagaad Women's Coalition
  3. Peace and Human Rights Network
  4. Ismail Jum'ale Human Rights Organization
  5. Coalition of Somaliland NGOs (COSONGO)
  6. Coalition of Grassroots Womens' Organizations (COGWO)
  7. WAWA (We Are Women Activists)
  8. Isha Human Rights Organization
  9. Dulmidiid Centre for Human Rights
  10. Somaliland Committee for War Crimes Investigation
  11. Kisima Peace and Development Organization
  12. Technical Development Foundation
  13. Academy for Peace and Development
  14. Somaliland Manufacturing and Craft Association
  15. Somaliland Trade Union Confederation
  16. Heegan Human Rights Network
  17. Somaliland Women for Peace and Advocacy
  18. Somali Young Women Activists
  19. Somaliland Journalists Association
  20. Dulmar
  21. Somaliland Womens' Research and Action Group
  22. Forum for Peace and Governance
  23. Horn of Africa Human Rights Watch Committee (Hornwatch)
The Declaration was adopted at a workshop for Somali Human Rights Defenders organised by Amnesty International, Novib and International Cooperation for Development in Hargeisa. View Amnesty International Press Release http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/AFR520022003?Open&of=COUNTRIES\\SOMALIA
View more on Somalia http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/COUNTRIES/SOMALIA?Open&Count=30
http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/AFR520022002?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIES\\SOMALIA AI-index: AFR 52/002/2002, 07/11/2002 AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL Open Letter

Somalia: No Lasting Peace Without Human Rights

An Open Letter from Amnesty International to the Peace Talks Participants

Eldoret, Kenya

In memory of Starlin Arush, Somali human rights defender, who was tragically murdered in Nairobi, reportedly by armed robbers, as she was about to attend the peace talks; and of hundreds of thousands of unarmed civilians -- children, women and men -- killed by armed factions in 11 years of civil wars since the Somali state collapsed in 1991, or during the preceding 21 years of the Siad Barre government.

As the Somalia National Reconciliation Process enters its second phase, following the cease-fire signed by 19 armed faction leaders and the Transitional National Government (TNG) on 27 October 2002, Amnesty International is calling on all the several hundred participants in the current peace talks in Eldoret to ensure that human rights are at the forefront and will be much better protected as the outcome. This should be the main objective of these 14th peace and reconciliation talks, since without a central focus on securing rights and justice for all Somalis, the resulting agreement cannot deliver lasting peace.

Every Somali will understand the meaning of the basic human rights to life, physical integrity and security of livelihood, since all have experience of human rights violations against themselves or their close family over the past decade or more. As much as a fifth of Somalia's population has been forced to abandon homes and livelihoods as refugees or internally displaced people. A generation has been deprived of the right to education, and most of the population has no access to health care. Somalis -- except for those profiting from it -- are utterly tired of warfare, and desperate for peace.

Human rights in the Somali context means particularly the right to life and personal security. Every man and woman, whether town-dweller, traditional elder, intellectual, nomad, farmer, artisan or worker, should be able to go about their daily lives without fear of being killed or kidnapped. The right not to be arbitrarily detained, tortured or ill-treated, the rights to freedom of expression, opinion and belief (including the freedom of the press), and the right to live under the rule of law and democracy, are all essential pre-requisites for any lasting peace agreement. These rights have been systematically violated without any possibility of legal redress. Violence and discrimination on the grounds of identity -- clan membership, women, minorities and other vulnerable groups -- is rampant. In Mogadishu, in particular, there are almost daily killings, rapes and kidnappings for ransom -- even of children -- by faction militias or faction-linked militias. Both Somali and international humanitarian workers have been killed and kidnapped, and relief supplies stolen.

Amnesty International holds leaders of all political authorities and armed political groups responsible and accounfor protecting the human rights of all persons in the areas they control. In addition, they are responsible for protecting human rights defenders, who are particularly at risk, and who also need the support of all sectors and branches of civil society.

Appeal to the Conference

Amnesty International calls on the participants -- clan-based armed political factions, the TNG and members of civil society -- to commit themselves to actively uphold these rights, which are grounded in both international law and traditional Somali cultural values. Human rights protection and promotion should be the focus of all the committees - on constitutional issues, disarmament/ demobilisation, land and property rights, economic reconstruction, conflict resolution and reconciliation (including human rights violations), and regional/international relations.

No new abuses

From the time of this cease-fire, faction leaders, TNG officials and those representing civil society -- clan elders, religious leaders, NGOs and others -- should establish firm safeguards to ensure that there will be no more conflict-related violations of the human rights of civilians. Killings of civilians, rape, kidnappings, looting of farms, livestock and property, and plunder of natural resources by militias, must stop completely. Faction-leaders bear the responsibility to prevent and punish abuses by their militias. Failure to do so will show lack of commitment or even violation of the peace process. It is vital at this present critical stage to monitor and stop human rights abuses, so that sustainable peace and reconciliation can be achieved.

Abuses of the past -- no general amnesty

How to deal with the gross human rights violations and war crimes of the past decades is a difficult issue. Rather than endangering the peace process, this is necessary for a lasting peace. Somali people themselves must collectively decide on the most appropriate method, in relation to international human rights standards. The options might include a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, or court prosecutions when a system of justice has been created conforming to international standards, so as to provide fair trial and without the use of the death penalty. There was a long-term human rights crisis under the Siad Barre government, with massacres of unarmed civilians, systematic torture of opponents, and widespread arbitrary detentions. After the state's collapse into civil war in 1991, Somalia experienced appalling new abuses and a horrendous famine: clan-targeted killings of unarmed civilians, killings of defenceless minorities, and rape and plunder by clan militias. No-one was ever punished and there was never any legal accountability.

Amnesty International would find it unaccepfor those responsible for such crimes to be included in any new government, which would be expected to be wholeheartedly committed to the rule of law and respect for human rights. Granting total impunity through a general amnesty would not bring lasting peace to Somalia. In practice, it would open the door to new violations by the same perpetrators, who would make sure they continued to silence their accusers, and it would encourage others to hope to go unpunished. In the coming months the International Criminal Court will be established in the Netherlands for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the future, anywhere in the world, in order to bring perpetrators to justice.

International community responsibilities

Amnesty International calls on the international community representatives at the Eldoret peace talks - the UN, European Union, the neighbouring IGAD states of Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia, the League of Arab States and the Governments of Egypt, Italy and the United States -- to serve as effective and impartial monitors of the cease-fire and firm guarantors of human rights. Human rights monitoring is also urgently needed to support the cease-fire. In addition over the long term, the international community should increase its assistance for the creation of institutions of good governance in Somalia and empowerment of all sections of Somali society to build a new human rights future.

Video highlighting Amnesty International's concerns: (Real Player required) http://emedia.amnesty.org/Martin_hill.ram

The open letter is also available in Somali at: http://web.amnesty.org/aidoc/aidoc_pdf.nsf/index/AFR520022002SOMALI/$File/AFR5200202.pdf


BBC Monitoring Reports, February 19, 2003/Source: Somaliland Net web site in English 19 Feb 03/ BBC Monitoring

Somaliland Web Site Report Accuses UN'S information Network of Unfair Reporting

A study undertaken by Amina A. Jama and Dr Abdishakur Jowhar on IRIN UN Integrated Regional Information Network 's reporting on Somaliland and Somalia has revealed a consistent pattern of bias against Somaliland. That pattern of bias against Somaliland consists of consistent under-reporting that ignores the major events, which have marked Somaliland over the past few years, and in particular over last year.

IRIN's deliberate and consistent bias and misreporting about Somaliland is important because it is a major news feeder from the region of the Horn of Africa, and is capable of shaping the rest of the world's opinion about what goes on in the Horn of Africa (Somaliland, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Eritrea). By reading IRIN's reports one would not know or guess that a country called Somaliland exists, let alone about the level of stability, democracy, and economic progress it has achieved over the past decade.

From IRIN's few mentions of Somaliland, under Somalia titles, one would think that Somaliland is part of war-torn Somalia, when, in fact, Somaliland, formerly British Somaliland, has stepped back from the never-ratified association it had one time with Somalia, formerly Italian Somalia. That was back in 1991, over a decade ago.

Since 1991 Somaliland has forged ahead rebuilding itself from the ashes to which the government of Somalia had reduced to over the course of a decade from 1980 to 1991, when the people of Somaliland were engaged in a war of liberation. Today, Somaliland is an independent country with a constitution, a parliament of two houses, peace and a growing economy.

Furthermore, Somaliland has pulled itself from the rubble by its own bootstraps while Somalia slid into the continuing anarchy that the world has been trying to rescue it from ever since 1991. By consistently associating Somaliland with Somalia, and ignoring major newsworthy events in Somaliland such as the recent local elections, IRIN seems to subscribe to a policy of minimizing and burying under the carpet all the progress achieved by the people of Somaliland in order to present a picture of a region where no human development or government emerged after the fall of the the former Somali President Muhammad Siyad Barre of Somalia regime.

Never the less, despite IRIN's best attempts to hide its very existence, Somaliland has received a lot of recognition and praise for its efforts from many international quarters, for example, in 1991 Somaliland was touted as being the most peaceful country in Africa.

We do not know the reasons for IRIN's biased reporting about Somaliland. However, according to some accounts, its chief editor for Somali news is a close relative of the head of the Arta faction of Mogadishu, a man who claims to be the president of Somalia, and who moreover denies the existence of Somaliland, its historical separateness and the sovereign will of its people.

Whatever the exact reasons are for IRIN's consistent pattern of bias against Somaliland, benign neglect or orchestrated campaign, now when the truth is known about IRIN'S reporting patterns on Somaliland and Somalia, we are asking IRIN's management and its funders to change the pattern of bias against Somaliland and give some credit to the progress and peace achieved by the people of Somaliland, without any help from the UN.

We are especially appealing to the donor nations to put a halt to this.


http://jadedafrica.dekarabaw.com/archives/2003_02.html#000061

The First in Somaliland: Journalists Union Launched

Over 60 journalists and owners of media establishments gathered in Min Singh Restaurant last February 1 to launch the first Journalist Association in Somaliland. Journalists and owners of print and broadcast media establishments attended the First Journalists Congress. Represented in the said activity were reporters and editors of Jamhuuriya , Al-Xorriya, Haatuf, Maandeeq, Somaliland TV, Radio Hargeisa, Republican and Freelance journalists.

Somaliland's Vice President Ahmed Yussuf Yassin graced the affair. "This is a milestone and an important and beneficial move that will enhance and guard the rights of journalists in the country", Mr. Yassin said. The Minister of Trade Hon. Rashid was also present, notably criticized the chairperson of Kulmiye Party, Mr. Silanyo for using the affair to promote his political agenda.

The 3-day Congress resulted to the formulation of the Journalist Union's Code of Conduct which would guide the organization in their affairs. It also elected its officers who will manage the union's day to day activities. The newly elected leaders of the Journalist Union's Preparatory Committee are:

  1. Faysal Ali Sheek -- Jamhuuriya
  2. Abdillahi Adan Omar -- Al-Xorriya
  3. Muse Farah Jambir -- Haatuf
  4. Faisal Mohamed Abdi -- Somaliland TV
  5. Muse Adan Yusuf -- Maandeq
  6. Mohamed Said Muhumed -- Radio Hargeisa
  7. Huseen Ali Nor -- Freelance
  8. Hasan Mohamed Jama -- Republican
  9. Dahir Mohamud Hadi -- Somaliland TV
  10. Mohamed Rashid Sh Hassan -- Freelance
Regional representatives of the media establishments were also present to represent regional interests in the Congress. The International Cooperation for Development (ICD) funded the activity in support to the journalists' effort to further democratic reconstruction in the country.

Source: Somaliland Times , Feb 17, 2003 Ex-Political Prisoners Say Rayale Saved Their Lives

Berbera (SL Times): A number of former civil servants under the regime of Siyad Barre have come forward to describe how their lives were saved from execution during the 1988/1989 genocide at Berbera by no other person than Dahir Rayale Kahin, the head of the Berbera National Security Service Bureau at the time.

Speaking at a press conference held last Thursday in Berbera, Yusuf Aqil Yare, ex-Berbera coordinator for Ministry of Public Works, Mohamed Yusuf ex-Berbera coordinator for the Ministry of Transport, Ahmed Mohamed Farah, ex-businessman, and Mohamed Abdillahi, a private citizen, have all stated that they were released from detention at the ex-Hangash (military intelligence unit with extra-legal powers) office at Berbera after an intervention on their behalf by Dahir Rayale Kahin, currently president of Somaliland. They also said that they were convinced that Dahir Rayale has saved the lives of many other detainees.

Following the mid-1988 SNM attacks against Hargeisa and Buroa, the military government of former dictator Siyad Barre responded by committing acts of ethnic cleansing against the Isaak civilian population in the then northern Somalia (present Somaliland).

As atrocities got underway,. Rayale served as the Berbera boss of the NSS. Reports accusing the President of complicity in the acts of genocide, which took place at Berbera, have recently surfaced in the Somaliland Media. However a number of citizens who used to work for government departments in Berbera during the genocide, have refuted these accusations. Yusuf Aqil Yare recalled, "I was among the many people who were rounded up after being accused of having links with the SNM, but since Dahir Rayale was opposed to the killings, the detainees were taken straight away to the Hangash."

Aqil Yare said he was among a group that was released by Dahir Rayale after spending 27 days in prison. He added that they also secured, through Dahir Rayale, the release of 45 men arrested at western Berbera. "Dahir took these men to Ina Dheg Carwo Hotel and arranged to smuggle them back to their nomadic settlements without the knowledge of the government," Aqil Yare said.

Mohamed Yusuf, a former employee of the Transport Ministry under Barre regime has also recalled how he was arrested and then saved. "I was taken from my office to Hangash by armed men led by a notorious fellow by the name of Ali Buulo. Rayale and I happened to be neighbors and he arranged my release together with the Galihle sons, Ali Agaweyne and others."

Recounting what he saw at the Hangash premises, Mohamed Yusuf said, "The former ministry of Agriculture compound was turned into a concentration camp. There were many acquaintees among the people I met there and never saw quite a number of them ever again."

Mohamed Yusuf said when the atrocities began, people were being taken only to Hangash. "By then both the NSS and the police ceased to function." Mohamed Yusuf added it was unfair to associate Rayale with the atrocities. "I owe my life to God and to Rayale," he concluded.

Moreover, some of Berbera's elders, such as Sigal Galaydh and Hassan Arab have also declared that Rayale had nothing to do with the killings that occurred in Berbera in 1988/1989.


BBC Monitoring Reports, February 18, 2003/Source: HornAfrik Online text web site, Mogadishu, in Somali 17 Feb 03/BBC Monitoring

ETHIOPIAN MILITARY DELEGATION TO LEAVE SOMALILAND SHORTLY

Ethiopian military offers who had been in Hargeysa for the last couple of days are expected to leave today. The delegation visited Berbera port and also met Somaliland officials. The delegation is headed by Col Alamayo Bariire as published, who is the commander of Ethiopian forces in Harerge southeastern Ethiopia. Reports say the visit by the Ethiopian officials follows a military delegation from Somaliland which had in the past visited JigJiga and Harar both in southeastern Ethiopia. This is the first Ethiopian delegation to visit Somaliland other than the foreign affairs assistant minister. The minister had said they want to have good bilateral relations. Ethiopian Airlines officially opened an office in Hargeysa. The flight comes three times a week to Hargeysa. An office was also opened in Hargeysa to protect Ethiopian interest and Ethiopian foreign affairs officials work at the office.
Source: The Republican (Hargeisa) February 17th, 2003.

First Somaliland President visits widow of late President

The first President of the Republic of Somaliland Abdirahman Mohamoud Ali "Tuur", paid yesterday, his respects to the widow of the late President Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal, Kaltun Haji Dahir at her residence here, our city reporter found out.

The ex- President, also, the last Chairman of the Somali National Movement, before driving out the remnants of a routed army that the armed movement sent packing after its fleeing chief commander and President, Mohamed Siyad Barreh, insisted that his visit to the bereaved ex-first Lady was purely personal.

"The visit", our reporter said "exactly followed the script projected to the letter, indicating in no way, whatsoever, that there existed other undertones to be read behind the sombre countenance of the ex-President". Abdirahman and the late Egal, informed sources told us, were fast friends, classmates and two "sons" brought up under the same roof in their school days.

The friends, however, were pulled apart by times and tides that alternately pummelled each of them mercilessly at different stages of their lives or, on others heaped honours and laurels on each bringing both, ultimately, to the same top seat in Somaliland.

It was, perhaps, this very political ambition that became the cause of their last, most acrimonious rift in life. At the end of Abdirahman's two-year stint in the Presidency, the late Egal challenged him and won the port at the 1993 Borama conference.

From then on, Abdirahman became a bitter opponent of the late President's administration, until few years back. The Ex-President though not publicly denouncing his opposition to a Somaliland statehood, declared right after arrival here on February 10, that he intended to serve country, people and government to the best of his abilities for the remainder of his active life. Abdirahman is expected to leave for Berbera today to visit his late Friend " cum-rival grave and pay his last respects to him there.


Source: The Republican (Hargeisa) February 17th, 2003.

The Nature of Tax Recovery Activities by the Government

The Nature of Tax Recovery Activities by the Government In our country, there is great dispute in regard to the nature of Tax recovery action by the government or in other words whether tax liability entails civil or criminal action. Thus, in order that the solutions given to problems arising in this dispute may be better understood, it is instructive and valuable to study our legal system. To began with, if we analyse in our law of Taxation, in particular the income tax law, we see the phrase "obligation to pay due tax" or the word "obligation".

What does obligation mean and what branch of law is it included? Obligation is a legal bond whereby we are constrained by a necessity of performing something according to the laws of our country. This signifies is a duty imposed by law which manifests it self in the performance of or forbearance from certain acts. Obligations may be classified as contractual or non-contractual depending on the source.

Contractual obligations owe their existence to voluntary agreements of contracting parties while non-contractual obligations are either consequences of legal sanctioned acts of individuals or creation attributo the sole authority of the law. Revenue laws that impose the duty to pay taxes are typical examples of the later.

On this account, a tax liability is an obligation with legal relations that closely resemble those existing as between a creditor and a debtor under a contract. But, there is a little sense in calling a Tax a debt in its ordinary meaning, for it is by definition: "an enforced contribution exacted by virtue of legislative authority in the exercise of the taxing power on grounds of necessity".

Nevertheless, the position of Tax authority vis-a-vis taxpayer is to all intends and purposes identical to that of a creditor vis-e-vis debtor under a contractual obligation. Both obligations (contractual on non contractual) are not in principle designed teach rate in favour of the obligee a general right of control over all the acts of the obligor.

Just as the debtor may liberate himself from the contractual obligation by sacrificing a portion of his property for the purpose of settling the debt, so may taxpayer obtain a discharge from his tax liability by sacrificing a portion of his property to satisfy the tax claim.

For this fact, Tax liability constitutes obligation and obligations are inherently amenable to civil suits and not to criminal prosecutions. This means as a rule, a Tax liability is a civil action rather than criminal action. But the Somaliland revenue laws or Tax laws (which are precarious and still not approved) provide the possibility of instituting a criminal prosecution against a delinquent taxpayer. This duality of civil and criminal actions, however, must not be allowed to blur one's understanding of a tax liability as a kind of obligation entailing a civil action.

II Limitation of Action in Relation to Recovery of Taxes:-

Prescription or Limitation of Action is a legal institution, which all legal systems recognize as a means of extinguishing obligations. As a rule, a person who is entitled to bring an action is usually expected to do so promptly. As the delay gets longer, the probability of its being imputo lack of interest or neglect increases, protracted inaction is apt to give rise to the supposition that the claim has been abandoned on grounds of voluntary renunciations or even because of a belated realization of the claims amenability at law.

In definition, prescription or limitation of action signify the restriction by law of a right of action to a specified period after the lapse of which its claim or enforcement can be denied. In other words, prescription or limitation of action is a rule, which prescribe the time within which claims are to be brought and in lapse of it the obligation extinguishes. On this account, it is questionable if a taxpayer can invoke prescription or limitation of action as a pre-emptory defence. Likewise, do the Somaliland laws generally and tax laws in particular allow the institution of prescription or limitation of action. Generally, the answers of these questions are available in the civil code as art 374 clearly sets the time after which tax recovery action is barred at three years.

This means that the rights of the tax authority to assess and collect the tax in respect of a given year are to be barred after a lapse of three years. In Tax laws in particular the income tax law contains detailed provisions on period within which tax claims must be brought. But these provisions do make distinction as between limitations on assessment and limitations on collection.

As a good example, Art 45 (2) income tax law clearly mentions, "the right of the financial administration to take any action of recovery shall lapse on 31 December in the fourth year where a taxpayer has not returned his annual income and has not paid the tax there on or where he returned after the expiry of the prescribed time or where any item of income not included in the return". There are also many other provisions.

Prescribing a shorter period of limitations in lapse of them, the tax claim of the government is destroyed together with accessory claims for costs, penalties or additions to the tax.

The institution of prescription or limitation favours also to the government as it pressures the financial administration to exercise its powers to recover taxes and prevent revenue losses that may be sustained as a result of lapse of time.

Finally, I hope that this modest contribution will be a practical use to these who are charged with the administration and execution of the Somaliland income tax laws.

Muse Duale Dirie (Shine); Attorney at Law.


Source: The Republican (Hargeisa) February 17th, 2003.

Human Rights defenders work on a Hargeisa Declaration

Somali human rights defenders from Somaliland and Somalia, including Puntland, brought a two-day workshop brought them together at the Ambassador Hotel, here, to a successful end, yesterday,Friday, by drafting a Hargeisa declaration in which the defenders call on their respective authorities and the international community to accord a greater respect and protection to human rights defenders regardless of domicile or area of original activities.

During the workshop, participants covered a wide range of topics and issues that spanned from brief exchanges of activities and major concerns in respective areas of focus to in-depth discussions on how to further improve inter organization cooperation in order to consolidate part achievements in the protection of the rights of not only the defenders themselves but, also, those of the brothers and sisters whose basic rights the organizations strive to safeguard.

At the workshop, where Dr. Chanim Alnajjar, the UN Independent Expert on Somalia/Somaliland human rights and Martin Hill, Amnesty International Secretariat member and London office Director made indispensable, expert contributions, Mohamed Barood Ali, Samotalis Chairman the organizing institution, ably guided participants through the areas of discussion.

The workshop Chairman, Barood, specifically made doubly certain that participants neither meandered away from the outlined major abandoned issues of central areas of deliberation nor interest to which incisive participants' contributions did make all the difference. Consequently, a riveting, usefully utilized, beehive environment where each of the minutes, hours ticking by brought a reward of its own, took over the workshop through its two-day duration.

Professor Alnajjar, Martin Hill and Ms Indai Sajor (Novib) " a major force behind the 1999 Japan apologies and compensations given to the Second World War "comfort women" its imperial army abducted as sex slaves, particularly, took the time and patience to take participants on a tour through their respective fields, experiences and areas of expertise.

The three expert defenders went over UN, African and other international instruments and declarations highlighting legal fall-nets for human rights defenders. They, also, outlined what coalitions and international linkages existed for defenders so they, in turn, make their voluntary vocations that much more effective and of benefit to all concerned.

Participants, on their part, drawing energy from the vast vitality of august personalities present, went head, heart and soul into panel discussions of, to cite but an example, issues such as freedom of association and expression, justice and law enforcement, women's rights, minority rights and development of humanitarian activism. Participants, specifically, exchanged experiences on what defenders from the respective areas of origin had each done and contributed towards the establishment or improvement of each given area. What risks were inherent in each, what kind of protection measures were found successful and what more could be done to protect human rights defenders' were also investigated.

At the very end of the workshop, participants drew up a draft declaration formulated of their input. A finalized copy of this declaration is expected to be made available to public and media distribution, hopefully at a press conference professor Ghanim and Hill planned for Sunday, February 16, at Maansoor Hotel here.

The Ambassador defenders workshop a follow-up to a 1998 AI workshop " was organized by the Somaliland Coalition for Human Rights organizations " Samotalis, and jointly sponsored by Amnesty International, International Cooperation for Development (ICD) and NOVIB (Netherlands). Of the latter Ms Dorothy Apples, programs coordinators, was also present at the workshop. The Amnesty International delegations arrived in Somaliland on February 10 for a nine-day working visit.


Source: The Republican (Hargeisa) February 17th, 2003.

HINA JILANI: UN Special Rep. For HR Defenders' statement to Conference

I congratulate Amnesty International and co-organizers of this conference for continuing their efforts to build regional solidarity for the protection of human rights defenders. Consultations amongst defenders on their activities for the effective implementation and realization of human rights have been a valuable source of information and guidance for me in the implementation of the UN mandate on the situation of human rights defenders.

The significance of the promotion of human rights in the region and of the process of democratisation in which human rights defenders play a crucial role must be fully recognized. The work of human rights defenders is at the core of all efforts to build civil society and democratic structures as well as the protection of social, economic and cultural rights. Their contribution is essential to monitoring the efforts of States and publicizing information on violations whether committed by States, armed groups or other entities.

The increasing number of allegations of violations of the rights of human rights defenders that I received from all parts of the world, including Africa, gives me serious cause for concern. Defenders face serious consequences as a direct result of their human rights activities. Violence against them ranges from the most outright attacks against physical integrity and personal security, to more subtle and diffused forms of violence, such as legal harassment or restrictions on freedoms of association, assembly, information and movement, some times imposed through unfair laws.

Significant advances have been made in recent years in creating or strengthening legal and normative frameworks for the protection of human rights defenders in many parts of the world. However, one recurrent problem, including in this region, is the lack or inefficient implementation by States of these norms in practice. This has resulted in continuing tensions between the state and civil society in many countries. Failure of states to offer effective guarantees for the security of human rights defenders has a direct impact on the stability of democracy.

Governments need to increase their tolerance for dissent and cease to view human rights defenders as adversaries. It must not be forgotten that human rights defenders play an important role in helping a society to move forward and assist governments in their efforts to improve compliance with international human rights norms and standards. Where Governments have opened the avenues of cooperation, civil society organizations have responded positively.

Actions from governments oriented to wards securing the free exercise of these liberties would help create an enabling environment for the work of human rights defenders and support their actions to consolidate developments towards a civil society based on the rule of law and democratic principles.

Governments have the responsibility to implement the Human Rights Defenders Declaration, especially the provisions relating to the protection of human rights defenders seeking democratic transformation and reacting against or opposing, through peaceful means, acts resulting in violations of human rights. In this regard, I would encourage Governments of the region as well as regional organizations and NGOs to promote and disseminate the Declaration. All have an important role to play in order to make this important text a reality.

Finally, I wish to stress that the current global situation poses a great challenge for those who stand committed to the values of human rights. Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms cannot be undermined in any circumstances and conditions, even in the context of international tensions or threat to peace and security. It is important to recall that values of freedom and democracy can only be strengthened by firmly adhering to these values in times of crises. The work of human rights defenders is never easy. The present situation may require from them a more ardent defence of universal values of human rights, in order that prospects of building peace, promoting Democracy and protecting human rights are not diminished.


Source: The Republican (Hargeisa) February 17th, 2003.

From Toronto Co-director of IJHR sends Solidarity message to the participants of the Somali Human Rights Defender Workshop

From Toronto Co-director of IJHR sends Solidarity message to the participants of the Somali Human Rights Defender Workshop, Hargeisa, Somaliland. My fellow defenders, I take this opportunity to send you my greeting to you on this important occasion of holding the first Somali Human Rights Defender workshop inside Somali territory; itself a very important achievement unthinkable 13 years ago. When we founded the Dr. Ismail Jumale Human Rights Centre, the daunting Human Rights issues we were confronted with at the time included the use of excessive force by various armed groups within the civilian populated areas, the political and clan based unlawful killings, the wide spread practice of rape as a tool of political suppression against girls and women of all ages and the kidnapping for extortion of the members of the international aid workers as well as prominent members of minority communities. These atrocities still constitute, sadly, a persistent pattern of Human Rights violation in large part of Somali territories to date, particularly south and northeast regions.

As you can testify through your peaceful assembly in Hargeisa, Somaliland achieved relative stability through grassroots efforts and the basic rights of the people are generally respected. As we worked together under threat in armed conflict in a divided society, we yet monitored, investigated and publicly reported on these human rights abuses by any group; organised public protest against Islamic Court sentences and procedures in 1997 and again 2002 which led the court to suspend amputation penalties; conducted human rights campaigns such as the 50th anniversary of UDHR by organising sign-up sessions for various groups including faction leaders; raised the human rights awareness including publication of UDHR in Somali/English pictorial booklet and pioneered the launching and subsequent development of important civil society Networks throughout Somali territories, a word of appreciation and respect for everything we have done together on the human rights front.

Equally important as a Human Rights defenders we stood solidly against Human Rights abuses occurring in our respective areas at a great personal risk, in the process we lost valuable Human Rights workers and peace activists including Istarlin Arush, Osman Jeyte and Elman Ali Ahmed, to name a few. For me some events over the past years stand out and fuelled my own energy and determination: a week spend in Johannesburg for the All African Human Rights Defenders conference in November 1998 where more than 100 African defenders from 45 African countries met to compare notes of fear and hope, my subsequent participation of the Global Summit for Human Rights Defenders on the occasion of the 50 anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December 1998 in Paris, where representative of all the peoples of the world renewed their pledge to support the rights in the declaration, another week in Bossasso in February 2000, where I stood in awe of the bravery and dedication of that regions' strong but besieged human rights community, during the unprecedented second all Somali Civil Society Conference there, and a week spent in Calgary at the time of the G8 summit in June 2002, where the power of hundreds of committed defenders voices joined together to express collective demands and to speak out in one voice. It was splendidly rejuvenating.

In all these events your unique works and aspirations become part of important regional and international declarations and plans of actions. I hope you will be able to draw aspirations from them at this workshop. For your rights, think globally and act locally! I close by sending to you all: my very best wishes for the workshop, renewed commitment in working with you in the years ahead, and through you, thanks to AI, NOVIB, and ICD for their constant support and solidarity in the cause of Somali rights everywhere. Hassan Shire Sheikh; Toronto " Canada.


Source: The Republican (Hargeisa) February 17th, 2003.

Declaration of the All-Africa Human Rights Defenders Conference

Johannesburg, South Africa, November 1998.

We, Human Rights defender that is, women and men on the front line of the struggle to protect and promote human rights and who include, lawyers, journalists, NGO workers, trade unionists, members of rural organisations, health workers, religious workers, development workers, students and relatives of victims, etc.

Gathered at the All-Africa Human Rights Defenders Conference, Johannesburg, South Africa, from 2 to 4 November 1998. Recalling the regional and international standards already in existence for the protection and promotion of human rights, in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which on 10 December 1998 celebrates in 50th anniversary, and the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders about to be inaugurated.

Observing the failure of most states and governments in Africa either to live up to the domestic and international obligations to which they have committed themselves in the protection and promotion of human rights, or to ratify and accede to relevant international human rights standards, and the failure of governments and armed groups involved in conflicts in Africa to adhere to international humanitarian law;

Acknowledging the Human Rights Defenders have as a result assumed a central role in the promotion and protection of each and every one of the human rights; Observing moreover the particular risks run by human rights defenders in the context of armed conflict; Deeply concerned that the increasing number and influence of human rights defenders has been accompanied by their own rights being violated;

Denouncing in particular the violations of human rights they face, including extra-judicial execution, torture, rape and sexual assault, arbitrary arrest and detention, and unfair trials; Denouncing moreover the extent of measures used by many states to silence human rights defenders, including censorship and seizure of publications, constant surveillance and intimidation, economic and professional harassment, bureaucratic obstacles to legalisation of their activities, denial of freedom of assembly, and social ostracism.

Affirm the right to continue such work in accordance with the international human rights standards Considering all threats on human rights defenders as an attack on the work of human rights NGOs everywhere, decide to organise themselves into networks to respond immediately, with all means at their disposition, to these fundamental violations of human rights.

Undertake to train Africans, in particularly Human Right defenders to make best use of national, international and regional mechanism established for protection of Human Rights. Call upon all States to respect and ensure the respect of the right to freedom of action for human rights defenders. Urge all States to bring national legislation into accordance with international human rights standards and to ensure the independence of the judiciary and other mechanism for the defence of human rights.

Urge all States adopt special measures to ensure the protection of women human rights defenders including the implementation of the Beijing Plan of Action. And call upon all States to facilitate the granting of asylum to human rights defenders imminent risk of human rights violations. Call upon the intergovernmental, international and regional organisations to intervene on behalf of human rights defenders and campaign to guarantee their safety. Urge that the United Nations and all its agencies give priority to consultations with human rights defenders in their work.

Urge the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to establish the post of Special Repporteur for Human Rights Defenders and to ensure that the work of human rights defenders is included in the mandate of all United Nations mechanisms. Demand moreover that all bilateral and multilateral organs and authorities of economic cooperation ensure in their program the protection of human rights defenders.

Demand finally that multinational companies ensure that their strategies and projects are not harmful to the freedom of action of human rights defenders. Call upon international public opinion, in particular the media, to join in the protection of human rights defenders and promoting their activities in defence of human rights for all.


Source: The Republican (Hargeisa) February 17th, 2003.

Somaliland Journalists light torch for independence through Association

Hargeisa: Over 70 Journalists from the Somaliland national and regional media establishments and outlets laid a solid foundation for an association of their own last week in a three-day meeting at the Ming Singconference halls, here, by putting the last finishing touches to a constitution and Code of Ethics a ten member preparatory committee submitted them for discussion.

"Not before this moment did we have a right to expend a sigh of relief because", a noted newsman said when the last revised drafts of the two fundamental documents were unanimously passed by the delegates. A sigh of relief? Yes! It was, indeed, understandable that delegates at the Journalists conference should leave a sigh of relief, mainly, due to two basic facts that, hitherto, weighed heavily on the news Community's conscience. First, there was the fear of failure, which was not groundless.

A first attempt to form an association of this kind abjectly failed in 1992, due to a number of reasons chief among which were poor preparation, inexperience and an unhealthy jockeying for executive positions.

Secondly, the Journalists were not sure that the government was not above the employment of underhanded, saboteur tactics to sow discord and dissent among delegates to make way for a press law of its own that it was keen to introduce. Thanks, largely, to the relative maturity and sincere aspirations of the media community, neither misgiving transpired.

For one, the preparatory Committee surfed through a great number of Journalists associations constitutions and codes of conduct for no less than 3 months before settling on what they wanted in and what they chalked up is incompatible to their national and trade values and sensibilities. As for the other, the Journalists showed a high degree of maturity in the practice of compromises and concessions among themselves when it came to the election of its Executive Council members.

The driving motive behind which the conference delegates rallied was, however, the formulation of legally binding regulations that Journalists themselves formulated for their own protection and unity before the government found another excuse to submit a decidedly "more oppressive" press law of its own to a, hitherto, reluctant parliament.

The absence of any alternatives, Journalists conjectured, would place sympathetically inclined honourable members of the Parliament in a fix if they turned it back once more.

Using their own time and resources, the preparatory committee members raced against time to put together nuclei drafts for both constitution and code of conduct. Presented, the two documents drew a vibrant response from delegates prepared for contingency measures if they found committee drafts wanting. But they did not, most fortunately.

The delegates, instead, found ample ground for revisions and improvements working round the clock not forgetting, at the same time, to acknowledge the tremendous effort of preparatory committee officer-volunteers.

Read together or separately, the resultant constitution and code of conduct drafts constitute a formidable inspiration to a responsible Journalism in Somaliland as it is a daunting, exacting deterrent to the errant and unethical sensationalist "pen-scratchers" who go by the title of "Journalist", whose venom no nation can escape without committing them voluntarily to adherence to own regulatory measures.

In fact, it is thanks to the media outlets the delegates represented that the Republic of Somaliland and its resilient public draws constant inspiration to further develop and foster the democratic-oriented atmosphere they helped found together. I such a tolerant existed not, the current, perfectly legal, judicious perception of impending threats and the devising of constitutionally permissible counter measures would not have been possible for Journalists.

"No' to laws imposed from without ?Yes' to responsible Journalism", delegates in effect, beamed out to all receptive sensors "hither or thither! The differing shades of opinion regarding the pros and cons of a press law were, actually, starkly evident in the statements of key, honourable guest speakers insisted to the opening ceremony of the conference.

The Vice President of the Republic, Ahmed Yussuf Yassin, expressed his pleasure at attending a conference Journalists organized on their own for discussion of their responsibilities. He, however, made a point to underline that the government is still intent to introduce its own draft law despite the apparent, vast opposition it drew from so many public quarters.

Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud "Siilaanyo" " a formidable icon in the contemporary history of Somaliland, and leader-candidate of the KULMIYE political party advised a total abrogation of the government professed press law, and all its negative connotations.

Haji Abdi Hussein of the Elders Council, typically, played the role of the responsible elder by highlighting the crucial role and importance of an independent media to development and, yet, urging all concerned " including Journalist " to exercise restraint and discretion.

Abdullahi Mohamed Dualeh of Information and Rashid Haji Abdullahi of Commerce both opted, also, for a non-abrasive approach to the issue, neither committing himself either way in front of a dissecting wall of Journalist searching senses.

But the fact that Minister for Information was the first government officer of stature to express his felicitations to Association members the day after it was announced, however, is an encouraging beacon pointing to the right direction. But only an unequivocal statement from the government, one may rightly conclude, annulling any re-introduction of government press laws would only dispel a nagging suspicion on the back of Journalists minds that no freedom of expression or association would truly thrive in the same pen with laws reminiscent of past, repressive measures of another era bygone.

The new Journalists Association would be formally known as the Somaliland Journalist Association (SOLJA) Its first, elected executive council members to hold office for first two years are as below: -

1.Faisal Ali Shiekh, 2. Hassan Mohamed Jama, 3. A/risak Mohamed Dubad, 4. Muse Farah Jambir, 5. Muse Adan Yussuf, 6. Faisal Abdi Abdallah, 7. Mohamed Saeed Mohamed, 8. Hassan Mohamed Yussuf, 9. A/rahman Mohamed Guun, 10. Faisal Mohamed Abdi (Fadh-fadhleh), 11. Muse Mohamed Guleid (Muse-Inj), 12. Hussein Ali Nour, 13. Ahmed Saeed Eggeh, 14. Dahir Mohamed Haddi, 15. Abdillahi Adan Omar (Wayab), 16. Ilhan Adan Farah, 17. Sahra Hassan Dahir.


Source: The Republican (Hargeisa) February 17th, 2003.

Mohamed-Rashiid and Fozia H.Adan: flag-bearers of younger-generation ambitions

Hargeisa: Dr. Mohamed-Rashiid Sheikh Hassan is a soft-spoken, keen-minded veteran Journalist and academic (Political Science), whose outward, "Professorial" deference belies a keen, analytical mind that immediately endears any chance acquaintance to him.

Nobody I have come across who had the pleasure of talking to the twinkly-eyed mind behind the spectacles has yet to utter an unkind word against him.Dr. Mohamed-Rashiid, a prime-mover behind the recently formed Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA), is, also, the first, younger generation politician who publicly declared an ambition to co-run as Vice President to Presidential Candidate Ahmed Mohamed "Siilaanyo" on a KULMIYE ticket.

Fozia Yussuf Haji Adan is a charismatic, unusually attractive young lady whose education and lobbying activities for Somaliland has kept her shuttling from one destination to another in the Diaspora. Ms. Fozia is given great credit for making the establishment of Hargeisa University the reality it is today.

Fozia comes from a very famous, widely respected Hargeisa family. The renowned teacher, poet and cultural authority " Yussuf Haji Adan " is her father. Fozia wants to run for President on a "independent" ticket, if the Parliament does not object to it on constitutional grounds.


Source: The Republican (Hargeisa) February 15th, 2003.

Somaliland Minister in Toronto to promote the return of democracy in Somaliland Toronto, Ontario

Madame Edna Aden Ismail, Somaliland's Minister of Family Welfare and Social Development, will talk with Canadian Somalilanders in the Greater Toronto Area, about the current efforts to restore democracy in her country.

The Minister will also be raising awareness of the plight of families and social issues that are critically important to the stability of the region. Jim Karygiannis, Member of Parliament for Scarborough-Agincourt will facilitate this discussion. During his trip to Somaliland last year, he met the Minister and toured the Edna Aden Maternity Hospital in Hargeisa, the only provider of maternity care in Somaliland, which she founded. He was impressed with Madame Ismail's courageous work on behalf of women, the underprivileged and the sick. The Minister will address these issues at the community meeting on February 15, 2003, from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at:


Source: The Republican (Hargeisa) February 17th, 2003. Somaliland formally doesn't exist, even if the country has had its own government, peace and stability, own currency, flag, and so on, for over ten years

Hargeisa: Without explicitly recognising Somaliland, the European Commission has now started a direct cooperation with its government in a major development project. The European Union (EU) has approved an extensive project to support rehabilitation of the core road network in Somaliland, with a "total budget" of euro 4.5 million. According to a release from the Commission, this will be coordinate by the Somaliland Roads Authorities. The project concentrates on road connection to Berbera, a town that has developed into one of the most important commercial harbours in this in region. The access to port facilities in Berbera is especially vital at the moment, when the Horn of Africa is experiencing a food crisis. A substantial part of goods to and from Ethiopia now goes through Berbera as the country now is landlocked. Berbera is also a major entry to most of Somalia, being the safest port facility here.

The EU communiqu\'e9 thus described Somaliland's roads as the region's lifeline: "With no railway network and with air travel being far beyond the reach of most Somalis, roads are crucial channels for trade and communications." Noting that the port of Berbera had been growing in importance, it stressed the need to continue improving the road between the port and the region. Further, "the volume of transported goods grows constantly," the statement said. But according to the EU and all other countries, Somaliland doesn't exist. Officially, the area is called North-vest Somalia. I practical terms, however, both the UN and most donor countries have started to treat the government in Hargeisa, the Somaliland capital, as any other government. The simple reason is that it is the only functional state authority in war-ridden and anarchist Somalia.

Somaliland recalled its past, being a recognised entity as a British colony, in its unilateral declaration of independence in 1991. While the rest of Somalia collapsed into constant civil war between rival clans since dictator Said Barre was overthrown in 1991, Somaliland has been a quiet oasis of economic growth and relatively democratic institutions. Officially, the international society supports the transitional government in Mogadishu and a demand to all parties to the Somali conflict - including Somaliland - to recognise Mogadishu and participate in the peace process. Somaliland however refuses to "interfere with Somali internal issues" and the Mogadishu government doesn't even control the entire capital.

As the Somali peace negotiations keep on failing, the international society has increased its presence in Somaliland and given indirect recognitions.

Mogadishu being too insecure, most "UN offices in Somalia" are based in Hargeisa and formally cooperate with the Somaliland government. A main problem fro Somaliland during its de facto independence has been access to international finance for development. Neither the World Bank nor the IMF will cooperate with Somaliland to provide needed investments. The EU's sponsorship of the country's road rehabilitation programme therefore is a major first step in foreign financing of development projects.

It is also a significant sign that the West is more favourable to a possible recognition of Somaliland. Even if Somaliland can point to a solid historic justification for its declaration of independence, the Hargeisa government meets heavy resistance from the African Union.

African governments are deeply concerned that the recognition of de facto independent states may lead to a sharp increase in liberation movements on the continent, where few national borders coincide with peoples' borders.

The principle of the "sacred colonial borders" is even present in the African Union's charter. This principle, on the other hand, is Hargeisa's best argument for not being sidelined with Somali warring fractions. While Somalia was an Italian colony, Somaliland was a British colony. The country was a recognised independent state for one week in June 1960, before it entered into a union with Somalia.

During the Barre dictatorship, the Somaliland autonomy was unilaterally removed - a breach of the union treaty, according to the official view in Hargeisa. Thus, Somaliland was in its right to cancel the union treaty and declare independence in 1991. As there was no one in Mogadishu to negotiate with, the decision had to be unilateral. Noting the chaos in Somalia, many Western diplomats agree with Hargeisa's arguments - unofficially.

Hassan Mohamed Jama (Hassan Heiss). The Republican Editor.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, February 16, 2003/SOURCE: Ayaamaha, Mogadishu, in Somali 16 Feb 03

Somali government reportedly wants break-away republic at peace talks

The interim government of Somalia, one of the most active participants at the peace talks in Kenya, has refused to move from Eldoret town Western Kenya to the new peace talks venue, Nairobi. The government says the reason for its refusal is because they were discontented with the way the list of delegates had been prepared, which allotted the government with 49 members. The government also wants the self-declared republic of Somaliland to be brought to the talks. Government officials at the peace talks, including Speaker of parliament Abdallah Derow Isaq, and prime minister Hasan Abshir Farah, yesterday held talks with envoys from the so-called Somalia's front-line states, Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia, to sort out problems regarding the list of delegates. The officials they are optimistic that their grievances would soon be addressed.
Somaliland net, Feb 16 2003

Dr. Edna A Ismail, African heroine, honored in Canada

Admired across Africa for her efforts on behalf of women, the underprivileged and the sick, EDNA ADEN ISMAIL will visit Canada to raise awareness of the plight of families and social issues in Somaliland. Ms. Ismail, Somaliland's Minister of Family and Social Affairs, will be honored on February 15 by the Somali community and Liberal Member of Parliament Jim Karygiannis who will present her with a copy of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, translated into Somali for the first time. A role model for millions, Ms. Ismail is in Canada to promote governance and civic participation in the Republic of Somaliland which is poised to hold presidential elections in May 2003 - 12 years after declaring its independence from Somalia, a strife-ridden nation plagued by war and anarchy. In addition, she intends to raise awareness about the plight of families and social issues in Somaliland, a fledgling democratic state, and also express her gratitude to Canada for thousands throughout the Horn of Africa. Ms. Ismail, a former World Health Organization representative, gained global recognition and accolades after she built the Edna Aden Hospital in Hargeisa, Somaliland. The non-profit facility also serves as a teaching hospital and is the only provider of maternity care in Somaliland at present. After Toronto, Ms. Ismail will travel to Ottawa to meet with Members of Parliament, including Ministers and other government officials, before traveling to South Africa at the invitation of President Thabo Mbeki for an AIDS conference.
Source: Somaliland Times , Feb 11, 2003

Somaliland Citizens Must Fight Against Corrupt Government Officials

I remember very well in 1960 I was a young boy and our elders in East Africa celebrated the Independence Day. Even though I was born in East Africa I felt proud that my motherland has at last become independent. Again in 1991 when the elders declared the rebirth of our nation every Somaliland citizen whether born in Somaliland or other foreign countries was very happy and proud.

I have been following events in Somaliland. It is disheartening to hear stories of malpractice, nepotism and corruption since 1991. Your newspaper must educate the masses of Somaliland of their rights. As long as people pays taxes they expect the government to try and rebuild the infrastructure with whatever little they have. Somaliland leaders whether it is the president, ministers, parliament and the elders who are in the government must establish a code of conduct that makes it clear who ever misuses public funds must be brought to justice. That is the only way to have a clean government. Unless Somalilanders build a transparent government, which is accounto its citizens, I am afraid the country might follow the same direction of the former regime of Somali Republic. Corruption, nepotism and misuse of public funds is a big crime. Any leader who steals public funds must be brought to justice.

The leaders of Somaliland must campaign vigorously to remove corruption. Failure to do so will result in public funds being exploited by few individuals who have connection to the system. There must be fairness in awarding tenders. The majority of our people live in poverty. The government must do all its best to try to revive hospitals, infrastructure and schools. With proper planning, even with the current budget, they could do wonders every year.

Last, I admire your newspaper for being frank and your criticism of whoever does wrong in the government. It's a shame when a minister of petroleum can be fooled by Asians pretending to be businessmen and signing a contract with them. My best advice is he should resign. We have well educated Somlilanders in Europe and America who can freely give their knowledge to help our country. The problem is those illiterate leaders are afraid of them, wrongly thinking their position would be taken by the well educated.

M. Abubakar. Email:mahmabb@yahoo.co.uk


Source: Somaliland Times ,Feb 11, 2003

A Challenge For the Kulmiye Party to Distance Itself From Rakiya's Divisive Article And Run A Clean Campaign

Recently, Rakiya A. Omaar posted an article that alleged Somaliland President Dahir Rayale Kahin of imprisoning two individuals in 1988. Credible people came forward who declared that Dahir Rayale had helped them during that time. Those of us who grow up with him and who have known him most of his life know him as a decent and an honorable man; a man who is cautious with what he says or does; a man who will never harm any body but will go out of his way to help if he sees someone who is in need of assistance-

The timing of the article, just a couple of months before the presidential elections in which Dahir Rayale is the front runner and the favorite to win the race, raises serious questions about the motives of Rakiya. In the opinion of many, Rakiya is seen as a proxy for the Kulmiye Party which was distant second in the municipal elections and their expectations may be that by utilizing her credentials as human rights advocate and reminding people of the death and destruction in the late 1980s and depicting Dahir Rayale as the villain of that dark era, that it will give a shot in the arm to trailing Kulmiye Party. As they say, desperate people do desperate things. We know now her organization is in essence a political entity masqueraded as human rights organization. Any person who reads that article knows this is not about human rights but about presidential politics, pure and simple.

Why now? Dahir Rayale has been a prominent individual in Somaliland politics over the last 12 years. He attended the 1991 Burao conference. He was one of the principal organizers of the Borama conference the following year where the late President Egal was elected. He was held in such high respect in Borama that his counsel in conflict resolution between individuals and sub-clans was sought. He was a governor of Awdal region. He was respected businessman. He was Somaliland's Vice-President for five years.

To ascertain the Kulmiye camp is not behind this smear campaign, we call upon the party leaders to distance their party from this story and to renounce those who want to introduce wedge issue into the campaign. But it must be understood wedge issue do not work. A case in point is the State of California, which is multiracial as much as Somaliland is multi-clan. Former Republican Governor Pete Wilson used wedge issues in order to win large support from the white electorate. He would support issues that were anti- Hispanic in order to appeal to the white electorate. For example he supported Proposition 187, which banned children of illegal immigrants from attending public education. The result was the Hispanic population in the State some of whom would have voted Republican all joined the Democratic Party. The Hispanics jointed Blacks and White liberals to give the democratic party a large majority in the State. During the last two general elections, the democratic party won the office of the governor, gained a majority of both Houses and won all state wide offices. In short, wedge issues have buried the Republican Party in California.

Rakiya's story has the same purpose as proposition 187. It revisits a painful period in our history. Its anticipatory effect is to stir the emotions of the Isaaq electorate and drive them into the Kulmiye camp. On the contrary, the effect will probably be akin to that of Proposition 187 in California. In political campaigns, it is quite common to see other candidates and their spin-doctors heap criticism on the front-runner. But this attack borders on slander. The work is cut out for President Rayale and his supporters. He must defend his integrity vigorously day in day out until Election Day. His must give the people the clear choices they have: between his record of harmony and stability and those polarizing forces intent on divide and rule. There is reservoir of sympathy among the public with the way he was slandered. If he wages an aggressive campaign, he can win the election handily.

Residents of Awdal who numbered nearly 30% of the voters in the municipal elections have every reason to closely watch how this story unfolds. In the unlikely event this works for the opposition, it would set a precedent, which would mean that at any given time any of them have a real shot at a high office, any person can, under the color of human rights, cook up a story, and torpedo his or her candidacy. This is a bit unsettling, isn't it? But we are confident the Isaaq voters will reject this hate.

On another issue, Rakiya used the term Non-Isaaq to describe other clans, which brings to mind an exchange between Steve Biko and his defense attorney during the 1977 trial of the young black activist: Soggot: At the first GSC, was the question of the term Non-White raised at all, do you know?

Biko: I think students in fact took a decision to the effect that they would no longer use the term Non-White, nor allow it to be used as a description of them, because they saw it as a negation of their being. They were being stated as "non something " which implied that the standard was something and they were not that particular standard. They felt that a positive view to life, which is commensurate with the build-up of one's dignity and confidence, should be contained in a description, which you accept, and they ought to replace the term Non-White with term Black. Nearly thirty years ago, young black South African students refused to be called Non-White because as Steve Biko put it eloquently it was " a negation of their being" and not "commensurate with the build up of ones dignity and confidence'. The peoples who live with the Isaaq are the Warsangeli, Gadabursi and Dhulbahante. Are those names that complicated which would necessitate the use of shortcut? There is no excuse for the usage of such hyphenated terms at this time and age.

By Adan H Iman. Adan_h_iman1000@hotmail.com


Somaliland Times , Feb 01, 2003

Justice for the Atrocities of the 1980s: The Responsibility of Politicians and Political Parties

By Rakiya A. Omaar

Like so many other Somalis, my life in the 1980s was marked profoundly by the terrible human right situation under the regime of Mohamed Siad Barre. I was one of the very lucky ones. I did not live in Somalia at the time, and no-one in my family was killed or maimed when the government unleashed a genocidal frenzy in Somaliland, then the Northwest region of Somalia. Being lucky implied a responsibility: to let the world know what was happening, so it could exert pressure to halt the atrocities. Fortunately, I had just begun my career in human rights as director of the US-based group, Africa Watch. This position gave me a platform from which I could speak and make my contribution.

I am, in particular, proud of one book I researched and wrote while at Africa Watch, A Government at War With Its Own People: Testimonies About the Killings and the Conflict in the North, published in New York in January 1990. Unfortunately, the Ethiopian government of the time refused us permission to interview the refugees in the Ethiopian camps. So the research took me to Djibouti and to various cities in the UK which housed men, women and children who had fled Siad Barre's tactics of terror. I spent months listening to harrowing testimony about a well-planned campaign to eliminate an entire people. It is not possible to do justice to their stories in an article, but this is the picture that emerged. I am writing about this book now, 12 years later, because it has, once again, entered the political arena.

Arguing that all Isaaqs were supporters of the Somali National Movement (SNM), the guerrilla movement that sought to drive the government out of the Northwest, life, as we know it, was denied to them in their own homeland from 1981 to May 1988, It became, instead, a succession of human rights abuses. Murder; detentions; torture; unfair trials; confiscation of land and other property; constraints on freedom of movement and of _expression; a strategy of humiliation directed at family life, at women and elders; the denial of equal opportunities; discriminatory business practices and curfews and checkpoints became a daily affair. Both urban centres and rural communities were targeted, but it was the nomadic population, regarded as the backbone of the SNM economically and in terms of human resources, which suffered the most. Their men and boys were gunned down, their women raped, their water reservoirs destroyed and people, as well as livestock, were blown up by landmines.

In late May 1988, the SNM attacked the towns of Hargeisa and Burao. It was the start of a savage war against Isaaq civilians which drove most of them into exile in the inhospidesert of Ethiopia. Instead of engaging the SNM militarily, the government used the full range of its military hardware against unarmed and defenceless civilians, thinking perhaps that the SNM would be too preoccupied with the chaos of mass civilian casualties to fight back effectively. The assault knew no bounds: residential homes were bombed, fleeing refugees were strafed by planes and men, women and children perished by the thousands.

Mohamed Said Barre is not alone in his guilt for these crimes against humanity, for which no-one has yet been prosecuted. Some of the other key architects of this policy of annihilation, men like Mohamed Saeed Morgan, Mohamed Hashi Gaani and countless other collaborators, continue to wreak havoc in Somalia. Others, including Mohamed Ali Samater, live in comforexile in the United States and elsewhere in the world. And then others are right here in Somaliland. And they include President Dahir Rayaale, who was head of the feared and powerful secret service, the National Security Service (NSS) in Berbera. President Rayaale is named in A Government at War With Its Own People.

The town of Berbera saw some of the worst atrocities of the war, even though the SNM never entered Berbera in 1988. Elders and businessmen were immediately arrested en masse after the SNM attack on Hargeisa and Burao; between 27 May and 1 June, they were transferred to Mogadishu. The killings, which were exceptionally brutal in Berbera, began shortly afterwards. Many of the victims had their throats slit and were then shot. A series of massacres which have been mentioned again and again took place, mainly in June, in Buraosheikh, close to Berbera, when about 500 men were killed in groups of between 30-40. Some of the victims were from Burao, Hargeisa and surrounding villages who had come as temporary labourers to the port of Berbera. Others were asylum seekers who had been returned from Saudia Arabia. The names of some of these men are listed in the book. As head of the NSS in Berbera, Dahir Rayaale bears a heavy and direct responsibility for their fate.

Witnesses who are alive also recall Rayaale's contribution to the war against civilians. One of the people I interviewed in Djibouti in August 1989 and who is cited in the book is Abdifatah Abdillahi Jirreh. He was only 14 at the time, but he remembered Dahir Rayaale.

One day in mid-August [1988], Dahir Rayaale, head of the NSS, came to our ice plant and took my father away. They also arrested one of the watchmen, an old man, Farah Badeh Gheedi. They were detained in the police station, accused of talking about the prospects of the SNM coming to Berbera.

Rayaale is not the only man who has held a senior political position in Somaliland whose conduct of human rights has been questioned. Many former Isaaq members of the NSS and the HANGASH, the military police that came to exert formidable power over civilians, today occupy key positions in Somaliland in the NSS, re-established in 1995, and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID). The people they tortured, interrogated and spied on, and the people whose loved ones they killed, will, one day, no doubt give their own account.

So the issue is not one of clan and community identity, but of individual responsibility for grave injustices. These men, whether they are Isaaqs or non-Isaaqs, must answer for what they did in their political and professional capacity. And the political parties to which they belong must investigate these accusations thoroughly and objectively and respond accordingly. The three political parties who will contest the forthcoming presidential elections -- UDUB, Kulmiye and UCID -- must ensure that they do not recruit, let alone put forward as candidates, human rights offenders. Since the accusations in the book became a matter of public debate, "witnesses"have gone on television to say that Rayaale actually saved lives. That is not the point; he may well have saved some people, but that does not prove that he did not commit the acts of which he is accused.

The case about President Rayaale is especially serious because he is a candidate in the first free presidential elections that the country has known in more than 30 years. He became president, not through the will of the people, but appointed by the House of Elders on the death of the late President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal. But now it is a matter of choice. If he wins, he will remain in power for five years. Justice for the victims is at stake. But so is the future of Somaliland. The crimes of the 1980s is the very reason why Somaliland decided to secede from Somalia in May 1991. The fact that men like Morgan and Gaani retain considerable power in Somalia is a major issue for people in Somaliland. Only a leader whose own hands are clean has the legitimacy to speak for Somaliland on such major questions as the prosecution of war criminals and to represent his people effectively regionally and internationally.

The question will be asked: why has it taken so long for this information to be widely disseminated and known, despite the fact that it was documented as early as 1990? There are many factors, the most important of which was the decision taken in May 1991 to pursue a policy of reconciliation in Somaliland. But even then, the leading perpetrators of war crimes were excluded and a committee named to pursue their case. But settling the internal conflicts of the 1990s drained energy that might have been devoted to that task. So justice took a back seat. But with the prospect of electing a president who faces such serious accusations, Somaliland cannot afford to remain silent. Keeping quiet means that tens of thousands of people died for nothing. It means that an entire people became impoverished and stateless refugees for nothing. It means that Hargeisa, Burao, Berbera and other towns became roofless ghost towns for nothing. And it means that any attempt to pursue the likes of Morgan and Gaani will be laughed out of court. It is time to speak out and set the record straight.

* Rakiya A. Omaar is the director of the international human rights organisation, African Rights.


Source: afrol.com News, 11 February

EU breaks ice on financing Somaliland

Somaliland formally doesn't exist, even if the country has had its own government, peace and stability, own currency, flag, and so on, for over ten years. Without explicitly recognising Somaliland, the European Commission has now started a direct cooperation with its government in a major development project.

The European Union (EU) has approved an extensive project to support rehabilitation of the core road network in Somaliland, with a "total budget" of euro 4.5 million. According to a release from the Commission, this will be coordinate by the Somaliland Roads Authorities. The project concentrates on road connection to Berbera, a town that has developed into one of the most important commercial harbours in this insregion.

The access to port facilities in Berbera is especially vital at the moment, when the Horn of Africa is experiencing a food crisis. A substantial part of goods to and from Ethiopia now goes through Berbera as the country now is landlocked. Berbera is also a major entry to most of Somalia, being the safest port facility here.

The EU communiqu\'e9 thus described Somaliland's roads as the region's lifeline: "With no railway network and with air travel being far beyond the reach of most Somalis, roads are crucial channels for trade and communications." Noting that the port of Berbera had been growing in importance, it stressed the need to continue improving the road between the port and the region. Further, "the volume of transported goods grows constantly," the statement said.

But according to the EU and all other countries, Somaliland doesn't exist. Officially, the area is called North-vest Somalia. I practical terms, however, both the UN and most donor countries have started to treat the government in Hargeisa, the Somaliland capital, as any other government. The simple reason is that it is the only functional state authority in war-ridden and anarchist Somalia.

Somaliland recalled its past, being a recognised entity as a British colony, in its unilateral declaration of independence in 1991. While the rest of Somalia collapsed into constant civil war between rival clans since dictator Said Barre was overthrown in 1991, Somaliland has been a quiet oasis of economic growth and relatively democratic institutions.

Officially, the international society supports the transitional government in Mogadishu and a demand to all parties to the Somali conflict - including Somaliland - to recognise Mogadishu and participate in the peace process. Somaliland however refuses to "interfere with Somali internal issues" and the Mogadishu government doesn't even control the entire capital.

As the Somali peace negotiations keep on failing, the international society has increased its presence in Somaliland and given indirect recognitions. Mogadishu being too insecure, most "UN offices in Somalia" are based in Hargeisa and formally cooperate with the Somaliland government.

A main problem fro Somaliland during its de facto independence has been access to international finance for development. Neither the World Bank nor the IMF will cooperate with Somaliland to provide needed investments. The EU's sponsorship of the country's road rehabilitation programme therefore is a major first step in foreign financing of development projects. It is also a significant sign that the West is more favourable to a possible recognition of Somaliland.

Even if Somaliland can point to a solid historic justification for its declaration of independence, the Hargeisa government meets heavy resistance from the African Union. African governments are deeply concerned that the recognition of de facto independent states may lead to a sharp increase in liberation movements on the continent, where few national borders coincide with peoples' borders.

The principle of the "sacred colonial borders" is even present in the African Union's charter. This principle, on the other hand, is Hargeisa's best argument for not being sidelined with Somali warring fractions. While Somalia was an Italian colony, Somaliland was a British colony. The country was a recognised independent state for one week in June 1960, before it entered into a union with Somalia.

During the Barre dictatorship, the Somaliland autonomy was unilaterally removed - a breach of the union treaty, according to the official view in Hargeisa. Thus, Somaliland was in its right to cancel the union treaty and declare independence in 1991. As there was no one in Mogadishu to negotiate with, the decision had to be unilateral. Noting the chaos in Somalia, many Western diplomats agree with Hargeisa's arguments - unofficially.


Source: Somaliland net, Feb 11 2003

Amnesty International delegation begins visit to Somaliland

Somaliland: Amnesty International delegation begins visitAn Amnesty International delegation will be visiting Somaliland from 10 to 18 February 2002 for workshops with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and meetings with government officials.

The international human rights organization last visited Somaliland in 1998 when representatives met the Government of President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal and held a successful NGO workshop jointly with International Cooperation for Development (ICD) in Hargeisa. The late President Egal and his Council of Ministers, as well as hundreds of members of civil society, signed a "Human Rights Pledge" marking the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

On this new visit, Amnesty International will be conducting a two-day workshop for Somali Human Rights Defenders, with a wide range of participants from Somaliland, Mogadishu, Puntland and Baidoa. The organization's representatives will also be meeting Somaliland NGOs in a follow-up workshop on their human rights activities and plans.

Amnesty International's delegation comprises Ghanim Al-Najjar of the University of Kuwait, who is the United Nations' Independent Expert for Somalia, and also a founder-member of Amnesty International-Kuwait; and Dr Martin Hill from Amnesty International's International Secretariat in London. Both had represented Amnesty International in Somaliland in 1998.

During their visit they will be available to meet the media and may be contacted at Ambassador Hotel in Hargeisa, tel: +25221 38895 or via ambassadorhotelhargeisa@hotmail.com.


Source: UN OCHA IRIN, 27 Jan 2003

Somalia: Leaders' committee proposes delegates for Somaliland

NAIROBI, 27 January (IRIN) - Somali leaders attending the peace talks in the Kenyan town of Eldoret have proposed that extra delegates be allocated to represent the self-declared republic of Somaliland in northwestern Somalia, according to one of the leaders. Col Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad, the president of the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland, northeastern Somalia, told IRIN on Monday that the leaders' committee had agreed to propose to the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development technical committee "to give Somaliland 50 extra delegates and five members in the leaders' committee". The leaders' committee comprises representatives of faction leaders, the Transitional National Government and five members of civil society.

Abdullahi Yusuf said the leaders had arrived at this decision for the sake of Somali unity. "We don't want to form a government without Somaliland," he said. "We should involve them and consult them. This kind of incentive is for the sake of Somali unity." He added that it was now up to the technical committee to take a decision.

Reacting to the call for the inclusion of Somaliland in the talks, the Somaliland minister of water and mineral resources, Mahmud Abdi Farah, said the Somaliland people had made their decision, put in place a constitution to govern themselves, and held free and fair elections, official Radio Hargeysa reported on 26 January. Somaliland has consistently maintained that the peace talks do not concern it, because it is a "sovereign state with de facto recognition". Somaliland, a former British protectorate, declared unilateral independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, but has received no international recognition.

Meanwhile, Abdullahi Yusuf said that the stance adopted by the newly elected Kenyan government, and the appointment of a highly respected diplomat to head the talks "will breathe new life" into the conference. "I am confident that if the Somalis themselves don't derail them, the talks will succeed," he asserted. The appointment of retired Ambassador Bethwel Kiplagat, to replace Elijah Mwangale, was officially announced on 18 January.

The talks, which started on 15 October under the auspices of the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, have been dogged by wrangles over representation and allocation of seats. But they are now expected to move into phase three in the "next couple of weeks", a source close to the talks told IRIN. In phase three, the delegates will discuss the contentious issue of power-sharing and the establishment of an all-inclusive government.

Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2003


Source: The Republican newspaper, January 27, 2003

President's journey westwards removed diplomatic wall Presidency Statement

A statement, Abdi Idiris Dualeh, the official spokesman of the Presidency, released on Thursday, hailed President Rayaleh's concluded visit to Senegal, with brief stop-overs in Mali and Ethiopia, as fruitful and a diplomatic success as it "removed a wall" that obscured west African nations from seeing Somaliland in its true light.

In essence, the statement, also, stated that this visit which took a Somaliland delegation of this calibre to West Africa, for the first time since the country re-affirmed its sovereignty in 1991, was a diplomatic triumph' that made powerful new friends for Somaliland within the francophone sphere of African nations.

"The visit, figuratively, smashed a divider, an obstacle between Somaliland and, generally, the greater part of Africa as it did between Somaliland and West African nations, in particular", the statement said. The Statement was, however, conspicuously lacking in detail as it did not go beyond this "fruitful" stock reply politicians favor to esc ape pen-scratching reporters demands for move transparency and greater accountability to the public.instead it promised to spread anticipated accounts over a ten-day period, in which time, the Presidency intends to dole out little glossed up paragraphs of unrevealing "information" on the visit the delegation.

President Dahir Rayaleh Kahin, initially, for a one-day visit to Senegal on January 8, reaching the capital, Dakar. According to a press release Dualeh's sent the local press here on Friday, last, the delegation was air-borne for approximately 30 hours before reaching Dakar at 11:40 p.m. on Thursday, via Addis Ababa and Frankfurt.

Dualeh's more recent press statement of Thursday only recounted the reception the Presidential delegation was given there, the subsequent meetings between the two brotherly Presidents and how those talks succeeded to elevate Somaliland and the national case to new, verdant plateau which, hitherto, little knew of this new, struggling newborn to the continent. The President and his delegation returned home on Wednesday aboard a Ethiopian Airlines plane. The reception awaiting it at the Egal International Airport, here, was, however, more than equal to dispel any discomfort the delegation could have possibly sustained jostling with other fellow passengers to and fro Dakar.

This heart-warming reception, perhaps, closely followed another illuminating day (Tuesday) of meetings with their eminence the Honourable Ambassadors for the United Kingdom, France and the United States in Ethiopia, as well as a couple of others with primarily, Tekede Alamu, the Ethiopian State Minister for Foreign Affairs, in Addis-Ababa.


Source: The Republican newspaper, January 27, 2003

Elders expressed Measures oppressive and discrimination

Currently, we have been hearing or reading in the national papers about the proposal that has been submitted to the National Electoral Commission (NED) by two of the three political parties that have reached the core of voles in the last municipality elections "which are KULMIYE and UCID.

The motive of their proposal was designated to the NED to review the previous proposed date of the coming presidential elections. So that Electoral Commission could consider the incontinences and limitations of the previously proposed date, and secondly to have reached resolution to provide for an extension.

On their legitimacy and obligation the ECN have called all the concerned parties, UDUB, KULMIYE and UCID as a group, by giving them equal chances in order to take part in the discussion concerning the viability and validity of the joint proposal of KULMIYE and UCID. Consequently, we have been hearing that UDUB opposed the two-part proposal and has stated that the election must take place on its proposed date.

However, the Electoral Commission has taken step s accordingly, through the attempt of finding resolutions of their own without the consent of any party. And their recommendations stated after considering the limitations of time factor and the circumstances at hand, it was felt indispensable to back date the election date to a new appropriate date " which is the 31st April, 2003.

When this proposal was declared by the Electoral Commission " this resolution was met with heavy criticism by the house of Elders and other judiciary functions, their objectives were in line with UDUB's since UDUB has rejected the readjustments and alterations of election date. The House of Elders got panic and furious over this matter and have put the blame on the Electoral Commission it has been quite common with the Parliament and the House of Elders to turn down any proposals or decisions made by public intellectuals, highly educated members of the society and the country's politicians.

This tendency leads the parliamentarian in both houses to consider these important groups rootless and destructions. To them non-governmental recommendations are a worthless and offensive. The electorate commiss ion in on its objectives and polices there in after is referred and origin has been endorsed by the legislative body (the Parliament) and their duties should be respected. In addition to this, the two political parties have not exerted undue influence on politics of the government.

They have asked for the readjustments of time framework plan for the benefit of the three parties. Political democracy implies that each member of a society is equal in his political rights. A Message for All In Somaliland, especially during a political crisis, people need t o understand the need of unity against their common enemy but in the years, which follow their victory and prosperity, it is not always easy for the importance to seem so real and important. Let me mention here, that our country continues to be faced with various types of challenges, both national and international, which require our unity.

I emphasize that the single important attribute the nation past and future stability is national unity. Protect the nation from the breaks of a nation building, and when oppression is considered as the only motive to control and use, the result is tension and tension leads into crisis. Lastly, the global focus is on Somaliland as on how we can make a step forward, and pave the way for a new democratic era.

Shoon Said Elmi. Hargeisa.


Source: The Republican newspaper, January 27, 2003

Eastern, Central NGOs, CBOs to discuss cooperation

In Burao of Togdheer up to 70 local non-governmental and community " based organizations meet tomorrow, Sunday, in a three-day workshop the largest women's organisations' umbrella "Nagaad" organized, according to reliable sources close to the organizer.

On the duration of the workshop, sponsored by the International Cooperation for Development (ICD) office, here, participants will discuss a number of issues, prominent among which are ways to elevate levels of cooperation and participation among the local NGOs and CBOs. Development projects, it was felt, seldom lasted for long after implementation for, mainly, want of a sustaining spirit beneficiary communities would have infused it with had NGOs/CBOs involved them in all stages of the project in the first place.

"The main theme of the workshop", a statement from the office of the Capacity Building Trainer (CBT) at ICD announced, "is the sustainability and promotion of participation and cooperation among stakeholders and within the NGOs/CBOs, themselves in relation to the identification and address of outstanding development challenges in Somaliland for 2003".

The workshop is, the CBT implies in his invitation statement of participants, going to focus discussions on strengthening "the capacity of local NGOs to implement sustainable and viable projects or programmes through the implementation of participatory approaches in development". Workshop participants will, also, exchange reports on their respective NGOs relating to latest achievements, challenges and of lessons learned of development changes during 2002 based on these individual presentations, participants are hoped to arrive at a wide range of recommendations for application on this year's programs.

In addition to above-stated goals, the Burao workshop sets out to:

Objectives of Workshop:-

  1. To share challenges, experiences and lessons learned in promoting participation and cooperation within our organizations and amongst our members and development partners at all levels.
  2. To explore /review the history and importance of participation in development.
  3. To enhance the participants' understanding on the concepts of participation and cooperation.
  4. To identify ways of sustaining participation and cooperation in development.
  5. To develop variables and indicators for Monitoring and Evaluating participation and cooperation levels in development.
  6. To develop a way forward on how to implement development interventions through effects participation and cooperation.Before, Hopefully, devising a strategy to implement stated objectives, participants would, however, specifically cover the following areas as Nagaad's recommended approach to the thematic development of workshop outlines.
Areas to be covered:-

Experience sharing.

Review of 2002 achievements and constraints in relation to participation and co-operationb. Presentation of case studies/stories on their practice of participation and co-operation.

Types of participation:

  • a. How sustainable is participation? Who defines the quality and quantity?
  • b. Is full participation really attainable and desirable?
  • c. Is our understanding of participation not sometimes tending towards manipulation? Stakeholder analysis in participation:
    a. Participation for whom and by whom
    b. Do we involve others directly or indirectly?
    c. How can we better involve government among other partners into participatory partnership?
  • Dilemmas of authentic participation:
    a. Whose definition of participation/philanthropy?
    b. Participation vis-vis voluntaries
    c. Is participation always justified?
    d. Are we clear about the cost of participation?
  • Making participation and cooperation a reality: a. Do we assess community and envisioned key stakeholders' capacity, ability and in participate in development interventions or we drive our agenda with our won experience about participation?b. Elements towards enhancing participation and co-operation.At the end of the third day, the closing day, both organizer (Nagaad) and sponsor (ICD) expect the workshop to have:
  • An annual action plan developed collectively by workshop participants.
  • Enhanced spirit of participation and co-op eration among participants and NGO's/CBO's through a participatory workshop process.
  • Enhanced linkage building among NOG's/CBO's.According to official sources, workshop facilitators chosen for their extensive experience of NGO and CBO structuring, and for their expertise in the development sector, will be provided " Facilitators will be of national and of beyond-the-border experts. Participants of the workshop come, on this occasion from Sahil, Togdheer, Sool and Sanaag.The workshop would get underway at th e Candlelight conference hall in Burao tomorrow.

Source: The Republican newspaper, January 27, 2003

Samotalis Chairman urges human rights activists to redouble.

At the end of a three-day training workshop concluded in Burao, Thursday, for human rights activists from the three Somaliland regions of Sool, Sanaag and Togdheer, Mohamed Barud Ali, the Consortium of Somaliland human rights organizations "Samotalis" asked participants to redouble efforts in the protection of the individual's basic human rights, applying pointers, principles and other lessons gained on the duration of the workshop.

The Chairman, whose organization put together the training package for the participating 30 activists, urged participants not to deny their respective communities the benefits of what they have learnt at all levels. Barud, in a brief closing address he made there, first outlined pertinent international instruments and protocols, as well as the range and scope of human activities further west (Sahil, Hargeisa and Awdal) in Somaliland.

The regional Deputy Governor of Togdheer, also, addressing participants spoke of the crucial importance of a society's respect to members rights."How a community or a nation safeguards the basic tenets of human rights, and how these are practically applied to each of its members " and to all as a unit-very much determines the spirit and character of that society", he said.

The Jamhuria Group of Papers (JGP) regional reporter, Kaiseh Ahmed Digaleh, asked Chairman Barud of the source of his organization's funds for training.

Barud told him that he, and the rest of his colleagues at Samotalis, where truly grateful to the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The Chairman told Kaiseh that the NED did not only sponsor this seminar but, also, had backed Samotalis, financially, in the implementation of a number of other past organization ventures.


Source: The Republican newspaper, January 27, 2003

Self-nominated fraternization group returns.

A15 member, self-nominated group who left Burao a week earlier for Garoweh on undefined purposes which the Somaliland government termed as "suspect", "act of treason" and "outright criminal", previously, on several occasions, returned to Burao on Thursday, JGP reporter Kaiseh said.

The group, reports indicate, left Burao early last week in circumstances that left even their closest friends and families aghast, according to earlier reports. The group, says Kaiseh, declined to better illuminate the purposes behind their travel to the administrational capital of neighbouring Puntland (Majertenia) of ex-colonel Abdillahi Yussuf.

People, even in Burao, itself, were at a loss to rationalize such a visit to a region whose political target had for a long time been, to divisively avulse the Sanaag and Sool regions from the rest of Somaliland " where they rightfully belong in accordance with set international and regional boundary demarcations."I reached Ex-Burao Mayor, Musa Abdi (Madobeh) "the defacto leader of the group" over his home line on Thursday", Kaiseh said. "Musa refused comment saying that I should better wait for a press conference the group was planning for Saturday (today)". The same non-committal attitude met reporter Kaiseh at every turn on a quest to corner other group members for an indicative statement or two on the renegade group's week-long visit to Garoweh.

Last Sunday, January 12, His Excellency the Somaliland Minister for Interior called the group's reported arrival in Garoweh- two or three days earlier " and its professed, envoy-like purposes "unsanctioned" and "unrepresentative" of the Republic of Somaliland or any section of its ultra-patriotic population."Whatever they come back with by way of negotiated settlements" between Somaliland and the region or for the two warring factions there wou ld be regarded as "misrepresentations" and a futile hijack of state affairs", the Minister said. Again on Wednesday, January 15, HE Ahmed Ali Mohamed, Minister for defence, who himself hails from the same territorial and lineage sources with the group, likened the group who made the clandestine travel to Garoweh "of similar effrontery and audacity as those callous assailants on the life of the Somaliland President in Las Anod" in December last."The group, collectively, encroached upon the affairs of the state, constitutionally over-stepping their rig hts. Every one of them should make his explanations in front of the bench, eventually", he said.

Following the group's arrival in Burao, no news of a government move to round up its members, as the Minister undertook, were as yet known on Friday " Attempts, on our part, to reach either, also, failed.


Source: The Republican newspaper, January 27, 2003

The African Union is well on its way to full bloom, says SA Director of Presidential support Union.

Welile Nhlapo, Director General of President Thabo Mbeki's Support Unit, gave Somaliland reporters a run down on how far the varied processes establishing a newly restructured African Union were Presently at. Also, how far were these processes aiming to come of age.

Taking the thread at where events were currently moving following last July's launching conference in Durban, South Africa, Nhlapo was able to put together the informative resume below for those of us who needed an update. Nhlapo began: "One of the key decisions that was taken by that summit was one to establish the institutions to start the constitutive Act; Because the key was to ensure that in Addis Ababa they would be able to have a functionin g headquarters with those institutions in place.

But it was quite clear it was not the time factor, that you needed a process to take place and we don't have to rush those institutions. "The Executive Committee that we used in the council of Ministers under the OAU is in place. Now, what we have to work on is to establish a commission " that (which) was previously known as the secretariat with the OAU. The Commissioners have to be elected. Member countries are responding, indicating which member (members) they are putting up as candidates to fill what position.

"There is a process of evaluation and appraising of staff in Addis Ababa to make sure that they will be able to stand up to the challenges that will be devised for the African Union.There is a new institution that has, also, been established " the Peace and Security Council, which will have the serious challenge of dealing with conflicts in the continent."There is the Inter-African Parliament which has now been established. They are actually meeting now " as we talk in Addis Ababa; to try and map out the way forward as to how best we can then be able to contribute to the activities of the African Union."The Ministers of the Executive Council met a month ago in Libya to look at some aspects of the constitutive Act which we found wanting.

It made the decision to hold a special meeting in Addis Ababa the (following) month in order to look at necessary amendments that certain members proposed to the Constitutive Act."The Ministers will have their next meeting in South Africa.

There is a committee that's been established that is chaired by (the) Minister of F oreign Affairs.

They will report back to the Executive Committee as a whole; which will then make recommendations to the Heads of States. The Heads of States will then have to look at those (recommendations) and take the necessary decisions to consolidate the constitutive Act, so that we will be able to move on a legislative basis that will be equal to the challenges and tasks that we have mapped out for ourselves. Also, to look at the institutional arrangements between the African Union and NEPAD.

The African Union and another process (on the) Peace and Security, stability and development in Africa; and to ha rmonize institutions on the continent so that we can be able to make sure that all the resources we have available are optimally used to meet the challenges and demands the continent is confronted with."

We believe that the upcoming summit, which is going to be held in Addis Ababa, is going to consolidate results of what was achieved in South Africa. This summit will, hopefully, endorse these institutions. And, if necessary and possible, the Heads of States will appoint the commissioners who will then begin to set up the various departments that we a greed upon". A Sanaag Civil rights organization releases crime figuresThe Sanaag Civil Rights Centre " a new human rights organization in the Eastern region of Sanaag recently released figures on violent deaths, rapes, and abduction cases in region for 18 months.The report, though unsubstantiated by law enforcement bodies, is fairly informative and not, if at all, very far removed from facts on the ground, according to reliable, regional sources.

Reasons for reported crime figures, the Centre says, are, largely, due to both past and present events that are as unrelated as they are as varied and as far in between. The centre, in its own words, puts these events as:1920-21. Mohammed Abdulla Hassan war has affected the area and people of Sanaag;1956-57 Elgohleh and Hargega conflict which confrontations between H/T and Dulbahante, which has caused loss of lives;1977-1988. Somalia took war against Ethiopia, which has later caused the collapse of the Government of Somalia.

The Former regime had created misruling, favouritism, nepotism, which created an enemy among the communities of Sanaag.1988-1991. Th ere was a civil strife in Sanaag, which caused loss of lives properties and destroyed social capital that had been built over a long period of time among the communities of Sanaag. During the conflict and was taken as the other properties taken, the war was concluded in 1993 by a set of series peace meeting held by the Sanaag communities.In 1993 a peace agreement was signed by the communities of Sanaag and the live came back to the Region especially Erigavo, but with a fragile law enforcement.

As for the centre's report of actual figures, the following is how it drew the overall regional picture of violations against humanity.Generally the region is calm and better compared to the previous years record of human rights violations, the last clashes happened in mid June 2001. At Badhan District East Erigavo between militias from the same tribe and have caused both death and injuries. Other deaths caused by youngsters had been seen in the Region but did not affect the general situation.


Source: The Republican newspaper, January 27, 2003

Somaliland, South Africa relations blaze fresh trails

Three-member delegation a top-level delegate from President Thabo Mbeki's office, South Africa, led left here, Tuesday, on a high note solemnly undertaking to recount experience gained on the duration of its five-day stay here as faithfully as possible to Mbeki and to the South African business and parasitical organizations on whom they hope to instil the required faith for bi-lateral cooperation.

Welile Nhlapo, the Director General of the Presidential Support Unit told The Republican at a press conference he held at Maansoor Hotel a few hours before he was scheduled to fly home, that, for him and his delegation, the visit to Somaliland was an experience he would not hesitate to repeat. The visit, he said, did not only offer him the opportunity to live it and like it, but, also, one for which he would gladly recommend his fellow South Africans to take. "It has been a pleasant trip for myself to have had the opportunity to come to Somaliland; to come to see for myself what is happening here on the ground", he said. The trip, he made clear, wholly dissipated an unbecoming image he had been conditioned to envision of Somaliland, which, he was led to believe, was a part of chaotic, anarchy - ruled Somalia of Mogadishu. "You will be surprised to learn", he said "that in the rest of the continent and, I think, in the greater part of the world, the story of Somaliland is not known.

It is so precisely because people still look at the issue of Somalia in terms of what used to be the Republic of Somalia. Therefore, realities of what is represented by Somaliland, and reference in anything that is to do with Somalia - is one of the things that created a lot of problems in the minds of people in understanding the issues and problems that have been confronted in order to respond appropriately and effectively to the challenges that this region poses - and, in particular, the challenges has been made in the establishment of peace and stability in Somaliland and critical needs for development as a complement to the peace process, that has been on-going here, as a peace dividend", he said.

This devisable initiative and intervention on the part of the international community, he said, did not, however, materialize "precisely because in the radar of many political thinkers and advisors of states heads -- Somaliland does not appear as it should". Nhlapo said he had had an ample opportunity to talk with various officials and individuals across the board, and to make first-hand visits to many installations and institutions in Hargeisa, Berbera and Sheikh, during his stay. "We hope to be able to take the experience back home to all sectors in South Africa - economic as well as social forces - that will be naturally interested in understanding what has been happening here.We are convinced that there are many people in South Africa who are willing to listen, to respond" he said.

Nhlapo said a great number of people have positively responded to a presidential call for South Africans to go out to the continent and contribute to its development as much as possible, where and in what areas their respective expertise and/or interest permitted people, organizations, experts did so and made a difference at places they got into, he said. "We have prostates who have got expertise in electricity, water management and development", Nhlapo said, specially underlining these areas because he felt they were two fields that had genuine claim for international support, areas that could optimally make use of a more advanced expertise, investment in Somaliland.

Now that the delegation had seen many of the problems and challenges in Somaliland, "in terms of electricity supply and management", he said that he was certain of his country's capacity and expertise that it could offer to the sector. Nhlapo said he would faithfully and truly take a sensitised message back home to President Mbeki, government officials the business community and the South African public. "It was now a matter of how much how fast we can take (the cooperation) process", he said.

Other major areas that could --- and would benefit much from a likely cooperation in due time included, he said, universities, seekers of higher academic attainments, the training and upgrading of nursing skills, citing them as examples: On the issue of diplomatic recognition for Somaliland and what possibilities, if any, South Africa offered towards this area, Nhlapo said: "The issue has been raised every - where we went to. We have taken note of the yearning of the people of Somaliland, and the consequences are quite clear to us". He meant, it was understood, that why the people of Somaliland were one at their desire to see Somaliland as a viable member of the international community since the scars of the war they fought for their regained sovereignty starkly confronted a visitor round every corner.



Source: The Republican newspaper, January 27, 2003

Somalia: Puntland says Somaliland supporting dissident forces

NAIROBI, 3 January (IRIN) - The authorities in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland have accused the neighbouring self-declared republic of Somaliland of supporting dissident forces, charges dismissed by Somaliland. Puntland is once again mired in clashes between forces loyal to Col Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad and those of his rival Jama Ali Jama, both of whom claim to be Puntland's legitimate president.

Abdishakur Mire Adan, the Puntland deputy information minister, told IRIN on Friday that the Somaliland authorities were supporting Jama's forces in order to destabilise Puntland. "We have evidence that the Dahir Riyaleh [Somaliland president] administration has given both financial and material support to the anti-Puntland forces," Abdishakur said. He also accused the Somaliland authorities of providing Jama's forces with bases inside Somaliland. "We know they [Jama forces] are in Erigavo, Aynabo, and Eil-Afweyn," he said.

Abdishakur accused the Somaliland authorities of "trying to destabilise Puntland using disgruntled elements to further their cause". However, he warned that this would only lead to instability in the region. "If you set your neighbour's house on fire, it is likely that your house will also burn," he said. He added that Puntland forces were currently deployed in the border area between the two regions and "will respond if attacked from Somaliland".

However, the Somaliland authorities described the accusations as "baseless and without foundation".

Abdullahi Muhammad Duale, the Somaliland information minister, told IRIN that Somaliland "has nothing to do with what is happening in Puntland". He denied that Somaliland had provided any group with "bases or weapons".

Duale asserted that Somaliland was busy with its democratisation process, "which is very costly, and it [Somaliland] doesn't have the means to give anything to anyone".

Somaliland held local government elections last month and will hold parliamentary and presidential elections soon. "Abdullahi Yusuf [the de facto Puntland leader] is looking for scapegoats and trying to foist his problems on others," Duale added. Both Puntland and Somaliland claim ownership of the two regions of Sool and Sanaag, a dispute which led to an attack last month on the Somaliland leader, Dahir Riyaleh Kahin, who was visiting the area. The regions fall geographically within the borders of the former British Somaliland, but most of the clans are associated with Puntland.

Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2003/


Source: The Republican newspaper, January 27, 2003

Somaliland calls on Ethiopia for development aid

ADDIS ABABA, July 24 (AFP) - The president of the breakaway state of Somaliland has called on Ethiopia to fully support its development, Ethiopian national radio reported Wednesday. Dahir Riyale Kahin, the interim leader of the northwestern region of Somalia, which unilaterally declared independence in 1991, arrived in Ethiopia on Monday, since when he and his delegation has met Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and titular President Girma Wolde-Giorgis.

Discussions focussed on the current situation in Somalia, where armed factions are continuing a decade-long civil war, and in Somaliland, which is peaceful by comparison and enjoys many more of the trappings of a functioning state. "Unlike the southern part of Somalia, where there is chaos and conflict, the Somaliland republic is calm and peaceful," said Dahir Riyale Kahin. "The republic needs the all-rounded support of Ethiopia in its efforts to accelerate its socio-economic endeavors," he said.


Source: The Republican newspaper, January 27, 2003

After 11 years in Djibouti, refugees return to Somali homeland

DJIBOUTI, (AFP) - Djibouti on Saturday began a programme of voluntary repatriation of refugees to Somaliland 11 years after they left their homes, the interior ministry announced. In a move that went unrecognised internationally, Somaliland declared its independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991. On Saturday, 250 people from 51 families who had been living in two camps in southern Djibouti began their journey back to the Somaliland towns of Hargeisa, Borama, Lug-Haye and Abdelkader. In all, the month-long programme, carried out with the help of Djibouti's interior ministry, the United Nations refugee agency and Somaliland officials, will involve some 2,000 returnees. The two Djibouti camps, Holl-Holl and Ali-Adde, currently house some 24,000 refugees from Somaliland and the Ogaden region of Ethiopia.
Source: Somaliland Web, December 26 2002

Election Update

By A. Samaale

The much-awaited and most contested municipal election in Somaliland has just been concluded peacefully. The election results declared by the election commission on 22 December depict a wide margin won of the ruling party - UDUB. The Allied People's Democratic Party (UDUB)[i] was formed as a new political party by the late president Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, in July 2001.

The municipal elections were held in all the five regions constituting the self-declared Somaliland State, although no voting took place in some parts of the Sool region. President Tahir Riyale of Somaliland and his entourage came under attack while touring Las Anod town, the capital of the Sool region, early this month. In a BBC Somali Service interview, the minister of interior of Puntland claimed the responsibility for the assault on president Riyale's party.

The election took place in an atmosphere full of optimism for the future and without a hitch. In what appears to be out of character with the politics of recrimination, the parties contesting the election desisted from indulging in mutual mud-slinging.

Six political parties, including the ruling party, have contested for the control of key municipalities that could significantly influence both the presidential and parliament elections scheduled for next year. According to the constitution, only the first three parties that won the lion's share of the popular vote qualifies for the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for January and March 2003, respectively.

In the final count of the votes, the ruling party, UDUB, come out with flying colours, winning the majority of the votes cast, while KULMIYE and UCID, came second and third, respectively. UDUB's resounding triumph over its archrival, KULMIYE, serves a significant boost for President Riyale's popularity. The decisive outcome of the municipal election gives an undisputed competitive edge to UDUB and enhances President Riyale's chances for winning the upcoming presidential race.

The election results are as tabulated below. The first three parts have technically qualified for and are officially sanctioned to contest in the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections. Arrangements for municipal elections in Somaliland have been over shadowed in the past by intermittent political bickering between the late president Egal and a loose grouping of clan leaders and emergent political parties, which resulted in the postponement of the process for a period of one year. On 12 January 2002, the House of Elders of the breakaway State of Somaliland extended the term of the office of the then incumbent president Egal for additional one year. This extension was made to provide the opposition parties time to prepare for the scheduled multi-party elections.

Egal, a Habar Awal clansman and former Prime Minister of Somali Republic, was elected as president in 1993 for a period of three years, defeating the incumbent president Abdirahman Ahmed Ali Tur of the Habar Yonis clan. In 1996, his term of office was again extended for a period of five years, which was due on February 2002. In a remarkably smooth transition of power, Tahir Riyale Kahin, the former vice president, assumed the office of the presidency on May 2002, after the sudden death of Egal.

The self-declared state of Somaliland, north-western Somalia, declared unilateral independence on 18 May 1991, although no country has recognised it. It consists of five administrative regions (zones) occupied by different clans, i.e., Awdal (Gadabursi and Issa, predominantly Gadabursi), Southwest (Issaq, predominantly Habar Awal) Togdheer (Habaryonis, Habarje'lo, Issa Muse (Issaq) and Dhulbahante (Darod), Sanaag (Habar yonis, Habar je'lo, Warsengeli and Dhulbahante (Darod), and Sool (Dhulbahante). The five regions cover the territory of the former British Somaliland.

Throughout much of the period since its self-declared independence, Somaliland has been an oasis of stability. Somaliland is governed by a Cabinet of Ministers and a bicameral parliament comprising the House of the Representatives and the House of Elders (the Guurti), with an independent judiciary practising a mixture of Sharia and British civil laws.

The prevailing stability and ongoing recovery process in Somaliland has largely been nurtured and sustained by a thriving business enterprise. The business enterprise is the backbone of the local economy and, by extension, the machinery that has been the generator of employment opportunities for the general population. The business establishment, the economic base of Somaliland, has been badly hurt by the drawn out arbitrary and unjustified ban imposed on Somali livestock export by Saudi Arabia. Today, Somaliland is the only country in the world with an efficiently functioning central government, a national anthem and flag, currency, public schools, post office, police force and an army, laws and judiciary system and a budget, yet bereft of international recognition of its sovereign independence, for which it certainly deserves and qualifies outright.

[i] UDUB (meaning pillar) is the Somali acronym for the Allied People's Democratic Party.

[ii] Tahir Riyale Kahin hails from the Reer Dudub sub-lineage of the Gadabursi (Samaroon) clan, which is the predominant clan in the Awdal region of Somaliland. Riyale Kahin is the first non-Issaq to assume the office of the presidency of the breakaway republic of Somaliland. His ascension to power has played a positive catalyst role in the determined efforts of Somaliland's administration towards winning the heart and minds of the non-Issaq clans of Somaliland.

[iii] Silanyo has been a former minister in Siad Barre's regime. Later, in late eighties, he became the head of the Somali National Movement (SNM). A long-standing grievance in Northwestern region climaxed with the creation of the Somali National Movement (SNM) by group of Issaq politicians residing overseas, in 1981. In mid eighties, the SNM became the strongest of the various armed opposition movements against Siad Barre's regime. Silanyo enjoys popular support across all sections of the Somaliland society, though his power-base is in the east of the country. He particularly hails support from the remnants of the now defunct SNM, who have been reeling with nostalgia ever since they put the Siad Barre's army to rout and are yet to acclimatize to the non-violent routines of a civilian life.

[1] UDUB (meaning pillar) is the Somali acronym for the Allied People's Democratic Party.

[1] Tahir Riyale Kahin hails from the Reer Dudub sub-lineage of the Gadabursi (Samaroon) clan, which is the predominant clan in the Awdal region of Somaliland. Riyale Kahin is the first non-Issaq to assume the office of the presidency of the breakaway republic of Somaliland. His ascension to power has played a positive catalyst role in the determined efforts of Somaliland's administration towards winning the heart and minds of the non-Issaq clans of Somaliland.

[1]. Silanyo has been a former minister in Siad Barre's regime. Later, in late eighties, he became the head of the Somali National Movement (SNM). A long-standing grievance in Northwestern region climaxed with the creation of the Somali National Movement (SNM) by group of Issaq politicians residing overseas, in 1981. In mid eighties, the SNM became the strongest of the various armed opposition movements against Siad Barre's regime. Silanyo enjoys popular support across all sections of the Somaliland society, though his power-base is in the east of the country. He particularly hails support from the remnants of the now defunct SNM, who have been reeling with nostalgia ever since they put the Siad Barre's army to rout and are yet to acclimatize to the non-violent routines of a civilian life.

Multiparty elections In Somaliland -- another positive development for Somaliland's quest for recognised statehood.
Political party ---------Party Leader/Clan affiliation -------------------------- Polled votes
UDUB -------------- Tahir Riyale Kahin[ii] Gadabursi------------------------ 179,389
Kulmiye------------- Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo[iii] Habar je'lo------------- 83,143
UCID ---------------- Faysal Ali Waraabe-Iidagale -------------------------- 49,444
SAHAN -------------Dr. Mohamed Abdi Gabboose -Habar-yonis------ 47,794
HORMUD ----------Omer Arte Ghalib -Sa'ad Muse ----------------------- 40,538
ASAD -------------- Suleiman Mohamed Adan -Habarje'lo --------------- 39,596

Total votes --------------------- 439,904


Source: Food Security Assessment Unit, 24 Feb 2003

Monthly Nutrition Update for Somalia

OVERVIEW

While the acute, drought related food insecurity abates in many parts of the country, many poorer households in almost all household economy groups struggle to re-establish livelihoods and in many cases fail to acquire the minimum requirements of a health diet. In Gedo as well as other areas in the northern part of Southern Somalia, humanitarian organisations debate the merits of continuing 'relief' interventions in the knowledge that the much needed longer term interventions present enormous challenges to implementing organisations.

The effects of the severe food insecurity in neighbouring Ethiopia have been noticed in border areas so FSAU and partners have intensified monitoring in border areas.

Workshops on nutrition and food security, supported by FAO and FSAU, have been held in Mandera and in Hargeisa in response to a growing interest in the subjects among partners.

The preliminary results of UNICEF led nutrition surveys in Jeriban and Galgodob are presented.

AWDAL

Influx of people and livestock in a fragile ecosystem threaten significant recovery in the Awdal coastal belt

In mid December 2002, an FSAU led inter-agency nutrition and food security assessment in the coastal belt of Awdal and Sahil Regions in Somaliland described substantial food and nutrition insecurity for the predominantly pastoral population in the coastal areas of the two regions. (See Nutrition Update January 2003). Successive poor rains and water scarcity have resulted in livestock deaths and deterioration resulting in unfavourable terms of trade and causing further erosion of livelihoods. Health of the population has also been adversely affected with a reported high incidence of water borne diseases. Access to health services is generally low in this sparsely populated area. Malnutrition rates were most severe (36% using MUAC <12.5cm for total acute malnutrition) in the transitory settlements.

The long expected Haiz rains began on 27th December 2002, leading to significant deaths among weak animals but leading to good recovery of pasture and water points. However, the rain has also attracted a massive influx of people and animals from Shinille and Dire Dawa Districts in Ethiopia (estimated at 5,000-7,000 families) into the Awdal coastal belt. The new arrivals appear to consist mainly of men with their animals, exerting further strain on the harsh and fragile ecosystem and heightening the possibility of depletion of the recovering grazing lands.

Between mid December 2002 and January 2003, inter-agency meetings (Somaliland government authorities, UN organisations, local and international organisations) in Hargeisa have adopted a common intervention strategy to address high malnutrition rates and food insecurity, and to cope with the long term effects of the harsh climatic conditions in Awdal and Sahil coastal belts. Short-term emergency responses as well as medium-long term interventions have been proposed.

UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Labour (MOHL) has begun a nutrition and health intervention in the two regions aimed at reducing malnutrition rates among under-fives. The intervention package, provided through a network of mobile clinics, includes provision of high energy biscuits to malnourished children, immunisation of all under-fives in the regions, medical treatment to children, provision of vitamin A and iron supplements, and health/nutrition education to all caretakers/mothers of children who present for screening. This currently covers a total of 27 locations in the coastal belt of the two regions (14 in Awdal and 13 in Sahil).

Mobile teams screen all under-five children using weight for height measurement in order to identify beneficiaries. All children whose weight for height falls below 80% of the reference median are provided with high-energy biscuits.

In the first round of operation that ended on 31st January 2003, a total of 2,738 children had been immunised, 1,421 children provided with high-energy biscuits and many more treated for various illnesses. The total number of children screened during the exercise and those determined as malnourished in the two regions are presented on the graphical illustration in the previous page. The intervention and screening exercise for case findings will continue on monthly basis for a minimum of three months depending on the impact of the continuing Haiz rains. WFP provided general food rations in the affected areas of the two regions in late December 2002. A total of 250 MT comprising of cereals, pulses and vegetable oil was distributed to 15,520 households.

Although the Haiz rains have been good, the coastal belt remains vulnerable to food and nutrition insecurity, as the area has only experienced the seasonal short-term improvement. A significant recovery is now threatened by the increased pressure on the fragile ecosystem due to the increased concentration of animals and human beings, and that fact that only minimal and uncoordinated long term interventions are in place. More meaningful interventions are required and need to include:

1. Decentralisation of services (health care services, water provision etc) to avoid any pull factor to one locality
2. Critical analysis of current interventions and longer term strategy that considers the entire region, traditional animal movements and human settlements.
3. Consideration of mobile veterinary services.
4. Rehabilitation of infrastructure.
5. Effective coordination of all humanitarian activities.
6. Close monitoring of this area and activities in the border areas of Ethiopia will continue.

SANAAG - A SLOW RECOVERY

Sanaag Region, on the northern coast if Somalia, had three successive seasons of below normal rains resulting in acute water and pasture shortage resulting in a severe reduction in the herd size of most pastoral household. Concurrently, the negative impact of inflation that accompanied livestock ban also continued along with increased pressure on the available resources caused by in-migration of people fleeing the political tensions in Puntland. Limited fishing activities were available for the coastal inhabitants due to adverse monsoon weather conditions that prevailed between June and October 2002 and crop cultivation by the agro-pastoral households was also constrained. Thus, market prices for the staple (rice, pasta and maize) rose to about 50% higher than normal prices. A nutrition survey conducted in mid 2002 confirmed a food insecure population with malnutrition levels about 14% (using WT/HT - 2 z-scores as the cut-off). The survey also reported a negative impact on care practices for infants and young children as families engaged in activities for survival. Uptake of healthcare and immunisation services was low and the incidence of diarrhoeal diseases and appeared to be high. In response to the acute food insecurity, WFP initiated food for work activities and beneficiaries were involved in rehabilitation work. At the same time UNICEF in collaboration with Ministry of Health and Labour (MOHL) supported an intervention package that included provision of vitamin A, treatment of common illnesses, immunisation against measles, and provision of supplementary food to malnourished children in selected locations.

The 2002 Deyr rains were good in most areas of the region giving opportunities to both water sources and pasture to recover. Animal production and livestock value improved. There is also an increased fishing activity by the coastal residents due to the establishment of the Lasqorey fish-canning factory. Health service provision also improved in some locations with UNICEF's involvement. With the observed improvement in food security in the region, much of the malnutrition currently observed appears to be more closely related to high incidences of diseases, inadequate health and nutrition services and sub-optimal childcare practices (For example, unhygienic handling of eating equipments and food preparation in unsanitary conditions are common).

The SRCS-managed Erigavo MCH indicated a slight decline in the proportions of malnourished children between November and December 2002. While 12.2% (15) of the 123 children that attended the MCH in November 2002 were malnourished, only 9% of the 77 screened in December 2002 were malnourished using <-2 z-scores as the cut-off. The decentralised approach in the UNICEF supported intervention has led to a decrease in attendance at some of the static clinics.

However, sustained improvement will depend on the outcome of the expected Gu rains. Interventions directed at improving sustainable livelihoods of the pastoralists will still be important especially the construction and rehabilitation of water points in line with the normal migration patterns of the people, mobile veterinary services as well as decentralised provision of health services (immunisation, health and nutrition education etc.).

SOOL

Sool Region hosts a predominantly pastoral community. The region has remained relatively insecure due to the continued political tensions between the Somaliland and Puntland. This tension has restricted humanitarian activities and access to the region for the collection of quantative data on the nutrition situation. UNICEF and FSAU hope to undertake a nutrition survey when the security situation permits adequate access.

In the 2002 Deyr season, most of the Region received good rains that resulted in the recovery of pasture and water sources, improved animal condition, milk production as well as improved terms of trade for the pastoralists. Food security is therefore stable in most areas. However, available qualitative information reveals recurrent episodes of common child illnesses (diarrhoea and other parasitic infections) due to poor and/or inadequate water sources, inadequate health services, widespread lack of understanding by caretakers on optimal childcare practices, and recurrent food insecurity. Addressing water quality and access in the region remains a priority for survival and maintenance of livelihoods in the region.


Africa News, February 11, 2003 (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks)

EC to Support Road Improvements in Somaliland

The European Commission has approved a major project to support rehabilitation of the core road network in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, northwest Somalia.

In a statement, the EC described the project as a continuation of ongoing support through the German Federal Agency for Technical Releif (THW), which will include technical assistance to the Somaliland Roads Authorities. "The total budget is - 4.5 million with contributions from the European Commission (- 4.2 million), the implementing partner - the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), and the Somaliland Road Fund," the statement said.

It described Somaliland's roads as the region's lifeline. "With no railway network and with air travel being far beyond the reach of most Somalis, roads are crucial channels for trade and communications," the EC said.

Noting that the port of Berbera had been growing in importance, it stressed the need to continue improving the road between the port and the region. "The volume of transported goods grows constantly, although it has suffered a setback as a result of the adverse effects of the livestock ban," the statement said. "Once this ban is lifted, traffic flows could rapidly grow even further."


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, February 9, 2003/Source: Xog-Ogaal web site, Mogadishu, in Somali 9 Feb 03

Somaliland: Opposition party accuses authorities of stifling press freedom

A presidential contender in Somaliland, Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo leader of opposition KULMIYE party, has became the strongest politician, challenging the ruling UDUB party leader, Dahir Riyale Kahin Somaliland president.

Silanyo began his plans by putting tremendous efforts on ways of defeating the UDUB party, which is highly poised to win the forthcoming presidential election in Somaliland. Silanyo has already started criticizing activities undertaken by the Somaliland administration and opposes the new media law, announced yesterday by the government, which is now to be forwarded to the House of Council for more deliberations.

Silanyo said the intended changes in the media is meant to stifle the press freedom at a time when Somaliland was preparing for elections. He urged the authorities to avoid changing the press law, until the election is over. Silanyo had condemned the administration before accusing it of mixing its operations with that of the UDUB party.


Source: Somaliland net, Feb 03 2003 by Mohamed A. Wais "Shiine".

If you are taking sides, please take the right one

Until recently there was no talk about war criminals and their record, but a confluence of the upcoming presidential elections has conspired to open an ugly chapter of Somaliland politics. The new passing of unfactionability accusations against the current president of Somaliland. Dahir Rayale that he was committed crimes against Issaqs.

Admittedly, not all of Somalilanders are agreed for such finger pointing specially after he was in the political seen as a vice president for the last decade, it is also irrelevant, either in theory or in practice, while the real criminals were largely ignored for so long by all of us including the late president Egal, government officials, politicians and both members of the parliament as well as the members of the upper house "The Guurti".

In Somaliland the most noachievements so far is peace and stability. While it is very true that we have to maintain stability, but there should be a room for real discussions about what constitutes " War Criminals " with inclusion of the local war criminals as well as war mongers whom we all know that they are living side by side with their victims.

In general term Somaliland justice system hasn't had the opportunity to prosecute any war criminal even though many of the mass killings, torture and genocide that took place in Somaliland were reported and documented, the account has produced nothing, but only a desultory discussions among the ordinary citizens and shameless local war criminals.

Politicians, who seem no keen to discuss are interestingly eager now a days not seeking justice, but only for their political gain and to defuse, harass and misjudge their opponents for the upcoming elections.

The real concern should be if, in a worst-case scenario, Riyale became subject for atrocities committed, then we must also admit that the late President Egal, entire Somaliland government, the apposition parties, member of both houses be considered and treated as a collaborators whom knowingly elected and associated with alleged war criminal and should be brought all of them to hell justice.

In conclusion, I freely wrote my opinion without taking sides, but the right one in which I deem the correct, while hopping that fellow Somlilanders can understand my simple point accordingly. If any one of the readers feels otherwise, your opinion is yours and respected other than those of emotionally twisted my article and usually in interest of taking sides without any reasonable logics rather than "Ma inagaa", I can only say to those who cannot even make their mind go the "POOL".


Source: Somaliland net, Feb 03 2003 by AbokorSidik Essa.

History speaks for itself and Somaliland is not exception

You can not hide the sun with your fingers, this is exactly the current reality in Somaliland whether you like or not, Somaliland has proved and established itself as a model and shinning example for lots of parts of Africa today. Unrecognised Somaliland is surprising entity in the eyes of the rest of international communities. No one had predicted after a decade of Somaliland creation, things would be as they are today. Let's also hope that its brethren Somalia will one day follow suit and prosper in peace and stability.

In response to one article by so called great Somali congress titled, "The betrayal of Somali people continues" published on 15th January 03 in eastern Africa magazine, I would like to highlight that the lack of clarity and the sense of misleading jealousy Contained within this article. Without any clear and coherent opinion, this article went on to turn a blind eye on the realities and history of Somaliland and actually attacked Britain for allegedly suggesting some sort of self independence recognition to be granted to Somaliland. The article did not mention why such comments would be made at this time and why some European countries are showing interest in dealing Somaliland as a separate entity by already pointing out they did not need to attend to the Eldoret process.

I have to say I neither heard nor am interested who the great Somali congress are or what they do, but I am totally astonished with the unwise and extremely unconvincing comments made against British government and its people as well as the breathtaking hypocrisy and pretence that they are not aware of the recent events in Somaliland.

I would like to point out that am not a great fan of the Brithish foreign policy these days and my heroes include great people like Michael Mariam, Farah Omar, Sheikh Bashir and Abdillahi Suldan Timadde, because they all fought for Somaliland independence against British colony. I am also adamantly opposed to any British involvement with any war against our brothers in IRAQ or any other Islamic nation. However, we have to all be careful not to mix the Somali people's failures to establish nationhood symbol within the international community with what went on half a century ago in Somalia.

No one should expect to exercise their freedom while they themselves reject others for their rights, meaning, you can not hope justice when you are opposed to the self-determination of any nation. Why would anyone criticise European colonists, while they are actively seeking to oppress Somaliland?

We have to recognise that the current realities in the ground before we take other nations scapegoat. Pointing fingers to former colonial powers and failing to address the real challenges will be waste of time and illusory.

We are now witnessing the 15th peace conference, forgive me if I get the number wrong, organised and funded by the international community and situation has been worsening by the day rather than anything getting better. The solution, in my view lies in a place which was never looked. It is actually deliberately ignored. The Somali politicians and countries involved in these peace processes directly reject to apply the grass-roots model successfully applied by Somaliland people.

The number rule for lasting stability is to make peace among Somali towns and villages through different ethnic lines and lineages. Free movement of different Somali clans must be established. The illogical concentration and wrong emphasis are given to who should hold what position, dealing with warlords and meet their insatiable greed and paying bribery money. Expenditures from international communities of one peace conferences, if wisely spent would otherwise cover one of the basic needs of the Somali people like; clean water or basic education.

Conflicting interest among delegates and organising countries can only deepen the complex issue of Somali politics. Another utterly silly mistake repeated all the time is holding these so called peace processes in a foreign country. They all lacked the basic common sense that, when it comes to peace process, no one can do for you what you can not do for yourself (warring factions).

Common sense will always prevail and now dictates, what next after fifteen conferences and all avenues were exhausted for nationhood for Somalia? Time is the best lobbyist for reality. I will not personally be surprised at all if countries such Britain looks elsewhere for solution.

Britain is one of the colonial powers of Somalia and gave Somaliland its independence in June 1960. The only major involvement Britain had with Somali people since then was to welcome and nobly host an estimated 200,000 Somali people who fled from their war-torn country, me and those who written the above-mentioned article included.

British government has an obligation for these hospitalities, but not more obliged than its European partners and some of them were co-colonial mates. Let's be honest about this. We are witnessing tens of thousands of European Somalis moving into Britain, because they believe that here in Britain their cultural identity and future of their children is safer compared with elsewhere and that's my cousins own words who recently moved from Amsterdam into the town of Leicester. Compare Britain with Italy and France and taking nothing away from the latter two, you will find the senses of gratitude I have for the British people. The two other countries had same level of contacts with Somali people in the past; however, Somalis are not opening new shops in their main streets of Paris and Rome, like we are doing in places like London and Birmingham everyday. Nothing is wrong in focusing your mental capacity with the positive angles of your everyday life. As a good human being, you should not ignore the positive contribution of others, which if recognized and used as a model, can transform your own life for the better. If you get stack in the past, you will forget about the future. Colonial powers such as Britain did not do anything worst in 19th century than what we are doing to each other in 20th.

Finally Somali people should put their house in order before criticising others and their policies towards horn of Africa. That's to say, let's open Mogadishu ports, let's find a framework for stability in Somalia first. Rejecting Somaliland can not be a solution. Dragging and naming Britain into this is even worst.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, February 3, 2003, Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 3 Feb 03

Somaliland denies asking Libya to invite President Kahin for visit

There is no truth in claims that President Riyale Kahin asked Libyan leader to invite him to visit his country as reported by the BBC, in a special interview with the Libyan ambassador to Mogadishu.

The Libyan ambassador said clearly during his visit to Somaliland, that he had a written invitation from the Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, but was told that the country was involved in elections and that it was unreasonable to expect that the invitation would be oured. He was told that a response to the invitation would came at an opportune time.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, February 1, 2003, Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 1 Feb 03 / BBC Monitoring

SOMALILAND: PRESIDENT RECEIVES LIBYAN DELEGATION IN HARGEYSA

A delegation from the Libya's Jamahiriyah, comprising officials from the foreign ministry in charge of African relations, agriculture, livestock, and companies for investment in Africa, was today received by the president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, in his Hargeysa office.

The delegation, headed by Ambassador Ma'tuk Muhammad al-Sayyid, arrived here following President Riyale's letter to the Libyan leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, during the ambassador's previous visit during which the envoy had informed Riyale on Libya's readiness to cooperate with Somaliland. In his letter, Riyale had mentioned that if Libya was interested in having bilateral cooperation with Somaliland, it should start by fulfilling the pledges it had made to the former president the late Muhammad Ibrahim Egal. These included, the Togwajale project as heard, the wheat-grinding and pasta-processing factory, the cement factory, as well as livestock sector, in which they pledged to invest.

Riyale said he is now being informed by the ambassador on the start of the initial phase of the pledges, and other things that could still be included. The president, who welcomed the delegates into the country, briefed them about Somaliland history and the way its progress had been ignored. He said they Somaliland people reclaimed their independence through a very bitter struggle and, from the scratch, with no one's assistance, attained all the necessary qualifications for a country to be recognized.

The president said that the nation was now in need of recognition and assistance in building it so that it could progress further -


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, February 1, 2003/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 1 Feb 03

Somaliland: President receives Libyan delegation in Hargeysa

A delegation from the Libya's Jamahiriyah, comprising officials from the foreign ministry in charge of African relations, agriculture, livestock, and companies for investment in Africa, was today received by the president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, in his Hargeysa office.

The delegation, headed by Ambassador Ma'tuk Muhammad al-Sayyid, arrived here following President Riyale's letter to the Libyan leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, during the ambassador's previous visit during which the envoy had informed Riyale on Libya's readiness to cooperate with Somaliland. In his letter, Riyale had mentioned that if Libya was interested in having bilateral cooperation with Somaliland, it should start by fulfilling the pledges it had made to the former president the late Muhammad Ibrahim Egal. These included, the Togwajale project as heard, the wheat-grinding and pasta-processing factory, the cement factory, as well as livestock sector, in which they pledged to invest.

Riyale said he is now being informed by the ambassador on the start of the initial phase of the pledges, and other things that could still be included. The president, who welcomed the delegates into the country, briefed them about Somaliland history and the way its progress had been ignored. He said they Somaliland people reclaimed their independence through a very bitter struggle and, from the scratch, with no one's assistance, attained all the necessary qualifications for a country to be recognized.

The president said that the nation was now in need of recognition and assistance in building it so that it could progress further


BBC Monitoring International Reports, January 31, 2003/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 31 Jan 03

SOMALILAND: MINISTER OF HEALTH LEAVES FOR AIDS CONFERENCE IN TANZANIA

A delegation led by Somaliland's minister of health, Hasan Isma'il Yusuf, this evening left Hargeysa's Egal International Airport for Arusha, Tanzania.

The delegation led by the health minister which included officials from the Ministry of Health will take part in an international meeting organized by the World Bank which will open on 2 February in Arusha Tanzania. The meeting will be attended by many African, Asian and European countries and will discuss how to combat AIDS and reduce global poverty.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, January 28, 2003/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 27 Jan 03

Minister attacks statements by faction leaders at Kenyan peace talks

The minister of water and mineral resources, Mahmud Abdi Farah today criticized the recent remarks made by some ignorant Somali faction leaders. He was speaking at a news conference in his office. The minister said the disgusting words from some of the faction leaders meeting in Eldoret western Kenya were the result of ignorance and a lack of understanding. The minister said the Somaliland people had made their decision, had put in place a constitution to govern themselves, and had held free and fair elections. He said the remarks will not affect the unity of the Somaliland people in any way.
Africa News, January 27, 2003/ UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

Somalia; Leaders' Committee Proposes Delegates for Somaliland

Somali leaders attending the peace talks in the Kenyan town of Eldoret have proposed that extra delegates be allocated to represent the self-declared republic of Somaliland in northwestern Somalia, according to one of the leaders.

Col Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad, the president of the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland, northeastern Somalia, told IRIN on Monday that the leaders' committee had agreed to propose to the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development technical committee "to give Somaliland 50 extra delegates and five members in the leaders' committee". The leaders' committee comprises representatives of faction leaders, the Transitional National Government and five members of civil society. Abdullahi Yusuf said the leaders had arrived at this decision for the sake of Somali unity. "We don't want to form a government without Somaliland," he said. "We should involve them and consult them. This kind of incentive is for the sake of Somali unity." He added that it was now up to the technical committee to take a decision.

Reacting to the call for the inclusion of Somaliland in the talks, the Somaliland minister of water and mineral resources, Mahmud Abdi Farah, said the Somaliland people had made their decision, put in place a constitution to govern themselves, and held free and fair elections, official Radio Hargeysa reported on 26 January.

Somaliland has consistently maintained that the peace talks do not concern it, because it is a "sovereign state with de facto recognition".

Somaliland, a former British protectorate, declared unilateral independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, but has received no international recognition.

Meanwhile, Abdullahi Yusuf said that the stance adopted by the newly elected Kenyan government, and the appointment of a highly respected diplomat to head the talks "will breathe new life" into the conference. "I am confident that if the Somalis themselves don't derail them, the talks will succeed," he asserted.

The appointment of retired Ambassador Bethwel Kiplagat, to replace Elijah Mwangale, was officially announced on 18 January.

The talks, which started on 15 October under the auspices of the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, have been dogged by wrangles over representation and allocation of seats. But they are now expected to move into phase three in the "next couple of weeks", a source close to the talks told IRIN. In phase three, the delegates will discuss the contentious issue of power-sharing and the establishment of an all-inclusive government.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, January 27, 2003/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 26 Jan 03

SOMALILAND MINISTER ATTACKS STATEMENTS BY FACTION LEADERS AT KENYAN PEACE TALKS

The minister of water and mineral resources, Mahmud Abdi Farah today criticized the recent remarks made by some ignorant Somali faction leaders. He was speaking at a news conference in his office. The minister said the disgusting words from some of the faction leaders meeting in Eldoret western Kenya were the result of ignorance and a lack of understanding. The minister said the Somaliland people had made their decision, had put in place a constitution to govern themselves, and had held free and fair elections. He said the remarks will not affect the unity of the Somaliland people in any way.
BBC Monitoring International Reports, January 27, 2003/Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 26 Jan 03

SOMALILAND WARNS ITS CITIZENS AGAINST ATTENDING KENYAN PEACE TALKS

The authorities in the self-declared republic of Somaliland have issued a statement condemning recent remarks by some Somali faction leaders calling on Somaliland to attend the Eldoret western Kenya peace talks. The faction leaders have reiterated their call to Somaliland, saying if the authorities there refuse to attend the peace talks, other groups such as civil society representatives should be invited. The Somaliland authorities say no-one can attend the talks in Somaliland's name. A statement was yesterday issued by the Somaliland presidency saying that whoever goes to the peace talks in the name of Somaliland would be charged with treason and face the law when the appropriate time comes.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, January 27, 2003, Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 26 Jan 03

Somaliland minister attacks statements by faction leaders at Kenyan peace talks

The minister of water and mineral resources, Mahmud Abdi Farah today criticized the recent remarks made by some ignorant Somali faction leaders. He was speaking at a news conference in his office.

The minister said the disgusting words from some of the faction leaders meeting in Eldoret western Kenya were the result of ignorance and a lack of understanding. The minister said the Somaliland people had made their decision, had put in place a constitution to govern themselves, and had held free and fair elections.

He said the remarks will not affect the unity of the Somaliland people in any way.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, January 26, 2003/Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 26 Jan 03

SOMALILAND: OPPOSITION LEADER CRITICIZES AUTHORITY OVER AIRPORT CONTRACT DEAL

The leader of the Somaliland's UCID Justice and Welfare opposition Party, Faysal Ali Warabe, has criticized an agreement recently signed between the Somaliland administration and an Oman-based Arab company, awarded a contract to modernize Hargeysa and Berbera airports, saying the deal was rushed through without proper deliberations. The minister of transport and communication of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, who held a press conference yesterday in Hargeysa defended the agreement entered with the company. He said advancement in today's global technology depended on how modernized a country's airports were, and for that reason Somaliland would not like to be left behind -
BBC Monitoring International Reports, January 25, 2003/Source: Radio Freedom, Voice of the Ogadeni People audio web site in Somali 24 Jan 03

ETHIOPIA: OGADENI NATIONALS IN SOMALILAND DEPORTED -

Reports from Hargeysa, a region of Waqooyi Galbeed Somaliland, say that 57 Ogadeni civilian nationals have been rounded up in the region particularly in Hargeysa. Thirty-five of the traders were taken across the border while blindfolded and handed over to Ethiopian forces based in Wajale town eastern Ethiopia. The rest of the Ogadenis are being held in jails in Waqooyi Galbeed. This is not the first time the Hargeysa-based administration has violated the rights of Ogadeni nationals while implementing orders from the Ethiopian regime, thus endangering the peaceful coexistence between the two fraternal peoples.
BBC Monitoring International Reports, January 23, 2003/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 23 Jan 03

SOMALILAND RAPS PUNTLAND LEADER OVER "INTERFERENCE"

A press release issued by the presidency of the Somaliland Republic said the country's sovereignty and destiny has been targeted by aggression. The press statement further said the Somaliland government views the statement issued by warmonger Abdullahi Yusuf Puntland leader at Eldoret Western Kenya, in which he commented about Somaliland affairs, which was not even on the agenda of the Somali peace talks, saying that Somaliland words indistinct was being mentioned as a country and that no-one could divide the former Republic of Somalia.

It is incredible that, Abdullahi Yusuf who does not control all areas in the region which he claims to be under his rule, and whose very own town of Gaalkacyo central Somalia is now divide, has no authority to comment on Somaliland which has boundaries recognized even by the AU African Union and has affirmed in its charter that it should not to be tempered with. According to the UN and AU charters, the Somaliland people have decided on their future. The statement said according to the recent constitutional referendum, 97 per cent of the Somaliland people had voted and approved the regaining of their independence, hence, no-one else is justified to decide their fate.

The press release said that it seems that Yusuf wanted to sabotage the Somali peace talks which are being held there since he was advocating that the independent people who are not part of Somalia should join the Somali talks. The statement said since the talks began up to now, they themselves have failed to reach an agreement.

The statement further said Abdullahi Yusuf's statement was trying to absolve himself from the problems he was facing. He had on many occasions tried to incite fighting in Somaliland the same way he did in Laas Caanood disputed region between Somaliland and Puntland in order to create animosity between the two neighbourly people and generally create instability in the region for his own selfish interest.

We are now informing Abdullahi Yusuf that Somaliland has repeatedly remained patient regarding his interference in the internal affairs and the trouble he has been creating.

Lastly, the press statement said that if he does not stop interfering in this country's internal affairs, Somaliland will not word indistinct in which his hands are drenched in and he will be held responsible for the consequences.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, January 23, 2003/ Source: Qaran, Mogadishu, in Somali 23 Jan 03

SOMALIA: PUNTLAND LEADER DEMANDS SOMALILAND'S PRESENCE IN ELDORET PEACE TALKS

Puntland leader, Col Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad, who returned to Somali peace talks in Eldoret, Kenya, this week said it is inevithat Somaliland should attend the talks.

While speaking at the Eldoret peace talks yesterday, Col Abdullahi Yusuf said the ongoing Somali peace talks will not bear fruits without the participation of all concerned parties, including Somaliland. "Somalia cannot be divided so Somaliland and other parties that are not currently present in Eldoret should come to the meeting," Col Abdullahi Yusuf said.


Africa Energy Intelligence, January 22, 2003, N. 338

Oil a Pure Mirage?

The authorities in the self-proclaimed state of Somaliland in Somalia seem to believe their land houses oil reserves.

As it has already done on several occasions, Somaliland announced two weeks ago it had signed an oil exploration contract with a company unknown to industry circles, Inverse International Ltd. Headed by Norway's Magne Andreas Meir and an Indian national, Rakash Rajan, Inverse International registered itself in London in late December less than two weeks before getting a go -ahead from the authorities in Somaliland to launch exploration. The Somaliland government has already signed agreements with companies that don't have the least experience of the industry or may not even exist, particularly Rovagold Limited of the U.K. and the Chinese firms Continental Petroleum Engineering Co. Ltd. and China Petrochemical Cooperation. Somaliland's late president, Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, tried to interest TotalFinaElf in exploring in the country but the French group turned him down flat. The lone company to explore in the area - and only until 1988 - was Conoco. It looked at the Sool and Sanaag regions and at Buhoodle district.However, those regions are claimed by next-door Puntland and inhabited by the Dolbahante ethnic community which has family ties both with the Issaqs of Somaliland and the Mejerteins of Puntland.


The Indian Ocean Newsletter, January 18, 2003, N. 1026, www.africaintelligence.com

Punch-Up With Puntland

Tempers are flaring between Somaliland and Puntland, the two most solid regional entities to emerge from the meltdown of the Somalian state in the early 1990s. For some months the two have been bickering over the provinces of Sool and Sanaag which, unlike the rest of Somaliland (in north-west Somalia), aren't inhabited by the Issaq people but rather by members of the Dolbahante clan. The latter have family ties both with the Issaqs of Somaliland and with the Mejertein people who form the vast majority of the population of Puntland, which is in north-east Somalia.

As a result of that double allegiance, loyalties of the Dolbahante are divided between the two autonomous regions. Ever since the president of Puntland, Yusuf Abdullahi, carried the day over his rival, Jama Ali Jama, the dispute with Somaliland has sharpened. On November 23 a delegation from Puntland traveled to the contested provinces to declare that Sool and Sanaag belong to Puntland.? Shortly afterwards, on December 8, a commando unit from Puntland made an abortive attempt on the life of Somaliland president Daher Riyale Kahin when he was visiting Las Anod. Then on December 30 heavy fighting broke out in the Qardhod region of Puntland between forces loyal to Abdullahi and troops backing Jama. The latter were led by general Adan Musa Hirsi, former Somalai army officer who came back from exile in Canada precisely to take part in the operation. Another leader of Jama's men was col. Abdi Yassin, an officer of Somaliland origin who took part 10 years ago in operations against Islamic fundamentalists in Somaliland who were defeated by late president Mohamed Ibrahim Egal's forces. Jama's troops lost in the violent clash in Qardhod and took refuge in Sanaag in Somaliland, in the region between Erigavo and Eel Afweyn. Puntland's deputy information minister, Abdishakur Mire Adan, immediately accused the Somaliland president of assisting the defeated troops. The accusation was indeed true and could only make matters a lot more complicated. In view of the divided loyalties of the Dolbahante in the affair, Jama recruited his fighters locally from among the Dolbahante in Somaliland, whereas other Dolbahante's fought on the opposite side, for Abdullahi. The upshot was a sort of inter-Dolbahante civil war inside Somaliland's Sanaag province.


Source: The Republican , January 12th 2002

Rayaale Visits Senegal

President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal laid a state luncheon for the President of Republic of Somaliland Dahir Rayaale Kaahin and the delegation he headed at the Presidency, on Friday, said a press statement. Abdi Idiris Dualeh, the Somaliland Presidency's Press Secretary and official Spokesperson, despatched us last evening.

The statement, hand-delivered to The Republican by one of. Idiris's aides, says every step of the Somaliland Presidential delegation has taken since its safe arrival at Dakar International airport at 11:20 pm on Thursday, was meticulously followed and assiduously put on the air or in print by the Senegalese media (Radio, TV and newspaper) establishments.

Dr. Sheikh Tijani Gaajow, Minister for Foreign Affairs, the African Union and Senegalese Expatriate Communities in the Diaspora,. Takhate - a close Aide to President, and a number of other top state officials warmly received President Rayaleh's delegation upon arrival, the statement said.

A motorcade befitting a visiting state delegation escorted the Somaliland delegation from the airport to the official state visitors' palatial quarters, where about an hour and 30 minutes later Abdoulaye Wade, himself, came to personally welcome it. The two Presidents briefly went into a preliminary meeting, which lasted for about 40 minutes, the statement said. The Journey, Idiris wrote, took about 30 on-flight hours with only brief stopover in Addis Ababa of Ethiopia and Frankfurt in between.

Accompanying President Rayaleh, on this trip, are Somaliland Minister for Foreign Affairs, Education and Family Development - Mohamed Saeed Mohamed Gees, Ahmed Yussuf Dualeh and Edna Adan Ismail, respectively. Dame Edna, it is believed, thanks to her international experience and grasp of the intricacies of international diplomacy, broke an ice that nearly put the whole visit frozen insitu, after she colleagues found themselves stumped mid way some ten days ago.

Where they should have smoothly proceeded to Dakar to pare the ground for the President's visit; they only met with some blank stares that only blinked to allow Minister Edna alone to proceed. She did not only do so but she, obviously, won over President Wade to lay the red carpet for President Rayaleh.


Source: The Republican , January 12th 2002

Elections on a late flying carpet

To date, the only solace, the sole safe harbour and dependable shoulder on whose rocky solidity we always turned to whenever we felt crowded, threatened, frightened or depressively contained was old mother Somaliland.

This Somaliland, we knew, was never far from us. This Somaliland never disappeared from our doting, devoted eyes - and hearts. It never, in fact, resided outside of us poor folks. This Somaliland was our whole world.

It was our past, our present, and our future and - for that matter - our reason for existence all turned into one. It never us away, forever ready with a safety net and a soft bed on whose downy comfort we gathered our shattered expectations, always bouncing back with a vigour and determination that took us round the next corner.

It is because of these reasons, and some more, that nobody can tell us or intimate to any Somaliland that Somaliland needs a coat of grime and grit and, especially, at a time it was coming of age, its beauty blossoming into incandescent shimmers of colour and promise.

This is, simply, not possible for the simple reason that it is neither physically nor temperamentally practicable to do so. Somaliland, remember, is us the public - and the Lander public only knows what is wants. It does not definitely want to exchange its crown of our, integrity and implacable determination to make something of itself in the eyes of its fellow international community members for one of thorn, ignominy, meaningless strife and oscillation between a suical death wish for obscurity and a lacklustre, disoriented whimpers for pity, dole outs and a 'forced' attention from a world that does not wish to take notice of sycophants or psychopathic morons in the continent of the dark-skinned.

The current political - or politically related - environment of Somaliland, presently, appears to be looking for that thorny crown. To the viewer, the atmosphere the country's, hitherto, most sedate national House - the Elders, the Electoral Commission, the government and the political parties (past and present) are, together, shaping up seem to be of a dubious nature, a departure from the safe, more nationally-oriented course all have, so far, maintained to near perfection.

The Government and inappropriate policies.

There are a number of seemingly inappropriate policies and attitudes that the government recently showed to favour. They are seen as such because, primarily, the government did not - by force of habit - shed any lights to define why some tiles are missing in its mosaic of, supposedly, accoungovernance.

Presently of major concern to the constituents pertain, under- stand ably, to the electoral process, and the smoothness and equilibrium that need be perused - and sustained. The following showcase the kind of grievances directed against it that cannot be perfunctorily listed as below for they need be exhaustively dealt with and established.

As the executive body in power, the government has not taken a significant notice of recommendations both domestic and international observer organizations published. These mainly related to areas that should be given more attention to and rectified. The issues raised were painstakingly compiled through an experience gained during the recently concluded Municipal Council Elections.

The government has neither taken necessary - no, vital - measures to secure the budget needed for the forthcoming, more - nationally and internationally - serious presidential elections. It has offered none to neither the National Electoral Commission nor the other parties in the race in strict accordance with the constitution and by-laws derived of it.

One should note that the NEC was unable to hold this election due to, most basically, an absence of the budget the government was to provide well before it was missed.

The government introduced to the country an element of insecurity and confusion by showing an inexplicable partiality to polemic issues that alienate it more from the implicit trust it has, hitherto, enjoyed in the eyes of its electorate. Why, for example, did the government choose to involve Somaliland in proxy hostilities, which, significantly, none of the preceding administrations had stooped down to before? In the neighbouring regional administration of Puntland, the role of the Somaliland government should have ideally been an impartial by stander in the armed confrontations between rival colonels, violently wrestling for a turn on the presidency of the region.

By, on the surface, appearing to have taken sides - although the matter in much different from that which is perceived - Somalilanders are worried of what impact the move would have on cordial relations Somaliland has nurtured during the Egal and Abdirahman Tuur administrations.

The propaganda value of the move for the incumbent head of Puntland - warlord Abdullahi Yussuf - on the expense of Somaliland is, also, of great concern to 'Landers. The Puntland Strongman, one should note, has long looked to Ethiopia for both military and political backing.

In the light of a number of abrasive, increasingly alarming incidents the Ethiopian Federal Republic appear to have initiated along its border with Somaliland these past few months, and a reported massive troop movement coming this way, on the part of Ethiopia, Somalilanders believe that an unpublicised strain has wedged itself between the two nations.

Abdullahi Yussuf, one should point out, is an old hand in branding all who oppose him a 'terrorist' a 'fundamentalist' and a hotbed for international saboteurs. None of these, of course, are true but who would expose them for what they are in time? Somaliland has, certainly, no time or room for unwieldy issues and controversies.


Source: The Republican , January 12th 2002

"The dispute between "NEC" & the House of Elders.

It made a constitutional mistake that it did not underline its impact or implications on the electoral process when it, previously, shifted the date allotted for municipal elections from October 27, 2002 to December 15.

The latter date was only 39 days from the deadline the constitution stipulated for presidential elections to happen - 6 days short of the constitutional 45 days (minimum period) that should have separated the two elections.

Subtract from this 9 days - the time it took the NEC and the RCC to pronounce winners and first election results - and one ends up with less than 5 weeks in place of the proscribed 9.

Why did the NEC choose to keep its counsel when it perfectly knew that there would be a profound breach of the law inherent in the shift of the schedule?

That the Ministry of Health warehouse in which part of the materials now missed were stored should be conveniently - or inconveniently - demolished and materials destroyed - electoral registers, inks, etc. - only a day after the first elections leaves one to marvel at the nature of coincidences and the shapes they appear to us.

By angrily rising to the 'bait' of the Elders House when it, pointedly, threw the new date the NEC set for the elections out of the window, the NEC laid itself bare to a closer scrutiny of its activities on the part of the public. Here, the NEC seems to agree with basic premises on which the Elders base its opposition, and, yet, seem to be so worked up on the issue holding, at least, two press conferences on the issue since then.

The NEC did not credibly explain why it did not push harder for a budget to cover both elections when it knew it would be short of time, so constrained by it, to amply prepare for the presidential elections closely hugging the footsteps of the first.

The Elders The ourable Elders stand accused of abandoning their usual treatment of big issues, at a time the nation was so direly in need of their mettle, of their habitual, deep deliberation of issues.

The Elders should bend the rules - even if it to that - for the good of the general public. People may, if they do not find an accommodating clause in resolving this issue of election schedules, mistakenly (or prophetically) take that the Elders have an ulterior motive hidden behind their backs. The public believes that all significant resolutions, compromises, deliberations should be based on public desire, outlook on issue.


Source: The Republican , January 12th 2002

Elders to put NEC Presidential election date on floor today.

At the end of the day's regular House session of Wednesday, January 8, the House Speaker, Sheikh Ibrahim Sheikh Yussuf, and the 2nd Deputy Speaker, Saeed Jama Ali, held a press conference in which they reiterated that the NEC went out of its constitutional mandate by setting a date beyond February 23 the day the present term of the government comes to an end, and that the issue would come up to the floor for deliberation on Saturday, today.

The two ourable members of the Elders (Senate) called the Press Conference to, primarily, clarify their position on the new, rescheduled date the National Electoral Commission, set for Presidential elections to happen. The Elders, evidently, were neither impressed nor wished to appear to condone a postponement of elections to a date some of weeks or so after the government's current term in office.

The elections, they pointed out, were previously set for January 23 or a little before it, exactly a month before the government's official tenure in office expired in accordance with Article 83 (5) of the constitution. And if any changes were to be made to it that infringed upon constitutionally sanctioned time brackets, it was not the NEC's position or within its authority to do so.

They made it clear that going beyond the government's term in office by setting presidential election for March 30, 2003, on the part of the NEC was tantamount to an unconstitutional extension of said government term. "If any extensions or the like are within the mandate of any national body, it is within that of the Elders", sheikh Ibrahim, the ourable House Speaker, said.

The ourable 2nd Deputy Speaker, Saeed Jama, went further by stating that the NEC overstepped its legitimate capacity way beyond its limits. "The NEC", he said "were solely asked to set an election date in strict accordance with the constitution as set forth by Article 8 of Law No 20/200 - otherwise known as the Electoral Law".

Earlier in the day, while the House was in session, the NEC (No 80) notification and a letter from the President outlining his view of the new schedule were read out. In the latter, the President correctly pointed out all the articles and related paragraphs of the Constitution and the Election Bill, which did not quite agree with the NEC notice.

It, nonetheless, took pains not to blame the NEC for what he and the Elders, obviously, saw as a little transgression on the part of the NEC. The President made quite plain that he was in no way against the NEC schedule but only wanted to see that whatever the postponement entailed should be set forth in such a way that neither the constitution nor the Electoral Law was violated. He, party - UDUB - he would go along with any resolution the elders reached on issue regardless of any time brackets it fitted into.

The NEC, on the other hand, did not find the Elders press statements complimentary to their efforts. It hastened, collectively and through its acting chairman,. Abdullahi Abdi Haji Omar, to defend itself. It was in the course of these press statements that the NEC had to reveal what it should have normally kept under key and lock. That the Presidency - Vis-a-VIZ - the government did not deliver the budget it ought to have laid forth at the beginning of the month - at the latest, for example, would not have escaped NEC lips.

That the NEC, in addition to the three political parties, has had several meetings with the President on the urgency, as well as ramifications, of the matter would have also remained under wraps. That the President gave the NEC the go-ahead 'signal' too.


Source: The Republican , January 12th 2002

Sportsman Anis begins Commemorative bicycle ride today.

Anis Abdullahi Essa, Director of the informal Somaliland Mission in Washington, DC. USA, begins a four-day commemorative bicycle ride today in memory of the SNM combatants who sacrificed their lives for the sovereignty of Somaliland, the rote and achievements of the late Somaliland President Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal and his father, in that order.

Anis, talking to The Republican Editor-in-chief over a telephone line, last evening, said he abandoned his previously stated motive behind this historical bicycle ride.

"I, originally, intended it as a fund-raising exercise to benefit war-bereaved orphans and widows. I made slight changes to the original plans because, I realized the ride would pose complications that did not complement the altruistic, humanitarian motives that engendered it", he said.

Anis said that he initially planned the ride as fund-raising event during which every car that passed him on the way was to pay the equivalent of 1 US dollar. "I changed my rationale mid way into the preparations basically because the logistics involved in bringing off such an ambitions program to fruition seemed, in retrospect, not only an ostentations import of a logic not so readily digestible to a people who have had no similar, past experience to the event, but it, also, transpired that the slight changes I made to it serves the original purpose as perfectly", he said.

Anis will, per the new course he adopts, ride in remembrance of Somaliland heroes who have had left an indelible imprint on the lives of all Somalilanders, that is, besides his father a prominent figure in the Somaliland business communities, who passed away on November 27, 2002.

Anis's riding jersey and T-shirts will have 'in memory of SNM martyrs' on the front, and 'in remembrance of the late President of Somaliland' emblazoned on the back. The first leg of the ride will take. Anis from Gebiley to Hargeisa. It is expected to start at 8:00 am sharp in Gebiley to end at the Ming Sing hotel here at around 10:30-11:00 am, today. Tomorrow, he will ride to Berbera. Next day, Monday, he will make the journey to Sheikh. On Tuesday, the fourth day, Anis will take the ride to its last leg and Burao.


Source: The Republican , January 12th 2002

Somaliland, South Africa relations blaze fresh trails

Three-member delegation a top-level delegate from President Thabo Mbeki's office, South Africa, led left here, Tuesday, on a high note solemnly undertaking to recount experience gained on the duration of its five-day stay here as faithfully as possible to Mbeki and to the South African business and parasitical organizations on whom they hope to instil the required faith for bi-lateral cooperation.

Welile Nhlapo, the Director General of the Presidential Support Unit told The Republican Jamhuuriya and Haatuf newspapers, at a press conference he held at Maansoor Hotel a few hours before he was scheduled to fly home, that, for him and his delegation, the visit to Somaliland was an experience he would not hesitate to repeat. The visit, he said, did not only offer him the opportunity to live it and like it, but, also, one for which he would gladly recommend his fellow South Africans to take.

"It has been a pleasant trip for myself to have had the opportunity to come to Somaliland; to come to see for myself what is happening here on the ground", he said. The trip, he made clear, wholly dissipated an unbecoming image he had been conditioned to envision of Somaliland, which, he was led to believe, was a part of chaotic, anarchy - ruled Somalia of Mogadishu. "You will be surprised to learn", he said "that in the rest of the continent and, I think, in the greater part of the world, the story of Somaliland is not known.

It is so precisely because people still look at the issue of Somalia in terms of what used to be the Republic of Somalia. Therefore, realities of what is represented by Somaliland, and reference in anything that is to do with Somalia - is one of the things that created a lot of problems in the minds of people in understanding the issues and problems that have been confronted in order to respond appropriately and effectively to the challenges that this region poses - and, in particular, the challenges has been made in the establishment of peace and stability in Somaliland and critical needs for development as a complement to the peace process, that has been on-going here, as a peace dividend", he said.

This devisable initiative and intervention on the part of the international community, he said, did not, however, materialize "precisely because in the radar of many political thinkers and advisors of states heads --- Somaliland does not appear as it should".

Nhlapo said he had had an ample opportunity to talk with various officials and individuals across the board, and to make first-hand visits to many installations and institutions in Hargeisa, Berbera and Sheikh, during his stay. "We hope to be able to take the experience back home to all sectors in South Africa - economic as well as social forces - that will be naturally interested in understanding what has been happening here ? we are convinced that there are many people in South Africa who are willing to listen, to respond" he said.

Nhlapo said a great number of people have positively responded to a presidential call for South Africans to go out to the continent and contribute to its development as much as possible, where and in what areas their respective expertise and/or interest permitted people, organizations, experts did so and made a difference at places they got into, he said.

"We have prostates who have got expertise in electricity, water management and development", Nhlapo said, specially underlining these areas because he felt they were two fields that had genuine claim for international support, areas that could optimally make use of a more advanced expertise, investment in Somaliland.

Now that the delegation had seen many of the problems and challenges in Somaliland, "in terms of electricity supply and management", he said that he was certain of his country's capacity and expertise that it could offer to the sector. Nhlapo said he would faithfully and truly take a sensitised message back home to President Mbeki, government officials the business community and the South African public. "It was now a matter of how much how fast we can take (the cooperation) process", he said.

Other major areas that could --- and would benefit much from a likely cooperation in due time included, he said, universities, seekers of higher academic attainments, the training and upgrading of nursing skills, citing them as examples: On the issue of diplomatic recognition for Somaliland and what possibilities, if any, South Africa offered towards this area,. Nhlapo said:

"The issue has been raised every - where we went to. We have taken note of the yearning of the people of Somaliland, and the consequences are quite clear to us". He meant, it was understood, that why the people of Somaliland were one at their desire to see Somaliland as a viable member of the international community since the scars of the war they fought for their regained sovereignty starkly confronted a visitor round every corner.

(Next week, The Republican would reproduce how he assessed the progress the newly founded African Union (AU) made since its inception word for word, as faithfully as our recorded text allowed. The Editor)


Source: The Republican , January 12th 2002

SNN reporter 'Rambo' awarded Internet Reporter of 2002

Internet news followers within the sizeable Somalilander Expatriate Communities in the Diaspora chose Mohamed "Rambo" Hussein Jama of the Somaliland News Network for the 2002 Internet Reporter Award for his faithful and meticulous reporters on Somaliland which made the Somaliland News Network website that he posts to the most extensively visited news pager among sites that subscribe to Somali news.

A Committee drawn from expatriate 'Landers living in Canada and the United States unanimously voted in favour of this young reporter among a stiff competition that included older, more seasoned hands in the reporting field. "We are certain that internet surfers looking the most up to date, independent reports on, specifically, Somaliland, would unwaveringly endorse our choice", a committee statement said.

Reporter Mohamed 'Rambo', himself, was shaken to the roots with a mixture of pleasure, excitement and gratitude for those who singled him for the our.

The Chief Editors of Jamhuriya and The Republican Hassan Saeed Yussuf and Hassan Mohamed Jama (Hassan Heiss), respectively, from whose papers Rambo primarily draws material completely agree with selectors on the qualities cited of the Rambo, wishing, also, to express their felicitations to both selector and selected for a true portrayal, and recognition of, quality.


Source: The Rebublican newspaper. January 4th, 2003 Killer of Jutzi Martin caught and in custody, says Somaliland Police Commander

The Chief Commander of the Somaliland Police force, Abdulkader Musa Mohamed, disclosed to The Republican last evening, Friday, that the killer of Jutzi Martin and severed other suspected accomplices have been remanded to custody to await a full court hearing expected to be conducted within the coming few weeks.

Commander Abdulkader identified the killer as Farhan Mohamoud Kabadheh "The police investigation department has moved very quickly to apprehend the suspects, rounding up most of them within the first 24 hours of the killing", he said. The Commander, a veteran police officer with an extensive knowledge on civil law, told JGP reporters that the police were quite certain of their facts.

"There is no doubt that than acquitted itself in the eyes of the public. Investigating officers we put on the case, alone, do not qualify for my commendation and gratitude. The general public has in this case, worked tirelessly with them ' hand in hand", he said.

Commander Abdulkader had certainly inspired the force to account for itself since his appointment a few months ago. The public has all but despaired of ever hearing police success stories, following a series of flopped major cases of which were homicide and armed robbery cases before Commander Abdulkader and a core of other officer appointees started the desired changes.

Juts Martin, born 1973, Swiss Passport holder 0837760, was killed on Monday evening, December 29, in front of a modern restaurant, not far from where he lived. His wife Franziska Barbara (Swiss Passport # 0840158) and their two small sons were staying with him. Martin was carrying the older of the two at the time the assassin gunned him down.

The killer, the police said, fired 3 shots at Martin on close range. The gun used was identified as a Russian automatic pistol, locally known as 'TT'. The assailant fired a fourth shot at his civilian pursuers to make his escape. But as luck ' and a certain clever deduction on the part of the police ' had it, the killer was behind bars just hours after the appalling incident.

News of what happened on that Monday evening sent the residents of Hargeisa the capital city of Somaliland ' and the whole of Somaliland into an indignant uproar. People spontaneously came out into the streets next morning crying for swift justice to the killer-or killers. In Hargeisa the leaders of KULMIYE and UCID parties, the two parties who, besides the government's UDUB, succeeded to attain national certification as political parties following the announced result's of the December 15 Municipal Council Elections, addressed agitated demonstrators on Tuesday.

The leaders echoed the popular grief expressed, reiterating that the maintenance of peace and stability was not to be trifled with at any cost. Martin's body was flown home on Wednesday, accompanied by his distraught wife and two small sons. The government of Somaliland chartered a special flight for the family aboard a Daallo airlines plane to Addis Ababa, where they transferred to a Lufthansa flight for Switzerland.

The government put a three-Minister task committee. See to it that the assailant or assailants are apprehended to receive their just desserts. The high level committee, also, made the arrangements for the transport of the bereaved family and Martin's body home. Martin lived in Hargeisa past six months, where he started several business projects.


Source: The Republican , January 12th 2002

South African delegation warmly received at Egal International Airport

Somaliland Minister for Foreign Affairs and Information, Mohamed Saeed Gees and HE Abdullahi Mohamed Dualeh, warmly received Welile Nhlapo, a highly placed officer in President Thabo Mbeki's office of South Africa, at the Egal International Airport yesterday, Friday. Nhlapo, accompanied by his wife and Iqbal ' the Somaliland Mission Director in South Africa, is expected to adhere to a tight schedule that would see him visiting a number of institutions and areas on which, unofficial sources say, a probable cooperation between the two countries will pay attention to Nhlapo's itinerary, for instance, names education facilities, the Geed Debleh water stations, the Hargeisa Electricity plant and the Mass graves in the Hargeisa area, among others.

The delegation would also visit this main port city of Berbera and Sheikh. Welile Nhlapo, the Head of President Mbeki's support unit at the presidency, is expected to pay a courtesy visit to the President at his office, to be followed at a later period, by an informal occasion, on the duration of the delegation's five-day stay in Somaliland.

The delegation was in the midst of reception dinner, set in an easy, cordial atmosphere HE Abdullahi Mohamed Dualeh, the Information Minister held for its our, at Maansoor Hotel, when The Republican chanced upon it. Dr. Ali Kadi, the Dean of Hargeisa University, Abdi Artan, the Presidency's Head of Protocol, s Fatima Ibrahim Saeed were among those our eyes caught at the table.

The two deans of Amoud and Hargeisa universities, Dr Suleiman Ahmed Gulaid and Dr Ali Kadi were among the Somaliland dignitaries welcoming Nhlapo and his delegation at the Egal International airport, yesterday.


Source: The Republican , January 04th 2002

NAGAAD shows its mettle in elections role

At a press conference NAGAAD women's umbrella executives called for at the organization's head office, here, last week, s Sado Hashi Awad, Executive Director, and s Zamzam Abdi Adan, Head of the organization's political Forum, spoke at length of the role members played in the recently concluded Municipal elections of December 15 and the assessment they made of it as part of the domestic observers team.

The officers said the organization was, on the whole, more than pleased by the way the elections were conducted, and more so by the well-behaved, responsible manner and maturity the public manifested itself on polling day ' December 15, and the maturity people showed through out.

NAGAAD, it came out during the press meeting, did not only spin into motion on the appointed polling day, but, it, besides carried out intensive training activities on observer roles and on other requisite areas for participants member civil society organizations selected for active participation in the electoral process as domestic observers. The trained participants, subsequently, were deployed in almost all the 800-plus polling stations through out Somaliland.

This aspect of NAGAAD's activities, the two officers stated, was in line with the organization's projected goals pertaining to the organization's active participation in nation building and transition towards democratic, multi-party governance.

NAGAAD, they said, had its observers actively deployed, specifically, in the regions of Awdal, Northwest, Sahil, Togdheer and Ainabo of Sool. Not only observers were placed at polling stations but supervisors and reinforcement corps took active roles in on-the-spot voter education responsibilities. An overall assessment compiled later of a multitude of observer reports compiled indicate, they said, that:

  • No untoward disturbance of the peace was observed at polling stations on polling day.
  • People showed maturity and civic-mindedness through out the day at all stations.
  • Electoral Commissioned officers were all present at stations ' commission officer, parties' observers, security officers, civil society observers, etc.
  • All electoral materials and requisite supplies were uniformly in place and replenished per need.
  • Some stations were kept open well into the evening by necessity. On the other hand, reports indicated, the officers, that there existed a number of areas where improvement was of paramount import. These include, they said:
  • Time constrained voter rights. v Lack or inadequate communication and transportation system for an efficient, equiimplementation of all formal requirements.
  • Registration clerks, in cases, were either too slow or fell short of full proficiency/literacy in the Somali medium of instruction/usage employed. Replacements were, also, in order but not provided for.
  • Insufficient period for voter/observer education given to political parties before polling day. They were, in other words, acutely time-constrained to tighten the odd, loose ends that showed on polling day on this score.
The officers concluded their statement with a warm commendation and appreciation the organization wished to convey to the National Electoral Commission, the government of Somaliland, the EU Technical Advisory team and the general public on their respective roles.
Source: The Republican , January 04th 2002

Warlord mistakes of Puntland continues border violation

Institutionalised militia gunmen loyal to Puntland warlord Abdullahi Yussuf Ahmed sprung an ambush for rival troops seeking asylum in Somaliland on Thursday at a place not far from the provincial capital of Sanaag, Erigavo, taking off with a multiple-barrelled shell launcher and capturing a transport vehicle carrying wounded and battle-weary personnel of his rival colonel Jama Ali Jama, JGP regional reporter, Abdirashid said.

The fleeing troops of the vanquished rival, the report said, would not have been bested if they did not mistake their enemy's battle-wagons for a Somaliland army unit on routine patrol who would, after formalities, escort them on to base where they would be handed over to the proper authorities.

But, as it happened, the gun-mounted vehicles they spotted too late, proved to be too much for them because of the superior positions they have taken and for the sheer intensity of their fire-power, 12 survivors who fought their way out told our reporter when they reached Erigavo.

The place where the ambush took place Biyo-Gudud - was the main garrison of Somaliland troops belonging to the Eastern 3rd base of the Somaliland armed forces. The village is a little short of 60 kilometres to the southeast of Erigavo; and above 150 kilometres distant from the nearest point on the border with the adjacent regional administration of Garowe that flies the Somalia five-star blue flag. The warlord's militia, the report said, were said to have been lying in wait for such an occasion in a section of the region where they were sure of relative security in the midst of kinsmen in the area.

At least five gun-mounted battlewagons were reported in the area. Following a no-holds-barred armed confrontation that pitched the two rival Puntland leaders in a place called Dhudo ' some 150 kilometres north-east of Qardho, Puntland, on Monday, December 30, troops loyal to Jama Ali Jama were forced to retreat in full.

The nearest place they could find a breathing space until the problem was adequately resolved one way or the other ' was inside Somaliland. It now appears that Somaliland itself is not much of a refuge ' and might be compelled to respond to the continued, blatant violations to its territory in kind sooner than later.

Seven gun-mounted "Technicals" and an unspecified number of troops are, besides the Erigavo survivors, reported to have submitted themselves to El Afwein authorities in Sanaag. In Burao of Togdheer region, nine seriously wounded soldiers were pun in hospital. Ms Jawahir Mohamed Elmi, a certified nurse, accompanying the wounded admitted she is the one who had grabbed this initiative, braving all risks in order to save the lives of the incapacitat4ed combatants.

The government of Somaliland have not yet released any official response to a situation that seems not unconnected with innumerable past border violations. Attempts on the President and UDUB General Secretary's lives in Las Anod of Sool and Buuhoodleh of Togdheer were, respectively, the last, and of the more serious incidents perpetuated by Puntland gunmen.


Source: The Republican , January 04th 2002

Kibaki brings allies, former foes into Kenya cabinet

New Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki named his cabinet on Friday, sharing out the top jobs among former opposition veterans and recent defectors from the party he trounced in presidential and parliamentary polls last week.

The key post of finance minister went to David Mwiraria, a former top civil servant and shadow finance minister and a critic of budget policy under the Kenya African National Union (KANU) ousted in the polls after almost 40 years in power.

Diplomats say the finance portfolio is central to hopes for a resumption of support from the International Monetary Fund, suspended in 2000 over concerns about corruption, and for fresh flows of foreign investment into an economy in deep recession.

"We have to regularise our relations with donors by putting in place the laws required for good governance," Mwiraria told Reuters shortly after his appointment. Analysts hailed his appointment as positive for Kenya.

"I understand he has a very strong reputation in the finance field," said Gareth George, managing director of Kenya Commercial Bank. "He is a sound fellow, very solid, very steady," said Robert Shaw of the think-tank Institute of Economic Affairs. Former opposition leader Kibaki took office on Monday after he and his National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) alliance defeated KANU candidate Uhuru Kenyatta.

Announcing his team at a news conference in the grounds of State House, Kibaki, 71, renewed pledges to rebuild the economy of the coffee- and tea-growing country of 30 million. He also promised to fight the graft that grew throughout the 24-year rule of his predecessor Daniel arap Moi, and said he was already busy building a relationship with foreign donors.

"The bulk we have talked to have been very positive in their wish that our relationship be expanded and in their commitment to continue to assist this nation particularly as we shall fulfill our commitment to fight corruption," he said.

He said Kenya would introduce in parliament bills to set up an anti-corruption authority with powers to prosecute "those that are proven to have stolen and also the laws that define economic crime and what should be done about them." Kibaki named former opposition stalwart Michael Wamalwa as his deputy, in line with many analysts' expectations.


Source: The Republican , January 04th 2002

ALLIES AND FORMER FOES

Fiery former opposition politician Raila Odinga becomes public works minister, a plum job with wide influence over the rehabilitation of Kenya's roads, ports and communications. The Foreign Ministry post went to Kalonzo Musyoka, a holder of the job in 1993-1997 when he was a high-flying KANU official.

Musyoka was one of several Moi allies who defected to Kibaki's alliance in October in a move that dealt a heavy blow to KANU's chances of staying in power.

Kibaki dropped Zakayo Cheruiyot, a senior civil servant in charge of internal security accused by the United States government on Tuesday of hiding Rwandan businessman Felicien Kabuga who is charged with genocide. Cheruiyot denied the charges.

Political analyst Mutahi Ngunyi of the Consult-Afrika research group downplayed hopes the new cabinet would be able to implement rapid reforms given that Kibaki had left many senior officials appointed by Moi in their posts.

"These are people who supervised the collapse of this country," Ngunyi told Reuters. "For them to have been retained is in my view a total sham." Moi's former vice-president George Saitoti was given the education portfolio, while the key agriculture ministry went to Kipruto arap Kirwa, another former KANU man from the Rift Valley, the heartland of maize and wheat farming.

"I'm extremely happy because the men and women appointed to the new government are extremely qualified," said Herman Igambi, editor in chief of private Citizen radio and television, which supports Kibaki. "They are representative of the whole country."

Kibaki said he would soon reform parastatal organisations that govern many sectors such as telecoms and farming and are widely criticised as inefficient, mismanaged and corrupt. "Parastatals in Kenya have become a terrible phenomenon," he said. "They have now reached the point where they are unable to pay their own debts and have become a drain on the treasury."


Source: The Republican , January 04th 2002

Editor's Notepad: UDUB takes full control of government helm

The United Nation Democratic Party (UNDP) widely known for its Somali acronym 'UDUB' (Ururka Dimuqraadiga Ummadda Bahowday) is, according to the word on the streets of Somaliland cities, becoming more and more inseparable from a government that did not come to office through it.

On December 27, Thursday, the 2nd congress of the party was convened. It ended the very next day, Friday. The main purpose behind this lightening dart in, dart out type of congress, critics believe, was to legitimise the candidature of the party Chairman and his Deputy, Dahir Rayaleh Kahin and Ahmed Yussuf Yassin ' the incumbent President and the Vice President ' in the forthcoming presidential elections, formerly scheduled for January 23, 2003.

Participants came up with the desired confirmation on a majority vote ' 94 in a 109-seated attendance. On two days later, Sunday, December 31 ' the very last day of 2002, the party took Hargeisa by surprise by the sheer number of vehicles converging on the Presidential palace at around 1:00 in the afternoon. The spectacle was mind-boggling as it was depressing. It was explained as a mere thanksgiving luncheon the President was giving in our of party activists.

Who, previously, arrived from the regions to attend the party congress, and to personally express his appreciation for the part they have played in securing a landslide victory for party in the December 15 Municipal elections. But this offhand explanation of the event, in fact, produced an opposite effect to that it was intended to achieve.

The Presidency, one has to understand, stands for the ultimate symbol of Somaliland sovereignty in people's minds. It stands for the highest apex of an administration that the public looked up to for impartiality, a non-partisan, undiscriminating approach to all of its subjects. That the Presidency was fast becoming a nesting place for UDUB supporters, where they would even hold their get-togethers, was, consequently, a very displeasing eyesore to beholders on Sunday last.

For the first time, perhaps, that UDUB luncheon of December 29 provided a fecund ground for a merge of views and intellects between opposition parties and undecided elements in the electorate. For that whole day and the next? and the next, people were digging up aspects they did not quite like in the UDUB ' cum-government set up. They for example, recalled that UDUB activists were the only people who publicly continued their election campaign on December 15 contrary to NEC directives.

UDUB/government, people said, was more interested in provoking a caustic showdown not only with the opposition but, also, with the public if it did not entirely desist from, conspicuously, using public offices and resources to further its political ambitions.

They, also, on a more general vies of matters, were not too thrilled in UDUB/government's insistence to hold early elections without resolving the Sool issue and that of securing the nation's boundaries one way or the other---or convincingly explaining why the issue is being shelved indefinitely to the public.

UDUB was the brainchild of the late President of Somaliland, Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal, It only came to existence on mid 2001. Through design or by merit of an accidental continuation of a Somali psyche that always saw government functionaries vying for the attention of whoever happened to be at the top, party leadership was predominantly drawn from the three national councils. Membership, in a similar manner, came, chiefly. From government, representatives and Elders ranks.

Outside these three august circles, the party, obviously, sent out a signal to aspirants who were ready to give hand and foot to the government in office. The signals made it clear that UDUB was, in fact, the government.

Political analysts believe that this 'UDUB-means-government' is the first political suicide the government/UDUB entity committed. They, also, believe that the greater majority of the Somaliland public only did not, at first, comprehend either the metamorphosis of party to government or the suicide being enacted in front of them.

On the other hand, party leaders, who happen to be top government officers, too, gambled on several established factors on which, if played right, victory over adversaries was not only certainty but also a foregone conclusion.

Party leaders and strategists, for one, knew that:

a) Somalilanders would rather forego their fundamental constitutional rights than force a confrontation with government, which may, in any way, jeopardize a hard-won sovereignty, and independence that the existence of Somaliland epitomizes for them all.

b) Somalilanders had an infinite capacity for tolerance, perseverance, when, specially, espied wrong-doing, misstep or infringement on accepted norms, understanding or on the letter and spirit of the law itself is committed by the person, persons or official body that, supposedly, stood guard over it.

People here, it is known to happen, develop a 'no see, no hear, no tell' kind of attitude to things going around them. Psychologists, would have had explained the anomaly but ordinary, God-fearing, righteous-minded, civic conscious folks cannot. To leave untidy ends be was never known to have been a tribute to any society. An open, clean debate over the issue and an est, well-meaning confrontation with the perpetrator has no substitutes in real life.

c) Most Somalilanders are not too keen or unduly preoccupied with the intrigues and machinations of politically motivated politicians and party activists. For the main part, people have not yet fully developed a suspicious frame of mind to, first, always put everybody and everything related to politics through a fine tooth-comb due to the scars still showing of recent ordeals.

d) People have not yet separated a party from a government and other national institutions the existence of the latter, principally, occasions. In connection with this, the Somaliland public associates judicial organs of law and order ' and, by extrapolation the government structure with the maintenance and upkeep of peace and stability.

But UDUB and the other major political parties should never bank on calm, emotional surfaces for long. They, instead, should sincerely account for the offices and images they embody. None should believe that, however camouflaged, one can escape the long arm of the law forever.

UDUB, specifically, should not ignore common sense. Since UDUB officers presently comprise government Minister, ourable members of Parliament, Army and Police officers, besides other prominent public figures, headed by the No 1 and No 2 Chief Executives of the government ' the President and the Vice President, extra caution is required on their part not to wage their Party campaigns on public resources ' transport, funds, premises, promises, time and official powers.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring. January 16, 2003/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1850 gmt 15 Jan 03

Somaliland president returns from official visits to Senegal, Mali, Ethiopia

The president Dahir Riyale Kahin, and a delegation he was leading arrived at Egal Airport in Hargeysa this afternoon following an official visit to Senegal, Mali and Ethiopia.

Speaking on his seven-day visit to those countries, the president said it was one that had opened a new door for Somaliland, especially the visit to Senegal and Mali. The president added that those countries had pledged to support Somaliland in its effort for international recognition.

President Riyale met officials of those countries during his visit. The president also meet ambassadors from Arab countries, Europe and USA during his official visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The president was welcomed at Egal Airport in Hargeysa by his vice-president, Ahmad Yusuf Yasin, the chairmen of the two organs of parliament, his wife, cabinet ministers and the public who stood along the road leading to the presidency.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, January 14, 2003/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1850 gmt 13 Jan 03

SOMALILAND: PRESIDENT KAHIN HOLDS TALKS WITH DIPLOMATS IN ETHIOPIA

The president of Somaliland Dahir Riyale Kahin and his delegation which is in Addis Ababa, today held various meetings with diplomats from various countries, in Ethiopia.

A statement released by the spokesman of the Somaliland president, who is a member of the delegation said:

The Somaliland president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, and his delegation despite a long journey, have continued with their schedule in Ethiopia. The president and his delegation received the Yemeni ambassador to Ethiopia, Amin Ali Yusuf and discussed the issue of Somaliland, how to overcome trade barriers and how to strengthen trade relations for the benefit of the two countries. The president also received the deputy Mozambican ambassador to Ethiopia, David Penny petic. Mozambique will host the African Union summit this year and its president will be the chairman. The president conveyed the reality of Somaliland and how the two countries could start relations for the benefit of their people.

The president also met the Russian ambassador to Ethiopia, Chairman Igor Rogachev and the two discussed matters concerning the two countries. The president urged the diplomats to visit Somaliland and witness the real situation there.

The delegation also held talks with the Federal Republic of Germany's ambassador Dr Helga Grafin Strachwitz and the ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Salah bin Ahmad Sarhan. The two parties discussed Somaliland and issues which Somaliland needed from the Saudi government, like the lifting of the embargo on livestock. The Somaliland government asked for assistance from the German government.

The Somaliland president Dahir Riyale Kahin and his delegation passed through Bamako, the Malian capital, and were warmly received by the Malian minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Lassana Traore, the permanent secretary of the ministry, Nichi Lasta Traore petic, the Malian chief of protocol and the Malian ambassador to Senegal.

The president held talks with the Malian foreign affairs minister and discussed the relations between Somaliland and Mali.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, January 14, 2003/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1850 gmt 13 Jan 03

Somaliland: President Kahin holds talks with diplomats in Ethiopia

The president of Somaliland Dahir Riyale Kahin and his delegation which is in Addis Ababa, today held various meetings with diplomats from various countries, in Ethiopia. A statement released by the spokesman of the Somaliland president, who is a member of the delegation said:

The Somaliland president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, and his delegation despite a long journey, have continued with their schedule in Ethiopia. The president and his delegation received the Yemeni ambassador to Ethiopia, Amin Ali Yusuf and discussed the issue of Somaliland, how to overcome trade barriers and how to strengthen trade relations for the benefit of the two countries. The president also received the deputy Mozambican ambassador to Ethiopia, David Penny. Mozambique will host the African Union summit this year and its president will be the chairman. The president conveyed the reality of Somaliland and how the two countries could start relations for the benefit of their people.

The president also met the Russian ambassador to Ethiopia, Chairman Igor Rogachev and the two discussed matters concerning the two countries. The president urged the diplomats to visit Somaliland and witness the real situation there. The delegation also held talks with the Federal Republic of Germany's ambassador Dr Helga Grafin Strachwitz and the ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Salah bin Ahmad Sarhan. The two parties discussed Somaliland and issues which Somaliland needed from the Saudi government, like the lifting of the embargo on livestock. The Somaliland government asked for assistance from the German government.

The Somaliland president Dahir Riyale Kahin and his delegation passed through Bamako, the Malian capital, and were warmly received by the Malian minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Lassana Traore, the permanent secretary of the ministry, Nichi Lasta Traore petic, the Malian chief of protocol and the Malian ambassador to Senegal. The president held talks with the Malian foreign affairs minister and discussed the relations between Somaliland and Mali.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, January 11, 2003/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 11 Jan 03

Somaliland: President ends visit to Senegal, leaves for Mali

Report we received today from the spokesman of the president of Somaliland, who accompanied the president's delegation, say that the president's visit to Senegal ended in a good and understanding atmosphere. The president's delegation, which travelled to Bamako city in Mali this evening, is expected to arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, tomorrow. President Dahir Riyale Kahin, and his delegates held three meetings with Senegalese President Al Haji Abdullahi Wade, in Dakar city, who later on saw bid them farewell. Riyale's visit to Senegal is viewed as a way forward for Somaliland's foreign political and diplomatic moves.
The Indian Ocean Newsletter, January 11, 2003, N. 1025/www.africaintelligence.com

Possible exploration in Somaliland

Several times in the past, authorities in Somaliland (self-proclaimed State northwest of Somalia) announced that they had signed oil exploration contracts with little-known companies. Nothing ever came of them, since in general the companies where more like traders than firms with real exploration capabilities. On December 19, a new agreement was supposed to be signed with another company, Inverse International Ltd, which the Somaliland authorities presented as more reliable than the others. Inverse International is a firm listed on the London registry of businesses working as a subcontractor in the North Sea. Its CEO, who is Norwegian, went to Hargeisa in person last month to sign the contract, which concerns offshore drilling near the port of Berbera. But according to information obtained by the Indian Ocean Newsletter, at the last minute the contract was ultimately not signed. Apparently Inverse had offered 17% of its profits in royalties to the Somaliland government, and the Hargeisa authorities didn't know whether or not this conformed to current practices. The contract was then passed to lawyers in London, who will study its legality. If everything turns out to be legitimate, the contract should be signed soon. Two years ago, the company Rovagold Ltd, also based in Great Britain, and the Chinese companies Continental Petroleum Engineering Company Ltd and China Petrochemical Cooperation negotiated an agreement with the Somaliland authorities to drill an oil well for exploration in the district of Berbera. But discussions eventually broke down.
BBC Monitoring, January 9, 2003/Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 9 Jan 03

SOMALILAND PRESIDENT LEAVES FOR SENEGAL ON OFFICIAL VISIT

A delegation headed by the president of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin, left Hargeysa yesterday for Senegal. The delegation arrived in Addis Ababa yesterday evening where it made a stopover. According to reports, the president last night met Ethiopian officials from the Foreign Ministry in Addis Ababa. The issues discussed at the meeting are not yet known. It is not also known if the president will meet the Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi. The president was accompanied by three of his cabinet ministers - foreign affairs, education and women and family affairs - who previously visited Senegal.
BBC Monitoring, January 9, 2003/Source: Qaran, Mogadishu, in Somali 9 Jan 03) BBC Monitoring

SOMALIA: SOMALILAND REPORTEDLY SENDS TROOPS TO DISPUTED REGION

Some contingents of the Somaliland forces have been sent to Ceerigaabo, HQ of Sanaag Region region disputed between Somaliland and Puntland, following rumours that Puntland militiamen had arrived in the region. The Somaliland forces had been reportedly sent to the disputed region so as to flush out militiamen from Puntland who had fled to those regions after they had been defeated by forces loyal to Puntland leader Col Abdullahi Yusuf. According to Somalilandnet web site, the militiamen from Puntland left after Somaliland forces arrived in the town.
Africa News, January 8, 2003/BYLINE: UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

Somaliland Postpones Presidential Poll

The self-declared republic of Somaliland has postponed presidential elections from January to March, according to a senior official.

Mahmud Jama Warfa, the Somaliland deputy information minister, said the move was taken after the independent electoral commission decided more time was needed to have everything in place for smooth elections. The commission said it needed time to - among other issues - deliver electoral materials to the various polling stations, train polls officials properly and deal with budget issues, Warfa told IRIN on Wednesday.

He also noted that some political parties had requested a postponement. The House of Elders, which has the final say on the matter, "will most likely approve the new date", he stressed.

Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 after the downfall of the former leader, Muhammad Siyad Barre. It has remained relatively free from the chaos and war that has ravaged other parts of Somalia. The region held successful local elections last month.

Warfa said the presidential poll would be followed by parliamentary elections. "The parliamentary elections will probably take place sometime in May of this year," he told IRIN.


BBC Monitoring, January 8, 2003/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 7 Jan 03

Somaliland: Opposition party officials defect to ruling party

Nineteen members of the opposition Asad party in Awdal Region have announced their defection to the governing Udub party. The officials, who included members of the executive committee and the central committee, besides ordinary members, sent a signed statement to us, announcing they had joined the Udub party without preconditions.
BBC Monitoring International Reports, January 7, 2003/Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 7 Jan 03

SOMALIA: SOMALILAND LEADER APPEALS TO UN SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR RECOGNITION

Reports close to the self-declared administration of Somaliland northern Somali region, based in Hargeysa, say that the leader of that administration, Dahir Riyale Kahin, has written to the UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, requesting that the UN should reconsider its stance regarding the prevailing situation in Somaliland as well as that in southern Somalia, by treating each region differently.

The report says, Riyale, while comparing the two regions, informed Annan that the international community had scaled down its efforts in assisting Somaliland, because of levelling it with the southern region, which he said was controlled by warlords, who had been causing wars for more than 10 years. Somaliland, he said, was formerly an independent country, but had joined the Italian southern colony in the 60s. However, people of Somaliland regained their independence in 1991, he said.

Riyale said Somaliland has, as of today, formed all structures necessary for a government, fulfilled all conditions and adopted multiparty political system.

Riyale appeals to the UN not to connect Somaliland to what is happening in the south, which is still engulfed in wars. He called for the recognition of Somaliland.


BBC Monitoring, January 7, 2003/ Source: Xog-Ogaal web site, Mogadishu, in Somali 6 Jan 03 SOUTH AFRICAN DELEGATION PLEDGES TO SUPPORT WATER PROJECTS IN SOMALILAND

A South Africa delegation which is in Hargeysa yesterday visited water wells and Radio Hargeysa among other places in Hargeysa. After assessing those two sites, the South African delegation pledged to support Somaliland on issues concerning water and other projects.
BBC Monitoring, January 6, 2003/Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 5 Jan 03

PUNTLAND AUTHORITY ACCUSES INTERIM GOVERNMENT, SOMALILAND OF AIDING REBEL GROUPS

Col Abdullahi Yusuf's regional administration of Puntland has blamed the Transitional National Government of Somalia TNG, and the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, accusing them of assisting people he says were enemies of the Puntland regional government. According to a press statement released by Puntland administration, rebel forces, aimed at destabilizing the unity of Puntland, were currently mobilizing themselves in some parts of Somaliland, supported by the Arta group interim Somali government, and Somaliland administration. The statement added that Puntland was fully aware of the rebel activities and whoever was aiding them.
BBC Monitoring, January 5, 2003/Source: STN radio, Mogadishu, in Somali 0400 gmt 5 Jan 03

SOMALILAND POLITICAL PARTIES HOLD HIGHLY CHARGED TALKS OVER FORTHCOMING ELECTION

A meeting aimed at discussing how and when presidential election in Somaliland would be carried out has been held in Hargeysa town. The meeting was attended by three recognized national political parties. The meeting, which was highly charged, was attended by Kulmiye party chairman, Ahmad Muhammad Sinyalo petic, UCID party chairman, Faisal Ali Warabo, and UDUP party secretary-general, Bubale. After long discussions, the officials finally agreed to select various representatives from respective parties and forward the matter to the Somaliland electoral body. The meeting did not discuss the fate of other parties that recently expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome of the just-concluded civic elections.
BBC Monitoring, January 4, 2003/Source: AllPuntland.com web site in Somali 4 Jan 03

SOMALIA: PUNTLAND LEADER ACCUSES SOMALILAND PRESIDENT OF "OPEN PROVOCATION"

Puntland northeastern Somali regional parliament resumed its operations today at 9 p.m. local time, attended by Puntland president and chairman of parliamentary affairs.

Col Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad, Puntland president, who addressed the parliament at length, said the recent regional problems faction fighting have come to an end, adding that law and order had fully been restored. He congratulated the Darawish Puntland's special forces, the police and the civic population.

Speaking on Puntland's relations with Somaliland, he said they shared a good neighbourly atmosphere despite open provocation by Somaliland president Dahir Riyale Kahin. Col Yusuf asked Riyale to stop being source of the existing problems between the two regions. He said people from the two regions had no quarrel with each other, instead, they shared brotherly relations and trade activities.

Col Yusuf stated that Ade Muse who recently clashed with Col Yusuf's forces at Dhuubo village had escaped to Somaliland and was being protected by Riyale. Col Yusuf asked the Somaliland authorities to hand over those murderers and their weapons to the Puntland administration.


Africa News, January 3, 2003/BYLINE: UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

Puntland Says Somaliland Supporting Dissident Forces

The authorities in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland have accused the neighbouring self-declared republic of Somaliland of supporting dissident forces, charges dismissed by Somaliland.

Puntland is once again mired in clashes between forces loyal to Col Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad and those of his rival Jama Ali Jama, both of whom claim to be Puntland's legitimate president.

Abdishakur Mire Adan, the Puntland deputy information minister, told IRIN on that the Somaliland authorities were supporting Jama's forces in order to destabilise Puntland. "We have evidence that the Dahir Riyaleh [Somaliland president] administration has given both financial and material support to the anti-Puntland forces," Abdishakur said. He also accused the Somaliland authorities of providing Jama's forces with bases inside Somaliland. "We know they [Jama forces] are in Erigavo, Aynabo, and Eil-Afweyn," he said.

Abdishakur accused the Somaliland authorities of "trying to destabilise Puntland using disgruntled elements to further their cause".

However, he warned that this would only lead to instability in the region. "If you set your neighbour's house on fire, it is likely that your house will also burn," he said. He added that Puntland forces were currently deployed in the border area between the two regions and "will respond if attacked from Somaliland".

However, the Somaliland authorities described the accusations as "baseless and without foundation".

Abdullahi Muhammad Duale, the Somaliland information minister, told IRIN that Somaliland "has nothing to do with what is happening in Puntland". He denied that Somaliland had provided any group with "bases or weapons".

Duale asserted that Somaliland was busy with its democratisation process, "which is very costly, and it [Somaliland] doesn't have the means to give anything to anyone".

Somaliland held local government elections last month and will hold parliamentary and presidential elections soon. "Abdullahi Yusuf [the de facto Puntland leader] is looking for scapegoats and trying to foist his problems on others," Duale added.

Both Puntland and Somaliland claim ownership of the two regions of Sool and Sanaag, a dispute which led to an attack last month on the Somaliland leader, Dahir Riyaleh Kahin, who was visiting the area. The regions fall geographically within the borders of the former British Somaliland, but most of the clans are associated with Puntland.


BBC Monitoring, January 3, 2003/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 3 Jan 03

SOMALILAND: SOUTH AFRICAN DELEGATION ARRIVES IN HARGEYSA

A South African delegation led by Weriyeh Ishlabo names as heard head of the general assistance in the Office of the President of South Africa arrived this evening at Egal International Airport, Hargeysa.

The delegation which had received an official invitation from the president of Somaliland, Riyale Kahin, was received this evening at the Egal International Airport by the minister of foreign affairs and minister of information, Muhammad Sa'id Ges and Abdullahi Muhammad Du'ale respectively, the mayor of Hargeysa Ahmad Muhammad Mahmud, alias Ahmad Deere, and the two directors of Amud and Hargeysa Universities, Prof Ahamad Suleyman Guled and Dr Ali Shaykh Dahin. The delegation is visiting the country in an effort to strengthen the bilateral ties between the two countries. While in the country, the delegation is expected to hold talks with Somaliland government officials.

The delegation is accompanied by the Somaliland representative to the Republic of South Africa, Iqbal Jhazbhay and would be in the country for a period of one week.


Africa News, January 2, 2003/BYLINE: UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

Swiss National Shot Dead in Somaliland

A Swiss national was killed by gunmen on Monday night in Hargeysa, the capital of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, northwestern Somalia, according to local sources.

The 29-year-old man was identified as Yuti Martin, a Swiss businessman who was in Hargeysa to set up a poultry project with Somali business associates, the sources told IRIN on Thursday. He was killed when gunmen opened fire while he was standing in front of a restaurant. "A number of rounds were fired, but only three hit him in the chest," the source said. The motive for the killing is unknown, but six suspects are in police custody "helping police with their investigations", Abdullahi Muhammad Duale, the Somaliland information minister told IRIN on Thursday.

The president of Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin, had sent condolences to the family of the deceased and to the people of Switzerland, expressing deep regret "for this senseless act", Duale said. "The president instructed the security forces to conduct a through investigation, apprehend the culprits and bring them to book," he added.

Duale said the six suspects being held, all men, "will hopefully provide the answers as to why he was killed". A comprehensive statement would be issued once the investigations were complete. Martin's body was sent home on on a Somaliland chartered aircraft via Addis Ababa, where it was transferred to a Lufthansa flight to Switzerland, Duale told IRIN.


BBC Monitoring, January 2, 2003/Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 2 Jan 03

SOMALILAND LEADER CONGRATULATES NEW KENYAN PRESIDENT

The president of the self-declared Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin, has sent a written congratulatory message to the newly-elected Kenyan leader, President Mwai Kibaki. The Somaliland leader wished President Mwai Kibaki good health, long life and success in his new responsibilities as the president of the Republic of Kenya.

According to sources in the Somaliland administration, the message was delivered to President Mwai Kibaki by the Somaliland envoy in Nairobi, Kenya. In his message President Kahin requested President Kibaki to keenly follow events in the Horn of Africa. The message also discussed ways of strengthening bilateral relations.


Associated Press Worldstream, Dec 31, 2002

Unidentified gunmen shoot and kill Swiss businessman in Somaliland

BYLINE: OSMAN HASSAN; Associated Press Writer

Three unidentified gunmen shot and killed a Swiss businessman in Hargeisa in the breakaway republic of Somaliland, witnesses said Tuesday.

The man was identified as Yuti Martin, 29, who had been in Hargeisa for six months working in the poultry business with several Somali partners. His hometown was not immediately available.

An eyewitness, who asked not to be further identified, said by telepe from Hargeisa that the assailants draped in bedsheets approached Martin outside the Star restaurant Monday night, pulled assault rifles from under the sheets and shot him. "They fired several shots, but only three of them hit the man in the chest and the head," the eyewitness said.

Somaliland, which declared its independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 but has never been internationally recognized, is a former British colony that joined with the Italian colony of Somalia in 1960 to form the Republic of Somalia.

While Somalia descended into chaos after the ouster of longtime President Mohamed Siad Barre in January 1991, Somaliland has enjoyed relative peace although arms are readily available.

Deputy police commander Muhidin Shil said 14 people have been taken in for questioning in connection with the killing.


BBC Monitoring, Dec 31, 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 31 Dec 02

SIX SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN SOMALILAND IN CONNECTION WITH KILLING OF SWISS NATIONAL

A statement issued by the Somaliland Ministry of Interior says a 29-year-old Swiss national, Martin Jultzi petic , was early last night shot dead near a cafe in Hargeysa. The Somaliland police have so far arrested six suspects and investigations are going on. The Somaliland minister of interior, Isma'il Adan Uthman, said the Somaliland government and people deeply regretted the killing of Martin and had sent a special condolence message to the bereaved family, adding the culprits would be brought to book and justice would be served.

This was the first time that the enemies of Somaliland had carried out such a criminal act, the minister added.

The body of Martin will be flown to Switzerland on 1 January in the company of two of his children...


BBC Monitoring , Dec 31, 2002, Source: Xog-Ogaal web site, Mogadishu, in Somali 30 Dec 02

Somaliland reportedly deploys troops in Puntland border area

Reports from Sool Region region disputed between Puntland and Somaliland say Somaliland forces have camped near Laas Caanood, the HQ of Sool Region. The reason why the forces are camped near the disputed town is not yet known. Reports say this is due to reports received by Somaliland officials that Puntland forces are gaining ground in the region day by day and that the internal affairs minister of Puntland is planning to start collecting taxes in some parts of the region.


BBC Monitoring , Dec 30, 2002/Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 29 Dec 02

SOMALILAND PRESIDENT NOMINATED TO RUN FOR RE-ELECTION

Following a two-day meeting, Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin and his deputies have been nominated by their party to run for the posts of president and vice-presidents respectively. Addressing party members, Kahin said Somaliland was moving towards a multiparty political system. He said although Somaliland was still a young nation, it had gone further in multiparty politics than many countries that had been there before it. "We are requesting the international community to assist us in this and at the same time send its observers to the forthcoming general elections," said Riyale.
FSAU December 2002, NO 12

Monthly Food Security Report

PO Box 1230, Narobi, Tel: (254-2) 3741299, 3745734, 3748297, Fax: 3740598, E-mail: fsauinfo@fsau.or.ke, www.unsomalia.org

AWDAL REGION : Awdal region of north west Somalia which shares a border with Ethiopia is already showing signs of being indirectly affected by reports of increasing food insecurity in Ethiopia. A higher than normal number of herders, many from Shinile, (an Ethiopian area close to Somalia's border) are reported to have crossed over into the coastal areas of Awdal increasing pressure on Awdal's rangeland resources. The Awdal economy is also struggling with the effects of the Ethiopian government's attempt to curb illegal cross border trade. This has been reflected in an increase in both livestock and milk prices in Awdal's major town - Borama. The increase in the price of milk is expected to be even greater in Hargeisa as much of the milk consumed in this town comes from Jijiga (An Ethiopian region bordering Somalia) and the border area. The situation in Awdal has been made worse by delayed Hais/Deyr rains. The FSAU nutrition surveillance team is currently undertaking an assessment in the area with representatives from the FSAU technical team and UNICEF also participating. For further information on North West and Awdal.

** FSAU is providing Household Economy Analysis (HEA) training in Hargeisa, Somaliland \emdash aimed to enhance partner's use of vulnerability analysis for programme implementation. It is also hoped that the training will increase the use and application of FSAU information by working alongside FSAU partners based in the field. Training begins on December 14 and continues through to January 11 2003 when the final analysis and report writing will be undertaken. FSAU regrets that no more candidates can be taken for the training as the course was over subscribed, however, another course will be arranged later on in 2003. Over 50 participants from UN, local government, local and international NGOs are participating in the theory, and more than 30 of these will continue through into the field work and final analysis stages.

The training is being generously supported by many of these international organisations who are participating, including CARE, WFP, EU, DRC, USAID, IRC, SADO, ARDA, ICRC.

FOOD AID DISTRIBUTION

1 : Livestock Exports November 2002, Berbera
Camel 3,589 921 1,251 3,627
Cattle 2,092 1,843 4,503 5,519
Shoats 35,233 30,089 42,261 62,549
Total 40,194 32,023 48,015 71,695
Source ** : Berbera Port Authority
SANAG AND TOGDHEER

In the Sool plateau seasonal problems are commonly compounded by high water costs. Poor Deyr rains have resulted in many herders moving out to surrounding areas. Despite the recognised high dependence on key boreholes they continue to fall into disrepair. There appears to be a high expectation for outside interventions to solve this problem. However, without increased community responsibility/ participation for their upkeep and evidence of community management, an expanding livestock and human population will only increase pressures on the rangeland environment beyond its carrying capacity. If this remains un-addressed it is expected that we shall see this problem recurring in the forthcoming Jilaal season. The Haud of Togdheer pastoralists are experiencing a normal season apart from dry pockets in Tunyo and Aroori plains. Herd condition is reported to be good and migrations back and forth into Region V of Ethiopia are unrestricted although recently imposed regulations are affecting trade and have resulted in less employment opportunities and petty trade. Agro-pastoralists are reported to have had a poor crop and so switched to more fodder sales. During Ramadam, urban groups and IDPs were affected by less employment. In Burao, and elsewhere, this was compensated for by increased access to gifts and remittances. Both camel and milk prices increased due to low supply.
SOOL REGION

Deyr rainfall was mixed. In Sool plateau and lower Nugal valley (Taleh/Hudon) rainfall was patchy and insufficient. Despite the fact that berkads were replenished on the plateau, the rainfall didn't regenerate enough pasture for the season. This triggered extensive out migration of camel herds and 20-30% of the core households from rainfall deficit areas to upper Nugal Valley and Hawd plateau where the deyr rains were reported as good. Poor pastoralists on Sool plateau need to be monitored during the coming Jilaal months. In contrast the food security conditions of pastoral FEG's living in Hawd plateau and upper Nugal are reported as normal this month. Livestock prices remain high due to increased demand.
NORTH WEST AND AWDAL

Conditions are deteriorating with delayed Hais/ Deyr rains and normal problems with boreholes. The arrival of herders from Shinile district in Ethiopia will increase the pressure on rangeland resources. Zeila and Borama districts are reported to be in a critical condition with pastoralist purchasing power being weakened by declining terms of trade (mainly for labour/grain and effecting the poor more than others). In Lughaya and Bulhar tensions between pastoralists and settlers are mounting as livestock are moved to the highlands. Cross border trade has been adversely affected by the increasing Ethiopian government controls. The prices of sorghum, maize and wheat (partly because of increased demand during Ramadam) at the border have increased by between 5-20% compared to October and November this year. The availability of some local production helped ease these increases. Livestock movements and trade have not been effected but have increased. Increased construction employment (roads and building) and charcoal production have been expanded to cover increased expenditure and lost income. Where households have split with livestock movements out of the area, the elderly and children remaining are reported to be increasingly vulnerable according to observations from Sallahlay and coastal belt communities.


UNICEF Somalia Review, November 2002

Hargeisa - Northwest zone (NWZ)
GENERAL SITUATION

The Ministry of the Interior confirmed that several people had been arrested in connection with an attempt to loot a UN vehicle in Hargeisa last month with resultant injury to the driver. Investigations into the incident are still continuing. In another development, the police commissioner and his deputy were replaced.

This month, Ethiopia closed its border with 'Somaliland', severely affecting Somali businessmen who used to trade between the Arabian Gulf and Ethiopia via 'Somaliland'. There is no traffic of goods from either side except khat. There has been no official comment from either government.

Abdillahi Askar is the new representative of the 'Somaliland' office in Germany, while Omer Haji Mohamoud, has taken over the Addis Ababa office. Askar and Mohamoud were respectively previously in the Addis-Ababa and Djibouti offices. During the review period, the 'Somaliland' government and Danish Oil Company (Seminal Copenhagen Group) entered into an oil drilling agreement.
PROGRAMME ACTIVITY

HEALTH

Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) : A two-day review meeting on the third round of EPI was held in Hargeisa. It was attended by 40 participants of the agencies involved in the exercise. Topics reviewed included, social mobilisation, tally books and recording procedures, staff performance, supervisory roles and community understanding of the importance and the benefits of vaccines.

A five-day EPI acceleration campaign was carried out in Berbera town. It was the first round to be held in Berbera, as its hot weather previously prevented the campaign being held. An estimated 3,000 children aged below five years were vaccinated.

UNICEF, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, conducted a seven-day training in Hargeisa on how to conduct an EPI-coverage survey. Sixteen interviewers and six supervisors were trained. An actual EPI coverage survey was then conducted in Hargeisa and Borama towns. The data is currently being analysed.
NUTRITION

In collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Labour, UNICEF conducted a five-day training on maternal and child nutrition for 23 community health workers (CHW) from the villages of Galbeed. During the training, the community health workers covered topics such as importance of good nutrition for child development, breastfeeding, complementary feeding, growth and development, feeding the sick child, nutritional requirements for pregnant/lactating mothers and adolescent girls, as well as basic communication skills. The purpose of the training was to upgrade the knowledge and skills of CHWs in maternal and child nutrition. After the training the CHWs will carry out nutrition promotion activities in their respective villages. Also the CHWs will be able to identify and take action to correct the major nutritional problems in their communities.

A five-day breastfeeding counselling training for 20 doctors, nurses and midwives from the health facilities in Hargeisa, Berbera and Borama was conducted in Hargeisa. The purpose of the training was to provide basic breastfeeding counselling techniques and skills to the front line staff working in the Mother and Child Health centres and the paedriatric and maternity wards of the regional hospitals. After the training the participants will be able to provide appropriate counselling on optimal breastfeeding for infants. Currently, many mothers do not practice exclusive breastfeeding due to lack of appropriate advice and counselling from the health staff.

The second round of Sanaag region malnutrition interventions was started. Four health centre-based mobile teams were established to cover thirty villages in Badhan, Erigavo, Dhahar and Eil Afwein districts. As with the first round, the teams were providing immunization services, nutritional screening, distribution of supplementary food, mobile clinics and distribution of micro-nutrient supplementation such as vitamin A and iron/folic acid. Some 3,000 children living in the drought affected Sool Plateau benefited from this activity.
WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL SANITATION

Construction work has started on three wells in Odweine, two wells in Hamarta village of Awdal Region, as well as the rehabilitation of a rural well in Dararweyne village of Sanaag Region. UNICEF conducted a water management training in Burao and Hargeisa for water managers and engineoperators of rural and urban water systems of all regions in the zone. A workshop on privatisation and management of the Borama water supply was held in Borama.
EDUCATION

In collaboration with local authorities, UNICF selected 30 schools, 10 playgrounds and five resource centres for rehabilitation in 2003. Assessment missions have already been undertaken in these centres ahead of the rehabilitation.

EMERGENCY

Following a severe storm, which hit Lowyacado town and nearby areas last month, UNICEF responded to an appeal from the government for emergency relief assistance to the people of the area. Two hundred family relief kits were provided to the poorest and most affected families in Lowyacado, and nomads in the surrounding areas.

Julia Spry-Leverton, Communication Officer, UNICEF Somalia TEL: 254-623958/623950/623862/623959/350410 FAX: 254-2-520640/623965


BBC Monitoring , Dec 27, 2002/Source: Somaliland Net web site in Somali 26 Dec 02

SOMALILAND PRESIDENT INTERVIEWED ON VARIOUS ISSUES

Text of interview of Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin with Les nouvelles d'Addis LNA: special correspondent in Hargeysa, as published in English by Somaliland Net web site on 26 Dec

LNA: President, your country has to face two major problems, the absence of recognition and the economy hampered by the ban on cattle exports enforced by your traditional buyers like Saudi Arabia... ellipsis as published

Kahin: The recognition, I think, we have received it in 1960. Unluckily we have joined with our brothers in the south. But that unification has failed after 10 years. And it was not signed. There was an agreement to be signed between Somaliland and Somalia in 1960 and to be ratified by the two parliaments. It was called the Act of Union. That Act of Union was never signed for that 30 years. So our union was a mainly illegal marriage, I can say. Now we are rebuilding our nation and we have regained our recognition of 1960. We have built our country without any help from the international community. We have made government, stability and peace. And full administration of the government. The ban of Saudi Arabia : it is not the first time that they make a ban. It is about the fourth time. Every time they say that there are some diseases among our animals. But there is no disease. We eat meat every day. We would have died if there would be any disease among our cattle. But now they have written in their newspapers that they are ready to lift the ban. We have contacts with an international company, SGS, based in Switzerland and we are preparing to get international certification with the help of this company. I hope we shall overcome in the next future the ban imposed by Saudi Arabia.

LNA: Would you say that this ban was not only based on a health problem but that there was an hidden agenda?

Kahin: I don't know, maybe, maybe. I don't know. But they say there is a Rift Valley Fever. RVF happened between Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It did not happen here. But they decided a ban on all the Horn of Africa, completely. Not only on Somaliland. Even the OIE (1) in Paris has made tests on our animals and it was certified that there is no disease. But we need an international certification accepted by the Saudis. So the company SGS will fill the gap I think.

LNA: About the refusal to recognize officially your country, the reason often given that borders in Africa should remained untouched for ever sounds like a pretext. Thus, in your opinion, what is the real reason that head of states who have seen what you have achieved, are so shy and do not accept that Somaliland exists and has the right to be recognized?

Kahin: I don't know. Three important countries know that Somaliland was a country that has obtained independence. These are France, Italy and the United Kingdom. We have been granted our independence from the UK. France was in Djibouti and French know that we have taken our independence. Italy was administrating the other part of Somalia. Italians know that we had a government. And we have international boundaries that we inherited from the colonial powers. We have an Anglo-Italian treaty fixing our boundary between us and Somalia, an Anglo-Ethiopian treaty, an Anglo-French agreement. All these treaties have demarcated the boundaries of Somaliland. So our case is a solid one.

LNA: Your case is similar to the one of Eritrea...

Kahin: No, no, we have even a better case. Eritrea did not take its independence in 1960, but we did.

LNA: Do you think that the countries you have quoted and some others are waiting because they don't want to be the first to recognize your country? They just wait that somebody else will take the step.

Kahin: That is what they say every time but it is a lame excuse, I think. I have told some Europeans who visited me : why are you so shy?

LNA: Then, the only solution for you is it just to wait that they become more aware that this situation cannot last?

Kahin: Yes. But as for every nation, the determination lies in the will of the people. And this people of Somaliland has proved by referendum, 97 per cent of it, that Somaliland wants to be alone and not be united anymore with Somalia. So nobody can change our will. And we shall be standing for ever to get our recognition.

LNA: I understand that. We just have talked about some European countries but what about your African brothers. Are some of them more sympathetic to you?

Kahin: We can mention Ethiopia, South Africa and some others. One day they will recognize us.

LNA: What is the state of your relations with your neighbour countries?

Kahin: Our neighbours are Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia with whom we have united once. Now we have good relations with Ethiopia and Djibouti?

LNA: Good relations?

Kahin: Yes.

LNA: You have no problem of trade?

Kahin: We trade, we make business.

LNA: Ethiopia has taken steps recently along the border to prevent some goods coming from Somaliland to enter. Is that true?

Kahin: Yes, Ethiopian authorities have taken some customs arrangements. I think that we will overcome this problem. I have sent our Minister of Commerce to Ethiopia and I hope it will be settled. It is temporary. A lot of goods have never gone through Ethiopian customs and they want to adjust this problem.

LNA: So this new step of the Ethiopian authorities should not affect too much your trade?

Kahin: It has an effect. But the problem will be settled. Our Minister has been in Ethiopia and our partners promised that they would solve the question.

LNA: Do you receive bilateral help from any country of the world?

Kahin: No, nothing from any country.

LNA: Do you then receive assistance from international organizations?

Kahin: Some of them, like NGOs are present. For instance, they take part in the maintenance of schools or in other minor projects. What they do is better than nothing. And they deal it to local NGOs mainly.

LNA: Does the European Union give a better share to you than to south Somalia?

Kahin: I don't think. They have rebuilt our bridges that were destroyed. That is the best help that we have received from any country. It came from the EU.

LNA: About the situation in the Horn of Africa. You are in peace. But it may happen that external tensions spill over to your country. Do you have the means to defend yourself since your budget is very modest?

Kahin: We shall try our best up to the maximum to defend our security although we do not have a big capacity.

LNA: You have an armed force?

Kahin: Yes, we have an army, police and military.

LNA: Is your country hit by the drought as it is happening in some other parts of the Horn?

Kahin: Yes, we have a lot of drought in the coastal areas. Cattle are dying and the people are starving. And still we did not have any help from the international community. Even from the World Food Program. We have asked the WFP to make a survey in the coastal areas where the drought is lasting for the last three years. Many times we had drought in our country and we did not receive any help from the international community.

LNA: Will you stand for the next presidential election?

Kahin: Yes I will stand.

LNA: Your Constitution being implemented, do you think the newly elected President of Somaliland, yourself or an other candidate, should take an initiative sending an envoy to all African countries to say : look what has happened. How can you refuse to recognize us?

Kahin: Even now, we have communications with many African countries. But we shall have an aggressive policy after the election to gain our recognition from different countries.

LNA: Before being recognized, Yasser Arafat had a representative in the United Nations. Do you have such a kind of representative?

Kahin: Yasser Arafat had "de facto" recognition. We do not even have "de facto" recognition. So we cannot go to the UN.

LNA: But when you have a delegation, like you have in Ethiopia or in some other countries, it is a "de facto" recognition. Is not it?

Kahin: Yes, some countries like Ethiopia have accepted a delegation and we have representatives in some places in Europe. Even in France we have an orary Consul. It is a Frenchman.

LNA: Thank you, President.


BBC Monitoring , Dec 26, 2002/Source: Xog-Ogaal web site, Mogadishu, in Somali 25 Dec 02

SOMALILAND, ETHIOPIAN OFFICIALS HOLD "CRUCIAL" MEETING IN ADDIS ABABA

Some high-ranking Ethiopian officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a crucial meeting with three ministers from Dahir Riyale Kahin's Somaliland administration in Addis Ababa yesterday. The meeting which lasted for many hours discussed ways of strengthening bilateral relations between the two sides and other issues. The Somaliland officials delivered a message to the Ethiopian ministers from Dahir Riyale Kahin for the Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi. The Somaliland officials will today leave for Dakar, Senegal, where they are expected to carry out preparations for Kahin's visit to Senegal. Kahin has received an invitation from the Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade...
BBC Monitoring , Dec 25, 2002/Source: Somaliland Net web site in Somali 24 Dec 02

SOMALILAND: RULING PARTY ACCUSED OF USING ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN METHODS IN POLLS

Ahmad Silanyo, who is the Kulmiye party chairman, has thanked all the people of Somaliland for fully participating in the recent civic elections, at a news conference in his house. He said the elections were witnessed by the international community. Silanyo also said several complains against Udub party had come up. He said these included the use of unlawful campaign strategy in which the party warned and threatened civil servants with sacking, imprisonment or losing their jobs if they failed to vote for Udub. He also said the party had used public funds and civil servants to advance its political interest. The Ucid party has also held a function at Hargeysa's Star Hotel. The party's chairman Eng Faisal Ali Warabe hailed his supporters for the good way in which they voted. He said this demonstrated that each person had exercised his democratic right. He said his party was the only one that spoke for the interest of the people. Faisal said the presidential elections ought not to be held until the situation in Sool Region is solved.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, December 23, 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 23 Dec 02

Somaliland: Ministers leave for Senegal

Somaliland's ministers of foreign affairs, family and social affairs and education, left Hargeysa airport this evenning for Senegal. The trip by the three ministers to Senegal is related to an invitation extended to the Somaliland president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, to visit Senegal. The ministers have travelled to Senegal in preparation for President Kahin's visit. President Kahin is expected to visit Senegal following an invitation received from the Senegalese president... The ministers are to convey a message from President Dahir Riyale Kahin to the Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.
BBC Monitoring , Dec 23, 2002 Source: Somaliland Net web site in Somali 22 Dec 02

SOMALILAND: ELECTORAL BODY RELEASES RESULTS OF CIVIC ELECTIONS

The electoral commission of Somaliland has today announced the results of the elections which were held in Somaliland regions on 15 Dec 2002. Six parties took part in the civic elections and each obtained the following votes: ruling Udub party 197,938; Kulmiye party 83,158 votes; Ucid party 49,444 votes; Sahan party 47,942; Hormood 40,538 votes and Asad party 39,596 votes. Sahan and Asad parties have said they are not satisfied with the results of the elections citing irregularities...
BBC Monitoring , Dec 22, 2002, Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 22 Dec 02

Somalia: Puntland impounds Somaliland-registered vehicles

Our Puntland reporter says many vehicles with Somaliland registration numbers have been impounded in Puntland, following an order by Col Abdullahi Yusuf's Puntland president administration. Although the precise number of impounded vehicles is unknown, the crackdown is said to be going on. Many vehicles are said to be have removed Somaliland number plates. Many businessmen from Somaliland regions bordering Puntland, have been importing goods through Boosaaso port and use Somaliland-registered vehicles. Many others are hired for short periods from Somaliland.
BBC Monitoring , Dec 21, 2002 Source: The Reporter web site, Addis Ababa, in English 18 Dec 02

ETHIOPIA: EU STARTS USING SOMALILAND PORT FOR RELIEF FOOD SHIPMENT

The European Union has started using Berbera Port Somaliland for the shipment of food aid to the eastern and south-eastern parts of Ethiopia, according to Ms Vereonique Lorenzo, rural development and food security advisor in EU.

She added that ships loaded with food aid arrived on 29 November. EU had arranged 250 trucks for the inland transportation of the food aid from the port to the stores found in eastern part of the country.

From this shipment, 20,000 tonnes would go to DPPC's Disaster prevention and Preparedness Commission stock, since EU had borrowed from DPPC to distribute for the drought victims as part of the pledge it made.

According to sources, the use of Berbera port in Somalia for delivery into eastern and south-eastern Ethiopia is a viable option.

It was also the European Union which first used Berbera port in March 1999 for the shipment of 15,000 tonnes of wheat food aid to Ethiopia.

Using Berbera port involves a 250 km road link to the Ethiopia border at Togowuchale, followed by a 64 km section to Jijiga eastern Ethiopia .

With regular maintenance of the road, up to 30,000 tonnes of food aid per month can be routed through this corridor targeted for distribution within the Somali region of Ethiopia.

The port of Berbera has the capacity of handling an average unloading rate of more than 1,000 tonnes a day.


BBC Monitoring , Dec 21, 2002 Source: Qaran, Mogadishu, in Somali 21 Dec 02

SOMALILAND SIGNS OIL EXPLORATION AGREEMENT WITH BRITISH FIRM

Somaliland has signed an agreement with a UK firm, Inverse International Limited name in English, for the exploration of oil in its region. Somaliland Minerals and Water Minister Muhammud Abdi Farah, who held a news conference on Thursday 19 Dec , said they signed an agreement with the UK company to explore oil in Somaliland. The minister said all the previous oil companies that had visited Somaliland had been brokers, unlike this company, which had proved to be different. The minister said the company had worked in countries like Sudan, Saudi Arabia and others in Europe. The minister said he signed the agreement on behalf of Somaliland, while the chairman of the company signed on behalf of the company. The agreement stated that the company was responsible for funding, producing and marketing of the oil. According to the Somaliland net web site, present at the signing ceremony were Foreign Affairs Minister Muhammad Sa'id Ges and Finance Minister Husayn Farah Dodi petic .
BBC Monitoring , Dec 18, 2002/Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 18 Dec 02

SOMALIALAND: UN ENVOY REVIEWS UN-FUNDED PROJECTS IN REGION WITH LOCAL OFFICIALS

A UN envoy met Somaliland officials, including the information and national guidance minister, Abdullahi Muhammud Ali Duale, in Hargeysa yesterday. The two sides discussed UN projects being implemented in Somaliland and ways of implementing further projects in the region. They also discussed ways of cooperating over implementation of such projects.
Africa News, Dec 17, 2002/BYLINE: UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

Somaliland Polls Hailed As a Success

Ahmad Haji Ali Adami, chairman of the electoral commission in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, has described this weekend's local elections as a success. According to Radio Hargeysa, he praised the "patriotism and hard work" of Somalilanders, saying they gave themselves "the responsibility of maintaining peace". Vote counting was underway, he added on Monday. Independent observers also described the polling - which took place on throughout the breakaway region - as peaceful. However, there was no voting in the disputed Lasanod district following an attack earlier this month on the visiting Somaliland leader, Dahir Riyaleh Kahin. Lasanod is the capital of Sool region which - along with Sanaag region - is claimed by both Somaliland and the neighbouring self-declared autonomous region of Puntland. The regions fall geographically within the borders of the former British Somaliland, but most of the clans are associated with Puntland. The local elections - in which six parties participated - were postponed from October. According to the electoral commission, this was due to delays in the registration of the parties. Somaliland is due to hold presidential and parliamentary elections next year.
BBC Monitoring , Dec 17, 2002Source: UN Integrated Regional Information Network, Nairobi, in English 17 Dec 02

SOMALILAND: NO VOTING IN LOCAL ELECTIONS IN DISTRICT DISPUTED WITH PUNTLAND

Nairobi, 17 December: Ahmad Haji Ali Adami, chairman of the electoral commission in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, has described this weekend's local elections as a success... Independent observers also described the polling - which took place on 15 Dec throughout the breakaway region - as peaceful. However, there was no voting in the disputed Lasanod Laas Caanood district following an attack earlier this month on the visiting Somaliland leader, Dahir Riyaleh Kahin. Lasanod is the capital of Sool region which - along with Sanaag region - is claimed by both Somaliland and the neighbouring self-declared autonomous region of Puntland. The regions fall geographically within the borders of the former British Somaliland, but most of the clans are associated with Puntland. The local elections - in which six parties participated - were postponed from October. According to the electoral commission, this was due to delays in the registration of the parties. Somaliland is due to hold presidential and parliamentary elections next year.
BBC Monitoring , Dec 17, 2002/Source: Somaliland Net web site in Somali 16 Dec 02) BBC Monitoring

SOMALILAND: SOOL REGION LEADERS CONDEMN RECENT ATTACK ON PRESIDENT

Laas Caanood: Four clan leaders, who are among the most prominent in Sool Region, have condemned the attack by Col Abdullahi Yusuf's Puntland president militia on the Somaliland president's delegation on 7 Dec 2002. The elders who are: Garad Abdiqani Garad Jama', Garad Isma'il Du'ale, Suldan Si'id Usman Ali, Ugas Abdullahi Ise Nur, said in a statement released in Laas Caanood on 11 Dec and sent to the media, that the Garoowe administration Puntland was responsible for the attacks in Laas Caanood which harmed people and their property. "We are very sad as clan elders, and general public about the effects of the attack on the visit and reception of the Somaliland president and his delegation,'' added the statement. The statement urged the people in Sool Region to strengthen peace and to be united.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, December 16, 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1850 gmt 16 Dec 02

Somaliland: Electoral body chairman says civic elections "successful"

The chairman of the electoral commission, Ahmad Haji Ali Adami, has announced that the elections held in the country were successful. The chairman who was briefing the media, said the people of Somaliland had attained success through the elections which were held in the country. He said people gave themselves the responsibly of maintaining peace. The chairman thanked all people who had contributed to the elections by showing patriotism and hard work. The chairman said the counting of votes was going on. The elections which were a contest between various parties, were held yesterday.
Agence France Presse, December 15, 2002

Breakaway Somaliland elects local leaders peacefully

Local elections took place in the six regions of Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland Sunday, but results will not be available before six days, the electoral commission and witnesses contacted by telepe from the main city Hargeysa said. Most polling stations closed at 6:00 pm (1500 GMT), but voting was extended by two hours in places where people were "unable to complete voting as planed," commission officials said. No election-related violence was reported in the territory which has not been recognised internationally after seceding from the rest of Somalia in May 1991 when Somali dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled. "The elections were fair and free but we shall wait for the results in six days as pledged by the electoral commission. We ask that the counting of ballots be est," Ahmed Hashi, a businessman said by telepe.

Another voter in Hargeysa, Amina Haji Hirsi, said she was unhappy because women's participation in Somaliland affairs is low. "It's only more men coming to power as local leaders, but it was a peaceful election and I like that," she said. According to the electoral commission only three political parties are allowed in Somaliland but six parties took part in the local polls. Radio Hargeysa meanwhile described the election as a sign of Somaliland's "political maturity." The rest of Somalia did not recognise the election.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, December 14, 2002/Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 14 Dec 02

SOMALILAND REPORTEDLY ORDERS STATE OF EMERGENCY IN DISPUTED REGION WITH PUNTLAND

New tension is likely to rise once again between Somaliland and Puntland administrations after the president of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin, has returned to his HQ Hargeysa following his visit to Laas Caanood town, Sool Region disputed by Somaliland and Puntland , where he was recently attacked by Puntland forces. Riyale said people in Sool region had received him well, but claimed he was attacked by people from Garoowe administrative town of Puntland . He said he had declared a state of emergency in Sool Region, adding that any further encroachment on Somaliland territory by what he described as an enemy of Somaliland would not be tolerated.
BBC Monitoring International Reports, December 12, 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 12 Dec 02

SOMALILAND: PRESIDENT KAHIN RETURNS TO HARGEYSA AFTER TOURING VARIOUS REGIONS

Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin and a large delegation he was leading in a visit to Somaliland's eastern and central districts, returned to Hargeysa today at 11.30 p.m. The president and his entourage were receives by residents who lined the road from the city centre to the presidency, cheering and waving their hands and tree branches. Riyale Kahin who left Berbera this morning, had addressed people there at the 26 June stadium, saying the recent attack on him in Laas Caanood, during his tour there, would be the key to Sool Region... Meanwhile, Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin, who turned from a six-day tour of various regions, has renamed Hargeysa airport after the father of the nation, the late Muhammad Ibrahim Egal. The airport will from today be called Egal International Airport, Hargeysa.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, December 10, 2002 /Source: Somaliland Net web site in English 9 Dec 02

Somaliland lobby group dismisses Puntland leader's "absurd" territorial claim

On 7 December 2002, the president of Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin, arrived on an official state visit in Laas Caanod, Sool, one of the six regions of Somaliland.

Approximately about 1400 p.m. noon as published as the president and his entourage were resting in their guest houses, an army of terrorists sent by the warlord presiding over the neighbouring Puntland of Somalia, Col Abdullahi Yusuf, attacked the president and his delegation in their guest houses. The militia that attacked the Somaliland president and his delegation were met with fierce resistance from the local police and military stations. The alleged reason for these unprovoked attacks on Somaliland cities and Somaliland president was warlord Abdullahi Yusuf's absurd claim that Sool is part of his Puntland administration when, in fact, Sool is one of the six regions of Somaliland, historically and legally. The Somaliland Forum, which is an independent-international organization that represents the Somaliland diaspora, condemns and deplores these terrorist attacks on Somaliland by Abdullahi Yusuf's administration in the strongest possible terms...

This is not the first time he has played with fire; however, this time he has gone one step further and decided to provoke Somaliland into a war, which will further destabilize the war-stricken Horn of Africa and the entire African continent as a whole.

We would like to inform the international community that of Somaliland is a peace-loving country, which will strive for peaceful ends to any disputes and/or conflicts. Moreover, of Somaliland, as demonstrated by the achievements in the past 11 years, is a democratic country which is preparing for its first-ever local and national elections since it reclaimed its independence from Somalia in 1991. Hence, the last thing it wants or wishes for is a war. Nevertheless, we affirm that as an independent sovereign country with a clearly demarcated borders and, a democratically elected government, we will not and cannot tolerate any acts of external aggression that may undermine Somaliland's territorial integrity. Therefore, of Somaliland will do and take any action necessary to preserve its territorial integrity, including military ones...

At this present moment while his officials are waging war, destabilizing the region and causing mayhem, Abdullahi Yusuf's officials are taking part in the Somali reconciliation conference in Eldoret, Kenya, receiving VIP treatment from regional leaders. We urge the international community, IGAD Inter-Governmental Authority on Development and the African Union leaders to hold this warlord personally responsible for these terrorist attacks. We request from these bodies to send a loud and clear message to the warlords gathered in Eldoret and inform them in the strongest possible terms that Somaliland's territorial integrity must be respected and, that all destabilizing and provocative acts shall cease immediately. Such a message, alone, from these regional and world leaders to Col Abdullahi Yusuf, is the only hope of averting a war in an already war-famine stricken part of the world.


Reuters, 09 Dec 2002

Attacked Somaliland leader calls for defence

NAIROBI- The leader of Somalia's breakaway northern enclave of Somaliland on Monday urged his followers to defend their land from regional rivals two days after an attack.Four people were killed after armed men loyal to the government of the rival border territory of Puntland raided a guesthouse sheltering the Somaliland president on Saturday while he was on a visit to a town disputed by the two enclaves.

"The people of Somaliland must be ready to defend their nation," Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin said as thousands of people held demonstrations in major towns to condemn what they said was an invasion from Puntland.

Somaliland leaders said the attack was a renewed attempt to frustrate its bid for independence and block forthcoming local government elections. "The local government elections will be held as scheduled," the president said.

Before the attack the Somaliland president had travelled to the town of Las Anod to visit local leaders, marking the first official visit by a Somaliland President to the town since the region declared its independence in 1991.Leaders of Puntland said they were opposed to Kahin's presence on what they consider their territory. Leaders from Puntland, as well as other factions and a shaky transitional government based in the Somali capital Mogadishu, are holding peace talks in Kenya aimed at ending a decade of anarchy in the country.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, December 9, 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 9 Dec 02

Somaliland president visits HQ of northeastern region

The president of Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin, and a large delegation he was leading, arrived last night at 11 p.m. in Ceerigaabo - Sanaag regional HQ northwestern Somaliland, northeastern Somalia - after departing from Caynabo, Sool Region. The president was warmly received by the people of Ceerigaabo, according to our reporter who is travelling with the presidential entourage. He said the people of Sanaag Region lined the roads leading to Ceerigaabo to welcome the president and his entourage.

The president this morning addressed a rally at Ceerigaabo grounds which was attended by scholars, religious leaders, elders, youths and the general public. The president thanked the people of Ceerigaabo for the warm welcome accorded to him. He discussed local and international issues related to Somaliland and measures taken by his government since he assumed office. Kahin commented about the forthcoming general elections and said the elections would bring recognition and benefits if it is conducted peacefully.

He urged the people to maintain peace and to elect leaders of their choice. The president who was commenting about the incident he faced in Laas Caanood together with his entourage, said a national decision will made on the matter and drastic measures will be taken by Somaliland regarding its borders with Somalia. Commenting on the Ceerigaabo-Burco road which has brought problems to motorists, the president said the road will be repaired soon. He said the section close to Ceerigaabo will be the first to be repaired because it is in a worse condition...


BBC Worldwide Monitoring December 9, 2002 /Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 9 Dec 02

Somaliland: Anti-Puntland demos held in various districts

A demonstration was today held by very many people at Hargeysa's Khayria Square. The demonstration which was held by government officials, political parties, and members of the civil society especially women groups and the youth was addressed by Hargeysa mayor, Ahmad Muhammad Ahmad Deere...

The mayor said in his speech that the bunch which attacked the guest house in Laas Caanood, where the president and his entourage were staying, were people opposed to the sovereignty of Somaliland and would be dealt with accordingly. The leader of Kulmiye party, Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo, who addressed the demonstrators at the square, said the people of Somaliland irrespective of their political parties will take part in the demonstrations. He said the attack on the president in Laas Caanood was aimed at disrupting the elections and creating discord. He said the attackers had failed to achieve that.

Silanyo hailed Somaliland forces which decimated the attackers within one hour... A similar demonstration was also held today in Berbera. A similar demonstration was held yesterday in Burco against the naked aggression by the Puntland regional administration. The demonstrators were addressed by officials and scholars from the regions.


Reuters, December 8, 2002

Four die in attack on Somaliland leader

HARGEISA -- Four people were killed when Somali militiamen attacked a guest house sheltering the president of the breakaway enclave of Somaliland, who appeared to escape without injury, witnesses said on Sunday. Militiamen loyal to the government of the rival territory of Puntland raided the entourage of the Somaliland leader on Saturday when he visited a town disputed by the two enclaves.

The Somaliland president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, had travelled to the town of Las Anod to visit local leaders, marking the first official visit by a Somaliland President to the town since Somaliland declared its independence in 1991.

Leaders of Puntland, which borders Somaliland in the north of Somalia, said they were opposed to Kahin's presence on what they consider their territory. "We could not have fulfilled our operation if it did not have the support of our people," said the deputy interior minister of Puntland, Ahmed Aden, who was among the leaders of the attack. "We are fighting for the unity of Somalia," he told Reuters by telepe.

The identity of the casualties was unclear, although witnesses said one was a former governor of the town. Dahir and his entourage fled during the fighting, witnesses said.

Leaders from Puntland, as well as other factions and a shaky transitional government based in the Somali capital Mogadishu, are holding peace talks in Kenya aimed at ending a decade of anarchy in the country.

The United States fears the lack of strong central authority in Somalia, a lawless Horn of Africa state in the grip of rival warlords, could provide an ideal haven for militants.

Washington has set up sea patrols along with Britain, France and other countries to search for members of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network who they fear might try to flee there.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring December 8, 2002 /Source: STN radio, Mogadishu, in Somali 0400 gmt 8 Dec 02

Somaliland President Dahir Riyale reported ambushed by Puntland forces

Reports from Sool Region northern Somalia say militiamen loyal to Puntland and Somaliland administrations respectively have clashed. Our reporter Dahir Yare has more on this: Fresh fighting broke out last night at 12.30 a.m. local time between the two sides who exchanged fire, using all types of weapons. The fight broke out after militiamen loyal to Somaliland arrived for reinforcement in Laas Caanood town, which was under the Puntland administration forces, after capturing the town yesterday following a fierce fighting.

According to reports reaching us from radio calls in Laas Caanood area, gun shots were being heard outside the town. There is no accurate information about the number of casualties, but heavy damage on the town has been reported. Forces from both sides are said to be still confronting each other in the town.

Other reports say more clashes also broke out last night at Buuhoodle where forces of President Dahir Riyale Kahin of Somaliland clashed with Puntland militias loyal to Col Abdullahi Yusuf Puntland president , after ambushing President Dahir Riyale Kahin.

At least 17 people are believed to have been killed in the clashes between the two rival groups and over 30 others wounded. The clashes were provoked by the visit of the Somaliland president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, who visited Laas Caanood town as part of Somaliland presidential campaign trail. Laas Caanood is one of the voting stations for Somaliland presidential elections. The two sides have been disputing over the control of the locality.

Somaliland officials warned that the fighting would spread into Puntland, while Puntland leaders threatened to attack Somaliland, unless President Dahir Riyale Kahin calls off his visit to the region...


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, December 8, 2002/Source: Radio HornAfrik, Mogadishu, in Somali 0530 gmt 8 Dec 02

Somalia: Puntland official blames fighting on Somaliland leader

The vice-president of Col Abdullahi Yusuf's Puntland administration, Muhammad Abdi Hashi, has blamed the president of self-declared republic of Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin, for spearheading yesterday's fighting in Laas Caanood town northern Somalia . HornAfrik reporter Muhammad Haji Ingris reports this from Eldoret Kenya :

Reporter: The vice-president of Puntland regional state, Muhammad Abdi Hashi, stressed that they have today foiled a plan bent on dividing Somalia into two countries. Speaking to me in Eldoret venue of Somali peace talks, Muhammad Abdi Hashi said the fighting that took place in Laas Caanood town claimed by both Somaliland and Puntland was headed by the Somaliland president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, and blamed him for all the problems which occurred there.

The Puntland vice-president confirmed that, on their side, they had lost four people in the fighting and seven others wounded. He said they killed 20 people of those who attacked them and wounded 30 others. He said the military confrontations lasted for two hours, adding that Puntland's Darawish special forces were now in control of whole Sool Region. However, there is no independent confirmation to the report. Hashi said Riyale Kahin has crossed over to the Ethiopian side, through Du'mo village, as he had no other venue to escape, because he said our forces besieged him from all sides...


Deutsche Presse-Agentur, December 7, 2002

Somaliland governor escapes attack in contested region

The president of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, Dahir Riyaleh Kahin, has escaped death after he was shot at Saturday in Las Anod town, 120 kilometres from Garoweh, the capital of the semi-autonomous administration of Puntland. At least four people were wounded including one of the Riyaleh's bodyguards in the fighting between the forces of the two regional governments of Somaliland and Puntland. Among the dead is Robleh Abdullahi Sanweyne, the governor of Sol region for Puntland. Riyaleh came under fire when his convoy of 30 vehicles entered the town. The breakaway republic of Somaliland is expected to hold presidential and parliamentary elections later this month. Both Puntland and Somaliland claim ownership of the Sol region, mainly inhabited by the Dhulbahanteh clan of the Darod tribe. Puntland has warned Somaliland to keep out of the Sol region. Riyaleh's sudden visit was seen as a provocative step by Somaliland.
Xinhua, December 7, 2002

Fighting breaks out between Somaliland, Puntland of Somalia

MOGADISHU, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- President of the self-declared republic of Somaliland Dahir Riyaleh Kahin was attacked on Saturday in the semi-autonomous administration of Puntland and the fighting later killed at least four people.

The first shooting started at about 10:00 am local time (0700 GMT) in Las Anod district, 120 km northwest of Garoweh town, the capital of Puntland when the delegation of President Riyaleh came under fire as his convoy of trucks consisting of 30 vehicles has reached the town.

At least four people were wounded including one of the bodyguards of President Riyaleh as the bodyguards themselves have returned fire. The fighting seemed to have subsided for a while and relative calmness returned, but at about 14:00 hours local time (1100 GMT), serious fighting has resumed between the forces of the two regional governments of Somaliland and Puntland as forces loyal to Colonel Abdullahi Yussuf Ahmed, the president of Puntland have attacked where the delegation of his opponent, Riyaleh, has been received. According to eyewitnesses, the two sides have exchanged heavy gunfire right in the middle of the town where at least four people were killed and more than a dozen others were wounded from both sides.

Among the dead is Robleh Abdullahi Sanweyne, the governor of Sol region for Puntland.

In the middle of the fighting at about 15:00 hours local time ( 1200 GMT), President Riyaleh and his delegation have fled Las Anod town, but the exchange of the gunfire continued between the two sides until late in the afternoon.

The latest reports from the town indicate that the town is now calm as the sun set, but very tense with some of the warring militias of Puntland and Somaliland in some places firing some sporadic gunfire. According to eyewitnesses in the town, the shelling from the two sides has destroyed several buildings. As a result, dozens of families have started fleeing the town. Among the seriously damaged buildings are the administration buildings, but the building where the delegation of Riyaleh briefly stayed remains intact.

The reason for the fighting is not clearly stated, however it is known that the breakaway republic of Somaliland is later this month going out for the presidential and the parliamentary elections.

The region of Sol mainly inhabited by the Dhulbahanteh clan of Darod tribe is disputed as each of the Puntland and Somaliland claim its ownership and Somaliland was trying to win some support for their coming elections, but Puntland has always warned Somalia and to keep away from their region of Sol.

President of Puntland, Colonel Abdullahi Yussuf Ahmed, whose headquarters, Garoweh town, is only 120 km away has never visited the Las Anod town in fear of violence between the two sides and now the sudden visit of Riyaleh, the president of Somaliland, is seen as a provocative step deliberately carried out by Somaliland.

Interior minister of Puntland Ahmed Abdi Habsadeh said their administration did not send any of their troops to the town, but those in the town supporting Puntland have reacted to what he called the "blain trespassing" made by the administration of Somaliland.

Riyaleh and his delegation are reported to be in Aynabah village, about 120 km north of Las Anod town, but it is not known what measures Somaliland would be taking next as the visit of their president has provoked violence in the town.

Somaliland and Puntland have been having strained relation especially when the regions of Sol and Sanag come into question as each side claims their ownership. Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, the president of Puntland, is now in the port town of Bossaso in Puntland after he took a break from the ongoing peace talks for the Somalis in neighboring Kenya, where he was settling down local dispute within his administration.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, December 5, 2002/Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 4 Dec 02

Somaliland: Visiting UN delegation, president hold talks in Hargeysa

A high-level UN delegation yesterday arrived in the Somaliland capital, Hargeysa. The delegation was carrying a written message from the UN special envoy to Somalia, who is based in Nairobi, Kenya. The delegation delivered the message to Somaliland President Tahir Riyale Kahin. The details of the message have not yet been disclosed. Reports further say President Tahir Riyale Kahin has not yet replied to the UN envoy's message. However, both sides are still continuing with their talks.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, December 5, 2002 /Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 4 Dec 02

Somaliland: Police storm into offices of Hargeysa newspaper

Reports reaching us from Hargeysa say on Monday night 2 December Somaliland police stormed into the offices of Jamhuuriya newspaper daily Somali newspaper . According to the report, the police have confiscated documents which they said were containing information against the unity of Somaliland and its sovereignty. Police further said they would disclose the documents and their contents soon.
The Indian Ocean Newsletter (www.africaintelligence.com), November 30, 2002,N. 1020

A former American diplomat's point of view

The former United States ambassador to Ethiopia (1996-99), David H. Shinn, who is now an associate professor at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, has just written a report on Somaliland for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), an American institute concerned with influencing foreign politics in the United States. Shinn concludes the November 2002 text by indicating that the United States needs to take Somaliland more seriously. While recognizing that African countries must be the first to offer diplomatic recognition to Somaliland, he adds that the United Sates could open a small liaison office for the purpose of monitoring a larger development program and political progress in this strategically important part of the Horn of Africa. For Shinn, this would not constitute diplomatic recognition, but would be a symbol of support for a small African Islamic country that is constantly evolving.
Africa News, November 29, 2002/ Addis Tribune

Somaliland: the Little Country That Could

Since the Somali Democratic Republic became a failed state in 1991, Somaliland is the one part of the former entity that has managed to put in place sustained stability and a constitutional government accepted by most of its inhabitants.

There is virtually no visible, armed security presence. Supported by an unusually talented and active diaspora, the capital of Hargeisa is experiencing a modest economic boom in spite of a continuing Saudi ban on Somaliland livestock exports, which traditionally account for most of its foreign exchange income. As recently as 1996, the atmosphere in Hargeisa was tense, and the city still reflected the extensive bombing by Said Barre's airforce and shelling by his artillery. Today, nearly all of the damaged and destroyed buildings have been repaired or replaced. Hargeisa's population has grown from less than 10,000 in 1991 to more than a half million. Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991, and most Somalilanders are now preoccupied with the question of international recognition. To date, no country has recognized of Somaliland. The UN and African Union have instead given Somalia's seat to the Transitional National Government (TNG) based in North Mogadishu. The TNG claims to represent Somaliland but has no influence there. It is not surprising that Somaliland seeks international recognition, as this would open many foreign assistance possibilities that are now largely closed. In the meantime, there are other steps Somaliland could take that would enhance its chances for recognition. This analysis looks at the background to Somaliland's declaration of independence, notes the obstacles to recognition, and discusses the current situation in Somaliland based on a recent visit there.

Somaliland Independence and then Merger

Known as British Somaliland until it achieved independence on June 26, 1960, the new government of Somaliland, after five days of independence, agreed to join with former Italian Somalia. The two territories united on July 1, 1960, to form the Somali Republic. The idea of unity had been discussed during the year leading up to independence on the basis that Somalis are the same people, speak the same language and have a common religion. Often called northwest Somalia after unification, Somaliland's merger with Somalia was not easy, and problems developed almost immediately. There was a national referendum in June 1961 to approve a provisional constitution for the Somali Republic in the absence of an act of union. The leading political party in the northwest, the Somali National League, boycotted the referendum. Of the 100,000 votes cast in the northwest, about 60 percent opposed the constitution. An attempted military coup occurred in Somaliland late in 1961. Although it failed, one of its goals was to secede from the Somali Republic and establish an independent government. Northwest Somalia subsequently worked out a modus vivendi with Mogadishu. An Ishaq clan member from Somaliland, Mohammed Ibrahim Egal, even became prime minister of the Somali Republic in 1967. He did not last long in the position. In 1969, a bodyguard assassinated the president of the Somali Republic, and several days later a group of army officers seized power and installed Major General Mohammed Siad Barre in his stead. The new military government arrested Egal, who remained in jail until 1982 except for a six-month period in 1975 when he was assigned as Ambassador to India. Barre's rule rekindled discontent in the northwest, and by 1981 Somalilanders formed the Somali National Movement (SNM), which had the goal of toppling the Barre government. By 1988 an all-out civil war developed and northwest Somalia experienced considerable devastation at the hands of government-sponsored forces. The brutal repression resulted in more than 20,000 killed and left a deep bitterness among Somalilanders. The war ended in January 1991 with the fall of the Barre government.

Somaliland Declares Independence Again

The Central Committee of the SNM assembled in Burao in May 1991 and declared unilaterally that northwest Somalia would henceforth become the independent Republic of Somaliland. The SNM named Abdirahman Ahmed Ali "Tur" as interim president for two years. Near the end of his term, the 150-member Council of Elders began meeting in Borama to determine the political future of Somaliland. They expanded the representation at Borama to some 500 persons representing elders, religious leaders, politicians, retired civil servants, intellectuals, businessmen, and others. They agreed to establish an executive president and a bicameral legislature. These traditional leaders of Somaliland then elected Mohammed Ibrahim Egal, the onetime prime minister of the Somali Republic, as president of Somaliland in 1993. They reelected Egal in 1997. The Conference of Somaliland Communities, formed by various Somaliland leaders, adopted a constitution at Hargeisa in 1997. It was to remain in effect for three years and would come into full force only after a referendum, which finally took place in May 2001.

Somaliland Rejects the Arta Process

Somaliland chose not to participate in the process aimed at unifying Somali factions that was initiated by the government of Djibouti in 2000 in the Djiboutian town of Arta. The conference was organized along clan lines but included a cross-clan delegation of 100 women. A number of key factions and groups were not represented. The government of Somaliland not only refused to participate in the conference, but its Parliament passed a law that prohibited representatives of the government or private citizens to attend, declaring attendance a treasonable offense.

The Arta conference resulted in creation of the Transitional National Government (TNG) that took up residence in North Mogadishu and claimed to represent all of Somalia, including Somaliland. The TNG occupied Somalia's seats at the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity, and the Arab League. Somaliland continues to reject both the Arta process and the government it created, arguing that the independence of Somaliland is nonnegotiable. The TNG has so far been unable to establish control outside of North Mogadishu, although it does have loose alliances with several other groups. Only five countries (Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan, Libya and Egypt) have extended diplomatic recognition to the TNG.

2001 Referendum on Constitution and Independence

Somaliland conducted a referendum on May 31, 2001, which endorsed a new constitution and reaffirmed its status as an independent state. The referendum offers some useful insights on the thinking of Somalilanders on the issue of independence. The Initiative and Referendum Institute, an international non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., sent a 10-member team to observe the referendum process from May 28 until June 7. Eight of the delegates were from the United States, one from the United Kingdom, and one from Switzerland. The Institute acknowledged that its ability to observe the referendum was imperfect. On the day of the referendum, it was only able to visit 57 of the 600 polling stations in five of Somaliland's six regions. The Institute chose, for security reasons, not to send any observers to Sool Region and had only one observer in Sanaag Region. The Institute concluded, however, that overall the referendum was conducted "openly, fairly, estly, and largely in accordance with internationally recognized election procedures." Irregularities and procedural deviations were de minimus, and occurrences of fraud were insignificant and very rare. The referendum was peaceful and without violence.

Ninety-seven percent of the voters approved the constitution. The Institute believes that the referendum was primarily a vote to show support for independence rather than an endorsement of the numerous provisions of the constitution. It concluded that approximately two-thirds of eligible voters participated. The Institute suggested that some of those who chose not to vote were probably exercising their opposition to the referendum. In Las Anod District of Sool Region, for example, where there was the greatest opposition to the referendum, voter turnout was only 31 percent, well below the national average. The opposition was not unified around one issue. Some opposed Somaliland's independence while others supported independence but were opposed to the administration of President Egal. But even assuming that all eligible voters that did not vote were opposed to the constitution, independence, and/or the Egal administration, 97 percent of two-thirds of the voters still supported the constitution and independence.

Preparing for Elections

Political parties only returned to Somaliland following the passage of enabling legislation in 2000. Late in 2001 Somaliland postponed for one year the previously scheduled 2001 municipal elections and the 2002 presidential and legislative elections to allow more time for preparation. President Egal died of natural causes in May 2002. In accordance with the Somaliland constitution, his vice president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, who was also elected by traditional leaders, succeeded him. President Kahin's mandate ends in February 2003.

Municipal elections are now scheduled for December 15, 2002. National presidential elections must occur by January 23, 2003, unless the House of Elders authorizes an extension. Parliamentary elections are slated for May 2003. These will be the first multiparty elections since 1969 and the first occasion that Somaliland women will be able to vote. Somaliland's political parties and its Electoral Commission are inexperienced, and technical expertise is in short supply. Somaliland's budget for the elections is exceedingly limited, and few outside groups have expressed a willingness to assist due in part to the fact that no government recognizes Somaliland. Not surprisingly, the seven-member Electoral Commission is concerned about organizing a successful result. To its credit, the International Republican Institute has allocated $200,000 in support of political party training workshops and voter education programs. The European Union may provide direct assistance to the Electoral Commission. There is some pressure from Somalilanders to go forward with elections even if they are flawed.

Voter registration is the most urgent and contentious issue facing the Electoral Commission. Some Somalilanders believed voter registration should precede the municipal elections. Others argue that this is impossible in a society with such a high percentage of nomads, and instead contend that registration and voting should take place at the same time. The latest information suggests that Somaliland will try to have a separate voter registration process. Local Somalilanders will screen persons who register to vote in order to verify eligibility. The issue of Somaliland citizenship is not, however, entirely clear. The voter registration system does not ensure that ethnic Somalis from neighboring Somalia, Ethiopia, and Djibouti will not participate in the election.

Somaliland has borrowed an electoral model that uses municipal elections to determine which parties may participate in the national elections. According to the constitution, only the three political organizations that receive the most votes and at least 20 percent of the vote in the municipal elections will be able to register as political parties and participate in the presidential elections. At last count, there were nine largely clan-based political organizations. Somaliland wants to limit the number of parties in order to encourage nationalism rather than clan-based factionalism. There is a concern, however, that the municipal elections will not result in three political organizations meeting the criteria for participating in the national elections. In fact, it is possible that only one organization would qualify. This would pose a real dilemma and damage Somaliland's hopes for international recognition.

A technically well-managed, free, and fair election at both the municipal and national level will strengthen Somaliland's argument for recognition. Most observers will be willing to overlook relatively minor glitches. Seriously flawed elections, on the other hand, will be a setback to Somaliland's efforts to win international recognition.

The Problem of Puntland

An issue that has a direct bearing on Somaliland's ability to attract international recognition is neighboring Puntland's claim to most of Sool and Sanaag Regions, a claim that Somaliland rejects. In 1998, the Harti leaders of northern Somalia and eastern Somaliland declared Puntland an autonomous republic within a federal Somalia. Unlike the leaders in Somaliland, they decided not to opt for independence and oppose the independence of Somaliland. Puntland's boundaries correspond to those areas where the Harti, a subgroup of the larger Darod clan, reside. The Majerteen, a subset of the Harti, predominate in that part of Puntland known as northern Somalia, which borders Somaliland. Two additional Harti subsets, the Warsangeli and the Dulbahante, reside inside that part of Somaliland claimed by Puntland. The Warsangeli predominate in the eastern part of Sanaag Region while the Dulbahante predominate in Sool Region. Two Harti leaders that come from different subgroups-Abdullahi Yusuf and Jama Ali Jama-have been competing for power in Puntland. Abdullahi Yusuf achieved a military victory over Jama Ali Jama earlier this year and established a new regional government. Clan reconciliation has not yet occurred, however, in Puntland.

Sool and Sanaag were part of British Somaliland when it became independent in 1960. Puntland's claim to most of the two regions, based on clan ties, complicates the issue even though there are differences of opinion among the Harti themselves. The fact that voters in Sanaag, and especially Sool, were decidedly less supportive of Somaliland's 2001 referendum on the constitution and independence is explained by this clan situation. It is generally agreed that about half of the residents of Sanaag and a higher proportion in Sool have sympathies with Puntland. Both Puntland and Somaliland authorities are trying to increase their support in the two regions. One country that might be in a position to help resolve differences between Somaliland and Puntland is Ethiopia. It has good relations with Somaliland and Abdullahi Yusuf (but not Jama Ali Jama) in Puntland. In fact, Ethiopia has given military support to Abdullahi Yusuf. Ethiopian Dulbahante live across the border from Sool Region and are part of the same clan structure. So far, Ethiopia has chosen not to help resolve differences between Puntland and Somaliland. A resolution of the dispute with Puntland would enhance Somaliland's case for international recognition.

Somaliland and the Rest of the World

Three countries-Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Saudi Arabia-loom especially large in Somaliland's ability to survive politically and economically. Somalia also plays a critical role in spite of the fact that it does not recognize Somaliland or have a widely accepted government of its own. Egypt and Yemen have traditionally had a special interest in Somaliland. The African Union, Arab League, and United Nations are also important actors if only because they have accepted the credentials of the TNG as the legal representative of the Somali entity. Specialized agencies of the United Nations, the European Union, and to a lesser extent the United States provide important, albeit limited humanitarian and development assistance.

Somaliland's longest border is with Ethiopia, and ethnic Somali nomads on both sides of the border regularly cross it seeking seasonal pasturage. Landlocked Ethiopia has so far made minimal use of Somaliland's port of Berbera, even after ports in Eritrea became off limits. This could well change. In fact, an Ethiopian delegation visited Berbera in September 2002 to discuss with Somaliland the expansion of the port and improvement of roads between Berbera and southeast Ethiopia. For the first time ever, Ethiopian Airlines has established regular service between Addis Ababa and Hargeisa. Ethiopia and Somaliland have also opened liaison offices in their respective capitals. Somaliland sees Ethiopia as an ally in its quest for support and recognition. Although probably sympathetically inclined, Ethiopia is unwilling to be the first to recognize Somaliland. Somalia would immediately attribute nefarious motives to Ethiopian recognition of Somaliland, arguing that it wishes to balkanize Somalia and weaken Somali unity.

Djibouti borders Somaliland to the north. There are important clan ties between Somalilanders and the some 60 percent of the Djiboutian population that is Somali. Relations between Somaliland and Djibouti are correct but not warm. Somaliland resents Djibouti's initiative in helping to create the TNG in Somalia and is not comfortable with the current Djiboutian leadership. Djibouti continues to have a complex set of financial and commercial links with the TNG. Its commitment to the preservation of Somali unity suggests that it wants to prevent the emergence of a viable and independent Somaliland. Even with the current tension in the relationship, there is considerable informal trade between the two countries and, because taxes are lower in Somaliland, many Djiboutians buy goods there. Somaliland officials argue that Djibouti needs Somaliland more than Somaliland needs Djibouti. They also suspect that Djibouti fears competition from the port of Berbera once it is fully rehabilitated. But with so few ships now using the port, there is little incentive to rehabilitate it.

Saudi Arabia poses a huge dilemma for Somaliland. A major financial backer of the TNG and supporter within the Arab League, Saudi Arabia was traditionally the major importer of Somaliland livestock. For the better part of the last five years, Saudi Arabia has banned livestock from Somaliland on the grounds that it might be infected with Rift Valley Fever. Somaliland denies the charges and there does not appear to be any current scientific evidence to support the claim. Recent investigations by the Food and Agricultural Organization and World Health Organization found no evidence of Rift Valley Fever in Somaliland. Several Gulf States that import small quantities of Somaliland livestock have lifted the ban. Some observers suspect that the ban is linked to Saudi business interests involved in the importation of livestock from other countries. In the meantime, the Saudi ban is doing grievous harm to the Somaliland economy. The ban has hit nearly every kind of employment in the country-pastoralists, truck drivers, livestock traders, animal health staff, brokers, port employees and private business people. The impact is especially great in the port of Berbera. The town is not prosperous, and the large international airport, built during the Soviet interlude in Somalia, is effectively shut down. Berbera is lucky to have one or two ships in the harbor on any given day. The problem is aggravated because the government of Somaliland does not have any access to the Saudi royal family and has been unable to make its case directly to the Saudi government. Governments with close ties to Saudi Arabia, including the United States, appear to have little interest in making Somaliland's case.

Yemen, located across the Gulf of Aden from Somaliland, has a long history of links to Somaliland and has served periodically as a refuge for Somalis fleeing unrest. Somaliland was improving relations with Yemen until the Arta process in Djibouti stopped the initiative. Yemen subsequently accepted the Arab League position on the recognition of the TNG in Mogadishu, and relations with Somaliland soured.

Egypt has maintained an interest in the Somali coast dating back several centuries. In more recent years, Egypt has been a supporter of Somali unity and a strong Somali state that can serve as a counterweight to Ethiopia. Eighty-six percent of the water reaching the Aswan Dam in Egypt emanates from Ethiopia. The Nile River is, of course, Egypt's lifeline, and the leadership in Cairo wants to maintain maximum leverage over Ethiopia. A unified Somalia that might one day reassert its claims to Somali-inhabited areas of Ethiopia and that has close links to Egypt would add to this leverage. Consequently, Egypt supports the Arta process, opposes an independent Somaliland, and is one of the five countries to extend recognition to the TNG. An Egyptian envoy visited Hargeisa in October 2002, congratulated Somaliland for the success it has achieved, and then urged it to participate in talks in Kenya on Somali unity with groups from Somalia. The Somaliland president rejected any thought of participating in the Kenyan-sponsored talks and reminded the Egyptian envoy that Egypt was one of the countries that recognized Somaliland's first independence on June 26, 1960.

Somaliland officials have a low opinion of the African Union, which was quick to recognize the TNG and has shown no interest in Somaliland's declaration of independence. One opposition political party leader in Somaliland commented recently that the African Union has been pressing Somaliland to participate in the unity talks in Kenya, while refusing to even send a delegation to Hargeisa. Somaliland's attitude is equally dismissive toward the Arab League, another organization that recognizes the TNG. It welcomes the assistance it receives from specialized agencies of the United Nations such as UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the World Food Program. On the other hand, Somaliland has a bad memory of the UN Mission to Somalia (UNOSOM) in the mid-1990s. UNOSOM spent hundreds of millions of dollars in Somalia to end a famine and engage in nation building, but took virtually no interest in Somaliland. Authorities in Hargeisa are also deeply disappointed that the UN political structure supported the Arta process and that the UN General Assembly voted to allow the TNG to occupy Somalia's seat in the UN.

Bilateral donors have not been very forthcoming in providing assistance to Somaliland. Some probably shy away for fear that provision of assistance connotes diplomatic recognition. The European Union has been the most helpful over the past decade. U.S. development assistance to all of Somalia totals only about $2.5 million annually, although most of that now goes to Somaliland because it is the only safe and stable part of the country. Somaliland would be an excellent choice for increased U.S. development assistance.

Some Matters Needing Attention

It is not surprising that Somaliland faces many obstacles. No country recognizes it, and as a result, foreign assistance is modest. The annual budget of the country is only about $20 million. Somaliland entered its second independence in 1991 with a militia of some 40,000 men that it began to reduce to less than 10,000. An estimated 50 to 70 percent of the Somaliland budget goes to the military, primarily to pay salaries. Some payments go to soldiers who do not exist or are no longer in uniform. Corruption is pervasive, although the amounts involved appear to be modest and its record may well be better than is the case in most developing countries.

Although Somaliland declared HIV an epidemic in 1998, it is not paying sufficient attention to the problem. UNICEF conducted a useful HIV/AIDS behavioral survey in 1999, but there is still no UNAIDS presence in either Somalia or Somaliland. Somaliland's National HIV/AIDS Coordination Body held its first meeting in 2002. The civil war destroyed the health service delivery system, which is only slowly reviving with assistance from international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), agencies of the United Nations, and private clinics. There is a severe shortage of skilled health workers, and except for efforts to raise awareness, little is being done. Testing is almost nonexistent. Blood donors found to be HIV positive are not informed of their status because there is no counseling service. The stigma of HIV/AIDS is huge. Neighboring Djibouti has an adult prevalence rate of at least 12 percent and neighboring Ethiopia a rate of somewhere between 7 and 18 percent, although the rate is lower in the Ogaden, the rural Somali Region that borders Somaliland.

It is generally believed that the prevalence rate in Somaliland is relatively low. The 1999 UNICEF study, drawing on anecdotal information, concluded that the prevalence rate for the general population is about one percent. At the same time, the study noted that young people are sexually very active, and condom use generally is very low. Knowledge about the way that HIV/AIDS is transmitted is also low. UNICEF believed that infection rates were increasing. Those who follow the subject suggest that the prevalence rate today is about four percent. If Somaliland, aided by international organizations, bilateral donors, and NGOs, were to wage a major campaign now against HIV/AIDS, it might actually be possible to prevent the catastrophic situations that confront its neighbors. This is an area where Somaliland should seize the initiative and request international assistance and a UNAIDS presence.

Another serious and growing problem in Somaliland is the habitual use of khat. The green leaves of khat, which are chewed during lengthy sessions, contain cathinone, an active brain stimulant that acts much like amphetamine. Khat ingestion results in decreased appetite, euphoria and hyper alertness. Chronic use of khat often produces sleeplessness, nervousness, impotence, loss of appetite, constipation and nightmares. When you ask Somalilanders what percent of the population regularly used khat at the time of independence in 1960, the responses vary between one and five percent. A Somalilander who recently researched this issue estimated that five percent of women and 75 percent of men now use it on an almost daily basis.

The average daily cost of a khat session is $5, a huge amount for most Somalilanders. It is having a severely negative impact on family life as the men ignore or even abuse their families. Prolonged lack of food, associated with khat use, causes malnutrition and increased susceptibility to infectious diseases such as TB, hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. It impacts significantly economic productivity of the workforce and removes from the economy scarce capital that could be used for productive purposes. There is no organized effort in Somaliland to combat this scourge. Interestingly, a Web site for the Somaliland diaspora, www.somalilandforum.com, recently had a lead item that rails against the use of khat. There are also stirrings in Hargeisa that suggest there is real concern about the use of khat. In late September 2002, President Kahin issued a directive that limits the number of daily khat flights from Kenya and Ethiopia to no more than 50, which is down from about 150. He also ordered that khat no longer be imported by surface across land borders. It remains to be seen if this order can or will be enforced.

Traditionally a pastoral society where camels were the prestigious form of wealth, Somaliland is facing growing urbanization, especially in Hargeisa, and perhaps a new way of life for most of its inhabitants. Although this may be unavoidable, it will certainly be disruptive. Frequent drought and civil war have changed the situation. Somalilanders in rural areas are fencing off traditional pasturage for agricultural crops so that herders find it more difficult to raise their animals. Deforestation is a growing problem as Somalilanders cut down what few trees and shrubs remain in order to make charcoal, the main cooking fuel. It won't take long for Somaliland to be denuded of trees. The combination of these developments raises serious questions about the ability of Somalilanders to continue their pastoral existence, especially as famine now threatens following this year's drought.

A Preoccupation with Recognition

Somalilanders remain almost obsessed with the question of recognition or, more correctly, non-recognition. It is hard to blame them when one considers that the United Nations, Organization of African Unity (now African Union) and Arab League were quick to accept the TNG, which claims to represent Somaliland but controls little more than North Mogadishu. Lack of recognition makes it exceedingly difficult to attract foreign assistance and prohibits membership in such important organizations as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Somaliland officials have mastered all the arguments and precedents for recognition. They cite East Timor, Western Sahara, the breakup of Yugoslavia, etc. Interestingly, they do not mention the case of Eritrea. This may be due to the fact that Eritrea has recognized the TNG. The government published in 2001 a booklet, entitled Somaliland: Demand for International Recognition to make its case.

A senior member of Somaliland's Parliament explained that Somalilanders were never enthusiastic about Greater Somalia or the goal of the original Somali Republic to unify Somalis living in British Somaliland, Italian Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia's Ogaden and Haud Reserved Area and Kenya's Northeastern Frontier District. He said this was a concept that had far more resonance to the south. He argued that Somaliland had and still has stronger ties to Somalis living in neighboring Ethiopia and Djibouti than to those in former Italian Somalia. The official insisted that Somaliland's experience with the Siad Barre government convinced Somalilanders that they do not want to join with Somalia. He concluded that Somaliland sees no benefits deriving from union with Somalia and asked rhetorically, "Can you give one reason why it is in the interest of Somaliland to join Somalia?"

The problem Somaliland faces is convincing the rest of the world, and especially the members of the African Union, that its case is special and deserves support. The Organization of African Unity and its successor, the African Union, strongly support the concept of respecting national borders that prevailed at independence. Article 4 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union signed on June 12, 2000, in Lome, Togo states that the Union shall function in accordance with the following principle: "respect of borders existing on achievement of independence." But a strict interpretation of this provision actually provides Somaliland with the legal sanction that it seeks. Presumably, the African Union is reluctant to recognize Somaliland for fear that it would increase pressure by other groups in Africa to support changes in borders inherited at independence. The fact that Somaliland does not fit in the same category seems to be of little importance.

The former British Somaliland became independent on June 26, 1960, within the borders that it now claims as an independent state. Thirty-five states recognized Somaliland. U.S. Secretary of State, Christian Herter, sent a congratulatory message, and the United Kingdom signed several bilateral agreements with Somaliland in Hargeisa on June 26, 1960. Five days later Somaliland opted for the sake of Somali unity to join with the former Italian Somalia, which became independent on July 1, 1960, to form the Somali Republic. Technically, therefore, Somaliland complies with Article 4 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union.

It is up to the Assembly of the African Union, however, to consider requests for membership, and it is here that Somaliland has had no success. Somaliland would be well advised to focus its efforts on convincing several key African countries to support it within the African Union. Important countries like South Africa, Algeria and Senegal, if convinced of the merits of Somaliland's case, could make an enormous difference. There is always the option that an independent Somaliland could propose unification at a later date with a Somalia that finally achieves its own peace and unity. At the same time, Somaliland needs to continue to work to improve or solve the problems discussed above, especially the issue of competing claims by Puntland for Sool and Sanaag Regions.

The government of Somaliland needs to take a more assertive position, especially before the African Union and its individual members, on the question of international recognition. Currently, the rest of Somalia remains a failed state. There is no indication that peace and stability will return anytime soon. It is unreasonable to expect peaceful Somaliland to join willingly with Somalia, which is not at peace. For their part, international organizations and donor countries should provide more assistance to Somaliland. Disputing factions in Somalia might even learn from the Somaliland example that they, too, could benefit by achieving peace and stability. Finally, the United States needs to take Somaliland more seriously. Let the Africans be the first to offer diplomatic recognition. But the United States could open a small liaison office for the purpose of monitoring a larger development program and political progress in this strategically important part of the Horn of Africa. This would not constitute diplomatic recognition, but would signal support for a little Islamic country in Africa that has shown it "could".

Note on Author: David Shinn was desk officer for Somalia at the U.S. Department of State from 1969-71; deputy director of the Somalia Task Force in the State Department in 1992-1993; State Department coordinator for Somalia in 1993; director of East African Affairs (including Somalia) from 1993-96 and U.S. Ambassador to neighboring Ethiopia from 1996-99. He is now an adjunct professor of the practice of international affairs in the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, November 28, 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 28 Nov 02

Somaliland leader Kahin invited by Senegalese president

President Dahir Riyale Kahin has received an official invitation from the president of Senegal, Abdullahi Wade, at the end of the month of Ramadan. The invitation was conveyed to the president by the adviser of the Senegalese president name indistinct who arrived in Somaliland today. The adviser was received by the president at the state house and discussed for an hour the need to improve relations between the two countries. The invitation follows a message sent by the president in the past to Senegal on the relations between Somaliland and West African states...

FSAU November 2002

Monthly Food Security Report

Implications of Restrictions imposed by Ethiopia on Cross Border Trade with Somalia : In early October, Ethiopian authorities closed its border with Somalia, reportedly to reduce smuggling of untaxed foods and improve revenue collection. The Ethiopian government has imposed heavy taxes on goods coming in and going out of the country. Traders and business people involved in the cross border trade are required to have an import/export license and register their trade, often a tedious process. Accordingly, Ethiopia has established several checkpoints along the border and prevented the movement of goods and services entering and leaving Ethiopia without formal documentation and taxation. Both food and non-food commodities have been affected. For implications for Somalia's food security.
FOOD AID DISTRIBUTION
Context

Somalia shares a very long border with Ethiopia. Over the years, especially since the regimes in Ethiopia and Somalia changed in the early 1990s, there has been an active flow of people, animals and goods between the two countries, much of it unregistered and unofficial. Moreover, the establishment of the Somali refugee camps just inside Ethiopia's Zone V (Somali Region), like Harta Sheik, Daroor, Dulad, Bali Yarey, Dharwanaaje, and Awbarre, created more demand for products from north west Somalia and enhanced cross-border trade between the two countries. Somali traders import food and non-food commodities from the Persian Gulf States and have built warehouses at border crossing points, such as Awbarre, Togwajaale, Buhodle. Ethiopian traders, on the other hand, supply mainly food items, including coarse grains (maize, wheat, sorghum), potatoes, assorted vegetables, and milk as well as khat and charcoal. This cross border trade created livelihood sources through trade and employment for the population of the two countries, especially those along the border. Pastoralist, agropastoralist and urbanites are the main food economy groups that have benefited most from this trade, directly and indirectly. Food availability and accessibility has been good for many years, thanks to this Somalia/Ethiopia border trade.
What is happening

In early October, Ethiopian authorities closed its border with Somalia, reportedly to reduce smuggling of untaxed foods and improve revenue collection. The Ethiopian government has imposed heavy taxes on goods coming in and going out of the country. Traders and business people involved in the cross border trade are required to have an import/export license and register their trade, often a tedious process. Accordingly, Ethiopia has established several checkpoints along the border and prevented the movement of goods and services entering and leaving Ethiopia without formal documentation and taxation. Both food and non-food commodities have been affected.
Implications

Generally, the restriction of trade has greatly reduced the availability inside Ethiopia of a wide range of food and non-food items, including staple foods. Consequently, the effect of the restriction is felt inside Ethiopia more than in north west Somalia in the short run. Within north west Somalia, however, availability and accessibility of certain commodities has fallen significantly. For instance, milk availability decreased in urban areas of Hargeisa, Gabiley and Borama due to export restrictions on the Ethiopian side. Milk prices therefore increased about 35% between September and October. Coarse grain prices of sorghum, maize and wheat also increased about 30% during the similar period. In addition, prices of pulses increased about 14%. Ironically, most of the cowpeas, mung beans, sorghum and some maize comes from Southern Somalia across Ethiopia. Somali traders are now forced to use the longer route via Galkayo to Burao to Hargeisa. Prices of all these staple commodities are expected to increase further as higher transportation costs are transferred to consumers. Prices of different commodities imported from the Persian Gulf states, such as rice, sugar, spaghetti, edible oil and non-food items, however, remain same throughout Somaliland. Trade of khat, a growing economic sector, was not affected by the restriction of trade flows.
Conclusion

The current restriction of trade flow between the two countries will undermine employment and income-earning options along the border. In turn, this will weaken the purchasing power of large number of people in north west Somalia. The most affected population categories are those from urban and agropastoral food economy groups, which used to benefit from the informal cross border trade, directly and indirectly. Poor and middle wealth groups among those food economy groups will be the worst affected in the short-term. This unexpected restriction of trade flow will be another blow to the already fragile economy of north west Somalia, which has been affected by the livestock trade ban. Close monitoring of price changes and changes to livelihoods and food access will therefore be needed.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring November 27, 2002/Source: Xog-Ogaal web site, Mogadishu, in Somali 26 Nov 02

Somaliland authorities turn back Italian envoy from Hargeysa Airport

An Italian diplomat sent by the Italian envoy to Somalia was ordered to leave Hargeysa Airport yesterday. The diplomat, representing the Italian ambassador to Somalia, was to hold talks with high-ranking officials of Somaliland. A statement released by the presidency of the self-declared state of Somaliland explained why the diplomat was returned. Abdi Idris Du'ale, who is the spokesman of Somaliland, bitterly complained the Italian representative appeared not to understand them and was seeking talks with them on something that was illogical and which they had discussed on several occasions. "Is the Italian ambassador to Somalia, Carlo Ungaro, not differentiating between Somalia and Somaliland," said Abdi Idris said. He added: The Italian ambassador still has hopes of talking to us over the Somali peace talks in Eldoret western Kenya , which we have already said we will not attend and has nothing to do with us...
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, November 26, 2002/Source: UN Integrated Regional Information Network, Nairobi, in English 25 Nov 02

Somalia: Tension reportedly rising in disputed regions of Sool, Sanaag

Nairobi, 25 November: Tension is rising in Sool and Sanaag regions northeastern Somalia of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, to which both Somaliland and the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland have laid claim, a local journalist told IRIN on Monday.

Tension has been rising in the area since Somaliland elders came to the Sool regional capital, Laas Caanood, he said. The elders were in Laas Caanood to reconcile two feuding clans in the area. The two regions fall geographically within the borders of pre-independence British Somaliland, but most of the main clans inhabiting them are associated with Puntland. These are the Warsangeli and the Dhulbahante, which, along with Majerteen - the main clan in Puntland - form the Harti clan of the Darood.

At extraordinary cabinet meeting on 23 November, called by Puntland leader Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf, it was decided to send a high level delegation to the two regions, Abdishakur Mire Adan, the Puntland deputy information minister and main owner of Boosaaso-based Radio Midnimo , told IRIN, on Monday. Yusuf, who was attending the Somali reconciliation conference currently under way in Eldoret, Kenya, left for Puntland on 21 November.

Abdishakur said it was normal for a Puntland government delegation to visit the area "since both regions are part and parcel of Puntland. I don't see any reason why Puntland officials visiting Sool and Sanaag should cause any tension with anybody. The people in these regions consider themselves as part of Puntland."

Other sources in Puntland, however, told IRIN that the authorities in Puntland were sending the delegation "in order to counter a perceived shift by some area elders to the Somaliland side". "There are fears that some prominent elders, particularly in Sool, are trying to shift the balance in favour of Somaliland," they said.

Abdishakur denied any mobilization of troops by the Puntland authorities in the area. "There is no reason for any mobilization on our part," he said.

Abdishakur also told IRIN that the Puntland cabinet, which is currently based in Boosaaso, the region's commercial capital, would relocate to Garoowe, the administrative capital. The Puntland administration of Col Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad has been operating from Boosaaso ever since he captured the town from his rival, Jama Ali Jama, in May.


Africa News, November 25, 2002/BYLINE: UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

Somalia; Tension Rising in Disputed Northern Regions

Tension is rising in Sool and Sanaag regions of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, to which both Somaliland and the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland have laid claim, a local journalist told IRIN on Monday.

Tension has been rising in the area since Somaliland elders came to the Sool regional capital, Las Anood, he said. The elders were in Las Anood to reconcile two feuding clans in the area. The two regions fall geographically within the borders of pre-independence British Somaliland, but most of the main clans inhabiting them are associated with Puntland. These are the Warsangeli and the Dhulbahante, which, along with Majerteen - the main clan in Puntland - form the Harti clan of the Darood.

At extraordinary cabinet meeting on 23 November, called by Puntland leader Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf, it was decided to send a high level delegation to the two regions, Abdishakuur Mire Adan, the Puntland deputy information minister, told IRIN, on Monday. Yusuf, who was attending the Somali reconciliation conference currently underway in Eldoret, Kenya, left for Puntland on 21 November.

Abdishakuur said it was normal for a Puntland government delegation to visit the area "since both regions are part and parcel of Puntland. I don't see any reason why Puntland officials visiting Sool and Sanag should cause any tension with anybody. The people in these regions consider themselves as part of Puntland."

Othe sources in Puntland, however, told IRIN that the authorities in Puntland were sending the delegation "in order to counter a perceived shift by some area elders to the Somaliland side". "There are fears that some prominent elders, particularly in Sool, are trying to shift the balance in favour of Somaliland," they said.

Abdishakur denied any mobilisation of troops by the Puntland authorities in the area. "There is no reason for any mobilisation on our part," he said.

Abdishakur also told IRIN that the Puntland cabinet, which is currently based in the Bosaso, the region's commercial capital, would relocate to Garowe, the administrative capital. The Puntland administration of Col Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad has been operating from Bosaso ever since he captured the town from his rival, Jama Ali Jama, in May.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring November 24, 2002/Source: Holy Koran Radio, Mogadishu, in Somali 1700 gmt 23 Nov 02

Somalia: Puntland leader to visit disputed Sool, Sanaag regions

Puntland leader Col Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad today disclosed that he will soon visit the disputed Sool and Sanaag regions northern Somalia . The two regions are disputed by Puntland and the self-declared republic of Somaliland.

While speaking to our reporter in Boosaaso main commercial city in Puntland , Muhammad Sa'id Kashawito, Col Abdullahi Yusuf said his visit to the two regions would not cause insecurity. He denied that during his visit he would lead armed militiamen to the regions. He said Sool and Sanaag are under Puntland and there is no need for any dispute over these two regions.

When asked whether the two regions are under Somaliland or Puntland, Col Abdullahi Yusuf said that the area residents can answer that.

Col Abdullahi Yusuf stressed that his administration was ready to discuss with the self-declared republic of Somaliland the fate of the two disputed regions. However, he said, he believed that if the residents of the two regions were asked to give their views they would obviously go for Puntland

When asked whether he would go back to Eldoret venue of the Somali peace talks in Kenya which he left recently, he said: I will go back to back to the Somali reconciliation talks in Eldoret, Kenya, if I finish doing what I came to do in Puntland. I am optimistic that the talks will have a positive outcome.

He appealed to the Somali people to support the reconciliation talks, adding that the Somali people are now realizing that they need a broad-based government.

This is the first statement Col Abdullahi Yusuf has given to members of the media since he left Eldoret on 21 November. He called for compromise and understanding between the different Somali factions.

Col Abdullahi Yusuf is a staunch supporter of the view that conference delegates be apportioned on clan lines. This is what the regional body, IGAD Inter-Governmental Authority on Development , which is overseeing the talks, has also proposed.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, November 20, 2002/Source: Radio HornAfrik, Mogadishu, in Somali 0500 gmt 20 Nov 02

Somaliland: UK sponsored livestock college opens

A college that will enrol students interested in animal health education was yesterday opened in Sheekh, Toghdeer Region. Abdinur Muhammad Katheye has more details: Reporter Construction of the college was funded by the British Foreign Office's foreign aid department. Foreign teachers, especially from Britain, will teach at the college. The college is a twin institution of a British-based college of livestock studies and will play a significant role in producing animal health specialists.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, November 20, 2002,Source: HornAfrik Online text web site, Mogadishu, in Somali 19 Nov 02

Somalia: Disputed region reportedly hands over some 400 troops to Somaliland

The administration in Sool Region northern Somalia, disputed region between Somaliland and Puntland has handed over technicals battle wagons and troops to the self-proclaimed state of Somaliland.

Sool regional administration officials handed over more than 10 technicals and 400 troops to Somaliland. These were previously among the forces of the regional administration of Puntland.

Clan elders in Sool Region, led by Garad Muhammad Garad Abdiqani and Garad Farah Garad Shirwa, said the region is now under Somaliland and not Puntland.

Other districts in Sool Region with police stations, prisons and administrative offices have also been handed over to Somaliland. This has happened at a time when there are conflicts between Somaliland and Puntland.

A delegation from Col Abdullahi Yusuf's administration of Puntland was denied a visit to Laas Caanood HQ of Sool Region recently when Somaliland deployed its forces on the borders of Sanaag and Sool regions. Puntland is reportedly also planning to deploy its troops.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring November 19, 2002/Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 18 Nov 02

Pro-Somaliland administration bars Puntland officials from disputed town

There are renewed fears of tension between Somaliland and Puntland, which have been locked in a dispute over the control of Sool and Sanaag regions, following the decision by a pro-Somaliland administration in charge of Laas Caanood Sool regional HQ to bar a delegation from Puntland to enter the town. The Puntland delegation which is now in Garoowe Puntland administrative HQ, about 130km east of Laas Caanood was told not to set foot in Laas Caanood because the town was not under the Puntland administration. Although supporters of both administrations are found in the two regions, it now appears Somaliland supporters would be victorious if they are able to keep out the Puntland delegation. Reports say the Somaliland administration has deployed troops 40 km west of Laas Caanood on the route to Garoowe to stop any Puntland delegation accompanied by soldiers to enter Laas Caanood.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, November 19, 2002/ Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 18 Nov 02

Somaliland president appoints new assistant minister

The president of Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin, today exercised his constitutional right of appointment as per section 90, part two, of the Somaliland constitution. Taking into account the importance of the Internal Affair's Ministry to the society and in nation building, the president appointed Ahmad Jambir Kahin as the assistant minister for internal affairs of Somaliland. Prior to the appointment, president Kahin held consultations with clan elders and intellectuals.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, November 16, 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 15 Nov 02

Somaliland: Opposition Birsol party merges with ruling party in Toghdeer Region

Reports received from our reporter in Toghdeer Region, Yusuf Ibrahim Elkacase, say the Birsol party in Toghdeer Region has merged with the ruling party, Udub, in Burco. The reports add that a function to welcome the merger was held at the Udub HQ in Burco. The chairman of Birsol party in Toghdeer Region said one of the reasons that made them merge with Udub was because Birsol Hargeysa had merged with the opposition party, Hormud, without consulting them, and so they in turn merged with Udub.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, November 14, 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 14 Nov 02

Somaliland: Army hands over 2,381 explosives to Danish company for destruction

Some 2,381 explosives consisting mainly of land mines have been handed over by the Somaliland national army to the international demining agency DDG Danish Demining Group, which operates in Somaliland. A function marking the occasion has been held at the HQ of the 31 regiment of the national armed forces. The commander of the Somaliland armed forces, Abdisamad Haji Abdullahi, said the move was in line with the stipulation of the Ottawa Convention which imposes a global ban on anti-personnel land mines. Abdullahi added that he had handed over the ordnance to the DDG for destruction on behalf of the vice-president and minister of defence. The head of operations of the DDG and his deputy hailed the government and the defence forces for the crucial step taken. The explosives will be destroyed on Sunday 17 November.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, November 13, 2002/Source: Somaliland Net web site in Somali 12 Nov 02

Somaliland: Ruling party merges with opposition party

Ruling Udub and Ileyska parties have submitted evidence about their merger. The merger follows series of meetings concluded by the parties yesterday. It was announced that a technical committee will finalize the merger between the two parties. The two secretaries of the parties, Usman Garad and Ahmad Hashi, signed the agreement between the parties. The two parties urged members to continue with operations as one party.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, November 12, 2002/ Source: Xog-Ogaal, Mogadishu, in Somali 12 Nov 02

Somaliland president reportedly receives Sudanese envoys

A meeting has been held in Hargeysa Somaliland between the president of Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin, and a Sudanese delegation. The delegation which was sent by the president of Sudan, Umar Hasan al-Bashir, who is the current chairman of IGAD Inter-Governmental Authority on Development delivered a written message to Dahir Riyale Kahin. The message was not disclosed but reliable sources say the letter asked Somaliland leaders to take part in the on-going Somali peace talks in Nairobi, Kenya.
Somaliland Times, Issue 42, Nov. 9, 2002

Editorial: Intra-Party Democracy

To qualify for contesting in the forthcoming municipal elections, Somaliland's political organizations were supposed to submit their candidates by Oct. 31st. As the deadline drew nearer, political parties rushed through the names of their candidates in the last minute. It appears now that the leaders of the political organizations have, actually handpicked most of the candidates submitted.

Because of this undemocratic process, the electorate will be faced with a list of candidates the majority of whom are grossly under-qualified to become members of local councils. Political parties also seem to have shunned democratic practices for the selection of their candidates for the national elections scheduled for next January. Most of the presidential candidates at this level, have actually been elected unopposed.

It exposes once again the weakness of our organizations as democratic institutions, and the strong personality-cult still preventing democracy from taking root within them. In fact the lack of intra-party democracy is likely to wreak havoc within political organizations as evidenced by the current bitter in-fighting within UDUB.

Certainly, Somaliland's political organizations deserve praise for accepting to meet the gigantic challenge of preparing themselves for the forthcoming elections within a very short period of time. Given that this is the nation's first free election since 1969, the parties are just doing fine.

But it is necessary that political organizations bear in mind that they have still lots of organizational shortcomings to address in the times ahead.


Somaliland Times, Issue 42, Nov. 9, 2002

Somalilanders Attend NEPAD Awareners Meeting At Los Angeles

By Hassan Mogeh Hirsi
Los Angeles, CA USA

The South African Consulate-General in Los Angeles, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) African Studies, West Los Angeles College Pace program, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Congresswoman Diane Watson and Constituency for Africa have presented a series of discussion panels on NEPAD. The South African Government has lunched these panels to promote NEPAD program in pursuit of the successful implementation of the program and increase awareness among the African American communities and businesses.

First such panel was held on Thursday, October 24, 2002 at the Milken Institute in Santa Monica from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Saeed Maygag Samater and I attended this panel discussion as individual Somalilanders. The discussion and program were very informative. Moderated by Dr. James Barth of the Milken Institute, the participants and their topics were as follows:

1. Dr. Glaudine Mtshali, the South African Consul-General in Los Angeles, who introduced s. Sisulu, The South Africa's Ambassador to the United States of America. Ambassador Sheila Violet Makate Sisulu, with brief words of welcome and introduction

2. Prof. Jim Barth, a Senior Financial Fellow at the Milken Institute, Moderator of this panel gave brief comments on Africa and its strategic perception to the USA.

3. Lindiwe Hendricks, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of South Africa, spoke on the issues related to the topics of NEPAD, the reason and role of this new program for Africa, by Africans. She outlined the problems Africans are facing now and why NEPAD must work should its guidelines are adopted.

4. Dr. Cherif Salif Sy (Senegalese Deputy Minister), CEO of the NEPAD Steering Committee. He spoke in French language in regard to the topics related to a new partnership to unlock business opportunities in Africa's emerging economies.

5. Dynamic, Congresswoman, Rep. Maxine Waters who spoke about topics related to politics about the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the New Partnership For Africa's Development - NEPAD.

6. Jeffrey Katz, Senior Economist and Manager; Partnerships and External Affairs Group for the Africa Region of the World Bank. He spoke about topics related to infrastructure development as of a cornerstone of economic development and the role of the World bank

7.Dr. Konju Sebati, A South African sister, a medical director for International Philanthropy of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Inc. She spoke about mainly successes, challenges and opportunities for corporate America in Africa.

8. Richard McCormick, Executive Director of International Operations of SBC Communications in San Antonio, Texas. He spoke about SBC's success in South Africa and how they achieved. He discussed what is needed from African countries to attract International Corporations. He outlined in detail all investment criteria.

9. Dr. Glaudine Mtshali, the Consul-General of the Republic of South Africa in Los Angeles, who spoke about the Dynamics of HIV/AIDS, Health and Economic Development.

Once the discussion was over we intermingled with the participants and tried our best to meet all the panel discussers. Among the audiences were the Swaziland Ambassador to the USA and the Ethiopian Consul-General of Los Angeles. Both I and Saeed met most of the panelist and discussed with them Somaliland's current issues. Since most of the panelists were from South Africa they had enough information. We got the opportunity to meet Ambassador Sisulu whom I have wrote number of e-mails before, and I chatted with her and the Swaziland Ambassador, Her Excellency, Ambassador Mary Kanya. Both Ambassadors were extremely polite, brilliant and highly intelligent.

On Saturday, October 26, 2002, a two-phased discussion panel was conducted, sponsored by the South African Consulate-General, Congresswoman Diane Watson, UCLA, WLAC Pace Program, and Constituency for Africa Presented in West Los Angeles College.

First phase was by invitation for business in a round table format. Saeed Maygag was among the speakers. The discussion started 9:00 AM and ended around noon. Again both I and Saeed Maygag did our best to network and increase the awareness of the participants of Somaliland issues. I got the opportunity to talk to the Minister from Senegal, Dr. Cherif Salif Sy. He was very receptive to my discussion and he promised me that he will contact me as soon as he gets back to Senegal. He was fully aware and understanding our reason of reclaiming our independence.

The Second phase was open to the public in a Townhall meeting format, and it was packed. The panel discussion started around 1:00 PM and ended 5:00 PM. Abiib Jama of San Diego Somaliland Community joined us in the Townhall Meeting Panel Discussion and Abdirahman A. Mohamed, the grandson of Abusite, a graduate student at UCLA was part of the organizers from UCLA. .Again, we put priority on meeting and networking with people and I believe we had succeeded beyond our expectation. We met many people who didn't know Somaliland ever existed, we met new groups that we need to keep in touch with, and we meet people from the media, in particular the morning panel moderator was from NBC local channel, and he gave us a chance to talk to him alone for a while. He asked for more information in regard to the Somaliland issue.

I can say our participation in this NEPAD discussion was very eye-opening and we understood that we, the Somalilanders, need to do more work in educating others about our situation. The Somaliland Government also needs to do better job in searching for recognition. We have been sitting on the sideline too long. It is time that all Somalilanders as one entity (The Somalilanders) join hands and demand our right to exist in this world. Anywhere on the globe, wherever we are, it is time to stand and demand our right. No more waiting while the world is entertaining Somalis.


Somaliland Times, Issue 42, Nov. 9, 2002/The East African Standard (Nairobi)

Aids Education Fails to Change Behaviour

HIV/AIDS education in schools in Sub-Saharan Africa has failed to effect behavior change despite high levels of knowledge among primary and secondary school pupils.

Researchers at the University of Sussex in Britain say there is little evidence to show that school-based HIV/AIDS education has had major impact on sexual behavior. The report of the study on the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on education sector in sub-Saharan Africa has criticized curriculum design and delivery of HIV/AIDS education.

"The issue is that lack of time, resources and training meant that curriculum based education as well as counseling and peer education were inadequate," says Nicola Swain son of the Center for International Education of the University of Sussex.

The study that was carried in Uganda, Malawi and Botswana argues that the poorly trained teachers were shy to teach sex education and others lacked commitment to teach topics in an already over-crowded and examination-driven curriculum.

Schools were found to offer little support for children affected by HIV/AIDS and there was insufficient guidance from education ministries and a lack of resources to carry out any support programmes. However, this is the case in most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa where most governments have been slow to respond to the teenage -AIDS crisis.

The study found that AIDS epidemic was on the increase among school children in Sub-Saharan Africa and will impact negatively on education in the region. "Economic and socio-cultural pressures that fuel unsafe sex among adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa remain as high as ever," says Paul Bennell, the team leader of the study. Consequently, the report noted there is growing concern about the risk of female pupils contracting HIV from teachers and other older men. The study concurred with earlier findings by UNAIDS that showed dramatic HIV/AIDS increase among girls aged 15-19 in most cities across Sub-Saharan Africa.

But the main worry is that despite the mounting concern about the vulnerability of pupils in contracting HIV/AIDS, there is limited information on how to make an assessment of the extent to which teenagers would change their sexual behavior in response to the AIDS threat, says the report. The situation is bleak as AIDS cases among students in Sub-Saharan Africa are expected to rise in the next decade. "Without appropriate levels of support school enrolment will drop considerably in the region," says Swain son, who was the co-coordinator of the internationally funded study. The researchers projected that if the current trend continued, by 2010 between 30-40 per cent pupils in Sub-Saharan Africa will be AIDS-orphans and drop out rate will be enormous.

And in an effort to combat the epidemic, the report recommended that schools should be made to become the focus of prevention of HIV/AIDS. Ministries of education were urged to develop a professional cadre of full-time sex and family life education teachers in both primary and secondary schools and that there should be regular time-tabled lessons for this subject for all children right from the start of the primary education cycle.

The report noted the emphasis should be combined with integration of sex education in the curriculum. "While HIV/AIDS education in schools should focus on sexual abstinence, the role of condoms in preventing infection cannot be ignored," said Bennell.


Somaliland Times, Issue 42, Nov. 9, 2002

Estranged Sec-Gen Sparks Power Struggle Within UDUB

Abdi Aw Dahir describes his replacement by the UDUB Executive Committee as an illegal move

Hargeisa: Dr. Abdi Aw Dahir, the controversial Secretary General of President Dahir Rayale's party UDUB- has vowed not to step down from his party post. Aw Dahir who was responding on Thursday to an UDUB executive committee decision removing him from his post as Secretary General of the organization, described the move as illegal and undemocratic.

" I was elected at a convention and hence can only be relieved of my position by a resolution taken by a general party meeting," Aw Dahir said. The dismissal of Aw Dahir was first disclosed in a statement released by the UDUB executive committee on Tuesday. The executive committee, through its member, Ismail Mire, attributed the cause of removal to what it called "his habitual violations of organizational ethics and procedural norms of behavior."

However, Abdi Aw Dahir responded to this accusation by describing the move as an attempt to punish him in connection with his announcement last Saturday that he will run on an UDUB ticket for president, in the presidential election to be held by next January. There is no doubt that the announcement has caught most people by surprise, especially as it came following a declaration by Abdi Aw Dahir himself, at an UDUB meeting held earlier this year, that President Dahir Rayale and Vice-president Ahmed Yassin were the party's only nominees to run for next presidential election.

Rayale, who also holds UDUB Chairmanship, has not reacted so far to the unexpected challenge raised by the Secretary General of his own party who until last week was seen by observers as one of the most loyal elements within the organization's upper hierarchy.

The Secretary General's estrangement from president Rayale has actually begun not so long ago. It stems from widespread allegations of nepotism charged by UDUB members against Abdi Aw Dahir with regard to the way the Party's candidates for the upcoming district municipal elections have been selected and president Rayale's decision in response to there of, to make, as one of his supporters put it, "a corrective intervention".

A reliable Source:has revealed to the Somaliland Times that when the president tried to replace some of the candidates with new ones, Abdi Aw Dahir not only strongly disapproved the action but also indicated that there was no way in which he would accept any changes to the nominees already listed by him. And it is not yet known whether the Chairman and Secretary General have submitted to the National Electoral Commission their own separate versions of the list of candidates purported to run on UDUB platform in the coming municipal elections.

According to the NEC, all the official organizations in the country, with the exception of ILAYS, have met the Oct 31 deadline (set for submission of candidates to contest the municipal elections). Despite UDUB executive committee's announcement on Monday that current UDUB vice-chairman Osman Garad, was to assume the additional task of acting Secretary General, the measure has however failed to impress the disillusioned supporters who have since this latest infighting been turning away from the party in droves.

In fact, neither the incumbent president nor the rebellious Secretary General has formally sought being nominated as his party's presidential candidate. The party has yet to hold its first pre-election convention to select a candidate. To a large extent, this democratic process was subverted in the past by no other person than Abdi Aw Dahir.


Somaliland Times, Issue 42, Nov. 9, 2002

Borama Water Supply Project Completed

Borama: A water supply project for the city of Borama has been completed. The project involved the installation of a network of water supply pipes in an area of 13km3 in the city, in addition to the construction of a crossing bridge for water pipes, a water tanker, and 5.5km long feeder pipes. The works have been implemented by a consortium of organizations that included KULMIYE Constructing Company, SOSVO, MCC, and Horn Construction. The project was funded by USAID through UNICEF. Thanks to this project, residents of Borama have now access to running water.
Somaliland Times, Issue 42, Nov. 9, 2002

What is the function of the Central Bank?

By A/Rahman Sa'eed Mohamed, Hargeisa

The first and most important function of a central bank is to accept responsibility for advising the government on the making of the country's financial policy, and thus to see that it is carried out. The government must decide how much money there shall be in the country at a given time, and the central bank must take steps to increase or decrease the supply accordingly.

This was by no means clear when the bank of Somaliland was founded. The specific reason then for its formation was to provide money for the government during the time when public expenditure had become too expensive to be financed out of current taxation. Its business at first was the receiving of money on deposit and lending of money against satisfactory security. At first this lending was nearly all to the government, and gradually the bank of Somaliland came to perform other services on behalf of the government, and so to become regarded as "banker to the government".

Thus it undertook on the government's behalf the circulation of payment vouchers, which were simply promissory notes of the government.

Accordingly, the bank of Somaliland was empowered to open regional branches for the purpose of restoring confidence by issuing its notes in the country. As the central bank of the country, the bank of Somaliland must.

(1) Stand ready to take prompt and decisive action to prevent any spreading loss of confidence, (2) Implement the monetary policy of the government, (3) Act as banker to the government, (a)Manage the exchange equalization account, (b) Is the note issuing authority; (c) Acts as registrar of government and nationalized industry.
(4) Act as banker to the deposit banks, (5) Have about hundred (100) accounts for overseas, central banks and for such bodies as the International Monetary Fund and The International Bank For Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank), (6) Replace worn-out and distorted bank-notes.

The Bank of Somaliland needs foreign experts to properly function and become a real central bank.


Somaliland Times, Issue 42, Nov. 9, 2002

Sheikh Secondary to Receive Top-Level 8th Grade Leavers

Having undergone superb rehabilitation by SOS, the old Sheikh School is set to regain its glorious past.

Sheikh: 15 years after it was first completely looted and then reduced to frameless structures standing in an open yard, the old Sheikh Secondary School is now poised to resume functioning as a place for learning by early next year.

The School has been rehabilitated and equipped by SOS, an international organization that funds and manages children villages (Kinder-dorf) in over 80 countries world-wide.

According to Dick Eyeington, the School's new expatriate Principal, 50 pupils will be recruited initially to start 2 classes of Form I. But the ultimate aim is to have an all-year round capacity of 200 students. Education at the School will be for 4 years and based on an international syllabus (IGCSE) syndicated by Cambridge University.

The former boarding facility has been rehabilitated with additional dorms established outside the perimeters of the school for girls, who unlike in the past will now be eligible to join.

Before coming to Sheikh, Somaliland, Eyeington lived in Swaziland for 32 years where he worked for a long time as a teacher and principal of an international School by the name of "United World College". Until recently however Eyeington was the Director of SOS in Swaziland.

When SOS contacted Eyeington earlier this year to help with identifying an experienced and qualified person to become principal of the Sheikh Secondary School, he began getting interested in the job himself. However Eyeington remained hesitant to take the job until he met Abdillahi Hussein (Asha'ari), a Somali member of the SOS Board of Directors, during a trip to Nairobi this year. Asha'ari not only told him a great deal about Somaliland he also met Eyeington again in mid this year in London, advising him this time to see Dallington, a former principal of the school and a man held in the highest esteem by generations of Sheikh Secondary graduates.

"Dallington was so overjoyed when he learned that the school was going to provide education again giving me a lot of information that we can use now to bring the school to its former form or even better, " Eyeington told a group of Haatuf Media Network journalists who visited the school last Sunday.

Eyeington and his wonderful wife, Enid, have already made their temporary home in a house at the school quarters. The couple is expected to live here for the 4 years that Eyeingtons'contract will last. "4 years should give the school a very good start for what I think is going to be a great future," Eyeington said.

Initially, the teaching will be carried out by highly qualified staff to be recruited by SOS. They will be considered as reSource:teachers who would in 4 years time prepare Somaliland staff to take over. "This will be done through constant co-operation and co-ordination with the Ministry of Education," Eyeington added.

Besides its international aspects, the school curriculum will contain some essential local elements such as Islamic studies, Somali language and Arabic. And in addition to the usual subjects learned at Secondary Schools, there will be courses on information technology. By next January, a computer room would be equipped with 25 computers and Email/Internet services established.

"Computer-based learning will be utilized for certain subjects and the pupils will have also a 24 hour access to Internet connections with other schools in Africa and the rest of the world," Eyeington explained.

SOS has not only done superb job in rehabilitating and refurbishing the School, but it has also introduced an ideal environment for learning at the school. For instance, student chairs and tables are arranged in the class in such way as to allow optimum space for students as well as the teachers. This can be rearranged to enable students' work in groups on small projects.

Subject rooms will be oriented to particular subjects e.g. geography, Physics etc.

Other facilities at the school include 3 laboratories (Physics, Biology and Chemistry), one library, Art room, Music Room, Recreation Room, Dinning Hall, Mosque, Canteen and 4 dormitories. Electricity and water supply is secured through a large and elevated water tanker connected to the town's water system and a heavy-duty generator owned by the School. SOS took pains to make sure that the School is architecturally reinstated in such a way as to look original as possible. However one cannot miss to notice the difference between now and then for the school has much more resources and facilities now than in the past.

Expressing hope that the school will have a positive impact on the over-all education standard in the country, Eyeington said, "It is an incentive for saying to students in Somaliland that if you do well enough you can have the opportunity to join Sheikh."

SOS is going to provide a long-term assistance to the School. The organization is expected to meet teachers' salaries and running costs for the foreseeable future. There are also plans for SOS to expand its operations to other areas in Somaliland. According to Abdillahi Asha'ari, the government has recently granted land at the former Ganat yard to SOS. The large plot will be utilized for building an elementary/intermediate school, kindergarten, sports hall and a clinic. No specific date has been yet set for when work at ex-Ganat will begin.

The Eyeingtons say that they are gratified by the warm welcome they have been receiving from the people of Sheikh ever since coming here.

Almost every body in Sheikh is trying to look after the couple, and it is not unusual to see people in cars waving to them.


Somaliland Times, Issue 42, Nov. 9, 2002

Swedish Teachers Welcomed by Ali Ibrahim School

Hargeisa: A team of six teachers from the Swedish Gothenborg international school were welcomed last Sunday by the students and teachers of Sheikh Ali Ibrahim primary school in Hargeisa. The Swedish group arrived in Hargeisa from Gothenborg last Saturday on a mission to establish an educational relationship with Ali Ibrahim primary school students and teachers. The Swedish delegates met on Sunday and Monday with the teachers and students of A.I school.

Each teacher attended a class during lecturing with the view of forming an idea about the education system followed by the school. The Gothenborg School delegation is led by Ms Marianne Skoog. Other accompanying members are Ali-kader Shidane, a Swedish national of Somali origin, Ms Safia Berndtsson, Lena Bjorkgrist, Anette Ottosson and Emma Carlsson. Both the teachers and students at A. Ibrahim primary school have enthusiastically welcomed the idea of setting up a twinning relationship with Gothenborg International School where 700 students, mostly the childrem of immigrants to Sweden, are enrolled. About 40 Somali children study in the school.

Gothenborg is the second largest city in Sweden. It is also home for about 5500 Somali immigrants.

The Swedish teachers explained that as a result of their visit they will be better informed about Somali society when they leave. They also indicated willingness to consolidate and further develop the newly established ties between their school and Ali Ibrahim School. The visiting teachers expressed hope that the educational link with Somaliland will be maintained. The Swedish team returned to Hargeisa on Thursday night from visits to Berbera, Sheikh and Buroa.


Africa News, November 8, 2002/BYLINE: Addis Tribune

Somalia; UNHCR Announces Closure of Fifth Camp in Ethiopia Following Voluntary Repatriation of Somali Refugees to Nw Somalia

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has announced the closure of one of its oldest camps in Ethiopia following the successful voluntary repatriation of thousands of Somali refugees to North West Somalia (also known as Somaliland).

Camaboker camp, located 195kms south east of Jijiga, was established in August1988. It is the fifth camp the UNHCR has closed since November 1997, when the refugee agency started its organised repatriation from eastern Ethiopian camps to north-west Somalia.

"The Regional Liaison Office for Africa (UNHCR-RLO) is pleased to announce the formal completion of the voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees from Camaboker camp to Northwest Somalia", said the RLO Representative, Ilunga Ngandu.

Ilunga Ngandu said the closure of Camaboker camp shows the importance of peace and stability in the region. "The end of one of the most protracted refugee problems in the Horn is now in sight," he said. "Hope is emerging in the Horn of Africa."

Camaboker's closure follows similar closure of Rabasso in July this year, Daror, Darwanaji and Teferiber in the course of 2001, and Camp Hartisheik 'B', in 1999. So far this year, 29,625 Somali refugees have left Ethiopia, which is 85 percent of the planned figure of 35,000 Somali refugees to be repatriated in 2002.

At its peak in 1995, Camaboker housed almost 32,000 Somalis, who fled persecution due to clan conflict in Somalia. At the height of the crisis in Somalia in the beginning of 1990s, the number of Somali refugees in eastern Ethiopia peaked at half million. (UNHCR)


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, November 6, 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 6 Nov 02

Somaliland: Polls body extends nominations period

The national electoral commission has considered complains by some political parties and has decided the following: That everything should be ready within four days, that is Sunday 10 November 2002 at midnight. Any new lists of people who want to vie for seats will not be accepted afterwards. Parties are urged to meet all conditions which they have failed to meet, before the expiry of the specified period.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, November 3, 2002/Source: Radio HornAfrik, Mogadishu, in Somali 0500 gmt 3 Nov 02

Over 400 Somaliland refugees return from Ethiopia

Over 460 Somali refugees have returned from camps in Ethiopia. These people have now reached Salahley District in the self-declared state of Somaliland. Ilmi Bodari has the details.

Bodari The return of the refugees follows the decision by the Ethiopian government to start closing down refugee camps from early this month. UNHCR is assisting in the repatriation and resettlement process. These people fled to camps in Ethiopia at the height of the fighting between the SNM Somali National Movement and the forces of the Siyad Barre government.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, November 1, 2002/Source: Walta Information Centre web site, Addis Ababa, in English 1 Nov 02

Ethiopia: UNHCR repatriates 4,425 Somali refugees, closes camp in east

Addis Ababa: The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has announced the closure of one of its oldest camps in Ethiopia following the successful voluntary repatriation of thousands of Somali refugees to northwest Somalia (also known as Somaliland).

Camaboker camp, located 195 km southeast of Jijiga eastern Ethiopia , was established in August 1988. It is the fifth camp the UNHCR has closed since November 1997 when the refugee agency started its organized repatriation from eastern Ethiopian camps to northwest Somalia...

Camaboker's closure follows similar closure of Rabaso in July this year, Daror, Darwanaji and Teferi Ber in the course of 2001, and Camp Hartishek 'B' in 1999. So far this year, 29,625 Somali refugees have left Ethiopia, which is 85 per cent of the planned figure of 35,000 Somali refugees to be repatriated in 2002...

Between 23 and 30 October, three convoys of 207 trucks and 37 buses left Camaboker camp, taking the last 4,425 individuals to Salahley and Duruksi at the Ethiopia-NWS Somaliland border.

All returnees were provided with assistance to ease reintegration in their home communities. The UNHCR provided plastic sheeting for roofing, jerry cans and blankets, as well as transport to border transit centres and cash to enable them to reach their own villages. The UN World Food Programme provided a nine-month food ration as part of the overall reintegration package...

Their departure leaves 37,363 Somali refugees in three camps at Aisha, Hartishek "A" and Kebri Beyah. The UNHCR hopes to be able to help the 13,979 refugees in Arsha camp return home early in 2003.


Somaliland Times, Issue 41, Nov. 2, 2002

Daallo Inaugurates London-Hargeisa Route

Hargeisa: Daallo Airlines inaugurated on Wednesday night its long awaited flight from London to Hargeisa via Paris/Djibouti. 185 passengers took the inauguration flight on a Boeing 757 which flew from London by 7:00pm, arriving in Djibouti at the early hours of Thursday morning. Around 10 o'clock of same morning, about 129 of the passengers arrived in Hargeisa Airport.

69 of the arriving passengers disembarked at Hargeisa, while the rest were shuttled to other destinations in Somaliland and Somalia. The London Hargeisa flight is scheduled for Mondays and Thursdays.


Somaliland Times, Issue 41, Nov. 2, 2002

Editorial: The disappointing level of government support for education

Somaliland government's support for public education has never exceeded 0.35% of the budget. Actually in the past few years, the figure stood even lower than that level. This is an unacceptable situation. The government could have done much more in terms of investment in the education sector. Unfortunately, for people in the government, education is not yet a priority. The government too often claims that it spends more than 80% of budget resources on security matters.

We believe that this is an exaggeration. We also do not think that even half of that figure is actually spent on the security forces or on other security related matters. So, where does the money go? The truth is: it is simply lost to corruption.

The whole Somaliland government budget never goes beyond the 30$ million mark per annum, so nobody is suggesting that our officials have diverted public funds to Swiss banks.

However, it must be kept in mind that every Somaliland shilling embezzled is going to make a difference as to the quality of education that our children get at public schools.

Despite its modest resources, the government could have established a new school every year similar to the one now built by SOS at Sheikh. It could have paid at least $100 salary to every public school teacher in Somaliland. Strangely enough, none of the present contenders to the forthcoming elections have yet pledged that if elected, they would raise the budget for education, say, to at least 30%.

Let us hope that the new Sheikh Secondary will stimulate us all to work together towards improving our poor standards of education.

In this respect, the Somaliland government and politicians should take the lead in the task of overhauling our education system. It will be a shame should we feel less concerned about our students'needs than the Swedish teachers who came all the way from their country to here in order to establish an educational relationship with one of our public schools.


Somaliland Times, Issue 41, Nov. 2, 2002

Somali Reconciliation Conferences: The Responses

By Dr. Abdishakur Sh. Ali Jowhar

My article on the Somali Reconciliation Conferences (SL Times Issue 39, HOL Oct 21/2002) sparked passionate dialogue and extensive discourse. Varying groups in the Somali political arena received it differently, each group reading the paper through the prism of its political beliefs. Of those who responded directly to me very few were critical and hard hitting, the overwhelming majority responded with support, understanding and praise (at a ratio of 10:1). I make no conclusions about this ratio. There are too many confounding factors for it to be meaningful. All of the responses I received were pregnant with sincere, deeply felt emotions. I appreciated them all and I was left with the distinct feeling that I have touched a raw nerve in the national psyche. Here I share with you few selected excerpts from these responses, followed by my own reaction.

Abdishakur,

Your article is well written but riddled with your pure clanism. In fact your views in the article are Far from the truth and the reality in North Western regions of Somalia. But remember if Somalia is divisible so is the so-called Somaliland.

Wouldn't it be very useful if you check your biases before you publicly try to mislead people? You presented your views of course, but do not try to make them the facts. The fact of the matter is no one has stopped your separatist friends, had they had the skill and commitment to set up a separate viable state. For 12 years you have been blaming your fellow Somalis for nothing and you haven't achieved your false dreams, wonderful eh!!!! keep dreaming my friend!!!!.

Note Riyale is another warlord in the eyes of the Somali people.

Thanks

W. F.

Dear dr.

We the Northern Somalis, do not believe in what you are preaching. Your statements make happy only the narrow minded.

As an educated and supposedly sophisticated person, you must give proper guidelines to the layman. If people like yourself think in this way, the future of the poor and often cheated people of Somalia is bleak. The idea of the so-called lands is benefit to men you failed to mention or blindly showered with praise.

M A H

Friends:

Your comments are driven by est concern for the Somali people. They emanate from the inner turmoil of a soul wounded, living in haunted times and places. I know of your dread, your innermost fears. I know the shame, the bitter shame of belonging to a society that exists at the bottom of the human totem pole. Friends you and me are living the foul consequences of a nation that defeated itself.

But we must refuse to be frozen in horror like a deer caught in the hypnotizing lights of oncoming traffic. We must strive to make sense out of the senseless. We must tirelessly seek answers. Every assumption, every tenant, every belief of Somali political ideology should be subjected to the cold impersonal light of logic. And each one of them must be discarded like so much dirt if it does not justify its existence in the harsh court of reason. There can be no sacred cows.

And so I examine the concept of Somali Nationalism with an eye freshly rendered skeptical by the horror it witnessed. I question its validity. I find it wanting. This you should not dislike lest you reject the key to safety. Instead my inquiries should make you alert, awake, eager for answers. You must not stand in the way. You must not stand on the sidelines. You, young men, must join me in the search.

Ahoy. I see structural faults and cracks with in the concept of Somali Nationalism that could lead to Southern Somalia evolving to a permanent disintegrated tribal and warlord fiefdoms that are gradually absorbed by more organized societies in the vicinity. And I see the same nationalism leading to a similar fate in Somaliland if it hesitates even for a second from its total, unequivocal, and nonnegotiable reassertion of its independence.

If you believe the concept could be salvaged (a proposition that I personally don't buy) then it is your duty to learn about these faults and cracks, to repair them, to find ways around them. You cannot close your eyes and ears. You cannot bury your head in the sand of peace conferences and still claim that you care. You have no right to do that, no right at all.

And remember the experience of Europe. Less then 50 years after most murderous and destructive war that humanity has seen as yet the whole of Europe is today one big nation united in prosperity and through the free will of its citizens organized in peaceful nation-states with secure mutually recognized boundaries.

Build on the success of Somaliland. Duplicate it in the south. What is it with Somalis and destruction anyway? Why should every structure that stands beckon them to destroy it? Who erased the words construct, build, modify, moderate and erect from our dictionary?

A two state solution for remnants of the 1960 union is not an option in my mind but a necessity. It does not represent in my opinion an eternal solution. We may indeed witness the whole of Africa united before the century is out. The creation of stable nation states with secure borders as defined by the OAU in 1964 is a necessary precondition.

Dr.,

you've hammered well that article in HOL about the ongoing "Somali Conflict Promotional Conference", to borrow your phrase. May I add that we've seen this movie before most recently in Arta. You're right, peace can't be imported and until Somalis recognize this, they're wasting their valuable time on this garbage conferences sponsored by Arabs and Europeans and what have you! I myself from the Kismayo area, and quiet frankly, I've not been in the country for 18yrs. However, from what I've seen so far, I think we're witnessing history in the making, and that's there won't be something called Somalia soon. Somalis need to realize this move on. You can't turn the clock to counterclockwise direction. And yes, Congratulations to Somalilanders. They've mastered skills and tolerance that has not been seen in the rest of Somalia for long time. Hard work and persistence pays off. There's no reason for you to join back to Somalia, or at least not in the foreseeable future. Let me conclude by saying; you don't have to under the "Bulug-calanka-xidigta" to be proud and Somali. Somali is not a country or region, rather it's a language, ethnicity and heritage. I myself am Somali American, nonetheless, Somali.

Thanks a lot, and have a wonderful day.

M J

Greetings,

It is with great respect and enthusiasm that I read your articles. Not only are they not based on emotional barrage. But they are facts and figures that are substantiated. Moreover many of your articles are very educational and I find them to be not only politically enlightening but also historically informative.

Your take on the countless "reconciliation" conferences, their sponsors and the concerned parties is factual. One doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to know that peace will only dawn on Somalia when it is conferred in its homeland by those concerned (sans the butchers currently in Eldoret)..

I salute your consistent stand on the sovereignty of Somaliland and your relentless rejection of dragging Somalilanders into the circuses sweetly coated as "reconciliation" conferences. I salute your style of writing and your professionalism in not personally attacking any individual yet telling it as it is (as in Abdiqasim's forged Doctorate). I also commend your sincere empathy with our tortured brothers in Somalia and your desire for them to find a lasting solution to their never ending self inflicted nightmare..

Sincerely,

A. M. M.

I hope my brief note to your article will find you and find you soon. I hope also each member of so-called Warlords will read this article in order to understand the reality of today. Your paper reminds me what Chairperson of this meeting said to the Somalis there, he said and I quote "one of the best tools of this century was the Mirror, because when the person looks at the mirror he realizes how he looks. So you Somalis if you look your selves at the mirror you must realize that you are all from a failed state."

Ironically they didn't get the point. At the same time they don't have a sense of nationalism. They want to forge every thing like they forging their titles (Dr., Professore , abucato etc.)..

W.A.

Dr.

I congratulate you on your daring yet flawless argument on the philosophy of ethnic-based Greater Somalia. This is the first time I ever encountered new thinking and justification that sends Somaliweyn to the Jurasic park. The number of people who are staunchly against this age old notion are not less in number. However, I have never before met someone or read an article, which can mobilize historical facts to correctly justify this line of thinking. I hope that "Dr" Abdi Qasim and other belligerent warlords will heed your valuable analysis and stop perpetuating the mayhem of killing in Somalia.

Yet, You have forgotten to mention in your paper the set back and destruction brought about by Arta faction on the burgeoning Puntland region. Somaliland withstood against the destructive Arta plan, nevertheless it was the nascent Puntland system, which was modeled on Somaliland's system that bore the brunt of Arta treachery.

M. F.

Friends:

I thank you deeply for the warm words. Allow me to add a couple of points as food for further thought in this area.

Somali nationalism is only vaguely and peripherally about a national state with a defined national territory and citizenship. It lacks internal cohesion and purpose. It could only be defined in contrast to some other entity and in relation to it. The Somali defines himself as such through a process of exclusion. He is not Kenyan, or Ethiopian or an Arab. He is neither a black infidel nor a white one. He is neither that clan nor the other but this great most numerous, most generous, most powerful and most dangerous one. Therefore he must be a Somali. The power and uniting force of Somali Nationalism comes into existence only in the presence of an external enemy. It is an ephemeral entity. It shares all these qualities with the Somali Clan. I therefore call it an ethnocentric Superclan Concept.

As soon as the external defining agent is removed (i.e. there is no war with a neighboring state or with a colonizing power) Somali Nationalism simply ceases to exist and is instantaneously replaced by the Somali clan. The very person who was ready to give his life for the nation just a minute ago will now be eager to destroy it altogether in the name of his clan. The unique clan nature of Somali Nationalism elegantly explains a number of phenomena that hitherto escaped analysis. I will give two brief examples and I am confident that readers will come with many more.

Note the Republic of Somalia itself the child of Somali Nationalism has been engaged in a constant war with its neighbors either overtly or covertly from its inception to its death. This romantic great struggle was waged for the realization of Great Somalia, the one and only objective of Somali Nationalism. Thousands of Somalis, may be hundreds of thousands, have willing given their life for this great cause.

In stark contrast the people of the Republic of Somalia has not given birth to a single political party with bona fide nationalist qualifications, since the day of the union in July 1st, 1960. In the two-decade armed and political struggles against the tyrant Siyad Barre every single party that came into existence belonged to a single clan. There was not one nationalist party, not one! And it was not for want of trying. The leftist Somali Workers Party tried hard but its membership never exceeded the number of its central committee. It quickly withered away and died with all its members joining political parties that were based on their respective clans. The Islamist parties of the eighties and nineties tried and had the same fate. Why would Somalis be so ready to die in droves for Somali Nationalism and Great Somalia yet refuse to support any national party, limiting their support exclusively to clan based parties? The most elegant explanation for this glaring discrepancy is that Somali Nationalism is not about nationalism as it is commonly understood but a Super-Clan Concept expressed in modern terms.

Note also the most shameful and cruel aspect of Somali culture is that whole sections of the population are classified as being unequal and inferior to the ordinary Somalis. I am speaking about the Gabooye who, as we all know, are indistinguishable in any way (language, looks, complexion, religion etc) from any other Somali and who are forced to endure unimaginable injustice and inequality imposed by a primitive, prehistoric ruthless culture of clan hierarchy.

Somali Nationalism incorporated this unjustifiable oppression, so that the Gabooye became "Somali - six", in its folklore. The Gabooye once again found themselves outside the national tent, invisible, uncounted and banished even from the symbolism of the flag whose central star has only five points, while they get a virtual sixth. I don't know who coined the absurd euphemism but it sure gives a clear picture of the nature of the beast.

Observed from this dimension it becomes self evident that no nationalist political force could conceivably develop on the basis of this Super-Clanism that is erroneously translated to the language of the twentieth century as "Nationalism". And indeed no force that could remotely be labeled as national has appeared any where in the Somali political arena in this last decade of chaos when it was needed so much by so many.

It also becomes self evident that although Somali Nationalism is the name invoked in all these counterproductive conferences, they remain essentially a meeting place of clans horse trading, while each clan plans to outsmart all others and monopolize the national water-well for its own use. Only Warlords and Clan fiefdoms could thrive in such an environment and they do. The only real alternative is to refuse to go down the path of failed ideas again and again and again. It is high time for a paradigm shift.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, November 1, 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 1 Nov 02

Somaliland: Two killed by landmine in Hargeysa District

Two people have been killed and three others were injured by a landmine explosion in Salaheh location, Hargeysa District. This report which was received from the executive secretary of Salaheh' local authority Ibrahim Adan Nur said the dead were: Dahir Abdullahi Maro Madobe and Umar Abdi Muhumed. The injured were Nura Abdullahi Maro Madobe, Hodan Abdi Awgob and Abdi Awgob who was lightly injured. The victims were blown by a landmine which was buried in the area. The injured are being treated at Hargeysa general hospital.
BBC Monitoring Reports, October 31, 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 31 Oct 02 / BBC Monitoring

Somaliland: Army Chiefs Reshuffled

The president of Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin, today issued three presidential decrees reshuffling the commander of the national armed forces, the presidential adviser for national armed forces, and the commander of the 31st battalion of the national armed forces. Abdisamad Haji Abdullahi Diriye has been appointed the commander of the national armed forces, while the former armed forces commander, Hasan Yunis Abare, was appointed national armed forces presidential adviser. In the decree, the president ordered the two officers to willingly hand over the offices, forthwith. In a separate decree, the president appointed, Nuh Isma'il Tani as the commander of the 31st battalion of the national armed forces, while the immediate commander of the 31st battalion will be one of the words indistinct of the national armed forces.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 30, 2002/Source: Radio HornAfrik, Mogadishu, in Somali 0500 gmt 30 Oct 02

Northern Somalia region welcomes cease-fire deal reached at peace talks in Kenya

Demonstrations in support of the cease-fire agreement signed by Somali faction leaders and the transitional government at the ongoing Somali peace talks in Eldoret western Kenya took place yesterday in Laas Caanood, Sool Region northern Somalia. Speaking to a large crowd of demonstrators, the chairman of Sool Region, Garad Muhammud Garad Hirsi, said the talks are promising. People living in Sool Region support Somaliland, while others support Puntland and others are non-partisan.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 30, 2002/Source: HornAfrik Online text web site, Mogadishu, in Somali 30 Oct 02

Somalia: Demo staged in northern town to welcome cease-fire accord

A demonstration in support of the accord reached by Somali factions in Eldoret Kenya was yesterday staged in Laas Canood, Sool Region disputed area in northern Somalia, claimed by both Puntland and Somaliland. Many people took part in the demonstration which was addressed by the chairman of the Sool Region's clan chiefs, Garad Muhammad Garad Hirsi, who termed the accord a positive step. Residents of Sool Region are divided between those who support Somaliland and Puntland, respectively, and those who are on middle ground.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 30, 2002/Source: HornAfrik Online text web site, Mogadishu, in Somali 30 Oct 02

Somalia: President says Somalilanders must attend peace talks in Kenya

The president of the interim Somali government Abdiqasim Salad Hasan has reiterated that the northwestern region should take part in talks for warring factions in Somalia. Hasan who was addressing a rally at the Tarubanka grounds, in which some Mogadishu residents had gathered, said it was necessary that the northwestern regions take part in the talks for the unity of Somalia. The president who has previously said at a news conference which he held that the northwestern region was required to attend the peace talks, said if the government of the self-declared republic of Somaliland was not ready to attend the talks, people from that region who are ready to work for peace and the unity of Somalia, should be allowed to attend the talks.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 28, 2002/Source: HornAfrik Online text web site, Mogadishu, in Somali 27 Oct 02

Somaliland: Demo held in Burco against ongoing peace talks in Kenya

A big demonstration against those urging the self-declared republic of Somaliland to participate in the ongoing Somali peace talks in Eldoret western Kenya was held in Burco central Somaliland town yesterday 26 October. The demonstrators waved placards which said no to Greater Somalia, and other slogans against the interim government of Somalia. Radio Laas Caanood said that Faisal Ali Warabe, the chairman of Somaliland opposition party HORMOOD expansion untraced , addressed the demonstrators and said that the notion of engaging the Somaliland people in the ongoing Somali peace talks with the aim of searching for a Greater Somalia was unacceptable to the people of Somaliland.
FSAU, November 2002

Monthly Food Security Report

2002 GU AND KARAN CEREAL HARVEST IN SOMALILAND Overview

The FSAU seasonal crop harvest assessment was carried out in Somaliland between 16 October -- 4 November 2002. FSAU, FEWS NET, Danish Refugee Council (DRC), International Rescue Committee (IRC), and the Ministry of Agriculture participated in the exercise which covered the entire agro-pastoral districts of Hargiesa, Gabiley, Borama, Burao and Odweine. During the assessment, staff of NGOs, farmers and key informants, were interviewed and field visits were made to assess the crop and livestock situation. Moreover FSAU met representatives of aid agencies working on agricultural recovery programmes in Somaliland and discussed the season's performance, as well as looking at assistance provided to farmers and examining other major farming constraints. These included IFAD, German Agro Action (GAA) and, Agricultural Development Organization (ADO).
The Crop Cycle

The normal cropping pattern in Somaliland commences with a sorghum crop (which takes 6 months to mature) and maize which is on a shorter cycle of 3 months - both are planted as a mono-crop at the beginning of the Gu season (April-June). After harvest of the early maturing Gu-maize, another early maturing Karan-maize is planted on the eve of the Karan season (end July-September). The purpose of the Gu-maize is to get relief from hunger before the sorghum cycle comes into being again.
Rainfall

Rainfall during the Gu season was extremely poor for both sorghum and the early maturing maize. It affected normal sorghum establishment. Moreover, the Gu-maize failed because of extreme moisture stress.
Karan rains restore hope in Somaliland

However, the exceptional Karan rains restored hope to the agropastoralists in Somaliland, particularly in Hargeisa, Gibiley and Borama districts. The Karan rains restored growth of the sorghum and encouraged the Karan-maize planting. A common feature found in the districts of Hargeisa, Gibiley and Borama in the 2002 Gu and Karan seasons has been the achievement of two harvests (Gusorghum and Karan-maize) instead of three (as the Gu-maize failed). The Karan rains significantly restored the moisture deficit suffered by the Gu-sorghum hence sorghum re-gained better growth after mid-June.
Yield Achieved

An estimated area of 24,523 Ha (78% sorghum and 22% maize) has been harvested. Yield/ unit area has been estimated in the range of 0.3-0.4Mt/Ha for the Gu-sorghum and 0.1-0.2Mt/Ha the Karan-maize. The total cereal harvest is estimated at 8,874 Mt (88% sorghum and 12% maize). However the total cereal harvest of the 2002 Gu and Karan is lower by 42% of the cereal production average of (1998-2001) Gu and Karan. The Karan rains have improved tender leaves and grasses for cattle and shoats. The sale of livestock and livestock products will also help as a means of providing income to buy food. In mid Gu season many livestock emigrated to Zone V of Ethiopia to avoid the poor conditions. Abundant sorghum fodder, grasses and harvest residues of livestock feed are now available and are expected to last up to November and December 2002. Moreover, the total cereal harvest of the Gu and Karan is expected to be sufficient for a household of seven up to January 2003. For more information on the 2002 Gu and Karan Cereal Harvest in Somaliland -- please contact FSAU Field
EMERGING FOOD INSECURITY IN THE TOGDHEER REGION AGRO PASTORAL FOOD ECONOMY ZONE. A VULNERABILITY UPDATE : SEPTEMBER 2002

With a population of about 350,000, Togdheer is one of the largest regions in Somaliland. The 1998 FSAU baseline study outlines that about 60% of the population are pastoralists, 10% agro-pastoralists and the remaining 30% are settled groups in the urban areas. This vulnerability report focuses on the agro pastoral Food Economy Zone (FEZ) which lies at the foothills of the Golis Mountains which pass through the region. Pastoralists take advantage of the area's good grazing for livestock - and farmers practice rainfed cultivation and some irrigation using water run-off from the mountains. The agro pastoral food economy group is found in two districts of Togdheer region, Odweyne and Burao (spelled as Burco in Somali). The majority of the agro pastoralists in the region (70-80%) are found in Odweyne and the rest in Burao.

The livestock living in the area are sheep and goats with some cattle and camels. Farming activities involve growing cereals (mainly maize and sorghum), pulses and assorted cash crops (mainly vegetables). These agro pastoralists produce fodder from flood-plain enclosures and sell it in the livestock market in nearby Burao town where demand is high. Burao has the largest and perhaps most active livestock market in East Africa.

Over the past 7-8 years, peace and stability in Somaliland have encouraged and eased the reintegration of a large number of returnees (mainly women-headed households) from refugee camps in eastern Ethiopia. Many returnees have adapted to agro pastoral activities because of newly acquired agricultural knowledge and skills - and readily available land.

Apart from livestock and crop production (including hay), this food economy group also engages in livestock trade and related employment to supplement their incomes. However, three consecutive seasons of poor rains have negatively affected livestock conditions and production. These poor rains have also caused crop failure and extremely poor fodder production. Moreover, in the surrounding Hawd grazing areas, pasture and browse were depleted due to overgrazing and general environmental degradation. The continuing ban on livestock imports by Somaliland's usual trading partners, now more than two years old, has severely restricted employment opportunities in the Togdheer agro pastoral FEZ as well as ruining the fodder trade, both of which were important sources of income. The terms of trade (grain/animal, wage/labour) in this food economy zone has therefore deteriorated, even after taking seasonal cycles into account.

Water is scarce in this FEZ and the price of water, primarily for livestock, has increased substantially as many barkeds, a common source of water, started to dry up. This has led to livestock out migration to neighboring regions.

According to the baseline study carried out by FSAU during 1998, 20- 25% of the population of this food economy zone are poor, 40-60% are middle wealth group and 20-35% are better off, as shown in 1 below. It is likely that the poor group has increased in proportion due to sharply diminished jobs and job opportunities. The largest proportion of poor Togdheer agro pastoral household income during a "normal"year (1993 is the reference year) comes from employment (30-40%), followed by sale of agricultural products including fodder (20-30%). Livestock product sales (such as hides) generate 20-25% while livestock sales contribute 10-15% of their income. All these income sources are potentially "expandable" in a normal year, meaning that households can increase their reliance on these income sources to offset a decrease in other income sources. Also, during a normal year, poor households have considerable discretionary income, about 10-20% of total income, for meeting other household needs. In this respect, the poor in the Togdheer Agropastoral FEZ are relatively better off than the poor in the Nugal Valley Lowland Pastoral, and the Hawd and Sool Pastoral FEZs.

In a "normal" year poor households purchase 50%-60% of their food needs from the market, while 30%-40% comes from their own crop production. Gifts and own livestock production contribute 10% and 0-5%, respectively. Purchased foods include cereals, sugar, oil and meat.

Due to this heavy dependence on market purchases, the largest portion of poor household income (40-50%) is spent on food and another 20-30% on non-food essentials like social services (education and clan tax), clothes and medicine. Veterinary drugs and agricultural inputs take about 10-15% while 5-10% is spent on oil, sugar and salt non-staple foods and; khat (a leaf stimulant).
The Current Situation

Results from a joint field assessment by FEWS NET and FSAU during the first week of September 2002 show Togdheer agropastoral food economy group to be highly vulnerable to sharp drops in income. Three successive seasons of poor rain reduced crop production to 10% of the baseline level and prices of staple foods have increased substantially. Poor households and most of the middle wealth groups have no cereal reserves and therefore depend entirely on market purchases for food. It is reported that the livestock ban has reduced employment opportunities by 20% of the baseline, prompting more rural-urban migration among poor agropastoral households. Fodder sales, which are also linked to livestock trade, decreased by about 60% of the baseline and reduced poor household income. About 80-90% of the livestock migrated this year to eastern Ethiopia where rains were better. Poor households have therefore sharply reduced direct access to their livestock and livestock products. For instance, milk sales, a major source of household income decreased seasonally by up to 80% of the baseline. Milk consumption at household level is almost zero, jeopardizing the nutritional status of children.

Gifts and kinship support, increased sales of livestock and charcoal production are the main copping strategies employed by poor households. Sales of own livestock increased by about 20-30% of the baseline level. Ironically, the increased supply of local quality animals in the market depressed livestock prices substantially. Findings from the FSAU Gu assessment and analysis workshop and the recent FEWS NET/FSAU field assessment show that poor households (8,000-10,000 people) from the Togdheer Agropastoral food economy zone are currently facing moderate food insecurity. They can meet their consumption needs up to the end of the year by resorting to their available coping strategies and mechanisms. However, they remain vulnerable to further shocks and might have food deficit if Deyr rains are poor, falling 50% below normal. Close monitoring of the situation will be crucial over the coming months.

Currency markets in most parts of Somalia/Somaliland have been in turmoil since 1998 -- injection of counterfeit notes, disruption of usual trade and remittance flows and insecurity-- are periods when the Somali shilling has lost considerable value. The currency market, essentially consisting of the major moneychangers in Mogadishu's main Bakara market, Hargeisa and Bosassos, who have sound knowledge about the supply and demand for dollars and shillings, sets the exchange rate for the Somalia Shilling every day. The Bakara exchange rate is the pacesetter rate that influences the other regional Somali exchange rates. These markets operate freely and transparently, although the authorities in Somaliland regulate the Hargeisa foreign exchange market to some degree. As there is no national exchange rate, each major town (such as Mogadishu and Hargeisa) has a different shilling against US dollar exchange rate. Currently, exchange rates vary somewhat regionally due to varying availability of US dollars in different district markets.

A number of factors influence exchange rate fluctuations, including livestock exports, the money supply and remittances, insecurity and the political uncertainties. The major factor is the livestock sector, accounting for 40% of GDP and or 80% of exports in normal year. This sector remains the main livelihood and source of income for many Somalis, as well as a major source of foreign exchange. As shown in Figure 5, the Somali shilling exchange rate is directly linked with livestock exports -- the more livestock exports increase, the more the Somali shilling appreciates. The shilling gained value in the peak period of livestock exports and lost value in the period of low livestock exports. For instance, in 2000 the value of the shilling increased and the exchange rate against US dollar fell to about SSh 10,000 per dollar. However, in 2001 the Somali shilling lost value and the exchange rate doubled to about SSh 20,000 per dollar. The major reason was the livestock import ban imposed by Saudi Arabia and other Mid-east countries in September 2000. The Somali shilling gained value in 2002 due to the resumption of livestock exports to Egypt and United Arab Emirate markets, though on a smaller scale. The Somalia and Somaliland shilling exchange rate decreased between September and October 2002. The Somali shilling in Mogadishu has gradually gained value against US dollar as the exchange rate fell from SSh 22,000 per dollar in September to Ssh 18,000 in October. Nonetheless, the exchange rate is still higher when compared to the rate before the ban at around SSh 6,000- 8,000 per dollar). In the same period, the Somaliland shilling exchange rate appreciated as well as, from Slsh 6,500 in September to Slsh 6,200 in October (Figure 6), but the Somaliland shilling-dollar exchange rate remains twice as high as before the ban, Slsh 2,900 in August 2000.

This slight appreciation of the Somali/Somaliland shilling helps poor people by increasing their purchasing powerand improving their access to imported goods originally paid in dollars. The appreciation of the Somali/Somaliland shilling affects food prices in several ways. First, appreciation reduces market prices in local currency terms of imported food staples, such as sugar, rice wheat flour and vegetable oil. A 50 kg bag of sugar, which cost Ssh 450,000 in late September, now cost Ssh 260,000 at the end of October. Average sugar prices decreased by 42 percent between September and October. In other words, a family can now spends 42 percent less on sugar. The second impact is the improvement of terms of trade for imported goods; where rural people can exchange their products (milk and animals) for cheaper imported commodities.

The appreciation of the Somali/Somaliland exchange rate provides short relief for poor people. However, experience shows that the Somali currencies depreciate rapidly, due to lack of availability of hard currency and due to the need of traders to obtain foreign exchange to pay for and import consumer goods from abroad. In addition, demand for the US dollar and other hard currencies is very high in Somalia, especially this month due to pent-up demand due when imports could not arrive due to seasonal high tides between May and September. The situation needs close monitoring.

Livestock Exports, Berbera
Camel 1,151 3,589921 1,251
Cattle1,752 2,0921,843 4,503
Shoats12,86135,233 30,08942,261
Total15,764 40,19432,02348,015
Source ** : Berbera Port Authority
SANAG AND TOGDHEER

During the second dekad the Hawd of Togdheer and the Golis range received fairly well distributed and effective Deyr rains improving browse and pasture. The drought affected areas of Sanag region received less rains -- apart from Gebi valley. In Sool plateau milk production, livestock reproduction and conception rates are below normal. The impact of the loss of productive assets in the last Hagai is being felt. However, the availability and access of water is now normal in all parts of the region apart from small pockets. Livestock migration is very limited in both regions whether it it is out migration or in migration and patterns are fairly normal. Camel calving rate is normal in the Hawd of Togdheer but far below normal in the Sool Plateau. For the first time it has been observed that traders from Bossaso are buying animals from Burao market and are sending them to Gulf countries as a result purchasing power of pastoralists is improving. In both regions apart from Burao town the price of milk / litre has dropped by 30-40% .
NORTH WEST AND AWDAL

Rains that were received were scattered and localised in both areas of the region. The coastal and sub-coastal belts remain hot and dry -- heavy rainfall was expected but it never materialized. The potential borehold of Karure village in Lughaya district has been out of order since May 2002 . Water availability is below normal in many parts of the coastal belt. The productive potential in the coastal/sub coastal belt is deteriorating due to the length of the long/dry hot season. As pastoralists rely on dairy production and livestock sales, the prolonged of the drought is causing difficulties for many households. The closure of the Ethiopian border with Somalia has reduced the purchasing power of both communities on both sides.

SOOL REGION

**Note Sool is an administrative region and the Sool Plateau is a geographical area and a food economy zone.

Sool Plateau and lower Nugal received scattered and patchy rains but good Deyr rains were received in the Hawd and upper Nugal. In the latter areas there has been noticeable improvement in pasture/browse, milk yield and herd body condition. The livelihood of the dominant pastoral Food Economy zone is stabilizing this month. Household access to food has improved following temporary livestock market price gain -- increasing pastoral production and Terms of Trade. In Las Caanood town 72mm of rain was recorded for the month. Small ruminants are gaining body weight - but camel and cattle are recovering slowly because of the impact of long standing drought conditions. The exchange rate dropped from 21,180 Ssh to 18,3000 Ssh in the last two weeks of the month. Consequently there has been a price decline in certain staple food commodities i.e -- the price of rice dropped by 15% in the month.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 28, 2002/Source: Radio HornAfrik, Mogadishu, in Somali 0500 gmt 28 Oct 02

Somaliland: Vice-president begins official visit to Ethiopia

The vice-president of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, Ahmad Yusuf Yasin, left for Addis Ababa Ethiopia yesterday. Our reporter Ilmi has more details on this: Ilmi The self-declared republic of Somaliland's administration has said in a statement that the vice-president of Somaliland, Ahmad Yusuf and his delegation had received an official invitation from the government of Ethiopia. While in Ethiopia, the delegation is expected to hold talks with Ethiopian officials, although the agenda of their talks has not yet been disclosed. The delegation was accompanied by the Ethiopian representative to Somaliland. The visit comes at a time when the Somali factions have signed a cease-fire agreement in Eldoret western Kenya ...
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 28, 2002/Source: HornAfrik Online text web site, Mogadishu, in Somali 28 Oct 02

Somaliland: Game park set up in central region

A game park was yesterday opened in Sheekh, Togdheer Region. Togdheer regional governor, Ibrahim Abdi Woqoyi, who spoke at the function said the wildlife in the new park had migrated from Ethiopia due to lack of pasture and water following drought. He said more efforts were needed to provide more land exclusively for wildlife to preserve and safeguard them. The area is in the self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 25, 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 25 Oct 02

Somaliland: Kulmiye party delegation visits central district

The chairman of Kulmiye Party, Ahmad Muhammad Mahmud Silanyo, today visited Sheekh District, Sahil Region, accompanied by members of his party. The Kulmiye party's visit is related to the forthcoming civic elections in the country. The delegation was received by its supporters. Silanyo addressed people outside the party HQ outlining the policies of the party, elections and the importance of strengthening peace. The delegation attended a special luncheon at Dariqa estate thereafter. Meanwhile, our Sheekh reporter Hasan Khayre says police have completed a demining exercise in the district by unearthing 33 land mines and two grenades in a week. Land mines pose danger to people in the district.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 25, 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 25 Oct 02

Somaliland: UCID party delegation visits Ood Weyne District

A delegation led by the chairman of UCID Justice and Welfare Party , Faisal Ali Warabe, today visited Ood Weyne District, Togdheer Region. The delegation whose objective is to promote its policies will tomorrow address a rally at Ood Weyne's Khayria square. The party is selecting its candidates for the forthcoming civic elections.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 24, 2002/ Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 24 Oct 02

Somaliland: Government raps Somali president over peace talks in Kenya

The presidency has released a statement as a rejoinder to Mogadishu-based interim Somali president Abdiqasim Salad Hasan's news conference in Mogadishu yesterday. The statement said: The Somaliland government has not paid too much attention to the claims by the head of the Arta faction, Abdiqasim Salad Hasan, who has cast aspersions on Somaliland's existence and its people. We are aware about the animosity which they have been propagating internationally without outside support as they hide the pathetic situation in their midst which they have hitherto failed to resolve. Many questions arise regarding the 15 peace conferences which Somaliland did not attend. We ask why should he now demand that if Somaliland or its people failed to attend the Somali peace talks, the talks will fail. He then blames IGAD officials who have invited him. It is very strange that Abdiqasim's group which has failed in its responsibility would make Somaliland an excuse considering that the international community has committed millions of dollars to the talks and invited him as a participant.

We are reminding Abdiqasim that Somaliland and Somalia were two sovereign states which united in the 1960's and each had its own territory. The people of Somaliland have decided to reclaim their independence as a result of problems experienced and the lack of trust demonstrated, like in this case, Abdiqasim's failure to admit that we were two separate states.

It is obvious to the international community that Somaliland has fulfilled all the conditions necessary for recognition following the decision by its people in a referendum in which 97 per cent of them supported its independence which was reclaimed in 1991.

The international community knows that Abdiqasim does not even govern even a single estate in Mogadishu and has frustrated attempts by IGAD and the international community to reconcile the people of the south and set up an administration.

The statement continued: We are urging him not to waste time on Somaliland which has decided on its fate and not to lose this final opportunity provided by the international community by ending fighting and bloodshed in their country. The statement concluded by comparing the matter with a woman unable to conceive crazy about a doll.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 22, 2002/Source: Codka Xoriyadda web site, Mogadishu, in Somali 21 Oct 02

Ethiopia reportedly closes border to traffic from Somaliland

Ethiopia's closure of its border to traffic from Somaliland has greatly affected the territory's regions. Goods and commercial activities, which used to flow in both directions, have totally stopped for more than a week now. The Ethiopian government has not spoken publicly about the border closure, which has resulted in the biggest problem now facing Somaliland regions. The Somaliland administration has not spoken about the closure either.

During contacts between the two sides, Ethiopia reportedly said it took the action to overhaul its tax collection system, complaining that transport vehicles from Somaliland were evading paying duties. It has not given a time frame on when the border might be re-opened to traffic. Somaliland politicians have begun sending pleas to Ethiopia to end the closure, but the neighbouring country has not yet responded to their pleas.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 22, 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 22 Oct 02

Somaliland: President reshuffles deputy ministers

The president of Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin, today issued two decrees appointing and transferring deputy ministers. President appointed Ahmed Jama Samatar, alias Dr Who as heard, the deputy health minister. The former deputy health minister, Mahmud Jama Warfa, has been moved to the Ministry of Information and Guidance as deputy minister.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 21, 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 21 Oct 02

Somaliland: Oil company required to start drilling in 30 days

A cabinet ministers' meeting today chaired by the president of Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin, was characterized by a long debate on an agreement signed with the Seminal petic Copenhagen Group on oil drilling and extraction in Somaliland. The agreement which is a joint venture stipulates that the project will start within 30 days and that experts will arrive within the first 21 days. The agreement is a 50:50 per cent stake. The company will reimburse 15 per cent of its stake back to the country, hence the government's share will be 65 per cent. Somaliland's minister of water resources Mahmud Abdi Malow petic submitted details of the work of the company and the countries in which it operates. The president also briefed the cabinet on how he had countered and would counter any campaigns inimical to Somaliland from the Somali peace talks in Kenya.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 21, 2002/Source: Somaliland Net web site in Somali 20 Oct 02

Somaliland delegation leaves for Uganda

A 13-member delegation led by the minister of family and social development, Edna Adan Isma'il, yesterday left Hargeysa airport for Uganda. The delegation was composed of women and was led by Ismai'l who briefed Haatuf newspaper at the airport saying, "This visit is a familiarization and educational tour to Uganda, God willing. We were invited to Uganda and this was facilitated by the UNDP, which will pay our air tickets. We will hold talks and exchange views on issues related to our people's interests"... Rahma Ibrahim Umar who is from the Ministry of Information and was one of the officials who left for Uganda, showed us her Somaliland passport which was to be used for the trip.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 18, 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 17 Oct 02

Somaliland: Hargeysa governor leaves opposition UCID party

A press conference was held today by UCID opposition Justice and Welfare Party; this party has two web sites: www.ucidparty.com and www.somaliuk.com party governor in Hargeysa Region, Hasan Abdi Muhammud, at which he clearly announced his defection from the party. Hasan said his defection was supported by youth groups of the party and that it follows a rift between him and some party officials. The press conference was held at the regional HQ of the party in Hargeysa...
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 30, 2002/Source: Radio HornAfrik, Mogadishu, in Somali 0500 gmt 30 Oct 02

Somaliland delegation reportedly visits Uganda, meets minister, vice-president

A delegation led by the minister for family and social development of the self-declared state of Somaliland, Edna Ali Isma'il, returned home from a visit to Uganda yesterday. Ten women accompanied the minister on the visit to Uganda at the beginning of last week. The Somaliland delegation met the Ugandan social development minister and the vice-president. Edna Adan Isma'il said they discussed what she called Somaliland affairs with the Ugandan officials.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 29, 2002/Source: Somaliland Net web site in Somali 29 Oct 02

Somaliland: Swedish teachers arrive in Hargeysa for visit

A five-member delegation from Sweden arrived in Hargeysa yesterday. The delegation which is made up of female teachers from a school in Gothenburg, Sweden, aims to initiate cooperation between them and Somaliland's education sector especially some schools in Hargeysa. The delegation is led by a Somali man, Ali Kaar Shidane. The delegation will visit Burco, Berbera, Sheekh and Boorame and will review educational standards in Somaliland.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 28, 2002/ Source: HornAfrik Online text web site, Mogadishu, in Somali 27 Oct 02

Somalia: Anti-Somaliland demo to be held in Mogadishu on 30 October

The interim government of Somalia is preparing a demonstration in support of the unity and sovereignty of Somalia. The Banaadir regional administration is engaged in a thorough preparations ahead of a big demonstration to be held in Mogadishu on Wednesday 30 October.The Banaadir regional governor, Muse Husayn Umar, has said that the demonstration would be held with the aim of exerting pressure on the administration of the self-declared republic of Somaliland to attend the ongoing Somali peace talks in Eldoret western Kenya. He said that if Somaliland would not attend the ongoing peace talks it would not be considered all-inclusive. "If the outcome of the Arta Djibouti conference was rejected in allegation that it was not all-inclusive, how will they adopt the outcome from the ongoing peace talks which was not attended by the people of northern Somalia Somaliland ," Muse Husayn Umar said.
Source: Somaliland Net, Oct 26 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa

Kulmiye party delegation visits central district

The chairman of Kulmiye Party, Ahmad Muhammad Mahmud Silanyo, today visited Sheekh District, Sahil Region, accompanied by members of his party. The Kulmiye party's visit is related to the forthcoming civic elections in the country. The delegation was received by its supporters. Silanyo addressed people outside the party HQ outlining the policies of the party, elections and the importance of strengthening peace. The delegation attended a special luncheon at Dariqa estate thereafter.

Meanwhile, our Sheekh reporter Hasan Khayre says police have completed a demining exercise in the district by unearthing 33 land mines and two grenades in a week. Land mines pose danger to people in the district.


Source: Somaliland Net, Oct 26 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa

UCID party delegation visits Ood Weyne District

A delegation led by the chairman of UCID Justice and Welfare Party, Faisal Ali Warabe, today visited Ood Weyne District, Togdheer Region. The delegation whose objective is to promote its policies will tomorrow address a rally at Ood Weyne's Khayria square. The party is selecting its candidates for the forthcoming civic elections.
Source: Somaliland Net, Oct 24 2002/Source: Radio Hargeysa

KULMIYE Goes to Sahel Region & Beyond

In the early hours today senior KULMIYE party officials left Hargeisa for the Berbera as part of series of tours that took them to W. Galbeed and Awdal regions and now is expected to take them to Togdheer initially. The party entourage was led by Ahmed Silanyo and included the S-G. Daud Gelle, Prof. Abdulaziz Samalle & Mohamed Eid Dhimbil both Party Organizing Secretaries.

The entourage includes Mohamed Mogge, Deeq Hassan Daher, Abdurahman A.H. Hennery and several other party central committee members. Along the route, the delegation will meet party representatives and the general populace in rural prior to their arrival in the evening in Berbera.

A public rally addressed by the party leadership at the public square is planned. The party speeches or theme is likely to cover the party position vis a vis the impending LA elections, party program and appeal to the public to turnout in huge numbers in exercise of the democratic right during election time. Other likely subjects are the recent cross-border trade standstill following the restrictions imposed by Ethiopia on the flow of goods and merchandise across the border in all points of entry.

Berbera's significance as the country's ntrport and trade corridor to Ethiopia is not lost to KULMIYE more so when it was only recently that it started to recover from loss of business as result of higher tariffs and relatively cheaper alternatives sought by trade entities.

The party will proceed on the 24th October 2002 to Sheikh and later to Burao whereby it is expected that a huge welcome await the Kulmiye party official and on the following day the party leadership will address a public rally and meet grass-roots members, civil society organizations affiliated to KULMIYE party and the local party leadership.

In other campaign fronts M.S. Noor 'Fagadhe' the party first Deputy Chairperson is at present in Sanaag and is expected to cover Sool before the end of October. Meanwhile, Elmi M. Farah and Keyse Da'ar Farah a central committee member and an influential Elder respectively left for Odweine on the 22nd October 2002 and other rural settlements in an effort to complete the campaign tour before end of October and officiate party officiate at party candidates nominations, similarly Zeila is being visited by a Yusuf Sh Abdillahi and accompanied by a KULMIYE regional team.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 16, 2002/Source: Radio HornAfrik, Mogadishu, in Somali 0500 gmt 16 Oct 02

UNDP donates health equipment to Somaliland

The UNDP has donated health equipment to the Ministry of Heath of the self-declared republic of Somaliland. The equipment was handed over to the health minister, Mr Muhammad Hasan Isma'il, by a UNDP representative. The equipment includes fridges and surgical equipment.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 15, 2002/Source: Somaliland Net web site in English 14 Oct 02

Norwegian students conclude tour of Somaliland

A group of Norwegian students are going back to their country today after concluding a study tour that took them to many places in Somaliland.

The students (3 boys and 2 girls) arrived here early last month to gain knowledge about Somaliland's society and to study how Somalilanders live. The study tour, sponsored by their school, the Oslo University College, Oslo, Norway, lasted about 35 days during which they visited Hargeysa, Boorama, Gabiley, Allay-baday, Berbera, Sheekh, Burco, Ceerigaabo, and other localities. The Oslo University College students are in their 2nd year and are expected to major in social science. The students told the Somaliland Times, that while in Somaliland, they met with hundreds of people. The Norwegians were also overwhelmed by the way they had been welcomed by Somalilanders. "Wherever we went, people have been friendly, warm and helpful" said Raghild Bruun. During their stay in Somaliland, the students had affectionately taken some Somali names and had put on Somali attire.

Raghild became Asha and another girl, Birgitte Dodgson, was dubbed Sahra. Henning Hertland Torma and Espen Wangensteen-Haugen were given the names of Muhammad and Guleid respectively, while Anders Mathiesen was nicknamed Omar Dheere. There are about 8,000 Somalis who are currently living in Norway. The Norwegian capital Oslo, is home to about 5,000 of them. It is through this community that the students have become introduced for the first time to the background of Somalis.

"The idea of coming to here was to enable us gain more practical knowledge and understanding of the real Somali society in action," Anders or Omar Dheere explained. Asked whether Norwegians know the difference between Somaliland and Somalia, Birgitte or Sahra pointed out that people of Norway as elsewhere in Europe, usually associate Somalia with Somaliland. "Because they didn't know the difference and that it was peaceful in Somaliland, people felt very worried when we told them about the trip we were planning to make up to here." It took the Norwegian students one year before their tour finally materialized. "I would feel more safe walking the streets of Somaliland towns than in many big cities in America or Europe," Birgitte added.

The students said they were sad that they had to conclude their tour. "No matter how we try, we can't fully express our deep gratitude to ordinary Somalilanders who treated us so nicely during our stay," Espen Wangensteen-Haugen or Guleid said in a voice cracking with emotions. While in Somaliland, the Norwegian students received many offers of help. "As we leave, it is deeply regrettable that we couldn't possibly avail of all the support we have been offered," Henning Hertland Torma concluded. The group also thanked the Somaliland Red Crescent, the Norwegian Red Cross and the Somaliland Ministry of Health for facilitating their trip to Somaliland as well for assistance rendered them while here. After their return to Oslo, the student group will write a report of 40 pages on their study of Somaliland society.

But according to Asha Ragnhild, the group has learned so much about life in Somaliland, it will not be possible to include all the information gathered in a report of that size.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 15, 2002/ Source: Somaliland Net web site in English 14 Oct 02

Somaliland: Opposition party campaigns in northwestern districts

It was only two weeks ago when the political organization, Kulmiye wrapped up its election campaign in the major districts of Hargeysa region (north west).

Last Thursday 10 October however, Kulmiye went farther west and took its campaign to Boorama, the capital of Awdal Region, which also happens to be President Riyale's hometown. "I don't intend to get less votes from Boorama than Mr Riyale would get from Burco," joked Ahmad Silanyo, the chairman of Kulmiye, as he addressed an audience that gathered in downtown Boorama. The Kulmiye delegation is also expected to visit Zeila Seylac at the Somaliland Djiboutian border. Since last month, Kulmiye has been waging a vigorous campaign aimed at promoting its programme and winning supporters from the Somaliland electorate. So far, it has shown some considerable success.

Kulmiye leaders have recently adopted a policy that calls for the full active participation of the organization's members and supporters in the forthcoming elections.


BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 13, 2002/ Source: Radio HornAfrik, Mogadishu, in Somali 0530 gmt 13 Oct 02

Somalia: Somaliland raps Egypt over plea to attend peace talks in Kenya

The Council of Elders of the self-declared administration of Somaliland northwestern Somalia , in a statement issued yesterday in Hargeysa, strongly criticized the Egyptian government for asking the Somaliland administration to participate in the forthcoming Somali peace conference unconditionally, saying Egypt was not in a position to alter Somaliland's intention to secede.

The Somaliland administration has rejected several invitations urging it to participate in the Eldoret northwestern Kenyan town peace talks. The administration authorities emphatically insisted that it would not attend the talks, arguing that they had completely nothing to do with the talks.



Somaliland Times, Issue 38, Oct. 12, 2002

Editorial: The Options of Recognition May Be Boosted by the Forthcoming Elections

By next Feb 23rd, Somalilanders will have exercised their right to vote and express their will through the ballot box. After months of cynicism, most Somalilanders are now convinced of participating in the electoral process. Of course, there are those who view the whole process with deep skepticism and suspicion.

But such negative attitudes are understandable considering that the majority of the Somalilanders who are eligible to take part in the forthcoming elections, have never actually experienced this kind of a process before. Yet after winning a decade-long struggle against dictatorship in the eighties, followed by another decade-long struggle for peace, national reconciliation and democracy, Somalilanders can not now dodge their right to vote and select their government representatives.

This is by no means to underestimate the huge challenges posed to Somaliland by the forthcoming elections. Apparently there are many shortcomings in terms of the country's preparedness for the elections. The tasks of voter registration, education and information are yet to be addressed. UDUB's illicit access to government resources continues to be a serious problem that if not resolved now may overshadow later the legitimacy of the election results.

Obviously there is little time left for overcoming the above difficulties. Neither does the incumbent government (both the executive and legislative branches) has much time left before its term in office expires by early next year.Apart from being a constitutional requirement, Somaliland's current transition from the Shirbeeleed electoral system to a multi-party based democracy, is going to create a set of moral and legal options that the world cannot ignore any more.

In the last 10 years while the international community has been busy in trying to reconcile the warring factions in the former Italian colony of Somalia, Somaliland has, by contrast, been involved in a successful peace-building and national reconciliation process without external help.

Within this period, Somaliland has also proven wrong the skeptics amongst members of the international community that argued it is not a viable state. Somaliland has demonstrated despite the constraints posed by the lack of recognition its ability to do business with the rest of the world, that it is economically more viable than many countries in today's Africa that depend on substantial foreign aid for survival. In fact, Somaliland stands as a model for democracy, human rights and self-reliance.

There is no doubt that Somaliland's electoral process, if conducted fairly and freely, will boost the probability of this country becoming recognized by the international community. It is therefore the common responsibility of all stakeholders, particularly President Rayale's Administration, leaders of the opposition and the civil society at large, to ensure that the forthcoming elections are held peacefully, fairly and freely.


Somaliland Times, Issue 38, Oct. 12, 2002

Norwegian Students Conclude Study Tour of Somaliland Hargeisa.

A group of Norwegian students are going back to their country today after concluding a study tour that took them to many places in Somaliland.The students (3 boys and 2 girls) arrived here early last month to gain knowledge about Somaliland's society and to study how Somalilanders live. The study tour, sponsored by their school, the Oslo University College, Oslo, Norway, lasted about 35 days during which they visited Hargeisa, Borama, Gabilay, Allay-baday, Berbera, Sheikh, Buroa, Erigavo, and other localities.

The Oslo University College students are in their 2nd year and are expected to major in Social Science.The students told the Somaliland Times, that while in Somaliland, they met with hundreds of people. The Norwegians were also overwhelmed by the way they had been welcomed by Somalilanders. "Wherever we went, people have been friendly, warm and helpful" said Raghild Bruun. During their stay in Somaliland, the students had affectionately taken some Somali names and had put on Somali attire.

Raghild became Asha and another girl, Birgitte Dodgson, was dubbed Sahra. Henning Hertland Torma and Espen Wangensteen-Haugen were given the names of Mohamed and Gulaid respectively, while Anders Mathiesen was nicknamed Omar Dheere.There are about 8000 Somalis who are currently living in Norway. The Norwegian capital Oslo, is home to about 5000 of them. It is through this community that the students have become introduced for the first time to the background of Somalis.

"The idea of coming to here was to enable us gain more practical knowledge and understanding of the real Somali society in action," Anders or Omar Dheere explained. Asked whether Norwegians know the difference between Somaliland and Somalia, Birgitte or Sahra pointed out that people of Norway as elsewhere in Europe, usually associate Somalia with Somaliland. "Because they didn't know the difference and that it was peaceful in Somaliland, people felt very worried when we told them about the trip we were planning to make up to here". It took the Norwegian students one year before their tour finally materialized. "I would feel more safe walking the streets of Somaliland towns than in many big cities in America or Europe," Birgitte added.

The students said they were sad that they had to conclude their tour. "No matter how we try, we can't fully express our deep gratitude to ordinary Somalilanders who treated us so nicely during our stay," Espen Wangensteen-Haugen or Gulaid said in a voice cracking with emotions. While in Somaliland, the Norwegian students received many offers of help. "As we leave, it is deeply regrettable that we couldn't possibly avail of all the support we have been offered," Henning Hertland Torma concluded.The group also thanked the Somaliland Red Crescent, the Norwegian Red Cross and the Somaliland Ministry of Health for facilitating their trip to Somaliland as well for assistance rendered them while here. After their return to Oslo, the student group will write a report of 40 pages on their study of Somaliland society.

But according to Asha Ragnhild, the group has learned so much about life in Somaliland, it will not be possible to include all the information gathered in a report of that size.


Somaliland Times, Issue 38, Oct. 12, 2002

KULMIYE Takes its Election Campaign to Borama

Borama : It was only 2 weeks ago when the political organization, KULMIYE, wrapped up its election campaign in the major districts of Hargeisa region (North West). Last Thursday however, KULMIYE went farther west and took its compaign to Borama, the capital of Awdal region, which also happens to be President Rayale's hometown.

"I don't intend to get less votes from Borama than Mr Rayale would get from Buroa," joked Ahmed Sillanyo, the chairman of KULMIYE, as he addressed an audience that gathered in downtown Borama. The KULMIYE delegation is also expected to visit Zaila at the Somaliland Djiboutian border.Since last month, KULMIYE has been waging a vigorous campaign aimed at promoting its programme and winning supporters from the Somaliland electorate. So far, it has shown some considerable successes.

KULMIYE leaders have recently adopted a policy that calls for the full active participation of the organization's members and supporters in the forthcoming elections.


Somaliland Times, Issue 38, Oct. 12, 2002

AET to Develop a Literacy Newsletter

Hargeisa : African Education Trust, an organization based in Britain, will soon launch a newsletter for informally educated people in Somaliland.The newsletter, which will be distributed freely to people who have learned how to read and write from other, AET programmes. The AET is also going to support an educational programme for the disabled people that will be broadcast through the Radio.
Somaliland Times, Issue 38, Oct. 12, 2002

Veteran Politician Jama Saleh Dies

Dubai- : Jama Saleh Ahmed, a prominent politician and member of ASAD, died last Thursday in a Dubai hospital where he was undergoing medical treatment from acute case of stomach ulcer. Jama Saleh was a veteran of Somaliland's struggle for freedom from colonial rule during the fifties.He also took part in the armed struggle for the liberation of Somaliland from Siyad Barre's dictatorship during the eighties.
Somaliland Times, Issue 38, Oct. 12, 2002

Poles Apart Them Southerners and us Northerners are not the same people. Period

by Ahmed I. Hassan (ahmedihassan@hotmail.com)

It is the conventional wisdom that the peoples known universally as "Somalis" who are inhabiting in the Horn Of Africa and parts of East Africa are one and same people. That they derive from the same ancestral stock.

That they possess the same culture. That they share the same history. That they practice the same religion. That they speak the same language. That they subscribe to same values and customs. That they are of the same race, et cetera, at cetera. Nonsense!Quite on the contrary, there are two distinct and probably three or four peoples in the said geographical area. One is in the north; in Somaliland, Djibouti and northeastern Ethiopia.

The other or others are in the south; from the so-called Puntland down south all the way to northern Kenya and parts of southeastern Ethiopia. Let me categorize these peoples as "us" Northerners and the "them" Southerners. They have nothing in common except that misfortune has made them neighbors.

Grouping all of them as "Somalis" is a freak anthropological mistake the origin of which I cannot fathom but the propagation of which is sinisterly used by those who have not the interest of both peoples at heart. These pretenders, some from "us", most of "them" and many from foreign countries argue that since all "Somalis" are one and the same people, they are, or at least most of them are bound to be united under one unitary entity. Never mind that the same pretenders dismantled that unitary entity, the former Somali Republic, when it existed, and now that it does not exist, they want to revive it for the same motives that destroyed it in the first place. Nor do they take into account the fact that the identicalness of people do not obligate them to be united (witness the Arab countries; same people over 20 states) or that ethnic diversity is no bar to a union of peoples in one political state (most countries in the world are inhabited by ethnically diverse peoples. Witness USA).

But my intention here is not to discuss the pros and cons of "Somali" unity, or how to resolve "their" present day problems. My argument is that there is no such thing as homogenous "Somalism". It is totally a myth; a stereotype. The sooner all concerned realize and accept this first and foremost cardinal fact the better for the same all concerned. Everything else is secondary. For those who wish to promote peace and stability in this region, this fact should be the starting point: These are two different peoples; if they both want unity, they will unite; if one or both do not desire unity they will stay separate.

The origin of "Somalis" is a gray area. No member of either people (them or us) can trace his lineage for more than an average of 20 generations, which means approximately 500 years back. Neither people have a written history by themselves. What are available on origin of "Somalis" are what was researched and written by others; Europeans and Arabs. And this changes from time to time or is sometimes doctored to suit vested interests and political agendas. Sometimes the "Somalis" are Cushitics; sometimes Hamites, and still at other times Arabs of Semitic stock.

This can change again; it is a matter of time and fertile imagination. But if culture and values are any indication of shared heritage and ethnicity, it is very clear that "them" and "us" have none. Values are the unwritten rules of how an individual, a community and a people conduct themselves, amongst themselves and towards others. Southerners' values are egocentric, selfish and covetous. In pursuit of wealth or power the end justifies all means. Conning, cheating, lying, robbing either by stealth or failing that by open and often violent means are second nature to them. Let alone others far away, they will not even spare the near, the dear or the neighbor.

Virtues and vices have a very thin boundary here. In 1960, when Somalilanders by way of naivety and emotion gave up their independence and without conditions merged with the South in the name of brotherhood, the Southerners had the insolence of shamelessly taking all the major positions of government: the presidency, the prime ministership, the ministries of defense, interior and foreign affairs, the commands of the army and police and every other important post in the wheels of power.

It was as if the northerners were a vanquished people and victors were sharing the spoils amongst themselves. Such is the difference in the two peoples' values and traditions that if the circumstances were the other way around and the Southerners came to Hargeisa with their independence and soul in the bag, the Northerners would have gladly and willingly given all these posts to the Southerners anyway. One thing is called greed; the other is called grace.The graciousness and generosity of the Northerners especially towards strangers borders on prodigality or perhaps stupidity and is in stark contrast with the characteristic selfishness of the Southerners.

Even the destitute nomad in the North is known to kill the sheep that he had denied his malnourished family for the strange traveler who had camped near his settlement for the night. In teashops when friends, acquaintances or even strangers sit around the same table, it is normal that one them would make a point to foot the bill though no prior invitation was given. Friends, relatives and indeed strangers can call on a house at lunchtime and share food and drinks. If one is hard up he can count on his relatives and friends to pitch in. It is a kind of social security system that allows no one to be really rich but which never leave any one to starve. Would such things happen in the South? You bet your boots not.Indeed the Southerners, when they discovered this Northern trait, have typically put it into maximum use. If you befriend a Southerner, he or she would expect you to open your purse strings. If you don't, he or she would swear that you are not a Northerner; that you are a pretender. Usually they do not get disappointed but do not expect gratitude. Behind your back he or she will congratulate himself or herself on his or her ingenuity and laugh at your foolishness.

Sincerity is another area where we vastly differ. Smooth talking and flattery are their forte, but they are often not earnest in what they say. "Aboowe macanow or Abaaye macaanee" (Sweet brother or sweet sister) is what they call you while they may be devising your demise. In the North `Brother" and "Sister" are reversed for the real ones.

If you happen to be in their house they would say "Soo dhawoowhay, ninanku minankaagii waaye" (welcome, the house is yours), but you are expected to thank them and go away. If you are dumb or uninitiated and take them at their word by making yourself at home, you create an ugly situation.

Embarrassed glances will be exchanged by the hosts and silence will be deafening. You will soon realize that you are imposing yourself and going out of the door as quickly as possible will be a merciful relief for both you and hosts alike.Titles in the South are also very loose. I am reminded of an episode that occurred to a friend who was educated in the States to the Master of Arts level. On his return he became a ranking official in Mogadishu Municipality. After a few months his American wife joined him. She noticed that everybody was addressing him as "Dittore".

Thinking that she must have missed on her husband's academic advancement or that he had deliberately misled people on his educational achievements she asked him:"Abdillahi, since when did you attain your doctorate?""I didn't, but everyone calls me `Dittore' anyway." He told her, "I know it is embarrassing, but it is useless to protest or to correct them."In the South, the graduate is a "Doctor", the technician is an "Engineer", the clerk is a "Manager", the military officer is a "Leader". Anyone appointing himself a title gets away with it. If one is in a position of authority, one's subordinates will certainly oblige one with a fancy title and one will see no sarcasm in the whole exercise. In the North, a person throwing around his title or rank or accepting an undeserved one is considered egotistic and lacking in substance.

In the former Somali Republic, public and private wealth accumulated for scores of years were invested in the South as a matter of government policy. Revenues generated in Somaliland were routinely transferred to the South. All new factories, plantations, hospitals, schools, universities were built only in the South, while the North was denied even funds for proper maintenance of the existing public facilities at the time of independence.

Northerners were even prevented to invest their own money in their hometowns. In Hargeisa there a regulation that barred residents to construct buildings more than two stories high. Soon the two tallest private buildings in Mogadishu were owned by Northerners (Jirdeh Hussein and Abdillahi Omar). The upscale suburb of Casa Populare was almost exclusively a Northern community. Today there is no vestige of national and Northern owned property in the South.

Whole factories were dismantled and sold as scrap in the UAE, India and Italy. Private residences, school buildings, farms etc in the Mogadishu and other Southern areas are occupied by squatters who have killed or driven away the rightful owners. Ethnic cleansing occurred in Somalia before Yugoslavia made it notorious. Yet this is deemed as nothing out of the ordinary. People who do this are considered smart and brave.Islam and any other of God's religions have in my view two fundamental tenets. One, Piety, is the devout worship and devotion to God. Its inherent conspicuity draws respect and reverence from fellow men. If one is devoted to God, it goes that one must be benevolent to his fellow humans as that is the express wish of Him.

However it is only Almighty who really knows whether one's piety is genuine or not. God Himself has warned us of those who are pious only to gain acceptance and respect in the society and then do untold harm to God's unsuspecting people. He said they are worst kind of hypocrites and their place hereafter is the flaming Hell.Which leads us to the other tenet, which is Righteousness. This has more to do with morality and the laws God laid down to govern His beings. Human regeneration and sustenance of life would be chaos without righteousness. The institution of family and relations of man and woman are regulated by these moral laws.

Indeed, the laws of men themselves are also derived from this tenet. God is very particular of the preservation and protection of the lives, freedom and properties of His people. A righteous person, therefore shall not for instance, kill or rob or cheat or deny freedom from another person.Thus, Piety is apparent, but Righteousness can only be authentic. A person can be righteous but not necessarily be pious. There are atheists who are righteous. However a truly pious person is also inherently righteous. A righteous but not pious person can at any time in life repent and God has in his power to forgive him. But God has made clear that He will not forgive those who have sinned against His people.Now we the Northerners call ourselves Muslims.

The Southerners also claim to be Muslims. But I am leery to put myself in the same league with those whom committing atrocities or condoning them is a matter of course. One or the other must be outside the perimeters of Islam. Before the seventies, after which, all sorts of "Somalis" took to emigration in droves, the Somali communities in foreign countries - in the Arabian Gulf, East Africa and Europe, except Italy - were almost exclusively from the North. Then the Somalis were known in their host countries for their upright values, pride and respect of local laws.

The hosts' only complaint was the Somalis did not assimilate into the new societies, kept their distinct traditions and were easily bound turn violent if their dignity was offended. This in some cases became an advantageous reputation rather than a weakness as it bestowed to the Somalis respect and cautioned others against pettily picking on them. Thus it was easy and rather pleasant for Somalis to live and travel around in these countries.Then came the waves from the South and with them crime. Robbery, forgery, prostitution, human trafficking, racketeering, beggary - crimes never associated with Somalis - have been repeatedly committed by "Somalis".

With the fall of the "Somali Republic" and Somaliland lacking recognition, nations around the world view "Somalis" as people without government. Yet many countries have been considerate enough to allow them to travel and sometimes settle in their countries. However this kindness has been grossly misused. Recently for example, almost a planeload of teenage girls from Mogadishu with 15-day visas went to Dubai. "Merchant" said the profession space in their passports. It is only in the South where a young lady of fifteen masters the intricacies of commerce, but seriously I hate to contemplate on what business they were taken there. They were detained and returned and their male guardians were imprisoned. The authorities and people of these countries are dumbfounded by these un-Somali activities.

These are not the same Somalis they had known, they lament. Today a "Somali" even one traveling with a non-Somali passport is viewed with suspicion. Many countries have enacted regulations barring "Somalis" to come to their shores. I do not blame them.Now, the problem is: for most foreigners a "Somali" is a Somali. They do not know the difference between "us" and "them". A Somali passport or looking like a Somali? Kaput. The result is that straightforward Somalis with legitimate reasons to go to foreign lands bear the brunt of their officials' wrath.

Reinstating internationally recognized government to the former Somali Republic will not restore the image and good standing of the "Somalis". A name once spoiled stays spoiled. For Somalilanders the only available option is to educate the world on their separate and different identity as opposed to that of the Southerners. Redoubling our efforts for recognition is the first step.Northerners love for democracy and aversion for dictatorship are well known. It is manifested in our traditional pastoral Shirs (meetings) under the tree where the affairs of the community were discussed and consensual agreements were always reached.

It is implanted in the short and modern history of independent Somaliland where democracy flourishes in ways that is rare in most parts of the world.It is the opposite in the South. There autocracy or group supremacy is the order of the day. In the sixties groups originating from present day Puntland dominated the higher echelons of power. They believed it was their right to rule. Then came Siad Barre, himself a Southerner from another part and the Puntlanders turned against him, not because he was a bad leader but because their vanity and egoism would not allow them to stand any one except them to be in power. Siad with characteristic brutality made short work of them. Having shown his rough side, he then enticed them to come to his fold. Unprincipled as they were and with tails between their legs, they later joined him to commit atrocities in other parts of the country.

It is no secret that Siad himself did not intend to give up power even after death. He groomed his son, Maslah to take it over. Only his hasty flight in a tank from his palace with with freedom fighters at his heels spared the country of the formation of the Siad Dynasty a la Jean Bokasta's Central African Empire. When Aidid proclaimed himself President over the blood of so many innocent people, he cleverly gave positions to members of other communities. His vice president Abdirahman Tur (who ironically was the first president of Somaliland) and foreign minister Jama Yare were Somalilanders. However misguided they were and disloyal to their own people, these men and others in the Aidid government were seasoned, competent and mature politicians. Yet when he died, baby Aidid was installed as president and no feathers were rattled.

In the sham conference of Arta, there was no question that the post of president should go to a person from a particular area; the question was who from that area to give it to. How insulting! Since the Southern despotic leaders have the uniform tendency of never willingly giving up power (real or imagined) before death (usually violent) or overthrow, Abdiqasim Salad's imagery realm will certainly need a family successor sooner or later. Now I do not know if Salad has a teenaged or older son, but if he does not, his subjects, few as they are, need not despair. He must have a brother or a daughter or a nephew or an uncle to fill his shoes when the inevitable arrives.

Furthermore, the poor public is not spared the weight of the leaders' spouses and other relatives even before death. I am told that the Musa Matan ladies, one of them wife of Somalia's first president were the most effective lobbyists in the corridor of power in their time. Siad Barre's foreign minister was his brother. His intelligence chief was his son-in-law. Close relatives held most of the sensitive commands in the army. His wife, Mama Khadija, was reputed to be the second most powerful person in the country. World-class ministers and gallant generals commanding battle-hardened armies were known to suddenly go weak in the knees in her presence. Salad's wife is said to be his real finance minister and central Banker.

Language per se is no proof of homogeneity. English has become the native language of many diverse peoples and races. Swahili is spoken from Kenya to Zimbabwe. Somali literature is a northern domain. All classic and contemporary poets -Seyid Mohamed Abdulla Hassan, Ali Jama Habil, Salan Carabe, Qaman Bulhan, Ali Dhooh, Ismail Mire, Abdi Gahair, Omer Austeralia, Tima'ade, Hadrawi; I say all were or are Northerners. As were and are the songwriters and popular singers: Abdillahi Qarshe, Ali Sugale, Abdi Idan, Balayo As, Shimbir, Mohamed Ahmed, Mohamed Sulaiman, Omer Dhule, Abdi Qais, Madeq, Hibo, Sahra Ahmed, Bahsan, Khatra Dahir etc, the list is endless. Even Magool, a Southern, found her fame in the North. The only Southerner worthy of mention in this context is Arees Ise and he was more notable for the amusing female back up melodic chorus of "Runtaa!" ("True!" - agreeing with his utterances) than for thought provoking verses. Northerners who went to the South during the first years of the "Union" found hard to comprehend dialects.

Since the mass media, such radio broadcasting, the mass culture and the profession of teaching were dominated by Northerners; the Somali Language as spoken in the North became the magna lingua of both North and South. In short we taught them the Language.The fact of the matter is we do not celebrate the same way.

We do not grieve the same way. We do not play the same way. We do not have same birth rituals or funeral rituals. We do not dress the same way. We do not have the same marriage traditions. (By the way, speaking of marriage, there is in the South something called Qudba Sir and Qudba Shardi -secret marriage- that is a discreet and conditional marriages for a specific period and on specific conditions. No such thing in the North. And when I asked our religious scholars if Islam sanctions this, they reacted with horror. They said it is nothing less than adultery in the name of religion; a grave sin.)

We are something and they something else.The first time a Somali flag was hoisted in liberty, it was in Hargeisa. It was a Northern creation. Abdillahi Qarshe's descriptive song of that flag (Qolaba calankeedu waa caynee -every nation's flag has a different color-) and Abdillahi Timade's flag welcoming poem at independence (Kaana siib; kana saar -lower that, and raise this-) were truly moving and classic odes.

Yet, Somalilanders have now discarded that flag not because they hated it, but because they did not want to be associated with the Southerners. I agree. We had made that flag. We made another. We can make a third if we need to.Similarly, I believe that the name Somali has it origin in the North. As Somali culture is Northern oriented, the name could come only from that area. Some say it is derived from camel milking (Soomaal). In that case first camels in the Horn Of Africa were brought to the North from Asia. However, Somalilanders are not ones to make a fuss out of a name. As the adage goes: "what is in a name?" It is the character of a person or society that is important, not what the person or the society is called. In order to delete any remaining association with the Southerners, I propose that we change our country's name to something not containing the word Somali. I have no doubt we will find some name that is unique, descriptive and beautiful. Let the contest for it begin.I am not na Nor do I want to imply that you will not see some good people in the South. After all they must be people. But I would like others to point out to me where the Northerners are at fault.

You can count on me to admit them if they truly exist. And if there are verifiable Southern virtues, I am open to hear them as well. I am aware that I run the risk of being accused of expressing radical views. I tried my best to base them not on sentiments but on facts. I stand to be challenged on these facts.


Somaliland Times, Issue 38, Oct. 12, 2002

Somali Poetry Introduction to Somali Poetry

by Martin Orwin ( Modern Poetry in Translation, New Series, No.17, 2001 ).

Anyone who has come in contact with Somali culture will be aware of the central role poetry plays in that culture. For as long as we know, poetry has been the core form of cultural expression and is the basis upon which some other forms have been developed, in particular Somali theatre. Traditional life in the eastern Horn of Africa, where the Somalis live, has poetry woven into its fabric. Many of the day-to-day tasks which people carry out in the countryside have poetry associated with them in the form of work songs, each type with its own metrical structure and associated tunes.

A young girl might sing songs about the sheep and goats she is tending, weaving into such a song her feelings for the animals and what they mean to her family; a young man may praise his camels in a watering song, a woman tease her neighbour in a mat-weaving song and so on. Many such worksongs are of common heritage, but it is also the case that people compose their own lyrics reflecting concerns and events in their own lives. All these types of poems are generally described in Somali as hees and are part of what might be termed Somali folklore. In addition there is poetry which is composed by poets with the intention that the poem be heard more widely as a comment on something of importance to the community, whether that be the immediate kin or the whole Somali nation. Such poetry is termed maanso in Somali and is characterised by the fact that any particular composition is always associated with the poet who composed it and that anyone reciting the poem must do so with the aim of reciting it word for word as the poet composed it.

This verbatim memorization is a particularly important characteristic of the oral poetic heritage of the Somalis and such poetry is generally held in higher esteem than the hees type.It is important to bear in mind that Somali poetry is still primarily experienced through listening rather than reading; there has been some publication of collections of important poetry (mostly of poets from the past), but these are not widely distributed at all. The language was first written in an officially recognized script in 1972 and, prior to that, poetry was, with a very few exceptions, composed, retained and performed solely in oral form. Most poetry composed today is still essentially oral, although instead of memorization playing the major role in its dissemination, cassette tape and radio broadcast are more prominent. Cassettes are particularly important and the recording of performances of poetry and subsequent duplication of the tapes is very widespread and is not regulated through copyright laws.

The identity of the poet must always be made clear however and plagiarism and inaccurate recitation of a maanso poem are frowned upon and would lead to the ridicule of anyone trying it on. The matter of oral versus written poetry has become further blurred in recent years when we understand that some poets now use writing in the composition of their poetry. Hadraawi composes using writing and when performing his own poetry does so by reading a written text. There are other poets who continue not to use writing at all and who retain their poems in their heads and pass them on through recitation and recording on cassette.Maanso poetry is very much of its place and time. A great amount of poetry which is composed by people throughout the Horn of Africa (as well as in the diaspora) relates to events in the life of the poet and in his or her community. Thus as time goes by poets are constantly addressing new situations, and since there is no instituted way in which poetry is preserved, it is easily lost. Little poetry is remembered from before the turn of the century, but now, given the technology of cassette recording and also the development of writing, poetry is more readily kept for posterity. Work was undertaken towards preserving the poetry of some of the most important early poets by Somali poets and scholars in the 1960s and 1970s and there are now some published collections of such early poetry.

Of recent poets, few have published works. Hadraawi's collected poems (1970-1990) were published in 1993 in Norway (1), an important contribution to Somali literature.Another consequence of the importance of the context of composition is that some poems are very difficult to understand if one is not aware of the people and events involved. Some poems, however, are composed on general themes and this makes them more readily accessible to a wider audience and allows them to be understood through translation with a minimal amount of associated annotation. Such are both of the poems presented here.

The last two decades in the Horn of Africa have been times of great upheaval, culminating in the early Nineties in horrific violence in some parts of Somalia and the consequent displacement of a great number of people throughout the world. Much of the poetry which has become widely known over these years has been concerned with this and some imaginative and powerful poems have been composed. As has been the case throughout Somali history, some of this poetry is partisan, supporting or denigrating according to the allegiance of the poet. Poetry which becomes most widely known, however, tends to be that which deals with the situation as a whole and speaks to a wider section of society. As a result of these political upheavals, many people have found their way to the United Kingdom where there is now a large Somali community. Poetry remains an important part of that displaced community's life and the concerns of the people are naturally reflected in it. For some, a nostalgic reflection through the appreciation of the poetry of past times is important.

For others the development of new forms and use of new language is a major part of their cultural life in expressing their new experience and in assimilating new influences from the communities around them. The use of language in poetry is a matter of concern to many who now live in the UK. Younger people are sometimes unable to understand the language used in some of the poetry of the great modern poets, let alone the great poets of the past, because of the prevalence of the use of vocabulary which has its roots in the traditional pastoral way of life. The most widely known poetry comes from those whose The two poets whose work is represented here have both been resident in the UK during the 1990s. Although Hadraawi has now returned to the Horn of Africa, whilst living