Somaliland CyberSpace

That Freedom Shall not Perish


SOMALIA: Somaliland in plea for food aid

Somaliland Vice-President Ahmed Yusuf Yasin and the Minister for Planning and National Coordination, Ali Ibrahim, address a news conference in Hargeisa, the region's capital

HARGEISA, 29 June 2009 (IRIN) - The authorities in Somalia's self-declared republic of Somaliland have urged the international community to come to its aid to avert severe food shortages and hunger due to a prolonged drought in the region.

Ahmed Yusuf Yasin, vice-president and chairman of the National Disaster Committee (NERAD), told a news conference in Hargeisa that Somaliland was experiencing the worst drought in decades.

"All six regions of Somaliland are affected by the drought; and 40 percent of the [3.5 million] population or at least 1,400,000 people are affected," Yasin said.

"We’ve called this drought 'Sima' [equalizer in Somali] because all regions are affected."

Yasin said the region required urgent help in water trucking, the rehabilitation of boreholes, and the de-silting of `berkads’ (water points) and dams. It also needed medicines and herds to be re-stocked.

"Nutritional support for the weak and sick will be also necessary," he added.

NERAD officials said the `Deyr’ (short) and `Gu’ (long) rains in Somaliland had been below normal since 2007 and this year's `Gu’ rains were especially poor.

In a statement issued on 28 June, the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) said the cumulative effects of drought had resulted in a decline in reproduction rates and re-stocking for all species. With poor livestock body conditions, the number of saleable animals in local markets had declined, it said.

The drought had also affected a significant number of urban households whose income and food sources are linked to the livestock trade.

FEWSNET warned of a serious humanitarian catastrophe if no steps are taken to avert the shortages.

According to local aid workers, those at most risk include the elderly and the disabled.

"When the drought affected all regions, the problems for the vulnerable increased, particularly disabled people who were used to being looked after in urban centres," Roda Ahmed Yasin, a sanitation officer with the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), told IRIN.

Ahmed Yasin said he had come across a number of families with disabled people who were finding it particularly difficult to cope: “Before the drought they could provide for them but now everybody has his own problems, compounded by pressure for help from relatives in the countryside," he said.


Somaliland Central Bank Opens First Branch In Sool

Las Anod, June 27 2009 (Somalilandpress) — The Central Bank of Somaliland (CBS) opened it’s first branch in Las Anod, the regional capital of Sool on Friday. The branch will introduce Somaliland currency [Somaliland Shilling] to the region and will carry out all monetary policies, financial research, note issuance and anti-money laundering as well as general services of a commercial bank and exchange.

Las anod historically used Somali Shilling but since coming under Somaliland’s control in November 2007, the Somaliland government has built a number of institutions.

Currently there are no foreign exchange or commercial banks in the city.

Central Bank of Somaliland governor Mr Abdirahman Mohamed inaugurated the new branch also present for the opening ceremony were the governor of Sool, Mr Ali Mahamoud (Ali Sandule), traditional leader, Mr Adan Ali Duale, Mayor of Las Anod, Mr Anbashe Aw-Dahir and a large crowd from the public.


Somaliland: Does Temporary recognition Will Serve for All Interests?

Hargeisa, 27 June 2009 (Somalilandpress) – Somaliland scored 4.5 in the numerical index rating, with 1 representing the most respect and 7 the least respect; ranked the Somaliland as the 144th world’s political and civil rights respecting country out of 208 countries (193 recognized and 15 yet to be recognized countries); which further indicated that Somaliland has more political rights and civil liberties, than 64 countries, including China, Russia, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia according to the Washington based Freedom House Organization’s 2007.

Somaliland peace-making and democratization, and the relatively peaceful neighboring Puntland State of Somalia are enough to approve of the hypothesis of that building peace through people not for the people is more successful than parachuting Somali government established in Nairobi, Impeghatti, Djibouti, Arta, Cairo, Sana, etc.

Thanks to traditional elders, the homegrown efforts not only manage the peace and security in Somaliland but also the judicial functions as a prevention measure. According to the Hargeisa based Research and Training Center (RTC), 65% of Somaliland settlements rely on community elders in their peace, security and justice management. In addition, two third of the cases reached at the prosecution offices withdrawn their cases to civil mediation; which accumulates the traditional elders’ peace, security, and justice management burden to 77.5%.

Unexpectedly, the supposed appreciation and reward from other Somalis and the international community to the Somaliland is yet to be materialized. Instead, all the fifteen international community’s Somali reconciliation attempts and the self-pro-claimed Somali efforts of setting Somali governments, including internationally unrecognized late General Aideed’s government, the Union of Islamic Courts defeated by the Ethiopian Military intervention with the US logistic support, and the Al-shabab Al-Mujahedeen Islamist Movement, which currently controlled most of Southern Somalia emphasized to establish a Mogadishu based (suppose to be based) Somali governments; as if Somalia is in Mogadishu; while Mogadishu is in Somalia.

“Contrary to the western belief, Somaliland ’s successful multi-party elections have proved that the African tradition, Islamic faith and modern democracy are compatible“.

Al-shabab Al-Mujahedeen publically declare that they masterminded the three suicidal explosions in Hargeisa on October, 2008 as retributive action against the pro-western and pro-Ethiopian Somaliland is schemer to revenge from the extradition of Anti-Ethiopia ONLF members or supporters from Somaliland to Ethiopia,since Ethiopia is common enemy for ONLF and Al-shabab.

Contrary to the expectation, the international community graded Somaliland down to UN Security Level Four, which could discourage development and investment. In the gatherings, Somalilanders asked questions to each other- whether such security downgrading decision is rewarding to Al-shabab, and inviting to carry our more attacks or not? On September 11, 2001; three planes were crashed into buildings in New York, just couple of yards away from the United Nations headquarter, and no one down graded the USA security level; why Somaliland? This will be a witness for Islamist hardliner’s claim of that the Western World is not looking a democracy but they are using as proxy hand to intervene other’s affairs.

The currently widespread legitimate debate among Somalilanders is- ‘what did they benefited from supporting the Western World in the war against the international terrorist’, Djibouti in the war against Eritrea, Ethiopia in the war against ONLF, and the Red Sea facing countries in the war against the sea pirate.

The homegrown Somaliland peace and democracy needs to be rewarded, at least by offering temporary recognition to both Somaliland and Somalia with condition of attending negotiation to agree, either as two separate states or into one Somalia within that period, as a carrot and stick policy.

Any other attempt is unproductive, if not counterproductive, and could create a conducive environment for Al-shabab Al-Mujahedeen’s potential conquer of all Somali territories, including Djibouti, and the Somali regions of Ethiopia and Kenya.

Somaliland the home of 3.5 million persons, one third of the population of the collapsed Somalia,is a former British colony in the Horn of Africa that merged in 1960 with the Italian colony of Somalia to form the independent republic of Somalia.

When Somalia disintegrated into fiefdoms controlled by iron-fisted warlords in the early 1990s, Somaliland broke away and set up its own administrational institutions, including executive, legislative and judicial bodies, and currency.

Somalilanders tried to build a new state through shirweyne (conference in Somali) under the acacia trees that people in this country can understand and identify with, instead of the extravagance five-star hotels in the neighboring or concerned African and Arab cities, where many failing reconciliations held.

In this basically classless society, the right to choose one’s leaders freely and hold them accountable was practiced for centuries or perhaps for millenniums. The traditional elders controlled political system took the major decisions by consensus and selected government leaders through an electoral college consisting members representing clans during the decade of 1991-2000. Since then, the challenge has been how to transfer the clan-based system to a modern democratic system.

Opportunely, a gradual democratization process took place, where 2001 constitutional referendum, municipal elections, presidential, and House of Representatives election where held in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2005, respectively; and the second term presidential and municipal elections are planned September and December 2009, respectively.

Seventy-six International observers from 15 countries including South Africa, Britain, Canada,New Zealand,the United States, Zimbabwe, Sweden, Finland and other EU members reported in their overall assessment that besides lack of enough resources and higher illiteracy of the voters, free and fair elections have been conducted in Somaliland.

Ahmed Mohamed Diriye (Toorno), ahmedmdiriye@yahoo.com, Hargeisa,


SOMALIA: Pastoralists leave drought-hit villages

Photo: SCDO. A drought-affected family: Those who have moved to urban areas have received aid from the Danish Refugee Council - file photo

HARGEISA, 23 June 2009 (IRIN) - Thousands of nomadic pastoralists in the self-declared republic of Somaliland have abandoned their drought-affected villages and moved closer to urban centres, officials have said.

"More than 20 percent of the nomads have moved to the urban centres, [and are] living with their families in villages near towns," Mursal Askar Mire, the mayor of Eil-Afweyn District in Sanag Region, told IRIN.

The displaced, who have received aid from the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), were mainly in the Sool and Sanag regions, which are claimed by both Somaliland and neighbouring Puntland.

Roda Ahmed Yasin, a DRC sanitation officer, said the agency - through the Somaliland Red Crescent - had distributed non-food items to 1,800 families in Sanag, mostly in 12 centres in Erigavo District and 12 others in Eil-Afweyn District.

The aid recipients, he said, included families that had lost their livestock to the drought, and Ethiopian refugees heading to Bosasso en-route to countries in the Arabian Peninsula.

Mire, the Eil-Afweyn mayor, said the prolonged drought in Sool and Sanag regions had created a food and livelihood crisis.

Thousands of nomadic pastoralists in Somaliland have moved to urban areas to escape drought.

"Non-food aid is welcome, but one of the main problems facing the people is lack of food; we would be happy to get food aid for those affected by drought," he said.

Severe drought has hit Sool and Sanag regions in the past few months following the failure of the `Gu’ rains. The most affected areas include Garab-cad, Beer-weito, Xamilka, Dararweyne, Dunuble, Dhabar Mabac, Kal-Qac, Kalsheeshk, Ceelmidgaan, Dhabar-dalool and Barigeli.

"The rains were not enough to counter the effects of the drought in the area but at least livestock deaths have stopped, even though nomads recently moved to Yufle area in Erigavo District where the rains were better," Mire said.


Somaliland MPs Sign a Parliamentary Motion Calling for a Caretaker President

Fourteen MPs signed in advance a parliamentary motion on Monday calling for a caretaker president if Somaliland presidential election, which had been scheduled for 27 September, did not go ahead as planned.

Hargeisa, Somaliland (Somaliland Globe, 23 June 2009)- Pressure is mounting on president Dahir Rayale Kahin as a cross-party group of MPs began to sign a parliamentary motion calling for the immediate eviction of the president from office if he fails to hold the presidential election by 27 September.

The Somaliland Globe has learnt that the motion, which is backed by parliamentary heavyweights including Chairman of the National Security and Internal Affairs Subcommittee, Saeed Elmi Robleh, Secretary of Standing Committee, Ahmed Mohamed Diriye and Chairman of Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, Abdirahman Osman Alin, will be tabled on Saturday when more than enough MPs is expected to put their signatures to the motion.

The MPs will have the chance to decide how the country should be run if the incumbent caretaker government headed by Dahir Rayale Kahin fails to hold the presidential election by due date.

Rayale’s six-month extension of term of office will subsequently run out after 27 September.

Somalilanders are becoming increasingly concerned that their country’s politics might enter a period of great uncertainty at a time its neighbouring Somalia disintegrated into fiefdoms ruled by extremists using the cover of Islamic religion to advance their hidden agenda. As a result, the parliament is now preparing itself to have a full debate on ways and means to install a non-partisan leader as the country’s caretaker president if the election fails to happen in September.

“We have to realize that human endurance has its limits. The president cannot simply continue to repeatedly test such limits only to turn around and tell the people to put up with yet another postponed election,” said Ahmed Mohamed Diriye, KULMIYE MP.

“We must not, as MPs, relent in our duty and purpose. We risk losing our peace and stability if we don’t kill this appalling culture of repeated presidential term extensions at this infant stage”.

President Rayale had dithered and wavered over the months to co-operate with the opposition parties in order to find speedy ways to resolve the challenges and problems that lay ahead to avoid possible election delays.

Up until now, the government has failed to live up to its promise of paying 25% of its funding contribution towards the election expenses; the National Electoral Commission is in chaos as ‘suspected’ UDUB-leaning commissioners made a daring attempt to dismiss two commissioners from the board on dubious grounds; and a complete and reliable voter registration list has yet to be produced.

Few months ago, presidentRayale had rejected to sign a trilateral agreement hammered out by an independent Political Conflict Resolution Committee to enable the nation to have a free, fair and inclusive election.

MPs who spoke to Somaliland Globe on Monday night are stressing that it is not a motion of “impeachment” against the president per se but rather is intended to exert maximum pressure on Rayale to hold the presidential election as scheduled if enough MPs supported it when it is debated on Saturday. This will also save the country from falling into chaos, they added.

It is not clear whether the caretaker president will exercise full executive powers or not but his main task will be to oversee the staging of presidential election at a mutually agreed timeline.

Many Somalilanders, both inside and outside the country, believe that the legitimacy of Dahir Rayale’s presidency has long gone and people have got no faith in him any longer.


Somalia: Somaliland leader says Kuwait to support development programs

BERBERA, Somalia June 22 (Garowe Online) - The leader of Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland returned from a visit to Kuwait on Monday, Radio Garowe reports.

Somaliland President Dahir Riyale told a press conference in the Gulf of Aden port city of Berbera that his trip to Kuwait City was successful.

"I met with Kuwaiti leaders and we discussed support for development programs," said Mr. Riyale, who was accompanied by Education Minister Hassan Haji Mohamud to Kuwait.

He indicated that Kuwaiti leaders have promised to establish development programs in the education and healthcare sectors, telling reporters that the new programs will begin soon.

It was the first trip to Kuwait by a Somaliland leader since the region in northwestern Somalia unilaterally declared independence in 1991.


Somaliland: A Trip To The Unknown Part 3

Hargeisa, 22 June 2009 (Somalilandpress) – Emily will be writing to Somalilandpress.com about her experience in Somaliland and will be offering tips to anyone who may want to visit the unrecognized republic along the way – discover Somaliland from a Non-Somali perspective. This is the Third article – It is a great privilege to be here in Hargeisa.

First, I thought you might enjoy seeing for yourselves what the plane looked like which brought me safely from Addis to Hargeisa, as I described in the last article.

Next, I couldn’t resist including an image of the famous traffic lights which the Somaliland government and others proudly advertise. I had been eagerly looking for them since I arrived, and finally counted a total of 3 traffic lights in Hargeisa, none of which function or ever seemed to have for that matter.

Yesterday I drank fresh camel milk from the market, and despite numerous warnings I am proud to say it did not make me sick and was rather tasty. It had a sort of smoky flavor and when you buy it at the market it is poured into a plastic bag so you can take it to go, or you can drink it on site in a ceramic cup.

Camels such as those in the picture below can be spotted throughout the city’s periphery, whereas in the city itself you find more goats than camels. I have had many conversations about goats and camels since I’ve been here, and learned about the great respect Somalis have for their camels. The never ride the camels because the animals are very well respected,and instead keep them as their companions and investments which can be used to pay dowry, to buy and sell for cash, and also for milk. Goats have a similar purpose, and you can find them wandering the streets by day, and in the evening they return faithfully to their owners.

One gentleman I met here told me that he accidentally hit a goat once while driving, and has been paying the owner of the goat for three years. When I asked why he couldn’t simply replace the goat with another, he said “if your brother is killed and you are given a new man in his place, can this man replace your brother?” It is the same with goats, for that goat was his goat, and it was different than any other goat.

A few nights ago I went out with some friends to a new, local restaurant called “Obama Restaurant and Café.” I ate with the owner, a funny and interesting man who was very hospitable. He told me that there was a big party when the restaurant opened on inauguration day, and it was reported in many local newspapers. I couldn’t resist including this picture of Hargeisa’s tribute to Obama.

To give you an idea of the landscape and architecture here, I’ve included this picture of a part of the city which in English means “camel camp”. Each part of the city has its own police station and mosque. As you can see, Hargeisa is surrounded by shallow mountains and many houses are made of different colored stones and bricks. To protect the houses from intruders, whereas in the U.S. you can find barbed wires and fencing, in Hargeisa many homes place shards of colored glass atop of their walls, fences or gates. I’ve included a picture of one of these. It is a lot more attractive to look at than barbed wire, and serves the same purpose.

Hargeisa style - stone bricks and barbed wires

Finally, a photo entry would not be complete without at least one picture of the active marketplace. Here you can find a young man pushing a wheelbarrow which contains a special tree whose branches are used as a toothbrush. The leafy part is discarded and you can find lots of people chewing on the branches to clean their teeth or to pass the time.Hargeisa own 'colgates'.

I will soon be visiting other parts of Somaliland and I hope to have more pictures and stories to share upon my return.


Hargeisa Bombing Suspects Appear In Court

Jun 19 2009 (Somaliland Net) - Eleven suspects accused of involvement in Hargeisa suicide bombings in October 2008 appeared in court on Sunday at 7.30am in one of the tightest security in Somaliland legal system.

It is the second time that the eleven suspects, one of whom was a minor aged 17 years, appeared before Hargeisa District Court.

The court hearing, which was set to begin at 8.00am, has been barred from media. It lasted few hours longer than the previous one.

The prosecution allege that all eleven defendants played a part in the suicide bombing campaign one of the people who attended the hearing told Somaliland.org.

Simultaneous suicide bombings targeting government buildings and a United Nations compound in the Somaliland capital city of Hargeisa left at least 30 people dead on 29 October last year in what the US official had all the finger prints of Al-Qaeda.

President Dahir Rayale's personal secretray, Dahir Ali Idd, and several U.N. employees were among the dead after three car bombers attacked U.N. offices, the Ethiopian consulate, where dozens of people were queuing up for visas, and the presidential palace in Hargeisa, capital of Somaliland.

The hearing session will resume next week.


Somaliland: Electoral Hiccups

by Tristan McConnell for the Pulitzer Center

Hargeisa, 18 June 2009 (Somalilandpress) — Unlike every other breakaway state in the world Somaliland is more functional than the territory it wants to decouple from. The fact that Somalia is the country it wants shot of makes its case even more compelling because today it is impossible to find a better example of a failed state.

Somaliland’s argument for recognition rests on two pillars: peace and democracy, but both are more fragile than they seem.

Sporadic fighting with its federalist eastern neighbor Puntland, which wants to stay part of Somalia but have a greater degree of freedom, kills soldiers and uproots civilians from time to time.

And in October last year the peace was violently shattered when coordinated suicide bombings here in Hargeisa ripped through the President’s office, Ethiopia’s trade mission and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) headquarters. Human rights group have criticized the ensuing security clampdown.

But the most pressing worry is for Somaliland’s nascent democracy. Delayed Presidential elections are now due in September, more than a year late, but the pre-election process has been shambolic.

The seven-strong National Election Commission is widely viewed as incompetent, largely for its disastrous handling of the country’s first-ever voter registration exercise. “The voter register was supposed to prevent fraud,” said one exasperated civil society activist, “but the registration itself was fraudulent!”

Double and triple registration resulted in a register so bloated as to be un-useable: in the last Parliamentary election 675,000 people voted, four years on and the NEC has registered a frankly unbelievable 1.3-million throwing the prospect of free and fair elections into doubt.

There are, however, a couple of positive signs. The first is Somalilanders commitment to peace which has become a national characteristic that even a faulty election may not disrupt.

The second is the willingness of politicians to accept results in good grace: last time around the main opposition consented to a defeat by only 80 votes; recently the incumbent President, Dahir Rayale Kahin, told me: “I will run and whether I succeed or not I will accept the result.”

But if there are either dubious elections or further delays Somaliland’s hopes of – and argument for – international recognition will have suffered a major setback as will its reputation as an oasis of stability in a badly run region.


Somaliland: A land in Limbo

Hargeisa, 17 June 2009 (Somalilandpress) — Somaliland, a breakaway region of Somalia, is Africa’s only fully unrecognized country. After breaking away from Somalia and claiming independence in 1991, the Somaliland government, in stark contrast to the failed state of Somalia, has constructed many facets of a functioning, stable state. Somaliland has carried out several Presidential elections and peaceful transfers of power.

New elections were scheduled for April 2008 and have since been postponed five times, leaving the current President without constitutional power and the loss of a loyal opposition, which now sees the President falling back on the more authoritarian ways of the past, which Somaliland fought long and hard to separate itself from during the reign of Somali dictator, Said Barre.

This project reports on the current situation in Somaliland, investigating the social and political consequences of not realizing the promised elections and the affect this will have on Somaliland’s quest for international recognition and the general stability of the Horn of Africa region.

Written by Tristan McConnell & Narayan Mahon

Tristan McConnell is a freelance journalist based in Kenya. He is a correspondent for GlobalPost and also reports for the Economist, Times (London), Christian Science Monitor, and openDemocracy…

Narayan Mahon is a photojournalist based in Seattle, Washington. His work has been published in The Economist, The New York Times, The Guardian, Times of London…

Source: Pulitzer Center grantees


From corporate America to the Horn of Africa, money makes the world go around

Tristan McConnell, Source: Times research, June 18, 2009

The dusty, potholed streets of Hargeysa in Somaliland are filled with batt ered cars and ambling pedestrians. The tangled birds' nests of wires that cling to every telegraph pole are testament to a boom in telephony, infor mal stalls line the roads, selling imported goods and Ethiopia-grown khat, a plant chewed as a stimulant - and behind bricks of local currency sit the money changers.

It is a long way from Western Union's pristine headquarters in Colorado or Moneygram's in Minnesota, but not quite a different world. Here, in a perhaps unlikely northwestern corner of Somalia, is the home of a multimillion-dollar financial services company. One, indeed, that almost single-handedly keeps the East African country afloat.

Dahabshiil's office in Hargeysa has the relaxed charm of many a family-run African business. As I arrived, Mohamed Saïd Duale, Dahabshiil's founder and chairman, shuffled by in his sandals, a length of printed material wrapped around his waist and a short, traditional walking stick tucked under his arm. He made his way to a private office on the roof, where he sat cross-legged on the floor in front of a computer.

His company began as a small, informal organisation, helping Somalis to get money to their relatives in refugee camps in Ethiopia, charging a commission as it did so. Now it is an economic linchpin, connecting the wealthy Somali diaspora with the impoverished population at home.

“Remittances are a lifeline to Somalis,” Abdirashid Duale, the company's chief executive (and son of the founder), said. “They are the main income people here receive.” The World Bank estimates that remittance worth about $1 billion (£610 million) a year reached Somalia from émigrés in Britain, the United States, Sweden and the Gulf. Industry experts reckon that Dahabshiil may be responsible for handling two thirds of that and as much as half may reach the semi-autonomous region of Somaliland.Predictably, Dahabshiil has grown with the Somali diaspora.

The money transfer, or hawaala, business is rooted in traditional networks of kinship and trust, using clan allegiances to guarantee the near-instant transfers. Identifying information still includes details of clan membership, but the traditional networks have been updated with modern technology, including online money transfers and SMS notification.

Dahabshiil's growth accelerated after the September 11 terror attacks in 2001, when the US Government shut down its biggest competitor, the Mogadishu-based al-Barakat, amid suspicions that it had helped to fund terrorism. The company now has 1,000 agents in 40 countries (including 160 in the UK, where it is registered) and is the largest private sector employer in Somalia, with 2,000 workers in more than 200 offices.

The younger Mr Duale, who lives in London and Hargeysa, admits that the collapsing world economy has hit remittances from the West. “People from Britain and America are sending less, just the basic amount, say, to pay school fees, not the amounts that they used to send, to build houses or to invest in businesses.”

Nevertheless, he intends to make Dahabshiil's foreign exchange, banking and mobile phone businesses as popular among Somalis as the money transfer business. His ambitions are seen clearly in downtown Hargeysa, where a huge new Dahabshiil bank is under construction.

“Very soon people will be able to go to a Dahabshiil ATM in Hargeysa and withdraw money,” Mr Duale said. “Very soon, we will offer a lot of the products you can get in London here in Hargeysa. Why not?”

Somaliland

Somaliland is located in the eastern Horn of Africa, bordered by Ethiopia, the rest of Somalia and the republic of Djibouti

It was a British colony from 1884 until June 1960. After gaining independence, the State of Somaliland merged with Italian Somaliland to form Somalia. When Somalia's military government collapsed during a civil war in May 1991, rebel forces in the northwest reasserted local independence

No other country recognises the Republic of Somaliland, leaving it in legal limbo and financial isolation

The capital is Hargeysa

Fifty-five per cent of the 3.5million population is nomadic


Smugglers' boat capsizes near Yemen, 18 die-UNHCR

GENEVA, June 18 (Reuters) - At least 18 people have drowned after a smuggler's boat carrying 88 people from Somalia to Yemen capsized this week in the Gulf of Aden, the United Nations refugee agency said on Thursday.

The boat left on June 11 and sailed for four days before hitting strong winds and taking on water, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement.

Another 29 people are still missing and presumed dead after the latest fatal accident in the sea lane connecting the Horn of Africa and Yemen, seen as a gateway to jobs in the Middle East.

"More bodies are expected to be washed ashore," the UNHCR said, estimating that 146 people have drowned attempting the Gulf of Aden voyage so far this year and 25,764 have arrived safely in Yemen.

"Those who make the crossing are fleeing desperate situations of civil war, political instability, poverty and famine in Somalia and the Horn of Africa," it said.

Earlier on Thursday, hardline Islamic insurgents killed Somalia's security minister and at least 30 other people in the country's deadliest suicide bomb attack to date.


Somaliland: A Trip To The Unknown.

By Emily, Source: Somalilandpress, Jun 16, 2009 at 07:35 AM

Emily will be writing to Somalilandpress.com about her experience in Somaliland and will be offering tips to anyone who may want to visit the unrecognized republic along the way – discover Somaliland from a Non-Somali perspective. This is the second article – It is a great privilege to be here in Hargeisa.

It is a great privilege to be here in Hargeisa. The sounds of the call to prayer wake me up each morning as the city bustles around me. It is much more alive than other cities I have come to know; here you can always find people outside, sipping tea, chatting, hauling loads on their mules, chewing qat [a narcotic leaf chewed in parts of East Africa and Yemen]. I had intended to write this article sooner but my internet access has been limited to the internet café across the street, and my 7-year old laptop has retired. My co-workers were amused that my laptop was not shiny and new, but quickly hooked up a reliable desktop in my breezy office so now I should have regular internet access.

My flight here was an adventure as I expected it would be. The visa process in Addis was very easy though, and I would recommend acquiring a visa there to other travelers. The hardest part of the process was finding the Somaliland Liaison Office, which is hidden behind the Mozambiquean and South African Embassies. But once you find the office, with its gardens and dusty driveway, the entire visa process takes only about 10 minutes, and is very straight forward.

When I was ready to leave Addis with my visa in hand, I arrived at Bole International Airport an hour and a half before my flight, as I was instructed to. I had picked up my boarding pass the day before at Air Ethiopia’s office downtown, but when I asked the airport officers where to find the flight to Hargeisa, they looked at me and my boarding pass quizzically. Nobody I spoke with had heard about this flight, and they even told me that there were no flights to Hargeisa from Addis. Luckily I maintained my confidence and thanks to the Somali dress I was wearing, some fellow passengers walked over and asked me if I was looking for the flight to Hargeisa. With relief, I told them I was, but they too were just as lost as I was. We all commiserated for a few minutes before taking a seat and waiting for someone who knew something. Eventually a young, skinny Somali guy showed up and asked us for our boarding passes and collected our bags. We then proceeded to customs and through security; the whole while airport officials were confused as to who we were and where we were going. Had I been alone I may have just given up! After customs and security, we looked around the gates and read the illuminated screens, but found no indication of a flight to Hargeisa or of the Somali man who had taken our bags. We decided to sit in a group (there were 8 of us in total) and wait by Gate 5, hoping someone would come. One passenger seemed more informed than all of us so we just followed whatever he did. The flight was slated to depart at 11:00, but by 11:15 we still did not know where to go. We all remained calm though, waiting further instruction.

Eventually the same man who had taken our bags returned, and guided us to the gate where we were told to wait for a van to take us to the plane. We waited, and after a few false alarms the van came and we all got inside, curious as to what the plane would look like. It was a plane white plane with a blue stripe, and from the outside it was essentially what I had imagined, but once I got inside I was stunned at how tiny it was! There were no overhead compartments and certainly no safety orientation before take-off. We were all happy to be inside though, at this point it was about 1:00, and luckily I had brought some cookies and chocolate which I shared with the other passengers.

The flight was smooth enough, we were given bottled water, and I was trying not to worry about whether or not someone would be waiting for me when we landed, and if he would be able to recognize me or not. As we descended towards the ground, it looked as though we were landing in the desert, with no buildings in sight. But just as we hit the ground I could make out the city of Hargeisa, which was larger than I had imagined it. We walked off the plane onto the pavement and someone from my work (Abdi) was indeed waiting for me, al-hamdu l’illah. I suppose I was easy to recognize being the only female and only foreigner on the flight. When he saw me, Abdi grasped my arm and led me quickly to the customs area, where he asked me for $50 and for my passport. In my head I was thinking, who is this man and why does he want my money? I decided to bargain with him and said I will give you $40, before I realized that the $50 was not for him but was a required amount of money you need to change into Somaliland shillings in order to enter the country. Within two minutes he handed me two huge stacks of money held together with rubber bands, along with my passport and entry stamp. Now is a good time to point out for those who may not know, that $1 is equal to 7,000 Somaliland shillings, and the remarkable part is that the highest bill they have is 500 shillings, so for $50, you receive 700 individual bills.

We proceeded forward in a rush, and then Abdi led me back outside were I pointed to my bag which someone thrust on his shoulders and brought to the car. The car ride was my first opportunity to see the city and I enjoyed looking out the window and attempting to chat with Abdi in a mix of broken Somali and English. Abdi drove me to the bed and breakfast where I am staying. In order to give him directions, I just told him the color of the house and the name of the owner and he knew where it was. Directions here are often given in such terms, using landmarks and names instead of numbers and streets. When we arrived at the gate of the house, Abdi honked for the guard to open the door, but the guard just looked at the car then closed the gate. I assumed he was alerting the owners of my arrival, whereas Abdi assumed the guy was a rude man and started yelling at him. I tried to calm him down but it was too late, and the sort of amusing scene culminated with the guard spitting at Abdi who slapped him across the cheek. Abdi then told me I could not stay there, that he would not come get me each day for work, and he was going to take me to a guest house. I insisted that I must stay here and that he should come every day, we shook hands, and I went inside.

Do not be fooled by this introduction I had to Hargeisa, as it is certainly not typical and was actually a drama which spread around, and which I heard recounted in several different ways during my first few days here. Life has actually been quite calm and laid back. During the weekend I had a chance to get to know my surroundings a bit, and am grateful to the family I am staying with for showing me around, feeding me, and being such wonderful hosts. (They are not reading this so rest assured this is not a shameful plug). I already feel comfortable. Likewise, my co-workers have been very helpful and friendly and I am learning fascinating information about the history and intricacies of Somaliland. I remember when I was in Addis the night before leaving for Hargeisa, my stomach was so nervous and I could hardly sleep– I did not know what was awaiting me. I even said to my friend that I was afraid my stomach would stay in a knot all summer! But as soon as I landed the knot went away and I have been able to sleep well each night here.

Indeed the misconceptions about Somaliland, which is internationally known as Somalia, are plentiful and disturbing. I found the same to be true about Ethiopia. I packed enough soap, shampoo and toothpaste to last me for months, and just across the street from where I am staying are rows of shops which sell the very items I brought. Don’t get me wrong, Hargeisa is vastly different from any other place I have been, it does not have the high-rises of Boston and hot water is hard to come by, but the city is peaceful, lively, functioning, and far more developed than I had imagined. I hope to post pictures and provide you with more information about my experiences here next time, and look forward to your comments and insights as always.


Somaliland extends hydrocarbon bid round

Source: EngeryCurrent, June 16, 2009

HARGEISA, SOMALILAND: The Somaliland Ministry of Water and Mineral Resources has extended the country's first bid round for hydrocarbon concessions by three months. The deadline for final submission of bids has been pushed to Dec. 15, 2009, and concessions will be awarded on March 15, 2010.

The bid round includes eight concession blocks comprised of more than 34,604 square miles (89,624 sq km) of onshore and offshore areas. The bid round was originally scheduled to close and award bids in August and December, respectively.

The geology off the coast of Somaliland is analogous to the oil-producing basins in nearby Yemen that have yielded several discoveries. Yemen's Balhaf Graben Basin and Somaliland's Berbera Basin contain similarities in fault trends and structural complexity.

In preparation for the Somaliland licensing round, TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Co. ASA acquired 3,293 miles (5,300 km) of seismic, gravity and magnetic data in the offshore areas and 21,562 miles (34,700 km) of high resolution aeromagnetic data covering all known petroleum basins. The surveys mark the first new geophysical data acquired in the area in almost 30 years.

The data acquisition was completed in 2007 and 2008, and TGS used this data along with existing well logs and interpreted data to create comprehensive interpretation reports for the Ministry. The reports, as well as the newly acquired geophysical data and well logs are all multi-client products to be exclusively marketed by TGS on behalf of the Ministry.

One hindrance to the bid round could come from the fact that Somaliland has not been recognized as its own country, but rather still a part of Somalia. Somaliland, which is located in the Horn of Africa, bordered by Ethiopia, Djibouti, the Puntland region of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, withdrew from Somalia in 1991 and has maintained a de jure separate status since that time. However, without international recognition, oil and gas companies may be hesitant to sign long-term contracts and invest money into projects that could possibly become void if the political situation in Somaliland changes in the future.


Stable Somaliland in the shadow of lawless Somalia

June 15, 2009, http://worldfocus.org/blog/2009/06/15/stable-somaliland-in-the-shadow-of-lawless-somalia/5804/

Somaliland, a break-away region of north-western Somalia, has gone unrecognized by the international community since it declared independence 18 years ago.

Since then, the Somaliland region has remained more peaceful and stable than the Somali Republic, which has descended once again into chaos. While the world’s eyes are fixed on Somalia, Somaliland — and its 3.5 million people — linger in the periphery.

Tristan McConnell of the Pulitzer Center laments the lack of concern for the small, unrecognized Somaliland.

It’s a disconcerting experience to report from a place that doesn’t exist. 18-years ago Somaliland broke away from Somalia, its bigger, nastier neighbor. While that benighted nation has continued its descent into chaos, death and mayhem Somaliland has kept the peace and built a likeness of democracy.

But as Somalia’s anarchy is showered with money Somaliland is diligently ignored. In April donor nations pledged another $213-million to the besieged Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu, that’s roughly seven times the annual budget of Somaliland’s entire government.

The reason is that Somaliland is unrecognized. It has most of the trappings of the modern nation-state: army, government bureaucracy, parliament and (limited) multi-party political system, legal system and functioning economy.

But not a single country in the world accepts Somaliland’s existence. The question constantly asked by politicians, businessmen, civil society activists, street traders and school children alike is, “Why?”

In the mean time Somaliland struggles on, isolated from the international financial institutions that could help transform the lives of its dirt poor people.

Part of the problem is that this chunk of stultifying semi-desert squeezed between Djibouti, Ethiopia, northern Somalia and the Gulf of Aden has little to offer the world: there are lots of sheep and goats, and maybe a little oil and some minerals but nothing much else.

In the absence of valuable resources Somaliland has to fall back on moral arguments – we are good neighbors, we are a stable country in a notoriously tough region, we are trying to be a good democracy, they say.

But moral arguments don’t carry much weight in the world of global realpolitik: Somalilanders (as they call themselves) can expect to be waiting a good while longer before the world accepts that they exist.


SOMALIA: Just another day for Hargeisa's street children

Children begging on the streets of Hargeisa (file photo)

HARGEISA, 16 June 2009 (IRIN) - For the children living on the streets of Hargeisa, capital of the self-declared independent republic of Somaliland, 16 June – Day of the African child - is of little significance.

"My family lives in Burao [about 150km east of Hargeisa]," one child said. "We were so many children. One day I decided to travel to Hargeisa and never went back home."

Social workers in the city say drought and economic hardship have forced an unprecedented number of children on to the streets.

The children lack adequate shelter, healthcare, education, protection and guidance. Drug abuse is common and many are involved in activities such as pick-pocketing to cover drug costs.

"We interviewed 150 street children, scattered throughout the city, and 88 percent confessed to have experienced different abuse, including sexual abuse and harassment," Khadar Nuur, chairman of Hargeisa Child Protection Network, said.

His network comprises 17 organizations, including the Horn of Africa Youth Voluntary Organization, which has rehabilitated some street children.

Now, the network is spearheading the establishment of schooling for street children at the Somaliland Centre for Youth and Cultural Association (SOCSA).

"It is funded by the Hargeisa Child Protection Network and we as SOCSA are implementing [the project]," Khadar Kalil, spokesman for the centre, said. "We have more than 30 street children to teach here."

In their struggle to survive, some of the children have committed crimes and found themselves in prison.

"We know that a number of street children were sent to prison by the security committees in Hargeisa," Kalil said. "We are worried about their situation in prison because they are detained with old people, including criminals."

Lul Hassan, who is in charge of child protection at the Somaliland National Human Rights Commission, said the children's prison at Mija Asseye would be rehabilitated soon.

"Somaliland, with the collaboration of international aid organizations, [has found] the funds for rebuilding Mija Asseye child prison [for the] first time since 1991," he added.

According to the commission, an estimated 60 children join others on the streets monthly.

Many of the new arrivals are girls - a phenomenon that was previously uncommon. "We met about 15 female street children, who had suffered sexual abuse," Kalil said. "The number of female street children has increased from 4 to 8 percent."

Among other activities, SOCSA is teaching its first class Somali, maths, Arabic, religion and civic education.

"We also provide them with breakfasts and they stay here from eight to 12am, [before] they go back to the streets," Khadar said.

Nuur said the organizations that were trying to help were also worried that the children would cause insecurity.

"These street children never [learnt] good behaviour," he added. "For that reason, anybody can [exploit] them for his or her or their interests."


Somaliland: Daallo Airline Introduces New Jets and Flights

Hargeisa, 15 June 2009 (Somalilandpress) — Daallo airlines has launched a new luxury, daily nonstop services connecting Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa to number of cities in Africa, Middle East and Europe using it’s new fleet - the McDonnell Douglas DC-9, a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner.

The DC-9 passenger Jet can carry 91 passengers; 75 people in economy class and 16 business class passengers and its flight crew. The airliner has long been known for its reliability and efficiency.

The first Daallo airline DC-9 passenger jet arrived at Hargeisa’s Egal International Airport at 10:30 am, on time, on Sunday by a French flight crew. The carrier was met at the VIP terminal by cheerful political dignitaries, influential members, business executives, media personnel and community leaders who were invited to the occasion.

Among those who attended this historical inaugural flight were the chairman of Somaliland’s House of Elders, Mr Saleban Mohamud Adan, Chairman of the Somaliland parliament, Mr Abdirahman Mohamed Abbdillahi (’Iro‘), Member of Parliament, Sheikh Mohamed Adan, Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Ali Mohamed (’Waran Ade‘), former Somaliland Foreign Minister, Ms Edna Adan Ismael, President of WHO [Hargeisa], Ms Asiya, business executives from Dahabshiil, Telesom and Daallo airline’s Hargeisa employees and management staff.

Daallo Airline’s Hargeisa chief executive Mr Munir Haji Abdullahi told Somalilandpress that Daallo is the oldest private carrier to operate in Somaliland.

“Daallo has been operating in Somaliland for very long time from the time of the civil war when we started with old carriers, in fact, the legs would not even fold, we use to circulate around the city three times before landing. People use to wait for such a long time. Today however we brought a new luxury airliner, the DC-9 configured for 75 people in economy-class and 16 in the business-class.”

Mr Munir concluded that they will expand their flights from Hargeisa’s Egal International Airport. “Daallo airlines will operate seven days a week from Hargeisa to all the states. In addition, we will operate two flights to Hargeisa from Nairobi, three flights to Hargeisa from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, four flights to Hargeisa from Dubai, two from Europe to Hargeisa and two flights to Hargeisa from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,” Mr Munir told Abdulqani of Somalilandpress.

In recent times, airline business has became one of the hottest industries in Somaliland, where in the last four months two new airliners were created, Suhura airways and Cosob airlines. There are also plans to expand Somaliland international airports to accommodate this surge in flights. Just last week Somaliland’s Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Ali Mohamed traveled to the port city of Berbera to unveil new plans to reconstruct and expand the existing airport due to fears of Hargeisa airport becoming too over crowded. Mr Ali told local media he plans to divert some of the flights to Berbera to ease the pressure on Egal International Airport during busy flights and in times of expansion and repairs.

Daallo airline unveils new luxury jets

Mr Ali also told reporters that his staff are expecting new equipments from Djibouti that will enable them to expand and construct a new highway for Egal International Airport to give motors better access.

Daallo airlines is the market leader in the industry and has been introducing customer-driven schemes and attractive fares due to competition from the new carriers. Most passengers complain about Daallo airline’s noisy old Russian jets, lack of proper ventilation and often over crowded. Will the new McDonnell Douglas DC-9 jets restore passenger’s confidence with Daallo? Only time will tell but one thing is for sure, its new day for Daallo airlines and Somaliland.

About Daallo:

Daallo Airlines was established 1991 by two prominent Somaliland investors Mohamed Haji Abdullahi Abusita and Mohammed Ibrahim Yasin (Olaad). In early 2008, it entered a strategic partnership with Dubai World’s subsidiary Istithmar World Aviation and the Government of Djibout. It’s fleet consisted of 757-200, 727-200, AN24, with IL76 and AN12 for the cargo operations until today. It plans to become Djibouti’s National flag carrier, giving Daallo exclusive access to all routes and traffic rights held by the Republic Djibouti.

Abdulqani Hussein Baynax. Source: Somalilandpress


SOMALIA: Burgeoning population drains Hargeisa water supply

A water vendor in Hargeisa: City officials have called for the construction of a third pipeline to offset increasing water shortages

HARGEISA, 15 June 2009 (IRIN) - Urbanisation and rural-urban migration could soon overwhelm the water supply in Hargeisa, capital of Somalia's self-declared republic of Somaliland, with city officials calling for the construction of a third pipeline to offset increasing shortages.

"The city's water supply system has not been improved since the mid-1980s, yet more and more people are migrating from the countryside to Hargeisa, Khalif Aw Abdillahi, manager of the Hargeisa water agency, told IRIN. "We produce 9,000 cubic meters of water daily, which is not enough for the city population because it is increasing; so [supply] needs to expand."

Abdillahi said a new pipeline, 25km long, was needed to provide emergency water supplies for the capital.

Each household in Hargeisa receives less water than the internationally accepted standard, according to statistics from the water ministry, Abdillahi said.

"The ministry's statistics indicate that 45 percent of Hargeisa residents do not receive the international standard quantity of water,” he said, adding that the average was 14l per person per day in urban areas while in rural areas it was 8l per person per day.

Abdillahi said: "The Hargeisa water supply was established in the mid-1970s [based] on six wells and one pipeline and dam for about 75,000 people; but the population increased and in the 1980s, the supply was increased [to include] six new wells and one more pipeline, to serve 150,000 persons but in 2007, Hargeisa's population was estimated at about 800,000 and now it is about 900,000, if not more."

A former manager of the Hargeisa water agency, Ahmed Ali Dable, said Hargeisa needed at least 27,000 cubic metres of water per day. He said the city - the most populated in the Somali peninsula since 1991 - has had persistent water shortages in the past several years, especially in the north and south of the city, where most residents buy water from vendors with donkey carts.

Muhumed Aw Ahmed, a water vendor in Hargeisa, said: “I sell almost 20 barrels per day during the rainy season, compared to the dry season when I sell only seven to 10 barrels per day."

His customers are mostly internally displaced persons living in various camps around the city.

We need to have funds to ensure adequate supply to the city in the coming 10 years

Improvements and prospects

Ali Sheikh Omar Qabil, director of environmental health in the Ministry of Health and Labour, said: "In 2000, only 35 percent of the population had access to clean water, unlike recent years [when] more than 45-50 percent of the population receive clean water.”

Moreover, Abdillahi said: "We are [currently] seeking alternatives to increase Hargeisa's water supply, such as digging new wells in Ged-Deble [20km north of Hargeisa] and a water station is needed at the Beyo-Khadar wells as well as the laying of another pipe to pump more water to the city. Also, there are other places such as Humbo Weyne and Jaleelo, which have been surveyed and found to have water that can be supplied to the city."

However, the officials expressed concern about funding the additional water sources in the city.

"We need to have funds to ensure adequate supply to the city in the coming 10 years," Abdillahi said.


Mobile phone banking for Somalia

BBC 15 June 2009. Phones - mobile and terrestrial - have thrived in Somalia

A new system of making payments by mobile phones has been launched in the northern Somali region of Somaliland.

Telesom's Zad service means that people can send money to friends and relatives or pay bills just using their phones.

The self-declared republic of Somaliland is much more peaceful than the rest of Somalia.

But the telecommunications and money transfer sectors have thrived across the country, despite the conflict which has raged for the past 18 years.

Telesom deputy director Mohamud Aden Ahmed-Hadeed told BBC Somali that the service would improve the lives of people and help develop the country.

"They can have access to their accounts with a Pin number and they can send money to anywhere, anytime. People can pay their bills or buy things from shops," he said.

A similar system was launched in neighbouring Kenya in 2007, with a network of more than 7,000 agents - mostly shopkeepers.

Somalia's conflict has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee the country.

They use an informal, trust-based money transfer system known as "hawala" to send money back home.

And the lack of a government since 1991 has not prevented several mobile phone companies from setting up their businesses.

Aid agencies estimate that some four million people - a third of the population - need food aid.


Somalia: Somaliland leader travels to Kuwait

BERBERA, Somalia June 14 (Garowe Online) - The president of Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland flew from the port city of Berbera on Sunday on a trip to Kuwait, Radio Garowe reports.

Mr. Dahir Riyale, the Somaliland leader, was accompanied by Education Minister Hassan Ibrahim Warsame and his personal secretary, Ahmed Mohamed Isse.

Presidential spokesman Said Adani issued a press statement saying the Somaliland leader will meet with Kuwaiti government officials to discuss economic and security relations.

Local media speculated that President Riyale sneaked out of the region and did not speak with reporters before his departure.


Desert locusts have ravaged thousands of acres of crops in the self-declared republic of Somaliland

http://www.earthweek.com/2009/ew090612/ew090612c.html/June 12, 2009

Vast swarms of ravenous desert locusts have ravaged thousands of acres of crops in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, on the Horn of Africa.

The head of the agricultural ministry in the breakaway Somalia region says the infestation is not likely to end within the next several weeks.

Abdi-Kadir Jibril Tukale says the locusts have already buried fresh eggs inside 270 square miles near the coast.

Besides crops, the mature locusts have eaten all of the foliage on trees as well as the grassland in the Salal and Awdal regions as they marched toward the Gulf of Aden.

Efforts to combat the swarms have been hampered by Somaliland’s lack of recognition as an independent state by any country or international organization.

Officials for the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization have asked to remain anonymous when making comments about their monitoring efforts in Somaliland.

"The locust outbreak in Somaliland will not stop in days, weeks or months." — U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization


In Somalia's break-away corner, an oasis of stability

The self-declared republic of Somaliland has elections, a strong economy, and zero tolerance for extremists or pirates. But no one recognizes it.

By Scott Baldauf | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor from the June 11, 2009 edition

Hargeisa, Somaliland - At first glance, the dusty streets of Hargeisa look like much of the rest of Somalia. Traffic jams consist of the occasional late-model Toyota Corolla encountering a string of donkey carts or a slow-moving flock of goats. Roads, water pipes, and electrical power grids have been untouched for nearly 40 years, but the mobile phone system runs just fine, thank you.

But Hargeisa is not at all like the rest of Somalia, and according to its elected leaders, it is the capital of an entirely separate country: Somaliland – a country that no one besides the Somalilanders themselves recognizes.

A self-declared independent republic since 1991 – when civil war broke out after the fall of Somali dictator Siad Barre – Somaliland is an oddity in the conflict-prone Horn of Africa. A multiparty democracy with an elected president and parliament, a secular Muslim country with no tolerance for extremism, a thriving free-market economy with precious little foreign aid, and a strict law-and-order state with no patience for piracy – Somaliland is exactly the kind of country the Western world loves to embrace.

"We are the key," says Abdillahi Duale, Somaliland's foreign minister, during a recent interview. "This is the only safe haven you've got [in the region]. This is the only government with the public will and muscle to deal with the issue of piracy. With Somaliland, you have the only willing partner."

He pauses. "This is a terrible neighborhood," he says, referring to the ongoing civil war in Somalia and the piracy in Puntland, another self-declared republic to the east. "We are building this nation from scratch. We are not doing this to appease others. But we need to get the capacity [through foreign aid] if we want to sustain this."

Unstable by association

Denied recognition by the Western powers for nearly two decades out of fears that it would encourage breakaway movements in Darfur, Congo, Nigeria, and elsewhere, Somaliland has created an alternative Somali nation in slow motion, in a region with more than its fair share of war, famine, criminality, and extremism.

Lack of recognition has very real consequences for ordinary Somalilanders – being seen as a province of Somalia discourages foreign investors, to say the least – but Somaliland officials say their moment may finally have come. The rise of piracy, and the very real threat of an Islamist takeover in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, may be providing Somaliland with its best argument for recognition, as a separate, stable, friendly country in the region.

A model for Somalia

"Somaliland is a melange of traditional clan elites with modern governance," says Iqbal Jhazbhay, a Somaliland expert at the University of South Africa in Tshwane. "They have a home-grown method to form agreements and consensus. In three months after independence, they disarmed militias, set up a police force, began tax collection."

In theory, Somaliland's experience – blending traditional sources of clan authority with elected governance – could serve as a model for Somalia itself, just as it has for the neighboring state of Puntland. But Mr. Jhazbhay says that in the past 18 years, Somalia and Somaliland have drifted apart. Many Somalilanders simply want to move on with their lives, he says, and their patience is running out. "After 18 years, you have a neglected state. You have a total decay of the infrastructure."

'De facto' state

With 3.5 million citizens and an economy based largely on livestock – much of it destined for markets on the Saudi Arabian peninsula – Somaliland was once a nation easily forgotten. But Somaliland's bid for recognition seems to be gathering steam. In the waning days of the Bush administration, then-undersecretary of state for Africa Jendayi Frazer visited Hargeisa. Somaliland officials were invited this month to an EU parliament conference on "de facto states."

Even the African Union, long wary of redrawing the boundaries of African nations, issued a report in 2005 arguing that recognition of Somaliland "should not be linked to the notion of "opening a pandora's box."

Islamists lay claim with bombs

There are those, of course, who are opposed to Somaliland independence. On Oct. 29, 2008, a young Islamist – a Somali-American from Minneapolis, named Shirwa Ahmed – drove a car packed with explosives into the Ethiopian Embassy in Hargeisa, killing 20 people. The attack, and four others set off simultaneously by a radical Islamist group called Al-Shabab, was viewed as a signal that Islamists were intent on creating a Greater Somalia, by force if necessary.

'We must go our own way'

Like many Somalilanders, Abdulkadir Hashi Elmi, a prominent businessman, views his country's independence as "irreversible."

"The people of Somalia and Puntland were colonized by the Italians, and during Italian rule they were trained to rule in the Italian way," he says with a wry smile.

But while Italian settlers profoundly changed Somali culture in Somalia itself, he says, Somaliland was left largely untouched during a period of British rule, because the British largely allowed clan elders to run their own affairs until independence in 1960.

"Somalia will be difficult for years to come, because now nothing is in their hands, it is in the hands of the warlords," says Mr. Elmi, who owns the Maan-Soor Hotel in Hargeisa. "Somalia doesn't have any hope to recover, not in our generation. That's why we must go our own way."

Abdaillahi Ismail Ali, Somaliland's interior minister, says that his country is happy to provide a model for its neighbors and to provide a forum for clan leaders in Somalia to resolve disputes the old-fashioned way, through consensus. But Somalia can forget about taking Somaliland back, he adds.

"We believe – every Somalilander believes – that we cannot be reunited with Somalia," he says. "We had hopes of making a Greater Somalia, but that dream died. We realized that whenever we try, we always get shot."


SOMALIA: Food insecurity concerns after poor rains in Somaliland

Livestock deaths have occurred across Somaliland as a result of drought

HARGEISA, 10 June 2009 (IRIN) - Officials in Somalia's self-declared Republic of Somaliland are concerned about food security following poor rains during the March-May planting season, known as the Gu'.

Mohamed Muse Awale, chairman of the National Environment Research and Disaster Preparedness Agency (NERAD), said the situation was deteriorating throughout the country as nowhere had experienced reliable rains.

"A little rain has been reported in Golis mountains and the west of the country, but even these places dramatically dried up as soon as Xaggaa [summer] winds started; we are coming together with our partners from the Somaliland government and our international partners in the Ministry of Interior to discuss how to handle this problem," Awale said.

He added: "We are now collecting information from the remote areas, where NERAD does not have offices, with the collaboration of the Ministry of Interior, which has radio calls in everywhere in the country; after that we will call for help."

Unless additional rainfall is experienced in June, there could be crop failure in many parts of Somaliland, officials of the Food Security Analysis Unit (FSAU) of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.

Mahdi Geidi Kayad, an FSAU liaison officer in Somaliland, said the 2009 Gu’ rainfall was way below normal in terms of distribution and coverage.

"The normal rainfall average is 500-600mm but only 40-60 percent of the normal average has been received so far," Kayad said. "For this reason, it is predicted [that] if additional rains do not fall in June, about 80 percent of crop production failure [will be recorded] in Hargeisa and Awdal regions."

A village abandoned due to drought: The situation is deteriorating throughout Somaliland as nowhere had experienced reliable rains, according to officials

Livestock deaths

The FSAU report also noted that livestock had died due to drought in the region.

"Most of the new-born lambs died due to lack of milk or fresh grass to eat; sheep were the hardest hit by the drought, particularly emaciated ewes, while giving birth," the report said. "Their death rate abruptly went extremely high, about 30-45 percent in most areas of Gabi and Sool plateau."

Moreover, drought-related livestock diseases increased, FSAU said, adding that carcasses of dead animals were found everywhere, especially in Upper Nugal, Gabi Valley and Sool Plateau.

Ahmed Aw Dahir, mayor of Las Anod, the administrative capital of Sool, said: "The rainfall was much below normal; the Haggaa seasonal winds have started. For this reason, we are worried if more rains do not fall soon severe drought may erupt in the region, as well as the surrounding regions.

"This will impact badly on the livelihood of both pastoralists and people in the urban centres, who depend on the rural agricultural areas."


Famous Somali Singer To Arrive In Somaliland

Hargeisa, 9 June 2009 (Somalilandpress) — Maryan Mursal, a famous Somali music sensation is expected to arrive in Somaliland end of this week. Maryan has been active in the last Somaliland Independence celebrations on the 18th of May hosted in London where she organized a lavish event and released a new single in honor of Somaliland.

The Somali music star will take a break from her music shows in Europe to build a school named after Somaliland’s most celebrated composer and poet, Mohamed Ibrahim Warsame (Hadraawi) - Hadraawi School. Most of the money was raised through Somaliland’s Independence Celebration event in the United Kingdom which Maryan hosted.

Maryan has been living abroad since the fall of the last Somali government in 1991 and has been came the patriotic voice of Somali diasporas but never seized producing new albums unlike others who have been out of the scene. She is one of the internationally known singers who is famous of her African style songs, dress and dance.

While in Somaliland, she will be awarded by president Dahir Rayale because of her valuable contribution to Somaliland celebrations and her support for Somaliland’s cause [to gain full recognition]. She will be traveling with two of her sons who will be spending the summer in the country.

Maryan Mursal is a composer, powerful and dynamic female vocalist - she was born in 1950 in Eastern Mudug province of Somalia.

Maryan grew up in a Muslim family with four daughters. As a teenager, she broke tradition and began singing professionally in Mogadishu at the age of 16. She performed in night clubs and her brand of music, featuring a mix of blues, soul African and Arabic influences, and known as “Somali jazz”, became popular across the country. After criticizing the government in the 80s she was banned from public performances for two years.

Before her stunning voice could be heard in the west, Maryan was forced to spend seven months walking across the Horn of Africa with her five children as she fled the civil war in her native Somalia, desperate to escape the anarchy, death and starvation that was destroying her country. She and her young family hitched rides on trucks, rode on donkeys and walked - out of Mogadishu, the Somali capital, across Kenya, through Ethiopia, recrossing Somalia again and eventually arriving in Djibouti where she was finally given asylum by the Danish embassy.

Maryan currently resides in Denmark. She has toured Europe with Somali Waaberi band and appeared with Nina Simone. Her work has been produced by Peter Gabriel’s Real World record label.

This is her second trip to Somaliland, she was in Hargeisa in August 2002. Maryan is to perform at number of public concert shows and expected to draw large crowds.


Why Hargeisa University graduates have difficulty finding jobs in Somaliland?

Hargeisa 8 June 2009 (Somalilandpress) — The president of University of Hargeisa Dr Bulxan spoke about the lack and difficulties of job opportunities that is currently facing the 247 graduate students from class of 2009. He believes he has found the answer as to why so many of their graduates are unemployed.

At a press conference Dr Bulxan informed the media and faculties that “247 graduates from Hargeisa University are still unemployed and currently hanging around coffee shops in the city”. The reason behind the unemployment of these graduates appears to be from the English language based entrance exam. Majority of corporations and NGOs in the country require a computer based English entrance exam that nearly all of the students are not familiar with. Dr Bulxan said “when the graduates go to job interview they are given a computer based English exam that most are not prepared for.”

Too often students do not relate school to real-world experience. Only 4% of University of Hargeisa’s faculties are qualified to lecture in English and is seen as major contributing factor. According to the university’s president all 247 graduates will be informed to return to the university where they will go under rigorous seven month training on computer literacy and English language sessions.

One student who is currently attending the university who wished not to reveal his name blamed the issue on the faculties and the university’s lecturers. “Many of the lecturers at various faculties consist of young men who graduated from Indian institutions - often their qualifications are not verified nor do they have real world experience themselves” he told Somalilandpress.

Unemployment is widespread in Somaliland even though people are hungry to learn and discover knowledge. Many of the Somaliland students attend schools and the countries has number of universities including American university [Eelo American University], private Ethiopian University [Admas University College] and number of local universities. Somaliland also maintains education ties with nations such as South Africa.

This means theres more graduates every year while unemployment remains high due to the lack of capacity building by the government and limited size of the private sector and its inability to create a sufficient number of work opportunities for the country’s workforce. The reality is there are more graduates than vacancies as Somalilanders seek education over wars and piracy.

Many youths like this students try to migrate to the West by risking their lives by taking boats and paying smugglers - many often drown in high seas.


Somalia: Businessman 'imports weapons' into Somaliland

HARGEISA, Somalia June 9 (Garowe Online) - A cache of weapons docked at a small harbor in Zeila, a coastal town in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland, Radio Garowe reports Tuesday.

Somaliland newspapers printed headlines that the weapons were secretly unloaded at Zeila harbor and transported by road south to Borama, the home town of Somaliland President Dahir Riyale near the Ethiopian border.

Somaliland authorities have not spoken publicly about media reports that weapons were secretly imported, but confidential sources in Hargeisa said the weapons were bought in Yemen by a Borama businessman.

The arrival of the weapons shipment comes a week after two warring clans in Somaliland who traditionally inhabit the towns of Borama and Gabiley disagreed over mediation efforts, with the clan in Borama reportedly rejecting a peace proposal.


Ethiopian Delegation Arrives In Somaliland For Banking and Education Links

Hargeisa, June 07 (Somalilandpress) — An Ethiopian delegation led by the President of Admas University College and vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Lion International Bank (LIB) arrived in Somaliland on Saturday for talks.

The business delegation which consisted of number of Ethiopian business executives crossed into Somaliland by land via the border town of Wajale and were welcomed to the country by Somaliland’s trade minister, Mr Osman Qasim Qodah. They were later received by Somaliland’s vice-President, Mr Ahmed Yusuf Yasin in the presidential palace in the capital - Hargeisa.

The two sides refused to comment on what they had discussed however sources close to the government of Somaliland said the delegation had arrived to boost banking systems and education between the two neighbors.

Admas University College is a private higher learning institution found in Ethiopia in 1998 with over 11, 000 students. Admas has two campuses in Somaliland [Hargeisa & Burao] and has been operating in the country since 2007 with over 1500 students. While Lion International Bank is a privately owned company with over 600 shareholders in Ethiopia.


Somaliland Is An African Success Story

Hargeisa, 8 June 2009 (somalilandpress) - Prior to colonization, Somaliland was a British protectorate for 76 years and gets its independence in June 1960. As soon as Somali Landers got their independence from British government, they sacrificed their independence for the conception of greater Somalia. Which was to unify all Somali territory in the horn of Africa (i.e. former British Somaliland, French Somaliland, Italian Somaliland, North frontier district in Kenya and Ogaden Somali region in ethopia)? How ever that concept was failed do to the political circumstances that existed in the sixties. More over, a constitutional and legal act of union never happened between Somaliland and Somalia.

With this verbal and illegal unification Somaliland people suffered a lot of misfortunes and in equality in every aspect of life. More over the Siyad Barr’s regime committed an act of genocide in Somaliland people. All most all big towns and more than 5000 villages were destroyed. Over one million people were displaced , more than 800,000 were made refugees in east Ethiopian camps, were hunger, cold and child labor was the order of the day. And also more than 300,000 have been killed, and more have been maimed or injured. The migs piloted by South Africans mercenaries killed the people and animals in rural and urban areas.

We were frightened to walk down our own streets for fear of being murdered, robbery and rape. We have seen pictures of our educated people slaughtered, our fathers having been beaten up, and our sisters having been raped by the faqash.

At that time Somaliland was swimming in pots of choes years of anarchy. Sound of bullets, bombs and artilleries were common to our ears in those dark days. All the social sectaries let alone educational system were dead and functionless. The pens and books, peace and brotherhood, education and civilization had been replaced by killing of innocent civilians and taking their own property intentionally. Somaliland people brought back their independence from Somalia in May 1991 after 10 years of hard struggle against one of the most powerful military force in Africa. The day of freedom, 18may 1991 was the day in which new sun of hope shined for those who looked after ages and ages. And all people began their war thinking brains.

The new born government had been calling children back to path of schooling; more over economic failures and scarcity of intellectuals were other massive opponent to our motherland. Somaliland’s education system was in a state of despair. All levels of formal education die away during Somaliland’s war for independence and two subsequent civil wars during the early and mid 1990’s. Each conflict killed large numbers of school administrators and teachers, destroyed school and learning materials. And disrupted the education of hundreds of thousands of children in every region in Somaliland.

A very little number of children went to school, sheltering under the shadow of trees and collapsed bare houses. The young had no books and used to sit on old tin cans.

Somaliland Today

Today, Somaliland dramatically improving to be oasis of peace and tranquility in horn of Africa and moved to legalize multi- party system in the country. The multiple political parties become legal, and three political parties are legally recognizing and known as nation parties.

Somaliland has done amazingly well in managing the past elections. Peaceful, free and fair presidential elections will be held in 2009 to convince the international community of Somaliland’s bona fides as an independent state. The citizens of this peaceful country either inside or outside hunted high and low to prove their country’s development as an evitable matter.

Today, education flames are burning in the country and shall never be extinguished. More than 40 percent of Somaliland’s primary school age children go to school every day, while the majority of Somaliland’s secondary and professional technical schools works better. While the University of Hargeisa, Amoud University, International Horn University, Golis University and Burao University are conducting classes, each is capable of enrolling more number of secondary school graduates. Somaliland is full of young educators who are ready to replace their old educators and their society prepares to become the real leaders of today and tomorrow.

Bearing in mind, media also takes an important role in the progress and community awareness of Somaliland today. Websites, Journals, magazines and televisions transmit News, Opinions, Warnings, Advertisement and Congratulations. Their role will be rest in the minds of those who ready to take the responsibility of this young nation.

To conclude, we have to remember the past and we have to develop what we have done, “Somaliland’s independence is irrevocable and its people will fight for their rights and freedom what ever it costs”

Our motto is “Look to the future, tomorrow is a another day”

“Somaliland my country Somaliland my people

From the shimmering of Berbera, and the across the Golis range.

Live is full of hope and goes with lots of endurance and determination.

In the azure sky over Hargeisa lie clouds of hope.

Of course we have people that strive to improve our lives.

The springs that flood our soils, makes our land productive.

Our rich wildlife reserve, can earn a lot in foreign exchange.

The red sea port of Berbera will be the regional hub for the horn of Africa.

All that is needed how is to tap these resources and build our young nation.

That is how I love, study and work in my sweet home”.

Written by: Farhan Abdi Suleiman (oday) Social worker and student at University of Hargeisa. Email: oday1999@yahoo.com, Tell: 252-2-4401132,


Somaliland Elections: A Potential Derailment of Peace?

Jesper Kleingeld, Intern, African Security Analysis Programme, ISS Tshwane (Pretoria)

Hargeisa, 8 June 2009 (Somalilandpress) - Protracted conflict has turned Somalia into an impoverished nation and a failed state with an entire generation knowing war as the most common means of social interaction. In stark contrast, the breakaway Republic of Somaliland is an island of stability compared to war-torn south/central Somalia. Despite having never received legal recognition by the international community, Somaliland has been able to arrive at a level of stability that is unknown to south/central Somalia for the last two decades.

Due to an inclusive, grass-roots based political reconciliation process, and without international involvement, Somaliland has lifted itself out of the perpetual cycle of poor governance and violence that we see in the rest of the Somali region. In 2003 multiparty elections were held in a smooth fashion in which Dahir Riyale Kahin, who is from a small clan in the north-west of Somaliland, was elected as the third president. However, several rows over multiple postponements of presidential elections are now threatening its stability. Elections must live up to international standards not only because Somaliland wants to be recognized by the international community, but also to prove democracy is a viable construct in a Somali region with complex clan dynamics.

Presidential elections were originally scheduled to take place on 27 October 2008. The elections were postponed for the first time to 31 May 2009 due to instability in the eastern Sanaag and Sool regions. The eastern border of these regions is disputed as semi-autonomous Puntland also claims territory in these regions. Due to the manipulation of clan-allegiances from both sides the exact delimitation has never been codified and remains a nipping thorn in the relationship between the two autonomous regions. On 29 March, Somaliland’s upper house of Parliament, the Guurti, again postponed the presidential elections, this time to 27 September 2009, because incomplete voter registration would not allow for fair elections.

The postponement was strongly criticized by Somaliland’s opposition parties, the Kulmiyeh, and the For Justice and Development party (UCID). Kulmiyeh indicated they would no longer recognize the legitimacy of President Riyale’s government and UCID declared the decision to postpone the elections as unconstitutional. Both parties called upon the government to hold the elections as scheduled on 31 May 2009. The incumbent United People’s Democratic Party (UDUB) put Kulmiyeh’s call aside, arguing that Somaliland’s upper house of Parliament, the Guurti, has the constitutional mandate to extend the governments term. This was a setback for Kulmiyeh, who advocated the government’s dissolution. However, they kept on articulating their stance on the matter by holding demonstrations.

On April 6, hundreds of protestors from the opposition Kulmiyeh party gathered at their headquarters in the capital, Hargeisa, ostensibly to mark Somali National Movement day, which honours the rebel group that fought the former Somali government in the northern regions of Somalia in the 1980s. But the meeting, called by the party’s leader, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud, or Silanyo, turned out to be a protest against the six-month extension of President Rayale’s term. The government subsequently announced it would ban demonstrations by the opposition because they violated the constitution as they formed a threat to national security.

The government acted on its promise when on 14 April government security forces raided Kulmiyeh’s party’s headquarters in an effort to silence the opposition. Forces entered at the moment Kulmiyeh was holding a press conference on the controversial term extension of the government as granted by the Guurti. In response, on the 3rd of May, Kulmiyeh and UCID demanded a change in the electoral commission. Kulmiyeh and UCID argued they no longer trusted the electoral body and called upon the government to change its composition.

This demand came after a political mediation committee, endorsed by both government and opposition, issued a five point ruling on Wednesday 29 April which was supporting mostly the incumbent UDUB party. Firstly, the term extension until 29 September 2009 was deemed valid. Secondly, the voter registration has to be concluded by 27 July 2009 so that there is sufficient time to organize free and fair elections. Thirdly, all parties must be granted equal air time prior to the elections. Fourthly, the freedom of political parties to function has been stipulated. This includes freedom of movement and the freedom to hold public gatherings such as demonstrations.

However, the judgment is still not signed by President Riyale, despite it being in his favor. Kulmiyeh and UCID now accuse Riyale of the government’s unwillingness to hold elections and undermining civil liberties. They argue the third postponement lacks democratic legitimacy and undermines the democratization process. Moreover, by attempting to silence the opposition and justifying its undemocratic mandate on a pretext of emergency rule on erroneous grounds of lawlessness, serious questions are raised about the need for checks and balances to curb further excesses by the executive.

It appears that the Somaliland government is restricting political freedoms in order to guarantee an easy victory during the election to be held in September. However, the conditions for free and fair elections are not met due to the obstruction of the political ambitions of the opposition. Therefore, the presidential elections will be a test case for Somaliland’s young democracy. If held freely and fairly, the international community may well reconsider its position toward Somaliland. Perhaps more importantly, by holding transparent elections, Somaliland will remind Somalia and the international community that peace and stability in the country can be a reality instead of merely a distant thought.


Do We Really Know Faysal Ali Warabe?

Hargeisa, 6 June 2009 (Somalilandpress) Prospective president Faisal Ali Warabe; is among the three candidates who are vying for the forthcoming election but who have not been interrogated by the media hitherto.

Politics will not only be about character, integrity and commitment to public service, but image, too, will play a vital role.

He has never been familiar in the era of liberation; mostly he was working in Mogadishu and the south at large

To be fair, when the country was burning Faisal; was among the kings who diligently contributed the hard and tedious work of reconciliations with stamina, and without stress and strain. He risked his live on various occasions by shuttling two antagonists in “a no mans land”, without doubt, the rivals were suspicious with full of innuendo, witch-hunt and cat and mouse game.

In August 2001 he formed Justice and Welfare party widely known UCID.

In local Government election December 2002 UCID was the third at the contest and then it became the third party of Somaliland.

On 2003 presidential elections UCID has ended third party far behind the other two.

It obtained only 16% of the eligible votes but subsequent to parliamentary election it has made unanticipated edge of votes and it hard won 21 out of 82 seats. Additionally it expanded its base from west to east.

Faisal was a frontline antagonist of the tribal politics, corruption and maladministration and true to his words he proved that he is implacable foe of corruption.

Though UCID leader seems determined to eliminate corruption but he is yet to inform his fabulous ideas the public so far.

Some occasions Faisal seems allergic those who differ or criticize but as a potential head of state with a 3.5 million population which are poor but proud. He must now find bank of tolerance, that uncommon asset essential to leadership.

On the Somali stage he attracts admiration and hate with equal over his political believes.

His political positions made unionists tireless but will he continue fierce battle if he ascends to power?

To win the minds and hearts of the voters specially the youth, Faisal needs to put in place an outstanding national team with high caliber and distinct backgrounds. Indeed, the communication front which is one of the most important fronts in any election campaign is currently falling short. The current occupant of UCID spokesman is ill-equipped to carry his work diligently but it is not late thus far.

Paul Kagame recently appeared the list of 100 most influential people in the world. According to “Time magazine” they affect the world for better or worse.

The quotation’s modus operandi was based: his acclaimed reconciliation strategy, visionary leadership, insistence on self-reliance and his zero-tolerance on corruption. His commitment to meritocracy in government appointments is notable, especially the empowerment of women in leadership but if Faisal ascends the most powerfull chair in Somaliland will he join the polished presidents like Paul Kagame, Abdulawade, Jackaye kekewete or he will join leage of corrupt leaders like Robert Mugabe, Meles Zenawi.

Most of the populace is uninformed what faisal or UCID Party stands for, so as he starts his presidential quest, Faisal will have to clarify what he is for and what he is not.

Somaliland’s Per capita income was estimated at us$250 in 2004, which lower than that of Kenya (350) and Tanzania (280), but higher than in Eriterea (us190) and Ethiopia (us100). More than half of population lives below the poverty line (i.e. less than us$1 per day) but main question is: will he turn the tables and transform the country’s socio-economic status or his presidency will be the continuation of current status quo?

The figures however reveal large geographic disparities, with per capita income ranging from about us$201 to 350. In addition, the figures show clear urban-rural disparities, with urban population far better off than their rural counterparts. But the major question will be: how he will address the inequalities of rural-urban?

Today much of Africa continent is on the move and is in a hurry, after a half century of little change a new sense of urgency is felt as the undeveloped nations seek to make up some of the leeway with the move developed countries of the world.

But the reality of our country is different for the other part of the continent only 35% of aged pupils are lucky enough to reach schools worst enough, the death of maternal mortality rate in our country is high though it is decreasing. In 1997, 1,600 out of every 100,000 women giving birth were estimated to die in Somaliland. In 2006 the rate was 1,044 per 100,000 that is the stark certainty whom the winner will face but does Faisal has capacity, willpower to increase the rate of pupils going to school and the rate of maternity death?

Ethiopia and Somaliland have been enjoying progressive and positive relations for more than 17 years. For many Somali Landers, the Ethiopia relations was/is paramount since the Arab World neglected the Somaliland case and even refused to listen – let alone to reward what many described the “Africa’s best kept secret” while others called “the little country that could”. But will he extend the already existing relation or he will change the track?

Even though, Faisal is: energetic, strong-minded and go-getting but as he begins his journey to the presidency, Faisal will have to clarify numerous issues and the ball is in his court. Time is his side as the election is nearing.

Yassin Abdillahi Ahmed, Hargeisa – Somaliland, Yassin_abdillahi@hotmail.com


Somalia: Somaliland suspends licenses of nine NGOs

HARGEISA, Somalia June 5 (Garowe Online) - The breakaway government in Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland has declared that it has temporarily suspended the licenses of nine non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Radio Garowe reports.

A press release issued Friday by the Somaliland Ministry of Planning indicated that all 26 NGOs with operations in Somaliland were informed to submit the annual 2008 reports to the government in an April 19th press release in order to keep track of the various organizations' operations.

"That press release [of April 19] warned that any group [NGO] that refuses to report will face temporary suspension of its license," read Friday's press statement.

The statement went on to mention that nine NGOs have not reported back to the Somaliland government and therefore their operations in the breakaway region have been suspended.

The NGOs included Islamic Relief, Mercy USA for Aid Development and the Canadian African Indigenous Development, according to the press release.


Helping poverty stricken families in Somaliland

SOS News, 04 Jun 2009.http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk


Fatuma Osman is a social worker at the SOS Social Centre in Hargeisa, Somaliland. One day she went to visit Safia, one of the Family Strengthening Programme beneficiaries in the local market and was amazed by what she saw.

The Family Strengthening Programme team first met Safia and her family in April 2007 when assessments for the programme started. Safia lives with her six children and a grandchild all crammed in a one-roomed hut measuring approximately four by four metres, in a nearby slum area close to the SOS Children's Village. The village where Safia lives is mainly populated by low income earners or generally very poor people. Everywhere the desperate situation is visible and similar.

Safia's traditional Somali hut, which had been built for her by her late husband, leaked whenever it rained. The hut, which was patched together using old rusted milk tins, tattered clothes, sticks, pieces of card boxes and plastic paper, was in a very bad state as it needed repairs, but that was a luxury she could not afford. The position of the homestead was also dangerous as when it rained the floods would pass right in front of the compound, leaving the children vulnerable to falling into the water or catching water borne diseases as they played in it.

The children were malnourished and occasionally suffered from diarrhea caused by poor nutrition and poor hygiene. Most of the children had ringworm, visible from the wounds on their heads. Their skin also had lesions, showing that they were suffering from skin ailments. The children and their mother slept on old torn plastic carpets as they could not afford any proper beds, let alone a mattress. Water was also a big problem as Safia's oldest daughter would trek with her for miles to search for this precious commodity, only to come back with very little or sometimes none at all, having gone for many hours leaving the younger children unattended. Safia had given up all hope of having to provide for her young ones. This left her with little energy or strength to provide the basic needs for her family. She would work very hard but what she made at the end of the day was not enough to feed the hungry mouths that awaited her return.

However, life has dramatically changed for Safia and her family after she joined the SOS Family Strengthening Programme seven months ago. After meeting Safia and giving her support towards her income generation and much needed guidance in the form of self esteem, trauma counselling, business skills training and planning for her family, she proved nothing would be impossible in her quest for success. Safia is now a vibrant, talkative and confident lady who says she cannot afford to fall back in her business. She had hired men to help her repair the hut using new plastic pieces, recycled iron sheets and some nice cloths lining the inside. She said that during the recent rains it had not leaked as it usually did. The children too have benefited from Safia's hard work, as she slightly increased the size of the hut so that the children now have a better space to live in, and she has changed the direction of the hut to keep the floods away from her compound during the rainy season. In addition two of her oldest children attend school, for which Safia pays fees while the little ones attend the Quranic School waiting to be enrolled in school soon.

Safia can now afford to dress and feed her children better as she is able to make up to US$ 12 in a day. She has also purchased a mattress which the younger children sleep on. She makes a profit of about half a dollar per dress and eighty cents for every dozen bananas sold. After making all the necessary home purchases and deducting her buying price for the items she sold, Safia makes a final profit of about US$ 5 which she puts into a revolving fund. She is now able to afford the little 'extras' she once only dreamed about. In addition she has started weaving baskets to sell, during her spare time in the evenings as she watches her children play.

Every child is entitled to shelter, warmth, love and security and Safia, with the help of the SOS Family Strengthening Programme is now able to give all of that to her children. Instead of living in misery and despondency Safia now has hope for the future.


SOMALIA: Desert locusts invade Somaliland

04 Jun 2009, Source: IRIN HARGEISA, 4 June 2009 (IRIN) - Food security in eastern and western regions of the self-declared republic of Somaliland is under threat following an invasion of desert locusts, which have destroyed an estimated 3,000ha of farmland, officials told IRIN.

"The locusts have destroyed both farmland and grassland across Somaliland, from west to east," said Aden Ahmed Dhola-yare, Somaliland's Minister for Agriculture.

A team comprising government and non-governmental officials undertook a mission in late May to assess the impact of the invasion, which was first noted in February.

Abdi-Kadir Jibril Tukale, director-general in the ministry of agriculture, said: "The locust outbreak in Somaliland will not stop in days, weeks or months; according to our assessment, which was conducted in collaboration with international organizations such as FAO Empres [Food and Agriculture Organization anti-locust project http://www.fao.org/ag/locusts/en/info/info/index.html] and other stakeholders, the desert locust outbreak will continue until September because the locusts have already buried their eggs within a 700 sqkm stretch in the west coast, particularly in Salal, Awdal, Hargeisa, and Sahel regions [west and mid-west of Somaliland]."

An FAO official, who requested anonymity, said the locust invasion had destroyed several hundred farms in Qabri Bahar area of Awdal region and along the 700km coastline from Lawya-adda to Karin, east of the town of Berbera, as well as the farmlands in Berbera region and around the Golis mountains.

However, the FAO official said, the assessment team did not survey the extent of loss in Berbera region because the team had "already assessed the west of the region, particularly Awdal and Salal areas, which were the first areas to be affected by the invasion".

Agriculture minister Dhola-yare said the government and its partners had been fighting the locust invasion in the past several months but "the problem of Salal and Awdal regions is that the locusts have destroyed the trees and the grass and several farmlands".

Invasion spreads

The minister expressed concern over the spread of the locusts, saying nowhere was safe.

"The latest invasion in the last several days has been in areas surrounding the capital [Hargeisa] and Aw-Barkhadle; the anti-locust planes used to spray the affected areas have only been able to cover 100-200km a day," Dhola-yare said.

The project to spray the locust-affected areas started in April and is funded by FAO Empres and implemented by the Desert Locust Control Organization, a regional organization based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Dhola-yare urged local communities to report any locust swarm to avoid further spread.

Somaliland resident Abdi-Aziz Ahmed said: "We passed from Berbera Airport to Daraygodle village, 15km away, and in 48 hours the locusts had eaten all the trees and the grass and were moving towards the Red Sea."


Our constitution is supposed to be the supreme law of the land

http://www.somalilandpatriots.com/news-8058-0/ June 2

Our Constitution is supposed to be the supreme law of the land and since Somaliland, after the change from absolute SNM to a constitutional one, as a nation we have drafted, which in my view reflects Somalilander's high level of political instability, evident in the high frequency of military coups. By: Mj. Amiin Dahir

We have had constitutions which have stipulated a unicameral and bicameral parliamentary system, appointed and elected upper houses, The people chosen from a member of Parliament and those appointed from outside, as well as everything else in between. The problem, however, is that what Somaliland part has had, are not constitutions at all, but temporary instruments used for governing, promulgated after military coups d'etat.

It is high time that the highest law of the land be drafted by the people and for the people without having it tainted by the agenda or vested interests of those who find themselves governing over every single one of us.

The people of Somaliland should speak up and let their voices be heard and demand that their political representatives start acting responsibly and take us out of this vicious cycle, which usually results in what we have today - an unconstitutional Constitution! I realise that the constitution of each nation is different - each one reflects the various differences of each society. Still, a good constitution is one that endures the test of time and thus must not only define the rules and principles for a system of governing, but it must also embody timeless principles of freedom and justice, reflecting the hopes and dreams of its people.

Sadly but not surprisingly, our present Constitution has failed on all these counts. One of the most important tasks for our Somaliland Leader is how to remove ourselves out of this land because how pathetic it would be if, after another couple of years, we ended up with another military coup followed by another uninspiring, unworthy and unwanted constitution? There are two things which the political party is required to address if Somaliland is to once again chart a course towards a true, meaningful and lasting democracy.

First, begin the process of promulgating a constitution by allowing for the full and uninhibited participation of the people. Second, to once and for all eliminate the moral hazard regarding the military coups detect. The people have so far been completely mistreated and kept out of the constitutional review process. our political party seems to favour a committee-based approach, consisting of a small group of politicians and intellectuals for amending the constitution and once a final draft has been completed, to subject that draft to a referedom.

I sincerely hope the Politically drastically alters the direction in which we are heading because, at best, this process denies the people their inherent rights, and at worst, it will be seen as illegitimate. Amending the present Constitution to arrive at a new one amounts to short-changing the people of Somaliland. Deserves a new charter and not one that is recycled, regurgitated and will most likely be rewritten in a few years' time.

I have note book that last longer than the average Somaliland constitution. Therefore the process, procedure and perception is vital if this new charter is to stand any hope of being accepted and indeed immortalised as the firm foundation on which Somaliland's political system is built. A referendum seems to be on the cards and is viewed as a legitimisation mechanism allowing politicians to claim that the people's acceptance for the new charter had been sought and duly given.

To reduce such an important document that binds us as one people and one nation, a document that sets out to define the social contract between the government and the governed, to a yes-or-no, kindergarten multiple choice questionnaire, is simply offensive. I believe the Prime Minister is a true democrat, and thus should be encouraged to lead us out of the woods towards greener political pastures.

In my view, the path towards true reconciliation lies in the promulgation of a constitution that is perceived to be, and actually is, written for and by the people. The only way to achieve that is to make good and right constitution the process of the new charter. The reason is simple, the good Constitution was widely hailed as a landmark in democratic political reform. Promulgated, it will be the first constitution to be drafted by an elected assembly, and hence will popularly and affectionately called the "People's Constitution."

I hope the Political party employs all their skills and puts to good use their abundant political and social capital to allow the people of Somaliland to breathe the air of democracy and with both arms to once again embrace tightly and, hopefully this time, permanently another "People's Constitution."

The moral hazard regarding coups SNM is the mother of all political moral hazards in this country. Even if we were able to draft a constitution that is perfect in the eyes of people and accepted by all, the effort would be futile if we were not able to prevent another military coup from happening. If we all want to live in a democracy and believe that military coups - even when encouraged or welcomed by segments of the public - are always a cure far worse than the disease, then this administration should address this very obvious moral hazard before we start the arduous process of promulgating another new constitution.

So what is the moral hazard regarding military coups? Well, it is very simple. Military coup leaders are subsequently completely unaccountable for their actions because new laws can be written in place of old ones to deem all their past actions lawful; institutions can encourage risky lending, if those that take the risks come to believe that they will not have to carry the full burden of losses.

In a similar vein, military coup leaders are indirectly encouraged to initiate coups, as clauses.I realise this particular moral hazard is difficult to resolve, but the Goverment leaders could begin by dishing out a portion of accountability . If politicians can face political bans, political parties can be disbanded and ordinary citizens can be brought to justice, I see no reason why the military coup leaders should be exempt from being asked tough questions under oath and subjected to the same standards of accountability expected from other branches of government or ordinary citizens. Only under the bright lights of transparency and accountability will this moral hazard make its long walk out of the wilderness.

I conclude by lending moral support to political partys because he has a monumental task ahead of them. People admire smart and respect intellect, but at the end of the day, people follow leaders who demonstrate courage. I believe the Political party need only demonstrate some courage in tackling the two issues mentioned, and I will not be surprised if Eng-Faisal gains more followers and supporters. I am confident and certainly hope the Eng-Faisal is equal to the task and I, as a citizen of Somaliland, will be cheering him on. Sir Caynaanshe once said: "Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities... because it is the quality which guarantees all others."


The Role Of Radio Hargeisa According To The Social Development Of The Country

Hadhwanaag 2009-06-02. Radio Somaliland is become Effective For the dissemention idea and informations besides bringing Entertainment Radio is the most important and popular sources of mass communication and it is called the leading sources of information it keep us informed about the happening all aroud the globe ever body interresting, Events happening and news, radio is the only media providing news and entertainment, the first and formost fuctions of radio is to know political happening and social, As we know radio hargeisa has palyed agreat part role in the people living somaliland, becouse the wolrd of today is not asolated completly, it is and era International Co,operations and indepedence, Radio hargeisa spreading informations and promoting mutual understanding proggrames, the first requirments is to full fill the requirements, of the somaliland society in diffrent ways.

Radio hargeisa proggrames.

1. INFORMATIONS: Radio hargeisa spreads Informations often take place events, news and mutual understandig proggrames is use full and valuable.

2- EDUCATION: in modern age radio is an essentail part the life of the people and radio spreads informations the people living far plung and somaliland Rural area so as to brought the voice of the leaders radio teached ilitarate people to make proggres and they promote, knolwdge, culture, and educational proggrames.

3- Religion proggrames: as we know somaliland people are muslim and religous proggrames is very important, radio hargeisa provides religious proggrammes, by arranging speciall programes, the life of the holly prophet (Pbuh), the important of holly quran hathiths,becouse islamic religion is sources inspartion for all our acctivites.

4- CURRENT AFFAIRS: radio hargeisa makes the people to aware what goes on the wolrd radio somaliland palys effective role the strruggle somaliland issue, and they spread as medium the news of the country and recen days radio lisen out side of the country.

5 Childrean Proggrammes: there is no doubt radio reflects emotions and feelings of all the people in every countries, if the people devlop radio will be devloped if they ruined it will will be devastated, becouse radio plays important role national devlopment,if imention children proggrammes radio hargeisa, we know children always need to intertain and radio transmit proggrammes based stories, songs, and it encourages, children, to read more things and places,it is good to make intertainment the children becouse they are the future of the country.

6- ENTARTAINMENT PROGGRAMMES: radio hargeisa proggrammes is not breifly released, news, cultural, knowldge, and educational proggrammes, only, it also provides,recration many ways it transmit songs, plays and entertainment proggrames, songs, and end whith music song, and all tybes of musical proggrames.

7- WOMAN PROGGRAMMES: Woman of somaliland have needs to their own and they also need intertainment, they need to be relived of the feeling house hold and it is good to add radio hargeisa woman proggrames, becouse most of somaliland woman are house wives, and they need their intersting proggrammes, such like coocking, house keeping, and children care proggrames.

Radio is a powerfull media in the wolrd and it is the pillars of every country, before two years radio somaliland listen capital city of somaliland but know ever body can listen out of the country.radio somaliland plays active role the social devlopment of the country,

Mahad nuux Muumin, Mahad_nuux09@hotmail.com, pakistan islamabad


Marriage: What You Can’t Live With Out It

Hargeisa, 2 June 2009 (Somalilandpress) - Marriage is an important part of Islam and it is supposed to be a means of happiness, leniency, and serenity. It is the first flame that lights up the inner domain of the heart. It opens Eternity secrets of the future. It is the union of two divinities that a third might be born on earth. It is the union of two souls in a strong love for the abolishment of separateness.

Marriage is some thing to be snatched but desires concern, consideration, burly duty and loyalty. It is not a smooth as numerous people may deem, it is chock-full of bumpy spots and impel force that sets people at work for the achievement of better life.

We heard stories of people who married each other, stories of being surrounding by love and caring. From these stories we learned that all of us as youth had dreams of getting married and making family on our own. In Somaliland , whether you think the time is right or not, it depends on your economic status.

Many young Somali Landers in and out search in their summer holidays to find a special person with whom they spend the rest of their life. It is misery & pest to choose some one you don’t know more about his personality, character and quality. Let’s try to highlight the areas that prevent the young people to dare the marriage.

Economic Problems

Economic problems play a key role in setting impediments in the way of young people getting married these days. In country with high unemployment rate, such as Somaliland , It is hard for young people to find job instantly after graduating in universities. It might take him years before his salary is sufficient to save for his future marriage. With the financial pressures that face young men, some of them choice to migrate abroad to establish there in better life and make enough money to start a family.

Others spent a good time of their life chewing Qat and setting eyesore places aimlessly. Those youth have completely forgotten about their future, even they don’t have the feelings about future marriage. All these economic and social prospects are transformed into obstacles because the more important requirements of marriage are neglected. As a result of over looking a man’s religious and moral character, many Somaliland marriages have been accepted exclusively on the basis of man’s financial status.

Sadly, some, but not all, such marriages end failure, because whom the family had accepted because of his financial status, but has no religious basis, and there fore does not treat his wife and her family well. At other times, an honorable and respectable man is refused because of his insufficient financial status.

Cultural Obligation

By the side of financial difficulties are the social and cultural pressures that have become essential requirement for marriage to take place. Although Somali Lander’s have an existing culture which is very rich of wisdom. This culture determines the way in which people could do their social ceremonies. Somaliland ’s have entirely different way of doing and holding their marriage ceremonies. For example when a man decides to marry, he sets of searching for a suitable woman who shares the life with him, then the man his father and other members of his relatives set off to the girl’s house by proposing to the girl’s parents.

After that they pay an amount of money as a gift called “Gabaati”. They also distribute “Gaaf” to the other people who are there. But today’s weddings have also become an essential part of the social acceptance of a marriage. Panaroma, Kasalmo and other business weeding hotels are waiting for you if you think to start a family with your own. Young peoples are some times forced by their relatives to have a spendthrift wedding, even when they can scarcely afford it. They are some times led to spend on a wedding so much money that they would have preferred to spend on more crucial needs, but it is difficult to confront these family and community pressures, unless parents prepare their sons and daughters a better future and cheap marriage. In conclusion, I would like to remember the Somaliland parents for this hadith.

Abu Hurairah narrated that Allah’s messenger (peace be upon him) said, “When some one whose religion and character you are satisfied asks your daughter in marriage, accede to his request. If you do not do so, there will be temptation on earth and extensive corruption”

By: Farhan Abdi Suleiman (Oday) Farhan Abdi Suleiman (oday), is a social worker in Hargeisa, Somaliland He can be contacted at oday1999@yahoo.com Tell: 252-2-4401132


Somaliland Army Men Detained For Listening to Radio Horyaal News

http://www.somalilandglobe.com/02 June 2009

Six Somaliland soldiers stationed in the eastern front had been released from a detention facility located in Oog district of Sool province for listening to a news programme on Radio Horyaal last week, according to senior military officers who spoke to Somaliland.Org over the telephone on condition of anonymity.

The soldiers disobeyed an unlawful order from the Somaliland Military High Command calling for all members of the armed forces, wherever they happen to be in the country, not to listen to Radio Horyaal- an opposition radio broadcasts beamed into Somaliland from Europe.

“The soldiers were arrested after being caught listening to Radio Horyaal news programme. It appears that they have simply ignored the order not to do so,” said one of the officers who asked for anonymity.

The Somaliland Military High Command had secretly issued unlawful orders, at least three times in the past, to members of the armed forces warning them against listening to Radio Horyaal. However, in most cases, soldiers based in the remote areas of the country often ignore the order and secretly listen to Horyaal radio station.

“The reason why we prefer Radio Horyaal is simply because it is the only Somaliland radio station that has the broadcast capacity to reach this remote area of the country,” said one of the soldiers based in Adhi Addeys barracks who also declined to give his name. “Previously, we used to listen to Galkayo radio and other stations that belong to Puntland”.

It is not the first time that the soldiers stationed in the barracks of the eastern front of Somaliland have been arrested for listening to Radio Horyaal. In the past, soldiers were handed down punishments ranging from automatic dismissal from the Army to an indefinite detention.

The Somaliland state-owned Radio does not have broadcast capacity beyond a 5-mile radius from central Hargeisa, the capital city of Somaliland.


Arr Goes to Somaliland

http://somalilandpress.com/ June 2, 2009.

ARR will be writing to Somalilandpress about his journey to Somaliland and will be offering advice to anyone who may want to travel to this Horn African nation. ARR was born abroad and this is his first trip to Somaliland.

I have always wanted to visit Hargeisa but somehow not managed to. I collected as much information from friends who had been there as I could and debriefed as many people as possible on their return. This was, after all, the one place I couldn’t log into A Small World and get advice for. This very special journey began thirteen years ago in my heart. I had missed Somaliland ever since I paid my last and only ever visit as a young child in 1996. From the moment I had stepped on the plane I had this yearning to return. A return to where my people roam, live, and where I am truly known.

I flew in via Dubai but did not have the pleasure of spending much time relaxing on the beach as is my normal custom. Dubai was only a point of transit rather than the usual final destination and vacationing place I frequented over the past years. This time I had another plane to catch, a lot of shopping to do, and a lot of fast food to sample that I would no doubt miss during my trip to Somaliland. I stayed up out of genuine excitement the final night and very early on a Friday morning headed to Dubai Airport’s terminal two. The flight in from London landed at the newer terminal and I had only ever been to terminal two to fly to Bahrain a couple of times. What made this flight remarkable is that it was not announced on any of the departure screens. I now truly felt that I was headed to ‘Africa’s best kept secret.

I was shocked at the quality of the airline we took. I was expecting the Daallo - like experience I had heard of from many unhappy customers and from my personal experience those many years ago which is why I took an alternative. The flight crew were professional and even gave me and my fellow travel companions carbonated soft drinks reserved for Business Class. The flight crew began to go through the Airplane Safety Procedures which drew multiple jeers and laughter from the passengers who had probably only taken a plane once before on an outbound journey.

The announcement that the destination was Berbera, Somaliland also drew jeers from the many Somali passengers who would be travelling via Somaliland but only had miss-informed opinions of their neighbours to the north. The only ‘African’ moment I experienced was when one of the flight-crew poured a bucket of water on the floor and proceeded to wipe the floor with a rag in the middle of the flight. This screamed out ‘YouTube Moment!’ but I wasn’t quick enough to record the best part of what was the funniest thing I had ever witnessed on an airplane. We took up an entire row just behind Business Class which seated a few Ministers and as a result I had ample space to rest my abnormally long legs. I sat back and looked out the window at the mountains of Oman. I was now only a matter of hours away from the one place I truly considered home.

Only a few hours later the vast deep blue ocean began to meet with land. I was now flying along the coast of Somaliland and was eventually able to make out the Berbera coastline. We flew right by so that we could make our approach to Africa’s longest runway. What I hadn’t expected was a nose dive landing that was similar to the Baghdad landings I had read about. A few seconds later and rubber met tarmac. I almost wanted to clap like I used to see when I traveled younger. We had arrived to our destination as promised and in one piece. It really did feel like an ‘Express’ airline.

On exiting the airplane we made our way to the little warehouse that was used as the arrivals terminal. I was traveling with an uncle who is a well known man in Somaliland politics as he had spent 8 years behind bars courtesy of the old Somalia Regime. The fact that he was heavily involved in politics assisted in our prompt walk through customs. It didn’t give us any other luxury because we were immediately left to the mercy of the scorching Berbera temperature without the luxury of air conditioning. After negotiating the release of our suitcases we proceeded to load them onto our vehicles. I almost wanted to ask what my luggage had ever done to anyone because the art of carrying luggage had obviously not reached here. Right up until I reached Hargeisa I felt like I was watching the Passion of the Christ and that at any moment someone was going to crucify my suitcases. After watching my prized possessions get dragged on numerous occasions, and my laptop case dropped, I insisted on doing all the lifting myself.

We left as a two-vehicle convoy because the third vehicle had overheated and was stuck in the middle of a little village on its way to us. My poor brother wanted to come welcome me to Somaliland in person but was instead welcomed to a small village without refrigerated drinks where he was stuck nearly the whole night. We headed for a quick trip into Berbera for a tasty meal of fresh fish and rice while watching the beach. I envied the children swimming in the beach and hated myself for deciding to wear jeans. The heat flattered Dubai and was probably closer to Kuwait’s summer temperatures. This barely populated and scorching city is where my Great-Great grandfather signed the Treaty with the British and I now only now wished I had taken the time to visit the museum in England where his signature is on sheep skin. After our quick meal we began our journey to Hargeisa. This journey was full of many surprises. We first encountered a man sitting and chewing in the middle of the road with two way traffic travelling at high speeds who only moved when given financial encouragement. It was only a little while longer that we were all told to pull to the side by 15 vehicles led by police which turned out to be the Presidential motorcade. I had only been in Somaliland for less than two hours and was already within a spitting distance of the man who was the head of our ever present, albeit ineffectual government. A short while later and we encountered swarms of locusts that were savaging the rural areas in what looked like a biblical scene. I shook my head and swore to myself that I had already seen the Presidential motorcade.

The drive in was spectacular and the Golis Range was particularly beautiful. I scratched my head and wondered if any of the nomadic people living in this area were aware that they were sitting on what is potentially billions of barrels of oil, hydrocarbons and mountains of gold and gemstones. I then made a quick prayer to myself asking God to make the bounty of the people available to them and that we are not exploited for mere political gain nor to obtain our well deserved recognition or payoffs. I then thought about the last 18 years and started to pray even harder. The reason I had began to study geology was so that I could help my people but after a few quick conversations with the locals I began to realise quickly that progress was far away.

After what felt like a ten hour drive when the AC was wasn’t working and a thirty minute trip when it started working again; I noticed the two infamous mountains that Sheikh Madar must have seen when he decided to begin his settlement here those many years ago. I could not help but feel like I was making a sort of pilgrimage to a very special place to me, my parents and my lineage. The closer we got the more the population along the roadsides grew along with checkpoints. After the horrific and cowardly attacks perpetrated by Al-Shabab recently in Hargeisa I was very supportive of the many security measures taken and the extra scrutiny my full beard and long hair drew.

As we got to the final checkpoint I could see the densely populated city in front of me. The final guard joked that ‘the summer has arrived’ when he saw me and my little British cousins that were traveling with me. The White Sands Village that was well promoted in England but not well thought out in Somaliland was on our right side a short while later and we entered the city. This is where my optimism ended.

To be continued…


Somaliland’s Forgotten Children

Hargeisa, 02 June 2009 (Somalilandpress) — In a remote orphanage in the heart of Somaliland, hundreds of children cram into small spaces to try and sleep through the night. But sleeping seems to be the least of their problems.

With no running water and no way to keep the children clean, disease and infections were rampant among the orphans. Somaliland, which is in the horn of Africa, declared independence from Somalia in 1991 after Gen. Barre’s central government in Mogadishu collapsed.

Today the war-torn country is still not recognized by the United Nations and other countries as its own entity. War and poverty have spiked the number of children without parents or caregivers and orphanages are bursting at the seams. This orphanage in Hargeisa is no exception.

In May 2007, OBI staff visited the orphanage and found 327 children living there with only one toilet and no running water.

Operation Blessing International’s Orphan’s Promise supplied more than $25,000 to renovate the facility. Six months later,the orphanage has showers, sinks, spigots and toilets as well as other water access points in and outside the building. “For the 13 years I have been here, there has never been a shower,” said Bashir, an older orphan.

Bashir’s parents were killed when a grenade hit his home. Today, he still lives at the orphanage, but is attending a local university where he is studying to become a lawyer. “I will never forget to come back and visit my brothers and sisters at the orphanage and fight for their futures,”he said.

Now the orphanage has access to clean water and that’s one less fight Bashir has to worry about. “Having clean drinking water has made a radical difference in the lives of the orphans and greatly reduced the number of illnesses,” said David Darg, OBI’s deputy director for international programs. “Step by step we will change their lives for the better.“

Source: Operation Blessing International (OBI) Published January 2008, republished 2 June 2009 by Somalilandpress for awareness purpose.


USACC Somaliland Recognition

Abdulazez Al-Motairi May 31, 2009, http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/104345

Washington, DC. – U.S. African Chamber of Commerce said U.S. African Subcommittee Somali Stabilization Must Included the Recognition of Somaliland. This will bring Democracy in the Region, Economic for the Somali People and Most Importantly a Political Stability to the Horn of African.

Washington, a US Senate panel held a hearing Wednesday on developing a coordinated and sustainable strategy toward Somalia. The Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs took testimony on "the new offensive launched by militant extremists."

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson says despite a transitional federal government in place, Somalia is in crisis.

"Approximately 43 percent of the Somali population relies on humanitarian assistance to survive and nearly 500,000 Somalis have fled the country and now live in overcrowded refugee camps throughout the region," he says.

Clans, militias, warlords and terrorist organizations control most of the country, not the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

Carson adds, "The blight of piracy off the coast of Somalia is without question a symptom of the instability and insecurity within Somalia. Without stability in Somalia there can be no long-term resolution of the piracy problem."

The resolution of these problems calls for a comprehensive solution that provides stability, promotes reconciliation, economic opportunity and hope for the Somali people," says Carson.

The Obama administration has called on the State Department, the National Security Council,the Defense Department, USAID, intelligence agencies and other agencies to develop a Somalia strategy -- one, Carson says, "that is both comprehensive and sustainable." He says the US is also working with international partners, including the United Nations, African Union and European Union.

A strategy based on internal reconciliation:

"Our comprehensive strategy is to promote a stabile and peaceful Somalia, to support regional peacekeeping efforts, to create a functioning and effective central government…to create a country that is at peace with its neighbors," he says.

Carson says the United States has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to support humanitarian and security needs in Somalia. He also accuses Eritrea of supporting armed groups, who are opposed to the Transitional Federal Government.

Also testifying was Professor Ken Menkhaus of Davidson College, who expects the Somali crisis to be a continuing foreign policy concern for the new Obama administration.

Past US policy flawed

He says, "In this increasingly complex environment, external state building, peace building and counter-terrorism initiatives have at times been based on flawed analysis and have produced unintended consequences, which have left Somalia and its regional neighbors even more insecure."

He adds that US policy toward Somalia must take a regional approach and consider tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the insurgency in Ethiopia's Somali region and territorial claims.

Oxfam senior policy advisor Shannon Scriber told the Senate panel that "Somalia remains the site of the world's worst humanitarian crisis. The combination of conflict and drought have led to more than three million Somalis dependent on aid within the country and the displacement of up to 1.8 million

For more information, contact the U.S. AFRICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Martin Mohammed, President,202-465-0778, www.usafricanchamber.com, Source: U.S. AFRICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE


Amnesty International Report 2009: Somaliland

Source: http://thereport.amnesty.org/en/regions/africa/somalia

The Republic of Somaliland, which declared independence from Somalia in 1991, continued to seek international recognition. Although Somaliland government officials threatened to expel some 24 journalists who had fled from Mogadishu to the safety of Hargeisa in late 2007, that order was not carried out. It is estimated that Somaliland continued to host tens of thousands of displaced Somalis fleeing violence in southern and central Somalia.

The relative peace and security of Somaliland was disrupted in October by suicide bomb attacks on a UN compound, the President’s residence and the Ethiopian trade mission in Hargeisa. More than 20 people were killed and more than 30 injured in the attacks.

National elections which were originally scheduled for 2008 were postponed until March 2009, with presidential elections scheduled before local elections.

The government of Somaliland maintained national and regional security committees which reportedly carried out unlawful arrests and detentions. Human rights defenders continued to report incidents of government obstruction of civil society activities resulting in violations of freedom of expression and assembly.

Tensions over border areas, claimed by the semi-autonomous Puntland Region of Somalia, continued. Thousands of civilians from the disputed town of Las Anod remained displaced after extensive fighting between Somaliland and Puntland forces in late 2007, which ended in Somaliland control of the area.


Sweet-talking French court Berbera

Observer, Posted by SomaliLand Future on 05/31

Bollore’, a French logistics company, may develop and manage the famous Berbera-Corridor

Hargeisa (Observer)- Officials from Bollore’, a French logistics firm with wide presence in Africa, have been coming to Berbera for sometime in stealth, often tagging along with visiting French diplomats. This time, however, the French came in style with their own private plane landing in Berbera. The President of Somaliland, not known for frequent forays out of Hargeisa, drove all the way to Berbera to meet with them.

The French are already in Somaliland. TOTAL, the giant oil company, has been running Somaliland’s fuel depot in Berbera for the past 10 years and has become the main supplier of retail fuel. The Banque pour le Commerce et l’Industire Mer Rouge, a subsidiary of the Group Bred/Banque Populaire, has also opened an office in Hargeisa, although sources have told the Observer that Paris is slowing the conversion of this office to a full-fledged branch. From the French government side, the French embassy in Djibouti has been making frequent visits to Hargeisa and has recently helped in the establishment of a small French cultural centre in Somaliland.

The port of Berbera is the pride of Somaliland. It is one of the most strategic ports in the Gulf of Aden, but is dwarfed by other ports in the region largely because of Somaliland’s political status. Berbera, has been making some improvements lately. The World Food Program (WFP), faced with the huge problem of providing food aid to 1 million people in landlocked Ethiopia, has recently upgraded facilities and warehouses there. At the present time, WFP is channeling more than 200,000 metric tonnes of food aid through Berbera to Ethiopia. This project will inject a large dose of needed cash into Somaliland’s weak economy.

The EU, the UN and other donor agencies have been eying Berbera for a long time as an alternative port in the region. Berbera’s proximity to Ethiopia and the easily navigable terrain between Berbera and most of Ethiopia, Somalia and even northern Kenya, are attractive features and many years ago. Some years back, the EU commissioned a feasibility study on a Berbera corridor that would like Berbera to Jigjiga in Ethiopia. The road Between Berbera and Wajaale on the Somaliland-Ethiopia border is the weak link in this corridor to complete a complete 300 km between Somaliland and Ethiopia. The feasibility study was completed many years ago, but so far not much has been done on the Somaliland side. Interestingly that study was done by a Paris-based company as well.

Reporters from the President’s entourage say that the French company may invest in the Berbera corridor and the port of Berbera itself. It is not clear yet whether negotiations have reached closure, but the fact the President went to meet the French officials who flew directly on a private plane clearly indicates that the parties are serious about this.

Many Somalilanders, especially many members of parliament, have been unhappy about the way the government of Somaliland signed the agreement with TOTAL for the fuel depot. TOTAL was reported to have paid $200,000 directly to President Egal to clinch the deal.

Bollore’ interest in Berbera presents a government in an election year with a huge opportunity. The government can claim that it has finally succeeded in getting a suitor for the important Berbera-corridor, a project that will have significant benefits for Somaliland. There can be a downside as well. If the government does not show some mature public transparency its reputation can be seriously damaged as a government only interested in selling Somaliland piece meal. Lately, the government has been selling public land to private investors, which while not a bad thing at all, has raised some uneasy questions because many decry the secrecy that surrounded the process. Opposition parties have latched on this and have made allegations of massive corruption. The government needs to be careful, especially in an election year, that the people are aware of the general elements of these agreements.


Somaliland: A Trip To The Unknown

By Emily H, Source: Somalilandpress, May 31 2009

Emily will be writing to Somalilandpress about her experience in Somaliland and will be offering tips to anyone who may want to visit the unrecognized republic along the way - discover Somaliland from a Non-Somali perspective. This is the first article - planing the trip.

In late March, the opportunity to spend the summer working in Hargeisa arose. I was intrigued. I had heard that Somaliland is a sort of enclave of stability in the region, but to the best of my knowledge still a place that foreigners would be foolish to venture to. But how can one know? And who could I ask? First I turned to my Somali friends living in the United States. All of them are from southern Somalia, with little familiarity of Somaliland.

Nonetheless, they did make requests that I bring back certain items with me, if I go. If I honor all of these requests, among the things I will return with to Boston include gold, clothes, pots and pans, a camel, and if I can’t take a camel, a goat. Now, back to the investigation. Still lacking information about Somaliland, I turned to my American friends who have worked in Eastern Africa. I finally was introduced to a friend of a friend who spent time in Hargeisa two years ago. He said it was safe, and raved about the beaches. I looked at Thorn Tree travel guide on Lonely Planet, which provided a greater wealth of first hand information. The reports and stories were mostly positive.

Still, I needed more information. On a whim, I typed “Somaliland” then “Somaliland Boston” and “Hargeisa” into the facebook search bar. To my surprise, I even found a facebook group called “Hargeisa…summer 2009!” I messaged people in the group and got in touch with Somalilandpress in Boston. Surprisingly, all of these investigative initiatives led me to make connections with many knowledgeable people, so that I started feeling more confident about going and better informed about the situation on the ground.

Okay, so I’ve decided that I will definitely be spending two-and-a-half months working in Hargeisa this summer. What now? All the planning is overwhelming and I don’t even know what airlines fly to Somaliland. A lot of research is in store. After inquiring with other foreigners who have been to Somaliland and looking on the Somaliland government’s website, it seems to be the consensus that the best way to get a visa is to head to the Somaliland embassy in Addis Ababa.

I have heard contrasting feedback about obtaining a visa. While my fellow foreigner friends all tell me that I have to get a visa in Addis or London (but better Addis), my Somalilander friends tell me that a visa can be obtained at the Hargeisa airport for $40. I am not sure which solution is best for me, and perhaps Somali ex-pats who visit are subject to different rules than foreigners. In any case, I feel better knowing I will have a visa in hand upon arrival. And anyway, I have a friend in Addis who can show me around. I will let you know how the visa process goes when I arrive in Addis next week.

Next on the agenda: booking a flight! Finding a flight from Boston to Addis is not so hard, but being that I am a graduate student on a limited budget, I am after the best deal possible. In my extensive research I have uncovered an essential travel tip, for the frugal out there: it turns out that buying two separate round trip tickets rather than one round trip ticket is cheaper (from Boston to Ethiopia).

This is why my itinerary consists of one round trip ticket from Boston to Paris, and another round trip ticket from Paris to Addis Ababa, which will even give me the opportunity to visit some friends and family when I stop over in Paris. From Paris, the most reasonable tickets I found to Addis are with Turkish Air, Emirates, and Lufthansa. At the time of my search, Turkish Air had the best price, but a very long layover and inconvenient arrival times. For only $90 more I chose to take Lufthansa and save 14 hours round trip, plus arrive at a reasonable hour. Finally I take the plunge and book my ticket. Total price? $1100. Ouch, but expected.

Now for the trickier part: how to get from Addis to Hargeisa? After speaking with my contacts in Somaliland and doing other investigations, I learn that I basically have four options to explore: Daallo Airlines, Ethiopian Air, Air Ethiopia, and the bus. My instinct tells me to go with Ethiopian Air, but then I look on their website and call the airline, only to discover that all flights to Hargeisa are still suspended. And while I have gotten mixed reviews about many topics, one thing has remained consistent: avoid Daallo airlines if you can. Luckily, (or perhaps it will be unlucky, as I have yet to take my flight and find out!) a contact in Hargeisa told me about Air Ethiopia, a relatively new airline that has flights from Addis to Hargeisa every Monday and Thursday.

I contact a travel agent as well as the airline directly, and they say they will hold a space for me, though I have not put any money down and certainly have no e-ticket as proof. I will simply go to their office when I arrive in Addis to pick up the ticket and pay. Sounds good to me.

It seems like everything is nearly set. Now I just have to pack my suitcase accordingly. Simple? Not as much as you might think. You see, my Somali friends in Boston are very excited (and also nervous) about my trip. They have all filled my already stuffed suitcase with gifts to give their family, or family of their family, or who knows who. Some gifts include clothes, Obama gear, magazines, a Blackberry, USB key, and more.

Not only that, they have showered me with Somali clothing which I have been instructed to don when I am there. I give a little fashion show to some friends, thinking that I have mastered how to wear their clothes, but as it turns out, I never noticed the little details: what size scarf to wear with a skirt versus a dress, how to tie each scarf so it looks right, what to wear under the skirt, and so on. Luckily I have a few days before I leave to learn these intricacies and patient teachers ready to instruct me.

Hopefully the people I meet in Hargeisa will be as patient with me as my Somali friends in the U.S. have been in helping me prepare for the trip! Stay tuned and thanks for reading.


Press Release: Mr. Mark Bowden’s Latest Visit To Somaliland

Hargeisa, 30 May 2009 (Somalilandpress) - Mark Bowden, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator made a 3 days trip to Somaliland to visit various UN projects in Hargeisa and Berbera.

Mark Bowden announced Cabdiqadir Nuur Xuseen as the winner of the UN Media Awards 2008 for Somaliland. Mr Xuseen won the prize for best feature, in the print category. The winning article was printed in the Geeska Afrika Newspaper in Hargeisa, Somaliland.

The UN media awards recognize the work of Somali journalists across Somalia and cover print media, broadcast media and online media. The initiative seeks to encourage the production of features on development and humanitarian issues and recognizes the contribution of Somali journalists in putting those issues on the public agenda. It also aims to improve the overall standard of journalism on these issues, in a country where there is limited access to formal journalist training.

Mr Bowden then visited the Jamalaaye settlement of internally displaced people, in Berbera where UNICEF has three projects; a mother and child health centre, a primary school for the IDPS mostly and a piped water facility. The projects are centered around the community, their needs and requirements in terms of development. UNICEF support to the community includes the provision of a primary school, piped water and a maternal and health clinic.

The Hassan Ali Henry School, which is supported by UNICEF, is another project that Mr Bowden visited in Berbera. Before the construction of this school most children in the Jamalaaye area of Berbera could not get an education or had to walk a minimum of two kilometers in 40 degree weather to the nearest school. Only over a third of the children aged 6-13 years in Somaliland (i.e. approximately 150,000) are estimated to be in school. The school is named after Hassan Ali Henry, a Somali philanthropist who used to assist Berbera children in 1930s.

While in the Jamalaaye district of Berbera, Mark Bowden also saw the Jamalaaye Maternal and Child Health Clinic (MCH) which serves a very poor community with limited access to other health facilities. The MCH provides much needed immunization, an under five clinic, growth monitoring, outpatient feeding, and antenatal services. UNICEF provides the MCH with drug kits, vaccines and vaccines supplies. The MCH also distributes ‘Plumpy doz’, a ready to use food supplement to reduce the incidence of acute malnutrition to 9,500 children under three for eight months and will treat 6,000 severely malnourished children this year alone.

Mr Bowden also visited the Berbera port to see the operation being carried out by the World Food Programme (WFP) which has generated over 300 additional jobs. He also visited two other WFP warehouses storage facilities which have created additional 60 jobs.

The last stop of the trip involved a visit to the Local Economic Development and Appropriate Technology (LEDAT) Resource Centre in Hargeisa. LEDAT was established in 2004 to support economic development in Somaliland by providing local entrepreneurs and those involved in poverty alleviation with access to quality information, research and training materials. It is run by the International Labour Organization (ILO) with support from Italian government and UNDP.

For more information, please contact Kaltun Hassan, Media Relations Specialist, Tel: +2522 4166242 or +254 726891851. Email: kaltun.hassan@undp.org


PEOPLE ARE CUTTING TREES AS IF THERE WILL BE NO MORE GENERATIONS IN SOMALILAND COUNTRY

Amiin Caynaashe, May 30, 2009, http://www.togaherer.com/details.asp?id=1163&dt=articles

Can we say that a particular Ministry was supposed to be at the scene to stop such an environmental problem?

Great confusion still persists in Somaliland when issues of responsibility and accountability on who is actually responsible with Environment Protection and Control in Somaliland is concerned? Who is responsible with environment degradation and its negative impacts to human life in Somaliland? Is it the Vice presidents office, Local Government, Ministry of Agriculture (Water) or Local and International NGOs? I think we need to be serious if real we knew the effect of poor environment.

To me, Environment is everything that makes up our surroundings and affects our ability to live on the earth—the air we breathe, the water that covers most of the earth's surface, the plants and animals around us, and much more. Is it impossible to place this important issue under one roof for improved expected impacts? Giving more than two Ministers to deal with one critical problem weakens responsibities.

There are different organs that deals with environmental issues in our country, But do anyone represents the central government and other branch of goverment is there as the an advisory body.In our municipalities there are sections that also control issues of environment at that level.Indeed confusion ought to occur or they are existing as to what organ is responsible for a particular activity. The responsible party for environmental protection is simply a work of each and every one of us because it is the human activities that is leading to environmental degradation.

To at least curb this trend human always give themselves some guidlines and rules to help them atleast achieve sustainable development.At the moment Somaliland has no umbrella legislation or law that will guide us on how to tackle the problem of environmental degradation in its totality.By having environmental law issues as what organ will have mandate in environmental issues will be defined having a ministry of environment like many nation of this world have. This alone will eliminate people who are working in issues and environmental organs but truly they are not supposed to be there

when we think of environmental degradation as well as impacts. I would say that environmentalists are the ones responsible to do various research activities to know which factors leads to desertification, erosion, degradation, loss of biodiversity etc. Later disseminate findings to all of us for the betterment of our environment. Normally, environmental impacts are caused by human activities or they occur naturally. On the human side of view, more pressure that they put on the land like clearing farms for agricultural activities, especially through the application of a traditional farming method called slash and burn each year to make life. Also cutting trees for timber, building poles, fuelwood.

I suggest that all Offices which are currently dealing with Environmental issues in the country (1) the National Environment Management Council, this being under the Vice President’s Office and (2) the Ministry of Natural Resource to continue with their super jobs. Last but not least, we are supposed to know that, apart from the mentioned Offices above, all Ministries in Somaliland in one way or another are linked through various existing policies and laws which were created by taking into account cross cutting issues like environment, poverty,This means, environmental matters are not in one roof but many roofs. So, on my side, the whole governmental structure the way it is at the moment as far as environmental issues are concerned is perfect.

In order for us to achieve our goads towards utilization of our environment for sustainable development we need to use laws, policies e.g. population policy. Such policies to keep safe our tree .. But it is vital to create awareness among all Somalilanders.

We normally think that having acts, laws, policies or creating boards to oversee things is a way forward. This is sign of in effective and disfunctioning. Somaliland really dont know the danger of environmental degradation. We have witnessed that for the past three decades People are cutting trees as if there will be no more generations in this country, think about in the rural areas? Let us wake up


Failing the state: recognizing Somaliland

by Caplin, Jessica, May 30, 2009. Harvard International Review • Spring, 2009 • AFRICA

As nations across Africa struggle to maintain law and order, the international community has forsaken one of Africa's most promising states. Somaliland announced its independence from Somalia in 1991, seizing its opportunity during a power vacuum in Mogadishu. A stable democracy, it contrasts dramatically with Somalia, its war-torn neighbor, which perpetually teeters on the brink of stats failure. Nevertheless, a full 18 years since its secession, no nation or international organization recognizes Somaliland. To reward Somaliland for its efforts and to set an example for other African states, the international community should fully recognize Somaliland.

Somaliland achieved self-rule after a long saga of political and military realignments. In 1960, with the end of British colonial rule, Somaliland was recognized as an independent state but subsequently united with its neighbor to form Somalia. However, after decades of political and military conflict, the Somali government left present-day Somaliland in the hands of nationalists in the late 1980s.

Somaliland has managed to escape the turmoil of its parent nation through rapid efforts to create an independent state. As Somalia collapsed into civil war, Somaliland officially declared independence in May 1991, thereafter building a stable nation of 3.5 million people with minimal foreign support. Ten years after its independence, Somaliland introduced a new constitution by national referendum. In 2003, the nation held its first open presidential election, and regular parliamentary elections started in 2005. In a promising trend, the number of cross-clan votes has increased steadily, suggesting that policy, not ethnicity, will determine elections and increasing the likelihood of a competent and durable government. Somalia, meanwhile, has suffered rapid-fire conflicts, including the 2006 civil war and Ethiopian invasion and the resignation of President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed on December 29, 2008.

Despite Somaliland's marked success, the international community refuses to recognize it as an independent nation. Currently, Somaliland is one of only two states "unrecognized by the UN": the other is the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. States have refused recognition for a variety of reasons. Several countries eager to promote stability in the Horn of Africa have joined together to create the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, which seeks Somalia's unity, lest a successful secession of Somaliland serve as a precedent for other secessionist movements in East Africa. Neighboring Arab countries and East African nations such as Eritrea also hope for a unified Somalia because it might be the only power in the Horn of Africa strong enough to offset the dominant Ethiopia.

Globally, support for recognition is weak. The African Union (AU), despite its lip service to Somaliland's progress, has yet to act decisively for fear of undermining its precedent of supporting all post-colonial boundaries. The EU, whose members have voiced contrasting opinions, avoids discussing the matter. However, the president of the European Commission (EC), Jose Manuel Barroso, has declared EC support for free and fair elections in Somaliland. The United States has proved far more open to the idea of Somaliland's independence but would prefer that the AU make the first move. Finally, the UN Security Council refuses to recognize Somaliland, using quotation marks in reference to the territory and claiming in a March 2008 report on Somalia by the secretary general that the state is "fragile" and only "relatively better" than south-central Somalia.

Interest groups have called for full recognition of Somaliland, arguing that the international community should be willing to re-acknowledge Somaliland's internationally recognized independence from 1960. The cases of Ethiopia and Eritrea, Egypt and Syria, and Senegal and Mali serve as precedent for recognition of former independence. Though Somaliland need not legally request permission for statehood from Somalia, given its short-lived independence in 1960, historical precedents indicate that negotiations moderated by international bodies and resolved peacefully are more likely to result in long-term accords. Official recognition is needed in order to preserve and protect new states from invasion or hostilities. What is more, a stable nation in East Africa should be welcomed as an exemplar in a failing region. Throughout Somaliland, there is a sentiment that if the international community can recognize and lend support to warlords and to oppressive regimes, it should not hesitate to support successful state development. Unlike its parent country, Somaliland has demonstrated stability in a region of strife and tumult, and the international community should end its lethargy and make a final decision while relative calm endures.

The year 2009 is a perfect opportunity for such a step. With recent turnovers in Somali and US leadership, as well as Somaliland's presidential election, which is scheduled for April 2009, both the international community and Somaliland are in transition. As the new leadership calibrates its international policy, Somaliland should not be neglected anymore. The international community should seize the moment to recognize this promising young republic as an independent nation.


Democracy And Wisdom Has Worked Once Again in Somaliland.

by Mohamed Mousa, May 29, 2009, http://www.qarannews.com/

Our people have hailed for the success of the negotiations on the presidential election date. Somaliland and its endeavour to independence have the utmost priority and come before any special interest. We have seen that serious and honest dialogue among our people and political parties have saved us from the hostility and civil wars in Somalia. Negotiations and the wisdom of our people are the pillars of our success.

The same prepositions and terms negotiated by the Guurti and the election commission and which were rejected by the opposition parties who nearly wrecked our newborn and fragile democracy have once again surfaced. This time all parties have reached a verdict and common sense has prevailed. Our argument was why the opposition parties are running away from the reality and taking us to unchartered territories based on division and hate and not accepts the simple and clear verdict of the Guurti and Election Commission. It has been always simple and we have not understood the reasons behind the oppositions’ rejection.

This last declaration is a copy of the original verdict of the Guurti and just states the Election Day, waiting for the results from the server, and getting a fare share from media outlets. Looking back into the old arguments from the opposition and seeing their position today is eyes opener for all of us. Our people have won this time in not listening to the special interest groups in our political parties. Our people have stayed on course and shown courage. We have all one thing in common and that is searching for full souvernity and recognition and resist the internal and external forces working against our independence.

There are destructive forces in our political parties who think the disagreement among our people will work for them. Therefore we have to be vigilant and watch very closely to their actions and political rhetoric. There are very dangerous elements in our political parties. They convince themselves and believe that they are the “Mujaahidiin”. I believe that these people are on the wrong side of the history for we all paid a price for our independence. Many people have died in the struggle – those who died in the front, those who were caught in the middle and those who were killed by the liberators for revenge on not supporting their cause. I say to those people, “Death in this time of history is the same but causes are different.” They should not praise themselves every now and then and recreate the old sensitivities and grudges among our people.

It is a fact that African freedom fighters seek an absolute power but in our case people outsmarted those liberators and chosen an unheard round-the-table discussion and full democracy over the absolute rule of power. We recognise our fallen comrades but we have to also recognise all fallen citizens for the sake of our freedom. People think that one can only be a Mujaahid by fighting in the front but all Somalilanders have been part of that war. Because of some of the economic realities in those days, many of our people have died of hunger, in collateral damage, of diseases, and from the revenge from the Mujaahidiin. To which cause of death do I contribute to that of my cousin who was brutally killed in his shop by some thieves and bloodthirsty SNM members. He was not an enemy to our cause but a good citizen who was trying to save his family. I believe he paid a prize for our freedom too and be recognized as such.

The rule of law has prevailed and we are once again on the road to freedom, democracy, and recognition. The enemies of our freedom have once again been defeated and their irrational behaviour is checked. The election document signed by all parties is a witness of the strength of people and be credited to them because of their patience in searching for our well deserved recognition and staying on the peaceful course paved by our elders and wise, sincere, and honest politicians.

We have to beware of those who think that they have the ultimate say on Somaliland politics and believe of being the only Mujaahidiin of long fought freedom. We need peaceful and respectful presidential campaign from those want to run for the Presidency and earn the respect and the votes of our people. Those politicians who play the old tactics of Somali politics are underestimating our people’s dislike of smear campaigning based on false propaganda and also their determination to fulfil their dream to have their own nation with full international recognition and respect among the nations of world.

The success of the negotiations goes to the President and the people who listened to his argument on the issue. He insisted all along the decisions made by the Guurti are genuine and fair and he will abide by it. On the contrary, the opposition’s argument was based power grabbing without respecting the due process. Finally the opposition has realized that their argument is not flying and not selling. In face saving, they came to the conclusion that they cannot hide behind false premises and hidden agenda. When they were exposed, they agreed on the same resolutions that they said were bias in the first place. They should be accountable of the success of this document that they have signed and not repeat the same old argument again.


Political Parties Sign Agreement

Hargeisa (Source: Somaliland Press) May 27, 2009- The Somaliland political parties and the Electoral commission signed agreement that will end the long political crisis in Somaliland and is expected to lead an environment where the elections will take place on the designated time. The agreement is the result of series of talks among the parties and the electoral committee from the 16th to 26th of May 2009.

The agreement was signed by the three political parties and the electoral commission in an event attended by government officials, members of the opposition parties, electoral commission and others.

The agreement contained eight points all related to the coming elections in September 2009.

The first point of the agreement is the election date which the all parties agreed to take place on the 27th of September 2009.

The second point is about the server issue. The parties agreed that they will accept the list of the voters that is to be published by the electoral commission if certain conditions are met. Those conditions are about the date where the final list should be finalized before the 27th of July. The technical committee should carry out their job in a very responsible and reasonable way. The parameters of the selection of the voters should be consulted with all the parties and signed by the technical committee as the electoral law explains.

The third point is about the Electoral Commission to prepare the presidential elections timeline in ten days so that the process will be followed by all the parties.

The fourth one is about the elections campaign. In respect to the month of Ramadan, the campaign should start 60 days before the election date and end 48 hours before the election starts.

The fifth point is preparing the code of conduct. It should be prepared within four weeks starting from the day when this agreement is signed. All the parties and the electoral committee should prepare the code of conduct of the elections.

The sixth point is about gaps within the electoral bylaws. Those gaps should be clarified through the legislation buddies.

The seventh point is about the public media. The opposition parties should be given enough and fair time for their campaign activities during the elections. Those public media are the Radio Hargeisa, the national TV and the newspapers.

The last point is about strengthening the electoral monitoring committee. They should be given more authority so that they will make sure the process is inline with the constitution and the code of conduct is implemented.


Somaliland agrees on fixed election time

afrol News, 28 May - The Somaliland political parties have signed an agreement with the Electoral Commission to fix an election date in the Horn of Africa state.

The agreement which is derived from a series of negotiations among the political parties and the electoral committee, saw all parties agreeing to 27 September 2009 as the official day for the polls.

The parties have also agreed that they will accept the list of voters that is to be published by the electoral commission if it will be finalised before the 27th of July.

They also urged the elections technical committee to ensure clean voter’s lists that would be accepted by all political parties.

Late last month, opposition parties had marched in the capital, Hargeisa, accusing the government of breaking the constitutional provisions and demanding fair state media coverage.

The opposition parties also contested the six months term extension by the Upper House, saying it was derailing the country’s fragile democracy.

The political crisis in Somaliland erupted in May 2008 after President Riyale received a one-year term extension following a vote by the House of Guurti. Last month, the House of Guurti voted again to give President Riyale and Vice President Ahmed Yusuf Yasin a term extension for the second time.


Somalia and Somaliland

Source: The Islam Awareness Blog, May 29, 2009

The arrivals hall of Hargeisa airport is a dust-blown, concrete box on a sweltering plain of scrub desert. Through its broken tinted doors are peeling walls with a few scattered pictures of Mecca. A brass plaque on a beam above them commemorates the opening of the building by Prince Henry, the 1st Duke of Gloucester, in 1958. The tarnished plate looks oddly out of place as a reminder of Britain’s forgotten colony.

While the rest of Somalia has forced its way on to the world’s news agenda as an anarchic, failed state and the spawning ground for a new age of piracy, the former British protectorate of Somaliland has been quietly pleading for international recognition.

To its south lies the region of Puntland, whose ports have been turned over to the pirate gangs. Beyond that, in Mogadishu, are the remnants of an Italian colony that is now among the most dangerous places on earth. To the west is the repressive and heavily armed Ethiopia. It is what Somaliland’s Foreign Minister ruefully calls a “rough neighbourhood”.

Sitting beneath a map of his unrecognised state – which is roughly the size of Wales and England combined – Abdillahi Duale cuts a polite, if exasperated, figure. He begins to list Somaliland’s accomplishments, such as a functioning government, multi-party elections, a coastguard and a police force: quite mundane in most places in the world but in this neighbourhood, truly remarkable. It is, the minister says, “Africa’s best kept secret”.

Somaliland has more territory and a bigger population than at least a dozen other African states, he points out. Recognition will not “open Pandora’s box in Africa”, he says. Neither will it set a precedent – that has been done already in East Timor and Kosovo. “The international community is focused on Somalia, okay. We are saying, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing in Mogadishu, but for goodness sake help those who help themselves’.”

A polished performer, Mr Duale explains the Somalis’ divergent paths with a brief history lesson. When both British and Italian Somaliland were granted independence within months of each other in 1960, there was a mistaken unity pact that eventually degenerated into the violent dictatorship of Siad Barre and then into civil war. When Barre’s government fell in 1991, the north set up its own government within the former colonial borders while the south descended into warlordism.

Both paths had their origins in the colonial experience, the minister argues. Britain only wanted its protectorate to shore up naval control of the Gulf of Aden and to supply meat to Aden itself, and so left traditional elders largely in place. Italy treated its eastern coastal section of Somalia as a settlers’ colony and dismantled equivalent authorities to achieve this. When the shooting briefly stopped in 1991, the north had a starting point, the south didn’t.

Despite this, Somaliland’s 3.8 million people remain subject to a government in Mogadishu that doesn’t exist. It has its own currency, security services, ministries and courts but no place at the United Nations. Without recognition Hargeisa has no access to lenders such as the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank and receives no direct budgetary support. The international donors who met in Brussels last month to pledge €230m in aid for Somalia did not mention Somaliland.

Presiding over this limbo is Dahir Rayale Kahin. “All the criteria are fulfilled but still no one is recognising us,” the President says calmly. “We are fighting piracy, we are arresting terrorists. Nobody can deny our regional contribution.”

Three groups of pirates have been detained by Somaliland’s threadbare coastguard and its jails hold dozens of suspected members of Islamist militias, such as al-Shabaab, who control much of southern Somalia.

A referendum held in 2001 found overwhelming support for an independent Somaliland and an African Union report on recognition for the territory in 2005 found in favour, Mr Rayale points out. “Always they say, ‘If someone else recognises you, we will be second’. The problem is who will be first?”

Like many in Somaliland, he hopes the answer could be Britain. The UK recognised Somaliland at independence in 1960 but London would have to upset powerful allies to renew that step. In private, people here know that Egypt remains the major hurdle. Cairo sees a powerful Somalia as a bulwark against Ethiopia in any future conflict over the vital resources of the Nile, and still nurtures those who dream of a greater Somalia.

Such a project would unite Somalis in Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti, with those in the former British and Italian colonies under the five stars of the Somali flag. President Rayale says that dream “cannot happen” and offers an analogy from across the Gulf of Aden where the Arabs are divided into many countries despite sharing a religion and language. “The Arabs are Arabs and yet they are more than 20 countries. We can be like Arabs,” he says.

This month was supposed to have seen the latest act of would-be statehood with the holding of elections, They have now been delayed until September. The government blames the hold-up on the electoral register; the opposition says it is “running away” from a vote it will lose.

The President is obviously comfortable in the office he insists he will vacate if he loses in the ballot. A weighty globe swings on a golden axis on his desk, while the letters “VIP” are stitched into the burgundy silk curtains.

However, Somaliland has its own “unique” set of checks and balances, as Mohamed Rashid Shaik Hassan, a former BBC journalist-turned-opposition politician, explains. The deputy leader of the OCID party says that serious power remains with a council of elders who operate as a second house. It was their intervention last week that saw a definite date of 27 September set for the poll.

Mr Hassan’s deeper concerns echo those of opposition and government alike. With little or no formal economy, joblessness is nearly total and time could be running out on Somaliland’s democratic experiment, he says, adding: “The British civil service generation is nearly gone and there is nothing to replace it. If democracy doesn’t win recognition, people will look elsewhere.” Abdurahman Farar, another opposition leader, is appalled that his “de facto country” is ignored while millions of dollars are poured into the power vacuum in Mogadishu. “The UN still wants to put Humpty Dumpty together again,” he says dismissively.

The potential costs of a continued limbo were hammered home in deadly fashion last October when a series of co-ordinated suicide attacks left 28 people dead and rocked the comparative stability of Hargeisa. Said Adani played an unwitting role in thwarting one of the attacks. The presidential press secretary’s car was parked near the gate when a truck bomber smashed it open as he tried to ram the office building.

The small car stopped the truck just short of its target. Mr Adani was lucky enough to be inside the compound, but Abokar Subub, a police commander, was not as fortunate. He lifts his shirt with a wheeze from a smashed rib to reveal a lattice of shrapnel scars. The blast killed 18 people and the same scars mark its trees, tiles and broken walls. Mr Adani says the attack was a “wake-up call” to anyone who takes security for granted in the last stable corner of Somalia.

Mr Duale, the Foreign Minister, hopes “the international community will call a spade a spade and recognise Somaliland”. His country is a “prime piece of real estate” which was once used to police the Gulf of Aden – a job which this year’s surge in piracy has shown is more critical than ever. “We are not a bunch of wackos running around,” he pleads. “We are people you can work with.”

* 3.5 million Estimated population of Somaliland, of a total 9.1 million in Somalia
* 1991 Year independence was declared
* 73 Crime-related deaths in Somaliland last year, compared with 7, 574 in the rest of Somalia, according to the Somaliland police.


Somaliland: President Visits Bebera City

Hargeisa, 27 May 2009 (Somalilandpress) - The President of Somaliland visited the coastal city of Berbera yesterday afternoon. The trip which was not expected came during a time when the situation in the city is believed to be worsening. Yet there is no any official communique about the President’s trip.

The Government’s spokes man, Mr. Said Addani Moge told Somalilandpress that it is a normal trip but refused to give details about the purpose of the President’s tour. “I’m not ready to give you more details” Mr Moge said.

On his way to Berbera, the president also paid a short visit to Mandhera Training School and the village of Abdaal.

The minister of Interior, Livestock and other officials are also part of the delegation.

The situation in Berbera has been worsening since the last few years as many people left the city for the other towns of Somaliland. Except the port and the strategic airport, the city has been suffering lack of social, environmental, economy and infractructure projects that can attract a number of Somalilanders and make the city booming.

It is not clear that the President’s visit will change the current crisis in the city as details of the visit will have to come in the coming few days.

This is the first time that the President goes to Berbera city for a working visit since he was elected.


SOMALIA: Seeking alternatives to charcoal in Somaliland

A forested area in Somaliland (file photo): Charcoal burning has contributed to deforestation and environmental degradation

HARGEISA, 27 May 2009 (IRIN) - Insufficient cheaper alternatives and a large former refugee population are fuelling tree-felling and dependence on charcoal in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, adversely affecting the environment, say analysts.

Most urban households use charcoal for everyday cooking. "We use a sack of charcoal every four days because our family is large," said Zahra Omar, a mother of 12, in the capital, Hargeisa.

According to a 2007 study by the Academy for Peace and Development, more than 2.5 million trees are felled annually and burned for charcoal in Somaliland. The report stated that each household in Somaliland consumed an equivalent of 10 trees a month.

Deforestation exacerbates soil erosion and reduces rainfall availability. Trees are also important in carbon fixing - reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Despite charcoal prices going up since 1991 with the resettlement of former refugees, demand remains high. "Before, 10 years ago, one sack of charcoal [cost] only 5,000 Somaliland shillings [US$0.76] but now here in Hargeisa it is about Sh30,000 [$5]," said Nimo Ahmed, a resident. "When [it] rains... charcoal [becomes] more expensive... because [the] trees become wet."

Wood for energy

High and rising gas prices have also encouraged charcoal use. Previously, Nimo said, gas was cheaper than charcoal but the price has increased dramatically, with one litre of gas now costing about Sh4,000 ($0.61) up from Sh1,500 ($0.23).

It is the preferred fuel even in hotels, which consume even larger quantities of the commodity. "I use a sack of charcoal for a day's cooking," said Anab Mohamed Ismail, a Hargeisa chef.

According to researchers, one of the main drivers of deforestation in Africa is the need for fuel.

In sub-Saharan Africa only 7.5 percent of the rural population has access to electricity, according to a 2009 report on the state of the world's forests. "As household incomes and investment in appropriate alternatives remain low, wood is likely to remain an important energy source in Africa in the coming decades..." it stated.

Forecasts made in 2001 suggested a 34 percent increase in wood fuel consumption from 2000 to 2020. "However, the rise in fuel prices in the past two years suggests that this increase is likely to be even greater. The share of wood fuel in the total energy supply is likely to decline, but the absolute number of people dependent on wood energy is predicted to grow," it stated. "The forest situation in Africa presents enormous challenges, reflecting the larger constraints of low income, weak policies and inadequately developed institutions."

"Charcoal... demand is increasing daily and burning [of] trees is increasing... but we are trying to [encourage] awareness among the people and give them other sources of income," said Abdirisaq Bashir, the emergency and environment coordinator of Candlelight, an NGO working in environmental management. The NGO is helping young people become involved in alternative activities such as bee-keeping.

Trade ban

Local environmentalists are worried that the trade in charcoal may wipe out some tree species. "One of the ... trees used for charcoal [production] is [the] Acacia bussei tree. Unfortunately its type is now going to be [extinct] in the Somaliland territories," said Bashir. Each tree produces about eight to 10 sacks of charcoal.

Concerned with the impact of charcoal-burning on the environment, Hargeisa’s regional governor, Maroodi Jeeh, on 30 April banned trade in charcoal and the burning of trees.

Other attempts at protecting the environment have included the introduction of solar cookers and gas stoves in the main urban centres of Burou, Las-anod, Gabiley, Wajalea and Borama.

Since January, Somgas Company has been supplying gas to residents. "We have different gas cylinders [which] we sell... and train [the public on] how to use," said Subeir Mouse Abdi of Somgas. An ordinary household uses an 11kg cylinder for six weeks, according to Abdi.

Although initial gas and cylinder prices are high, an 11kg gas cylinder and gas costs $44.50 and is recharged at $19. This, he said, is not expensive compared with the monthly charcoal consumption of about $15 for three 20kg sacks of charcoal per household. The gas cylinders range from 2-22kg.

"We now have 600 customers since we started in January," he said.

While charcoal consumption fell in 2008 compared with 2007, there is still cause for concern, according to Somaliland's Ministry of Pastoral Development and Environment.

"We are concerned [about the] environmental degradation caused by the charcoal, and we are working with several organisations to search [for] alternatives [to] charcoal energy," said Mohamoud Ibrahim Mohamoud, head of the forestry section in the ministry. "The problem that increases... forest burning for charcoal is the poverty in the countryside and the high demand [for] charcoal energy in the urban [areas]."


American Counter-Terrorism Experts Train Somaliland Intelligence

Berbera, Somaliland, May 26, 2009 (Somalilandpress) -– About a dozen members of Somaliland’s intelligence services are said to have received training from American Counter-Terrorism experts.

There were no official reports from the government, but reliable sources have said that the training included crime-fighting techniques such as how to prevent and foil terrorism. The training started last week at Mansoor Hotel in Berbera.

Somaliland has close cooperation ties with both Great Britain and the United States on anti-terrorism policies.

In the past, Britain and the US have provided Somaliland with equipment and transportation vehicles to combat terrorism in the region. But this is the first time that this type of training takes place in Berbera.

The training is scheduled to last a week.

Source: The Somaliland Times, Published: May 16, 2009


Somaliland: Religious Leaders Meet International Aid Agencies

Hargeisa, 26 May 2009 (Somalilandpress) - The Danish Refugee Council in association with FCA and the International Horn University organized a one-day workshop on Thursday in Hargeisa’s Ambassador Hotel that brought together the religious leaders of Somaliland, representatives of International Agencies and Inter-Governmental organizations.

This was an opportunity for the thirty attending religious leaders to share their views on the role of NGOs and the way they are perceived in Somaliland. It also allowed the International Agencies to work on building trust and help remove any lingering doubts with relation to NGO activities and goals.

Both the Somaliland Minister of Planning and the Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowment were also invited to the meeting.

The areas of discussion covered in the meeting included a clarification of the work the International Agencies do and the importance of neutrality and impartiality. The participants also discussed the role of religious leaders and weather they were hindering or helping to advance development and humanitarian efforts. In addition, the question of weather the two sides could work together and rise above any differences they may have was broached and discussed at length.

These consultations took place in an open and honest atmosphere and the participants tackled issues such as AIDS, FGM, Somali women projects, the work of Somali NGOs, the suspicions about social engineering, any hidden motives of the International Agencies, the willingness of the religious leaders to support projects that did not clash with Islamic and Somali values and the need for direct meetings with expatriate heads of these International Agencies (rather than speaking to them through indigenous NGOs).

At the end of the workshop, both sides seemed to depart with very positive impressions and reiterated their hope to further improve mutual understanding and trust in future consultations.

A follow up conference will be held soon to further discuss the issues and see the possibility of collaboration between the two sides in the future.


UK House of Lords debates: Somaliland/Somalia — Question

by Parliament.uk, May 23, 2009

Lord Steel of Aikwood: My Lords, given the mayhem that has characterised Somalia for so long, is there not a case for reconsidering the whole question of recognising the Government in Somaliland, the former British protectorate, which at least is stable and orderly?Asked By Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the political and humanitarian consequences of the conflict in Somalia.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): My Lords, the Djibouti process led to the expansion of the Somali Parliament and its selection of a new President. The formation of a more broadly based Government provides the best opportunity to create a lasting peace and reconciliation necessary for tackling the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Although that Government are battling an assault by the armed insurgency, they must continue to strive for further reconciliation with those outside the political process.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, if we are really determined to prevent the terrorists affiliated to Al-Shabaab taking over the whole country, is it not necessary to provide greater support in terms of logistics and training, both for the Government’s armed forces and for the AMISOM troops? With regard to the humanitarian crisis, is the noble Lord aware of any steps being taken through the Security Council or otherwise to meet the gap of two-thirds in the funding to meet the needs of the 400,000 people displaced internally, and a similar number in refugee camps in neighbouring countries, particularly Kenya?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, the noble Lord has repeatedly brought the question of Somalia to this House’s attention, and correctly so, because it is often

21 May 2009 : Column 1433

one of those forgotten crises. About 40 per cent of the country’s population are displaced, completely dependent on international aid, and it has been very difficult to get it there. Despite the current upsurge of fighting, the distribution continues in key places such as Mogadishu, and the World Food Programme delivered something like 35,000 metric tonnes of food last month. On the noble Lord’s other point, we are also seeking to make sure that AMISOM, to which we have contributed generously, is properly supported during this crisis; and there was a move in the Security Council last week to make sure that the transitional Government’s armed forces be supported with the resources they need and to deal with this critical issue of salaries to solders and police.

Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, is it true that the Eritrean army is yet again invading Somalia and helping the Al-Shabaab rebels? I do not know whether the Minister has any news on that. One area where we in this country have a direct interest is the offshore piracy. Is it correct that the Iranians now want to contribute through their naval resources to the anti-piracy movement? Might this not be at least one area where, despite all our disagreements with Iran on everything else, we could co-operate with it?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, on the noble Lord’s first point, there is pretty strong evidence of Eritrean collusion in the upsurge of violence against the Government and of possible arms resupply to the rebels by the Eritreans. They were condemned in a Security Council presidential statement at the end of last week and have furiously denied the charges, but frankly that does not give me much confidence—it does not mean that the charges are not true. There is also a real risk of this situation escalating; there have been reports, again denied, of Ethiopian troops returning into Somalia. This is an enormously serious challenge to the Government and we all have reason to be very concerned to support and reinforce them over the coming weeks. I will have to get back to the noble Lord on his second point about Iran and piracy.

Lord Steel of Aikwood: My Lords, given the mayhem that has characterised Somalia for so long, is there not a case for reconsidering the whole question of recognising the Government in Somaliland, the former British protectorate, which at least is stable and orderly?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, this is one of those perennial issues which, quite rightly, come up every time that Somalia lurches back into crisis. The noble Lord knows our position, which is that we try to give Somaliland support but we think that its status and potential independence must be dealt with through African forums: first, through talks between the two sides in Somalia and, subsequently, through the AU. We do not think that British recognition of Somaliland would help its goal of independence.

The Lord Bishop of Liverpool: My Lords, we have a large Somali community in Liverpool. Has there been any contact between the Government and local authorities

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where there are large Somali communities, to address possible tensions that might arise within those communities?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, the right reverend Prelate raises an important point. I will look into it and ensure that information is being shared. Broadly, I do not think—although he knows better than I do—that this is a situation where our Somali British community is divided, as is the case with some other conflicts with which we have been dealing. I think that among Somalis resident here there is quite broad support for the transitional Government; indeed, one very distinguished British citizen is now the Foreign Minister.

Lord Judd: My Lords, does my noble friend agree that, in the immensely difficult situation as he described it, a priority is to regain access for the free-standing non-governmental humanitarian agencies, which are perceived to have no political agenda of their own and are therefore in a particularly strong position to make a contribution in a fraught situation? Does he also accept that humanitarian assistance and the political dimensions are seldom in watertight compartments and that, in approaching lasting solutions, it is terribly important to listen very carefully to non-governmental organisations about what they are learning in the context of their work?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, my noble friend is absolutely correct about the critical role of humanitarian non-governmental organisations. DfID is in daily contact not just with the UN agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross but also with the NGOs involved, to try to work out how we can programme an additional £3.5 million of support. The NGOs are obviously suffering from the same difficulties as the UN agencies, including the huge difficulty of deploying staff there due to the dramatic security situation.


Somalia: Somaliland police detain three 'terror suspects'

BURAO, Somalia May 22 (Garowe Online) - Authorities in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland have detained three men suspected of being linked to terror groups, Radio Garowe reports.

The three men driving two trucks were arrested Wednesday evening as they attempted to enter the town of Burao, capital of Togdheer region and the second-largest city under Somaliland control.

Police sources said the men did not have weapons or explosives in their possession, but local authorities reportedly had information about the three men.

Burao police chief said the suspects are under investigation, while telling reporters that he believes the suspects are involved in a terror plot.

Much of south-central Somalia is embroiled in armed conflict as Islamist rebels attempt to overthrow the Horn of Africa country's U.N.-recognized interim government in the national capital Mogadishu.

Somaliland security forces have been on high alert since triple suicide bombings killed upwards of 20 people in Oct. 2008 in Hargeisa, capital of the breakaway republic and Somalia's second-largest city.


Somaliland: Wasted Votes

Hargeisa, 18 May 2009 (Somalilandpress). It is a relief to know that the international community from whom Somaliland desperately seeks recognition is keen on the upcoming elections. I am sure that if the five point agreement between Rayale and the two main opposition party’s is implemented swiftly enough, that the members of the international community, especially Great Britain, will be more than eager to assist in setting up the logistics, including the independent international monitors required to carry out and legitimise the voting process.

However, I wonder where this sudden urgency and new found determination among the international community that a free and fair election should take place came from? Do members of the international community actually believe that any change will accompany the elections whenever they may be? Or is the election in Somaliland another mediation success they can boast about at home? I do not know the answers to these but I know this much: there is very little to celebrate about the up coming election in Somaliland because like all the other elections before it, it will lead to absolutely no change.

The reasons for my beliefs are many but they are all based on the fact that the Somaliland political process has no ideological direction nor policies that can be implemented to create meaningful change which addresses some of the core issues facing the Somaliland electorate such as poverty, housing, employment and land grabbing by relatively wealthy members of the Diaspora.

Instead of appealing to the electorate through their ideological vision and solutions to the many problems faced by the Somaliland electorate, all of the three main political party’s’ are guilty of employing tribal division and scaremongering tactics to win over voters. So in essence, what ought to be an election based on ideological political affiliation has in the past been turned into a contest of tribal weight and numbers. This I am afraid is not the hallmark of a democratic state or one seeking the status of statehood from the international community.

The traditional conservative Somali psyche enforces that elders know best and it is this flawed belief that has also heavily contributed to my personal belief that this election, whenever it takes place, is going to create absolutely no change whatsoever, regardless of the Party that wins. The old guards such as Rayale and Silanyo who govern the politics of Somaliland and who were the architects of the destruction of Somalia through their self centred qabilist politics, are strangling the hopes of the younger, more liberal and educated generation by their greed, political illiteracy and ignorance. The election of any of these Siad Barre regime leftovers will contribute nothing of political or social value to the nation other than more division as their main source of power stems from manipulating tribal differences and grievances.

This claim is backed by the little they have already politically contributed between themselves in the form of policy since Rayale took over as President after the right Honourable late former president Egal. Silanyo for all his rhetoric of wanting progress and ending the Rayale era has come forward with nothing of political substance that can be used to formulate the kind of policies required by the people of Somaliland to better their social and economic position and Rayale has had nearly two terms to make a difference BUT his legacy is marred by the lack of Freedom of Press, alleged corruption involving him and his wife and fruitless foreign diplomatic travels which have yet to result in recognition.

Some of the old timer’s argue that rayale’s policies have been successful in keeping the peace in Somaliland which is leading to it’s prosperity but the question is which policies? Before we reach the policy analysis stage to determine success or failure, we must assess whether the “policy” was formulated at all or whether it was an accident born out of the people’s determination to work their way out of poverty and the difficult economic position they found themselves in. I suspect the latter but even where policy is formulated the entire process of its creation and implementation is heavily controlled by private political and tribal interest and not necessarily the interest of the people the government has been elected to serve.

Having heard first hand Rayale’s speech at Chatham House, which is internationally reknown for its expertise in Foreign policy, one can honestly say that it was tired, boring and non inspirational as it dwelled too much on the past and omitted to discuss any policies aimed at the progress of the nation he has been elected to lead out of the political wilderness. No wonder nobody wants to recognise Somaliland, Rayale sounded like a broken record without any ambition and vision for the country.

I doubt very much that Silanyo or the UCID leadership could have done better than Rayale and as a result it is fair to suggest that the old political guard that dominates Somaliland politics are the real roadblock to reform and progress for the country and voting for these old timers is a waste of a vote and an insult to the democracy we aspire to in Somaliland.

In a true democracy the people who are best able to serve and represent the interests of their electorates are elected as Members of Parliament but currently in Somaliland the list of political candidates is fixed by tribe and old tie networks. What is needed in order to rebuild confidence in the political process is radical reform of the system of electing MP’s and a candidate list that includes more women, independent and younger candidates.

Age does not necessarily bring political wisdom and as a result the electorate must be taught the importance of voting for political candidates based on their ability and not on their age or tribe. By having a diverse group of representatives especially those that are of a younger generation and of differing sexes we may be able to re-inject some excitement and hope for real change in policy and within the policy process in Somaliland.

Not only in Somaliland, but the entire continent of Africa can no longer be ruled by a bunch of old men who have no political sell by dates or who extend their sell by date by force or corruption. Africa and Somaliland deserve a chance at progress and this progress can only come from the election of a younger, more politically and socially aware group who have until now been denied this opportunity by an older political elite who rule through false promises and division. If the people of Somaliland and Africa value change, progress and social justice, they are encouraged to invest their vote in the leaders of tomorrow today.

Liban Obsiye, Law graduate and Community activist Bristol, UK.


Somaliland: Police Arrest Journalists

Hargeisa, 18 May 2009 (Somalilandpress) — Mustafa Mohamed Abdi, a journalist with HadhwanaagNews, based in Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa was taken into custody today by police after he went to the Freedom Park to prepare a report on Somaliland’s 18th Independence Day celebrations.

He has not been formally charged with any crime and was released after few hours. Somaliland officials apoligized to him saying his arrest was a mistake.

Mustafa is the second journalist to be jailed in a week without formal charges. On Friday, Somaliland police arrested Hadis Mohamed Hadis, the editor of Baadiyenews.com. The Police said he was suspected after he has been seen taking photos of some governmental buildings in Hargeisa. He was released later in the day.

Journalists are sometimes arrested in Somaliland without any warrant from the court. Some of the journalists are harrased by the police while on duty.


Somaliland Celebrates It’s Independence Day

Minneapolis, 18 May 2009 (Somalilandpress) — Somaliland celebrated its 18th independence anniversary around the world on Saturday - marking the event with traditional music, dances and well-wishers.

On Saturday, Somaliland’s diaspora communities in Sweden, Canada, South Africa, United States, United Kingdom and around the globe marked the 1991 inauguration of the Republic of Somaliland after bloody war with neighbouring Somalia.

Here are some photos from Minneapolis event organized by Somaliland Student Association. Speakers at the meeting, which was attended by large crowd of local Somalis, included Somaliland Students Association president, Mr Fuad Mohamoud, Chairman of Somaliland Youth Association of Chicago, Mr Abdi’aziz Awil Warsame, Minnesota Somaliland Community chairman, Mr Hassan Yonis and Pro. Ibrahim Aye, Mr Mohamed Abdiqadir Abdirahman (Batale) and Dr Yasin Ismael Karani.

In Stockholm large crowd from Somaliland communities across Scandinavia celebrated the special day - members from the Swedish parliament, city councils and other high dignitaries joined the Somalilanders mark the event.


War in Somalia: Protecting Somaliland's Peace Should Be A Priority

Source: The Huffington Post, By: Nicole Stremlau, May 20, 2009

The war in Somalia has entered a new phase. Even by Mogadishu's standards, in recent days the fighting has been intense. More than 100 people have been killed. The al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), supported by the international community, are engaged in a violent power struggle. The dynamics are fluctuating by the day but al-Shabaab, along with other Jihadist movements such as Hisbul Islam, controls most of the territory in south-central Somalia and they are preparing for a final push to seize the presidential palace.

This turn of events is not surprising. Only recently, the very same day rich countries were opening their pockets in Brussels to prop up the weak TFG, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys landed in Mogadishu. As the leader of al-Shabaab and a former colleague-turned competitor of President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the arrival of Aweys was significant. He pledged war and has delivered on it. Once in Mogadishu, Aweys addressed crowds in calling the African Union troops "bacteria" that must leave Somalia. Foreign troops in Somalia have always been a point of contention and deeply unpopular. But the reality is that without them the TFG cannot survive. Brushing off overtures from President Sharif for dialogue, al-Shabaab appears to be looking for a military victory.

In the coming days the international community will certainly be considering what options it has. These appear relatively limited -- the US has little appetite for intervening and al-Shabaab gave the Ethiopian military such a serious fight that they too do not look eager to invade again.

The concerns widely discussed about the current crisis in Pakistan, particularly as to whether the government is viable and can withstand the Taliban being within 100 km of the capital, are amplified in Somalia. In Somalia, foreign and local fighters, some of who have trained in Afghanistan, actually do control all but a few streets in the capital. There are reports that al-Shabaab is set to be provided with additional reinforcements of foreign and local jihadists in the coming days.

Somaliland, the un-recognized peaceful and politically stable northwestern region of Somalia, must also consider its own security. Somaliland rightly prides itself on being an oasis of peace in a violent region. In September 2009 they will be holding their third presidential elections which, building on the 2003 elections, appear set to be competitive and free. After years of fighting for independence and after years of watching their brothers in the south slaughter themselves, Somalilanders do not take their accomplishment of peace lightly. Unfortunately, they may have already been pulled into this war.

Somalilanders know al-Shabaab's wrath well. They have been the victims of its impeccable timing -- the October 29th suicide bombers that that struck the presidency, UNDP and the Ethiopian embassy coincided with an international meeting for the TFG in Nairobi. A crucial part of the leadership of al-Shabaab currently hails from Somaliland and the October bombings were partly a response to internal criticism suggesting that that they should bring their own clans and land into the war. Al-Shabaab has a presence in Somaliland and events in the south make al-Shabaab sympathizers bolder.

The Somaliland government will certainly be asking difficult questions in the coming days. Should Somaliland forge new security relations with Puntland, the autonomous region to the east? This appears to be happening to some degree, but what would a more dynamic alliance look like?

These are very real and complicated dilemmas for Somaliland and are issues they will be grappling with in the coming days and months. Domestically there will be new debates as now-marginalized politicians that have lost out in President Sharif's government look for influence. Somaliland has so far managed to successfully build its own democracy and state without intervention, largely because a local and organic peace process was allowed to flourish without external engineering.

At this critical juncture a chance remains for the international community to act to at least preserve and protect the one island of hope -- a peaceful, democratic and independent Somaliland that could become a beachhead for extending peace with justice in the region. But Somaliland should be realistic -- the international community will allow Somaliland to fail. Somalilanders have rightly prided themselves on succeeding without international intervention but they may yet face one of their greatest tests.


SOMALIA: Somaliland clans in ceasefire over disputed farmland

Photo: Mohamed Amin Jibril/IRIN Abdirahman Warsame, a member of the mediation committee seeking to reconcile the two clans

KALABAIT, 20 May 2009 (IRIN http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=84466) - Two clans in Somaliland's Elberdale farmland in Gabiley region, who have fought intermittently in the past five months over disputed farmland, have agreed a ceasefire, a mediator said.

Abdirahman Warsame, a member of the Somaliland's Guurti mediation committee, told IRIN on 17 May that 25 elders from each clan had sworn to end fighting and to reconcile the two clans.

However, talks aimed at resolving the dispute, which started in mid-April between the Hared and the Nour clans, are ongoing in Kalabait.

The government sent military and police troops to Elberdale last month in a bid to stop the fighting.

On 14 May, elders visited patients admitted to hospital in Gabiley and Dila areas who had been injured in previous fighting over the Elberdale farmland.

"We went to Gabiley Hospital and to Dila Hospital to see all those who were injured in the conflict; we also ascertained the number of those who have died," Aden Elabe, one of the elders, told IRIN.

Elabe said the team of elders also visited areas where farmers from Elberdale had fled, such as Geed Diqsi, Jaldhabaha, Satile and Da'walay, to reassure them the conflict would be resolved.

However, local officials have expressed concern over farmers missing the present planting season.

Elabe Mohamoud Hufane, the mayor of Dila district in Awdal region, said: "This is the season when farmers grow sorghum and maize but here in Dila district, we have more than 120 families who fled the conflict in early April and are yet to return to their farms in Burdi and Geed Diqsi areas."


The Time is Now for Somaliland Recognition

Hargeisa, 18 May 2009 (Somalilandpress) - There is a Somali proverb that says, “The bridge is repaired only after someone falls in the water”. In examining the state of world affairs today, whether it be the global financial crisis or the countless political and humanitarian crises around the globe, it’s easy to see the sad truth in this statement, as oftentimes people fail to tackle problems until they have become almost unmanageable.

Unfortunately the same tends to be true when it comes to the international community. The world stood by as Somalia “fell into the water”, in some cases even helping pour the water under the bridge, but as The Republic of Somaliland celebrates its 18th year of independence today, it’s important that the international community do its part to keep this bridge from crumbling.

When one thinks of Somaliland, the word ‘perseverance’ should immediately come to mind. It’s a word that is engrained in our minds from the days our childhood, and it is a word that is taught to us as being one of the critical elements of success. What else do you call creating a nation with a democratically elected government in one of the most volatile regions of the world? That surely requires perseverance. Or turning rogue militias into a national police force and army. That also requires perseverance.

The purpose of this article is not to throw out a grocery list of Somaliland’s many achievements, but rather to speak directly to the international community, and in particular to those with the power to make a difference, about the significance of international recognition for The Republic of Somaliland.

The time is now for Somaliland to be internationally recognized as an independent state. Frankly many find it difficult to fathom why Somaliland has yet to receive international recognition; however, any individual with even the slightest knowledge of international relations understands that no matter what your achievements are, “Realpolitik” tends to trump all else. Nevertheless, when common sense is employed, coupled with an understanding of the realities in the Horn of Africa today, it should be clear that Somaliland needs to be recognized.


Somaliland MPs in Uganda to Study Budget Systems

Kampala (New Vision May 17, 2009) - Members of the Somaliland Parliament are in Uganda to study the budget systems and the role of parliament in the budget distribution.

The delegation, led by Eng. Nasir Hagi Ali, was received by deputy clerk Chris Kaija Kwamya on Wednesday.

Kaija took the MPs through the budget process. The group is also scheduled to attend various parliamentary committees.

Addressing journalists at the Speaker’s Boardroom, Nasir gave background about Somaliland, an independent but yet unrecognised sovereign state.

Nasir said the African Union recently sent into the country a fact-finding mission.

“We are a de-facto state. Many countries do not recognise us, but we deal with many like the US,” he said.

“Somaliland has been named Africa’s best kept secret by scholars. This is the fourth parliament since we claimed our independence in 1991,” Nasir added.


President Rayale affirms Elections to be held as Schedule

Hargeisa (Jamhuuriya Online 16 May 2009) – President of Somaliland, Mr. Dahir Rayale Kahin spoke about issues related to elections and the current political situation of the country in a press conference held in his office on last Saturday.

The president, in response to criticisms from the opposition parties about the postponement of the Presidential Election, said; “The political parties have been blaming the government for the delay of the elections. The election is postponed not by the government but by a new electoral system, which we have taken and that is the registration of the voters. The government is ready to see elections held on time.”

“We never intend one day postponement of the elections. I started the elections and the democracy of this country,” he added.

The president said that his door is always open for dialogue and discussion with the opposition. “They can come to the presidency. They can call me and my door is open to them,” he said.

The president also spoke about the resolution of the Mediation Committee. He said; “Our agreement was not signing bilateral agreement with the opposition. It was a resolution passed by the Mediation Committee, which we accepted and the political parties agreed as well.”

The president added; “There was not any specific thing we discussed with the opposition parties. We entrusted a team of mediation committee and accepted their resolution. The point is to implement the resolution.”

The president reiterated the dedication of his government to take part the elections. “My Government is not interested to argue with the opposition. We are looking forward to take part the presidential elections on 27th September, which the National Electoral Commission set as the Election Day.”

President Rayale urged the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and Inter Peace to announce results of the voters registration not later than 15th June this year. He also appealed to NEC and Political Parties to discuss results of the voters’ registration. “This will avoid further delay of the elections,” he said.


Opposition Parties Accuses President Rayale for lack of Commitment

Hargeisa (Jamhuuriya Online 17 May 2009) – The opposition Parties, KULMIYE and UCID criticized President Rayale for failing to fulfill the agreements with the opposition in a joint statement on Tuesday.

The statement co-signed by the chairman of KULMIYE, Mr. Ahmed Mahamed Mohamoud “Silanyo” and the Vice Chairman of UCID, Mr. Aadan Mire Waqaf stated; “Constitution of Somaliland is based on mutual consultation to solve problems between the government and the opposition parties. President Rayale refutes this constitutional right.”

“We, the opposition parties, believe that the resolution of the mediation committee can only be realized by signing the agreement and discussing the technicality of the agreed articles and their implementation,” said the opposition parties in their statement.

The opposition parties strongly criticized President Rayale for not signing the resolution of the mediation committee. “The president turned down to sign the decisions of the Mediation Committee, this indicates that he’s not committed to fulfill the agreement,” they said.

In response to a recent press conference by president Rayale, the opposition parties said; “The President claims that the opposition lacks understanding of the Constitution. But in contrary President Rayale is not knowledgeable with the laws and the constitution of the country. Rayale argues that he cannot be impeached during his final year in office. Article 56 of the constitution says that the House of Representatives cannot be resolved during their first year in office and the final year of the President’s term.”

The political parties promised they will carryout the resolution of the mediation Committee. “We inform the public that we will be committed in accomplishing the articles of the resolution. On the other hand, the people should hold responsible for all stakeholders to implement the agreement.”


The Somaliland Independent Scholars Group: Implementing The Mediation Committee’s Recommendations, (16.05.2009, Hargeisa, Somaliland)

http://www.somalilandhorta.com/news/2009/May/news09051707.htm, May 17, 2009

I. Introduction

On 10th of May 2009, a group of 12 Somaliland scholars met at Ambassador Hotel to discuss the implementation of the Mediation Committee’s Recommendations released on 29th April, 2009. The meeting was moderated by Dr. Mohamed Fadal, Director of (SORADI). The participants of the meeting were all long-term participants of Somaliland rebuilding and democratization process, who are considered to be highly competent to provide an objective analysis and strategy to implement the above recommendations as useful framework for cooperation among all stakeholders of the Somaliland Presidential Election. They were: Abdilkadir H Ismail Jirde (Ex-Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament), Shukri H. Bandare (Former National Electoral Commissioner and Member of African Democracy Forum and Chair of Candle Light); Ibrahim Jama Ali -Rayte (Member of Parliament and Lawyer), Fawsi Aw Yoonis (Somaliland Lawyer’s Association); Abdi Ahmed Nour (Forum for Peace and Governance-FOBAG), Bobe Y. Duale (Research Coordinator, APD), Haroon H Ahmed Qulumbe (ActionAid), Jafar Mohamed Gadaweyne (SONSAF); Mohamed Hassan Ibrahim (Researcher-APD), Suad Ibrahim Abdi (Researcher-APD); Ayaan Ashur (UK-Chatham House – as observer).

II. Expectations From the Recommendations

The Somaliland Independent Scholar’s Group commends the Mediation Committee’s efforts and achievements in an otherwise very challenging undertaking. The Group also commends the President and the two Chairmen of the opposition political parties, who heeded the public demand, which included a call from this Group, to sit together and discuss their political differences in the spirit of consensus and dialogue.

The Somaliland Scholar’s Group sees the Mediation Committee’s Recommendations as a reasonable framework for all actors to work together to hold the upcoming Somaliland Presidential Election within the set timelines. Among all Somalilanders and their international friends, the Mediation Committee’s efforts generated intense interest. The expectations from the Committee’s efforts could be condensed into three main outcomes:

1.To diffuse the rising political tension, 2. To build trust among key stakeholders, 3.To produce working strategy document or a Code of Conduct as a signed binding agreement to address the election problems facing Somaliland.

Dabdamis (fire-extinguisher)

The first expectation and probably the most important one is characterised by this group as “Dabdamis”. The Mediation Committee has achieved an astounding success in this respect. The growing tensions within the Somaliland society, resulting from the ensuing political conflict, have been diffused. It is now fair to say that, there is a better possibility for key political actors to continue dialogue among themselves.

Trust Building:

The immediate product of any agreement is to trust your opponent to be able to fulfil what is agreed upon and therefore to move forward from your earlier position to develop together a more cooperative climate. This agreement between the three political parties has to serve that purpose. The Somaliland Independent Scholar’s Group, the Mediation Committee and many other already active sectors of the society are definitely prepared to take their part to facilitate the agreement and to ensure its full implementation. However, despite the fact that the general climate has improved, so far we do not see any improvement in the trust levels between the political leaders and their close circles.

Signed Agreement:

The Group believes that, what we received from the Mediation Committee was a set of recommendations, not enough in itself as an agreement. It is necessary to take the second step to transform the recommendations into an agreement, to develop it into a Code of Conduct signed by the three negotiating leaders. Although the President had expressed his acceptance verbally, there is definitely a need for a “written signed document(s)” to implement it as a binding Code of Conduct, to build trust among the key stakeholders, to share it with our international partners, and to keep it in our archives for our children and for future generations and above all for history to judge us.

III. Implementation of Recommendations

The Independent Scholar’s Group prioritized the Mediation Committee’s Recommendations to adopt three key articles to analyse and to develop a strategy for an implementation framework; we selected the following three issue areas: The “No more extension issue”, the “National Electoral Commission” and the “Equitable distribution of public resources for the National Political Parties”.

The Extension Issue:

The Group concurs with the Mediation Committee on their position of “No more Extensions”; we take it further to say that “no more extensions ever, unless strictly qualifying for an undisputed “Force Majeure” Situation, which has to also be strictly defined by further legislation”.

The Independent Scholar’s Group identifies on the basis of Somaliland’s experience two possible categories of extension causes a) Extension resulting from failure to hold elections on time, and b) Extension resulting from a “Force Majeure” situation. The extensions undertaken so far, since 2006 could be categorized as failure to hold elections (with perhaps some reasonable allowance of a Force Majeure situation for the 29.10 bombings). Before 2006, extensions may have given us a reprieve to bridge selection processes, because of lack stability and also absence of required institutions. However, after that, their negative impact outweighs their benefits to the Somaliland development and democratization processes. If extensions are continued as part of our culture of governance, then we are rewarding failure and we are removing the motivation of the incumbent to work hard and to strive to be re-elected. In the same token, at the international community level, extensions are perceived as Somaliland’s inability for good governance, which is a failure from our side and failure is not rewarded by the international community. Therefore, the practice of “extensions” is depleting the credibility and friendship capital, which the Somaliland people have earned and accumulated over the years through hard work since 1991.

Despite the fact that, enough damage has been done already, we still have the capability to recover from it, if we focus our efforts to solve the problem in the longer-term perspective. To tackle the legal controversy, we will need a heavy dose of goodwill and trust among our political leaders, including not only the party Chairmen, but also the leadership of the legislative Houses. A lasting solution could easily come from passing a legislation based on a consensus agreement and goodwill from the above leaders. We urge the legislative houses and the President of Somaliland to fulfil their legislative and executive responsibilities towards the Somaliland people to settle this issue before the 27 September 2009 Election. With this legislation you can remove the perpetual state of constitutional crisis we have been experiencing since 2006 and unleash tremendous energies and desire from the people to move forward with our state building and democratization process.

The National Electoral Commission.

The NEC has a critical role to play in the advancement of democracy in Somaliland. The first NEC is recognized to have fulfilled its responsibilities towards this goal in an exemplary manner and in difficult circumstances. Its members deserve to be recognized by the people as well as the national leadership for their service to the nation. The present NEC has a difficult task facing it, but what seems to be even more difficult for its members is to prepare and organize themselves to take up the challenge.

The Independent Scholar’s Group had a lengthy debate on the National Electoral Commission issue as an important article in the Mediation Committee’s Recommendations. The thrust of the discussion was on the merits and demerits of taking the longer-term view and addressing the NEC issue head-on to seek a lasting solution and to revamp it completely. However, the general consensus was that our present circumstance, dictated by repeated postponements of the elections, would not permit us to risk a situation that can lead to delaying the election any further from the 27th of September 2009 date. Therefore the Group has adopted following standpoints:

First: Opting to changing the entire NEC membership is a risky route to take. The time we have until the September 2009 election is about only three months. Considering this our choices are definitely limited to live with the present group. Even, if all other things go well, the new members will need time to learn about the job. Therefore we have to consider other options.

Secondly: The best option now is to strengthen with more members if possible and to create adequate support systems to fill the gaps in their present capacities. There are now several supporting mechanisms available for them to avail, which may need also to be empowered more robustly to assist NEC. On the other hand some of their management and logistical responsibilities can be outsourced to other professional entities. Further more, available members from the First NEC, who are not involved in political parties, could also be engaged to support the present NEC.

Thirdly: The Group believes that most of their problems are self-generated. Therefore, without them recognizing the gravity of their situation and the need to put their house in order, the above measures may not have the desired effect. Further more, it is not only Somaliland people who are concerned about the situation, but also the international community, which is supporting us and which expects us to learn from the regional post-election destabilization experiences, especially Kenya.

The Server:

The server issue seems to be the wild card in the whole Somaliland election debate. In our last position paper issued on 19 March 2009, the Group not only supported the process, but also acknowledged the role Somalilanders have played in complicating the work of the server as an important factor in delaying the process of getting quick and reliable results from the biometric system. Subsequent developments have since eased the pressure on the server system to produce immediate results, especially when the election date was postponed until 27 September.

The Independent Scholar’s Group is asking itself, why couldn’t the companies and agencies responsible for the SERVER process provide a reasonable but firm target completion date as well as an estimate of what percentage of its work has been accomplished, to help all concerned plan their election strategies. Two Presidential candidates are on the record to have expressed their unease over the server process. This Group still recognizes that tremendous financial and human resources have been expended on the Voter Registration Process from the international community as well as from the Somaliland people and still believe that its intentions were right and that the resources were spent on the right cause. However, it is incumbent upon the contractors and supervising agencies to provide the necessary information and answer the questions raised after that, it is up to the Somaliland leaders, institutions and people to decide whether the expected outputs can be useful for their forthcoming Presidential Election.

The Group does not deny that some information may have already been provided by the concerned agencies; however, what we are saying is that there is not enough information available in the public domain and therefore, speculation is rife, especially when national leaders demonstrate their uncertainties about the usefulness of the server operations and products to the election. Whatever the outcome, this has been a profound undertaking by the Somaliland state and people with the support of the international Community to effect a fundamental change in the way we process our elections and towards the attainment of our free and fair elections goals.

Finally, the Group raised the need for the national concerned institutions to look ahead and start discussing the future custody of the database and the standardization of the registration process to accommodate new entrants into the voter registration lists.

Promotion of Free and Fair Elections: Use of Public Media Outlets and Property

The Somaliland Independent Scholar’s Group are committed to promote holding fair, free and peaceful elections in Somaliland. The equitable use of public resources is an important pillar of the free and fair election principles. Public resources are bought, built and run with tax-payers money and not with any political group’s resources. Therefore, by law, these resources should be used and accessed equitably by all political candidates and parties. Since the President and both Chairmen of the opposition parties accepted the Mediation Committee Recommendations in principle, The National Electoral Commission should lead a process of discussions among the parties to sign a Code of Conduct through their good offices as a guiding framework for the “Free, Fair and Peaceful” election process. Some of the key issues, which the Code of Conduct will address include:

i. Integrity Committee

The formation of a National Integrity Committee to take full responsibility and have clear mandate to ensure that all public owned resources are accessed equitably by all political parties and their candidates. This is to ensure that the candidates and their parties have full and unhindered opportunity to pass their messages to the voters and to share equitably the available public resources. This Committee, while independent in its mandate will closely work with NEC, the three political parties, and other election stakeholders.

ii. Equitable Sharing of Public Media Broadcasting and Coverage Access

- Establish a monitoring framework for all three political candidates and their parties to have equal air-time access to Radio Hargeisa and the Somaliland National TV and Equal coverage from Maandeeq Newspaper.

- Strengthen the legal framework through the promulgation of a Political Broadcasting and Media Coverage Law, which establishes the legal and regulatory aspect of this issue.

iii. Physical Properties and Executive Authority Issues

1. For all concerned to refrain from use of Government Transport, buildings and any other physical and financial facilities not permitted by law.

2. State executive officials’ powers and work-time are all publicly owned. All civil servants are barred by law from engaging in partisan political activities. That does not of course bar them from casting their vote for the candidate of their choice.

The Group urges the international community not to confine its monitoring support to the campaign and election days, but to extend it to the ongoing process of ensuring development of free, fair and peaceful election culture. We urge all key actors to contribute to efforts designed to raise public awareness including all government employees on the legal and moral obligation of all citizens to uphold the principle of “Free, Fair and Peaceful” Election. The group recognizes that elections are the sole right of the Somaliland people to change or reinstate their leadership and that all elections have to be held on time.

The national media should play its role in promoting the development of free and fair and peaceful election culture through its self-regulation mechanism. All Media Outlets are expected to sign and abide by an updated Somaliland Press Code of Conduct.

Finally, it is incumbent upon all sectors of the Somaliland society to appreciate their achievements in building their state, embarking on a democratic path and enjoying the fruits of the peace, stability and progress they worked so hard for and indeed for the 18th year running.


Government Meets With UN And International Organizations In Somaliland

Source: Jamhuuriya, May 16, 2009

Government ministries met with the UN and International NGOs representatives in Somaliland about droughts in the country and how to continue trucking water to the affected areas, on Wednesday.

The meeting presided by the Minister of Planning, Mr. Ali Mohamed “Sanyare” along with other ministries from the National Committee on Drought and Emergency Situations, was aimed to discuss helping communities affected by a wide-ranging droughts and shortage of water in the country, especially Eastern regions.

“The objective of the meeting was assisting drought-stricken communities in the country. We also gave them reports on the current drought situation of the country,” said Mr. Ali Sanyare.

The minister said that they emphasized on the continuation of the water distribution scheme to the three Eastern regions of the country.

Mr. Sanyare reiterated that they put forth to the international and UN organizations on the completion of a draft policy strategy on natural disasters.

“This draft policy is intended that we should be ready for any unexpected natural calamities by preparing food and medical stuff available to use for at least 3 months.”


Not all Somalias are created equal

http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=194778, By Shashank Bengali, McClatchy, May 14,

When I've gone to Somalia, the first question I've had to grapple with, as a foreigner and therefore ransom bait, is how many armed bodyguards to hire.

Not so in Somaliland. The first serious question asked of me after I landed recently came from the helpful young clerk at the cell phone company.

“Do you want to get Internet on your phone?” he asked.

Somaliland was almost a pleasure to work in -- not as hot and pirate-infested as Puntland, not as likely to be fatal as Mogadishu. Walking through the main market there, I didn't get that heavy pulse-pounding you usually feel in Somalia, like someone could be after you or the car in front of you could explode. And yet Somaliland is still, technically, Somalia.

The regional government has been trying to get African and Western countries to recognize its independence, but so far in vain. While this irks experts and aid workers, African countries are still trying to maintain the rhetoric of a unified Somalia -- and the U.S. and other Western countries aren't going to take the lead in recognizing Somaliland.

This is unfortunate. Somaliland has earned the right to decide its own fate by doing an admirable job governing itself, creating relatively robust economic and political systems in the midst of chaos. This hasn't exactly sat well with the extremists in the south, who staged coordinated suicide bombings in the capital, Hargeisa, last October -- the most shocking violence here since the civil war of the early 1990s.

The government swiftly instituted security measures, and now buildings frequented by foreigners and top officials are barricaded and most expatriates don't venture outside after dark.

The economy is stable but sluggish, which is what you get when foreign banks aren't free to open branches, and officials insist they need access to direct foreign investment to decouple it from the rest of Somalia. Shipments are regularly delayed because the main port, Berbera, still registers for insurance companies as part of Somalia. When I was there, the main cell phone company, Telesom, had run out of SIM cards.

But, they assured me, they could put Internet on my phone. I sat in the airy second-story customer service center, surrounded by a whirring bank of computers, while the guy worked on my phone. He fiddled with it for 10 minutes before I realized he had no idea what he was doing. When I walked over he was staring at the keypad blankly.

“Have you ever programmed one of these before?” I asked.

“No,” he said finally, and handed the phone back apologetically. So the BlackBerry has yet to reach Somaliland. But it will.


Somaliland Genocide Back To Haunt

Hargeisa, 16 May 2009 (Somalilandpress) — A mass grave containing the remains of at least nine bodies thought to have been killed during Siad Bare’s rule were found on Thursday after heavy torrential rains in the out skirts of Hargeisa, in the Boqol Jireh district.

The people buried here were part of hundreds of thousands of people that have been killed in Somaliland after Somalia’s dictator Siad Bare’s military operations. In 1988, Somalia’s military junta hired Rhodesian (Zimbabwe) mercenaries that were acquired by United Arab Emirates to bombard Somaliland’s three major towns - Hargeisa, Burao and Berbera, an estimated 50, 000 were killed and more than 800, 000 people were forced to leave their homes.

Many of the refugees fled to neighbouring Ethiopia. Those who survived the bombings or the deliberate starvation by denying them food were often rounded up, tied together using barbed wires and gunned down from a point-blank range. If that method did not work, they would often tie them together in barbed wires and run bulldozers over them and were left to rot in the streets where they bulldozed.

Officials from Somaliland’s department of defense were present who sealed the area.

Several mass graves as well as corpses containing the remains of civilians have been found across Somaliland since the fall of Somalia’s dictator regime in 1991.

Two decades on, the 1988 Somaliland genocide will haunt the world for generations. The only justice Somaliland seeks is to be part of the international community as sovereign nation and not be forced into a union with a country that only knows how to kill it’s own civilians. Somaliland might be living in peace but Somalia continues to carry out the genocide it’s own for in its own turf today.


Somaliland strives to distinguish itself in troubled region

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-somaliland17-2009may17,0,3938098.story. From the Los Angeles Times, By Edmund Sanders, May 16, 2009

The breakaway republic hopes to become Africa's newest state, wooing international support with state-of-the-art elections. But it faces the corruption, injustice and tensions endemic to the region.

Reporting from Hargeisa, Somaliland — When it came time to register voters for a presidential election in Somaliland, this dirt-poor breakaway republic picked the most expensive fingerprint-identification technology available to prevent fraud.

Then it seemed everyone did their best to undermine it.

With many people using different fingers on a biometric scanning pad or other ways to fool the device, nearly twice as many as the 700,000 to 800,000 estimated eligible voters received voter cards. Under the new $8-million system, one polling station registered, astonishingly, nearly 14 times as many people as it had for a parliamentary election four years ago.

Now Somaliland's embattled election commission, aided by a European consultant, is scrambling to cull the list of voters by applying a second security layer, of facial-recognition software. If it works, the voter rolls in this relatively stable corner of northern Somalia stand to become among the most technologically vetted in the world.

The voter registration controversy says a lot about the challenges facing this Horn of Africa territory of 3.5 million people. Somaliland, after declaring its independence from Somalia in 1991, has hoped sovereignty would enable it to better protect its citizens, rebuild the economy and attract foreign assistance.

Just about everything Somaliland does -- from holding elections to chasing pirates -- seems aimed at currying international favor, portraying an image of stability and distancing itself from the chaos raging to its south. It dreams of becoming Africa's newest nation.

"It's the thing always in the back of our minds," said Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, one of Somaliland's founding fathers and a leading opposition figure. "The only commodity we sell to the international community is that we are a stable country."

Yet as Somaliland tries to leapfrog from oppressed backwater to regional role model, it's facing the same ghosts -- corruption, injustice and ethnic tensions -- that have haunted its neighbors.

The election scheduled for September, which was intended to highlight Somaliland's democratic progress, is instead exposing institutional weaknesses and stirring domestic discontent.

Besides the voter-registration debacle, the election date has been twice postponed at the request of President Dahir Riyale Kahin. His term was extended over the objection of opposition parties, who now call his government unconstitutional.

Ethnic rivalry is on the rise as political parties court Somaliland's major clans, which yield considerable cultural and political clout in Africa. Many residents are bracing for what is expected to be a very close race. In 2003, the president was declared the winner by just 80 votes amid allegations of rigging.

Civil-society leaders worry Somaliland could be headed toward the same kind of election turmoil that rocked Kenya last year after a disputed presidential vote ignited ethnic violence that left more than 1,000 people dead.

Longtime human rights activist Ibrahim Wais questioned whether Somaliland's political leaders respected democratic ideals enough to conduct a free and fair election.

"It's not a conviction with them," he said. "It's a pretense, a plaything to impress the international community."

President Kahin insisted Somaliland was on the right path to democracy and dismissed naysayers, noting that there have been three peaceful national elections since 2001.

"There's no [democratic] backsliding," he said in an interview in the reception hall of the presidential palace in Hargeisa. "A lot of people never believed elections could happen smoothly in this country."

But opposition leaders suggest they won't accept defeat as gracefully as they did in 2003.

"If I lose by the rules, I'll accept," said Silanyo, the leading presidential challenger. "If I don't, I'll fight it."

Silanyo said he wouldn't resort to violence, but others in the opposition aren't so sure. He and others accuse Kahin of clinging to power by repeatedly delaying the election. They also say that the president has hidden lucrative oil-exploration deals from parliament, arrested opposition leaders and journalists, monopolized state-owned media and bribed clan leaders and members of the Upper House.

The president denied the allegations. He blamed election delays on the faulty voter-registration system and last fall's triple suicide bombings in Hargeisa by Islamic extremists, which killed about two dozen people.

For most of the last decade, Somaliland's governance and human rights record have drawn praise, particularly compared with those of its neighbors. Somaliland boasts free speech and private newspapers. Its population voluntarily disarmed, reconciled and transitioned into an elected, civilian government.

By contrast, Somalia continues to struggle with no fully functioning government. Ethiopia has been accused of heavy-handed crackdowns against its citizens. Eritrea has no elections or free press.

"The government in Somaliland has a better human rights record than any other government in the Horn, including Kenya," said Chris Albin-Lackey, an analyst at Human Rights Watch. "But that's setting the bar pretty low."

British Somaliland, a protectorate of the crown, won independence in 1960 and merged with the Italian colony to its south to form the Republic of Somalia. Residents soon regretted unity when successive regimes marginalized, and eventually bombed, the northern areas.

Somaliland rebels helped bring about the collapse of the Siad Barre dictatorship in 1991 and promptly declared independence from Somalia. But the international community, including the United Nations and African Union, have feared recognition of Somaliland might have a domino effect by encouraging other disgruntled regions to assert self-rule.

Somaliland's leaders expressed dismay at the world's reluctance to recognize their progress and warned that they might not be able to hold the would-be nation together without more outside support.

"If, God forbid, things go haywire, it will be the fault of the international community," said Foreign Minister Abdillahi Duale. "We've done everything we are supposed to do."

The pursuit of international recognition has contributed to Somaliland's relative stability and democratic progress, experts say.

"It makes everyone behave a little better," said Ahmed Hussein Esa, a political activist in Hargeisa and director of the Institute for Practical Research and Training.

Government crackdowns are typically short-lived. Opposition groups are loath to organize mass protests or resort to violence.

The drive for recognition is even fueling Somaliland's aggressive anti-piracy campaign. Hoping to receive international aid for its fledgling coast guard, which consists of just three speedboats, Somaliland has arrested 40 suspected pirates in recent months.

Many Somaliland citizens say they are committed to independence, but some accuse leaders of using the issue as an excuse to avoid addressing domestic problems.

Hargeisa is still a capital of mostly dirt roads. Unemployment runs about 90%. Remittances sent by family members living abroad keep the economy going.

"For 18 years they've been talking about recognition, recognition, recognition," said Abdulla Ali Ahmed, 26, a grocery store clerk in Hargeisa. "We need to develop the economy, improve schools and create jobs. When we do a better job with that, the rest of the world will recognize us."


War in Somalia: Protecting Somaliland’s Peace Should Be a Priority

Hargeisa, 16 May 2009 (Somalilandpress) - The war in Somalia has entered a new phase. Even by Mogadishu’s standards, in recent days the fighting has been intense. More than 100 people have been killed. The al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), supported by the international community, are engaged in a violent power struggle. The dynamics are fluctuating by the day but al-Shabaab, along with other Jihadist movements such as Hisbul Islam, controls most of the territory in south-central Somalia and they are preparing for a final push to seize the presidential palace.

This turn of events is not surprising. Only recently, the very same day rich countries were opening their pockets in Brussels to prop up the weak TFG, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys landed in Mogadishu. As the leader of al-Shabaab and a former colleague-turned competitor of President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the arrival of Aweys was significant. He pledged war and has delivered on it. Once in Mogadishu, Aweys addressed crowds in calling the African Union troops “bacteria” that must leave Somalia. Foreign troops in Somalia have always been a point of contention and deeply unpopular. But the reality is that without them the TFG cannot survive. Brushing off overtures from President Sharif for dialogue, al-Shabaab appears to be looking for a military victory.

In the coming days the international community will certainly be considering what options it has. These appear relatively limited — the US has little appetite for intervening and al-Shabaab gave the Ethiopian military such a serious fight that they too do not look eager to invade again.

The concerns widely discussed about the current crisis in Pakistan, particularly as to whether the government is viable and can withstand the Taliban being within 100 km of the capital, are amplified in Somalia. In Somalia, foreign and local fighters, some of who have trained in Afghanistan, actually do control all but a few streets in the capital. There are reports that al-Shabaab is set to be provided with additional reinforcements of foreign and local jihadists in the coming days.

Somaliland, the un-recognized peaceful and politically stable northwestern region of Somalia, must also consider its own security. Somaliland rightly prides itself on being an oasis of peace in a violent region. In September 2009 they will be holding their third presidential elections which, building on the 2003 elections, appear set to be competitive and free. After years of fighting for independence and after years of watching their brothers in the south slaughter themselves, Somalilanders do not take their accomplishment of peace lightly. Unfortunately, they may have already been pulled into this war.


Somalia: Web journalist arrested in Somaliland

HARGEISA, Somalia May 15 (Garowe Online) - A web reporter has been arrested in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland by local police without a warrant, Radio Garowe reports.

Journalist Hadis Mohamed Hadis, the editor of Baadiyenews.com, was arrested by Somaliland police in the regional capital Hargeisa on Thursday morning.

Reports said Mr. Hadis was preparing a report at a gradation ceremony being held at Hotel Crown in Hargeisa when police came and frisked him away.

Efforts to get Somaliland police commanders to comment on the story ended in vain.

It is not the first time Somaliland authorities have detained Mr. Hadis, who hails from Mogadishu and has been residing in northwestern Somalia in recent years.


Welcome to Somaliland, the nicer part of crumbling country

Shashank Bengali, May. 13, 2009, McClatchy Newspapers

HARGEISA, Somalia — It might surprise you to learn that Somalia — that post-apocalyptic shell of a nation where Islamist insurgents, clan warlords and now pirates hold sway over a helpless government — has some nice parts, too.

In Hargeisa, a visitor can walk the asphalt roads at dusk and freely breathe the sharp mountain air. The street markets are busy and boisterous, and hanging out there isn't likely to get you killed. Cell phone companies advertise mobile Internet service and the good hotels have wireless hot spots.

If this doesn't feel like Somalia, residents say that's because it's not. This is Somaliland, a northern former British protectorate that broke away from chaotic southern Somalia in 1991, established an admirably stable government and hoped never to look back.

No country has recognized Somaliland's independence, however. The argument has always been that to do so would further destabilize Somalia, even as Somalia seems to be destabilizing well enough on its own.

So for now, this quiet slice of land along the volatile Gulf of Aden is an undeniable, if very reluctant, piece of Somalia.

A territory of 5 million people, Somaliland is trying to be a good regional citizen, hosting tens of thousands of refugees from southern Somalia and, lately, trying and imprisoning pirates, which few governments anywhere have been eager to do.

At least 26 men are serving time in Somaliland prisons for piracy. Last month, a European warship stopped nine men who were attempting to hijack a Yemeni vessel but allowed them to flee in a lifeboat. The would-be pirates washed ashore in Somaliland, where police and the scrappy coast guard, which patrols a 600-mile coastline with two speedboats and a tiny fleet of motorized skiffs, chased them down.

"We are patient. We always feel like we are getting close" to recognition, said Abdillahi Mohamed Duale, the polished foreign minister, betraying just a trace of exasperation in his near-flawless English. "Time will put Somaliland where we belong."

Yes, the territory has a foreign minister, along with liaison offices — don't call them diplomatic missions — in a handful of countries including the United States. It has a president and a bicameral legislature, as well as feisty opposition parties. It issues its own currency — crisp bills printed in the United Kingdom — and its own passports and visas.

It can't make deals with other countries for development projects, though, and no international banks have opened here. The economy remains mostly pre-modern and farm-based.

So you can understand Duale's frustration: While Somalia is a country without a functioning government, Somaliland is a noncountry with a reasonably functioning government.

The president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, won the first free elections in 2003 and was rewarded last year with a visit by the then-ranking U.S. diplomat for Africa, then-Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer. This year, however, Riyale has sparred with opposition leaders over the timing of elections, which have been postponed twice and now are set for October.

Some foreign officials are worried that the young democracy is backsliding.

"They were a model for Somalia, in our minds, but now they're having significant problems," said a Western diplomat who closely follows Somalia and who wasn't authorized to be quoted by name.

Experts regard the spat as temporary and expect foreign governments to keep funding Somaliland-based relief efforts and political reform projects, but Somaliland's limbo status appears more enduring. While the United Nations urges support for the transitional Somali government in the south, African countries are leery of encouraging their own secessionist movements and the United States is unwilling to go out on a limb for the obscure little territory.

"Governments don't want to be involved in the politics" of Somaliland's independence, said Patrick Duplat of Refugees International, a Washington-based advocacy group. "But they have to be cognizant of the fact that it's the only operating government in this place."

From colonial times, Somaliland took a different path. In the 19th-century scrum over Africa, Britain acquired the territory mainly to supply its more important garrison in Aden, across the sea in Yemen.

Relatively few British expatriates settled here, leaving tribes and institutions intact, while southern Somalia became a full-fledged colony of Italy, complete with Italianate architecture and banana farms to supply the home country.

The British and Italian territories were joined at independence to form the Somali Republic, but in 1991, with the southern-based regime verging on collapse, a rebel government in Somaliland declared itself autonomous. After two years of fighting, a new government emerged that melded traditional clan structures with Western-style separation of powers, a hybrid system that some experts have called a prototype for the rest of Somalia.

Contrast that, Duale said, with the hundreds of millions of dollars the world has poured into Somalia's feeble transitional government, including $213 million pledged last month to bolster security forces and African Union peacekeepers.

"It's pure hypocrisy," Duale said. "You have here in Somaliland a nation-building process that didn't require massive expense by others. And yet we have everything the international community preaches: self-reliance, inclusiveness, stability."

The troubles down south have spilled over, with more than 75,000 displaced Somalis taking shelter in Somaliland. On Oct. 29, coordinated suicide bombings struck the presidential residence, a U.N. compound and an Ethiopian political office in Hargeisa, reportedly killing 30 people.

The attack was immediately blamed on Islamist militants who are battling for control of Somalia, a reminder that for all its advantages, Somaliland remains yoked to that troubled land to the south.

"Everybody was scared that we could be targeted so easily," said Mohammed Isak, a marketing manager for a mobile phone company. "You cannot enjoy peace while your neighbor is burning."


Rayale Rejects To sign Tripartite Agreement To End Political Crisis

Hargeysa, 13 May 2009 (Somaliland Today)- The controversial president of Somaliland, Dahir Rayale Kahin, rejected to sign tripartite agreement hammered out by the Political Conflict Mediation Committee, in a move likely to scupper hopes of ending a drawn-out political crisis.

About a week ago the leaders of the three main political parties, UDUB, KULMIYE and UCID, agreed the final draft drawn up by the Mediation Committee in an effort to end the political crisis that engulfed the nation following a highly controversial extension of presidential term and subsequent postponement of the presidential election to 27 September 2009. But president Rayale who is also the leader of the ruling party, UDUB, later backtracked and refused to put his signature on the agreement.

In an interview with the BBC Somali Service on 9th of May, Rayale ruled out the prospect of signing the tripartite agreement saying the opposition should get to know the constitution and the laws of the land.

A key feature stipulated in the agreement was that Rayale would not have a third presidential term-extension, as that would be tabled for approval in parliament. This was essentially meant to force Rayale to hold the presidential election at the rescheduled date of 27 September 2009.

“I am the one who, in the past, held elections in this country [Somaliland] and the only who wants the election to happen now,” Rayale said boastfully. He added that the presidential election would be held on 27 September and the opposition should stop grumbling and get ready for it.

The opposition are however highly sceptical of Rayale’s new pledge to hold the election by September.

“During his Party’s National Convention, he [Rayale] has made a similar pledge to the people that the presidential election would be held on 29 March as previously agreed and it did not materialise. I am very sceptical on this renewed pledge to holding the election in September,” said Ahmed Silanyo, chairman of the leading opposition party, KULMIYE.

President Rayale was elected for five years, which expired in April 2008. However, he still continues to cling on to power and will neither step down nor hold the presidential election after he has served his entire mandate, which includes a controversially extended one-year term.

In April this year, the Somaliland House of Elders commonly referred to as Guurti, have extended Rayale's presidential term for another six months, which will expire on 31st October 2009.

The leading opposition party KULMIYE immediately rejected the legitimacy of Rayale’s presidency.

Meanwhile, Somaliland’s future hangs by a thread as the depth and breadth of the political crises deepens by the day.


SOMALIA: Pastoralists hardest-hit by drought in Somaliland

ERIGAVO, 13 May 2009 (IRIN) - A severe drought that has gripped Somaliland's Sanag region in the past months has hit pastoralists hardest, with hundreds of families moving to urban centres after their animals died, officials said.

"We estimate that up to 400 families [2,400 people] have been displaced to Erigavo [the region's capital], after they lost their animals in the recent drought,” Yasin H Nour, the mayor of Erigavo, told IRIN.

"Hundreds of families are now in a serious situation due to the drought that has hit the region. Their cattle and donkeys have already died; now their camels and sheep are dying daily," he added.

The drought has also affected regions surrounding Sanag in both Somaliland and the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland.

The region has suffered consecutive rainfall failure in the past three years.

Officials in the El-Afweyn, Hulul and Dararweyne districts of Sanag said 60 percent of pastoralists' animals had died in the drought.

The most affected areas are in the eastern regions of Sool, Sanag and Togdheer, according to Mursal Askar Mire, the mayor of El-Afweyn district.

"WFP [UN World Food Programme] and its partners used to supply food to the district and other rural surroundings but they stopped at the beginning of this year," Mire said. "Now the situation has deteriorated and the people are facing shortages of food and water."

Mahamud Hassan "Guled", senior public information assistant, WFP Somalia, told IRIN: “We have no relief operations at the moment due to the last FSAU [Food Security Assessment Unit/Food and Agriculture Organization Somalia] assessment, which did not warrant any relief programmes. WFP distributed 86 metric tonnes of food to 5,064 people in the district four months ago before the FSAU assessment."

Disease threats

Salah Yusuf, the mayor of Dararweyne, said the nearest water point in some areas was about 120-130km away, while most animals could only walk about 60km a day.

Yusuf and Mire called for help, saying Dararweyne was the worst-affected district.

"We are calling on the government of Somaliland, as well as the international community, to come to the aid of the people hit by the drought in the districts of El-Afweyn, Gar-adag, Hulul and Dararweyne,” the mayors said.

Yusuf said: "About 40 families [200 people] have moved to urban areas of Dararweyne District after they lost all their animals and, last week, 20 people were hospitalised for diarrhoea.

"The problem is not only lack of food and water but also some diseases have erupted in the areas, such as malaria, flu and diarrhoea."

Trucking water

Ahmed-Kayse Hussein Mohamed, a data collection officer with Candle Light, a local NGO, said a team toured the remote areas of the affected districts on 10 May and found hundreds of families who had moved out of their home areas to the urban centre of El-Afweyn after losing all their animals.

Mayor Nour said the local government was trucking water to some of the affected areas in the district.

"We send eight to 10 water trucks daily to the remote areas of Erigavo, particularly the areas to the southeast and southwest of the district," Nour said.

Local officials said if the rains - expected any time now – are delayed, more pastoralists would lose their last remaining animals.

"We are worried that if the rains do not start in coming weeks, more animals may die, and even if the rains start, we fear the animals may not adapt well to the wet conditions because there is no pasture," Nour said.


Somaliland court jails 14 for piracy

MOGADISHU (AFP) May 11, 2009— A court in Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland on Sunday sentenced 14 people to between 15 and 20 years in jail for piracy.

The suspects had been arrested by the Puntland coastguards near the port of Barbera. Three of them were sentenced in absentia after dodging arrest last week.

"After we listened to the charges against the defendants and the evidence brought against them, the court finds them guilty," judge Osman Ibrahim Dahir said.

Nine of the suspects were each handed 15-year jail terms, while another two plus those who escaped detention were given 20 years.

Authorities in Puntland have so far this year jailed 62 pirates as attacks on ships off the lawless Somali coast soar.

In the first quarter of 2009, 102 piracy incidents were reported to the International Maritime Bureau, nearly double the number during the same period in 2008.

Foreign naval ships, including from NATO and the European Union, have however thwarted several hijacking attempts and also made dozens of arrests.


SOMALIA: Plea over water scarcity in Sool region

LAS'ANOD, 11 May 2009 (IRIN) - Authorities in the town of Las'anod in the disputed region of Sool have appealed for help in providing safe drinking water for the town's residents.

Both the self-declared republic of Somaliland and the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland claim Sool and Sanaag regions.

"We call upon the government, UN agencies, as well as international aid organisations, to help us search for solutions to the town's water supply problems," Mohamed Mohamoud Ali, secretary of the town's local government, which is loyal to Somaliland, said.

He told IRIN many residents were suffering as water prices had reached a record high.

"A barrel of water was just 30,000 Somali shillings [US$1] the other day but it has reached 80,000 Somali Shillings [$2.20] in less than two months," he said.

The situation, he said, was due to a prevailing drought that has hit Sool, "where animals have now started dying for lack of pasture and water".

Ali said the town previously had a water well but it has fallen into disrepair and been closed for the past three years.

"Since Somaliland's authority replaced the Puntland administration of the town, several attempts to dig more water wells have been made but they have yet to be fruitful."

Somaliland took control of the area from Puntland on 15 October 2007 in fierce fighting.

He said local people blamed Somaliland authorities for closing the only well in the town without providing a replacement.

"The town's residents drink water trucked from a well in Hawd berkedis [to the south of the town]," Ali said.

Faisal Jama, a journalist based in Las’anod, said: "They [Somaliland authorities] closed the town's well, saying its water was salty and [promising] to dig a new one. They have dug in several places but none has potable water."

The water problem in the town has been aggravated by poor rainfall.

"We are worried about the availability of water and the rising prices of the commodity; the current price of 80,000 Somali shillings a barrel for water is out of most people’s reach," Said Samira Yusuf, a resident, said.

"The town's residents had moved to different areas such as Hargeisa [the Somaliland capital], Garowe [Puntland's capital], the port city of Kismayo, south of Somalia, Nairobi [Kenya], and Ethiopia,” Asha Ahmed, a resident of Las’anod, said.


Somaliland leader accused of 'secret deal' with Somali president

HARGEISA, Somalia May 9 2009(Garowe Online) - The president of Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland has been accused of signing a 'secret deal' with the President of Somalia's U.N.-backed Government of National Unity, Radio Garowe reports.

The two leaders of Somaliland's opposition parties, Kulmiye and UCID, held a joint press conference in the regional capital Hargeisa last Thursday where they accused Somaliland President Dahir Riyale of "refusing" to a sign the ruling issued by the mediation committee to end the months-long dispute over election delays.

Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, chairman of the Kulmiye Party and Riyale's main political challenger, told reporters at Hotel Imperial that the leaders of the three official political parties must sign the mediation committee's ruling.

"We are ready to fulfill the decisions reached by the mediation committee…It is a must that all three political party leaders come together and sign that agreement so that the public can have confidence," Mr. Silanyo said.

The UCID Party chairman, Mr. Faisal Ali Warabe, said: "It is clear to us that the [Somaliland] President is not ready to hold elections."

He went on to accuse Mr. Riyale was signing "secret deals" with Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, the president of the U.N.-backed Somali interim government, which is facing a bloody anti-government insurgency in the national capital Mogadishu.

According to Mr. Warabe: "Riyale could face treason for entering into such an agreement with a government that opposes the independence of Somaliland."

Mr. Warabe, who is notorious for public outbursts and accusations against government officials, did not provide details of the alleged "secret deals" between Riyale and Sheikh Sharif.

The mediation committee's ruling was largely in favor of Mr. Riyale's administration, with the ruling approving the six-month term extension that was initially rejected by opposition parties as illegal.

It is not clear why the Somaliland leader has refused to sign the mediation committee's ruling.


INDEPENDENCE DAY 18 TH MAY FASHION DAY OR A CHANCE TO REFLECT ABOUT WHOM WE ARE AND WHO WANT TO BE

http://www.togaherer.com/details.asp?id=1062&dt=articles

"18th May, a day that moves the world"!.

Each and every year on the 18th May, we the people of Somaliland remember, we will always remember the mothers and fathers who laid down their lives for peace and progress of this honorable nation. We always remember these fallen heroes and heroines because of their loyal contribution.

Today the history of our beloved country is written as a result of their hands, we remember them because our history is written by their toil and misery. We remember them because their hunger to give us equal opportunities is unmatched, we remember because they taught us to change the world with words and not with guns, we remember because we cannot afford to forget.

It is my greatest hope that this year’s anniversary (18th May 2009) could be different in that we can remember our duties to continue writing and teaching our history to the young and the frail, so they can take pride in their historical identity as the people of courage and wisdom, because those who fell taught them better.

Anniversaries are not supposed to be fashion shows or just happy moments, but a chance to reflect about whom we are and who we want to be.

When the 18th May 09 arrives (insha allah), I hope we could all of us remember where we come and where we want to go as the people of Somaliland. When we celebrate we must ask ourselves: “how will history remember us?” will it remember us as fashionable people who gathers to entertain large audience by dancing or just singing with no modest, or as people of duty to a country? Will people in centuries to come speak about our names or they will never know we existed?

As the founder of Somaliland Anniversary in Southern Africa, I will commemorate and remember the befallen this year because it is the right thing to do. I believe that when this year’s anniversary comes we all must ask ourselves what we can do for Somaliland. Personally I think we can do more as the people of the Diaspora. I think we can make significant changes to the lives of the many and millions by constantly talking and urging other nations to take cognizance of our strides as the Somaliland people in as far as peace stability is concerned and economic attempts in reconstruction.

The theme on the forth coming 18th May, should be CHANGE, I am ardent believer in socio-political and economical change in Somaliland and civic duty and I believe we have the resources to foster change from where we are. We can do more together. I believe Somaliland is fortunate to have us in the Diaspora in order to strengthen foreign relations and support, but to do that we must have common vision.

Saeed Furaa, Freelance Journalist, South Africa, E-mail: saeedmohamed1@hotmail.com


Somaliland government properties and school sites are on Sale

06 May 2009, Dr. Shacabi, http://www.somalilandcenter.com/content/view/2212/122/

While Mr. Riyale and his so-called government has focused most of his attention on " Holding and staying the chair of presidency," he has taken time to continue pushing what he's called his main new domestic policy agenda item—It is called "Education destruction and selling schools and universities sites for his own profit gain plan"—a plan that calls for drastic, unprecedented changes in the way the nation's public school system operates and educates children. Secondly, he already nominated two Regional Police Officers in Burao Region to create disturbance and clashes between the two main clans in Burao. He Also, refused to sign the final Mediation Agreement between him and the other political parties regarding the extension of his presidency and election time up to September 27, 2009.

On Tuesday, May 4, 2008, Riyale and his corrupted officials went on the offensive. He again began making closed meetings pushing his education agenda, by closing Sheikh Bashir School without valid reason other than his own agenda and profit gain. Then he took a break from the month-long after he cleverly paid some of the Gurtis to extended his presidential term another six months to buy a real time to destroy the Somaliland and use their resources for his personnel advantages. He also promised that he will sign the last mediation outcome verdicts into law, but so far he is unwillingly ignoring to validate and the main reason is that he doesn't like the article that underscore there will be no extensions for his government anymore.

In my opinion the whole country will be soon on sale and this incident of Sheikh Bashir school is the first step and the testing point of other plans and agendas of dismantling the Somaliland Education system or education excellence schools.

It is time for Congress to get moving on requesting the Riyale and his mafia to sign the Mediation Agreement to officially pass the motion in the legislature session and to stop closing the educational facilities and schools for government officials profit gain.

The political parties need to speak-up the closure of schools and the congress and local governments responsible for failing school system if they do not stop now.

Our educators need to get ready for the new accountability era that's coming to our schools, the so-called president has argued, while emphasizing what will happen if students and schools don't stop the demonstration, we need to give a full support the teachers, parents and the students to fight back and force the Riyale and his tugs to stay away from their schools.

This includes altering the way government funds are used to pay for education services. In what some education analysts are calling the most striking changes in government education policy since the "British Colonial" programs of Riyale administration has proposed that parents be allowed to use their funds to pay for another location after proposing to close sheikh Bashir and then private schooling or private tutoring. The administration also does not want parents to have the option of moving their children from consistently failing schools to other public schools. Further, it proposes to close those schools whose students consistently test above basic levels on standardized tests, or the replacement of teachers and administrators. (Reverse Education Plan".

These proposals are appear radical, and the proof is in the details. These changes would be so severe, so unprecedented, progressive educators warn, that public schools and Somaliland Education systems nationally would be devastated.

We respect Somaliland Education system as an indispensable tool of our future. However, we believe in using school sites not for punitive purposes, but to diagnose strengths and weaknesses so we can give every child the individual assistance he or she needs to succeed. By contrast, many politicians apparently favor using student tests as high-stakes instruments for determining winners and losers among our children. School excellence is about ensuring that all children have access to high-quality schools and qualified teachers. And it is about mobilizing tough-minded interventions to ensure that low-achieving students have a fighting chance to succeed not closing or selling their schools.

We steadfastly oppose closing any schools or selling any government properties and we urge the Congress called in Emergency session to tackle these alarming issues in our country. Congress should reject these proposals. Education is a core responsibility of government if they are really care about the future of their young generations.

We staunchly oppose any measures that weaken the ability of public schools to meet this obligation.

Where there is no effort to improve school facilities or to provide adequate libraries, laboratories, computers and other learning necessities, the burden of improving education is dumped solely on the pupils. Under this condition, with gross sins of omission, national testing with high stakes and scores that will remain with students for a lifetime become instruments for the oppression of students. Without adequate resources, students attending schools located in poor urban and rural areas will not have the opportunity to perform to their potential on these tests and now we are closing their schools.

Somaliland Citizens need to wake up now before it is too late to do any quick fix or remedy for the future of our country and our children future.


SOMALIA: KENYAN PASTOR BEATEN AT SOMALILAND BORDER

http://compassdirect.org, May 08, 2009

Immigration officials threaten to kill convert from Islam unless he renounces faith.

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 8 (Compass Direct News) – A pastor trying to visit Somalia’s autonomous, self-declared state of Somaliland earlier this year discovered just how hostile the separatist region can be to Christians.

A convert from Islam, Abdi Welli Ahmed is an East Africa Pentecostal Church pastor from Kenya who in February tried to visit and encourage Christians, an invisibly tiny minority, in the religiously intolerant region of Somaliland.

Born and raised in Kenya’s northern town of Garissa, Ahmed first traveled to Addis Ababa, the capital of neighboring Ethiopia. When he arrived by car at the border crossing of Wajaale on Feb. 19 with all legal travel documents, his Bible and other Christian literature landed him in unexpected trouble with Somaliland immigration officials.

“I was beaten up for being in possession of Christian materials,” Ahmed told Compass. “They threatened to kill me if I did not renounce my faith, but I refused to their face. They were inhuman.”

Ahmed said the chief border official in Wajaale, whom he could identify only by his surname of Jama, took charge of most of the torturing. Ahmed said their threats were heart-numbing as they struggled to subdue him, with Jama and others saying they had killed two Somali Christians and would do the same to him.

His pleas that he was a Kenyan whose faith was respected in his home country, he said, fell on deaf ears.

“I was abused, and they also abused my faith as the religion for pagans, which they said is unacceptable in their region,” he said. “I told them that I am Kenyan-born and brought up in Kenya, and my Christian faith is respected and recognized in Garissa.”

Jama ordered Ahmed’s incarceration, and he was locked up in an immigration cell for nine hours. The officials took from his bag three CDs containing his personal credentials and Christian educational literature. They also took his English Bible, two Christian books and US$400, he said.

Ahmed said he was released with the aid of an unnamed Ethiopian friend.

“They warned me to never dare step into or think of going to Somaliland again,” said Ahmed, who doubles as a relief and development worker.

On March 22 he sent letters of complaint to Ethiopian, Kenyan and even presumably less-than-sympathetic Somaliland officials; none has shown any signs of pursuing justice, he said.

Compass e-mailed a copy of the letter to Alexander O. Oxiolo, head of consular affairs at Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs ministry, who subsequently denied receiving it. When Compass printed the letter and took a hard copy to him, Oxiolo said he could not act on it because the complainant had not signed it.

He also questioned whether Ahmed was a Christian because of his Muslim name, apparently expecting him to have changed it after conversion.

Ahmed converted to Christianity in 1990. Soon after he was baptized in 1995, Ahmed came under threat from Muslims and fled to Niger in 1996, where he married. He and his wife returned to Kenya in 2000, Ahmed said, and since then he has received a steady stream of threats from Muslims in Garissa. On several occasions he has been forced to leave Garissa for months at a time, he said, waiting for tensions to cool.

Ahmed was ordained in 2004.

http://compassdirect.org/en/display.php?page=news&lang=en&length=long&idelement=5913&backpage=summaries&critere=&countryname=&rowcur=


Somaliland Mediation requires a common will for peace and reconciliation

May 7, 2009, http://somalilandpress.com/

The recent Mediation Meeting At Presidential Somaliland Palace in Hargeisa, the political leaders(Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud-Siilaanyo, Faisal Ali Warabe) and the President of Somaliland has ended in mutual agreement after failing to reach a consensus on recent Presidential extensions for election time-table. The mediation does seem to be serving its purposes for all three political parties.

To be a mediator in the upcoming Presidential election crisis is, in effect, to validate one’s own diplomatic credentials, to raise the profile of oneself and one’s country, and to show oneself a champion of political correctness and of democracy. What is validated here is the function of the mediator, not the success of the mediation.

For a mediation to work- requires a common will for peace and reconciliation. The role of the mediator is to convince those involved that the conflict must be halted and to give up part of their claims so as to move towards each other. For the mediation to be effective, there must be political will on the part of both protagonists and mediators and the mediators must be given full power and authority to be free on their work and must complete their mediation process until they have put to end the conflict or the political crises with written agreement sign by all involved parties and validate through the legislation party.

During last preparations for the extension of Presidential elections, an initial mediator intervened without success. President Riyale who also the Chairman of Udub Party, (although remaining not discreet since then) had tried to persuade to stand and agreed upon the conditions of the Mediators and the president has agreed all the conditions first, even though he was rejected after-wards. For the Mediators, they were questioning themselves what our conscience tell us are good for their country. Their initial undertaking amounted to agreeing not to become a candidate. One of the key Mediators Mr. Hadrawi has told the Media that the President Riyale has accepted the first initial agreement of the Mediation and he later learned that The Mr. Riyale has completely rejected and that was saying to the respected Elders of the Mediation Team, thanks but not thanks. This is another tactics that Mr. Riyale has learned from his previous NSS school and he did again to the respected Mediator Team who truly spend their valuable energy and time to solve this long battle of Somaliland Political Crises.

The recent meeting , the mediators, the Ucid, Kulmiye leaders and the President had tried to ensure that no artificial exclusion would apply to any of the Mediation Outcomes. Before them, the President had expressed his concern about the extension of election term situation. The Mediators knew at that point that the president will not be signing this agreement without specifying that an extension will be included the agreement. But they took as a blank check that he will be accept the Agreement anyway-Not.

Once battle had commenced, mediators succeeded each other without interruption, each passing to the others the baton of seeking an improbable peace. Some intervened at several stages in relation to different issues.But finally came to their senses and committed to do what is best for the country. The mediator is at once envoy, commissioner and referee, but a referee who blows the whistle only when he has the consent of all parties. It is worth recalling that, in the role of envoy, the mediator is taking a risk, as he is frequently the bearer of bad news and often held responsible for the content of the message he brings. The continuation of the Somaliland Political crisis is due, not only to the fact that none of the protagonists has a vested interest in its resolution, but also because the various meditations have failed. It is not possible to bring together all three parties without their mutual consent.

It is interesting to note that the Somaliland president, Dahir Riyale Kahin has “lasted” longer at this game than others, but, like the others, he has been both rejected and recognized by the two parties in turn. he appeared to be adulated in turn by one side and vilified by the other in equal measure, but from his last Mediation Promises his “mediation” became “Unestablished” in favor of the ruling power and was thus totally discredited. Previously, the Mediator Group took advantage of their status as mediators to bring about, in the face of complete Local, a change to the Constitution, permitting him to extend his presidential term another one year, changed, thanks to the Somaliland crisis, his status as an unknown President to that of an internationally known President, appreciated for his efforts at mediation.

Dahir Riyale Kahin was able to draw a veil over his internal problems, whose administration was being heavily criticized for the lack of democratic communication to his people and the political parties and this will be recorded in Somaliland History Books. It is typical that those who withdrew very quickly from any involvement in mediation were those who had nothing personally to gain from it. With stability in their own country and having already gained plaudits for “good governance” to a degree. The one million question is -since the Mediation Agreement has not finalized and the president is ignoring and completely unwillingly to sign the final draft, where we go from here and what will be the condition of Somaliland government Vs the political Parties acknowledgments and Somaliland Citizens and who will be taking full responsibility not to have another extensions for the up-coming presidential elections, if there will be ONE???

Dr. Shacabi, USA, email:shacabi@yahoo.com


Saving Somaliland

by Stijn Jaspers, 08-05-2009

Once in a while, but definitely not too often, you meet a person that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Edna Adan Ismail, the founder of the Edna Hospital of Somaliland, is one of those people. Her achievements are quite remarkable considering the difficult circumstances she has been working in for the past few years.

Despite the grave problems that the whole region is facing, such as piracy, terrorist violence and drought, Edna Adan has been able to build a private hospital that focuses on mother and child care in the self-declared independent republic of Somaliland.

Since the hospital has been operating it has helped thousands of mothers and children and improved their health significantly. The figures show that the maternal and child mortality rate has dropped dramatically in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, due to the work of the Edna Hospital.

Heart, soul and mind

Edna Adan is seventy-two-years-old but still full of energy and not willing to give up on the people of Somaliland. Despite her age she still runs the hospital on a day-to-day basis and is in control of the whole venture. She actually is the heart, soul and mind of the hospital. This also poses a threat to the sustainability of the organization because it relies on her way too much.

To see Edna Adan at work in the hospital is quite enjoyable. Her energy and good spirits are a joy for everybody. She walks through the corridors of the hospital full of energy and has time for a casual, or business, talk with everybody she meets. It so clear that this woman has a vision and a mission that she will pursue.

Sense of hope

As a former Secretary of State of Somaliland and an employee of the World Health Organization. Edna Adan knows politics, finance and networking. She has used these assets very well to realize her dream to build a hospital (pictured left) which is now considered as one of the best in town.

Her experience as a politician also makes it easy to attract foreign donors and expertise such as internships and scientific surveys conducted by students and universities from Europe and the US.

Walking through this hospital gives the visitor, and especially the patients of course, a sense of hope and optimism that things can be achieved in this region that has been almost forgotten by the international community. Edna Adan does not only provide medical assistance via her work and staff, but she spreads hope to a community that has to fight for survival every single day.


Letter from Lord Avebury about Somaliland Elections

http://www.somaliland.org/ May 7th, 2009,
From Lord Avebury, 020-7274 4617, ericavebury@gmail.com,

ericavebury.blogspot.com, May 3, 2009

Dear Mark,

As you will have seen, Somaliland President Riyale and the opposition parties have accepted the agreement brokered by the Mediation Committee. Could we or the EU now ask President Riyale what is the timescale for his government to introduce the legislation necessary to implement the agreement, including the prohibition on further extension of the President’s term of office, and access by all parties to the publicly owned media, and what independent monitoring will be provided in the legislation, to ensure that the agreement is carried out? Subject to the international community’s satisfaction with these arrangements, what technical and financial help do you think could be offered for the elections, by the EU or any other agency?

Yours Sincerely,

Eric, The Rt Hon the Lord Malloch-Brown KCMG,

Foreign & Commonwealth Office, London SW1A 2AH


Somaliland Arrests More Pirates

Hargeisa, 6 May 2009 (Somalilandpress) - Somaliland Navy with the support of police forces arrested five Somali pirates near Berbera town. Somalilandpress correspondent in Berbera said the pirates were around 12 armed persons when the Somaliland forces attacked them about 80Kms from Berbera.

At least two pirates were injured one of them is in a serious condition at Berbera hospital after a brief fighting in the area. Reports say others managed to escape from the police and went to unknown places. It is reported that two boats with guns were also captured by Somaliland navy.

Unconfirmed reports say the boats had problems which forced the pirates to come to the shore just before the attack. They were planning to hijack ships off the Somaliland sea.

Later this afternoon, the police in Burao said they captured three pirates in one of the hotels. The Burao police Commissionaire said the three men were among the Somali pirates who fled Berbera. Police are searching others pirates hiding in the area. The police said those three men were from the neighboring Somali region of Puntland.

Somaliland security forces are showing strength against the pirates who are trying to convert their operations inside Somaliland. So far, many of them were arrested.


Somaliland: Police Open Fire on Students

Somalilandpress, 05 May 2009 09:24 - Somaliland police opened fire on students demonstrating against plans to sell section of the Sheikh Bashiir elementary school to a private investor on Monday in the capital city of Hargeisa.

Police forces equipped with cage paddy wagon came to the school in Hargeisa after they were called on regarding student protest. A number of students gathered in the middle of the school complex and were on their way to march peacefully to the city center. Police ordered the student to disperse, shortly after, they then opened fired on the pupils.

Still it is not known the reason that the police opened fire on the students when all they were doing was a peaceful gathering and speaking against the government policy.

The students were protesting after they were told that the government is planning to sell part of the school to a private investor. An official from the government came to the school and told students that it was rumors and that the government has no plans to sell the school premises.

Somalilandpress learned that the government actually sold section outside the school premises that was once used as a hall for meetings, conferences and teachers lounge - the students insisted that it was still part of the school since they use it now.

The police have detained a number of students and the parents of the students have expressed concerns about the use of force against students. Some of the parents have requested from police commander Mr. Saqadhi Dubad to immediately release the students. Also the parents of the students would like the government to launch an enquiry into today’s incident and the police commander’s order to use life ammunition on children.

Somaliland organizations, diaspora community, donors and international agencies must codomn the use of force against pupils and the Somaliland society as whole by Rayale’s men and women in uniform.

One parent who did not want to give his name said “today’s event reminds me of the old Siad Barre’s regime and the brutality that it used against our people”.


Somaliland Delegation To Participate World Bank Conference

Source: Somalilandpress, 05 May 2009 09:26

A mass Somaliland delegation led by the Minister of National Planning and Coordination left for Djibouti yesterday to participate an international conference about private business in Somaliland. The delegation flown to Djibouti in order to attend the meeting which was organized by the World Bank.

Delegations from Islamic Bank, UNDP, Africa Development Bank, DFID and others will also participate the conference. Before their departure from Egal International Airport in Hargeisa, The minister of Planning, Mr. Ali Ibrahim told the reporters that he is leading a deletion of about 36 members from the government Ministers, members of the parliament, Mayors and heads of the private business companies. He said the conference is exclusively about Somaliland private sector, their success and experience.

The minister said the conference will be for two days where they will share their experience in order to identify gaps for future support from the donors and the world bank.

When asked why the conference is taking place in Djibouti but not in Somaliland, Mr. Ali said most of the business companies have offices in Djibouti and it will boost the relationship between the two neighboring countries.

This is the first conference of its kind held exclusively for Somaliland and it will be a good opportunity for the Somaliland companies to participate in such international conference. Lately, there have been a significant progress to attract international investors to the country.

Despite the recent political crisis in the country, Somaliland proves to hold a unique position in the horn of Africa where many companies showed their interest for future investments.


Somaliland: Four Dies In Buuhoodle Clan Fighting

Source: Somalilandpress, 05 May 2009 16:00

At least four persons died and others wounded after a clan fighting erupted in Buuhoodle town, Togdheer region. The fighting which started this morning and continued for several hours started after two men from two sub-clans residing in the town exchanged gunfire in the middle of the town. One of the dead is reported to be a woman.

The fighting turned to be a larger scale after one of the two guys who started the fight was killed. His clansmen then attacked the other man who also has the support of his sub-clan members. Somalilandpress learned that the both sides are in a preparation to scale up the fighting.

Some of the wounded persons are transfered to Burao hospital while others are still kept in Buuhoodle. So far two persons died from each side.

Traditional leaders are trying to mediate between the two sides but there no sign of any agreement as per now. The fighting is expected to expand to all sides of the town.

It is not clear the real cause of the fighting and no official statement from Somaliland government about the incident.


Somaliland: Africa's best-kept secret

As Somalia gains infamy as a haven for pirates, its smaller peaceful neighbour is pleading for international recognition.

By Daniel Howden in Somaliland. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/somaliland

The arrivals hall of Hargeisa airport is a dust-blown, concrete box on a sweltering plain of scrub desert. Through its broken tinted doors are peeling walls with a few scattered pictures of Mecca. A brass plaque on a beam above them commemorates the opening of the building by Prince Henry, the 1st Duke of Gloucester, in 1958. The tarnished plate looks oddly out of place as a reminder of Britain's forgotten colony.

While the rest of Somalia has forced its way on to the world's news agenda as an anarchic, failed state and the spawning ground for a new age of piracy, the former British protectorate of Somaliland has been quietly pleading for international recognition.

To its south lies the region of Puntland, whose ports have been turned over to the pirate gangs. Beyond that, in Mogadishu, are the remnants of an Italian colony that is now among the most dangerous places on earth. To the west is the repressive and heavily armed Ethiopia. It is what Somaliland's Foreign Minister ruefully calls a "rough neighbourhood".

Sitting beneath a map of his unrecognised state – which is roughly the size of Wales and England combined – Abdillahi Duale cuts a polite, if exasperated, figure. He begins to list Somaliland's accomplishments, such as a functioning government, multi-party elections, a coastguard and a police force: quite mundane in most places in the world but in this neighbourhood, truly remarkable. It is, the minister says, "Africa's best kept secret".

Somaliland has more territory and a bigger population than at least a dozen other African states, he points out. Recognition will not "open Pandora's box in Africa", he says. Neither will it set a precedent – that has been done already in East Timor and Kosovo. "The international community is focused on Somalia, okay. We are saying, 'Keep doing what you're doing in Mogadishu, but for goodness sake help those who help themselves'."

A polished performer, Mr Duale explains the Somalis' divergent paths with a brief history lesson. When both British and Italian Somaliland were granted independence within months of each other in 1960, there was a mistaken unity pact that eventually degenerated into the violent dictatorship of Siad Barre and then into civil war. When Barre's government fell in 1991, the north set up its own government within the former colonial borders while the south descended into warlordism.

Both paths had their origins in the colonial experience, the minister argues. Britain only wanted its protectorate to shore up naval control of the Gulf of Aden and to supply meat to Aden itself, and so left traditional elders largely in place. Italy treated its eastern coastal section of Somalia as a settlers' colony and dismantled equivalent authorities to achieve this. When the shooting briefly stopped in 1991, the north had a starting point, the south didn't.

Despite this, Somaliland's 3.8 million people remain subject to a government in Mogadishu that doesn't exist. It has its own currency, security services, ministries and courts but no place at the United Nations. Without recognition Hargeisa has no access to lenders such as the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank and receives no direct budgetary support. The international donors who met in Brussels last month to pledge €230m in aid for Somalia did not mention Somaliland.

Presiding over this limbo is Dahir Rayale Kahin. "All the criteria are fulfilled but still no one is recognising us," the President says calmly. "We are fighting piracy, we are arresting terrorists. Nobody can deny our regional contribution."

Three groups of pirates have been detained by Somaliland's threadbare coastguard and its jails hold dozens of suspected members of Islamist militias, such as al-Shabaab, who control much of southern Somalia.

A referendum held in 2001 found overwhelming support for an independent Somaliland and an African Union report on recognition for the territory in 2005 found in favour, Mr Rayale points out. "Always they say, 'If someone else recognises you, we will be second'. The problem is who will be first?"

Like many in Somaliland, he hopes the answer could be Britain. The UK recognised Somaliland at independence in 1960 but London would have to upset powerful allies to renew that step. In private, people here know that Egypt remains the major hurdle. Cairo sees a powerful Somalia as a bulwark against Ethiopia in any future conflict over the vital resources of the Nile, and still nurtures those who dream of a greater Somalia. Such a project would unite Somalis in Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti, with those in the former British and Italian colonies under the five stars of the Somali flag. President Rayale says that dream "cannot happen" and offers an analogy from across the Gulf of Aden where the Arabs are divided into many countries despite sharing a religion and language. "The Arabs are Arabs and yet they are more than 20 countries. We can be like Arabs," he says.

This month was supposed to have seen the latest act of would-be statehood with the holding of elections, They have now been delayed until September. The government blames the hold-up on the electoral register; the opposition says it is "running away" from a vote it will lose.

The President is obviously comfortable in the office he insists he will vacate if he loses in the ballot. A weighty globe swings on a golden axis on his desk, while the letters "VIP" are stitched into the burgundy silk curtains.

However, Somaliland has its own "unique" set of checks and balances, as Mohamed Rashid Shaik Hassan, a former BBC journalist-turned-opposition politician, explains. The deputy leader of the OCID party says that serious power remains with a council of elders who operate as a second house. It was their intervention last week that saw a definite date of 27 September set for the poll.

Mr Hassan's deeper concerns echo those of opposition and government alike. With little or no formal economy, joblessness is nearly total and time could be running out on Somaliland's democratic experiment, he says, adding: "The British civil service generation is nearly gone and there is nothing to replace it. If democracy doesn't win recognition, people will look elsewhere." Abdurahman Farar, another opposition leader, is appalled that his "de facto country" is ignored while millions of dollars are poured into the power vacuum in Mogadishu. "The UN still wants to put Humpty Dumpty together again," he says dismissively.

The potential costs of a continued limbo were hammered home in deadly fashion last October when a series of co-ordinated suicide attacks left 28 people dead and rocked the comparative stability of Hargeisa. Said Adani played an unwitting role in thwarting one of the attacks. The presidential press secretary's car was parked near the gate when a truck bomber smashed it open as he tried to ram the office building. The small car stopped the truck just short of its target. Mr Adani was lucky enough to be inside the compound, but Abokar Subub, a police commander, was not as fortunate. He lifts his shirt with a wheeze from a smashed rib to reveal a lattice of shrapnel scars. The blast killed 18 people and the same scars mark its trees, tiles and broken walls. Mr Adani says the attack was a "wake-up call" to anyone who takes security for granted in the last stable corner of Somalia.

Mr Duale, the Foreign Minister, hopes "the international community will call a spade a spade and recognise Somaliland". His country is a "prime piece of real estate" which was once used to police the Gulf of Aden – a job which this year's surge in piracy has shown is more critical than ever. "We are not a bunch of wackos running around," he pleads. "We are people you can work with."

While no one wants to put a time limit on how long Somaliland can hold out in isolation, there are worrying signs everywhere.

A few feet away from the Duke of Gloucester's airport plaque is a meagre kiosk offering a range of sugary biscuits. The bored-looking young man who works the day shift there has a favourite T-shirt – it is emblazoned, in big garish letters with the name of Hassan Nasrullah, the Hizbollah leader in Lebanon.

Somaliland: By numbers

3.5 million Estimated population of Somaliland, of a total 9.1 million in Somalia
1991 Year independence was declared
73 Crime-related deaths in Somaliland last year, compared with 7,574 in the rest of Somalia, according to the Somaliland police


DID PRESIDENT RAYALLE COME TO POWER BY ACCIDENT OR BY DESIGN?

By Mukhtar Mohamed Abby, hadhwanaag 2009-05-05

Having served for so long in late president Egal's shadow, his leadership skills were an unknown quantity beyond his being a good listener who speaks little and whose behaviour in public seems stilted. Since Rayalle, the incumbent president had not been in the political arena prior to his vice- presidency - he had been essentially unpopular figure across the country let alone internationally. He was overshadowed by the late president, and the father of nation, Mohamed H. Ibrahim Egal, who had been in the political arena for more than five decades. President Rayalle was bereft of all oratorical skills and all sorts of political experience; he did not have a political decisiveness and guts to confront with the challenges faced by him during his vice presidency.

Many people who are not conversant with the politics of nascent Republic of Somaliland especially those non Somalilanders are presumably gobsmacked by the fashion in which such least qualified president had come to power as president of Somaliland. President Rayalle took the helm of the country thanks to the death of his predecessor – Mohamed H. Ibrahim Egal, who died on 3 May 2002 while undergoing surgery in South Africa.

When the news of the president Egal's death reached Hargeisa, the leaders of Somaliland's three councils (the two chambers of Parliament and the Council of Ministers) met to decide upon a course of action. Article 130 of the constitution stipulated that in the event of the president's death prior to the adoption of a multiparty electoral system, the Parliament should elect a new President within 45 days. In the meantime, the speaker of the House of Elders should serve as interim Chief Executive. It was an arrangement some believed was intended to preclude the accession of the vice- president, Dahir Rayalle, a Gadabursi, to the Presidency. "President Egal wanted to replace Rayalle and establish a new team for the next government," a politician close to late president Egal explained to the International Crisis Group known as ICG." He – president Egal didn't want to leave the system as it was. In the wake of the referendum he even called some Samaroon elders and asked them who else they might suggest as vice- president.

The leaders managing the transition were less concerned with palace intrigues than with avoiding a political vacuum. Whether it was by accident or design, they set aside Article 139 of the constitution an opted instead to apply Article 89(intended to come into effect only after the first elections), which states that the vice-president shall assume the office of the presidency for the remainder of the term. By sunset on 3 May, Rayalle had been sworn in as interim president until March 2003, and Somaliland had successfully navigated its first constitutional transition.

Thousands of people young and old thronged to the Kheyria square in the capital of Republic of Somaliland – Hargeisa in order to witness to the maiden speech being delivered by the interim president of Somaliland, Dahir Rayalle Kahin. Everybody was extremely interested in Rayalle's speech, because it was his first ever speech as president so this has invited a large scale gathering at the Kheyria square. Luckily, I had been one of those audiences who thronged there to witness to the maiden speech of the interim president. More importantly, it was even difficult for some people to pronounce his name accurately, because this indicates that he was unpopular in the political circle.

President Rayalle seemed calm, cautious optimism in his speech, but was little jittery despite the fact that it was his inaugural speech being made to such gigantic throng that congregated at the Kheyria premises. In his inaugural address, president Rayalle has made several promises the most prominent pledges were: the extension of administration to the eastern regions of Somaliland, judicial reforms and holding Presidential and Municipal polls as intended.

In mid – 2002,president Rayalle declared judicial reforms as one of his top priorities, and ordered a bold shake- up of the justice system. The initiative was unpopular with sitting judges, but was warmly welcomed by a public exasperated by the judiciary's deterioration to state of "an open market where 'justice' is sold to the highest bidder." As part of reform effort, president Rayalle appointed a new Chief Justice, Said Farah Ahmed and established an advisory Committee on the judiciary, which six judges described as unconstitutional and subsequently resigned. Rayalle then booted the four remained members to the Apex bench. Therefore, in April 2003, when the Supreme Court was called upon to hand down judgment on the National Election Commission's decision, there were severe justices on the bench, all of them appointed by Rayalle. Not surprisingly, many Somalilanders concluded (to paraphrase the American columnist Thomas Friedman's assessment of the 2000 American Presidential election) that the justices voted twice for president – once in April and once in May.

By fulfilling some of his promises, president Rayalle visited to Lascanod in December 2002, which ended in a shoot-out between his bodyguards and militia sent by the former leader of Somali semi autonomous region of Puntland, Abdillahi Yusuf to liquidate him, reinforced the Dhulbahante sense of alienation. After the visit, Rayalle imposed a state of emergence on Sool region, only to lift it in time for the local elections.

In the aftermath of his abortive visit to Lascanod, Rayalle gave orders that certain Somaliland officials should be withdrawn to the nearby town of Caynabo, ostensibly in order to thwart provoking a further clash. The resulting vacuum permitted the Puntland leadership to expand its presence in town.

President Rayalle wins the Presidential polls

On 14 April 2003, the people pf Somaliland enjoyed an experience all too rare in the Horn of Africa: an election without a predetermined outcome. The re-election of the incumbent President, Dahir Rayalle Kahin, came as a surprise for a number of reasons: first, because of the razor thin margin of his victory, secondly, because he is not a member of Somaliland's majority clan. Thirdly, because the opposition was tipped to win.

Somaliland's Presidential elections was remarkable for other reasons as well: it was the second election since December 2002, after a democratic hiatus of 32 years, and third time in as many years that Somalilanders have been given the opportunity to express their preference at the ballot box. These first bold steps towards democratization set Somaliland apart from the rest of Somalia Republic, which has become virtually synonymous with the term "failed state" since the collapse of Siyad Barre's despotic regime in 1991. At a time when the Horn of Africa has been described as home to some of the "world's worst regimes."

Long before polling day, it was clear that outcome of the Presidential election would be a close call. But when on the afternoon of 19 April, the National Election commission finally declared the preliminary results; the margin of victory was uncomfortably thin: UDUB had won by only 80 votes.

Prior to the elections, party leaders on all sides had committed themselves to abide by the electoral outcome. But the NEC's wobbly calculations which involved errors, omissions and the disqualification of over a dozen ballot boxes invited controversy. Both Kulmiye and UDUB cried foul and began to prepare complaints for submission at the Apex court, which was scheduled to announce the definitive result on 8 May.

Kulmiye's initial challenge which it presented at a Hargeisa press conference on 23 April was deceptively simple: NEC had simply botched its math and erroneously dropped 156 Kulmiye's votes. Using the NEC's own figures, Kulmiye reckoned it had actually won the election by 76 votes. But the commission stuck by its figures, and argued that, even if mistakes had been made, only the Apex court could now revise the preliminary election results. Its final report on the process asserts:

The preliminary results were just that… preliminary results. The final authority of declaring the winner of the election is the Supreme Court. The framers of the electoral law, the Parliament, recognized this system which provides the parties with a legal forum to present their grievances in the event they decide to contest the preliminary results. Procedurally speaking, the commission's position was solid, but its refusal to review its won figures in light of Kulmiye's allegations drew angry charges that the commissioners had just "passed the buck" and awakened suspicion of their motives.

Apex Court Verdict

The responsibility for passing final judgment on the election fell to the highest organ of Somaliland's judiciary: the Supreme Court. Both Kulmiye and UDUB presented their grievances in writing to the Apex court, which then sought clarification from the NEC. On the basis of this information, the Court then conducted open hearings the representative of political parties and the NEC lawyers.

In arriving at a judgment, the Court essentially faced two options: either to uphold the figures announced by the NEC on 19 April, or to order a recount. A third option, to assess whether specific ballot boxes had been justly or unjustly disqualified, would have been fairer to Somaliland's voters by ensuring that no vote was unnecessarily wasted, but it also threatened to open a Pandora's box of claims and counterclaims, probably requiring a delay of weeks, of not months, before a final decision could be reached. The Court, however, identified an unexpected fourth option: to present, without elucidation, a different set of figures: UDUB had won the election not only by 80 votes, but by 217. Since the Court offered no explanation for the change, its 11 May verdict raised more questions than it answered and opened the Court to accusation of political bias. Indeed, Somaliland's judiciary has spent most of the past decade mired in incompetence, corruption and political interference. A recent report by a local research Organisation found the judiciary to be "the most neglected and under-funded of the three orders of the government," and described its application of the law as "ad hoc, non-uniform, and highly subjective."

Kulmiye was not alone in questioning UDUB's electoral victory, "Everyone, including the cabinet, thought Kulmiye had won." An NEC member told ICG."They had a strong campaign, better propaganda, and they were gaining momentum." Even UDUB's leaders anticipated defeat:" They were furious… they felt they had been robbed of victory," stated a Parliamentarian who visited the Presidency the night before the NEC's decision. "I first heard that Kulmiye had won," Rayalle told ICG,"and I was preparing to step down."

However, the blame fell upon Kulmiye whose leadership steadfastly refused to accept defeat." The problem is that this is a system that only knows one way to work; it's not ready for pluralism," one party activist told ICG, justifying the party's position. "This was a government that chose its own Parliament, named the Supreme Court and the Election Commission, then became a political party and arranged its own re-election. It was the judge, jury and executioner. Where is the democracy in that?" Kulmiye's chairman, Silanyo, however, seemed anxious to downplay fears that the party's truculence night turn to violence:

I am a reasonable man and a man of peace. If I were alone and it was my decision alone, I could afford to say "fine, that is the way it happened and let's move on." But I am not alone … some of my supporters say "why don't you just form a (parallel) government?" But I won't go down that road, because no one can guarantee that we won't end up like Mogadishu.

On 16 May 2003, Rayalle was sworn in as Somaliland's president in a low- key ceremony at State House from which opposition leaders were absent. UCID, satisfied with its unexpectedly robust third place finish, quickly announce its acceptance of the results. But when Kulmiye rejected the outcome and declared the court's decision illegitimate, Somalilanders at home and abroad held breath, fearful the worst. About a month later Kulmiye accepted the defeat and congratulated the newly elect president, Dahir Rayalle Kahin.

CONCLUSION

Being a Gadabursi has worked both for and against Rayalle. Many Somalilanders are proud of that their political system has produced a leader from a minority clan- something that no other part of Somalia, nor even Djibouti, has managed to do. Others believe that Rayalle offers better prospects for Somaliland's peace and stability than an Isaaq president since the destructive intra-Isaaq power struggles of the 1990s can be set aside. But a significant number of Majority clan (Isaaq) resent seeing a Gadabursi lead the country, among the Harti of eastern of Somaliland, the notion of a minority President is also unpopular. Some simply feel that a Gadabursi president lacks the political clout to lead." Rayalle cannot run this country," a Kulmiye's party activist told ICG." He is from a minority clan and cannot take tough decisions.

However, whether president Rayalle came to power by accident or by design his days are numbered, and now he has lost the confidence of the masses of Somaliland - be it in and outside of the country. The vast majority of people of Somaliland are giving their eyeteeth for a regime change which is the need of the hour and at this juncture, people see to it that change is inevitable. People should know that the ballot box is more powerful than the bullet therefore; they should change the current unpopular government that failed on every front by exercising their franchise at the ballot box.


Somalia: Somaliland Police arrests eminent Lyricist

Mogadishu, 05 May 2009,http://www.somaliweyn.org/pages/news/May_09/5May21.html

The police in the breakaway state of Somaliland in northern Somalia have arrested a famous Somalia lyricist Jim Sheikh Mumin after deliberately shooting a man of Somaliland background.

Another well-known composer known as Trabi was also arrested along with the famous lyricist.

“The lyricist Jim shot dead the man after a prolong squabble between him and the deceased culprit Jim has used a registered pistol owned by the composer who was by then sited beside him and immediately after the incident the police have arrived at the scene and ordered Jim to putdown the pistol and surrender himself to law, Mr. Jim has abide by the instructions given by the police and was taken to Hargeysa central jail, and he is health wise doing fine” said Somaliweyn correspondent in Hargeysa.

Some other reports say that Jim had mental problem since the collapse of the last effective government in Somalia.

Jim was leading from top in the Somali lyrics and after the collapse of the regime of Mohammed Siyad Bare he was among the few Somali musicians who have remained in the capital Mogadishu.


Somalia: Somaliland Police Detain Famous Composer

Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu), 5 May 2009 - Somalia — Somaliland police detained a famous Somali composer Jim Sheik Mumin and another composer after Jimmi has shot and killed a young boy in Hargeise, the de facto capital city of the breakaway republic of Somaliland.

Safi Du'ale Ali, a well-known Somali singer in Hargeisa told Shabelle radio that the arrest of Jim Sheik Mumin and his colleague Aden came after he took a pistol from him and killed the young boy.

Other Somali composers in Mogadishu said that Jim was mentally ill recently.


International Community and the Contact Group for Somalia should not let Somaliland be a hostage

http://www.qarannews.com/May 03, 2009

International Community and the Contact Group for Somalia should not let Somaliland be a hostage for Somalia which lacks a functioning government for the past 18 years, says UNPO:s General Secretary Mr Marino Busdachin.

Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) organized in cooperation with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe a conference about peace, security& and the role of De facto States at the European parliament in Brussels April 30, 2009.The conferences gathered Members of European parliament (MEP), International experts and members of Italian Senate. Mr Mohamoud A Daar, Somaliland representative in Brussels, Belgium and Eidarus Sh Adan, Somaliland Representative Sweden participated also at the conference.

Mr Mohamoud A Daar made a presentation about Somaliland history and the development of Somaliland since 1991. Mr Daar spoked also about what Somaliland can offer to the international community when it come peace, security and stability in the region. Mr Daar ended his speech by saying that Somaliland which is now in limbo and in a state of confinement, can offer more once it is accorded diplomatic recognition. Eidarus Sh Adan made a presentation about “Somaliland A Democratic Model under threat”. Mr Adan told the audience that there is no way back for the democratization process in Somaliland. Somaliland people have chosen their way and they will not go back to anarchy and civil war despite the attacks from terror organizations. Mr Adan concluded his speech by saying “Despite the differences in policy, The political parties are united in their strive for a sovereign state of Somaliland”. Mr Marco Perduca from the Radical Party Italy and Senator, Italian Senate told the audience about the success Somaliland made when it comes peace, stability and Democracy. The Senator told the audience that Somaliland can contribute a lot in the region when it comes peace, democracy and fight against piracy. The Senator is planning to visit Somaliland during the forthcoming Presidential election in September 27, 2009.

Mr Member European Parliament (MEP) Marco Cappato emphasized in his speech Somaliland as a model for Democracy in the Horn of Africa. The General Secretary for UNPO Mr Marino Busdachin told the audience that it is unbelievable that the International Community and the Contact Group for Somalia let Somaliland be a hostage for Somalia which lacks a functioning government for the past 18 years. Somaliland can contribute a lot when it comes peace, stability and fight against piracy says Mr Marino Busdachin. The other issue the Conference discussed was prospects for peace in the Caucasus.


Somalia: Somaliland opposition demands changes to election commission

HARGEISA, Somalia May 3 2009(Garowe Online) - Two opposition parties in Somalia's separatist region of Somaliland have demanded that the government make changes to the election commission, Radio Garowe reports.

A press conference was held Sunday by Kulmiye party officials in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland.

Mr. Abdirahman Abdulkadir, the second deputy chairman of Kulmiye, told reporters that Kulmiye and UCID opposition parties agreed that the election commission members no longer enjoy the confidence of the opposition.

"The two opposition parties, Kulmiye and UCID, have proposed that all members of the election commission be changed, except the newly appointed member," Mr. Abdulkadir said.

He noted that the opposition was "hopeful" that Somaliland President Dahir Riyale and the ruling UDUB party will agree with the opposition's proposal.

Mr. Abdulkadir thanked the people of Somaliland for holding peaceful rallies across the region to express their opposition to President Riyale's term extension, which the opposition called illegal but was endorsed by the upper house of parliament (House of Guurti). The political crisis in Somaliland has subsided since the Apr. 29 vote by the political mediation committee, which voted in support of President Riyale's term extension.


Somalia: Burao elders reject two police commanders

BURAO, Somalia May 2 2009(Garowe Online) - Community elders and religious leaders in a key town in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland have rejected the government's appointment of two police commanders, Radio Garowe reports.

A meeting was held Saturday in Burao, capital of Togdheer region under Somaliland authority.

The gathering was attended by community elders, religious leaders and government officials including lawmakers and Togdheer Governor Jama Abdullahi Bin.

The meeting's congregants expressed to government officials opposition to a recent decision to appoint two police commanders for Burao, a city divided along clan lines since the 1990s.

Community leaders and lawmakers from Burao informed Governor Bin that the city cannot have two police commanders, which some described as a "divisive move."

But Governor Bin defended the appointment of two police commanders, saying that it is a "good development" for Burao. He suggested that the police commanders' mandate and control of different neighborhoods be set appropriately.

The Burao community urged Governor Bin to deliver their message of opposition to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Somaliland police command, which he accepted.

Somaliland opposition leader Ahmed Silanyo is from Burao. He is the closest challenger to President Dahir Riyale at the upcoming presidential election in September.

Somaliland is located in northwestern Somalia and unilaterally declared independence from Somalia in 1991. The breakaway region has not been accepted internationally.


“Somaliland Elections Postponement Undeniably Extends the Agony which Most Somaliland People Wanted Through The Power of the Ballot”

May 2, 2009, Opinion, By: Saeed Furaa, http://somalilandpress.com

Dear Fellow countrymen, I know you have been through alot since the start of this year, with postponement of our national elections, the world economic melt down among others, but allow me to congratulate the Somaliland Mediation team for your effortless work in creating sustainable understanding between the current government and the political parties, (UDUB, Kulmiye & Ucid). The mediation process and resolving diffcult issues in a peaceful manner is what made Somaliland to shine out of the horn of African conflict areas such as war torn Somalia.

Comrades, even though this remarkable achievement by the mediation team has been congratulated by many Somalilanders inside Somaliland as well in the Diaspora, but the agony of the election dates postpontment extends deeper in many Somalilander’s hearts (including myself) who like to see socio-polical and economic change taking place in Somaliland.

We have recently witnessed the US victorious elections and the more recently, the South African election, which went smoothly primarily because the election campaigns centered on change, change for the people and governmental institutions. In Somaliland we need the same change in our lives as citizens and in our governmental institutions. Democracy in simplest terms means the people’s power and will to elect their own government and their own leaders. We have the power as the Somaliland people to do that as we have wished that in recent time we were to do that, but sadly we didn’t.

Somaliland Upper House (Guurti) decided on 29 March 2009 that the election date has changed to 27th Sept 2009 for reasons unclear to the people of Somaliland. The core of the explanation was for security issues and lack of financial arrangements, lack of clear acceptance from Kulmiye Party on the previously changed date (31 May) among other things, in order to carry successful elections, however, it should be noted that when the first election date was announced the public justifiably assumed that all the necessary arrangements has been in place. The reasons which they advanced were issues which a responsible government and visionary leadership should take care of from the notification stage about the elections.

The Guurti has previously pronounced unprecedented decision which in their very restored the hopes and of the Somaliland people and this decision to change the election dates has arguably tarnished the image and the record they have set previously. It is common cause that the people of Somaliland wanted change and this elections held the new promise of a new Somaliland and the change undeniably extent the agony which most Somaliland people wanted through the power of the ballot. It goes without saying yet we say it that elections renew a national order and heighten the hopes of the public in their government.

We cannot dismiss the argument that corruption in government has reached unacceptable levels and we have a duty as people before God and one another with full view of our civic responsibilities, to change that state of affairs through the ballot.

Having mentioned the above information it is also noteworthy to mention that in most countries where there are upper houses most of them have received higher education or some other form of training in order to help them execute the duties and responsibilities that comes with the nature of the office they are occupying. The technology enhancement of the 21 century, has made for busy and engaged people like the Guurti of Somaliland to further their education while serving their nation. Democracy is a heavy duty and trained individuals, it is my view, understand the call that comes with this occupation and better able to execute the functions thereof. In simple terms the Guurti committed an a grave mistake in extending the period for elections because they extended without merit the occupancy of the current incumbent and that has problems of its own.

We must however appreciate the role the Upper House played in establishing the peaceful Somaliland as it is known currently in the world. It is through their ceaseless efforts that we have made unmatched strides in realizing ourselves as a nation in transition, transition from despair to hope, from war to peace, from destruction to building and reconstruction. It is my view that the duties before us as children of the soil will require the Guurti to take advantage of the resources we have and other educational institution in the country to execute democratic duties.

A note from zealot Somaliland citizen. Saeed Furaa


Somaliland Individuals Perform Exotic Belly Dances

Hargeisa, 2 May 2009 (Somalilandpress) - Freedom of choice, expression, and association with others remain the core units of human rights. But when those who demand that freedom abuse and misuse it, then we have the perfect storm. With that in mind, Somaliland persons in the current Somali regime: do they exercise their freedom or perform spectacular belly dances?

Let me assure you one thing: the handful Somaliland individuals have their God-given rights to join Somalia, advocate for Somali unity, and express their opposition to Somaliland independence. And majority of Somalilanders don’t really care whether these folks join Somalia or China for that matter. Then what is the big fuss?

Which country they join is not the problem, however; their repeated attempt to obfuscate the reality on the ground is like an obnoxious hemorrhoid. The problem stems from when they claim to represent Somaliland—a country that they departed decades ago. Also, the problem is amplified when some of them stutter with ludicrous remarks to impress their Somali president wannabes—and the timing is always off.

Surely, some Somaliland individuals join Somali regimes not because of Somali nationalism but because of personal greed—an opportunity just lurks around the corner and they grab it. Others, however, join Mogadishu because of their un-yielding support for Somali unity.

Now, whether their bond with Mogadishu is to earn their daily bread or for genuine Somali nationalism reasons, their loyalty remains ambivalent. Many of them held government posts in Somaliland at one point. Years later they abandoned Somaliland for Somali regimes—prone to fail. But when bruised, battered and terrorized in Somalia, they fled to their save heaven—Somaliland. However, they still keep fillip flopping between the two capitals, Mogadishu and Hargeisa. Apparently with millions of dollars of donated money at its disposal, Mogadishu pays the fatter paycheck. And their allegiance changes as many times as there are months in a year.

But to gauge their loyalty, recently, I ran into a friend of mine at a coffee shop. Beside him sat a man named Ahmed, a former politician of the notorious Col. Abdullahi Yussf’s doomed junta regime. After a quick introduction and shots of espresso kicked in of course, a debate about Somali politics erupted between three of us.

When comfort replaced tension, I asked Ahmed two questions that crept into my mind for years: what are the views of Somali leaders towards Somaliland individuals in the Somali regimes? Concisely, are you really convinced the two dozen or so Somaliland individuals in the Somali regime represent Somaliland? With a tiny grin on his face, first Ahmed warned me not to quote him, hence; his last name isn’t mentioned in this paper. Then he employed the classic strategy of answering a question with a question. So he asked, “How could Somaliland individuals represent a country they left 10 to 15 years ago, especially when Somaliland has its elected leaders?” “Entertaining ourselves is something; facts on the ground are something else…donated paychecks attract lots of Somaliland representative wannabes” he added.

Cringed in shock, I challenged his remarks. Paychecks! How could you say they are in Mogadishu not for Somalia but for $omalia? I asked. Of course they have more faith in Somalia than in U.S. greenbacks; I asserted forcefully. “How could they claim to represent Somaliland when they are not sent, elected or nominated by their people? Like all the Somalis in Mogadishu government, I was there because my people sent me to represent them. Who sent the Somalilnaders? Tell me? You don’t just appear out of nowhere and say I speak for Somaliland” he responded with conviction.

Whether Ahmed was bitter because of the collapse of his regime or he was sharing the forbidden truth—the deep feelings of Somali leaders towards Somaliland individuals—is debatable. But while some Somaliland persons chauvinistically support Mogadishu, others perform spectacular belly dances to keep the follow of their paychecks or to climb up the ladder. Somalia may go through as many presidents as there are warlords in the country, but the Somaliland group rarely introduces a new move in their exotic rehearsals. Rather, they repeat the same old stale lies and pretend to represent Somaliland.

A case in point: the former Somali Foreign Minister Ismail Mohammed Hurre who hails from Somaliland took the stage to belly dances for his boss Col. Abudullahi Yussuf. During Col. Yussuf’s barbaric regime, Mr. Hurre stated, “Once peace is consolidated in Southern Somalia and the reconstruction process begins, Somaliland people will move in their thousands to Mogadishu and Hargeisa will become a ghost town.” http://www.somalilandtimes.net/sl/2006/267/12.shtml

To the contrary, while Col. Yussuf lives in exile—he fled to Yemen—and Mr. Hurre hopes to recant his remarks one day, Haregeisa flourishes—far from a ghost city.

History repeats itself with odd twists. Despite chaos dancing in every corner of Somalia, the new Somali Foreign Minster, Mr. Mohammed Abdullah Omar—an inept opportunist who also hails from Somaliland—picks the torch from where his predecessors abandoned it. He echoes a familiar but overused imaginary authority over Somaliland. He states, “Somaliland is ready to half a talk with Somalia.”

Shouldn’t the preceding statement come from Somaliland government, and not from a Somali foreign minster whose parliament desperately searches a safe house to hold meetings much less exert authority over Somalia? http://tinyurl.com/db6vhp

Unambiguously, Somaliland foreign Minister, Mr. Abdullah Mohammed Duale whispers into Mr. Omar’s ear: securing Somali foreign minster’s post may be a personal gain but doesn’t necessarily bolster your fabricated stories much less project you from a local Hargeisa boy to a pundit in the geopolitics of the region—so get off your high horse. http://tinyurl.com/cxdsc6

Oddly enough, while the families of the Somaliland group in Mogadishu enjoy freedom and security in Somaliland, these self-nominated representatives advocate for Somalia regimes bent to undercut Somaliland’s existence. So in reality these individuals are just digging their own graves, yet they remain oblivious of their surroundings.

In short, the truth is: no one can prove who is in Mogadishu for Somali nationalism and who is in for opportunities. However, logic dictates that their Somali nationalism rhetoric—or their exotic belly dances—may be deceptive lies for the same reasons that their claim to speak for Somaliland remains barefaced lies.

Join whoever you want, but never claim to represent Somaliland. Just as you wish Somalilanders to value your desire to unite with Somalia, so they too need you to respect their wishes to stand as a sovereign nation. What is good for a handful of Somaliland individuals in Mogadishu is also good for three million Somalilanders—and that is the freedom to decide your destiny.

Dalmar Kaahin. dalmar_k@yahoo.com


The Exceptional Emergency Powers Of The Council of Elders In Somaliland

http://www.somalilandglobe.com/30 April 2009

The Exceptional Emergency Powers Of The Council of Elders To Extend The Tenure Of The President Create Disincentives To Plan And Hold The Elections In a Timely Manner

Somaliland: Proposals for electoral reform

Dr. Mohamud A. Jama

The Somaliland Election commission postponed the presidential elections scheduled for March 29 2009 to May 31. The Somaliland’s Council of Elders extended the delay to October 2009. The Council of Elders had similarly postponed the election for six months in 2008 and for a year in the 2002 presidential elections.

The Government and the Election Commission had five years to plan the election. The Council of Elders did not act to pre-empt the delays in the holding of the elections. The repeated postponements of the presidential elections demonstrate the absence of a legal mechanism to enforce and ensure timely holding of the election. Indeed, the exceptional emergency powers of the Council of Elders to extend the tenure of the President create disincentives to plan and hold the elections in a timely manner.

A. Is the voter registration system necessary to holding fair and free elections?

The Election Commission has introduced a high-tech biometric based voter registration and identification system with financial support of the donor countries and technical support of Interpeace, a Geneva based international nongovernmental organization, and consulting subcontractors of Interpeace in India, who manage the voter registration server.

Somaliland does not have a system of vital registration to verify citizenship, identity and age of potential voters. The local partisans of the political parties in their campaign to register their supporters presented the voter registration as a census of the district and regional voters, which will determine allocation of parliamentary seats in future elections, thereby encouraging under age and multiple registrations of voters.

The preliminary counts of registered voters were more than two times the total number of the last presidential elections. Almost half of the registered voters do not have corresponding biometric data. The feasibility of detecting and weeding out under age voters and multiple registrations is highly questionable. Challenges of these voters during the Election Day will be difficult to resolve and is likely to cause delays and disruptions or even violence. Registration in most parts of the eastern seven districts did not take place. The under-registration of the voters in these districts would compound other irregularities in the registration of voters and distort the election outcome.

B. What has been Somaliland’s experience with elections?

Somaliland held presidential, parliamentary and local government elections. All of these elections were held without voter registration system. In the 2003 presidential elections, disputes were based on improper documentation of the results of the election in some polling stations and irregularities in the recording of the disputed ballots after their review and resolution by the representative of the parties and election officials. Because of the closeness of the votes, the outcome of the entire election in the final analysis was decided as a result of the Commissions decisions on contested ballots and the exclusion of the ballots of small number of polling stations. Yet, the election results were accepted by the principal opposition party.

C. What can be done to ensure fair and free presidential election?

Somaliland’s transition from clan-based election of officials to multi-party election of officials contributed to its peace and stability. The international community has consistently acknowledged Somaliland’s peaceful political process. Serious disputes in the current election cycle could undermine its stability and international reputation. Both the voters and the candidates and their parties should subordinate wining the election to fixing the process to ensure the fairness and legitimacy of the elections.

The following recommendations are proposed for consideration of the legislatures, parties and government of Somaliland.

Recommendation 1: Reassess the voter registration system

1. The commission and its donors and technical partners should undertake assessments of the risks of the system and provide assurance of its operability and functionality.

2. The Council of Elders must take the lead in consultation to ensure the fairness and the security of election process. The Council should consider to form an oversight consultative committee under its chairmanship and consisting representatives of the three parties and the Election Commission.

3. With such assurance, the commission should review its proposed schedule and all of the parties should accept to have the election conducted as recommended by the election Commission.

4. The registration system should be suspended if its functionality and operability can not be reasonably assured and the election conducted in accordance to the rules and procedures of the last presidential elections. The Commission should review its decision to schedule the elections for May 31 and consult with the political parties to reaffirm or schedule a new election date

Recommendation 2: Reset the voter registration process as vital registration system.

1. The registration system should be reviewed and its procedures reformulated and re-started as a system of vital registration. The system should then be managed as a national vital registration system that record births, death and establish procedures for verifying and issuing identification documents.

2. The future voter registration system should be based on documentation generated through the national vital registration system.

Recommendation 3: Reform the electoral system

1. The election laws and regulations should be amended to stipulate that :

1. Political parties can be formed six months before scheduled local government elections.

2. The two parties with the highest votes in local government elections will field candidates for the presidential election.

3. Any party that gains 20% or more of the vote in one of the six original regions during the local government elections can field candidates in the Parliamentary elections. Parties that gain 10% of the total vote in the parliamentary election will qualify for seats.

4. A party that does not win seats in the local government elections will be disbanded

8. The dates and bench marks for presidential, parliamentary and local government elections should be established by law.


Political stakes high in Somaliland as presidential elections put off yet again

April 30. 2009.http://www.nation.co.ke/News/africa/-/1066/592740/-/view/printVersion/-/2c9n70/-/index.html

In Summary

The government says it cannot hold the elections until it has a complete voters’ register, but opposition parties accuse it of incompetence. NATION CORRESPONDENT in Mogadishu ABDULKADIR KHALIF reports

Despite meetings between the mediation committee set up by the government and opposition parties in the Republic of Somaliland to look into issues that might threaten the country’s security, the breakaway region’s stability remains rather fragile.

On April 6, hundreds of protestors from the opposition Kulmiye party gathered at their headquarters in the capital, Hargeisa, ostensibly to mark Somali National Movement day, which honours the rebel group that fought the former Somali government in the northern regions of Somalia in the 1980s. But the meeting, called by the party’s leader, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud aka Silanyo, turned out to be a protest against the six-month extension of the term President Dahir Rayale Kahin and his deputy, Ahmed Yusuf Yassin.

Silanyo, a masterful politician, did not hide his bitterness feeling when the presidential election was postponed to October by the Upper House of Parliament (Guurti) on March 28.

“Guurti does not have the constitutional right to grant an extension,” said a statement by Kulmiye party the same day.

“Only the Somaliland Election Commission has such rights, with the consent of the three official political parties,” it added.

During the demonstration, protesters chanting resistance slogans rallied around Silanyo and moved to a main road leading to his residence.

According to some government officials, the police intervened and fired into the air to prevent the Kulmiye party supporters from taking to the streets and instigating civil disobedience under the guise of celebrating the 28th anniversary of the SNM. A woman was injured during the incident as confusion reigned in a city that has seen no serious use of firearms for a decade and a half.

Protecting Somaliland

Most people in Somaliland admire the SNM, which has a political and military wing, for the role it played in “protecting” Somaliland from annexation by Somalia.

Historically, the former British Somaliland and the Italian colony of Somalia both gained independence in 1960 and formed the Republic of Somalia on July 1 the same year.

Those who formed the SNM in London on April 6, 1981, intended to keep Somaliland away from the rest of Somalia.

However, the movement operated just like other rebel groups that were opposed to General Mohamed Siad Barre’s dictatorial regime.

Then, on May 18, 1991, Somaliland declared independence from Somalia after the SNM defeated Barre’s troops in the northern parts of the country in January that year, forcing him to flee Mogadishu.

Following the confrontations with police on April 6, the Kulmiye party leader hastily called a press press conference at his house, during which he termed the police’s intervention an act of provocation. “We have the right to celebrate SNM Day and also to express our feelings by peaceful means,” he asserted.

But as the Kulmiye members were being watched by the police, those from the ruling UDUB, and the other opposition party, the UCID, were celebrating SNM Day at Ambassador Hotel in Hargeisa.

While Silanyo, who is believed to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, argues that there is no excuse for postponing the elections for the third time, the ruling UDUB says that elections cannot be held until the Somaliland Election Commission has a complete voter register, which is crucial for elections, especially the presidential election.

UCID chairman and presidential candidate, Faysal Ali Warabe, has also expressed concern about the extension of Kahin’s presidential term. However, he has taken a less confrontational stance.

“We are saying that Kahin’s term ceases on of April 6,” said Warabe. “The political parties and the houses of parliament should decide on an interim administration until elections are held.”

Warabe warned against staging protests, saying that the people of Somaliland were not prepared to handle grievances through demonstrations, and neither were law enforcers equipped to tackle such actions.

“We cannot afford to waste what we achieved over decades through concerted efforts,” said Warabe, who went on to hint that Kahin should simply surrender power.

But it is exactly this approach that President Kahin and his lieutenants have been resisting. On March 2, when the Election Commission gave the current administration until May 31, the presidential spokesman, Said Adani Moghe, rejected the opposition’s demand for an interim leadership. “An incumbent president can only be replaced by an elected leader,” said Moghe in a statement from the presidential palace in Hargeisa.

But the Kulmiye leader believes that President Kahin and his cronies use state facilities to suppress the opposition as well as the few independent media.

“The independent media have been under attack, freedom of association undermined and no progress made in the provision of civil liberties in Somaliland under Kahin,” said Silanyo.

The situation is made worse by the view people have of President Kahin because of his background. Many people consider him a remnant of Barre’s regime, in which he served as senior security officer in the National Security Service (NSS).

But some people also question the credentials of the Kulmiyeleader. Silanyo served as a senior minister under Siad Barre in the 1970s. “Although he later joined and became leader of the SNM, he is widely seen as having abandoned Siad Barre’s government and fleeing to exile in the UK in the early 1980s after failing to maintain the dictator’s friendship,” said a political insider in Hargeisa.

Political temperatures in the country went a notch higher when the Somaliland Election Commission extended President Kahin’s tenure for the second time on March 2. The elections, which were due to be held March 29, were postponed to May 31. The commission’s chairman, Jama Mohamed Omar, alias Jama Sweden, said the move had been necessitated by the lack of an officially verified voters’ register.

“This extension to May 31 will coincide with the last day of the last extension the Guurti offered the current administration,” a statement from the commission said. At the time, the move was supported by the UCID.

The Upper House voted in May last year for a year’s extension when, for the first time it became clear that incomplete voter registration would not allow for fair elections. All three parties endorsed the Upper House’s decision, and started looking forward to Mary 29 as the date for the presidential election.

But few are willing to accept the latest postponement. Kulmiye’s national secretary, Kayse Hassan Ege, issued a statement attributing the problem to government incompetence.

Ege further claimed that donors were withholding funds due to lack of both progress and accountability by the government, especially with regard to its contribution to the election funds.

“Despite all the complications, we respect the Election Commission’s role to fix the timing of the election,” said the statement. Ege, however, warned the commission that it does not have unlimited powers.

“Any time beyond April 6 the national power structure will change automatically,” warned the statement. “The current administration will cease to have ruling powers and it is up to the two houses of the parliament to establish a caretaker administration until an election is held,” it added.

“In 2008, we accepted the extension of the current government for a year, despite irregularities,” the party revealed. “Another extension is a proof of the government’s unwillingness to hold elections.” Matters have been further complicated by the Election Commission’s decision to endorse the latest Guurti extension and to set the new date for the presidential election as September 2009.

Reacting to the commission’s action, Warabe said he doubted its neutrality. “The Commission must consult all national political stakeholders while addressing the issue,” he pointed out. Given the delicate situation, many people support the UCID party’s conciliatory approach.

Some people have pointed out that, though vocal, Warabe has been placing emphasis on citizenship, as opposed to tribal politics.

Some politicians accused President Kahin of seeking to reunite Somaliland with the rest of Somalia. But underneath the veneer of calm, many people know that burning and explosive issues need tackling. The tug-of-war between separatists and the unionists is a case in point.

While the vast majority of the people in the enclave are in favour of Somaliland being independent from the rest of Somalia, a significant section of the population, especially those from the eastern regions of Sool and Sanaag, appear unwilling to accept separation from Somalia.

Although the radical Islamists in Somaliland might not be as active as they are in other parts of Somalia, it is common knowledge that they are a dormant force, with great potential for causing havoc, as the three suicide attacks in Hargeisa on October 29 last year showed.

One radio commentator in Mogadishu summed the situation up thus: “The news that even diaspora Somalilanders are leaving their safe haven in Minnesota, US, to strap explosives to themselves, pulverise buildings in Hargeisa and dismember human beings is just a bad dream politicians in Somaliland need to awake from.”

Africa Insight is an initiative of the Nation Media Group’s Africa Media Network Project.


Somaliland mediation committee rules in favour of the president

by afrol News, 30 April 2009 - Somaliland mediation committee has defended the six-month term extension of President Dahir Riyale by the Upper House in the Somaliland Parliament to end the term in October saying it was valid.

The seven-member Political Mediation Committee charged with reaching a national consensus to resolve the current political crisis in the country, said the elections should take place on 27 September 2009, stating that the campaign should be done before the month of Ramadan as respect to the holly month.

The committee further urged the electoral commission to set a time-frame, ruling that the voter-registration database must be complete by 27 July 2009, to give enough time to organise a fair and free election.

Earlier this month, opposition parties had marched in the capital, Hargeisa, accusing the government breaking the constitutional provisions by postponing elections, saying they would not bow to any unconstitutional rule.

The opposition further contested the second term extension by the Upper House.

The committee further called on the public media to be neutral to the parties and the opposition should get a fair time for use of the media. “The public properties like vehicles, finance, etc should not be used for one party’s purpose only," said the committee, also suggesting that a strong panel of experts should be created to manage the process.

In further called on parties to exercise their constitutional rights to have meetings, gatherings, demonstrations and any other activities that does not come against the law, calling on the government to release all the prisoners arrested during marches.

The committee also said the code of conduct should be prepared ahead of the elections and before the campaign starts, to give both the ruling party and opposition an equal playing field during the elections.

The political crisis in Somaliland erupted in May 2008 after President Riyale received a one-year term extension following a vote by the House of Guurti. Last month, the House of Guurti voted again to give President Riyale and Vice President Ahmed Yusuf Yasin a term extension for the second time.


SOMALIA: Safer water in Somaliland

Fetching water from a tanker: People's access to safe water in Somaliland has improved due to the availability of water purification tablets and digging of shallow wells in rural areas - file photo

HARGEISA, 30 April 2009 (IRIN) - The availability of water purification tablets, digging of shallow wells in rural areas as well as privatisation of water services have resulted in more people in Somalia's self-declared republic of Somaliland gaining access to clean water and proper sanitation, officials said.

At least 45-50 percent of the Somaliland population now has access to safe water, compared with 35 percent in 2000, according to Ali Sheikh Omar Qabil, director of environmental health in the Ministry of Health and Labour.

"Most of the urban centres such as Hargeisa [the capital], Borama, Berbera, and Gabiley have central water supply systems and chlorine is routinely mixed into the water provided," Qabil said.

Sheikh Ali Jawhar, director of the water department in the Ministry of Minerals and Water, said: "The installation of chlorination equipment units in water supply dams in the main urban centres and at shallow wells in remote areas is one of the factors that has increased water sanitation in the country."

However, Jawhar said the region had yet to meet international standards in terms of quantity, with the average safe water availability being 14l per person per day in the capital and 8l in rural areas. The international standard is 20l/person/day.

Water purification tablets are widely available across the region, supplied and sold by the NGO Population Services International (PSI).

Privatisation

In Borama region, the privatisation of the town's water agency, Shirkadda Adeega Bulshada Awdal, has been one the reason for improved access to water and sanitation.

"We have made major improvements in both water access and supply for the town," Abdirahman Mohamoud Muse, a board member, said. "We supply water to about 80,000-100,000 of the city inhabitants."

Muse said: "We have an agreement with the Somaliland authorities on profit sharing; for example, we get 20 percent of the benefit of the total investment while 3 percent is paid to the local government in taxes and we give some to the Ministry of Minerals and Water."

The privatisation followed a severe water shortage in the area. The project was funded by USAID through the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Before then, only 500 cubic metres was pumped for use in Borama region but the firm now pumps 1,700 cubic metres per day, Muse said.

Reaching more people

He said the number of houses that had installed water supply pipes had significantly increased since 2003.

A woman carries water: Officials say at least 45-50 percent of the Somaliland population now has access to safe water, compared with 35 percent in 2000

"Only 250 households had installed the water pipes [in 2003] but now we have installed pipes in about 5,000 households and more than 2,000 households share [the water pipes] with their neighbours while the others get water from kiosk centres, which we consider to be clean water," Muse said. "Fewer than 1.2 percent of Borama residents do not receive the agency's water supply."

However, Muse expressed concern over the depletion of water sources in parts of the region, "especially in the main urban centres of Somaliland, Hargeisa and Borama".

He said this had forced the water ministry to conduct surveys to identify new water sources. Consequently, Muse added, the Borama water agency had dug a new well in Amoud, Borama region.

"The depletion [of the water sources] followed a dramatic increase in the urban population and the construction of modern buildings," Jawhar said.

"For example, when China installed a water system in Hargeisa and Borama, the density of the population and buildings was much smaller than what we have today; Hargeisa then had only 150,000 individuals but now its population is about 800,000 yet nothing has changed in its water supply system."

Despite the progress made in water provision and sanitation, Somaliland authorities remain concerned over services in parts of the republic, such as Burou, the second-largest city, which, Qabil said, lacked adequate water chlorination.

"This is why we consider Burou the most risky place in the country as it lacks a link to the central dam where water chlorination is done," Qabil said. "In fact, diarrhoea has broken out in recent years in the city several times, which we attribute to the lack of chlorination of the town water supply."


Somaliland: Political turbulence due to a constitutional imperfection

by SomaliLand Future on 04/29, Sharmarke Ali

Deep down I believe that Somaliland will come to a sense to defy once again the cynics and deter the vultures awaiting its demise to emerge out of this political deadlock strong and resilient as ever. Bitter rivalry between political parties spurred to create an unbrotherly and unfriendly atmosphere in dealing with current issue.

That condition culminated in a mob-like political gangs from the contending parties to verbally lynch each other, proffer explicitly unwarranted worries to the Somaliland people and use their preferential vetting under our constitutional imperfections, misfits, and opaqueness to the current political turbulence, at a time when we have to match forward to embolden our democracy.

Our constitution has its own imperfections and weaknesses and may not provide us statutory solace for every case. However, it offers us the possibility of a genuine market place of ideas, one in which the jarring of parties should work on behalf of deliberation, consensus, and circumspection; a market place in which, through debate and competition, we can expand our perspective, change our minds, and eventually arrive not merely at agreements but at sound and fair judgments. An honest collective work to reach consensus about issues is a matter of paramount importance to our march forward.

But over the long term, doing nothing now about our constitution misfits, imperfections, and weaknesses probably would aggravate political stalemate(s) that we may encounter as we progress forward and will mean a SL very different from the one most of us aspire to. It will mean a nation that wriggled out its promise to maintaining our hard earned freedom: one in which its populace is once again mired with civil unrest and vulnerable to dislocation. Worst of all, it will mean a decline in the upward mobility that’s been at the heart of our aspiration to give our Mandeeq its due respect. Without issues being delineated under proper and clear constitutional perspectives, the government and the opposition parties have pushed the country to a logical conclusion – stagnation and a political turbulence, of which each disclaimed any misgiving that the other party has caused, each citing its preferential interpretation of the constitution to buttress its political stand.

That is not the Somaliland we want for our children or ourselves. And I’m confident that we have resilient culture, a way in which we can create a brotherly environment to reconcile and make concessions to resolve our contentious issues. To obliterate any legal or constitutional wrangling in future, we need however to take a look at how we can make our constitution resourceful to decipher, under its perspective, any legal argues, not to coarsen our political culture, and provide us a clear-cut about the responsibilities constitutionally wedded to each of the three branches of our government.

It should come as no surprise, then, that, with opaque standards of our constitution in most cases, such as current political stalemate, we have a tendency to take a free interpretation of its provisions to court our specific interests. Balking any prolongation of the fight over which of the two views are legally bound and is the correct assertion of the constitution and put fetters on before it polarizes further, and gets out of hand, it’s not unexpected from our Guurti to act as a windbreak to secure the country from drifting further into the precipice of fall and instability - wrongly or rightly – they have acted to dissuade the worries of Somaliland people and favorably, on the recommendation of their wisdom, sided with the current government to avoid vacuum.

While Guurti’s decision may not be well received by the opposition and their supporters, nevertheless it was the best remedy to the situation. Otherwise, Somaliland people would have left only with the worst option; opposition parties as well as our government only arrow that is left in their quiver, a strategy that could accentuate our people’s feeling of despair, the battle cry around which both faithful now rallied – My way or the highway. If two elephants fight, it is the grass that hurt. It is none other than the Somaliland people who will bear the brunt of this political wrangling.

Are Somaliland people then, willing to sacrifice the fruits of their efforts and throw the future of their kids into instability and uncertainty!!! If not, they should demand from opposition supporters to stop their insincere rhetoric and agree to the Guurti decision and live up to their leaders pledge of support to the Guurti before the decision was made. It is now the Somaliland people and not Sl politicians who can save this country and out of the doldrums to take it back onto the road that has earned Somaliland a nickname, among many, “The little Country that Could”.

The way forward:

The Guurti: - Though many of us, including this writer, believe that Guurti’s decision was rightful and wise, we request Guurti House to make a follow-up to the implementation of the decision and its intended purpose.
- Hold the current government accountable to any overuse of their executive powers.
- Demand from the government respect for the opposition and their supporters in order to cultivate an atmosphere conducive to a co-operation to maintain peace and security of the country.

Opposition leaders / Supporters:

- Continuation of your demonstrations would only give a reason to our enemy to infiltrate into our midst, make the situation worse for the country, and jeopardize the peace and the stability (though you have the right to express your feelings in a peaceful demonstrations).
- You should avoid doing any activities that will give our government upper hand to lash at you in a forceful reaction in the name of keeping the peace and security.
- It is unwise that a leader who aspires to be president of a nation to declare, knowing his pledge to the Guurti before the decision was made, that he and his supporters would not recognize their current leaders, our government, after April 6 and so it is also unpatriotic for his supporters to condone such declaration. However, you have been only so helpful with your patience. It is no denial that you have been put down many times by the call of necessity to unusual circumstances. It is now once again that you have to demonstrate your good faith in your country. Believe you me; the people of Somaliland are more appreciative of your patience than your political strategy.

To the people of Somaliland:

You may disagree either with the rejection of the opposition to the Guurti decision or the decision to extend another six months for the current government and we may shout at one another and deaf to what others have to say but none of these actions would be any benefit to our country and us. A healthy nation is a nation blessed with the ability to say NO to what works against it’s development and progress and dousing the brotherhood and kinship spirit they have for one another, cherish the more commons they share than the differences they have, help each other and those among them who are consigned to poverty and physical limitation.

We have enough examples of bad trends (either locally or in the African continent) to draw from a foreseeable situation that we could end up in if we follow their path. It is always useful to remind ourselves that, situations like this should not shroud our future in uncertainty but to make us more determined to keep our future in clarity and put our good ideas to the demands of our nation to reach at the lush accommodation in a better future.

Personally, I consider what has happened (political wrangling due to constitution’s opaqueness, imperfections, and misfits) as a dereliction of duty by our legislative body and I would rather blame them, than the opposition parties or the Guurti or the government, for this political turbulence due to our constitutional imperfection.


THE POSTPONEMENT OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS FOR THIRD TIME TILL 29TH OCTOBER 09 IS A SET BACK IN DEMOCRATISATION OF SOMALILAND

by SomaliLand Future on 04/29, Osman Saeed

Somaliland has made progress since 2005 as an emerging democracy with relative stability marking a shift to democratic accountability and Governance through parliamentary elections. In Stark contrast to Ethiopia and other neighbouring countries where elections were marred by political violence, elections were conducted peacefully and were clearly a step in the right direction for an emerging democracy like Somaliland.

The postponement of presidential elections in Somaliland on march 29 for the third time lacks democratic legitimacy and undermines the democratisation process, raises serious questions about the need for checks and balances to curb further excesses by the executive.

The opposition parties Kulmiye and UCID have opposed the extension grounds that it isunconstitutional. Despite this Rayaale decision has been endorsed by the Somaliland Electoral Commission Earlier in March 2009 when Rayaale had been to the UK, The Foreign Secretary David Milliband had urged Rayale that “it is essential that the election process is carried out effectively and democratically and that all parties work together to make the election a success”.

Since then Rayaale has not had any serious consultation with leaders of the opposition parties and unilaterally has decided through executive powers to postpone the presidential elections, contrary to the norms of democratic systems thereby endangering Somalilands international status as an emerging democracy. According to the constitution of Somaliland for the term of office of President and his vice president to be extended there have to be exceptional circumstances of national disaster or emergency. Guurti have to agree such a circumstances exist in the first instance and to thereafter determine by a majority vote on whether to extend his term of office.

What is the basis of current extension until 29th October 2009? On the basis of briefings from upper house, the only thing that’s clear is that they Upper house members voted to extend his term of office but this decision remains controversial and undemocratic. Decision by the Guurti extending the president’s term until 29th October 2009 for the third time has completely undermined multi party politics and consensus.

What is a worrying development in Somaliland politics is that this trend lays foundation of one party rule in Somaliland for an indefinite term especially if the upper house continues to endorse further extensions in the absence of national debate, and consent of the opposition parties.

The incident On April 6th, 2009, when Security Forces opened fire on members of KULMIYE party including the forth coming presidential candidate who were peacefully marching clearly indicates that we are heading into a one party dictatorship.

Rayaale’s party is using state security to silence the opposition and justifying its undemocratic mandate on a pretext of emergency rule on erroneous grounds of lawlessness.

The good relations Somaliland has with the international community in particular USA, European Union, to a certain extent Ethiopia, Kenya and others very much depends on the relative stability of Somaliland as well as democratic values. United States and EU relations with Somaliland depends very much on building on the democratic progress thus far made, the political stability, rule of law and Security.

Presidential elections are most important indicators of commitment to a democratic representation Postponement of presidential elections and misuse of executive powers is hardly a sign of democratic governance and if anything it has halted democratisation process, could jeopardise good relations with our allies who are funding us. It’s also a sign that if we do not reform and curb executive power Somaliland can find itself in similar situations as Zimbabwe.

If the incumbent regime and party continues to hold on to power illegally in the absence of full consent it will increasingly be viewed by the disenfranchised citizens as illegitimate and this will increase political violence and lawlessness in Somali land rather than restore stability.

As in advanced representative liberal democracies, the executive is accountable through Bi Partisan select committees, I believe that in the case of Somaliland there is a need for such committee to scrutinise legitimacy of postponement and misuse of executive power. The Opposition parties including Kulmiye should not remain in active and succumb to one party rule, such departure by the executive from the democratic norms of governance should not be acceptable in a multi party competitive system.

Kulmiye should in my opinion challenge the legality of the extension of president’s term of office through legal avenues in Somaliland and through diplomatic channels of communications with US, EU, other Governments, as well as through international bodies such as UN, IGAD and African Union to exert pressure on Riyaale and his party.


Somalia: Somaliland Mediation Committee Defends Extension

Garowe Online (Garowe), 29 April 2009 - A mediation committee endorsed by the government and opposition parties in the Somali breakaway republic of Somaliland issued a verdict Wednesday, Radio Garowe reports.

The seven-member Political Mediation Committee has held joint meetings with Somaliland President Dahir Riyale, Kulmiye Party chairman Ahmed Silanyo and UCID Party chairman Faisal Ali Warabe this week.

The committee issued a five-point ruling on Wednesday, which observers said was largely in favor of President Riyale and the ruling UDUB Party.

The first point deals with the issue of the six-month term extension: "The term-extension decision given by the House of Guurti [Upper House of Somaliland Parliament] to the President and the Vice President that ends on Oct. 29, 2009, is valid."

The following clause warns that, if the Somaliland presidential election is not held by Sept. 27, 2009, "the House of Guurti cannot extend the term for the President and the Vice President."

The second point details the election timeframe, ruling that the voter-registration database must be complete by July 27, 2009, giving time to organize a fair election.

The third point orders that government media resources, such as Radio Hargeisa and Somaliland TV, must give all three political parties "equal air time."

Further, the following clause bans the government from using government property such as finances and transportation for a single party.

The fourth clause upholds constitutional laws protecting the freedom of political parties to conduct day-to-day activities, including freedom to movement and freedom to hold public gatherings like peaceful demonstrations.

The following clause demands that the Somaliland government "release all political prisoners arrested during the political crisis."

The fifth and final clause states that a Code of Conduct for the political parties must be prepared ahead of the election.

The political crisis in Somaliland erupted in May 2008 after President Riyale received a one-year term extension following a vote by the House of Guurti. Last month, the House of Guurti voted again to give President Riyale and Vice President Ahmed Yusuf Yasin a term extension for the second time.

Opposition parties, led by opposition leader Ahmed Silanyo, have demanded that Riyale hand over power to a neutral caretaker government which can lead Somaliland until the Sept. 2009 presidential election.

It is not clear the opposition parties accepted the mediation committee's ruling, but observers say today's political verdict is largely in favor of Mr. Riyale's administration.


Somaliland: Pirates Jailed For 15 to 20 Years

Hargeisa, 27 April 2009 (Somalilandpress) - Nine pirates have been jailed for 15 to 20 years by Berbera court in Sahil region, Somaliland. The pirates were found guilty of piracy after they were caught by Somaliland forces in a place around 80kms away from Berbera. During the operation, they were arrested with a small boat and a number of weapons.

Somaliland authorities believed that the pirates were using the weapons in order to hijack ships off the Somaliland waters which has been free from the piracy activities unlike the neighboring Somalia’s region of Puntland. Police said those arrested initially came from Puntland.

Authorities said they have been following the group’s movements since they arrived the area and in what to be seen as a successful operation they were arrested without any casualties.

After the trial, the Berbera court sentenced 7 of them for 15 years and the other two were jailed for 20 years. The court said the two were the commanders of the groups.

Somaliland carried out a number of operations against the pirates which they arrested a number of them in different areas of the country. In February, the Berbera court sentenced 7 pirates for 20 years each after they were caught inside the city planning piracy activities in the port.


Somaliland Foreign Minister Slams Somalia’s Allegations

Hargeisa, 27 April 2009 (Somalilandpress) - The Somaliland Foreign Minister, Abdillahi Mohamed Du’ale said the Somalia’s minister of foreign affairs have been faking information that Somaliland is ready to have talks with Somalia after things settle down there.

In a press conference in his office today, Mr. Du’ale said Somaliland is an independent country and there is no reason to talk to Somalia about unity. “The Somali’s minister of originally from Somaliland and he went there for personal interest. I would suggest him to stick with his interest and not to interfere our issues”, Said the minister. He said the Somalia’s Foreign Minster is the not first who went to Somalia and those before him have completely failed to harm Somaliland. He said there is no way Somaliland would go back to unite with Somalia.

He said the Somalia’s minister was a normal young businessman in Hargeisa before he secretly sneaked to Djibouti. “He does not know anything about politics” Said Mr. Dua’leh.

The minister praised the Somaliland’s relationship with Djibouti which improved in the last few months. He said Djibouti is one of our good friends in the region.

Some of the media outlets published that the foreign minister of Somalia, Mr. Oomaar said they reached an agreement with Somaliland to have talks with Somalia when the situation gets better in Mogadishu.


Somaliland leadership sliding into dictatorship right before our eyes

http://www.jamhuuriya.info/ Apr 25, 2009

Somaliland leadership sliding into dictatorship right before our eyes As a Somaliland citizen I was not supporting, in the beginning, any of Somaliland political parties, for I believed none of the Somaliland national parties have the honesty and integrity to lead the Somaliland people to the Promised Land. I was always against a new dictatorship in Republic of Somaliland, and what we are witnessing right now is some of the early signs and symptoms of a dictatorship. The news coming from the capital Hargeisa is getting worst day after day.

Our democracy is supposed to protect our freedom of speech, and freedom of speech is one of the most fundamental rights that individuals have. The Imprisonment of free thinkers is an outrageous violation of democracy.

For those people who are supporting Somaliland’s sliding into dictatorship I have a massage for them “please stop supporting this process and remember that history repeats itself” and if you are blindly support the government, it might hunt you back. I you do please do not cry later like Ismail Yare, Ex Minister of Interior.

People of Somaliland; please open your eyes and you may realize we are taking a wrong path. I urge my fellow citizens to speak out against Mr. Riyaale’s government and hold non-violent rallies and demonstrations across the Country.

What I hope is that the people of my country will support our democracy and support us in free and fair elections.

We have a government that their cabinet ministries have no shame to be corrupted and saying in public “we are not hungry anymore we already stole everything, and if you elect us one more time we may work for you the next time, but if you elect those hungry guys they have to take care of themselves first”.

We have a government that public officials are exceeding their terms and limits to remain in office, and ignoring our constitution. The President and the Senate keep giving extensions to each other. The President and the Senate are illegally holding power, so how can this illegal Senate give extension to this President?

Early signs of dictatorship:

1. Ignoring the constitution.
2. Transforming news into propaganda.
3. Intimidating opposition into silence.
4. Violating human rights.
5. Forbidding Freedom of speech.
6. Imprisoning of political opponents.
7. Imprisoning of journalists.
8. Ignoring the expiry of the terms to remain in the Office.

Coming soon:

1. Lots of statues of the favoring the president.
2. photos of president all over the place
3. genocide no longer looking quite so bad
4. Caynaanka hay waligaa hay, iyo kaligii jiraw.

On April 6th Kulmiye party made a rally to celebrate the creation of SNM in their party headquarter after the government refused the celebration to be happen in the BEERTAXURIYADA, security was very tight and there were lot of police. After the rally they had a march to Silaanyo’s home. During that peaceful march, police start opening fire to the crowd including the party leader Mr Silaanyo. After I saw this video I was shocked, those were very powerful pictures, Mr. Silaanyo and others stood up to their threats, they hold hands with each others and kept on marching, that reminded me of United Stats of America during the civil rights movement. The government should be responsible for the safety of the opposition leaders Mr. A. M Silaanyo and Mr. F.A Waraabe.

I can be silent no more, over the last few weeks my anger and disbelief have been growing. I cannot sit idly by and watch our civil liberties stripped away. I will no longer tolerate this government ignoring the Somaliland Constitution.

We would like to appeal to the President to be respectful to people in other sectors. He cannot run this government on his own, without an input from others. He needs to work closely with the opposition. They too have a role to play towards the success of his administration.

Sheekhaawi Ali, Toronto, Canada, sheekhaawi@hotmail.com


Somaliland: Britain Supports Electoral Progress

Somalilandtimes, Apr 24, 2009 - A British delegation congratulates progress made and offers financial support for Somaliland’s forthcoming parliamentary election and promises assistance with improving the health and education sectors.

A three member British government delegation left Hargeisa on Wednesday [22 April 2009] afternoon following a brief visit to Somaliland.

The delegation led by the British Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mr. Myles Wickstead, arrived in Hargeisa on Tuesday [21 April 2009] to express their congratulations to the people, the government, the opposition parties and the electoral commission of Somaliland for the presidential election held last April [2008].

Accompanying the ambassador were his wife Mrs. Sheilagh Wickstead, David Bell, first secretary in the British High Commissioner in Nairobi and Mr. Owen Richards, Political Secretary at the British Embassy in Addis Ababa.

During their stay in Hargeisa, the delegates were warmly welcomed by Somaliland's officials, including President Dahir Rayale Kahin, leaders of the opposition parties, Election Commissioners and members of the civil society organizations. Somalilanders in general expressed gratitude and appreciation of the British government’s support for their country’s democratization process, and Somaliland's press also ran positive commentaries on the visit.

The British Ambassador Mr. Wickstead disclosed that his government would provide financial assistance to Somaliland’s forthcoming parliamentarian elections. He also stressed that the Parliamentary elections be held as soon as possible.

Mr. Wickstead pointed out that Britain was ready to step up assistance for Somaliland by providing support for health and education sectors as well as capacity building.


Somaliland: Opposition Parties Meet Before Talk With Government.

Hargeisa, 24, April 2009 (Somalilandpress) — The leaders of the two opposition parties held a close-door meeting today in order to discuss issues before they sit with the government on Saturday. The meeting which took place at Maansoor hotel lasted three hours where the media was not allowed to be present.

“We are discussing issues concerning about the coming elections, we want to have a common understanding before we sit down with the government and what we decided is not for public” Said Mr. Siilaanyo of Kulmiye told Abdiqani Baynax of Somalilandpress. Mr. Siilaanyo said this is part of the preparations in order to reach a consensus to end the current political crisis in the country.

Dr. Mohamed-Rashid, the Vice Presidential candidate from UCID party told local media that the meeting is the result of series of meetings and consultations between the two parties during the past two weeks. “as we will be meeting the President on Saturday we decided to hold this meeting, to be on the same page” Said Dr. Rashid. “This is not coalition because we are the opposition parties, it is more like a consultation” he added.

Somaliland has been facing a constitutional crisis in the last few months when the Upper House of the parliament extended the government’s term two times. Many mediation efforts failed but the Electoral Commission managed to bring all the sides on the table for face-to-face talks. Somalilandpress will keep an eye on this development and will be reporting from the meeting on Saturday.


Somaliland Forces Advance Towards Puntland

Hargeisa, 24 April 2009 (somalilandpress) - Reports from Sool region say that the Somaliland military advanced to towards Tukaraq village after they clashed with Militia loyal to Puntland in Adada and Higlada towns in the area.

The Somaliland forces who captured Lasanod, the capital city of Sool region have been stationed in the area for the last two years. It is not clear how the war started but as reported by residents the two sides exchanged heavy guns this morning where the Somaliland forces captured a number of Puntland militia before they advanced to the town of Tukaraq which is located between Lasanod and Garowe, the capital of Puntland.

Sources close to Somaliland military said they captured at least three vehicles from Puntland.

There is no official statement from both.


Somaliland and Somalia Journalists Kick-Off A New Training Course

Hargeisa, 23 April 2009 (Somalilandpress) — A group of journalists from somalia and somaliland who completed a three week TOT training course have kicked off a new workshop to train 12 new trainees from varies somaliland media groups.

The course was funded by USAID and implemented by CARE International, the aim was to improve the presentation format of news stories and to develop the language and writing style of students. It was also to see if the new trainers, whom were trainees themselves three weeks ago were capable of training young Somali journalists.

The new Somali trainers will cover topics such as radio/TV production, interviews techniques, media law, printing layouts and design, amongst others.

Mr. Mohamed Aden Hirsi (Terra), an official from CARE International urged the trainees to make the best use of this golden opportunity to learn and acquire new skills to apply to their journalism careers, while warning them that the course would be very intensive.


Somalia: Somaliland opposition leader allowed to keep bodyguards

HARGEISA, Somalia Apr 23 2009(Garowe Online) - The opposition leader in Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland has been allowed to keep personal bodyguards for the first time, Radio Garowe reports.

Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, chairman of the opposition Kulmiye party and the leading presidential contender, sent written concerns to the Somaliland security services asking for bodyguards, government sources said.

He accused senior government officials in Somaliland of attempts to hurt him, citing a young man armed with a pistol who was arrested by police at a Kulmiye party rally in Hargeisa, capital of the breakaway Somaliland region.


British Delegates spent three official working days in Somaliland

Sub-Saharan Informer, Apr 22, 2009 - HARGEISA-SOMALILAND- Last three days Somaliland foreign affairs ministry hosted a British delegation led by Mr. john Marshal who is the deputy head of mission of Ethiopia British embassy accompanied by the military Attaché of the embassy and other senior officials who is based in the British embassy in Addis Ababa, They hold series long time meetings with the president of the republic of Somaliland H.E. Dahir Rayaale Kahin, who they have discussed as the press secretary of the presidency mentioned in a press release after close door meeting with the diplomats and president accompanied also by the forensic affairs minister of Somaliland. Mr. Abdilahi M.Duale how the British government can assist Somaliland from prevention of Piracy who is these days influencing all of the horn specially the Gulf of Aden who Somaliland has very close sea border but with the defense of Somaliland coast guiding police arrested four pirate groups who basically tried to hunt ships from Somaliland coasts, and brought them all in to justice compound courts, the press officer of the president Mr. Said Adani Moge told SSI in the government is paying much more time and energy to keep its peace ,integrity and the stability of the region as well, the president of Somaliland Mr.Dahir Rayaale Kahin conveyed message to the british government in its absolutely necessarily needed to be equipped and trained enough to the police either in sea or land of Somaliland, he also gave privilege of the current political situation of Somaliland said Mr. moge, the press secretary of Somaliland president.

On the other hand the delegation were given honorary lunch by the minister of foreign affairs of Somaliland .Mr. abdilahi M.Duale at Maansour Hotel before they departure from Egal International Airport of Somaliland to Addis Ababa, he thanked their concern and mentioned in they come to Somaliland in order to strengthen the relations of British –Somaliland Governments, and also willing to have an idea how they could have supported and given police capacity building to Somaliland police, But Ambassador John Marshal ,the head of the British delegation gave very great appreciation to the three political parties consensus acceptance, the key political drivers of Somaliland accepted to solve the current stuck politics, this shows in Somali Landers always solve some how their problems ,no matter what happens and how it gets stuck, I really honestly appreciate it, they deserve to be thanked by the local and international concerned people ,I love coming and discussing issues with the peace lovers and stability of the horn wishers{Somaliland} said Ambassador Marshal, he added in the british government will do to the best of their limit promotions and invite Somaliland officials the international conferences in order o share and get same chance of those recognized governments of the continent. He mentioned in he had talks with the opposition parties leaders,Civil society,and British Somaliland citizens as well.

Somaliland caring and concerned Diplomats, Politicians ,Somaliland Diaspora and all the people who had some good integrity and moral for it seemed very demoralized and worry last one month and half, after the politics got stuck and one of the opposition parties refused to have open dialogue for solution and talks with each other but the last four days the concerned people from around the globe was breathing fresh air & got relief after committee of negotiation named it self to negotiate the key political players and got the weakened hope awake and functioning with a very high moral.


Opposition Supporters Turn Out in Rallies Accross Somaliland

Somaliland Globe, 20 April 2009. Large crowds defying government ban on demonstrations showed up at rallies across the country to support the opposition KULMIYE party.

The Interior minister of Riyale administration, Mr. Cirro, has repeatedly threatened to use force to stop political rallies by the opposition parties.

The police which also turned out in large numbers could not stop the rallies. However, some people say they expect more arrests to follow akin to those that followed previous rallies organized by the party.

During the past two weeks a number of people were detained across the country for participating in political rallies or expressing their political views through the independent media.

Mr. Omar H. Rabi, an intellectual from the western city of Borama, is spending his 7th day in prison after he was jailed by Awdal regional authorities following an open letter he wrote to Riyale appealing to him to refrain from the type of “policies” that create political crisis.

Assassination attempts

The two opposition parties, KULMIYE and UCID, in a joint statement released recently accusing the administration of conspiring to assassinate their leaders. The statement in which the parties reiterated their constitutional rights to hold peaceful political rallies, pointed out several incidents in which they said the lives of their leaders were threatened.

The statement mentioned an incident at Somaliland-Ethiopian border town of Tog Wajaale where a police commander threatened to kill Faisal Ali Farah, UCID chairman. It also mentioned a similar incident at a rally in front of KULMIYE headquarters in Hargeisa, where a man carrying a pistol, fired on the crowds as KULMIYE leaders were addressing them. No one was injured in that incident and police were able to apprehend the suspect. KULMIYE accuses a senior member of Riyale administration to be behind the “attempted assassination”.

Requests for a full investigation by the party leaders did not receive a response from Riyale administration. Other reports say the suspect was released by the criminal investigation department (CID).


Mr. Silanyo was recently seen in Hargeisa alongside heavily armed men, a new development in Somaliland politics.

Somaliland President Dahir Riyale has refused to heed to the opposition's demands to step down and allow a caretaker administration to govern the region until the presidential election, which was postponed in March by an additional six months.

Mr. Riyale has repeatedly stated that he will step down only after a new president is elected, while defending the Somaliland parliament's controversial decision to extend the current government's time for the second time since 2008.


Somaliland: Oppossition Parties Say Ready To Participate Elections

Apr 18 2009 (somalilandpress) - Hargeisa, The Somaliland s opposition said they are ready to participate the presidential elections this year. In a joint press release this afternon, Kulmiye and Ucid said they will willingly take part of the elections when they are held.

The two parties condemned the government's actions in the past few days where they said could cause insecurity in Somaliland. They accused the government of creating chaos by shooting the opposition supporters and arresting people without any reason.

The two spokesman of Kulmiye and Ucid called for negotiations before the 5th of May where they said the government's term will officially end. They said they will not recognize the government after the 5th of May this year.


Somaliland: Political turbulence due to a constitutional imperfection

by Sharmarke Ali, Apr 17, 2009, http://www.qarannews.com

Deep down I believe that Somaliland will come to a sense to defy once again the cynics and deter the vultures awaiting its demise to emerge out of this political deadlock strong and resilient as ever. Bitter rivalry between political parties spurred to create an unbrotherly and unfriendly atmosphere in dealing with current issue.

That condition culminated in a mob-like political gangs from the contending parties to verbally lynch each other, proffer explicitly unwarranted worries to the Somaliland people and use their preferential vetting under our constitutional imperfections, misfits, and opaqueness to the current political turbulence, at a time when we have to match forward to embolden our democracy.

Our constitution has its own imperfections and weaknesses and may not provide us statutory solace for every case. However, it offers us the possibility of a genuine market place of ideas, one in which the jarring of parties should work on behalf of deliberation, consensus, and circumspection; a market place in which, through debate and competition, we can expand our perspective, change our minds, and eventually arrive not merely at agreements but at sound and fair judgments. An honest collective work to reach consensus about issues is a matter of paramount importance to our march forward.

But over the long term, doing nothing now about our constitution misfits, imperfections, and weaknesses probably would aggravate political stalemate(s) that we may encounter as we progress forward and will mean a SL very different from the one most of us aspire to. It will mean a nation that wriggled out its promise to maintain our hard earned freedom: one in which its populace is once again mired with civil unrest and vulnerable to dislocation. Worst of all, it will mean a decline in the upward mobility that’s been at the heart of our aspiration to give our Mandeeq its due respect. Without issues being delineated under proper and clear constitutional perspective, the government and the opposition parties have pushed the country to a logical conclusion – stagnation and a political turbulence, of which each disclaimed any misgiving that the other party has caused, each one citing its preferential interpretation of our constitution to its political stand.

That is not the Somaliland we want for our children or ourselves. And I’m confident that we have resilient culture, a way in which we can create a brotherly environment to reconcile and make concessions to resolve our contentious issues. To obliterate any legal or constitutional wrangling in future, we need however to take a look at how we can make our constitution resourceful to decipher legal argues, not to coarsen our political culture, and provide us a clear-cut about the responsibilities constitutionally wedded to each of the three branches of our government.

It should come as no surprise, then, that, with opaque standards of our constitution in most cases, such as current political stalemate, that we have a tendency to take a free interpretation of its provisions to court our specific interests. Balking any prolongation of the fight over which of the two views are legally bound and is the correct assertion of the constitution and put fetters on before it polarizes further and gets out of hand, it’s not unexpected from our Guurti to act as a windbreak to secure the country from drifting further into the precipice of fall and instability - wrongly or rightly – they have acted to dissuade the worries of Somaliland people and favorably, on the recommendation of their wisdom, sided with the current government to avoid vacuum.

While Guurti’s decision may not be well received by the opposition and their supporters, it was the best remedy to the situation. Otherwise, Somaliland people would have left only with the worst option; opposition parties as well as our government only arrow that is left in their quiver, a strategy that could accentuate our people’s feeling of despair, the battle cry around which both faithful now rallied – My way or the highway. If two elephants fight, it is the grass that hurt. It is none other than the Somaliland people who will bear the brunt of this political wrangling.

Are Somaliland people then, willing to sacrifice the fruits of their efforts and throw the future of their kids into instability and uncertainty!!! If not, they should demand from opposition supporters to stop their insincere rhetoric and agree to the Guurti decision and live up to their leaders pledge of support to the Guurti before the decision was made. It is the Somaliland people and not Sl politicians who can save this country and out of the doldrums to take it back onto the road that has earned Somaliland a nickname, among many, “The little Country that Could”

The way forward:

The Guurti:
* Though many of us, including this writer, believe that Guurti’s decision was rightful and wise, we request Guurti House to make a follow-up to the implementation of the decision and its intended purpose.
* Hold the current government accountable to overuse of their executive powers.
* Demand from the government respect for the opposition and their supporters in order to cultivate an atmosphere conducive to a co-operation to maintain peace and security of the country.
Opposition leaders / Supporters:
* Continuation of your demonstrations would only give a reason to our enemy to infiltrate into our midst, make the situation worse for the country, and jeopardize the peace and the stability (though you have the right to express your feelings in a peaceful demonstrations).
* You should avoid doing anything to give our government the upper hand to lash at you in a forceful reaction in the name of keeping the peace and security.
* It is unwise that a leader who aspires to be president of a nation to declare, knowing his pledge to the Guurti before the decision was made, that he and his supporters would not recognize their current leaders, our government, after April 6 and so it is also unpatriotic for his supporters to condone such declaration.

However, you have only been so helpful with your patience. It is no denial that you have been put down many times by the call of necessity to unusual circumstances It is now once again that you have to demonstrate your good faith in your country. Believe you me your patience is more appreciative than your political strategies.

To the people of Somaliland:

You may disagree either with the rejection of the opposition to the Guurti decision or the decision to extend another six months for the current government. We may shout at one another and deaf to what others have to say but none of these actions would be any benefit to our country and us. A healthy nation is a nation blessed with the ability to say NO to what works against it’s development and progress, douse the brotherhood and kinship spirit they have for one another, cherish the more commons they share than differences they have, help each other and those among them who are consigned to poverty and physical limitation. We have enough examples of bad trends (either locally or in the African continent) to draw from a foreseeable situation that we could end up in if we follow that path. It is always useful to remind ourselves that, situations like this should not shroud our future in uncertainty but to make us more determined to keep our future in clarity and put our good ideas to the demands of our community until we reach to the lush accommodation in a better future.

Personally, I consider what has happened (political wrangling due to constitution’s opaqueness, imperfections, and misfits) as a dereliction of duty by our legislative body and I would rather blame them, than the opposition parties or the Guurti or the government, for this political turbulence.


Official: Britain Furious Over Election Delay in Somaliland

London, 16 April 2009 (Somaliland Today)- The British government has expressed strong disappointment over delay of presidential elections in Somaliland following the approval by the House of Elders for a further six-month extension to Rayale’s term of office.

The strongman of Somaliland, Dahir Rayale Kahin, met Britain’s Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, on 6 March during which the Foreign Secretary was “firm in his desire to see trouble free elections in Somaliland”. That was before Rayale’s presidential term expired on 6 April, 2009.

In addition to this high level engagement, Britain’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Norman Ling, was also shuttling back and forth between Addis Ababa and Hargeisa “to raise our [Britain’s] concerns” relating to the postponement of presidential elections.

In reply to a letter by Jamal Madar and other signatories, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said the signatories’ concerns had been duly noted and added that, “delays to the elections can only have a negative impact on the perceived credentials of Somaliland by the international community and Somalilanders alike”. A similar petition-letter by Jamal Madar and his colleagues has been circulated to members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons and “will be accepted as a written evidence to the Committee”.

During his visit to the UK, Rayale told Miliband “he would willingly step down if he were to lose in the elections and that he and his party would seek to work constructively with the new president for the great interests of Somaliland”.

The Foreign Secretary urged Rayale that “it is essential that the election process is carried out effectively and democratically and that all parties work together to make the election a success”.

However, unbeknownst to Miliband is that soon after his arrival at Hargeisa Airport on return from the UK visit, Rayale ruled out any concessions to work with the opposition parties and refused to apologise to the Somaliland people for the government’s repeated failure to hold the presidential elections at least three times for the past year alone.

“A government can only be replaced by a government,” said Rayale

“Rayale seems to be suffering from a severe case of historical amnesia. His five-year term mandate had expired in April 2008. Neither he nor his government has a mandate to govern the country,” said Mohammed Yonis Awale, former chairman of KULMIYE-UK. “The presidential term extensions in which he indulges are an affront to the democratic system and should be utterly and completely rejected”.

KULMIYE categorically rejected the House of Elders approval for a further six-month extension to the presidential term, which it says has no constitutional basis.

Rayale saw the rejection as a kick in the teeth. He miscalculated that KULMIYE will initially reject the term extension but will not dare to use mass protests as a political tool– something that Rayale and his government hate so much.

On 6 April, KULMIYE supporters staged peaceful march in Hargeisa but police fired live bullets to disperse them. In the ensuing confusion, several policemen unleashed a hail of bullets against the leader of KULMIYE, Ahmed Mohamoud Silanyo, but supporters shielded him from the bullets. Fortunately, only two people were slightly hurt and Silanyo escaped shaken but unscathed.

“This is an attempt on the life of the chairman of the party [KULMIYE] and will not be taken lightly”, said Keise Hassan Egeh, General Secretary of KULMIYE.

Britain continues to invest a lot of time and effort in convincing Rayale and his henchmen to hold the presidential election but the prospect of Somaliland’s strongman working constructively with the opposition parties does not appear to be on the cards until now.


Somalia: One on one with president Dahir Rayaale Kaahin of the democratic republic of Somaliland

by Jerry Okungu, http://www.qarannews.com/Apr 16, 2009

The President of the Democratic of Somaliland, the other Somali state that many people don’t really know outside Somaliland is a different breed of African leaders. I have yet to come across an African head of state as self-effacing as President Dahir Rayaale Kaahin.

I first met him at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi way back in 2006 when he visited Kenya and the rest of East Africa as Head of State. At that time, he was a rather shy president who left most of the talking to his Foreign Affairs and Finance Ministers that had accompanied him. The casualness with which he sat in a coffee shop outside Safari Park Hotel without guards chatting away with his ministers and any other Somali that cared to pass by was amazing.

Three years on, I had a chance to be his guest at his palace for close to one hour. I had requested to meet him because I wanted to know from the president why elections had been postponed several times since May 2008 when his term was supposed to have ended; a development that was causing jitters and rumbles within the main opposition parties. More importantly I wanted to know how he and his colleagues in political leadership had kept Somaliland sane, peaceful and relatively democratic when the other Somalia was permanently embroiled in unending wars among various warlords.

To start off the evening talk, I asked him how he viewed the relationship between Somaliland, Puntland and Somalia their former union members under Siad Barre. President Kahaalin took the opportunity to give me a little history of Somaliland and how several past treaties with England, Italy, France and Ethiopia had all recognized Somaliland as a state as way back as 1896. He reminded me that over the years prior to 1960 when they got their independence, Somaliland was always a British colony while Somalia was ruled by Italy as Djibouti remained a French colony. It is important to remember that in all these treaties, Somaliland was the only state recognized by the colonial powers.

This historical factor has historically bestowed on Somaliland claim to motherhood of the entire Somali occupied territories in the Horn of Africa.

The President musingly referred to the early 1960s when early Somali leaders were determined to unite their people in one greater Somali nation. Part of this drive culminated in the Shifta war with Kenya for the control of the Northern Frontier District of Kenya and the Ogaden dispute with Ethiopia under Haile Selassie. And had it not been for the peaceful President Egal who signed a peace accord with Jomo Kenyatta, the story of Somali nation would be different today.

President Kaahin sees Somaliland’s role in the region in three dimensions. The state must fight human trafficking, piracy and terrorism. He sees these three evils as a threat not only to the stability of Somaliland but to the entire Horn of Africa, Africa and the rest of the world. He is acutely aware that these three evils have become a global problem but impact more negatively on the people of Somaliland due to the proximity of their activities to his country.

He says that though his country is relatively peaceful, terrorists have never hesitated to cross over from Somalia to hit soft targets in his country. A case in point was the October 29, 2008 incident when Somali terrorists hit his palace, the UNDP offices and the Ethiopian Embassy.

Although he is yet to get formal recognition from the rest of the international community, he receives a lot of support from the European Union, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

At the European Union, he has been able to hold several bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of various member states of the Union.

What bothers him however is the apparent hypocrisy and double standards displayed by the international community when it comes to recognizing the legitimacy of the Somaliland State. Despite this state of affairs, he is happy that on his part, his country has in the last 19 years, fulfilled all international standards required from any state that seeks recognition.

Ironically the European Union has always been ready to grant Somaliland international recognition on one condition; that the AU or a good number of African states take the lead in establishing diplomatic and bilateral relations with his country. And he puts it rather musingly; that if today just one African state took the plunge; the rest of the world community would grant Somaliland the much sought after recognition.

President Kaahin says that among the criteria they have fulfilled for recognition include peace and stability in the country, a working judicial system, a functional parliament and an effective executive arm of the state with active military and police departments. For this reason, his government has been able to apprehend pirates and terrorists who have faced trial in open courts and jailed when found guilty.

He is one person who does not believe that pirates are on Somali coastline to fight foreigners polluting their waters with toxic waste and killing their fish. He believes these are just excuses from common criminals for purposes of gaining sympathy from the Somali people and international community.

Asked to explain how Somaliland has survived all these years without aid support from the international community, he laughs and says that is the one proof that any country in the world no matter how poor can survive without depending on donor money. He says African leaders should simply tighten their belts, manage their economies in a frugal manner and with less corruption in government, donor aid would be a surplus rather than a must for us to survive as nations.

On relations with the African Union, he is not amused that a few years ago, he visited the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, had a good meeting with the then AU Commission chairman. The chairman in turn sent a strong delegation to come and assess his country on the ground. A good report was then written urging the AU to grant Somaliland recognition. Unfortunately Chairman Konary left without the AU raising the Somaliland issue in its subsequent summits.

He is happy that Americans finally elected a black president in Barack Obama but quickly adds that Africa must realize that Obama is an American President whose first responsibility is to the American citizens. Currently he has good working relations with successive American governments; Democrats and Republicans alike but has never established such links with Canada.

Since he took power following the death of his predecessor, President Egal, he has faced a number of challenges and accomplished a good number of tasks. From 2002, his government has carried out peaceful and credible local government and parliamentary elections, established the rule of law and entrenched multiparty democratic practice. To date there are three major political parties thriving in Somaliland. They are UDUB, his ruling party, KULMIYE the second largest party and UCID the third largest party in the country.

In the last Parliamentary elections in 2005, which was hotly contested by the three main parties, his party UDUB was declared the winner with a margin of 80 votes, which was subsequently challenged by KULMIYE. However when the court ordered for a recount as demanded by the opposition, the margin increased to 217! To date, of the 80 seats in the House of Representatives, UDUB has a majority of 62 seats that allows his party to pass any laws in Parliament but he has resisted the temptation to exploit this majority in Parliament because he is a believer in a strong multiparty political system. A case in point was when his party asked him to sign a bill that would extend the life of Parliament; he declined because he thought the move would negate the gains Somaliland had made in the area of democracy and because the move would go against the constitution.

On why elections have been postponed, he says that during the earlier voting exercise; a lot of fraudulent activities took place rendering the register invalid. His desire is to promote transparency and accountability is the electoral processes yet this transparency doesn’t go well with opposition parties; the very opposite of what happens in other African countries!

He has promised Somalilanders elections in October 2009; just about five months from now. On this note, Africa wishes you well Mr. President!


Somalia: Somaliland 'bans' opposition demonstrations

HARGEISA, Somalia Apr 15 2009(Garowe Online) - Authorities in Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland have declared that they have banned public demonstrations until election time, Radio Garowe reports.

Mr. Abdullahi Ismail "Irro," the Somaliland minister for internal affairs, told local press that opposition parties Kulmiye and UCID have violated the constitution and other applicable laws.

He specifically accused Kulmiye, the leading opposition party, of holding public demonstrations that are a "threat to security." He warned the opposition to wait until election time to hold public demonstrations.

Somaliland's interior minister said the government "will no longer accept" Kulmiye to hold demonstrations outside party headquarters.

Kulmiye party officials have accused the Somaliland government of "sending agents" to raise trouble at the opposition's public rallies to reject Somaliland President Dahir Riyale's six-month term extension.

At the most recent rally, held on Monday in Hargeisa, an unknown man fired a bullet but no one was hurt. Kulmiye party officials claim he sent by the Riyale administration to incite insecurity.

Meanwhile, a clan elder arrested by Somaliland police yesterday is still in jail.


Open Letter to U.S. Congressman Mr. Donald Payne of New Jersey on Republic of Somaliland

Written by Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi, Apr 15, 2009

Dear Congressman Mr. Payne,

I bring you greetings from the people and government of Somaliland and am honored to send you this letter.

First let me ask for your indulgence for addressing this letter to you without the ceremony of Protocol, but I believe it is permitted in the face of great democracy inevitability to trespass on the better etiquettes of Somaliland, and the subject of my letter does at least in my point of view.

About Somaliland:

Republic of Somaliland is located at Horn of Africa, and borders between Somalia in East, Ethiopia in South, Djibouti in West North and Gulf of Aden in the North. Somaliland got independence from Great Britain on 26th June 1960 (British Somaliland Protectorate), and 34 countries recognized it as an independent country. Four days later, on 1st July 1960, Somaliland joined with Italian Somalia (Today's Somalia) with democracy and freedom as Somaliland's only condition, and Formed Somali Republic on the same day of unity.

However, corruption and injustice spread like wild fire in Somalia, and killing the innocent people and dictatorship became normal. On 1963, Somalilanders started to regain their lost unity, but they failed because the government of Somalia in Mogadishu used military force against Somalilanders. The pressure on the people of Somaliland increased, and was considered as second class citizens. Again Somalilanders tried to revert on 1977 but the Military Ruler of Somalia General\ Mohamed Siyad Barre was very strong and killed all those organized the coup. US State Department named General Siyad (The Man killing his own people.).

On 1980, Somalilanders formed armed group with support of Ethiopian government, they fought to regain their lost freedom and it was on 12th May 1991 when the people of Somaliland removed the regime from their country, and announced independent and democratic government in Somaliland on 18th May 1991.

From that onwards, Somaliland is growing and developing, and democracy is taking roots unlike many African countries. Somalilanders established free press and judiciary. USA Government appreciated the democracy progress in Somaliland and even US State Department Assistant Undersecretary of African Affairs Dr. Frazier visited Somaliland in 2007. During her visit, Dr. Frazier met opposition parties and civil societies including NGOs.

The freely elected President of Somaliland Dahir Riyale visited Washington twice, and USAID sponsored projects to enhance the democracy in Somaliland.

Mr. Riyale invited the US Defense Department to establish African Command in Somaliland. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates welcomed the initiative and even advised the Bush Administration to recognize Somaliland in order to eliminate the Piracy and Al-Qaeda terror in the Horn of Africa. Mr. Congressman, as you know, Al-Qaeda is very active in Somalia and carries out Anti-USA armed operations in the region. It is very clear the terrorists planned to attack US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in Somalia, and even many Al-Qaeda Fugitives are hiding in Somalia.

Somaliland Navy fights pirates, and as you know the Somaliland water is free from piracy, and even US Forces in Djibouti cooperate with their Somaliland counterparts.

The people of Somaliland established democracy, freedom, liberty and justice by themselves without support from outside world. They established multiparty political system just like that in USA. They implemented Biometric Voting System, where citizen will vote by fingerprinting. This is to eliminate the duplicity and misuses.

These people in Somaliland establish strong modern government that has Police, Army Forces, Jails Authority, Courts, Cabinet, and every authority of today's modern governance. Somaliland is the first state in Horn of Africa that has freely elected President and Vice President in more than half century, along with peaceful power transition. Somalilanders elected Parliament with 80 members. Somaliland has currency (Somaliland Shilling), National anthem and Passport.

Somaliland government provides free education to more than 26,000 students, free health care. The government provides clean drinking water and electricity to all citizens with symbolic fees. The citizens of Somaliland got equal rights under the rule of justice. Somaliland government constructed more than 500 schools in less than 10 years.

There are three main political parties UDUB, Kulmiye and UCID. UDUB is ruling party and Kulmiye & UCID has majority in the parliament, and even the Speaker of the Parliament is from UCID. Somaliland stayed peaceful and developing in last 20 years, in other side Somalia was in Civil War.

The Ideal Solution to Somali Instability:

Obama Administration should recognize democratic and independent Republic of Somaliland. Obama Administration should support USAID Projects in Somaliland, in order to support the healthy democracy. The Washington Administration should be aware that Somaliland will be very much useful in fighting terrorism and piracy, in addition to restoring law and order in Mogadishu, Somalia. US Government should use Somaliland as major hub to crackdown the pirates at the Gulf of Aden.

Somaliland will share experience of establishing democracy with Somalia, by utilizing their common culture and language. It is culture of Somaliland to help the needy people in the region, because Somaliland is hosting thousands of refugees from Mogadishu, Somaliland. The current inter-fighting and instability in Somalia led these people to make shift to Somaliland, in order to get basic civil services like health and education. Somaliland authorities in coordination with UNHCR help them.

USA should examine the relation of Somaliland with its neighbors like Ethiopia. Today, Ethiopia – the landlocked country – is using Somaliland major ports like Berbera Port for export and import. Ethiopia opened diplomatic office in Hargiesa, Somaliland. The citizens of Somaliland travel to Ethiopia using Somaliland Passport, even though Ethiopia doesn’t recognize Somaliland diplomatically.

While USA and world attention is focused on stabilizing the vicious Mogadishu, Somaliland commonly referred to as “ Africa’s best kept secret” is taking long strides not only in establishing good relations with its neighbors but in forging ahead with the democratization process.

Undermining Somaliland sadly also undermines the goals of promoting poverty alleviation, peace, stability, and good governance in Africa. Failure to recognise Somaliland would be a great discredit to human rights and to democracy itself, and would destroy the hard-won stability that Somaliland enjoys today.

These below links may give you detailed information about Somaliland:
1. http://www.somalilandnews.com/la/edna_la.htm
2. http://www.sirag.org.uk/G8[1][2][1].Somaliland.pdf
3. http://www.sirag.org.uk/lord_avebury_peace_demcoracy _in_somaliland_house_of_lords.htm
4. www.somalilandlaw.com, (Full information about Somaliland Law System)


Somaliland lash on Eritrea interference in Horn of Africa

afrol News, 14 April - Somaliland authorities have lashed on Eritrean government for meddling of other states affairs and fueling instability in the Horn of Africa.

According to a statement released by Somaliland foreign minister Abdullahi Mohamed Du’ale, Eritrea which is an isolated administration, is famous for interfering in other countries’ affairs citing Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen and most recently Djibouti.

Somalia’s breakaway republic of Somaliland has also claimed that its security forces have captured many suspects trained in Eritrea to bring trouble to peace and security in the Horn of Africa region.

Eritrea which gained independence in 1993 from Ethiopia, has been involved in two serious conflicts on border demarcation with former colonizer Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Eritrea has be fighting with Ethiopia over the flashpoint town of Badme to Eritrea, about 1000-kilometers of frontier. The Eritrea-Ethiopia dispute is part of a set of regional tensions that extends into Somalia.

Tension between the Horn of Africa countries has been high since 16 April 2008 when Eritrean troops raided Ras Doumeira, a disputed promontory on the shores of the Red Sea, as it pursued deserters, which resulted to clashes that killed nine people in June.


Government Action Affront to Somaliland’s Democratic Ideals

Hargeisa, 14 April 2009 (Somalilandpress)(Opinion) - On April 6th, 2009, Government Security Forces opened fire on the Chairman and some members of KULMIYE party who were peacefully marching towards the Chairman’s home. Although Ahmed Silaanyo’s statements addressed to the president Riyaale during Silaanyo’s speech to supporters at SNM celebrations, can be interpreted as challenging the Government (Riyaale, Car soo bax meaning: Riyaale, I dare you to come out), there is nothing to indicate that any interference of the situation by the Security Forces was needed, let alone opening fire on KULMIYE chairman and supporters.

In most any Democratic society, the Government would have been forced immediately to take full responsibility and order an independent investigation/inquiry into the incident.

This incident was followed by the closing of two KULMIYE party offices in next few days. On April 11 Security Forces stormed the Kulmiye Headquarters in Burco, the second capital of Somaliland and the native town of Ahmed Siilaanyo’s and his party’s stronghold.

On Sunday April 12th, the Deputy Minister of Defence Ahmed Mohamed Filanwaa, as reported by Hadhwanaagnews, stated in press conference that the Government has prepared the Army prosecutor to prepare a case for legal action against The Chairman of unregistered Qaran Party, Dr. Mohamed Abdi Gaboose.

The KULMIYE and UCID parties have been, lately, loudly voicing concerns that the Government is instigating them and creating pretext to using the State Security Apparatus against the opposition parties.

It appears that the Government is proving them RIGHT.

As a truly patriotic Somalilander and political junky living abroad who has decided so far not to take sides in Somaliland’s internal political conflicts, I strongly protest the deplorable action taken by a Government whose legality is questioned by a large segment of the people of Somaliland.


Press Release, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Somaliland

by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of SL, Apr 14, 2009

Press Release Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Somaliland On April 10, 2009, Eritrean Foreign Ministry issued a press release in which it negated the existence of the Republic of Somaliland. It seems that the Government of Eritrea deliberately over looks the historical as well as the current prevailing status Quo of the Republic of Somaliland. After a Long and costly struggle the people of Somaliland overthrow the Brutal regime of Siad Barre and on May 18, 1991, Somaliland withdrew from defunct union with Somalia and reclaimed its independent once again.

Somaliland’s declaration of independent is based on its earlier existence as a recognized separate state prior to her merger with Somalia. This is thus not a case of succession, as Eritrea depicts it. Somaliland Borders are demarcated. Somaliland accepts the sanctity of colonially inherited Boundaries in conformity with the African Union charter. The people of Somaliland and many others in the international Community Believe that there is a strong case for diplomatic Recognition of Somaliland as an independent state based on Precedents in international Law. It is mind-boggling however, that Eritrea dismisses all these facts blindly. Unlike Eritrea, Somaliland is a democratic country based on multiple political party systems. Unlike Eretria, Somaliland plays a significant role in the regional security. Unlike Eretria, Somaliland enjoys fantastic relationship with all its neighbors which is based on mutual understanding and mutual interests.

Many consider the Eritrean regime as a pariah state. It’s well known that Asmara regime has not only interfered the affairs of a number of neighbors, but also violated the territorial integrity of these nations,such as, Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen and most recently the Republic of Djibouti. In addition the Asmara administration has been heavily involved in the internal affairs of Somalia. In fact, the regime has been characterized as being part and parcel of Somalia’s unresolved conflict by engaging an endless proxy war.On several occasions Somaliland apprehended red-handedly dozens of individuals trained by Asmara to disrupt the peace and tranquility of the region. Finally, Somaliland urges the Asmara regime to respect the will of the people of Somaliland and avoid interfering issues related to Somaliland.

Abdillahi Mohamed Duale, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Somaliland


Somaliland clan elder arrested after attending opposition rally

HARGEISA, Somalia Apr 15 2009(Garowe Online) - A clan elder was arrested Tuesday in Somalia’s breakaway republic of Somaliland after he attended an opposition rally the day earlier, Radio Garowe reports.

Saleban Boqor Saleban Hassan was detained by Somaliland police in Hargeisa, with witnesses saying he demanded the police to show him a warrant.

He was standing in front of Hotel Imperial in Hargeisa when police units arrested him without a warrant, witnesses said.

Crowds gathered around as the traditional elder was ushered into a police vehicle and transported to police headquarters in Hargeisa.

On Monday, Mr. Saleban addressed hundreds of people who came out in support of Kulmiye opposition party leader Ahmed Silanyo’s refusal to recognize the term extension of Somaliland President Dahir Riyale.

He loudly criticized two government officials – Finance Minister Awil Ali Du’ale and Public Works Minister Said Sulub – whom he accused of “inciting old clan hostilities.”

Mr. Silanyo, Somaliland’s opposition leader, has demanded that President Riyale leave office after failing to hold presidential elections on time.

Somaliland’s upper house of parliament, the House of Guurti, voted to give Mr. Riyale’s administration a six-month extension in addition to a one-year extension Riyale received in 2008, angering opposition parties Kulmiye and UCID.

“I thank you for coming out to express your opposition to Riyale’s term extension,” Mr. Silanyo told supporters, as police units blocked off roads near the Kulmiye party headquarters in Hargeisa.

He openly accused the Riyale government of “robbing the public” and “destroying the democracy” in Somaliland.

“We have the constitutional right to stage peaceful protests. We do not fire bullets, we do not throw stones, but they [police] fired bullets at us,” Silanyo said, while referring to Kulmiye’s first public demonstration in Hargeisa last week that ended abruptly after Somaliland security forces fired into the crowd.


ONE ON ONE WITH SOMALILAND POLITICAL ELITE

Hargeisa, 12 April 2009 (Somalilandpress) - Eng. Feisal Ali Waraabe, President of the UCID opposition party, the third largest political party in Somaliland believes that Somaliland is on an irreversible path to democracy with a sound and credible multiparty political culture.

He swears that the citizen is the backbone of political power; therefore his or her participation is fundamental. The citizen therefore deserves the right to be protected from state excessive power.

He, like many Somaliland politicians, is appalled at the apparent indifference of the world community to the plight of his country despite 19 years of relative peace and democratic governance.

His theory as to why African states have never recognized Somaliland is an interesting one and suggestive of a theory of international conspiracy to safe-guard special interests that may not be so obvious to the rest of Somalilanders and other African states.

As much as his country needs the support of African states; the same states have over the years been unable to formulate credible foreign policies of their own. Their dependence on foreign aid from more powerful nations in the West has deprived them of ability to make independent decisions on questions like the Somaliland sovereignty.

The Somaliland question is directly linked to the struggle for supremacy between Somalia and Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa. And Somali being an Islamic State makes it a case of interest for the rest of the Arab world and more particularly the Arab League kingpin- Egypt.

The fact that Ethiopia has closer ties with Somaliland to the extent that it is the only country with an Embassy in Hargeisa; has unsettled the nerves of the Cairo government bearing in mind that Ethiopian desire to control the source of the Nile waters; the lifeline of Egyptian survival has been a cause for concern to the Egyptians since colonial times. After fighting a bitter war with Eritrea, the Addis regime had to switch from the port of Asmara to Berbera seaport in Somaliland for it external trade.

Egypt believes that a stronger and united Somalia state would be a deterrent to Ethiopia should the latter take drastic actions to go to war with Egypt over Nile waters. If such a situation arose, Egypt would count a fellow Muslim country to offer logistical as well as military support. That country has to be a strong and united Somalia.

The reason other Islamic states in the Arab world including Sudan cannot recognize Somaliland is because for the wealthier Arab states; their foreign policies are guided by the more powerful Egyptian state which also is America’s strongest ally after Israel in the entire Middle East.

The Somaliland question gets more complicated when one ropes in the Italian connection, a former colonial master of the now failed state of Somalia. It is in Italian interest to sustain the Somali nation in order to retain its influence in the region. Its voice in the AU therefore carries weight when it comes to the Somaliland debate.

This could be the reason the European Union is pouring millions of dollars into the country, rehabilitating and rebuilding universities and other institutions as well as sponsoring their electoral processes but at the same time withholding tacit recognition of the Hargeisa regime!

The Egyptian role in denying Somaliland UN recognition became more evident when Boutros Boutros Ghali, an Egyptian was the Secretary General of the United Nations. When Somaliland presented its credentials for the UN General Assembly consideration, the documents were never even tabled at the Assembly because it would not be in the interest of the Egyptian people!

Somalilanders see their failure to get international recognition as double standards the international community is famous for.

This hypocrisy forgets that Somaliland was a sovereign state in 1960 with a seat at the UN General Assembly before it voluntarily formed a Union government with Italian Somalia.

Now, the proponents of One Somalia forget that in the same region and other parts of the world, the same UN, AU and EU have sanctioned the separation of several states including Eritrea from Ethiopia, Polisario from Morocco, the independence of East Timor, the fragmentation of former Yugoslavia into ethnic enclaves and allowed several East European states to split from former Soviet Union.

UCID as a political party draws its inspiration and democratic practice from well established European political parties. They look up to the Social Democratic Party of Germany and the Labour Party of UK among other like-minded parties.

As a party, they are committed to the development of the Somaliland nation and will strive to ensure that Somaliland gets accepted and recognized by the international community. It is a party with a strong Diaspora influence , having been founded in Europe by exiles while Siad Barre made it difficult for them to operate in the then Somalia.

The UCID party leaders are strong believers in Pan Africanism and will work if elected to power to promote regional integration and African unity throughout the continent.

Five fundamental principles guide the UCID operations:
1. To maintain and safeguard Somaliland’s independence and sovereignty
2. Turn Somaliland into a welfare state where every citizen enjoys basic rights and access to services such as security, shelter, education, healthcare and food security
3. Their vision of Somaliland is that of a decentralized state where each region is autonomous in order to bring government and services closer to the people of Somaliland
4. To produce young and visionary leadership that will be able to eradicate tribalism and clanism 5. To build strong and viable institutions that can safeguard the rights of the people irrespective of regime change

When asked why elections in Somaliland have been postponed twice since May 2008, the party president cited several plausible reasons even though they may not be the opinion of the majority of their members.

One of the reasons they share with UDUB the ruling party is that there is need for a new voter registration to comply with the new EU sponsored electronic voting system.

To understand the new technology, the sponsors wanted the Electoral Commission to understand the technology and the process if elections were to be credible.

For this reason voter registration commenced in August 2008 after the new system had been installed and field personnel trained on their application. The process was supposed to end in January 2009 after six months of national registration. However, on October 29, 2008, there was a major terrorist attack in Hargeisa that targeted the Presidential Palace, the UNDP Country office and the Ethiopian Embassy.

Following this attack that left at least 30 people dead, all foreign workers in Somaliland were evacuated as several of their operations closed down. This incident drastically disrupted the voter registration that only resumed after January 2009.

However, terrorist attack aside, the UCID believes that Somaliland has an inefficient and incompetent electoral Commission. The party also feels the government was not keen on holding elections on time in the first place.

They are arguing that there are forces within Somaliland that worked against voter registration. For example, they cannot understand reasons for the latest postponement considering that experts from the European Union who will manage the process have been in the country for a long time now. Due to this delay, many donors have either stopped or suspended their support for political parties.

Despite this anger with the government over the latest election postponement, UCID as a party feels that public demonstrations are not the way to solve the problem because Somaliland, like the rest of Somalia is a fluid and unstable society. More importantly, the police are not trained to handle civilians with care. The police don’t even have teargas canisters or water cannons to deal with demonstrations. If such a situation were to arise, they would most likely use live ammunition and there would be unnecessary loss of life.

Whereas the party will not take part in street demonstrations, members feel that it is within the rights of every citizen to demonstrate peacefully and the government has a duty to protect every citizen including those that may demonstrate against it from time to time.

By Jerry Okungu, Hargeisa, Somaliland, Jerryokungu@gmail.com, Africa News Online


Somaliland: Police Storms Offices of Opposition Party In Burao

BURAO (Somaliland Globe - 11 April 2009) — The Somaliland police have stormed the offices of KULMIYE, the main opposition party in Somaliland today. As the police raided the office a number of journalists from the independent media have been gathered there for a press conference organized the by the party.

As the Police commandos stormed the office, the supporters and leaders of KULMIYE ordered them to leave the building. The police refused and fired shots into the air. The KULMIYE supporters and leaders responded by hitting and stoning the police. A lengthy and nasty fist fight between the police and the supporters ensued where base ball bats were used. At the end the Police left the building. It is not known how many people were injured in the fight.

The Rayale administration has been cracking down on the opposition supporters and leaders lately, since the opposition has withdrawn its recognition of the current administration. On April 6, the leader of the opposition party, Mr Silanyo, who was the longest serving chairman of SNM the guerrilla organization that liberated Somaliland from Siyad Barre’s rule, was shot at by the Police after peaceful demonstrations and march in the capital city.

The police and military spokesmen refused to speak about the incident when we asked for information about the police raid today. KULMIYE party on its side confirmed that their office was attacked today, adding that the government was trying to start a war and destabilize Somaliland.

At the press conference, the party reaffirmed its position rejecting the Guurti’s extension for Rayale tenure in office by six months. Party officials said they are always supportive of the peace, but said they are within their rights to organize peaceful demonstrations.

The party also reported similar harassment from the police few days ago by their staff at Hargeisa and Berbera district offices.


Somalia: Somaliland security forces raid opposition party office

BURAO, Somalia Apr 11 2009(Garowe Online) - Security forces in Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland raided the regional office of Kulmiye opposition party as part of an ongoing effort to silence the opposition, Radio Garowe reports.

Police units in the town of Burao, capital of Togdheer region, raided the office of Kulmiye opposition party on Saturday and attempted to stop a press conference where opposition politicians were condemning the administration of Somaliland President Dahir Riyale, who received a controversial six-month term extension earlier this month.

Opposition politicians and their supporters engaged in a fistfight with the police, with confirmed reports indicating that the police fired bullets in the air. Police officers were eventually forced to retreat as crowds gathered, witnesses said.

There were reports of some civilian injuries, but no one was hurt by the bullets.

Tens of supporters gathered at Kulmiye's party office afterwards to encourage opposition leaders and their refusal to accept Mr. Riyale's term extension for the second time since 2008.

Last week, security forces opened fire at a Kulmiye party rally in the city of Hargeisa, the regional capital of Somaliland.


Somaliland: Radio Hargeisa Goes Global

Djibouti (http://www.qarannews.com/Apr 09, 2009) - Radio Hargeisa, The first ever Somali radio since 1940's, the current national radio of Somaliland, has made the quantum leap to become the latest radio station to hit the airwaves of most East African nations such as Somalia, Djibouti, Somali zone, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Radio Hargeisa was the first Somali speaking radio, established in 1948, but the first broadcasting began in December 1951. However in 1988, it was destroyed by the Somali civil war or Siyad Bare's forces, the last Somalia dictator.

For the past year, it has been under going some major improvements to it's services and reception.

On Monday, Somaliland students in Yemen were able to listen to Radio Hargeisa for the first time in many years, while on Wednesday it hit the airwaves of Japan for the first time on 7145kHz at 1759UTC.

On Friday, Somaliland students studying in neighboring countries were able to listen to Radio Hargeisa.

Radio Hargeisa broadcasts Somali music, news and other current affairs. It mainly broadcasts in Somali language.

Now Radio Hargeisa will bring back the beloved old school Somali mixtapes - time to dust off your old radios and enjoy your beloved radio again; Radio Hargeisa, the voice of Somaliland.


SOMALIA: Hundreds flee inter-clan clashes in Somaliland

HARGEISA, 8 April 2009 (IRIN) - Hundreds of families in Somalia's self-declared republic of Somaliland have fled inter-clan fighting in the mid-west Satiile area in Gabiley region, officials said.

The fighting, the second flare-up in three months, started on 7 April after a group of men drove into Satiile settlement area and shot dead a local farmer and wounded his brother.

Ahmed-Bare Sa’id Kibar, a village elder in Satiile, said at least 200 families had fled from Xar-Makahiil, Dacawalay, Laaca, Maslayaha, Jaldhaabta and Satiile farmland settlements to Adado Dhaadheeray, Kalabaid. Some of the families had fled to Gabiley, the region's capital, he added.

Elabe Mohamoud Hufane, the deputy mayor of Dilla District in Awdal region, said: "We received reports mid-morning yesterday that a man, identified as Ahmed Yasin Kule, had been shot dead on his farm while his brother survived and managed to flee.

"We went there to calm the situation with the district police; we were told the men who shot dead Ahmed Yasin were from Elberdale area in the north, where a land-based conflict had started some time ago."

In late February, two men were shot dead following inter-clan fighting between the Reer Hared of Gabiley region and the Reer Nour of Awdal region. The conflict dates back to 1998 when the clans confronted each other over the war between the Somali National Movement (Somaliland's liberation organisation in 1981-1991) and the army, which was loyal to the late Mohamed Siyad Barre, then Somali president. At the time, the Reer Nour supported Barre while Reer Hared supported the liberation movement.

Over the past two decades, attempts to reconcile the two were made and a ceasefire agreed but the issue has since transformed into a land conflict, focusing on a farming development project founded by Sheikh Muhumed Rage in the late 1950s.

After the February clashes, a committee from Somaliland's upper house of parliament, the Guurti, toured the region. The committee was also in the area when the latest clashes erupted, according to Hufane.

"We met several dozen families fleeing to Dilla District, and we spoke to them urging them not to flee but they went ahead saying they feared for their security," Hufane said.


KULMIYE STATEMENT ON THE CURRENT POLITICAL SITUATION IN SOMALILAND

April 8th, 2009

We, KULMIYE, the main opposition party in Somaliland, are concerned about the current political situation in Somaliland and make the following statement.

We condemn the government’s crack down on hundreds of our supporters who marched peacefully in Hargeisa yesterday to protest Mr. Dahir Rayaale’s plans to unlawfully extend his term of office as the president of Somaliland, which constitutionally ended yesterday. The police forces fired guns to stop our supporters from taking part in the protest. And, in the city of Berbera, the government arrested several KULMIYE party officials.

We also regret that Mr. Rayaale has imposed stringent measures interfering press laws and Journalistic work. In March, the Independent Radio Horyaal reporter, Mr. Ahmed Suleiman Doholl was arrested without charges and the Editor of the Yool newspaper, Mohamed A Guled ‘Curad’ was given a custodial sentence for being critical of the government policy.

We raise our deep concerns at Mr. Rayaale’s conduct in relation to the above as well as his systematic delays of the presidential election in order to remain in power for unlimited period of time.

We are worried that Mr. Dahir Rayaale’s desire to hang onto power beyond his term increases the likelihood of Somaliland entering into a political crisis that may put the country’s security and democratic process at risk- the two greatest achievements of the people of Somaliland.

KULMIYE will not let Mr. Rayaale to take these achievements away from our nation and therefore we are determined to continue our protest in order to make sure that free and fair elections do take place in Somaliland; that the democratic principles are upheld; and that a consensus is reached on areas where our constitution is unclear.

KULMIYE rejects Mr. Rayaale’s intentions of unilaterally extending his tenure and calls for an inclusive consultation to discuss and agree on an appropriate interim administration.

KULMIYE is ready to take part in a free and fair election held at the earliest possible time agreed by the national election commission and the political parties.

We note that immediate improvements are required to ensure that civil and political rights are respected and that the electoral process is allowed to be free from interferences.

We call on Mr. Rayaale to refrain from violence and provocations. Harassing our supports and terrorising our party officials and leaders are unacceptable. Equally important is the respect for the inalienable rights of assembly of peaceful demonstrators.

We believe that continuation of arrests of KULMIYE supporters will only exacerbate the situation.

Finally, we hold Mr. Rayaale accountable for any loss of life by Somaliland citizens as a result of his denial of their fundamental civil and political rights enshrined in the constitution.

We call on the nation as a whole to keep calm in this difficult period.

Dr. Mohamed A Omar, Foreign Affairs Secretary, KULMIYE PARTY, Republic of Somaliland


Somaliland: Presidential Decree To Set the Election Date

Hargeisa, Somalilandpress Apr 07, 2009 - The Somaliland President, Mr. Dahir Rayale Kahin issued a Presidential Decree setting the new date of the elections to be on 27th of September 2009. According to a press release yesterday by the government’s spokesman, Mr. Said Adani Moge, this came after taking the Guurti’s extension into consideration and the new proposal from the Electoral Commission that the new date will be on the 27th of September 2009.

The Guurti’s decision was the most controversial issue since the last few weeks where the opposition parties slammed the decision saying it is unconstitutional while the government insisted that the Guurti has the mandate to extend the government’s term if there are reasonable conditions.

Yesterday, the Electoral Commission issued a press release yesterday to set a new date for the elections inline with the latest Guurti’s extension. Immediately, the President issued a Presidential Decree to confirm the new date set by the committee.

This comes after the main opposition party said they do not recognize the government’s legitimacy after the government’s term ends on 6th of April 2009. Yesterday, Kulmiye supporters started a demonstration in Hargeisa which was blocked by the government after the police fired in the air and dispersed the crowd.


Somaliland: Religious Leaders Combat HIV Stigma

HARGEISA, Source: IRIN, March 27, 2009 – When three attempts to cure Abdulhakim*, 42, of tuberculosis failed, the father of nine living in Hargeysa, capital of Somaliland, took his doctor's advice and tested for HIV - the result came back positive.

His family's reaction was predictable: his brothers stopped grazing their goats and sheep alongside his, and many of his relatives wouldn't touch him. "My wife and children are the only ones who have stood by my side," he told IRIN/PlusNews.

Abdulhakim finds it hard to blame his relatives – after all, until he was diagnosed he held similar misconceptions. "I thought AIDS was a disease for fornicators and immoral people, but I later got more educated."

HIV-positive people in Somalia live with constant stigma, are ostracized and often even thrown out of their homes for fear that they might infect their neighbors.

Islamic religious leaders in Somaliland, some of whom have become involved in HIV prevention efforts, are now stepping in to persuade communities to treat people with HIV more humanely. Islam has an enormous influence on everyday life in Somalia, and religious leaders have the power to sway the population's views on HIV/AIDS.

"As religious leaders we feel it is one of our main duties to be kind and helpful to the less fortunate members of society," said Sheikh Mohamed Haji Mahamoud Hersi, who is part of an organization of Muslim leaders that travels the country preaching. "Islam is about compassion, and people living with HIV deserve to be treated with kindness. The disease can happen to anyone."

Hersi was one of the first religious leaders to counsel people living with HIV. "I tell them that they have to keep contact with God and to live a normal life," he said. "It really keeps their spirits up; the day religious leaders visit is a very special day for them." Abdulhakim agreed. "A person needs different types of support - physical, economic, medical and also spiritual; when the Imams talk to us we feel more stable, like things will be okay," he said.

The religious leaders hope to influence communities to become more tolerant of people living with HIV. "They really listen to us, so if the people see that we find no problem talking with their HIV-positive neighbors, then they may also accept them," Hersi said.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UNAIDS have been training religious leaders to teach local communities about behavior change. "Religious leaders need training so that they can say the right words, and avoid words that can cause additional problems to people living with HIV," said Gulleid Osman, executive director of Talowadag, a coalition of NGOs that cares for people living with HIV.

Osman said most religious leaders were coming round to the view that they should stand up for the rights of HIV-infected people. "We recently held a meeting with 24 religious leaders, and only one refused to be involved in counseling people living with HIV - he said it [HIV] was something for non-Muslims ... but most of them no longer feel that way."

UNDP is working with the Somaliland AIDS Commission, local NGOs and Muslim scholars to develop a strategy that formally establishes the role of religious leaders in the fight against AIDS, and to harmonize the messages they deliver.


Somalia: Police disperse demonstrators with gunfire in Somaliland

MOGADISHU(Mareeg)--At least one girl was injured Monday after the police of the breakaway republic of Somaliland dispersed demonstrators with gunfire in Hargeisa, the de facto capital of Somaliland.

The supporters of Kulmiye opposition party of Somaliland took to the streets of Hargeisa to show their anger against the government which the House of the Guurti, the upper house of the parliament, extended the time of the government with six months.

The leader of Kulmiye opposition party, Ahmed Mohamoud Silanyo called his supporters on Sunday for a peaceful demonstration throughout the country.

Mr. Silanyo accused the government of breaking the constitution by postponing the elections. He said the party will not tolerate such acts and described the move by the police as intimidations to his supporters.

Meanwhile the supporters of Kulmiye opposition Party organized a demonstration in Burao in favor of the party’s position about the coming elections.

The party said they will not support any postponement of the elections and they will not recognize the legitimacy of the government after the 6th of April 2009.

The demonstration which lasted for few hours ended in a peaceful way where the police forces were available in all the streets in case of any violence.


Somalia: Somaliland troops fire on opposition demonstrators

HARGEISA, Somalia Apr 7 2009(Garowe Online) - Security forces in Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland fired on demonstrators in the regional capital Hargeisa, Radio Garowe reports.

The incident took place on Monday, when Kulmiye opposition party supporters demonstrated in front of the party's headquarters in Hargeisa.

Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, Somaliland's opposition leader and Kulmiye chairman, was among hundreds of supporters walking between the Kulmiye party headquarters to Silanyo's residence in Hargeisa.

At least one girl was wounded in the gunfire, as Somaliland security forces fired in the air and reportedly fired "at demonstrators," according to independent sources in Hargeisa.

Angry demonstrators chanted anti-Dahir Riyale slogans, demanding that Somaliland's leader leave office after failing to hold presidential elections on time and receiving a controversial six-month extension from the upper house of parliament, the House of Guurti.

Mr. Silanyo, Somaliland's opposition leader who lost a close vote to Mr. Riyale in 2003, told supporters that the "peaceful demonstrations will not stop," while appealing to the public to "uphold the peace."

Meanwhile, in the port city of Berbera, Kulmiye party's top official, Mr. Shine Abdi Barkadle, was temporarily jailed by Somaliland police as he organized a similar demonstration to oppose President Riyale's term extension.

Somaliland's constitutional crisis began in mid-2008, when the House of Guurti gave Mr. Riyale's government a one-year term extension, which ended on April 6, 2009.

Mr. Riyale has rejected opposition demands to resign, arguing that the House of Guurti's decision for a six-month term extension that ends in Oct. 2009 is legal under Somaliland's constitution. He has vowed to step down "only to an elected president."


The Somaliland Diasporas are fully supporting Kulmiye’s call for Peaceful Rallies Throughout the Country

http://saylicipress.net/ April 05, 2009 - The theme of the day is change. President Rayaale do the right thing and voluntarily leave office when your time expires. Kulmiye is for peaceful transition of power. They are for democracy, the rule of law, and they following Somaliland’s constitution. Kulimye emerged as a powerful, peaceful and responsible national party. Somalilanders want this emerging reform party to lead the country in the right direction.

I am saying to president Dahir Rayaale and his government, you did a good job. I commend you on how you safeguarded the peace and order in the country. But president Rayaale the country badly needs change. The wind of change is blowing with a very high speed. The thunderstorms and hurricanes change are raging throughout the landscape of the country. From Zeila to Sool and Sanaag. From Borama to Burao and every hamlet, farm, valley and mountain side, everybody is singing of change are raging with full force.

The birds are swinging from tree to tree and singing change. Old and young, Men and women, PhD’s and no d’s are all singing change. A fever similar to the Obama fever last year, 2008 is blowing throughout the country. President Rayaale, visionary leaders know when to quit. Do the right thing and listen to the voices of the masses. The time people will give a leader blind support simply because of his clan affiliation is gone. Gone are the days when a single invocation of”Tulaayay” can give a manipulative leader an automatic a blind support. Those days are gone.

President Rayaale do the right thing and voluntarily leaves office when your time expires. At this stage there is no single scenario by which you can win. At this level great leaders take the high road and quit. The Mugabes, Kibakis, Bashirs


Somaliland: Kulmiye Calls For Peaceful Demonstrations

Hargeisa, 5 April 2009 (somalilandpress) - The leader of Kulmiye opposition party, Mr. Ahmed Mohamoud Siilaanyo called his supporters for a peaceful demonstration throughout the country tomorrow. The party accused the government of blocking all the hotels in order Kulmiye to organize an event to welcome a new supporters. In front of Crown Hotel and under a big tree, Mr. Siilaanyo said the party will do a huge but peaceful rallies in all the Somaliland cities tomorrow.

Mr. Sillaanyo accused the government of breaking the constitution by postponing the elections. He said the party will not tolerate such acts and his supporters should show their loyalty to the party’s decision.

In the other hand, the government has been warning against any illegal and violence demonstration since the past few days saying the general security should not be harmed. Speaking in International Mine Action Day yesterday, the Vice President of Somaliland, Mr. Ahmed Yusuf Yassin said the Guurti have the constitutional right to extend the government’s term and called the electoral commission to set a new date according to the Guurti’s decision.

Many mediation attempts from different sides have failed during the last couple of weeks when each side did not show any compromise from their decisions.


‘Police On The Verge’ Of Arresting Prominent Opposition Member in Somaliland

HARGEISA (SomalilandGlobe, 05 April 2009) – Rumors abound that a prominent KULMIYE party member is being sought by the police in Somaliland after the Riyale administration ordered his arrest.

Mr Ali M. Gulaid (Ali Marshall) confirmed the existence of the order to arrest him. He said he believes the order to arrest him came from the presidential circles.

Ali said the main reason behind the arrest warrant is because of his involvement in the political activities of his party, including an upcoming pledge of support by his community for the party.

Mr Ali Marshall, denied that the arrest warrant has anything to do with his recent critical analysis of the fiscal budget.

He said he is not in hiding and that he believed the reason they did not carry out the arrest so far is because some within the administration believe they need to exercise caution and do a bit of investigation before going ahead with the arrest.

In previous incidents where Riyale administration arrested prominent politicians, such as Dr. Gabose and Mohamed Hashi, the rumors of their imminent arrest were circulated, probably by the administration itself to test the waters, before finally going ahead. It is believed that some members of the administration are nervous about the arrest and are similarly exploring the reaction of the Hargeisa residents.


"We are committed to Somaliland and the support for the democratical process will continue", said by EU Envoy

http://www.qarannews.com/Apr 04, 2009

The EU Special Envoy for Somalia Mr Georges-Mark received april 3rd at his office in Nairobi Kenya Mr Amir Adan, Swedish politican from Conservative Youth Organisation Stockholm. and a candidate for the forthcoming election for European Parliament in june 2009.

At the meeting was also present Eidarus Sh Adan, Somaliland Ambassador to Sweden, The Special Envoy informed Mr Amir Adan about the EU work in Somalia in general and the support for Somaliland when it comes democracy and institution building. One important issue the parties discussed was the EU support for the forthcoming election for President. EU is the biggest donor for the forthcoming election for president.

Mr Amir Adan briefed the Special Envoy about his recent visit to Somaliland and the meetings he held with the Somaliland President, Somaliland National Election Commission (NEC), political Parties and the Speaker of Somaliland House of the Representative.

Amir Adan stressed that it is very important that EU support must continue and there is no time to waste. Therefore the planning for the forthcoming elect ion must go on , regardless the small setbacks that has occured. The most important target in this crucial time is the election takes place as soon as possible according to the timeline set by the House of Elders (Guurti). All the stakeholders should focus their effort and energy so that a free and fair election takes place. If we fail we are all losers and it will be a setback for democracy in the region and for the world.

Amir Adan urged that Interpeace and Somaliland National Election Commission must speed up their effort and bring a Final Vote List. as soon as possible. The whole world is waiting for the forthcoming election and the International community have inevested 8 million US dollar and a lot of efforts have been put so it is very important that we all work together so that a fair and free election takes place.


Somaliland Foreign Minister addresses UK International Conference on ‘Sovereignty’

by Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Apr 04, 2009. Press Release

Durham, UK, 3 April 2009 - The Somaliland minister of Foreign of Affairs, Mr Abdillahi Mohamed Duale, addressed on Thursday an international gathering of government officials, diplomats, business people and academics taking part in the ‘State of Sovereignty' conference held at the prestigious International Boundaries Research Unit (IBRU) of Durham University in the city of Durham, United Kingdom.

The 3-day international IBRU conference brought together a diverse group of delegates and speakers from over 53 countries. The conference was designed to address the practical implications of boundary making, boundary management and dispute resolution, which officially opened on Wednesday 1st April 2009.

Somaliland's Foreign minister, Mr Duale, on day two of the conference, gave a two-hour long presentation which ended with a Q&A session. The minister described the history of the State of Somaliland and how, since his country's independence in 1991, Somaliland has moved forward as an independent and sovereign country to create a stable democratic society in a region afflicted with instability, wars and conflict.

The minister's paper titled "A Sovereign State for Somaliland & What it means for the Horn of Africa" illustrated that ‘Somaliland has fulfilled all the standard criteria for the establishment of a sovereign state and international recognition' and argued that ‘with the attainment of sovereignty Somaliland could accelerate its development and help to add stability to the region.'

Following his presentation, the Foreign Minister speaking to conference journalists covering the 3-day event said, the conference provided him and his delegation the ideal opportunity to meet and hold discussions with a wide range of fellow participants including those from the African Union, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, US State Department plus numerous international experts in the field of international boundary disputes and sovereignty issues.

"I'm very much grateful and pleased to have taken part in this important forum and be given the opportunity to explain our side of events.

Definitely, its been very beneficial for my country to get to know so many foreign government departments, their officials and delegates at this conference, which I believe, will certainly assist us in our ultimate goal of achieving sovereignty status," said, Mr Abdillahi Mohamed Duale, the Somaliland minister of Foreign Affairs.

Conference organisers, IBRU said, they invited Somaliland's Foreign Minister to speak at the conference as his country's long pursuit for sovereignty provided an ideal, real - world example of the difficulties facing certain states during their quest for sovereignty status and world recognition.

The ‘State of Sovereignty' conference is celebrating the 20th anniversary of boundary studies at IBRU, a department of Durham University. The conference ends on Friday, 3rd April 2009.


"We are committed to Somaliland and the support for the democratical process will continue"...: European Union (EU) Special Envoy

http://www.qarannews.com/Apr 04, 2009

The EU Special Envoy for Somalia Mr Georges-Mark received april 3rd at his office in Nairobi Kenya Mr Amir Adan, Swedish politican from Conservative Youth Organisation Stockholm. and a candidate for the forthcoming election for European Parliament in june 2009.

At the meeting was also present Eidarus Sh Adan, Somaliland Ambassador to Sweden, The Special Envoy informed Mr Amir Adan about the EU work in Somalia in general and the support for Somaliland when it comes democracy and institution building. One important issue the parties discussed was the EU support for the forthcoming election for President. EU is the biggest donor for the forthcoming election for president.

Mr Amir Adan briefed the Special Envoy about his recent visit to Somaliland and the meetings he held with the Somaliland President, Somaliland National Election Commission (NEC), political Parties and the Speaker of Somaliland House of the Representative.

Amir Adan stressed that it is very important that EU support must continue and there is no time to waste. Therefore the planning for the forthcoming elect ion must go on, regardless the small setbacks that has occured. The most important target in this crucial time is the election takes place as soon as possible according to the timeline set by the House of Elders (Guurti). All the stakeholders should focus their effort and energy so that a free and fair election takes place. If we fail we are all losers and it will be a setback for democracy in the region and for the world.

Amir Adan urged that Interpeace and Somaliland National Election Commission must speed up their effort and bring a Final Vote List. as soon as possible. The whole world is waiting for the forthcoming election and the International community have inevested 8 million US dollar and a lot of efforts have been put so it is very important that we all work together so that a fair and free election takes place.


Somaliland Democratic Process at the Crossroads: What is next?

By: Dr. Mohamed-Rashid Sheikh Hassan.

2009-04-04 (Hadhwanaagnews) Democratic process in Somaliland is going through difficult time, after the Guurti extended again the mandate of the current government for another six months. This did not please the opposition political parties who mobilised their supporters for an earlier election than the date set by the Guurti. The opposition parties based their logic whether the constitution of the country gives the Guurti the right of such extension. This is not the first time that the Guurti did such an action. And this frustrates many Somalilanders. Already the commission set a date for the election, 31st May, 2009 and this is their mandate. If they can not do this work within this time framework, the commission has to negotiate with the three political parties on this new development. This is the only right way.

Somaliland democratic process has been achieved by the combination of various forces in the society mainly the political parties. How these political parties cooperate at every stage of the process has been the cornerstone of this achievement. Without the cooperation of the three political parties, definitely there will not be any genuine election and the democratic process will be derailed. The so far successive democratic elections held during the last eight years were only possible through tough negotiations and give-and-take compromises. UCID party was the main contributor to the success of every stage of these negotiations.

In connection to this, we have reached where we are now. Though our democratic culture is still fragile, but nevertheless, it works and maintains the structure of the fragile state as well as the cohesion among the society. It also attracted some respect and appreciation from the international community.

Despite of these, it is unfortunate that the diverse components of society: the intellectuals, civil society, religious leaders, and young people seem to be indifferent to the politics of the country and they rarely participate in the political parties and the political debate. The role of all these forces is now missing in the political spectrum of the country. Thus, this has created a vacuum where the unelected body like the Guurti determines the whole political future of the nation. The Guurti, except few elder respected people, has been diluted recently by being more political as well as that every elder man who dies is inherited by a young person with less experience and the present Guurti only now bears the name. This needs an urgent critical debate.

What has happened on the 28th of April, 2009, when the Guurti extended another six months for the incumbent government, can not be regarded as a good example and can not be seen as a positive contribution to the democratic process of the nation. On the contrary, it complicates and exacerbates the political situation and disappoints many Somalilanders everywhere.

Now the country has entered a new phase of political crisis. This needs politicians with magnanimity and vision, particularly from the three political parties. The coming election is so more important for Somaliland than any other election before, mainly because if we pass this peacefully, it could hasten more support first from our people both at home and abroad and from the international community. It could also be a catalyst for transformation and change which the country so badly needs.


Somaliland: Riyale is anxious about April 6

http://www.somalilandglobe.com/04 April 2009

The Riyale administration is nervously awaiting for a peaceful passage of the day when his term in office expires on April 6.

The administration is clearly nervous about the growing backlash from the public after forcing a Guurti bill to illegally extend his term in office for a second time. Instead of legally winning another five year re-election, his administration which is said to be gloomy at best about its chances to win a free and fair elections, was looking for ways to extend its stay in office perhaps by up to two years. In March 28 meeting the Guurti extended his term by six months, even though that extension is clearly unconstitutional.

Nevertheless, that extension looks likely to fail due to the growing chorus of voices saying that they will not recognize it including the two opposition political parties. The opposition accepted the previous one-year extension which is going to expire in less than a week on Monday, April 6.

Riyale’s ministers were restless in the past few days holding press conferences which are being aired around the clock by the government controlled media, in which they accuse the opposition of instigating violence while at the same time threatening to take “serious unspecified measures” against their leaders.

The government controlled media has also been broadcasting staged interviews with elders who the administration says represent various communities. These elders, who in the interviews are airing their “support” for the extension, are known to be individuals who are on the government payroll and have no clout within the communities.

Governors across the country were ordered to hold community meetings with chiefs and sultans affiliated with the administration to shore up support for the extension and warn them from listening to “those” who are “endangering the peace”, a reference to the opposition’s call to reject of the extension.

Reliable sources say Riyale held a private meeting among key ministers including the finance Minister Awil and the Interior Minister Cirro, to forge a strategy to counter the growing backlash from the public, which they believe is also swelling the ranks of the opposition.

Amid the growing anger with his administration, Riyale knows he has even less support for an extension. But among the decisions taken at the meeting was the use of a security based theme to sway the public to its side by fully utilizing the government controlled media as well as the government officials around the country.

According to our sources the government will step up its campaign to paint the main opposition party, KULMIYE, many of whose members were veteran leaders of the former SNM guerrilla organization, as hawks who were responsible for the civil wars and are a danger to the peace. This assertion, while a stretch of the facts, may have won Riyale some votes in 2003 from a war weary public, but is unlikely to change the public anger and perception of this administration’s repeated bending of the rule for its own desire to stay in power.

Just days after the meeting, various ministers held the usual press conferences declaring the Riyale administration as the guarantor of the peace while accusing the opposition of fermenting instability. Along with that message the deputy minister of Justice went even further, threatening that “any attempted coup” will be faced with extreme punishment including “execution”. A message that was widely interpreted as the most aggressive attempt yet to intimidate the public into submission. This latest message from the administration is translated as desperate measure to blackmail the public. The opposition spokesman said “this is a clear sign to put the public on notice that Riyale is willing to take unprecedented actions to cling on to power by any means, including political executions rather than relinquishing the power peacefully”.

In response to the recent administration threats, another members of the opposition KULMIYE party said “Are we going to see a repeat of the same events that took place last April? Is the administration going to start exploding bombs like it did before and accuse us of being behind it?”. He was referring to April 2008 when Cirro, the Minister of Interior, accused KULMIYE party of being behind an explosion that occurred in an empty room at the building housing the Guurti. Even though around that time the government had imposed night-time curfews and large number of army and police were deployed around Hargeisa, several mysterious explosions were heard at night time in the city. Those explosions, which coincided with the political tensions surrounding the previous one-year extension of Riyale’s term of office, mysteriously started and suddenly stopped as soon as the administration got what it wanted. The opposition was adamant that Riyale administration orchestrated the explosions and were clearly meant to create an atmosphere of fear among the residents of the city. The opposition at the time called for an independent committee to investigate the explosions. The administration ignored those calls and did not itself start investigations to counter the widespread believe that it was behind the explosions.

Since all those intimidations, threats and the name calling of the opposition parties leaders were used in past, they appear to bear little fruit this time around. Instead Riyale is likely to further erode any respect that he had left from the public.


Somaliland Vice-President Faults Guurti for The Extension

http://www.somalilandglobe.com/04 April 2009 | Editorial

The Somaliland Vice-president, Ahmed Yusuf Yassin said he was surprised by the Guurti decision to extend his and president Riyale’s unelected term in office. He said the Guurti does not understand what it has voted for.

Despite his surprise, the Vice-President did not call the decision illegal. Instead he implored on the Guurti to repeal their decision.

The Vice-President also accused the National Election Commission of making a decision that is outside their power by declaring an election date that falls beyond April 6, when the administration’s one-year term expires. He said they should not have made any decisions before first publishing the voter registration lists which is still being awaited.

On the face of its, the Vice-President’s call on the Guurti to repeal their decision appears to be a voice of reason in an administration that flagrantly flouts the rule of law. However, this call can not be taken seriously, since the Vice-President failed to mention or blame Riyale who wrote to the Guurti and was the force behind the extension, not vice versa.

The public demands the administration to respect the rule of law and abide by the agreements it has signed alongside the opposition parties last year as a condition for the opposition’s acceptance of the previous extension. Nothing short of the administration’s refusal to accept the illegal extension of their term will satisfy the public. After all they are the ones who, by their decisions, are putting the country in a dangerous path. His administration should be calling for a national conference on the future of the country, and they should also accept that their term has expired and that they will not seek an extension.

The administration coming in line with the public demands, restoring the rule of law, and rejecting the Guurti extension may be a wishful thinking but nothing short of that can diffuse the political crisis that the administration itself has created.


Radio Hargeisa Goes Global

Apr 03 2009 (Source:Somalilandpress)- Hargeisa Radio; the national radio of Somaliland, has made the quantum leap to become the latest radio station to hit the airwaves of most East African nations such as Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Radio Hargeisa was the first Somali speaking radio, established in 1948, but the first broadcasting began in December 1951. However in 1988, it was destroyed by Siyad Bare's forces, the last Somali dictator.

For the past year, it has been under going some major improvements to its services and reception.

On Monday, Somaliland students in Yemen were able to listen to Radio Hargeisa for the first time in many years, while on Wednesday it hit the airwaves of Japan for the first time on 7145kHz at 1759UTC.

On Friday, Somaliland students studying in neighbouring countries were able to listen to Radio Hargeisa.

Radio Hargeisa broadcasts Somali music, news and other current affairs.

It mainly broadcasts in Somali language.

Now Radio Hargeisa will bring back the beloved old school Somali mixtapes - time to dust off your old radios and enjoy your beloved radio again; Radio Hargeisa, the voice of Somaliland.


Somalia: Four Puntland journalists detained at Somaliland airport

HARGEISA, Somalia Apr 3 2009(Garowe Online) - Four journalists who traveled to Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland for a media seminar have been detained by local police, Radio Garowe reports.

The four journalists traveled by air to Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, after leaving their homes in Garowe and Galkayo, two cities in the self-governing Somali region of Puntland.

The journalists were detained at Hargeisa's Egal International Airport on Wednesday, where they were questioned by police.

Somaliland authorities said the journalists' arrival was not approved by the Ministry of Information, although the journalists argued that they were invited to Hargeisa to attend a seminar hosted by CARE International.

The detained journalists spent Wednesday night at a room in the airport. Radio Garowe's corresponded in Hargeisa, Mr. Mohamed Jamal, visited the journalists at the airport where they informed him that they were treated fairly well.

No comments have emerged from CARE International or the Somaliland government regarding this case.


Somalia: Floods Havoc in Western Somaliland

Tog-Wajale 3 April 2009. (http://allafrica.com/stories/200904030641.html)

— Dozens of families were displaced and thousands of livestock killed in three days after torrential rain induced flash floods in the west of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, officials said.

Most of the livestock deaths were reported in Tog-Wajale district where the mayor, Omar Aden Gazali, said at least 5,700 animals died after it rained for 72 hours.

Gazali said two people had died in the floods, more than 100 families (600 people) were displaced and homes and business premises destroyed.

The mayor said most of the families who lost their livestock came from the eastern parts of Somaliland in search of pasture.

Gazali said a bridge connecting the town to neighbouring Ethiopia was inundated with water and almost destroyed.

"The police started to stop people from crossing the bridge between the two sides of the town," he said.

Said Mohamed Ahmed, the mayor of Wajale, on the Ethiopian side, said the floods had also affected their part of town.

"We sent our teams to survey the problems caused by the rains; there is a lot of damage caused by the floods," he said.

Khadar Abdi Hussein, a local resident, said the flooding of Wajale river, which is seasonal, had also reportedly displaced hundreds of families in Gabiley region, including Ged-baladh vilagge, Allaybaday District.

Hussein said many animals weakened by a prolonged drought had succumbed to the rains. "They were too weak to survive," he added.

The floods come days after Somaliland officials said the east of the region remained drought-stricken.

Mohamoud Awed Du'alle, the deputy mayor of Erigavo, near Hargeisa, the region's capital, had earlier told IRIN the situation was deteriorating in Jiidali, 35km southeast of Erigavo, and Yufle, Goofa and Booca areas, where cattle and sheep had already started dying.


Somaliland’s Constitutional Argument

Hargeisa, 2 April 2009 (Somalilandpress) - Republic of Somaliland – Africa’s best democracy – drafted a constitution after independence 26th June 1960, and was effectively enforced after liberation of Somaliland from dictatorship of Somalia 18th May 1991.

On May 31, 2001 the people of Somaliland went to their poles to vote in their very first national election. The election was held to ratify their new constitution – a constitution that was drafted to formally withdraw from their union with Somalia on 1st July 1960. Somaliland’s second leader the late Mohamed Ibrahim Egal led the voting initiative.

It is generally accepted that the Somaliland Referendum election reflected a “Yes” vote in favor of independence from the rest of Somalia – Former Italian Somalia. Somaliland, like Eritrea, announced independence in 1991, on the basis that it was not seeking “secession”, but wanted to revert to the independence status it had briefly enjoyed for four days in 1960. Unfortunately, and unlike Eritrea, it had no blessing from a central authority to go its own way like Ethiopia. Central Government of Ethiopia granted independence to Asmara administration immediately.

97% of the people of Somaliland voted for “Yes” to independence under international election observers.

As it happens in many democratic countries, the new constitution has gaps that need to be fixed through legal processing or by legitimate body. The Somaliland Constitution got similar fissure and gaps that created current political confusion mainly over the election timetable, and authorized body to extend the tenure of the president. However, that does not damage the stability and progress in Somaliland, because every problem is solved via traditional manner. Somaliland people are famous of tolerance and respecting each other’s ideas, which is centuries’ old culture.

Moreover, the constitutional confusion includes legality of forming new political parties. The government insists that only the current three political parties are officially authorized ones, and some of politicians in Somaliland demand permission to establish new parties. Every group – the government and other politicians – claims to be following the constitution. Here is the confusion, which is right? Does the constitution is wrong? The answer is that constitution needs to be rephrased and amended just like many new constitutions of democracies around the world including USA.

Another gap in Somaliland constitution is, the election timetable and whose is authorized to extend era of the government if election delays? Recently, Upper House of Parliament (Guurti House) extended the tenure of current President Dahir Riyale Kahin to another six months.

Here are many constitutional questions, are the Guurti authorized body to extend the era of Kahin? Are they neutral in the politics? And why the opposition parties protested against the decision of Guurti? All these need answers, and can be achieved if the constitution amended.

Also, the role of Somaliland’s National Election Commission (NEC) is another factor to be examined, because of the continuous unjustified delays of the elections, without having proper reasons. It is obvious that NEC introduced new biometric voting technology, which is rare in Africa, but that does not justify more than single postponement of election.

Supporters of ruling party UDUB argue that Guurti House is, the only, authorized body to extend the tenure of the administration during emergency situations, and election is not possible.

However, the opposition Kulmiya and UCID parties remonstrated against the decision of Guurti, and even expressed concern over the neutrality of the Guurti House. Unfortunately, both sides – the opposition and ruling party – are using unofficial statements against each other, which can humiliate the image of Somaliland internationally. But democracy, freedom of expression, equality and liberty is bases of the modern State of Somaliland.

The last election results of Somaliland Parliament put the opposition parties higher than ruling party, which shows growing support to the opposition. The opposition parties rule the parliament with majority of 63%. The Parliament Speaker Abdurrahman Cirro is from UCID Party and the opposition is very much confident to win in next presidential election.

Overall these arguments, neither ruling party nor opposition parties are willing to disturb the stability of the country, because they will lose public support if they do that. The people of Somaliland are very much into protecting the peace and development and won’t allow chaos in their own hometowns, in addition to their commitment towards open democracy.

All in all, the current situation in Somaliland is part of the healthy democracy and campaign, and will not lead to instability in the region instead will promote transparency and freedom of expression. Today, the campaign in Somaliland is catching the heat, and rivals are accusing each other to win public support.

The enemies of Somaliland believe the current heated campaign will be the beginning of civil war in Somaliland, but always Somaliland people prove them wrong. The truth will prevail, and always Somalilanders win.

To the people of Somaliland: You have paid precious prizes to create today’s democratic Somaliland, and you know that politicians are nothing but lairs, which promise today and fail tomorrow. You have common interest, to live in peace and stability; to establish strong and brilliant future for your children; to elect the right man to lead you through the challenges of life.

Your injuries from the freedom fighting did not heal completely yet; there are thousands of children without fathers and mothers to look after; there are former freedom fighters in very street of Hargiesa, Burco, Berbera and Ceerigaabo who needs care and respect; there are a lot to do in state building, including establishing strong infrastructure and public services. My dear Somaliland friends elect the right man to guide you to the light of development.

I know, you all respect humanity and rights of every Somalilander. I know you are very much mature to understand your enemies other than friends. So, as friend of Somaliland, I appeal to you to encourage the law and order in every town and city, and stop those trying to take you back to chaos. You should protect the security because security starts in your neighborhood, and extends to country level.

We pray Allah, the almighty, to protect you.

By Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi. Email: az.almutairi@yahoo.com


Somalia: Somaliland's constitutional crisis deepens

HARGEISA, Somalia Apr 2 2009(Garowe Online) - The government in Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland has responded strongly to opposition criticism, warning that the government "will not accept threats" from the opposition, Radio Garowe reports.

A statement issued by Somaliland's leading opposition party, Kulmiye, expressed the party's opposition to a decision by the House of Guurti, the upper house of parliament, which granted the administration of President Dahir Riyale a six-month extension period to lead the region until presidential elections later this year.

"The Kulmiye Party sees the March 28, 2009, decision by the House of Guurti which extended the President's term by six months as a violation of the law and the constitution," the statement read, adding that legitimate constitutional excuses for an extension such as "threats to national security are non-existent."

The statement went on to say that the House of Guurti "does not have the constitutional right" to establish election dates, arguing that it is the sole duty of the Somaliland election commission.

Further, the Kulmiye party's political statement indicated that the proposal of the lower house of parliament, the House of Representatives, was not respected.

"There was no respect for the elected House of Representatives' decision that if the election is not held within the one-year term extension period [starting May 2008], then the two lawmaking bodies [houses of parliament] convene for a joint session and reach a single decision," the statement read.

Therefore, the statement went on, "the Kulmiye Party will not recognize Dahir Riyale and his deputy [Vice President Ahmed Yusuf Yasin] as legitimate after April 6, 2009."

The opposition party warned strongly against the government's misuse of public institutions, including state-run media, public funds, and the security forces.

Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, the Kulmiye party chairman, is the leading opposition figure in Somaliland's presidential election. In 2003, he lost by less than 90 votes to incumbent President Riyale.

Government response

Somaliland's presidential office has issued a counter-statement, specifically responding to the Kulmiye party's political position.

"At first, we will say that the words from him [Silanyo] and his party [Kulmiye] are a naked violation of the law and constitution of Somaliland...which state that the President and the Vice President can [only] be replaced by a new elected President," the presidency's statement read.

Citing a constitutional clause, the statement defended the House of Guurti's "right" to extend President Riyale's term in office "until there are elections."

"The Chairman of Kulmiye Party [Silanyo] previously declared that he is confident with the decisions of the House of Guurti, which is a constitutional body, yet he opposes the House of Guurti's vote to ratify a term extension for the President and the Vice President," read the Somaliland government's response.

Further, the statement accused the Kulmiye party of "not respecting the constitution," while advising the opposition to "believe and uphold the consitution and the law if one wishes to lead the country [Somaliland]."

Lastly, the government's response warned that "no one will be accepted to threaten the constitution."

Somaliland's political crisis has entered a new period, as the government and the opposition have been further divided by the House of Guurti's controversial vote to delay the presidential election for the second time in two years.

The House of Guurti, which is an unelected lawmaking body mandated with far-reaching constitutional powers, received a four-year term extension in 2007 supported by President Riyale.

By comparison, the 82-seat House of Representatives was elected in a public vote but has been denied a role in the ongoing political crisis.

Located in northwestern Somalia, Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from the rest of the country in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.


Opposition Parties Reject Guurti Extension and Say They Do Not Recognize Rayale As a President Come April 06th

Hargeysa (Somaliland Globe - 01 April 2009) The two opposition parties in Somaliland, Kulmiye and UCID, have rejected the new date set for elections by the house of elders of Somaliland, Guurti. Mr Faysal Warabe, Chairman of UCID decried that the Guurti does not have the authority to set the election time table while Mr Silanyo altogether rejected both the time table set by the Guurti and the extension made to Rayale’s term of office by the Guurti.

On 28th March 2009 the Somaliland house of elders have given a six month extension, the second within a year, to President Rayale’s term of office which was due to expire in April 06h of this year. They have also announced that elections should take place on the 29th of September 2009.

The Somaliland Election Commission has announced earlier this year that they are unable to hold the Presidential elections that were scheduled to take place on the 29th of March 2009.

Mr Silanyo, the chair of Kulmiye Party, the main and largest opposition party of Somaliland, stated that the Guurti does not have the authority to set election dates and pointed out that it has hijacked the responsibilities of the election commission. Mr Silanyo further added that the extension to Rayale’s term was illegal and unconstitutional and stressed that his party will not recognize Mr Rayale as a President after the 06th of April 2009 when his term of office expired.

The Guurti have made a similar extension, a one year extension, to Rayale’s term of office when the government announced that elections cannot take place inn April last year

Political and regional observers fear instability after the second extension to Rayale’s term of office. A diplomatic source who requested anonymity in order to discuss his feelings frankly stated that they, the European Union, has warned President Rayale of another extension and have advised him to consult with the opposition parties and stake holders.


Somaliland: “No Legitimate Government After 6th April”, Says Kulmiye

Hargeisa. March 31 2009 (somalilandpress) - In a press conference today, the main opposition party, KULMIYE said they will not recognize any government after the 6th of April when the term extension of the government comes to an end.

The press conference which was held at the party’s head quarters in Hargeisa was attended by the Somaliland media. All the party officials were present during the press conference.

KULMIYE mentioned the following points in their press conference:
* The Guurti’s decision was unconstitutional and they don’t have the mandate to set the date of the elections.
* There are no emergency situation in the country which makes the elections postponed.
* The former Parliament decision which called for a consultation among all the parties if the elections are to be postponed was not respected.
* The official term of the government ended on 15th of May 2008 and it has been extended for one more year in order the elections to take place which the government has failed to do so.

The spokesman for the party then announced that after series of meetings and consultations with the party’s members, KULMIYE Party reached the following seven-point consensus:
* The party will not recognize any government after the end of the current governments term on the 6th of April 2009.
* The party is ready to participate in fair and free elections.
* The party calls the media outlets which are controlled by the government to be neutral between all the parties for the campaign.
* National resources should not be used by the government and it should be free from any party during the elections.
* Security forces should not be used against the people and other parties. There should be neutral among all the parties.
* The judicial system of the country should also be neutral.
* The party welcomes any consultation among the parties and welcomes any government based on consultations.


Somali National Movement (SNM)

http://halganews.com/29 March 2009

The Isaaq clans of northwestern Somalia also resented what they perceived as their inadequate representation in Siad Barre's government. This disaffection crystallized in 1981 when Isaaq dissidents living in London formed the Somali National Movement (SNM) with the aim of toppling the Siad Barre regime. The following year, the SNM transferred its headquarters to Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, from where it launched guerrilla raids into the Woqooyi Galbeed and Togdheer regions of Somalia. Like the SSDF, the SNM had both military and political wings, proclaimed itself as a nationwide opposition movement, and tried to enlist the support of non-Isaaq clans. Initially, the SNM was more successful than the SSDF in appealing to other clans, and some Hawiye clan leaders worked with the SNM in the early and mid1980s . Prior to establishing itself within Somalia in 1988, the SNM used its Ethiopian sanctuary to carry out a number of sensational activities against the Siad Barre regime, most notably the 1983 attack on Mandera Prison near Berbera, which resulted in the freeing of several northern dissidents...

In April 1981, a group of Isaaq emigrés living in London formed the Somali National Movement (SNM), which subsequently became the strongest of Somalia's various insurgent movements. According to its spokesmen, the rebels wanted to overthrow Siad Barre's dictatorship. Additionally, the SNM advocated a mixed economy and a neutral foreign policy, rejecting alignment with the Soviet Union or the United States and calling for the dismantling of all foreign military bases in the region. In the late 1980s, the SNM adopted a pro-Western foreign policy and favored United States involvement in a post-Siad Barre Somalia. Other SNM objectives included establishment of a representative democracy that would guarantee human rights and freedom of speech. Eventually, the SNM moved its headquarters from London to Addis Ababa to obtain Ethiopian military assistance, which initially was limited to old Soviet small arms.

In October 1981, the SNM rebels elected Ahmad Mahammad Culaid and Ahmad Ismaaiil Abdi as chairman and secretary general, respectively, of the movement. Culaid had participated in northern Somali politics until 1975, when he went into exile in Djibouti and then in Saudi Arabia. Abdi had been politically active in the city of Burao in the 1950s, and, from 1965 to 1967, had served as the Somali government's minister of planning. After the authorities jailed him in 1971 for antigovernment activities, Abdi left Somalia and lived in East Africa and Saudi Arabia. The rebels also elected an eight-man executive committee to oversee the SNM's military and political activities.

On January 2, 1982, the SNM launched its first military operation against the Somali government. Operating from Ethiopian bases, commando units attacked Mandera Prison near Berbera and freed a group of northern dissidents. According to the SNM, the assault liberated more than 700 political prisoners; subsequent independent estimates indicated that only about a dozen government opponents escaped. At the same time, other commando units raided the Cadaadle armory near Berbera and escaped with an undetermined amount of arms and ammunition.

Mogadishu responded to the SNM attacks by declaring a state of emergency, imposing a curfew, closing gasoline stations to civilian vehicles, banning movement in or out of northern Somalia, and launching a search for the Mandera prisoners (most of whom were never found). On January 8, 1982, the Somali government also closed its border with Djibouti to prevent the rebels from fleeing Somalia. These actions failed to stop SNM military activities.

In October 1982, the SNM tried to increase pressure against the Siad Barre regime by forming a joint military committee with the SSDF. Apart from issuing antigovernment statements, the two insurgent groups started broadcasting from the former Radio Kulmis station, now known as Radio Halgan (struggle). Despite this political cooperation, the SNM and SSDF failed to agree on a common strategy against Mogadishu. As a result, the alliance languished.

In February 1983, Siad Barre visited northern Somalia in a campaign to discredit the SNM. Among other things, he ordered the release of numerous civil servants and businessmen who had been arrested for antigovernment activities, lifted the state of emergency, and announced an amnesty for Somali exiles who wanted to return home. These tactics put the rebels on the political defensive for several months. In November 1983, the SNM Central Committee sought to regain the initiative by holding an emergency meeting to formulate a more aggressive strategy. One outcome was that the military wing--headed by Abdulqaadir Kosar Abdi, formerly of the SNA--assumed control of the Central Committee by ousting the civilian membership from all positions of power. However, in July 1984, at the Fourth SNM Congress, held in Ethiopia, the civilians regained control of the leadership. The delegates also elected Ahmad Mahammad Mahamuud "Silanyo" SNM chairman and reasserted their intention to revive the alliance with the SSDF.

After the Fourth SNM Congress adjourned, military activity in northern Somalia increased. SNM commandos attacked about a dozen government military posts in the vicinity of Hargeysa, Burao, and Berbera. According to the SNM, the SNA responded by shooting 300 people at a demonstration in Burao, sentencing seven youths to death for sedition, and arresting an unknown number of rebel sympathizers. In January 1985, the government executed twenty- eight people in retaliation for antigovernment activity.

Between June 1985 and February 1986, the SNM claimed to have carried out thirty operations against government forces in northern Somalia. In addition, the SNM reported that it had killed 476 government soldiers and wounded 263, and had captured eleven vehicles and had destroyed another twenty-two, while losing only 38 men and two vehicles. Although many independent observers said these figures were exaggerated, SNM operations during the 1985-86 campaign forced Siad Barre to mount an international effort to cut off foreign aid to the rebels. This initiative included reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Libya in exchange for Tripoli's promise to stop supporting the SNM.

Despite efforts to isolate the rebels, the SNM continued military operations in northern Somalia. Between July and September 1987, the SNM initiated approximately thirty attacks, including one on the northern capital, Hargeysa; none of these, however, weakened the government's control of northern Somalia. A more dramatic event occurred when a SNM unit kidnapped a Médecins Sans Frontières medical aid team of ten Frenchmen and one Djiboutian to draw the world's attention to Mogadishu's policy of impressing men from refugee camps into the SNA. After ten days, the SNM released the hostages unconditionally.

Siad Barre responded to these activities by instituting harsh security measures throughout northern Somalia. The government also evicted suspected pro-SNM nomad communities from the Somali- Ethiopian border region. These measures failed to contain the SNM. By February 1988, the rebels had captured three villages around Togochale, a refugee camp near the northwestern Somali- Ethiopian border.

Following the rebel successes of 1987-88, Somali-Ethiopian relations began to improve. On March 19, 1988, Siad Barre and Ethiopian president Mengistu Haile Mariam met in Djibouti to discuss ways of reducing tension between the two countries. Although little was accomplished, the two agreed to hold further talks. At the end of March 1988, the Ethiopian minister of foreign affairs, Berhanu Bayih, arrived in Mogadishu for discussions with a group of Somali officials, headed by General Ahmad Mahamuud Faarah. On April 4, 1988, the two presidents signed a joint communiqué in which they agreed to restore diplomatic relations, exchange prisoners of war, start a mutual withdrawal of troops from the border area, and end subversive activities and hostile propaganda against each other.

Faced with a cutoff of Ethiopian military assistance, the SNM had to prove its ability to operate as an independent organization. Therefore, in late May 1988 SNM units moved out of their Ethiopian base camps and launched a major offensive in northern Somalia. The rebels temporarily occupied the provincial capitals of Burao and Hargeysa. These early successes bolstered the SNM's popular support, as thousands of disaffected Isaaq clan members and SNA deserters joined the rebel ranks.

Over the next few years, the SNM took control of almost all of northwestern Somalia and extended its area of operations about fifty kilometers east of Erigavo. However, the SNM did not gain control of the region's major cities (i.e., Berbera, Hargeysa, Burao, and Boorama), but succeeded only in laying siege to them.

With Ethiopian military assistance no longer a factor, the SNM's success depended on its ability to capture weapons from the SNA. The rebels seized numerous vehicles such as Toyota Land Cruisers from government forces and subsequently equipped them with light and medium weapons such as 12.7mm and 14.5mm machine guns, 106mm recoilless rifles, and BM-21 rocket launchers. The SNM possessed antitank weapons such as Soviet B-10 tubes and RPG- 7s. For air defense the rebels operated Soviet 30mm and 23mm guns, several dozen Soviet ZU23 2s, and Czech-made twin-mounted 30mm ZU30 2s. The SNM also maintained a small fleet of armed speed boats that operated from Maydh, fifty kilometers northwest of Erigavo, and Xiis, a little west of Maydh. Small arms included 120mm mortars and various assault rifles, such as AK-47s, M-16s, and G-3s. Despite these armaments, rebel operations, especially against the region's major cities, suffered because of an inadequate logistics system and a lack of artillery, mine- clearing equipment, ammunition, and communications gear.

To weaken Siad Barre's regime further, the SNM encouraged the formation of other clan-based insurgent movements and provided them with political and military support. In particular, the SNM maintained close relations with the United Somali Congress (USC), which was active in central Somalia, and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), which operated in southern Somalia. Both these groups sought to overthrow Siad Barre's regime and establish a democratic form of government...

The Isaaq as a clan-family occupy the northern portion of the country. Three major cities are predominantly, if not exclusively, Isaaq: Hargeysa, the second largest city in Somalia until it was razed during disturbances in 1988; Burao in the interior, also destroyed by the military; and the port of Berbera.

Formed in London on April 6, 1981, by 400 to 500 Isaaq emigrés, the Somali National Movement (SNM) remained an Isaaq clan-family organization dedicated to ridding the country of Siad Barre. The Isaaq felt deprived both as a clan and as a region, and Isaaq outbursts against the central government had occurred sporadically since independence. The SNM launched a military campaign in 1988, capturing Burao on May 27 and part of Hargeysa on May 31. Government forces bombarded the towns heavily in June, forcing the SNM to withdraw and causing more than 300,000 Isaaq to flee to Ethiopia.

The military regime conducted savage reprisals against the Isaaq. The same methods were used as against the Majeerteen-- destruction of water wells and grazing grounds and raping of women. An estimated 5,000 Isaaq were killed between May 27 and the end of December 1988. About 4,000 died in the fighting, but 1,000, including women and children, were alleged to have been bayoneted to death.

Bitter cross-clan feuding fed by the inept and brutal one-party rule of Muhammad Siad Barre (Siyad Barrah) came to a head in the spring of 1988 when the Somali National Movement (SNM) began taking over towns and military installations in the north. Thousands were killed, and hundreds of thousands of refugees fled to neighboring Ethiopia. Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, remained in the hands of the socialist government... In the meantime the SNM made major gains.


SOMALIA: Urgent help needed for drought-affected

NAIROBI/HARGEISA, 31 March 2009 (IRIN) - A severe drought that has gripped most of Somalia is worsening, with the affected populations needing urgent help after losing their livelihoods, Mahamud Abdi Ibrahim, the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, told IRIN on 31 March.

"The reports we are getting are that people and livestock in drought-affected areas are dying of shortages of water, inadequate food, and lack pasture for livestock," he said. "It is really a very grim situation."

Ibrahim said the worst-affected regions were in Hiiraan, Galgadud, Mudug and parts of Bay and Bakol and Gedo, Middle and Lower Shabelle, and Lower and Middle Juba, in central and southern Somalia.

He urged humanitarian agencies "to come to the aid of those affected", saying the government had informed the agencies of the situation and was seeking "immediate and sustained assistance to save lives".

Haji Ahmadey Gurey, an elder in Torotorow in Lower Shabelle, said almost all the villages around the town were affected.

"Both farmers and nomads are suffering," he said. "We had no rains in the Deyr season [October-December]; now many nomads are coming into the town with nothing."

Gurey said lack of water and food was the main problem: "People are drinking untreated water, which is causing a lot of sickness and death."

Ibrahim said the government would help in facilitating access to affected areas, adding that where the security situation did not allow for access by foreign agencies, local partners should be used to deliver the aid.

"The government will help them identify local aid groups that can be trusted to deliver the aid," he said. "As government we don't care who delivers the assistance and where, so long as it reaches those in need. Now is the time to help if you are going to help."

Meanwhile, in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, rains have started in parts of the region but the east remains drought-stricken.

"Some little rain was reported in the mountain areas of Erigavo [near the region's capital] and other areas, but it's not enough for the drought-affected region as a whole," Hashim Go’d, a journalist based in Borame, Awdal region, told IRIN.

He said the rains started on 28 March in Borame, Bon, Qulujeed and surrounding areas as well as in the capital, Hargeisa, and Gabiley and Sanag regions.

However, he said, there was still a lack of water in areas such as Jiidali, 35km southeast of Erigavo, Yufle, Goofa and Booca, with the local government sending four to five water trucks daily to these areas.

Mohamoud Awed Du'alle, the deputy mayor of Erigavo, said: "The situation is getting worse in these areas; animals such as cattle and sheep have already started dying in the region. Some families are taking their cattle to the urban areas to sell because of a lack of water."

Du'alle said the price of the water had increased dramatically in remote areas, as many donkeys used to ferry water have died.


SOMALIA: Somaliland youth risk death in search of better life

HARGEISA, 30 March 2009 (IRIN) - Harir Omar Yusuf, about to finish high school, should be choosing a degree course and deciding on a career direction; instead, he spends most of his time planning a perilous escape from his hometown of Hargeisa, capital of the self-declared republic of Somaliland in the northwest of Somalia, to Europe.

"As soon as I finish high school I will go there, because I have nothing to stay for in Somaliland," he told IRIN, adding that his parents could not afford university fees and he was not assured of a place even if they could.

Yusuf has many friends who have made the journey - first through Ethiopia, then Sudan and Libya and finally to Italy via the Mediterranean Sea - and are now living as illegal immigrants in Italy and other European nations. He also has many friends languishing in Sudanese or Libyan jails, arrested for entering the country illegally, and knows of many who died making the trip, but he remains determined.

Tens of thousands of Somalis also try to cross the Gulf of Aden into Yemen every year aboard small vessels run by people-traffickers operating from Somali ports; according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), one out of every 20 people attempting the journey in 2007 died.

Yusuf says he would rather risk death than live a life of certain poverty in Somaliland.

Unemployment

"The issue of young people running away is very problematic in Somaliland," said Omer Ali Abdi, the director of the youth department in the Ministry of Youth and Sports. "Year after year, graduates from secondary schools are increasing and our universities just don't have the capacity to take in all of them - and even when they graduate from university, there is no guarantee they will get a job."

According to Ahmed Hashi Abdi, vice-minister in the Ministry of Planning and Coordination, only 10-20 percent of people under 35 are employed.

"Because it is unrecognised internationally, Somaliland has no access to bi-lateral funding, which has caused our economy to suffer, especially after the livestock ban of 1999, which destroyed the main source of income of most of our people," Abdi said. "For the same reason, international scholarships and higher education exchange programmes are not open to our students."

An outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in Saudi Arabia in 1999 resulted in a regional ban on imported livestock from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya, and Djibouti; the ban on Somalia remains in place and now includes several other Middle Eastern nations.

After the ban, remittances became the main foreign exchange earner; thousands fled the country during an outbreak of war in 1988, and regularly send money to their families. The Ministry of Planning estimates remittances account for US$500 million - or about 80 percent of Somaliland's economy.

"When people leave the country legally, we are happy that they are able to send back money, but as much as possible we try to discourage young people from leaving illegally - then it becomes a matter of life and death and we cannot encourage that," Abdi said.

Despite the risks, many families scrimp and save to send their children on these journeys. Over the past year, Amina Rooble (not her real name) has spent more than $6,500 on transport, communication, paying traffickers and bribing prison officers, all in an effort to get her son Hashim to Italy.

Although his boat sank, Hashim survived and is now seeking asylum in Italy. "Even though my son was rescued, two other members of my family died on that boat," Rooble said.

Incentive to stay

The government and local NGOs have run campaigns to discourage young people from leaving, but according to Yahye Mohamoud Ahmed, head of the Somaliland National Youth Organisation NGO, unless the government can provide some motivation, young people will continue to escape in droves.

"They have no incentive to stay - no jobs and no businesses, so it is fairly futile to tell them to stay," he said. "They need to be given the capacity to feed themselves here."

Ahmed added that many young men were now taking swimming lessons and using hi-tech communication equipment - such as satellite telephones to make SOS calls - to make their trips safer.

"When they hear about their friends and relatives in London or Italy, they get encouraged to go; even when their relatives have no jobs there, they still think they have a better life than here," he added.

According to Ahmed Abdi, the national development plan includes the creation of two vocational training institutes in every region of Somaliland to boost the number of tertiary institutions and the variety of courses available.

"We also intend to set up micro-finance schemes to enable them to be self-supporting," he added.

He noted that despite the continued livestock ban, a few countries in the Arab world were starting to buy Somaliland's meat, and the government hoped the Saudi ban would be lifted, restoring the industry.

Youth policy

The Ministry of Youth and Sports, in partnership with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), is drafting a national youth policy - due to be passed by parliament in 2011 - that hopes to address issues of youth emigration, unemployment, education and political participation.

"What we need more than anything is resources from our international partners focused on development rather than strictly emergencies - resources focusing on education and building the economy would encourage young people to stay and build their own nation," the Ministry of Youth's Abdi said.


Opposition Supporters Demonstrate in Burao

Hargeisa (Somalilandpress, March 29, 2009) - The supporters of the Somaliland’s political opposition party, KULMIYE organized a demonstration in Burao in supporting the party’s position about the coming elections. The party said they will not support any postponement of the elections and they will not recognize the legitimacy of the government after the 6th of April 2009. The party called the Parliament to form a transitional government to organize the elections in May 2009.

The demonstration which lasted for few hours ended in a peaceful way where the police forces were available in all the streets in case of any violence.

Such demonstrations are often held in Somaliland whether organized by the opposition or the government as part of the democracy in the country. According to the constitution, any demonstrations should be approved by the Ministry of Interior before it is held.

The National Electoral Commission announced that according to some circumstances they postponed the elections until 31st of May 2009. This decision was supported by the ruling party, UDUB and one of the opposition parties, UCID but the other opposition party, KULMIYE rejected the proposal and said they would accept the decision only if the government steps down after 29th March and there is a transitional government to lead the elections.

The government slammed those suggestions and said it is against the constitution and only an elected President can replace the current one.


Somaliland: Opposition Leader Rejects the Guurti Decision

Hargeisa, March 29 2009 (Somalilandpress) — The leader of the main opposition Kulmiye Party, Mr. Ahmed Mohamoud Silanyo slammed the Guurti’s decision to extend the term of the current government by another six months. Mr. Silanyo said the Upper House does not have the mandate to set the election date.

“Only the electoral committee have the mandate to set the date of the elections” Said the chairman.

Mr. Silanyo said this is a dark moment for the growing democracy of Somaliland and they will not recognize the government after the 6th of April when the government’s term comes to an end. He said they trust the electoral commision and they will collaborate with them accordingly.

Mr Silanyo said his party will be issuing a joint statement in the coming hours and expressed anger towards Rayale’s administration and the Upper House on their continues abuse of the constitution.

The chairman also talked about two journalists that were arrested yesterday accusing the government of using force against reporters and not allowing the freedom of expression.


Somaliland president receives another term extension

HARGEISA, Somalia Mar 28 2009(Garowe Online) - The leader of Somalia's breakaway state of Somaliland received a term extension Saturday, in a vote that is likely to deepen the region's ongoing election crisis, Radio Garowe reports.

Somaliland's upper house of parliament, the House of Guurti, held an extraordinary session in the regional capital Hargeisa, with 79 MPs present including Guurti Chairman Saleban "Gal" Mohamud.

Some 20 Guurti MPs offered heated speeches, introducing two opposite motions.

The first motion indicated that the administration of President Dahir Riyale's term in office expires on April 6, arguing that there is "no emergency" such as war, drought or other natural disaster to warrant another delay of the much-expected presidential election.

This motion's supporters accused President Riyale of failing to hold elections on time, while calling for the establishment of a caretaker government to rule Somaliland until the election.

The second motion stated that the Somaliland election commission could not organize the election on time, citing the Oct. 2008 suicide bombings in Hargeisa that targeted the office of President Riyale among others.

Further, the pro-Riyale lawmakers in the House of Guurti argued that there is an ongoing drought in some regions of Somaliland, saying that the current government should receive a term extension to overcome such challenges.

Mr. Saleban Gal, the Guurti Chairman, then said the lawmakers would vote on the political future of Riyale's government.

"Of the present lawmakers, 42 MPs voted to extend the term for the President and the Vice President, 35 MPs rejected the vote, 1 MP abstained and I did not vote," the Guurti Chairman announced.

As the chairman declared the vote results, his two deputies – Sheikh Ahmed Sheikh Nur and Said Abdullahi – sat next to him.

The new election date was set for October 29, 2009, giving the Riyale administration time to complete the voter-registration process.

Somaliland opposition parties Kulmiye and UCID have not formally responded to President Riyale's term extension.

But Mr. Ahmed Silanyo, the Kulmiye party's presidential candidate and the opposition leader, has vowed not to recognize Riyale's government after April 6.

Security was extra tight in and around the parliament building in Hargeisa, as police and military units kept close watch as the House of Guurti held its most important vote to date.

In 2008, Guurti MPs voted in favor of extending Riyale's constitutional five-year term in office by one additional year, with opposition parties accepting the term extension on grounds that the presidential election be held on March 29, 2009.

Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, vowing to establish a peaceful and democratic government.

Critics say Somaliland's democratic image has been severely tarnished by election delays and the overall lack of press freedom, including a ban on independent radio stations.


SOMALIA: Thousands need aid to return home from Somaliland

IRIN Mar 27, 2009 -- At least 15,000 Somalis, who had fled to the self-declared republic of Somaliland to escape violence in Mogadishu, want to return home following the recent change of government but lack the means to do so, aid workers said.

Moreover, the circumstances of the estimated 2,500 families are complicated by the fact that Somaliland authorities consider them refugees while aid agencies consider them internally displaced.

"The families want to return due to the difficult conditions they live in here," Zainab Mohamud, head of the Gashan Women’s Development Organisation, who works with the displaced families, told IRIN on 25 March.

She said the families shared camps with locally displaced people and "receive very little help. The main problem is the lack of clarity over their status; are they refugees or displaced?"

She said the families had received some food aid from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) but little else.

Mukhtar Mohamed, a father of six who fled Mogadishu and now lives in Mohamed Moge district of Somaliland's capital, Hargeisa, said: "I have been in Somaliland for the last nine months and have received very little help. We have safety but nothing else."

Mohamed Moge district is one of the most populated IDP settlements in Hargeisa.

Since the situation in Mogadishu seems to be improving, Mohamed said, he would like to return home, "but I lack the means to do so".

According to Mohamud, in the past two months more than 15,000 Somalis displaced in Somaliland and in neighbouring Djibouti had returned home to Somalia through Somaliland.

She said the families in Hargeisa should be assisted to return home, "instead of living in these difficult conditions and in limbo”.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Somaliland is hosting 80,000 IDPs.

Roberta Russo, associate public information officer for UNHCR Somalia, said: "No IDP has approached UNHCR to ask for assistance to return to south-central Somalia yet."

She said that since the beginning of 2009, at least 52,000 people had returned to Mogadishu. However, she cautioned that the "returnees are mainly heads of families coming to assess the situation, leaving the rest of their families in IDP camps".

Russo said the humanitarian community "is seriously concerned about the spontaneous returns to Mogadishu as the security situation is still volatile and basic services to help the returnees are not in place".

A task-force, which includes UNHCR, has been set up to assess as soon as possible the situation in the capital "and make recommendations on how best to assist people who are spontaneously returning as well as people who are still in the camps", she added.


Somaliland: New Airlines Opens its Doors

Hargeisa (Source: Somalilandpress/ 27 March 2009)- The Minister of Civil Aviation, Mr. Ali Mohamed Waranade have participated and officially opened a new airlines to operate in Somaliland. The Airline which is called “Suhuura” Airways will have a domestic flights within the country as well as other destinations outside Somaliland.

The inauguration of the new airlines was participated by a number of Somaliland officials, businessmen and other diplomats in the country. The Ethiopian representative in Somaliland, Mr. Wubishet Demissie was among the participants as well as the leaders of the Somaliland opposition parties.

Suhuura airways is a new company which is owned by Mr. Ina Afdinle, the main Khat dealer in the country. There are reports that the airlines will mainly operate between Somaliland and Ethiopia to fill the gap that the Ethiopian Airlines left since they suspended their flights after the suicide bombings in October last year.


Thousands need aid to return home from Somaliland

HARGEISA (IRIN) Mar 26, 2009. - At least 15,000 Somalis, who had fled to the self-declared republic of Somaliland to escape violence in Mogadishu, want to return home following the recent change of government but lack the means to do so, aid workers said.

Moreover, the circumstances of the estimated 2,500 families are complicated by the fact that Somaliland authorities consider them refugees while aid agencies consider them internally displaced.

"The families want to return due to the difficult conditions they live in here," Zainab Mohamud, head of the Gashan Women’s Development Organisation, who works with the displaced families, told IRIN on 25 March.

She said the families shared camps with locally displaced people and "receive very little help. The main problem is the lack of clarity over their status; are they refugees or displaced?"

She said the families had received some food aid from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) but little else.

Mukhtar Mohamed, a father of six who fled Mogadishu and now lives in Mohamed Moge district of Somaliland's capital, Hargeisa, said: "I have been in Somaliland for the last nine months and have received very little help. We have safety but nothing else."

Mohamed Moge district is one of the most populated IDP settlements in Hargeisa.

Since the situation in Mogadishu seems to be improving, Mohamed said, he would like to return home, "but I lack the means to do so".

According to Mohamud, in the past two months more than 15,000 Somalis displaced in Somaliland and in neighbouring Djibouti had returned home to Somalia through Somaliland.

She said the families in Hargeisa should be assisted to return home, "instead of living in these difficult conditions and in limbo”.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Somaliland is hosting 80,000 IDPs.

Roberta Russo, associate public information officer for UNHCR Somalia, said: "No IDP has approached UNHCR to ask for assistance to return to south-central Somalia yet."

She said that since the beginning of 2009, at least 52,000 people had returned to Mogadishu. However, she cautioned that the "returnees are mainly heads of families coming to assess the situation, leaving the rest of their families in IDP camps".

Russo said the humanitarian community "is seriously concerned about the spontaneous returns to Mogadishu as the security situation is still volatile and basic services to help the returnees are not in place".

A task-force, which includes UNHCR, has been set up to assess as soon as possible the situation in the capital "and make recommendations on how best to assist people who are spontaneously returning as well as people who are still in the camps", she added.


Somalia: Somaliland Election 2009: KULMIYE's Grand Burco Strategy

http://www.garoweonline.com/27 Mar 27, 2009.Opinion. by Abdishakur Jowhar ( abdijowhar@yahoo.com ) March 27, 2009

Burco - The national party KULMIYE headed by its most able and aging leader Silanyo has finally formulated and carried out an elegant Burco grand opening move. For those who are geographically challenged Burco is the second capital of Somaliland. Less well known and perhaps more important is that the city is the heart of the economy of Somaliland, being the central market for Livestock in the region (Somalia, Ethiopia, and Somaliland.) Still less well known and increasingly more important is that the city is fast becoming an entrepreneurial and industrial hub. Maaxda Burco is the most popular bottled water in Somaliland. Ileys Industries have the largest detergent plant in the Horn of Africa (that includes Ethiopia and Kenya) in Burco. Meat processing and skin products are making their appearance in the city. The economy makes Burco a crucial player in the Politics of Somaliland. And it has become a central stomping ground for all three political parties and particularly for KULMIYE.

A Successful Conference

On March 13, 2009 KULMIYE concluded a conference of the two main tribes; Habr Yonis and Haber Jeclo in Togdheer; where Burco is the capital city. Haber Jeclo which also happens to be the tribe of KUlMIYE Party Chief silaanyo sponsored the conference. It seems, from all accounts, that a united front for the support of KULMIYE emerged. The success of the move is illustrated by the fact that previously all powerful agents of president Riyale in the region failed to stop this conference or to mount an effective counter attack against it. President Riyale showed his desperation in this matter by deploying his most influential ally in Burco; Minster of Finance Xusseen Cali Dulaale, AKA Cawil. And the weakening of the president’s clout was clear for all to see when his effort were swept aside with so much ease; and when his delegates were reduced to grumbling and empty threats. This trend of increasingly diminishing support for Riyaale became clearer in this last of week when Riyaale’s no 2 man and his running mate who is also the sitting Vice President failed to gain traction in his own home town.

KULMIYE Adopts and UDUB Retreats

Kulmiye’s Burco Strategy can be summarized by one word: Peacemaking. The party has spent time and effort in preventing Riyaale Administration from exploiting the traditional rivalry between the two main tribes in the city Habr Yonis and Haber Jeclo ; This rivalry was at the core of Riyaale’s success in the presidential elections of Nov 2003. And his administration has invested heavily in keeping the fires of tribal animosity burning on pilot mechanism. KULMIYE’s peacemaking effort and its success bodes well for the party but even more, much more it bodes well for the city. For it helps to heal old wounds and it prepares the grounds for enhanced peacefulness in the region regardless of the prevailing political winds. And this of course is a necessary pre-condition for progress and for the escalation of the industrial base that is rapidly taking root in the city. This is peace and this how it begets prosperity.

KULMIYE’s Coming Test

The test is to see whether KULMIYE will succeed in extending its firefighting, peacemaking role to other cities, towns and villages to the east and the west of Burco. Everywhere the Riyaale administration has stoked the fires of tribal rivalry, setting neighbor against the other in a desperate effort to gain allies and retain the power by all means necessary. The president’s own city, Borama, is a case in point. For here, as everywhere else in the nation, Riyaale has succeeded to inspire a tribal tension the likes of which has not been in the last 30 years and that is wreaking havoc in the historically peaceful city. If KULMIYE succeeds to take its newly found peacenik overture to all of Somaliland, the presidential chair will come to them walking. Their search will be over. They will just have to sit on it.

On the other hand if Kulmiye’s peacemaking role ends on the borders of Togdheer, then it will be seen as a regional party with a narrow base that appeals to the lowest common denominator of a tribal society: Me and MY Brother against My Cousin...

An Opening for UCID

KULMIYE’s new strategy allows the third party of Somaliland politics to present its agenda as the agent of change. KULMIYE and UDUB have chosen a tribal battleground as their political field in the struggle for dominance. KULMIYE taking the banner of tribal peacemaker and unifier this time and Riyaale taking the role of tribal agitator and warrior; a role he is ill suited for. He will be greatly helped in this however because he is an expert in information management (read a former Security Agent).

Regardless the two political parties have taken traditional roles and have provided a free breathing space to UCID, which may indeed score a historical upset. UCID leader Faisal Cali Waraabe has been vocal these past few weeks and he has been masterful in raising and expounding on his emphasis of citizenship as opposed to tribal membership as the only real hope for change and for a different future for this nation. Surely Change is in the air…


Guurti Move Jeopardizes Return To Democracy In Somaliland

http://www.somalilandglobe.com/26 March 2009

Some members of the unelected House of Elders, the Guurti, are proposing yet another extension for the unelected president of Somaliland.

The group whose number is fewer than a third of the 82-member body, has tabled a bill to extend Riyale’s presidency by another six months. If the chamber approves the bill, it will give Riyale grounds to justify his stay in power without being elected.

Given the significant opposition that he currently faces in the Guurti, the prospect of such a bill passing is low. However, the positions of the Guurti members are unpredictable. Members who are currently opposing the bill may suddenly switch sides without prior indication.

President Riyale run for office in 2003 winning a five-year term by a razor-thin margin of just 80 votes.

In April 2008, just weeks before the long awaited election was due to be held, the Guurti passed a bill that extended Riyale’s presidency for 1 year ending on April 6th of this year. Constitutional scholars agree that the current proposed bill, which is similar to the previous one, has no legal bases.

Majority of the constitutional experts also side with the opposition parties’ assertion that unilateral extensions of the president’s term by the Guurti is unconstitutional.

Of the three democratic elections that took place in Somaliland within the last six years, only the members of the Parliament still have time remaining to serve.

The president, his vice-president, the Guurti and the local councilors are all holding public offices despite their unelected status. The opposition parties cite this as the major factor stalling any progress on the democratic front as these individuals still continue to make day-to-day decisions that shape the future of the country.


Somalia: Somaliland MPs debate Riyale's term-extension

HARGEISA, Somalia Mar 26 09(Garowe Online) - The upper house of parliament in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland has opened up debate on President Dahir Riyale's request for a two-month term extension to rule the region until the May 31 presidential election, Radio Garowe reports.

Wednesday's extraordinary session of the House of Guurti was attended by 62 MPs, who read a motion presented by the Riyale administration and the Somaliland election commission.

"The only constitutional authority that can extend the President's term is the House of Guurti so I urge you lawmakers to genuinely consider the constitution," said Mr. Saleban "Gal" Mohamud, the Guurti chairman.

He expressed anger with the presence of additional police units, who closed-off streets near the Somaliland parliament and prevented journalists and civilians from entering the parliament building.

Mr. Saleban Gal eventually ordered the police to leave the parliament compound and remain outside the building, as MPs inside debated the most politically sensitive motion the region has seen since unilaterally declaring independence from Somalia in 1991.

According to parliament sources, Guurti MPs were deeply divided over the term-extension motion, with some lawmakers supporting the term-extension for Riyale's government to administer Somaliland until May 31.

But other MPs opposed the move, warning against a possible confrontation between government and opposition supporters.

The debate is scheduled to continue on Saturday, parliament officials said.

President Riyale has previously refused to step down on April 6, when a term extension his government received from the House of Guurti in 2008 expires.

He has vowed that he will step down "only to an elected president," clearly rejecting opposition leader Ahmed Silanyo's demand that the House of Guurti appoint a caretaker government to rule Somaliland until the May 31 presidential election.

The election delay has caused a political uproar in Somaliland, with some reports saying the opposition is preparing for mass protests across Somaliland on March 29, when the election was supposed to be held.


SOMALIA: TB treatment success against the odds in Somaliland

http://www.plusnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=83607

Somaliland successfully treats more than 90 percent of its TB patients

HARGEISA, 24 March 2009 (PlusNews) - Despite rampant poverty, high levels of illiteracy and limited international support, the self-declared republic of Somaliland in the northwest of Somalia has become an unlikely TB success story.

"We adopted the DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short Course) system for treating TB in 1995, so someone is always present to ensure patients take their medication," said Dr Ismail Adam Abdillahi, coordinator of the national TB programme. "As a result, adherence is very high and treatment success is over 90 percent."

The World Health Organization (WHO) has set a global target of 85 percent treatment success by 2015; Somalia, part of WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Region, ranks second in the region's 22 countries in terms of treatment success.

"The majority of the population has access to a health facility with TB services that have at least one doctor able to treat TB," Ismail said. "There is no shortage of drugs, which we get from the Global Fund [to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria] through World Vision International."

Education has ensured that almost all patients have a basic knowledge of TB, while the establishment of a wide network of TB centres implementing close supervision and monitoring means TB treatment continues to make progress. The global target for TB case detection is 70 percent by 2015, but Somaliland has already achieved a case detection rate of 68 percent.

"In 2008 we diagnosed 4,153 cases; we believe these were most of the people who contracted the disease," Ismail said. Although the country does not have the technology to detect multidrug-resistant TB, he noted that there were very few cases of "chronic" or recurring TB.

This progress has been made despite the fact that Somaliland, which has not achieved international recognition as a sovereign state, is extremely poor - a decade-old livestock ban by Saudi Arabia and several other meat-importing countries in the Middle East has devastated its main source of income.

Although the country has been relatively peaceful since its formation in 1991, it continues to experience some insecurity, which hampers access and limits staff movement to certain areas.

Sustaining the response in a difficult environment

"We also have a lot of IDPs [internally displaced persons] and refugees in Somaliland from the south; when people are in such emergency situations, personal health is not a priority and people do not seek treatment," Ismail said.

"The war before 1991 also destroyed our health infrastructure, and we still need many more health facilities and staff trained to handle TB." The largest urban centre, Hargeisa city, with a population of more than 500,000, still has only one health centre equipped to treat TB.

"Our regulations are not as strong as they could be, and we do get unlicensed practitioners treating patients and private pharmacies selling TB drugs over the counter, which risks patients getting incorrect information and taking drugs the wrong way," said Dr Abdirashid Hashi Abdi, the Global Fund HIV/AIDS coordinator for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Hargeisa. "There is also no known data for the level of multi- and extensively drug-resistant TB."

Ismail noted that one of the groups still causing his department some concern were the nomads, who roamed the countryside, never settling anywhere long enough for TB education to reach them, and often grazing their herds far from health facilities with TB services.

"Men who chew khat [a mild stimulant widely used in the Horn of Africa] in small, poorly ventilated rooms for hours are also particularly at risk," Ismail said. "This explains the fact that the ratio of men to women infected with TB in Somaliland is two to one."

Somaliland and Somalia combined have an annual TB incidence of about 324 cases per 100,000 people, with more than half aged between 15 and 34. The disease is strongly associated with poverty, and many TB patients also suffer from malnutrition, making treatment more difficult.


Media Federation Condemns Imprisonment Of Somaliland Journalist

Nairobi - 23/03/2009, By Juma Kwayera, PANA Correspondent. Sourc: Afrique en ligne

Nairobi(Hormoodnews)- The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Monday condemned a five-month jail term slapped on Somali journalist Mohamed Abdi Guled, the editor of the private weekly magazine Yool, by a court in semi-autonomous Somaliland province sitting in the capital, Hargeisa.

In a statement signed by Gabriel Baglo, the director of IFJ Africa office, the media rights body said Mr. Guled was committed to prison last week for allegedly "spreading lies" and publishing a newspaper that is not “legally registered.”

“Journalists in Somaliland continue to face intolerable intimidation such as arbitrary imprisonment, which undermines their ability to work freely. We condemn this practice of suppressing independent reporting and proper scrutiny of figures of authority," Mr Baglo was quoted as saying.

Mr Guled was arrested on 26 February, following publication two days earlier of an article about extrajudicial executions in Somaliland, blaming some government officials for their role in these killings.

The judge convicted Mr Guled on the basis of the testimony from an anonymous witness, who was not cross-examined by the defence as required by due process.

The Somali National Union of Journalists (NUSOJ), an IFJ affiliate, also strongly condemned the decision which it described as a gross miscarriage of justice.

''This decision is part of an unacceptable harassment campaign aimed at silencing journalists," the statement quoted Mr Omar Faruk Osman Nur, the NUSOJ General Secretary, as saying.

"It is a gross miscarriage of justice against our colleague, which should not stand," he said.

IFJ called upon the authorities of Somaliland to immediately release Mr. Guled and to ensure that the rights of journalists and press freedom are upheld in the country.


The Forthcoming Somaliland Presidential Election: Challenges and Possibilities

http://www.tvsomalilandeurope.net/23 March 2009

I. Introduction: On 14th of March 2008, a group of 8 Somaliland scholars met at Ambassador Hotel to discuss the issues and circumstances surrounding the upcoming presidential elections of Somaliland. The meeting was sponsored by the Social Research and Development Institute (SORADI). It was moderated by Dr. Mohamed Fadal, Director of (SORADI).

The participants of the meeting were all long-term participants of Somaliland rebuilding and democratization, who are considered to be highly competent to provide an objective assessment of the difficult situation surrounding the forthcoming Somaliland Presidential Election and to give actionable recommendations.

They were: Abdilkadir H Ismail Jirde (Ex-Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament), Abdirahman Y Artan (Member of Parliament), Abdi Ahmed Nour (Forum for Peace and Development), Amina Mohamoud Warsame (Executive Director, NAGAAD), Bobe Y. Duale (Research Coordinator, APD), Haroon H Ahmed Qulumbe (ActionAid), Hassan Halas (APD), Mohamed Hassan Ibrahim (Researcher-APD), Suad Abdi Ibrahim (Researcher-APD).

I am presenting here an early summary of a possible more elaborate document that may come out of the Somaliland Scholar’s Group discussion.

II. The Voter Registration System

The Group recognized the successful completion of the Registration process as an achievement of profound significance for Somaliland:

* It was a logistical nightmare and a daring undertaking in the prevailing circumstances of the region, which was completed successfully and with minimum damage to personnel and property.

* It has demonstrated the human resource potential of Somaliland: A young generation of men and women, under the age of 30 and all home-educated, who are in par with their global compatriots to manage a state of the art Biometric technology and who were prepared to take responsibility of such valuable equipment, to travel far and wide to all corners of Somaliland to collect data from cities, from nomadic hamlets, from fisher communities and often where there is not the comfort of life, which they are accustomed to.

The Group also recognized the power of mobilization undertaken by the Somaliland people to register for the upcoming elections, which was a clear demonstration of their commitment to the democratic processes and their desire to be registered citizens of their young nation. It has also shown that the Somaliland people and state are worthy of international communities’ unwavering support and remain to be reliable partners.

The group further recognizes the unfortunate widespread multiple registration that took place, which was tantamount to a person stealing from his/her own pocket. It was an act of registration fraud for which there was no single authority or group to blame, but has been aided and abetted by all stakeholders. The Biometric system was chosen in the first place, for the purpose of eliminating multiple voting. The introduction of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) and the Facial Recognition System (FRS) will produce clean lists for every polling station and within a reasonable timeframe.

The group has also discussed the recent complaint of the opposition parties that the National Election Commission has uploaded the data into the Server without their presence. We are convinced that it has been an honest mistake, done because of the pressure of the situation, especially regarding the delayed return of the technicians, and had no intention of malice. The political parties are now engaged in the process and have realized that any discrepancy in the uploaded data could easily be verified.

The question now is, having succeeded to implement the Voter Registration requirement, how can we proceed with the task of holding a successful, free, fair and peaceful Presidential Election in the shortest possible time?

Last year, in June 2008, the three political parties and the National Electoral Commission have signed together an agreement, which paved the way for an election date to be set and for the expiring term of the President and the Vice-President to be extended. Some of the provisions of that agreement, such the formation of the Standing Committee, were exemplary acts of consensus building.

The greatest hurdle at the time, which necessitated the extension, was the need to complete the Voter Registration, before the election takes place. Prior to that, we also lost valuable time in putting together a team of Election Commissioners. Today, both conditions are fulfilled.

What are the hurdles now?

III. Hurdles to Overcome to Hold Forthcoming Presidential Elections

The group identified two key hurdles to overcome in order to hold the forthcoming Presidential Election of Somaliland, one is technical and the other is political.

1. The Technical Hurdles: the operational logistical requirements of the election process:

* Completion of the AFIS/FRS process in order to get clean final voter registration lists.
* Making ballot papers and other needed voting accessories available
* Starting the recruitment process for the personnel who will handle the election operations and to train them to do their job honestly and efficiently.
* Developing a comprehensive and effective civic education programme, with an especial focus on the expected outcome of AFIS/FRS system, which may differ from the earlier numbers circulating among the communities.

Without this operational technical aspect of the election process moving, every day that passes pushes the election date further away. We need to move the technical preparations of the election process.

2. The Political Hurdles: The expiring extended mandated time of the President and Vice-President on 6 April, 2006

To hold elections the President and Vice-presidents’ office holders should have one-month after the election date to transfer power. Today, without going into detail of why it happened, the fact of the matter is, the extension time expires on 6 April, 2009. Considering the requirement of the election logistics, 29 March (date agreed on June 2008 Code of Conduct) is out of the question and the 31st May 2009, recently identified by the Electoral Commission, could itself loose its validity as a realistic election date, in the logistical point of view, if we do not take action to move the technical preparations.

Therefore the question is how can we reconcile the shortest possible viable election date with the 1 month transition requirements of the constitution? We are not starting from scratch, we have now enough experience and precedents to build on.

III. Discussion of Options

The Group has analysed the options floated by different stakeholders to address the above hurdles and identified the one which they consider to be the best option in the prevailing circumstances.

Option One: Suggestions from the opposition side: By 6 April, the two Houses of Parliament, jointly with the political parties should deliberate on the situation. In the discussion the following facts were brought out regarding this stand: While it may have some appeal to engage the legislature, it is considered to have many uncertainties.

a. It is not an easy matter to get a quick solution from such a large gathering of the two Houses of Parliament and political party representatives. It may lead to a long period of deliberations and could become a cause of continuing uncertainty to the population. Further more engaging the legislature in such a contentious issue will destroy their internal unity and will contribute to further weakening of the democratic institutions.

b. It is not clear, what is the task that the members will be asked to fulfil: produce an interim president, produce a date for election, adjust the mandate of the president and Vice-president, or reform the constitution to adjust election requirements.

Therefore, the Group views such an option as one with many unanswered questions and which may lead to a situation whose outcome is not clear.

Option Two: The hands-off attitude of the Executive, which states a) It is solely the mandate of Electoral Commission to set the election date b) It is the mandate of the House of Elders to extend the mandate. While the Group recognizes the mandates of these national offices, they also take into consideration the unusual circumstances developed from the missed deadlines of the election. They view the Executive should take a more proactive approach in fostering dialogue to solve the problems surrounding the election and the expiring term of the President’s and Vice-Presidents extended term in cooperation with key stakeholders.

Option Three: Consensus. We have precedents and ample experience in building consensus to overcome the hurdles facing us, which, if we have the will to do so, are technically easier than the ones we crossed already. It is the Group’s position that all key stakeholders should come back to the consensus and collaborative approach. The National Electoral Commission, UDUB, KULMIYE and UCID should come together on the negotiating table and agree on a date for a successful, free, fair and peaceful election, while keeping in mind the constitutional requirements of the election. The need for extension could only be a technicality to serve the holding of the election - the end goal and the ultimate desire of the people is Election. The Somaliland Scholars’ Group believes that this is the best possible option.

IV. Conclusion

The Group reached the following conclusions:

1. Somaliland people and their leaders need to appreciate their achievements in their state-building and democratization efforts, realize the long way they come so far, and recognize their latest success story, the Voter Registration.

2. The only way a democratic society changes its Executive and Legislative office-holders is only through elections. Somaliland is lucky to have the competent democratic institutions, the laws, the experience, the international support and the unwavering commitment of its own people. Let us go on with the election and spare the people of unnecessary worries. Earning a living in these difficult times is already enough worry for them.

3. UDUB, KULMIYE, UCID and NEC must come together ASAP to: * Get the technical aspect of the election process moving without further delay.
* Agree on an the Election Date.
* Revive the consensus solution to extend the expiring extension date of the President and Vice-President’s offices, if required for setting the election date, and through the agreement of all keys stakeholders.
* Agree on to fulfil any unfinished components of earlier codes
* Stop use of the inflammatory language on the media. We need learn from the experience of the neighbouring regional countries on election violence and how the media was used. We have also to remember that Somaliland is a respected member of the international community, where tolerance for political violence is no longer an option.
* Engage and inform the traditional leadership that the AFIS/FRS system is managed by a neutral body of technicians mainly international and in cleaning the multiple registrations, will no doubt produce different results from what is now held by different regions and communities.
* Work together to implement the agreement and timetable for the Presidential election.

The Somaliland Scholar’s Focus Group
19 March, 2009. Hargeisa, Somaliland


SOMALILAND FRENCH CENTER OFFICIAL OPENING INAUGURATION

http://harowo.com/March 22, 2009. The Somaliland Francophone Association “AFSOL”, a local organization of the Somaliland French Speaking Community officially received from the embassy of France in Djibouti, the first delivery of French government donation which consisted of books and other materials aimed to promote French cultural education in Somaliland.

The high level French delegation composed of Senator Louis DUVERNOIS, Ambassador Dominique DECHERF, French ambassador in Djibouti and Dr. Bruno DELAQUILA, the representative of French citizens in abroad, officially inaugurated the opening of the Francophone Center called “Espace Francophone du Somaliland” on Wednesday 18 March 2009.

Beside the French delegation, Somaliland authorities, represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Abdillahi Mohamed Dualeh and the Minister of Culture, Hon. Abdirazak Waberi Robleh attended the inauguration ceremony which took place at AFSOL centre of Francophone located in Koodbuur District. A large number of Somaliland Francophone community members were also present at the event.

Eng. Ali-Fuad Abdi Jama, chairman of AFSOL, opened the ceremony at around 11 o’clock with an emotional speech that touched the hearts and minds of French delegation members. The chairman of AFSOL emphasized the lack of substantial assistance of France to Somaliland in general and to the Francophone community in particular, a French speaking community that France has neglected for centuries. He mentioned that this Center was initially supposed to take place in October 2008, according to the understanding between AFSOL and previous French delegation who came to Somaliland on February 2008.

However, he expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the delegation for this first delivery of books and other educational materials which represent the beginning of a lasting relation between Somaliland and France. Eng. Ali-Fuad Abdi concluded his speech that this center will not only nourish French literature to French speaking Somalilanders, but will also provide french language apprenticeship to any interested citizen of Somaliland.

Senator Louis DUVERNOIS, who was the head of the delegation, presented his best wishes to the audience, authorities and other personalities that were present at the ceremony. He expressed his appreciation to the speech of the chairman which contained an important message that will be highly considered by the French cooperation. He mentioned that the opening of this French center is an historical event that demonstrates the willingness of France to tie a fruitful and friendly relationship with Somaliland.

It is very important to understand that the objective of this center is not to impose to you the French culture but instead to build up a cultural plurality, adapted and conjugated to your own tradition and values. Senator DUVERNOIS stated that France acknowledges and fully supports the peace and stability that prevail in Somaliland in the middle of a turmoil region. The democracy that exists in the country is not often seen in recognized countries of Africa. France will be a friend that will always stay at your side for the defense of your precious and valuable achievements.

He thanked the government and the people of Somaliland for their unforgettable hospitality and respectfully treatments that they offered to the delegation during their stay in the country. He also thanked AFSOL for its efforts to bridge this highly important relationship of our two countries.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Somaliland, Hon. Abdillahi Mohamed Dualeh, thanked in return to the Senator and the rest of the delegation. He pointed out that our two countries, Somaliland and France, have a historical tie and the opening of this center is just a continuity of it. He reminded that Somalilanders fought in both world wars 14-18 and 39-45 at the side of France and were fully an integral part of the French army.

In other instances of France and Somaliland historical relationship, the minister mentioned that France was the only developed country that assisted Somaliland during the country’s Reconciliation and Reconstruction conference held in Borama. French embassy in Djibouti provided packaged food supply to the conference delegations.

Then, the minister gave details on the history of the house in where the francophone center is currently located. He said that after Borama conference, this house was the residence of the late president, Mr. Egal, and later on the Vice-President similarly resided in it. Now it is the Francophone center, which is a meaningful coincidence. He thanked the delegation for putting into practice the continuity of Somaliland and France historical relationship by setting up this educational center.

Finally, the Minister of Culture, hon. Abdirazak Waberi Robleh addressed a thankful speech to the French delegation for finally leaving their cultural footprint in Somaliland.

At the end of the ceremony, local musicians entertained the delegation with the lyrical music of a national song performed by the singer Run Hadi. The joyful moment of a wonderful musical ambiance persuaded the senator to join the crowd and applaud as a gesture of appreciation. Before leaving the centre, family photos have been taken for future remembrance of this historical event.

Rashid Jama, Deputy General Secretary of AFSOL


A Special Interview of the Subsaharan Informer Made with The Somaliland President Rayaale

By. Moha Dahir Farah Jireh

Mar 22 2009 (Somaliland Net) - Somaliland needs desperately international recognition in order to Develop African stability, peace and democracy. We are not willing to have funds from IMF or Donors for life! We need to get investors, our sources is more then enough if.

President of the republic talked how the international community ignored the achievements of the struggling ,trial and functioning system of governance country with out any body s help or support its really tough to continue for long time, but thanks to Allah the people are very patient society, they lived for hope and still looking up, they really know in some thing good will come to them, it was long time ago Said president Rayaale when we couldn t deal with our brothers in Somalia and fought for our lost independence again, I wonder some times the international intellectuals work vice versa, they are assisting for non existing country (Somalia) and considering them as recognized state, & forgetting and neglecting the achieved one s, I am sure justice will come and rule very soon, Somaliland Feels Desperate Recognition because we want play our role Development, peace and stability in the global but Somalia uses its recognition only for pride miss- used the funds of international community and, said president of Republic of Somaliland Dahir Rayaale Kahin who briefly talked to the international media who these days shows concern of Somaliland and its existence more then the previous years, President Rayaale said Somaliland played more then great role of showing its commitment towards peace and stability making in there territory, made secure and fought very hard against human trafficking, Pricy, foreign hijackers, we made very tight and put all our efforts to secure peoples lives and integrity of all kinds of people who comes to Somaliland, we have no budget to fight against terrorist at all but we do not show phobia, Somaliland s constitution articles declares to fight against terrorist, we caught terrorists in Somaliland some time ago, and the wonderful thing is we allow them to have their own right watchers & repeatedly brought them to the court to prove to them, to their families and international concern communities in we have solid system of governance and committed to fight against it, but ready also to keep their rights and integrity, president Rayaale talked about the presidential upcoming Elections and the governments preparations { Remember the world some times wonders how Somaliland works and that is why I personally call it ( The secret of Africa) the world the opposition parties feels great concern about the transparency of the Elections because they believe government can cheat them the voting polls, but here One of the opposition parties of Somaliland is deadly against the Registration process of Somaliland which can simply make the elections free and fair, no matter who wins it because I keep always in mind in all politics is win or loose there is no Win-Win situation always, but I chose to proceed Somaliland to continue the democratic process which we have taken, I was the first elected president of this country luckily My party won the previous election but I am eager just to make history and keep continuing the name of democratic elections, President Rayaale mentioned in the speaker of house of the elected parliament, the first deputy and the second chair man are all from the opposition parties of Somaliland ,I that proves how we are democratic working government and oppositions, I congratulated them and wish they are showing the world in Somaliland is more democratic then mostly too many African countries, He also called for the table of dialogue for Kulmiye Party, and said Somali Landers are very much peace lovers and they understands deeply what they are doing, and who is doing what for them, I really know we all have made and voted for the constitution, to correct who is wrong, now the Electro Commission have made their time line according to the correction of the multiple registered citizens and voters, I have no power to tell them not to do or do a deadline because they have the mandate and power to decide what they feel it s the fact and can not ignore it for the sake of their responsibility and for the country s Future, I have no choice not only me as president but also the two other presidential candidates, the Electro Commission have only the power to decide what they feel is the best.

President of Somaliland took as an example when he was talking about the stuck politics of Somaliland now when the political organizations where registering them selves for the first time Kulmiye was the last organization who registered his political organization, Mr. siilanyo had no hope of the democratic election for the first time and thought only what can be done was to go back to clan election, but I decided not to wait for no man and continue the process of multi political organization registering,(Time and tide waits for No Man) to day I think Kulmiye will realize the reality and the future of Somaliland as the other opposition party (UCID) have understood in this elections is more then crucial to the people of Somaliland& the country and will prepare for a fair and free election said president Rayaale.


I have a dream That Someday Somaliland will Emerge Strongly in Africa

http://www.tvsomalilandeurope.net/22 March 2009, by Mohamed H. Osman

Somaliland is a victim of unspeakable horror of African Union diplomacy, where diplomatic connections and unwritten traditional codes are strong; Somaliland Cause of independence is facing a significant obstacle from the union. The African leaders failed to hear the voice of freedom of the people of Somaliland in last 19 years.

Surprisingly, Somaliland struggle for freedom and liberty within African Union is much difficult than that of 20th century against the white British. Somaliland, a former British Colony, won independence on 26th June 1960 from Great Britain, and mistakenly united with Somalia on 1st July 1960, just four days later.

Thirty four African countries recognized Somaliland in these four days, but today after 19 years of struggle to get back its independence from Somalia, The African Union look very stubborn toward Somaliland independence without having proper reason.

The African diplomacy is overlooking the democracy and social progress in Somaliland, in which Somaliland achieved without the support of African Union and International community.

However, this is against the charter of African Union, which assures fair treatment and handling to all African issues.

As Luther Martin King Jr. said, "let us not stumble in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, so even tough we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow." I still have dream that Somaliland will be independent one day, and children/citizens will get back their lost diplomatic rights and will freely move across the world with bride and dignity.

I have a dream, that Somaliland Passport will be most beloved travel document. Somaliland citizens and businessmen will trade freely, and students will join international universities with Somaliland High School Certificates. Somalilanders lost all these rights due to African Union’s illegal diplomatic embargo on Somaliland.

African Union should stop alienating Somaliland and grant rights of life liberty to its citizens. The union, which is neutral to all Africans according to its charter, should look into Somaliland cause without considering the traditional AU agenda of not accepting new members.

African Union protects the colonial border, but in other hand, rejects Somaliland based on colonial border. Is this logic? Can the union respect colonial border across the continent except Somaliland? Somaliland government submitted membership application to the African Union, and waiting a positive reply from the union.

Somaliland is demanding restoration of its colonial border.

Somaliland fulfilled all requirements of nationhood according to African Union and United Nations charters. However, it remains victim of no-reason because neither African Union nor United Nation is giving Somaliland clear reason to reject Somaliland’s statehood.

Some illogic people believe that the ´failed state of Somalia´ should not be divided or separated. But currently there is nothing called Somalia, and country fall into knees in more than 20 years.

Somalia set an example of failure, without any sign of recovering from the failure. Somalia felt into endless comma, so why African Union is forcing Somaliland to wait Somalia until waking up from the comma? Will AU continue to force Somaliland to wait even next 100 years?

Current diplomatic embargo on Somaliland by the African Union, alienated it from the rest of the world, and transformed Somaliland into jail. No freedom of movement, education and travel for Somalilanders due to the wrong African Union policies towards it.

The Somalilanders are forced to take-up foreign passports in order to travel freely across the world; the students cannot join international universities like Harvard and Oxford Universities with Somaliland Passport.

This is result of diplomatic embargo on Somaliland by the African Union, who overlooked Somaliland demands of independence in last 19 years.

The qualified English-speaking professionals of Somaliland should identify them selves as citizens of Somalia, Ethiopia, or Djibouti…etc in the international job markets because their country, Somaliland, is not recognized diplomatically by African Union.

This is creating mistrust in the hearts of these young men and women towards AU. What is their mistake? Why they don’t have right to say their true identity as a Somalilander? This is the unfair treatment of African Union and IGAD on Somaliland and its people.

Moreover, these misjudgments did not change Somaliland’s commitment towards better Africa; Somaliland is cooperative with all African countries and organizations.

Many African countries have offices in Somaliland capital – Hargiesa, including Ethiopia. Somaliland has trade links with others.

"I have a dream" that Somaliland will overpower the poor policies and diplomatic discrimination by the African Union, and will create brighter future in its part of the world.

"I have a dream" that Somaliland will be an oasis of peace and democracy in Africa, and an example to all Africans in development.

Today, overlooked minorities of USA – The African Americans, are making long waited history and occupy the highest post in the country. Barrack Hussein Obama is making history.

And for Somaliland, the time will come that Somaliland will occupy the highest post in African Union – Chairman of African Union.


Safe water improves quality of life for families in Berbera, Somalia

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/somalia_48848.html. By Iman Morooka

Fatma Ali, a resident of Berbera and member of the town’s Water Management Board, holds a piece of the rusty iron pipe that was replaced by a new one through a UNICEF-supported water project.

World Water Day, observed on 22 March, raises global awareness of the critical importance of safe water and sanitation in developing countries. Here is the story of one UNICEF-supported water project.

BERBERA, Somalia, 23 March 2009 – Until recently, the coastal town of Berbera, north-west Somalia, suffered from insufficient and poor quality of water delivered through its rundown water-supply system.

Berbera’s original water supply dates back to the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, when this gravity-induced system used the Dubar Spring, at the foot of the mountains, as its natural source. The spring water flowed to collection wells and then to water points through asbestos-cast iron pipes.

“I almost left town because the quality of water was very bad and I was afraid for my health, as well as my children’s,” said Fatma Ali, a resident of Berbera and mother of eight, holding up a piece of the old rusty and cracked pipe that used to deliver water to people in the town.

“There used to be many cases of diarrhoea and people with kidney problems in Berbera,” she added. “I used to advise people to boil water before using it to avoid getting sick.”

Rehabilitating the water system

To respond to increased demand for water beginning in the early 1980s, improvements to the existing system were made by various international organizations. This included the addition of a set of boreholes with better water yield, to supply the bulk of the town’s water needs.

However, the capacity of the existing system had decreased drastically due to lack of maintenance and poor management, and rusting of the well screens and pipes. Furthermore, clogging of the old pipes with incrustation of sediments had caused a serious decrease in the water supply, and cracks in the networks during times of low flow allowed surrounding contaminants to pollute the water.

In July 2008, in response to these needs and with funding from the European Union, UNICEF started working with the community in Berbera to rehabilitate and expand the existing system and fundamentally improve its operation and management.

A comprehensive approach

The project consists of two main components. The physical component has improved the water system through:

• Rehabilitation, cleaning and protection of the Dubar Spring source and existing boreholes
• Replacement of the blocked sections of the old transmission pipes as well as installation of a new supply pipe
• And construction of three kiosks where displaced people living in the Jalamaaye settlement in Berbera can get water.

The other component is the improvement of water system management through a public-private partnership that involves all stakeholders – the community, the water authority and the private sector – to ensure more sustainable delivery of services.

Public-private partnership

“This project’s comprehensive approach, that addresses the entire set of problems that plagued the water system, is what makes it sustainable,” said UNICEF Somalia Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Zaid Jurji.

One of the rehabilitated Dubar spring water collection wells, protected by a new roof and fences that prevent animals, logs and other large objects from contaminating the well.

“The enthusiasm and ownership of all stakeholders towards this initiative is remarkable. The community has taken part in conducting the social survey and in labour-intensive work, such as excavating pipe channels and removing old pipes, while the national and local authorities have assumed leadership and promoted the adoption of the public-private partnership approach.”

Through this approach, the different and complementary roles of government and private sector are strengthened, with UNICEF as facilitator to the process.

‘Thanks to clean water, I feel safe’

Fatma Ali is one of the members serving on the Water Management Board. “I am very proud to be part of this project, and I consider it one of the largest and most important ones in this area,” she said. “Thanks to clean water, I feel safe to be living in Berbera.”

Through this project, safe water provided to the 12,000 residents of Berbera, including the displaced population, has increased by 30 per cent.

UNICEF and the European Union pioneered the public-private partnership approach in Somalia in 1997. Since then, several other key donors, including USAID and the Danish Government, have also come on board to support this initiative. Today, there are 10 such projects being implemented across the three zones of the country.


Somaliland: NEC Submits the New Election Date to the President

Hargeisa, 22 March 2009 (somalilandpress) - The National Electoral Committee (NEC) have officially submitted the new election date to the Somaliland President, Dahir Rayale Kahin. The new date set by the NEC was supported by the ruling party and one of the opposition parties, UCID. The main opposition party, KULMIYE says they don’t agree with the new date and they insist there should be a caretaker government after 6th of April when the government’s extended time ends.

The President will have to sign the letter where the elections are set to take place on 31st May 2009.

There is still a challenge if the opposition party, KULMIYE insist his position. The government said they will solve the problem through negotiations with the opposition.


Somaliland Is The Champion Of Democracy In The Horn Of Africa

http://www.somalilandhorta.com/March 21, 2009

Somaliland is the Champion of Democracy in the Horn of Africa, says MP, Birgitta Ohlsson, member Committee for Foreign Affairs, Spokesperson, Foreign Affairs Liberal Party Sweden.

Somaliland Defence Minister met march 20 honourable MP Birgitta Ohlsson, Spokesperson Foreign Affairs, Liberal Party Sweden at Wiks Castle, Uppsala Sweden. At the meeting was present Somalilands Ambassador to Sweden Mr Eidarus Sh Adan and Zakaria Waes, Chairman, Somaliland National Organisation Sweden.

The Defence Minister briefed honourable Birgitta Ohlsson about the current situation in Somaliland and the preparations for the coming election. Honurable MP Birgitta Ohlsson told the Defence Minister that she will come to Somaliland during the coming presidential election and look forward to follow the election as an observer.. The Defence Minister welcomed honourable Birgitta Ohlsson to Hargeisa Somaliland and informed the MP about the security situation and fighting against piracy.

Honourable Birgitta Ohlsson participated the Somaliland Society Europes conference in Wiks Castle, Uppsala Sweden. MP Birgitta told the audience that Somaliland is the Champion of Democracy in the Horn of Africa. We, the International Community should reward Somaliland for their effort to build a democratic institutions and good governance. I can understand the frustration Somaliland people feels. MP Birgitta Ohlsson said that Somaliland people are not alone and we should be patient. The MP told that she have been to more than 20 African countries and Somaliland is one of the best countries in Africa when it comes democracy and institution building. She recommended Somaliland government to be allied with the democratic countries in Africa like Senegal and South Africa. MP Birgitta Ohlsson told finally that she hopes that the coming elections will be fair and free. The Chairman of SSE Mr Abdi Abdillahi thanked Birgitta Ohlsson for her effort to support Somalilands struggle for recognition and the encouragement she gave to the conference participants.


Somalia: Somaliland govt 'mints' currency ahead of election

HARGEISA, Somalia Mar 21 09(Garowe Online) - Authorities in Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland have reportedly imported minted currency ahead of the presidential election, Radio Garowe reports.

Four containers full of Somaliland Shillings were reportedly loaded onto trucks from the Port of Berbera along the Gulf of Aden, sources and Somaliland media reported.

The trucks were escorted to the region's capital, Hargeisa, under armed escort and the contents were unloaded at the government's bank under the watchful eye of soldiers, witnesses said.

Somaliland President Dahir Riyale's government did not submit a formal request to mint Somaliland Shillings to the separatist region's parliament, the sources added.

It is not clear why the Riyale administration has imported false currency now, but this development comes at a time of growing political dispute over the upcoming presidential election.

Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, Somaliland's opposition leader and the Kulmiye party candidate, reiterated his position that he "will not recognize Riyale as president after April 6."

He was quoted by Hargeisa-based newspaper Ogaal as saying that, after April 6, the Somaliland government will come under the control of the two houses of parliament.

Mr. Silanyo has refused to accept the election commission's controversial decision to postpone the presidential election from March 29 to May 31, saying that another election delay is unacceptable and demanding the appointment of a caretaker government by the Somaliland parliament.

Somaliland Shillings are used in only part of the breakaway region, including the major cities of Hargeisa and Berbera.

But in the city of Burao, the region's second-largest, old Somali Shilling banknotes is the only currency still in circulation. Burao, Silanyo's home town, has long been considered an opposition stronghold.


Somaliland’s Election is facing a Deadlock on the 6th of April 2009 and the challenges that needs to be addressed

http://www.jamhuuriya.info/index.php, 03/20/2009. SIRAG and Somaliland Overseas would like to appeal to the Opposition Parties, Parliament and the Guurti of Somaliland to resolve the constitutional crisis that is approaching towards Somaliland's democratisation on the 6th of April 2009 which is the date that Somaliland’s presidential term expires. It is worrying to say the least that to date we do not see anyone coming forward to resolve this constitutional crisis. So far both opposition parties have issued a clear statement which states that they will only participate in a free, fair and democratic election. The two political parties have also issued their voice in solidarity where they said that they will not allow the president’s term to be extended after 6th of April. This is a serious case especially after the elections were delayed several times to give an example on 14th of April 2008, 31st of August 2008, 31st of December 2008 and now from 29th of March 2009 to 31st of May 2009. We are aware of the frustration, patience and perseverance that the opposition parties have shown so far to lead Somaliland out of the political mess and deadlock that they have been subjected to especially after the government promised them that they will finally hold fair and free elections on the 29th of March 2009. Unfortunately the government of Somaliland has not honoured their promise so far.

We urge the political parties to save Somaliland's quest for democratisation and recognition and put pressure on the Government, Parliament and Guurti of Somaliland to address these grave challenges that this political deadlock poses on the democratisation and leadership of the nation. If these challenges are not resolved quickly the country will have a leadership vacuum which is not good for the security and democratisation of Somaliland. Somaliland is located in a strategic part of the Horn and is already facing many challenges be it terrorism, piracy and so on.

Since last year the government of Somaliland is taking a laid back approach to implement free and fair elections which is compromising the hard work that the people of Somaliland have put into the struggle of Somaliland’s Independence, Democratisation and Recognition. Somaliland has done successful elections in the past but this success has been undermined by the recent unconstitutional, incompetent delays and setbacks that is damaging Somaliland’s reputation and democratisation. This will further hamper and delay Somaliland’s quest for recognition and democratisation which is not good news for the nation. Time and time again the Diaspora have raised their concerns about Somaliland to hold free and fair elections but so far the government of Somaliland is turning a blind eye to this sensitive and important time line of Somaliland’s quest for democratisation. The Diaspora is not happy about the direction that this election is heading and we will monitor the situation closely until fair and free elections takes place.

We would also like to remind the government of Somaliland that for free and fair elections to take place Somaliland needs independent judiciary and free media. We are concerned that Somaliland’s judiciary is deteriorating and recently the role of free media has been compromised too. We urge the Opposition Parties, the Parliament and the Guurti of Somaliland to address these issues before the 6th of April 2009 so that Somaliland’s quest for democratisation and recognition can be strengthened.

Somaliland’s Friends and Donors who have been supporting Somaliland’s quest for democratisation and recognition are also concerned about the progress that Somaliland is making so far and are monitoring the situation very closely. We believe that the only final solution left now is for all the key players to sit together and formulate a quick action plan to make this election a successful one. This will help Somaliland once again regain her reputation for holding successful elections which is the lifeline of Somaliland's democratisation and will push her case for recognition.

Election disputes is a common practice in many parts of Africa, but as a Nation, we have shown the world that we can achieve and solve our differences in different way which is why Somaliland has gained respect internationally. The Pillars of Somaliland's Success stand on 'Wada tashi & isku tanaasul'. We strongly believe that if we do not find an urgent solution about this crisis the loser will be our country and our Nation.

God Bless Somaliland

Marwo Lulu Farah, Chair of SIRAG, www.sirag.org.uk


The EU is part of the problem in Somaliland

http://www.somalilandglobe.com/20 March 2009

The European Union gave millions of Euros in aid to the National Electoral Commission (NEC) in order to carry out voter registration campaign throughout Somaliland. However, the first cash installment of that aid did not only disappear into a bottomless blackhole of incompetence and corruption but had led to the disastrous failure of the entire voter registration. — by Jamal Madar

NEC

The voter registration started in October 2008 and was basically intended to ensure that everyone entitled to vote could do so, to prevent ineligible persons from voting, and to guard against multiple voting by the same individual. The accuracy of a voter register is therefore a key element in ensuring that all qualified constituents can enjoy the right to vote.

Sadly, the entire process has been a shambles from start to finish. Consequently, hundreds of thousands of people had been disadvantaged or disenfranchised simply because the whole process was not entirely properly thought out. It was therefore doomed from the start to fail. Procedures were not carefully planned and implemented and as a result the data of hundreds of thousands of people i.e. finger prints, photos and other personal details were either missing or accidentally or deliberately deleted; the server that was meant to process the images and fingerprints to detect double votes still lacks properly trained and knowledgeable people to operate it and the mysterious announcement by the Head of the Voter Registration Bureau that the Awdal region digital voter list jumped from the NEC’s original figure of 134,000 to 180,000 overnight further muddied the waters. This was the last nail in the coffin of the voter registration.

The government’s constant meddling in the internal affairs of the NEC is responsible for this utter mess.

Clearly, the voter registration process was used as a ploy by Rayale and his henchmen to create chaos and confusion in an apparent attempt to pave the ground for the postponement of the presidential election at a later date. Surely, Rayale and his unscrupulous gang have succeeded with flying colours to achieve their goals.

The intermediary agency, INTERPEACE, which the EU money was held in its bank account was consistently unable to account for hundreds of thousands of Euros spent by the NEC thus far. However, Interpeace was used and abused by the Rayale government to advance its political ends to postpone the presidential election. It involved itself deep into the rough and tumble of Somaliland politics.

In a nutshell, the EU funds have been siphoned off; there is no credible voters’ register, the so-called server is not functioning and the government willfully failed to fully pay its share of the voter registration expenses.

As a result of this failed EU-funded project, the presidential election that was scheduled to take place on 29 March 2009 is unlikely to happen for many months to come. The notion that somehow the election will occur on 31st May 2009, as the NEC officially announced recently is simply not credible.

It was ‘the European Union who blindly insisted on Somaliland voter registration without understanding its traditions’. It is therefore fair to say the EU is part and parcel of the problem in Somaliland today.

Now the onus is on the EU officials to tell Rayale in no uncertain terms that he should resign from office by the end of his term on 6 April 2009 so that all leaders of the three major political parties can have a level-playing field in a fair and free presidential election.

Failure to do so may lead the country to serious civil disturbances that could destabilize it.

The people of Somaliland will not accept this time around for Rayale to attempt to enter into the office of the presidency through the window.

Jamal Madar @ adammadar@yahoo.com


Somaliland Invitation to Investment Forum in Djibouti shows good progress.

Saylac.com, Mar 19, 2009.. Seattle (Qarannews)-Thursday brought the departure of a strong Somaliland delegation. The delegation left for Djibouti to take part in an investment forum organized by the French Government in the Republic of Djibouti. It was reported last week that Somaliland received an official invitation to participate in this international conference. Leading the delegation is the Minister of National Planning and Coordination of International Agencies, Mr. Ali Ibrahim. The French government has the opinion that strong Somaliland relations will prevent Somali pirates from attacking the Horn region.

The investment forum organized by the French Government intends to introduce French companies and their products to the nations of the Horn in Djibouti. They are also planning to direct French foreign investment strategy.

This investment forum, which held on March 13 to March 16, follow another forum held in Paris last year to which Somaliland was also invited and was attended by Somaliland diplomats from the EU region.

During this year’s forum in Djibouti, many French companies are expected to present expositions. Also expected to be in attendance are French government officials including several parliamentarians.

After the closure of the forum in Djibouti, a senatorial delegation attending this year’s investment forum is expected to visit Somaliland.

Minister of Planning Ali Ibrahim, informed reporters upon arrival at the airport that Somaliland will showcase its investment potential to the companies and governments at the investment forum. Accompanying him as part of the delegation is the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and officials of the ministry of commerce. Other Somaliland officials already in Djibouti also took part in the forum.

It has been learned that the Djibouti President Ismail Omer Gulleid is doing everything he can to push for Somaliland to receive the international attention and recognition. The Somaliland President Dahir Rayale Kahin is also working relentlessly is make his country an international stage. During his last visit to the United Kingdom, President Dahir Rayale Kahin met with the highest British officials in London.


UPDATED: Somaliland Shilling Falls Against The Dollar

Somaliland Globe, 18 March 2009 -- The Somaliland Shilling (SlSh) has fallen against main foreign currencies including the U.S. dollar in the last few days amid reports of newly printed money arriving in the country.

The U.S. dollar rose by 8.57% against the SlSh in recent days. One U.S. dollar currently buys around 7,000 Somaliland shillings, up from 6,400 few days ago. Traders say reduced availability of the U.S. dollar is among the main reasons for the devaluation.

The plummeting Shilling also prompted a sudden rise in prices of the basic foodstuffs in Hargeisa markets putting most food items beyond the reach of the ordinary people.

An anticipation of a drop in value of the SlSh is believed to have prompted businesses to hoard foreign currencies. Reports of the newly printed money will surely worsen the economic problems in the country and could derail attempts to stabilize the soaring inflation.

The drop in the value of the local currency historically accelerated around the weeks before and after elections when the government spends large sums of printed Somaliland shilling on its political campaign activities.


Somaliland gathers data for first licensing round

http://www.qarannews.com/Mar 18, 2009.by Uchenna Izundu

-- TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Co. has collected and interpreted data in two multiclient programs in Somaliland in partnership with the Somaliland Ministry of Water and Mineral Resources. The work was in preparation for the nation's first licensing round (OGJ Online, Feb. 19, 2009). The data consists of 5,300 line km of marine 2D seismic, gravity, and magnetic data, plus 34,000 km of high-resolution aeromagnetic data covering onshore areas.

"The bid round includes eight concession blocks comprised of more than 89,624 sq km of onshore and offshore areas. Somaliland is geologically analogous to nearby Yemen, where several oil fields have been discovered to date," said TGS.

It is the first company to gather new geophysical data in the nation in almost 30 years.

Qasim Sh. Yusuf Ibrahim, minister of water and mineral resources in Somaliland, said previous drilling had proved the existence of hydrocarbons and the reservoir class rock formations.

"With the help of the new geophysical data, we can now map the structures needed to identify where the hydrocarbons are trapped."

The closing date for bids is Aug. 15, and concessions are scheduled to be awarded on Dec. 15.


Somalia: Somaliland editor sentenced to five months in jail

HARGEISA, Somalia Mar 18 09(Garowe Online) - The editor of an independent newspaper in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland has been sentenced to five months in jail, Radio Garowe reports.

Mr. Mohamed Abdi "Urad," editor of the Yool weekly newspaper, was arrested by police on Feb. 27 in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland.

In court, Mr. Urad was charged with operating an "illegal newspaper" and "publishing false reports" by the attorney-general, our correspondent reported.

Further, the Yool newspaper has been ordered to shut down.

Relatives of Mr. Urad called the sentence unfair and demanded an appeal.

Mr. Urad is well-known in Somaliland journalism circles, as he once served as the editor of the independently-owned Jamhuuriya daily newspaper.

Somaliland's government has tough restrictions against the free press, including a complete ban on independent radio stations.

However, newspapers and Websites operate freely in the breakaway region as source of independent reporting.


Somaliland leader vows to step down 'only to elected president'

HARGEISA, Somalia Mar 18 2009(Garowe Online) - The leader of Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland has rejected opposition demands and has vowed to step down 'only to an elected president,' Radio Garowe reports.

Mr. Dahir Riyale, the president of Somaliland, returned Tuesday from a foreign trip with stopovers in London, Addis Ababa and Djibouti.

In Djibouti, Mr. Riyale met with Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Ghelle where the two leaders discussed bilateral relations.

Confidential sources in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, told Somali news agency Garowe Online that President Riyale requested the financial backing of the Djiboutian leader in the upcoming election, which was postponed from March 29 to May 31 by Somaliland's election commission.

Mr. Riyale's desire for hard currency to finance his re-election campaign comes at a time the opposition leader, Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, has demanded that Somaliland's two houses of parliament vote to establish a caretaker government to lead the region until May 31.

But President Riyale rejected the opposition's demand, telling a Hargeisa press conference that he will leave office "only to an elected president."

He expressed confidence in direct talks with the UK Foreign Office Minister while in London, saying that it is "the first meeting" with such a high-profile official in the UK.

Somaliland's presidential election, which was originally slated for May 2008, has been postponed two times due to technical issues involving the voter-registration process.


Why the United States Should Recognize Somaliland’s Independence

http://forums.csis.org/africa/?p=19,Center for Strategic and International Studies

By Peter J. Schraeder

The United States government should officially recognize the independence of Somaliland, a moderate Muslim democracy in the Horn of Africa. Such an argument may seem counterintuitive at a time when tensions are rising in the region. But I submit that it is precisely because of those rising tensions that it is time for the Bush administration to act, especially if it is truly serious about democracy promotion, counter-terrorism, and curtailing the spread of Islamic fundamentalism.

Why does Somaliland deserve U.S. recognition?

First and foremost, it is important to recollect that, after achieving independence from British colonial rule on June 26, 1960, Somaliland was duly recognized as a sovereign entity by the United Nations and thirty-five countries, including the United States. Several days later, on July 1, the independent country of Somaliland voluntarily joined with its newly independent southern counterpart (the former UN Trust Territory of Somalia that was a former Italian colony) to create the present-day Republic of Somalia. Somalilanders rightfully note that they voluntarily joined a union after independence, and that, under international law, they should (and do) have the right to abrogate that union, as they did in 1991. Examples abound in the second half of the twentieth century of international recognition of countries that have emerged from failed federations or failed states, including East Timor, Eritrea, Gambia, and the successor states of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. The same legal principle should be applied to Somaliland.

The political basis for Somaliland’s claim is that the voluntary union of 1960 was derailed in 1969 by a military coup d’etat in Mogadishu that ushered in more than two decades of brutal military rule under the dictatorship of General Mohamed Siyaad Barre. Himself a southerner, Barre destroyed the foundations of the north-south democratic compact, most notably by unleashing a murderous campaign (bordering on genocide) against northern civilians that resulted in more than 50,000 deaths and created over 500,000 refugees as part of a widening civil war during the 1980s. Even after Barre was overthrown in 1991 by a coalition of guerrilla armies, including the northern-based Somali National Movement (SNM), northern expectations of a government of national unity were dashed when southern guerrilla movements reneged on an earlier agreement and unilaterally named a southerner president, which in turn was followed by the intensification of inter and intra-clan conflict in the south. Nearly thirty years of unfulfilled promises and brutal policies ripped the fabric of the already fragile north-south political compact. A “point of no return” had been reached for Somalilanders intent on reasserting their country’s independence. In May 2001, a popular mandate was given to dissolving the union, when a resounding number of ballots cast (97 percent) in a national Somaliland referendum favored the adoption of a new constitution that explicitly underscored Somaliland’s independence.

Somaliland deserves recognition if the Bush administration is truly sincere about promoting democracy in the wider Middle East. In sharp contrast to southern Somalia where instability and crisis have reigned and in fact intensified in the last fifteen years, Somaliland has established a democratic polity that, if recognized, would make it the envy of democracy activists in the Muslim world. The essence of Somaliland’s successful democratization was captured by U.S.-based International Republican Institute and the National Endowment for Democracy in convening a September 2006 panel discussion on Somaliland. They wrote that “Somaliland’s embrace of democracy, its persistence in holding round after round of elections, both winners and losers abiding by the rules, the involvement of the grassroots, the positive role of traditional authorities, the culture of negotiation and conflict resolution, the temperance of ethnicity or clan affiliation and its deployment for constructive purposes, the adaptation of modern technology, the conservative use of limited resources, and the support of the diaspora and the professional and intellectual classes are some of the more outstanding features of Somaliland’s political culture that are often sorely lacking elsewhere.”

Somaliland also deserves recognition from a purely U.S.-centric national security perspective. The Somaliland government and population embody a moderate voice in the Muslim world that rejects radical interpretations of Islam, including that espoused by various portions of the Council of Somali Islamic Courts (CSIC) currently in control of Mogadishu and its environs. It would serve as a bulwark against the further expansion of radical ideologies in the Horn of Africa by offering a shining example (along with Mali and Senegal and other predominantly Muslim Sub-Saharan African democracies) of how Islam and democracy are not mutually exclusive, but rather mutually reinforcing. Somaliland leaders are also eager to cooperate with the Bush administration in a variety of counter-terrorism measures, including working with the Combined Joint Task Force—Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) based in Djibouti. They are currently prohibited from doing so due to U.S. legislation that prevents cooperation with unrecognized Somaliland authorities.

The critiques of the pro-independence position are numerous, but don’t stand up to close examination. One strand of thought is that Somaliland is not economically viable. This position is reminiscent of claims made by Europeans during the 1950s with respect to their African colonies, with the aim of delaying independence throughout Africa. In any case, the argument is belied by Somaliland’s creation of a highly self-sufficient, well-functioning economy even though it has no access to the economic benefits that would come with statehood, such as access to loans from international financial institutions.

A second critique, typically offered by African policymakers, is that recognition of Somaliland will “open a pandora’s box” of secessionist claims throughout Africa. However, as in the case of Eritrea, which gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993, the Somaliland case does not call into question the African mantra of the “inviolability of frontiers” inherited at independence. The north-south union followed the independence and recognition of both the British and Italian Somali territories, and its dissolution therefore would constitute a unique case of returning to the boundaries inherited from the colonial era.

Others, especially those connected to UN efforts throughout the Horn of Africa, argue that recognition will derail the UN-sponsored “building blocks” approach to national reconciliation that includes the reconstitution of a central government in Mogadishu. This approach, however, has been an utter failure, as witnessed by the short-lived Transitional National Government (TNG) and its replacement by a Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the authority of which extends little beyond the town of Baidoa. What authority it has is largely due to the intervention of Ethiopian troops opposed to the further expansion of the Islamic Courts. It is time to recognize that the UN-sponsored “building blocks” cannot be stacked together to create a reunified central authority in Mogadishu.

A fourth critique claims that the “time is not right” for recognition because it will further intensify the widening crisis between the Islamic Courts and the TFG, and between their respective regional and international supporters. This argument has been heard repeatedly in the last fifteen years whenever efforts at reconstructing a unified central government were thought to be on the “verge of success.” Success has proved elusive over all this time, however, and it is now clear that southern Somalia will remain in crisis regardless of what is done with respect to Somaliland recognition. The most dire prediction of some Somali watchers is that the Islamic Courts movement will emerge victorious in the current conflict, assert its control over all Somali territories outside of Somaliland, and then threaten open warfare with Somaliland to bring it back into the Somali fold. If this should happen, it will likely be too late for the United States or others to intervene in a timely and effective manner to prevent Somaliland’s absorption into an Islamist Somalia. This reality makes recognition all the more urgent.

One of the more nuanced critiques of recognition is that loyalty to Somaliland in its eastern districts of Sanaag and Sool is contested, especially among the Warsengeli and Dhulbahante clans, and that any movement toward independence would potentially require the redrawing of Somaliland’s eastern boundary – which the leadership in Hargeisa (Somaliland’s capital) is unwilling to entertain. It is important to reiterate that Somaliland’s current boundaries are those of the original British Somaliland Protectorate created in 1884 and the independent country recognized by the international community beginning on June 26, 1960, and therefore have a solid legal basis under international law. The 2001 referendum provided an unequivocal popular basis for the independence claim. One way of resolving this issue, as was done with Eritrea in May 1993, would be to hold a territory-wide, UN-sponsored and internationally monitored popular referendum on independence that would be binding. If, as would be expected, pro-independence forces prevailed, those unwilling to live under Somaliland rule would have to make hard decisions about whether to continue living in Somaliland.

A final critique involves the concept of “African solutions for African problems.” Proponents contend that the United States should wait for African countries led by the AU to first recognize Somaliland. This approach is the topic of a thought-provoking International Crisis Group report, “Somaliland: Time for African Union Leadership,” published in May 2006, and was publicly endorsed by Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer in a presentation on November 17, 2006 at the annual meeting of the African Studies Association. Although Frazer’s statement that the United States would recognize Somaliland if the AU acted first was welcomed by specialists on Somaliland, it is unclear when or if a AU recognition process will actually unfold. The encouragement of African action should not become the basis for inaction on the part of the United States.

The time for U.S. recognition of Somaliland is now, not only because it is right, but because it is in the interests of the United States. Recognition of Somaliland, followed by expanded engagement by Somaliland with the international community, would serve as a powerful lesson for other countries within the region (not least of all southern Somalia) of the benefits associated with the creation and consolidation of democratic systems of governance. Somaliland would become a model to emulate, and the United States would be congratulated for undertaking a proactive policy in support of a moderate, Muslim democracy.

Peter J. Schraeder is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Loyola University Chicago. He writes on African politics and U.S. Africa policy.


Somaliland Vice President Meets with Norwegian Delegation

Hargeisa.16 March 2009 (Somalilandpress) - In a press release by the government’s spokesman, Mr. Said Adani Moge, the Somaliland’s Vice President met with a Norwegian delegation at the presidential palace in Hargeisa. The delegation led by Mr Espen Gullikstad, the deputy of the Norwegian ambassador to Kenya came for a short visit to Somaliland to discuss about the issues related to the coming elections and its preparations.

The Somaliland Vice President said the preparations for the coming elections are ongoing and the government is committed to hold the elections as per the Electoral Committee’s decision, the 31st May 2009. “I understand there are political tension between the government and opposition, I believe it will be solved through negotiations as we always do in Somaliland. We are ready to conduct a peaceful and fair election which all the citizens will participate from east to west” Said the Vice President.

Mr Espen Gullikstad said they believe the elections will take place in a peaceful environment like the previous elections Somaliland held in the last few years. He said conducting the elections will be useful for the growing democracy in Somaliland and improve Somaliland’s reputation in the world.

He said conducting the elections on time will open the doors for Somaliland to gain more international respect and Norway is ready to help on the elections and other development projects.

The meeting was also participated by Rina Kristmoen, the Norwegian envoy to Somaliland & Somalia, and Somaliland State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Said Mohamed Nur.


French Delegation Arrive in Somaliland

Hargeisa, 16 March 2009 (Somalilandpress) — A French delegation of high-ranking MPs and officials from the French embassy in Djibouti have just arrived in Egal International Airport in Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa.

Officials from the government and others were at the airport to receive the delegation which is expected to hold talks with number of high-ranking Somaliland officials in the coming days.

Somaliland and France’s relationship had dramatic improved since President Nicolas Sarkazoy came to office and changed France’s foreign policy specially in Africa. Now France is the only country to open a foreign commercial bank in Somaliland, and plans more investments, while Somaliland plans to introduce French language classes to it’s education ciriculum.


Somaliland opposition 'ready for election' but wants Riyale out

HARGEISA, Somalia Mar 16 2009(Garowe Online) - The leading opposition party in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland has again demanded a caretaker government to rule the region during a two-month transitional period, Radio Garowe reports.

Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, the presidential candidate for the Kulmiye opposition party, addressed a crowd Monday at the opening of a youth office in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland.

"Some people are saying that Kulmiye party is against the election. But Kulmiye is ready for the election this hour, Kulmiye is ready on May 31, but April 6 is the deadline for [Dahir] Riyale's government," Mr. Silanyo declared, adding: "The dispute is who will rule the country [Somaliland] until the election date."

The chairman of the ruling UDUB party, Mr. Jama Yasin Farah, told a party gathering in the city of Burao that the Kulmiye party's demands are "unfortunate."

"The people will only accept the constitutional process and I urge Kulmiye [party] to accept the decision reached by the Somaliland election commission," Mr Farah said, while referring to the commission's controversial move to delay the presidential election from March 29 to May 31.

Meanwhile, Somaliland's upper house of parliament, the House of Guurti, voted today to extend its ordinary session by an additional month to help mediate among the political parties.

The political crisis in Somaliland started in April 2008, when President Riyale's constitutional five-year mandate ended. The House of Guurti voted to give the Riyale administration an additional year in office, in a move condemned by the opposition as illegal.

The dispute was later resolved and a new election date was set for March 29, 2009, when Mr. Riyale and Mr. Silanyo were expected to face-off in a presidential race similar to 2003, when Silanyo lost by less than 90 votes.

But the election commission's unilateral decision to delay the election until May 31 has deepened the political dispute, with the Kulmiye party demanding that the two houses of parliament appoint a caretaker government that can lead Somaliland until the election.


Riches of Somaliland remain untapped

BBC Online, 15 March 2009, By James Melik

Camels and sheep are the country's biggest foreign currency earners Until Somaliland gets official international recognition it cannot exploit its rich reserves of natural resources.

Although agriculture is the most successful industry, surveys show that Somaliland has large offshore and onshore oil and natural gas reserves.

Several wells have been excavated during recent years but because of the country's unrecognised status, foreign energy companies cannot benefit from it.

Somaliland is in north east Africa but, as far as the outside world is concerned, it is simply a region of war-torn Somalia which has not been a nation since Britain gave it independence in 1960.

Yet the area the size of England declared independence 18 years ago and, while the rest of Somalia remains in a chaotic state, Somaliland has established a stable government, peace and relative prosperity.

Self reliance

The country's progress is limited however, because aid donors and trade partners do not officially recognise its existence.

After declaring independence in 1991, Somaliland formed its own hybrid system of governance consisting of a lower house of elected representatives, and an upper house which incorporated the elders of tribal clans.

Somaliland made its final transition to multi-party democracy with elections in 2003. "We have to rely solely on our meagre revenues and the investments of our own people", said Foreign Minister Abdillahi Duale.

The country has its own flag, national anthem, vehicle number plates and currency - although the Somaliland shilling is not a recognised currency and has no official exchange rate.

It is regulated by the Bank of Somaliland which was established constitutionally in 1994.

Foreign minister Abdillahi Duale says the recession affecting the rest of the world is causing him particular concern.

"As a country which is not yet recognised this global phenomenon is affecting us very seriously," he laments.

"We do not have access to international trade or international financial institutions," he says. "So we have to rely solely on our meagre revenues and the investments of our own people."

'De facto' state

Mr Duale insists that his people have a great entrepreneurial spirit and are business-oriented. "We need butter, we are not asking for guns", says Foreign Minister Abdillahi Duale.

Most trade is carried out with the Gulf States, Indonesia and India.

"Trade doesn't require recognition," he says.

The main export is livestock, with sheep and camels being shipped from Berbera, the country's largest port.

In order to export livestock, a veterinary license has to be issued.

To facilitate that, a veterinary school has been built in Sheikh and it attracts students from the Horn of Africa and as far afield as Uganda and Kenya.

Mr Duale is unperturbed that such licences will not have the force that a United Nations-sponsored veterinary licence would have.

"We are not members of the UN but nevertheless, the international community trades with us because we are a de facto state," he says.

He admits however, that one of the major problems the lack of official recognition creates is the inability to access international financial institutions.

"We cannot talk to the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank because they only talk to recognised states," he says.

"We rely on ourselves and our Diaspora, which accounts for almost $600m of revenue a year.

"People get by but it is very difficult without infrastructure," he says, "We need butter, we are not asking for guns."

Growth industry

Apart from livestock, other exports include hides, skins, myrrh and frankincense.

Mining has the potential to be a successful industry although simple quarrying is the extent of current operations - despite the presence of diverse mineral deposits including uranium.

One industry which has seen growth however, is tourism.

The historic town of Sheikh is home to old British colonial buildings which have been untouched for 40 years, whilst Zeila was once part of the Ottoman Empire.

Due to the fertility of some regions, many people travel to see the wildlife, while the offshore islands and coral reefs provide another major attraction.

Whoever is brave, or reckless enough, to break ranks with the world community and gives Somaliland the recognition is craves, must surely be well placed to take advantage of the riches the country has to offer.


Somaliland Invited to French Horn of Africa investment forum in Djibouti

by SomalilandPress, Mar 15, 2009

Hargeisa (Observer) –On Thursday, a strong Somaliland delegation departed for Djibouti to take part in an investment forum organized by the French Government in the Republic of Djibouti. Waaheen Media reported last week that Somaliland received an official invitation to participate in this international conference. The Minister of National Planning and Coordination of International Agencies, Mr. Ali Ibrahim, led the Somaliland delegation.

The French investment forum is intended to introduce French companies and their products to the nations of the Horn particularly in Djibouti and to direct French foreign investment strategy.

The present investment forum which is planned for 13 to 16 March follows on another forum held in Paris last year to which Somaliland was also invited. In the previous forum Somaliland diplomats from the EU region attended.

In Djibouti, many French companies were expected to present expositions, but French government officials including several parliamentarians are also expected to attend.

A senatorial delegation attending the forum is expected to visit Somaliland after the closure of the forum in Djibouti.

Minister of Planning, Ali Ibrahim, told reporters at the airport that Somaliland will showcase its investment potential to the companies and governments in attendance. He was accompanied on the delegation by the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and officials of the ministry of commerce. Observer has also learned that other Somaliland officials were already in Djibouti and will take part in the forum. Sources: The Observer + Waaheen Media


Ethiopia boosts relations with Somaliland

by Sudan Tribune, Mar 15, 2009. The Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi today held talks with the heads of the two breakaway entities of Somalia, Somaliland and Puntland, on ways to boost bilateral relations.

Somaliland is a self-proclaimed state established in 1991.It considers itself to be the successor state of the former British Somaliland protectorate, but remains unrecognized by the international community. However it has strong relations with Ethiopia and its president had been received as head of state for the first time in June 2007, by Meles Zenawi.

The Puntland is a region in northeastern Somalia and unlike neighboring Somaliland, it does not seek outright independence from Somalia. To the contrary, its former president Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, was strongly backed by Ethiopia in his bid to conquer the country at the head of the Transitional Federal Government.

Ethiopia has security agreements with both territories as it is very interested in partnering to hunt Ogaden rebels, who are ethnically Somali.

One after the other, Prime Minister Zenawi received on Saturday Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamuda and Somaliland President Dahir Rayle Kahin. Discussions with the visiting “presidents” were focused on security issues and trade ties.

"The two parties have also reached an agreement to bolster cooperation in addressing the problems of refugees that could exist in their respective countries" said the Ethiopian official ENA on the meeting with the head of the Puntland authority.

In April 2008, the Ethiopian rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) accused Puntland of arresting two of its top leaders and handing them over to Ethiopia.

Following Zenawi’s next meeting with the head of Somaliland, the region’s president stated that he held talks with the Ethiopian premier on security issues in the region. He further added that he shares the same concerns with Zenawi on the current situation in the Horn of Africa.

Somaliland has close ties with Ethiopia since its establishment. In November 2000 the two sides signed an agreement enabling the landlocked Ethiopia to use the port of Berbera, on the Gulf of Aden, for the transit of its imports and exports.

Ethiopia, which backed the Somali transitional government from 2006 to the end of 2008, decided to withdraw its troops from the troubled country after failing to draw more support for its troops there. The military intervention had been intended also to fight Eritrean-backed Somali Islamists.


Somaliland Fury over Finland’s Contempt

by Dalmar Kaahin, http://www.qarannews.com/Mar 14, 2009

Imagine living in one the most peaceful cities in the world, Hargeisa, Somaliland capital for the past two decades, and finding out one morning that a cold-blooded convict is not only loose on the streets of your city, but also no one knows what he looks like.

To make matters worse, the convict in question didn’t escape from a maximum security prison, but Finland sent him to your city without notifying Somaliland authority or warning Somaliland public.

Now don’t forget, Finland deported this hard-core criminal because he is a threat to the Finnish people. But what about the Somaliland people, isn’t he a threat to them? Or maybe through the eyes of the Finnish authority the lives of Somaliland people are not as important as those of Finnish people’s.

Today, in this so-called civilized world you would think things are changing for better—after all this is a global village. Or is it?

If a Finnish person is kidnapped in Somaliland, Finland authority expects cooperation from Somaliland government, and would rely on the local security forces to apprehend the hostage taker and free the captive. However, when Finland decides to deport Somali criminals, it would not even notify Somaliland that callous convicts are on their way, much less help to either lock them up or rehabilitate them. So much for global village hollow mantra!

What if Sweden sneaks a Finnish criminal back into Finland without informing Helsinki and he/she commits heinous crimes. The diplomatic row between the two nations wouldn’t only cause an embarrassment but would show lack of responsible judgment from Sweden’s part that sending the criminal to his/her birth country without taking proper procedure is a criminal act itself. Deporting a criminal without communicating with the receiving nation is unthinkable.

Somaliland authorities made efforts to contact their Finnish counterparts by sending a letter through the convict’s lawyer. However, in an utter disrespect for Somaliland authority, Jorma Vuorio, the director-general of the Finnish Immigration Service mocked Somaliland government. Mr. Vuorio instead of responding to Somaliland properly, he states, “It is possible to get just about any forged document you care to name in Somaliland.. Anyone can get hold of anything from there, even a passport if required”. http://english.horseedmedia.net/news/8771.shtml

Finland not only smuggled a dangerous criminal into Somaliland, but it [Finland] also showed a total disregard for Somaliland laws. Mohamed Osman, Somaliland’s Minister of Return Migration and Reconstruction, couldn't hide the frustration of his government with Finland as he stated, “Finnish officials have not responded to us in any way. We interpret this as hostility toward us, and are very disappointed.” http://tinyurl.com/awj2tm

What if the convict unleashed a crime spree in Hargeisa and put the criminal skills that he mastered in Finland into action?

When a Finnish convict moves from one city to another within Finland, the locals are well informed in advance. For crying out loud, why couldn’t the Finland authority at least contact Somaliland?

Also, since Somaliland already has an agreement with a number of North American and European countries with respect to deportees coming back to Somaliland, why Finland disregarded Somaliland government?

Now, whether Finland sees Somaliland as part of Somalia is irrelevant at this point. But Finland authority’s disregard for Somaliland and International law is what the fuss is all about.

Understandably, the Finnish government has every right to get rid of foreign convicts that remain a threat to its citizens. But that doesn’t give Helsinki the green light to ignore the Somaliland government and endanger public safety. What’s good for Finland is also good for Somaliland.

Doubtlessly, the Somaliland people in Finland are grateful to the Finnish people’s hospitality and the generosity of the Finland government. And there is no doubt that the Somaliland-Finnish community will bridge the gape between Somaliland and Finland.

However, sending convicts to their original country is a controversial and hypocritical policy practiced in the West. For instance, as long as you are excelling sports, music and other entertainment venues, you will be a national hero in your host country. But once you commit crimes regardless of how long you have lived in your host country, your evil acts will associate with your birth country.

Here in Canada, once a Somali-Canadian individual commits a crime, Media reports, “A Somali man/woman did this and that…” No mentioning whatsoever that the criminal is a Canadian citizen and spent all in his/her life in Canada, so need for mentioning Somalia. Some offenders were in fact born in Canada and have never seen Somalia. But had the same criminals excelled in sports—boy oh boy, now we are talking about true Canucks who breathe Maple leaves.

To sum up, although the Finnish government showed a total disregard for Somaliland government and for Somaliland people’s safety, the damage is reversible. For Finland to avoid another blunder, it should establish an office in Hargeisa. Similarly, Finland should encourage Somaliland to open a diplomatic office in Helsinki.

In the near future, before sending hard-core criminals to Somaliland, Finland should take a number of things into consideration: can Somaliland afford to lock up these types of criminals? Are maximum security facilities available? What about the safety of Somaliland people? Is Finland’s action in accordance with International laws?

As for the Somali convict, he served his time and got deported to a country that doesn’t entertain criminals. No doubt that he is now bitter and has nothing to lose. Then of course, he poses more danger to Somaliland than he did to Finland.


TGS Completes Programs for Somaliland's 1st Licensing Rounds

Source: www.rigzone.com, March 13, 2009.GS-NOPEC Geophysical Company.

GS-NOPEC Geophysical Company (TGS) has completed processing and interpretation of two new multi-client programs in Somaliland. Acquired in partnership with the Somaliland Ministry of Water and Mineral Resources (Ministry), the programs include 5,300 kilometers of marine 2D seismic, gravity, and magnetic data, plus approximately 34,000 kilometers of high resolution aeromagnetic data covering onshore areas.

Designed to define the principle structural elements of the area and allow for the development of leads, plays, and structural highs for further investigation, this new data is released to coincide with Somaliland's first petroleum licensing round, which opened in February. The bid round includes eight concession blocks comprised of more than 89,624 square kilometers of onshore and offshore areas. Somaliland is geologically analogous to nearby Yemen, where several oil fields have been discovered to date.

TGS is the first company to gather new geophysical data in the Republic of Somaliland in almost thirty years. Through an agreement with the Ministry, TGS will exclusively market the seismic and aeromagnetic data on behalf of Somaliland.


Somaliland wants to send deportee back to Finland

Helsingin Sanomat, http://www.hiiraan.com/March 13, 2009

Somaliland, a state set up in the north of war-torn Somalia, has sharply condemned Finland for deporting a Somali-born man convicted of numerous crimes in Finland to Somaliland early last month.

“Somaliland is no camping area”, said Mohamed Osman, Somaliland’s Minister of Return Migration and Reconstruction to Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday.

“Finland should apologise to us and take the man back.”

Finnish police escorted the man to Dubai, where they placed him on a plane to Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, on February 9th, along with a temporary alien’s passport.

The ministry in Hargeisa learned about this action, and other deportation decisions made by Finland by reading the International Edition of Helsingin Sanomat on the Internet. Osman said that Finnish officials had not been in contact with Somaliland over the issue.

“In our view, the man has been smuggled into Somaliland. We cannot accept this.”

Osman says that his ministry has approached Finland, and many other countries, hoping to cooperate on issues of asylum and deportation.

The country has already agreed on cooperation with Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, and The Netherlands.

Osman says that Finland has not reacted to his government’s attempts at contact.

“Finnish officials have not responded to us in any way. We interpret this as hostility toward us, and are very disappointed.” Officials of Somaliland allowed the deportee into the country, because he had no police escort, and he could not be sent back with them.

Osman says that the deportee made a mistake when he boarded a connecting flight in neighbouring Djibouti.

He was ordered to leave Somaliland with his temporary passport, and go to Ethiopia, which has a Finnish Embassy.

Osman says that the man was given a document by the ministry declaring that his presence in Somaliland was unlawful. The deportee’s lawyer has submitted the document to both Finnish officials and the media.

Officials at the Somaliland ministry were especially shocked at how Jorma Vuorio, the director-general of the Finnish Immigration Service, commented on the document given to the deportee. They read his comments to Helsingin Sanomat on the Internet.

Vuorio voiced suspicions that the document was a forgery. "It is possible to get just about any forged document you care to name in Somaliland. Anyone can get hold of anything from there, even a passport if required", he said.

“The statement indicates a total lack of diplomacy, as well as ignorance of Somaliland. We would expect a person in such a high position not to make such statements”, the Somaliland minister said.

In the news story, Vuorio did not believe that the man was in danger of being deported from Somaliland.

“This person [Vuorio] supports chaos and anarchy. He violates the fundamental human rights of the deportee”, the minister told Helsingin Sanomat.

Officials at the ministry were surprised to hear that the deportee is still in Hargeisa.

His alien’s passport is no longer in force, and the ministry assumed that he had stayed in Ethiopia.

“We will put out a warrant for him. If the police find him, we will have to consider what to do. It might be possible to send him to Somalia, from where he could come by land to Somaliland, in which case he would be classified as a refugee.”

“He is a criminal. If he continues this kind of behaviour, he is in danger of losing his life. We have lost 100,000 people in a civil war. Perhaps Finland has lived in peace for so long that people there do not understand what it is like to come from a war zone.”


Somalia: Somaliland clan conference worries government

HARGEISA, Somalia Mar 13 (Garowe Online) - The administration in Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland is increasingly worried about a clan conference that opened Wednesday in the city of Burao, Radio Garowe reports.

The conference was attended by more than 100 delegates, including traditional elders, intellectuals, business leaders and lawmakers belonging to the Isaaq sub-clans of Habar Jeclo and Habar Yonis.

On Friday, the Burao clan conference concluded successfully and the delegates issued a signed declaration.

A key clause in the signed declaration stated: "The presidential election must be held in the country [Somaliland] on time, which is March 29."

The following clause indicated that delaying the election is "intended to confuse the public," while another clause demanded that the "lawmaking bodies [parliament] must reach a decision about the leadership in the country" following the April 6 deadline, when incumbent President Dahir Riyale's extended term in office expires.

Mr. Awil Ali Du'ale, Somaliland's finance minister, told local media in the regional capital Hargeisa that the clan conference is Burao "will change nothing."

"It bothers me a lot when I hear that clans are meeting, especially when the election is so close…it is the nation backtracking. It is better that political parties meet [instead]," Finance Minister Awil said.

He called on the public to uphold the peace, while urging the opposition to declare that they will peacefully accept election results.

Somaliland's main opposition party Kulmiye has vowed not to recognize Riyale's government after April 6, when his extended term in office expires.

The Somaliland election commission recently delayed the presidential election from March 29 to May 31, forcing Kulmiye to demand the establishment of a caretaker government.

The political crisis in Somaliland continues to deepen, especially after Kulmiye party's demand that the two houses of parliament appoint a caretaker government gained support from major clan-groups in the region.


Beacon of stability in a land of upheaval

Matt Brown, National, March 13. 2009, UAE.http://www.thenational.ae/

Downtown Hargeisa shows signs of development and stability not evident in many other parts of Somalia.

HARGEISA, Somalia. Drive through the streets here, and you will find signs of development and stability not seen anywhere else in Somalia.

A construction crew is busy laying the foundation of the seven-storey glass and steel headquarters for a telecommunications company. Well-trained security forces stand guard outside the Somaliland central bank. Traffic police direct the steady flow of new Land Cruisers and ancient Peugeot taxis. Women shop for tomatoes and cabbage in the bustling market without the sense of fear that is so common in the rest of Somalia.

In fact, the residents of this dusty city do not even consider this to be a part of Somalia. To them, Hargeisa is the capital of the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland, a country the rest of the world does not recognise.

In the past 20 years, as the rest of Somalia has been torn to shreds by civil war, Somalilanders have quietly gone about the business of building a viable nation state without any help from the international community. They have established institutions of government, held democratic elections, printed money and imposed taxes, even issued licence plates and passports, which are invalid anywhere else in the world.

“I think very soon we will get recognition,” said Abdillahi Duale, Somaliland’s minister of foreign affairs. “We have played a significant role in regional security and democracy. That is what the West wants. Delaying the case of Somaliland is denying the justice and existence of 3.5 million Somalilanders.”

Although Somalilanders speak the same language and are ethnically related to south and central Somalis, their histories are markedly different. The British colonised the north-west region of Somalia, known as British Somaliland, and governed through a network of local elders. This left local and tribal forms of government intact after independence.

The rest of Somalia was colonised by the Italians, who sent governors from Rome to impose an Italian lifestyle on the locals. The result: Mogadishu has some nice Italian art deco buildings and Somalis have a fondness for pasta, but they have trouble when it comes to governing themselves.

At independence in 1960, the British and Italian Somali colonies formed a union, which became modern day Somalia. Somaliland has regretted that decision since.

“Somalia has really made life hell for us Somalilanders,” said Mohamed Hersi, a local businessman.

From Mogadishu, the regime of Siad Barre, a dictator, brutally oppressed Somaliland, launching army attacks and air force bombing raids on Somaliland rebels that killed 50,000 Somaliland civilians in the 1980s. After Barre’s ouster in 1991, Somaliland declared itself independent and the rest of Somalia began its downwards spiral into civil war.

“Somaliland has been relatively peaceful compared with the rest of Somalia,” said Abdirahman Mohamed Haji, the director of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Hargeisa. “Much of that can be attributed to local grassroots peace building.”

Somaliland survives on a meagre budget of US$50 million (Dh183m) per year, mostly from import duties and taxes. Since it is not recognised, it cannot borrow from such international financial institutions as the International Monetary Fund. While the budgets of other African countries are subsidised by donor nations, Somaliland receives no aid, except indirectly through non-governmental organisations.

“We have all the paraphernalia of a government and yet we don’t get any support,” said Hussen Ali Dualeh, Somaliland’s finance minister. “We are a country that has tightened its belt. We still pay our salaries at the end of the month.”

Instead of recognising Somaliland, the international community has continued to support a series of failed governments in Mogadishu. The latest attempt at a government, the current Transitional Federal Government, is at war with an Islamic insurgency and controls virtually no territory. Its parliament meets in neighbouring Djibouti because it is not safe in Somalia.

If international recognition is a reward for peace and stability, why, then, is the international community reluctant to recognise Somaliland? Western diplomats would not comment publicly on this matter. Privately, though, they say recognition of any breakaway republic is a slippery slope: today it is Somaliland, tomorrow it could be South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Pretty soon, every self-determined fiefdom will want a seat at the United Nations, the argument goes.

Egypt has successfully lobbied the Arab League to block Somaliland’s recognition. Egypt is locked in a perpetual struggle with Ethiopia over Nile River water rights and sees a greater, united Somalia as a strong counterbalance to Ethiopia.

A presidential election set for May 31 could be a make-or-break moment for Somaliland’s self-determination. Politicians here say that if Somaliland can show the world it can hold free and fair elections, international recognition will be just around the corner.

Somaliland has a history of exciting, yet peaceful, elections. In 2003, Dahir Riyale Kahin, the current president, defeated his rival by just 80 votes out of half a million cast. Unlike in Kenya or Zimbabwe, where close elections touched off violent protests, Somalilanders accepted the results and politicians formed a coalition government. That type of good sportsmanship should be rewarded, politicians here said.

“Being Somalilanders, one of our strengths is compromise,” said Abdurahma Abdulqadir, the vice chairman of the opposition Kulmiye Party. “If we have another successful election, we will cement democracy here. We will show the world that this is the only place in Somalia where peaceful regime change can happen.”

Recognition for Somaliland is a hot-button issue in this election, and locals on the streets of Hargeisa know what is at stake.

“International recognition is the key to every door,” said Ibrahim Ali, a businessman. “We are just a nation on paper. Our country is suffering without the support of the international community. We have peace, but at the end of the day, we don’t even have bread for ourselves.”


Somaliland Marines Tackle Treacherous Seas

http://www.americanchronicle.com/ March 10, 2009 By Matt Brown

BERBERA, Somaliland, February 28, 2009 – Before setting out into the warm, azure waters of the Gulf of Aden, Ahmed Saleh, a colonel in the coastguard here, surveys his men. The 10 marines are well armed with AK-47 rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and an imposing Russian-made anti-aircraft gun mounted on the bow of their speedboat.

These men carry a small arsenal for a reason. They are tasked with patrolling some of the most dangerous waters on Earth, the pirate-infested sea off the Somali coast.

"We do not fear because we have arms," Col Saleh said aboard his patrol boat in the open water of the Gulf of Aden. "The pirates have arms too, but still we do not fear. If we show fear, they can do whatever they want to us."

Indeed, the pirates are just as well armed and have terrorized international shipping vessels in one of the world´s busiest shipping lanes while outsmarting the most sophisticated navies on Earth. In the past year, Somali pirates have attacked more than 100 boats in the shipping route from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean, according to the International Maritime Organization.

Experts believe that more than 1,000 pirates now operate off the Somali coast, taking advantage of the lawlessness stemming from the country´s 18-year civil war. Young fishermen are lured by the promise of huge ransoms in the millions of dollars. For example, the owners of the hijacked MV Faina, a Ukrainian ship carrying tanks and other weapons, recently paid a band of pirates US$3 million (Dh11m) for the release of the boat.

But piracy has its roots in illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping off the coast of Somalia, according to some of the pirates recently interviewed. Local fishermen began patrolling these waters demanding money for fishing rights from international ships. Once they realised they could make a profit, they began hijacking cargo vessels and extorting ransoms.

"Before we started the piracy, we appealed to the world to do something about the illegal fishing in our territorial waters," said Farah Ismail, a convicted pirate serving 15 years in a Somali prison. "They didn´t listen, so we turned to piracy."

In an interview from the prison in northern Somalia, Ismail described how his band of pirates captured large cargo ships using a six-meter skiff.

"The ships are very big and our boat is very small," he said. "Before he sees us, we can see him. Our boat is very speedy. By the time they see us, it is too late. We use ladders to climb on board. When we are on board, the first thing we do is cut their communication. Then, we use our guns and move the crew to one area."

Ismail, 38, is from Puntland, the anarchic Somali territory on the tip of the Horn of Africa. Most of the piracy takes place there and in southern Somalia. Pirates have largely avoided this north-western Somali territory known as Somaliland, which has a functioning government and security forces. Seeing a growth industry, Ismail and four other pirates moved to Somaliland to set up shop. The band of pirates was arrested last month, and they are all serving prison sentences.

Piracy is on the rise even here in Somaliland, where the coastguard has just three boats to patrol the entire 860-kilometre coastline. Ships from the US, European Union, Russia and a dozen other international navies stationed off the coast of Somalia, have concentrated their efforts on Puntland and the Indian Ocean coast, avoiding Somaliland.

"The local community is very aware and they alert us when they suspect pirates are operating in the area," said Admiral Osman Jibril Hagar, the head of the Somaliland coastguard. "In Somaliland, the people don´t like piracy. They say it is an evil business."

In the past two years, the coastguard has arrested about 50 pirates in Somaliland, according to Mr Hagar. Only one boat has been hijacked in Somaliland´s waters, a yacht sailed by a German couple that was taken in July on the border between Puntland and Somaliland.

Jurgen Kantner and his wife were sailing around the world on their yacht, the Rockall, when the pirates struck. The pirates took the couple to a hideout in the rugged mountains of Somalia´s interior, where they were held for 52 days.

"We slept in the bush, we had little water and sometimes we had no food for three days," said Mr Kantner, 62, who has returned to the Somali port town of Berbera to fix his boat. "I´ve lived 33 years on a boat, and it was the worst experience of my life."

The couple were subjected to mock executions. The pirates tied a rope around Mr. Kantner´s neck and threatened to hang him. Once they fired a gun, barely missing his head. At one point, he was separated from his wife when he heard a gunshot. The pirates told him that she had just been killed.

The couple was finally released after a $600,000 ransom was paid. Mr. Kantner said it was not clear if the German government or a private party paid the ransom.

Once his boat is seaworthy again, Mr. Kantner plans to continue his voyage to Asia, even though it means braving the pirate-infested waters a second time.

"Next time I will buy a gun," he said. "It is the only way. I will be ready. If they attack, I will fight back."


Somalia: Somaliland Expels Somalia MP After 11 Days in Jail

Garowe Online /10 March 2009 - Authorities in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland have expelled a Somali Member of Parliament after jailing him for 11 days, Radio Garowe reports.

MP Mohamed Mohamud "Indhobur" was arrested by Somaliland police on Feb. 27 at the airport in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland and Somalia's second-largest city.

He spent the past 11 days at Mandhera Prison, with Somaliland Interior Minister Abdullahi Ismail "Irro" saying the Somali MP will face charges of 'treason' and 'public embezzlement.'

Mr. Indhobur was the Somaliland-appointed deputy governor of Sool region, which is disputed between the separatist republic of Somaliland and the pro-unity federal state of Puntland.

In October 2007, he took active role in Somaliland's violent capture of Las Anod, the provincial capital of Sool.

Mr. Indhobur was reportedly put on a plane Tuesday from Hargeisa to Mogadishu, Somalia's national capital. He joined the expanded parliament of Somalia after defecting from Somaliland in January.

Somaliland has strict laws against people from the region who claim to represent Somaliland and attend peace conferences aimed at finding a national government for Somalia.

Mr. Indhobur became a Somali MP at the Djibouti peace conference, which concluded in January with the election of President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.

The Somaliland administration has refused to participate at Somali peace conferences, arguing that the breakaway region is an independent republic.


Somaliland: Opposition Parties Call To Convene A National Conference

Hargeisa (Somaliland Globe 09 March 2009 ) — The opposition political parties are calling the Parliament to convene a national conference on the future of the country. The opposition call follows the fourth postponement of the presidential election by the National Election Commission (NEC) within the last 12 months.

The opposition parties strongly opposed any talk of postponement or extension of term for Riyale and his UDUB party as unconstitutional.

The NEC’s sudden announcement that it will not be able to hold the election on the planned date, came barely a month before the election date. A week later the chairman of the NEC said they re-scheduled the election date to 31th May. These NEC decisions were made public before political parties were consulted. A KULMIYE party official in London told the Somaliland Globe “These late and unilateral announcements have become a standard” for the NEC.

He expressed frustration that “they never make any decisions that they had not previously discussed with Riyale’s government. The same is not true when it comes to the opposition”.

Riyale was elected for a five year term on 14th April, 2003 which ended last year. At that time the election was postponed to the end of August 2008 and his term was controversially extended by the Guurti drawing almost a unanimous condemnation from the opposition parties and the public.

The election date was postponed for a second time to 31th December, 2008. The NEC again postponed the election for a third time to March of this year which they now say it will not be possible.

All three political parties submitted the names of their candidates to the NEC by early February. The two opposition parties, KULMIYE and UCID also say they fulfilled all the requirements and are ready for the election.

The NEC has in the past been accused of lack of neutrality between the political parties. Five of its 7 members were appointed by Riyale, while the other two were appointed by the opposition. The opposition also accuse the NEC of ignoring UDUB’s misuse of government controlled media and properties to advance its political campaign. Within the last two months Riyale’s ministers intensified their attacks on the opposition through the government controlled media accusing them of inciting violence.

UCID released the following six-point statement:

REPUBLIC OF SOMALILAND, THE SOMALILAND JUSTICE AND WELFARE PARTY (UCID), March 5, 2009.Press Release

UCID Party’s stand on the postponement of the presidential election of Somaliland

1. UCID party will participate ONLY in a democratic, free and fair election in Somaliland.

2. The Riyale Administration has failed the nation once again. The level of incompetence shown in repeatedly failing to hold the all important national election on time is truly astounding and it places the nation at a grave and imminent danger. UCID will not allow this ineptitude to continue any longer.

3. In the interest of peace and prosperity of the nation UCID accepts the proposal of the National Election Commission for postponement of the Presidential Elections of Somaliland to the end of May 2009.

4. UCID Party understands that the mandate of President Riyale and his government will ends at 12 midnight on April 6th, 2009. The legitimacy of the Riyale administration will be null and void at that point.

5. To avoid a power vacuum, to prevent the rise of illegitimate authority in Somaliland, to protect the constitution and to ensure the continued existence of nation of Laws, UCID Party calls for urgent consultation of three political parties (UCID, KULMIYE and UDUB) and the leadership of the two houses of the legislative (The Parliament and the Guurti).

6. UCID believes that any consensus based interim structure of governance that arises from such consultation must ensure in FOOLPROOF manner the central elements of the three party agreement of May 15, 2008.


Somalia: Dispute deepens over Somaliland voter-registration process

HARGEISA, Somalia Mar 9 09(Garowe Online) - The head of the voter-registration process in Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland has been sacked, deepening an ongoing political crisis, Radio Garowe reports.

Mr. Ismail Muse Nur is a member of Somaliland's election commission and has chaired the voter-registration process from the beginning.

In 2008, Mr. Nur apologized for misreporting on the number of registered voters in Awdal region, where he hails from along with Somaliland President Dahir Riyale.

In recent days, there has been growing dispute about why the server that counts registered voters was turned on in the absence of opposition parties and why there are major changes in voter demographics in different regions, our correspondent in Hargeisa reported.

The dispute worsened when Interpeace, the aid group facilitating donor funds for the voter-registration process, and the Somaliland election commission jointly issued the number of registered voters in different regions.

In Awdal region, for example, the number of registered voters from 2003 to 2008 increased by an astounding 67,000 more voters, while other regions like Togdheer recorded a lesser number of voters.

Somaliland's election commission has been mired in internal dispute since it was first established, including changing the chairman numerous times.

Voter demographics plays a pivotal role in the Somaliland election, as different regions home to various clan-groups seek representation in the region's government.

Meanwhile, the main opposition party Kulmiye continues to demand that Somaliland's two house of Parliament appoint a caretaker government after the election commission delayed the March 29 presidential election to May 31.


Does Somaliland deserve international recognition?

http://www.somaliweyn.org/07 March 2009

The political landscape of Somalia is now changing, albeit slowly. An all inclusive government consisting of former supporters of Abdullahi Yusuf, moderate Islamists, secular nationalists and Somali émigrés is now in place. Our focus of attention then should bring us to question of Somaliland recognition by the international community. Does Somaliland deserve today? Especially at a time Somalia is moving towards a comprehensive peace building and reconciliation.

The diehard Somaliland supporters are at a forefront in trying to lobby governments around the world and use academics and lobby groups to further their aim of carving up Somalia along tribal lines. The clever use of diplomacy has backfired on Somaliland. As the only government willing to extend recognition is the long time foe of the Somali people, Ethiopia. Though a few other nations in Africa support the concept, but at the end of the day follow the African union position on this matter.

Coming back to the close ties Somaliland has with Ethiopia, though also shared surprisingly by Puntland as well. Both Puntland and Somaliland have been complicit in sharing intelligence with Ethiopia, their minders. The well known policy of handing over Somali freedom fighters, fighting Ethiopian colonialism continues to take place. The legitimacy Somaliland has is surely put into question by their close relationship with the criminal government of Ethiopia. The winner at the end of the day, from Somali territorial break up is Ethiopia and Kenya.

The President of Somaliland currently here in London on a diplomatic offensive, probably is begging their former colonial power for recognition. Our duty then as Somalis is to highlight our opposition to divide and rule our country from Addis Ababa and other foreign capitals of the world. Somaliland is known to use a lobby group run by a former British diplomat, to put across their case for an independent Somaliland. It is in our own interests that we counter lobby the ruling elite in Somaliland who support the division of our nation. This policy of divide and rule best serves the interests of our immediate enemies, hell bent on carving up our country into weak mini states.

One needs to get a closer look at the facts on the ground in Somaliland. Do all Somalis irrespective of being Darod, Dir or Isaaq all support the idea of Somaliland? The answer to this question has been well known for years. The case for Somaliland is propagated by one tribal group through the use of ruling elites, who have close to ties to the former dictatorship of the Late Mohammed Siad Barre. All the leaders of the political parties in Somaliland have been associated with a dictatorship, supposedly they were fighting against. This brings us back to the question of legitimacy. How legitimate are the political leaders in Somaliland? Surely they are only serving the interests of their foreign backers and also at the end of the day satisfying their own egos.

The disillusioned Awdalites, the uniting of the Dhuulbahante (NSPU) and the breakaway of the Warsangali into Maakhir regional state, strengthens the argument that Somaliland is an exclusive nation, serving the interests of the Isaaq tribe. Recent comments made by the Somaliland vice president, further undermines the Somaliland lobby groups in the Diaspora. An acknowledgement and applaud goes out to VP Ahmed Yusuf Yasin, who had the courage to speak his mind, regarding Somalia uniting under a federal union.

It is therefore high time that all Somalis form a united front, against any infringements on our territorial integrity and nation state. When one looks at the bigger picture, Somalis realise the actors that put a wall against any real movement in reconciling the Somalis, Ethiopia and any Somali willing to get paid millions to kill, spy on their Somali brethren. The time lost building our nation, developing our youth for a brighter future, ridding society of tribalism, strengthening our deen, culture, language must be reversed now before it is too late. Our unique place in Africa as one people, one language and one religion, will be lost for future generations. The cross roads Somalia is driving through will be a test for all Somalis, be it from Puntland, Somaliland or Somalia.

Mubarak Ahmed Salah, mubarak_sa1@hotmail.com


Somaliland President meets with British MP's at Westminster

London, (Qarannews Mar 06, 2009 )- The President of Somaliland, Mr. Dahir Rayale Kahin and his delegation, currently on an official visit to the United Kingdom met with members of the All Party Somaliland Group at the Houses of Parliament in London.

Mr. Alun Michael MP, the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Somaliland welcomed President Rayale and his delegation to the House of Commons. The Somaliland delegation was also accompanied by the Speaker of the Somaliland Parliament, Mr. Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi.

The Somaliland President Dahir Rayale Kahin thanked the MP's for their warm welcome and their sterling support of Somaliland and its citizens.

President Rayale gave an overview of the situation in Somaliland, as well as, the current state of affairs in the Horn of Africa. In his brief remarks, President Rayale welcomed the continuing co-operation between Somaliland and the United Kingdom in areas of mutual interest including democracy, security and development. President Rayale thanked the government of the United Kingdom for their economic support along democratic development.

The members of the All-Party Parliamentary Somaliland Group welcomed the peaceful development in Somaliland, and maintained their intention to support the security and democratic development of Somaliland.

The Somaliland delegation currently visiting the United Kingdom includes, Foreign Minister, Abdillahi Mohamed Duale, Somaliland's Ambassador at Large, Dr. Mohamed Aar, Somaliland representative in Ireland, Abdifatah Saeed Ahmed, Somaliland's deputy representative to the United Kingdom,Dahir Tukale, the President's secretary, Ahmed M. Essa and Dr. Abdillahi Guled Ahmed.

The Somaliland delegation are expected to meet with other senior members of the United Kingdom government in the next few days to discuss areas of mutual interest including the logistical, observational and financial needs of the forth-coming elections in Somaliland. The Somaliland delegation are also expected to meet with Commonwealth secretariat, business leaders and members of the Somaliland community in the United Kingdom.


Corruption eats into Somaliland’s food aid

http://www.bederwanaag.com/ Mar 2, 2009/Source: Medeshi

In a dimly lit warehouse behind the bustling market in this northern Somali town, white plastic sacks full of sorghum are stacked nearly to the ceiling.Most of the 200 or so bags of grain have the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) logo on them. Some are from the United States Agency for International Development and have the words, “Not for sale or exchange” written on them.

However, all of this food, intended as handouts to some of the world’s neediest people, is for sale. Corruption is adding to the already catastrophic food crisis here in Somalia, where three million people, or one-third of the population, are dependent on food aid.In south and central Somalia, where nearly 20 years of war has ravaged the country, warlords commonly steal food aid and use it to control the population. Here in the more stable northern region, where many have sought shelter from the fighting, some of the food is stolen by corrupt officials looking to make a profit.

“There is corruption,” said Asha Essa, who lives in a camp for displaced people on the outskirts of the town. “I have seen the officials selling our food aid in town.”The displaced people who live in this dusty, sprawling camp of stick and plastic tents lament the fact that they have to buy the food that should be given to them. Many cannot afford to pay the US$7 (Dh25) for a 25kg bag of sorghum. Rising food prices and hyperinflation have put even basic food out of reach for the most vulnerable.

“There’s no food,” said Ali Gouled, a camp resident. “When they bring rice, people take it to town. It flies away from here like a bird.”Hassan Bilaal, a programme assistant for the WFP, said 80 per cent of the grain sold in Somali markets had been intended as food aid. He said corruption is partly to blame, but much of it is sold by the aid recipients themselves so that they can earn money to buy sugar and tea and other basics.

“If a family gets two bags of sorghum, they will sell one,” he said.Besides corruption, inflation, rising food prices and war, Somalia has been hit with one of its worst droughts in decades. This collection of calamities in the past year has caused what many consider to be the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Somalia is the WFP’s second largest operation in the world, after Sudan. Malnutrition rates among children here are up to 20 per cent, the WFP says.

“Malnutrition is very common in Somalia,” said Gerardo Romay, a programme officer with WFP. “It is very critical and it is everywhere.”The people living in the camps are supposed to receive food donations at the beginning of each month consisting of rice, sorghum, maize, beans and vegetable oil. But the people living in this camp say they have not been fed for three months.“All of us, we are hungry,” said Arfi Ainashe, who has watched four of her eight children die. “The food is not sufficient.”

The war in southern Somalia is complicating relief efforts. Somalia has been embroiled in near constant fighting since 1991, when Siad Barre, the dictator, was overthrown by warlords. The warlords then turned against each other in a struggle for control of the country. In 2006, an Islamist movement briefly came to power, but was ousted by Ethiopian forces. The Islamists have waged a guerrilla war ever since. The Ethiopians remained in Somalia until January. After their pullout, the Islamists have continued their war against African Union peacekeepers. At least 11 AU troops were killed in a battle last week.The refugees here in northern Somalia have lived through more than two decades of displacement. They fled to Ethiopia in the 1980s when the Barre regime launched a civil war against the northern Somaliland region. When Ethiopia faced its own war in the eastern Ogaden region, the Somalis went back home, where they have continued to live in squalid camps.

They hack out a meagre existence in the flat, dry scrub brush. Many raise livestock or work as labourers in town to earn extra money to buy back the food rations that are being sold in the market. The global food crisis last year made life particularly tough even for these resilient people that are used to hardship.“This year has been the hardest,” Mrs Ainashe said. “We have had no water. The food prices have gone up. It is a harsh life.”


Any good Lawyer’s around? The Case for Somaliland’s recognition.

http://www.bederwanaag.com/ Mar 2, 09, By: Hayat Farah

As Somaliland’s 18th anniversary of independence approaches, I marvel at the fact that the international community remains reluctant to recognize Somaliland as a sovereign nation. Here we are, a stable, democratic country, while the country the world wants us to remain attached to has been plunging deeper and deeper into anarchy these past 17 years. I started to wonder, is the case against Somaliland recognition truly that strong?

If there was one thing I learned in my four years of university it was how to do research. So one afternoon, I went down to the basement of my university’s library where the archives are kept and searched the dusty shelves for all the journals and papers containing information on Somaliland. As I searched through the old copies of the Economist, Washington Post, and the Review of African Political Economy, I found paper after paper building a strong case for Somaliland’s recognition, each one rebutting reasons against recognition, dismissing them as baseless.

Some of the main legal arguments for Somaliland recognition include:

– Somaliland was once an independent state. It achieved independence on June 26th 1960 and notification of this independence was registered with the UN. Thirty five countries (including the US, and UK) then recognised it. Somaliland would remain independent for five days before voluntarily joining with Somalia.

– The two parliaments approved different Acts of Union, and the legal formalities were never fully completed. The Somaliland Act of Union required the signature of representatives from Somalia which it never received. The Somalia Act of Union was approved in principle but never enacted into law, and therefore the union of Somaliland and Somalia has no legal validity in Somalia.

– Somaliland fulfills all the requirements of Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention on the rights and duties of a state. These requirements are:
1) a permanent population;
2)a defined territory;
3) a government;
4) capacity to enter into relations with other states

One of the key opponents to Somaliland’s recognition is the African Union. The AU opposes Somaliland recognition because of their belief in the sanctity of colonial borders and the associated intolerance to secession. The irony lies in the fact that Somaliland wishes to return to the borders that it had when it gained independence from its colonial power. It is also important to point out that, Somaliland’s case is one of voluntary withdrawal from a union between two countries and not a cessation of land area incorporated into a sovereign state. Their stance on Somaliland also contradicts with their willingness to dissolve other African nation unions, such as Gambia and Senegal and Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau.

An African Union fact finding mission sent to Somaliland in 2005 reported Somaliland status was “unique and self-justified in African political history’, and that ‘the case should not be linked to the notion of ‘opening a Pandora’s box’” as feared by the AU.

Therefore, it can be logically argued that the AU’s refusal to recognize Somaliland is completely unjustified. And so, it appears the AU is trying to buy time, sending fact finding missions to make reports they intend to ignore, hoping against hope that someday a functional government will arise in Somalia, and if that day were to come, all hopes for an independent Somaliland will cease to exist. We the people of Somaliland have had our fate hanging in the balance for too long. We have been held hostage to the will the world for the past 17 years. We must take our fate into our own hands. We need to take our case to the International Court of Justice, and remind the world, as Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently put it that “justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.”


Somalia: Well-Known Cleric Dies in Hargeisa Town.

Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu) 3 March 2009. Hargeisa — Sheik Ibrahim Suley, a well-known Somali cleric has died overnight in Hargeisa town in the capital city of the break away republic of Somaliland.

Sheik Mohamud Ibrahim Suley, a son of Sheik Ibrahim Suley confirmed the death of the religious man and said that he has been complaining about sickness for a long time since 1997 and lately died last night in Hargeise city.

Sheik Mohamud told Shabelle radio that his father had a blood pressure and other illness that he has been suffering for many years and he said that the diseased cleric will be buried after the afternoon prayer in Naasa-hablood cemetery in Hargeise city.

Deceased Sheik Ibrahim Suley has been 80 years old and married several wives during his lifetime in the universe and left 7 children one of them female. May Allah rest his sprit into the paradise.


Somalia: Somaliland opposition demands caretaker government

HARGEISA, Somalia Mar 4 (Garowe Online) - The leading opposition party in Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland has refused to sign a second delay in the election date until a caretaker government is appointed, Radio Garowe reports.

A Wednesday meeting in Hargeisa, the Somaliland capital, was held between the election commission and two political parties: the ruling UDUB party and the opposition UCID party.

But the leading opposition party, Kulmiye, refused to participate at the talks and demanded a private conference with the Somaliland Election Commission, our correspondent reports.

Mr. Muse Bihi, Kulmiye's deputy chairman, later told reporters that the election commission proposed that the Kulmiye party sign the new date, which delays the election from March 29 to May 31.

"We welcome a fair election, but the question is what happens after April 6 when the current government's term expires?" Mr. Bihi asked, adding: "Neither us [political parties] nor the election commission has authority and the decision rests [only] with the two Houses of Parliament."

Meanwhile, Election Commission deputy chairman, Mr. Ali Mohamed "Bikolo," told journalists that meetings to convince the Kulmiye party "will continue until there is a consensus."


Somalia: Somaliland Election problems/Interpeace: Friend or Foe?

http://www.garoweonline.com/3 Mar 3, 2009

All indications are that the much anticipated Somaliland election will be postponed once again due to incompetence on the part of the Election Commission which by most observers seems to be unfit and unqualified to do the job.

Their failure is compounded by an administration unwilling or incapable to live up to its commitments to the people and the international community and contribute their portion of the funds necessary to undertake the elections.

In a recent visit to Hargeysa, Donor nations vowed to keep funding the election on the condition that the administration pays their portion of the funds ($1Million S/L -9Million Donor Nations). Anticipating the elections being postponed again due to the late hour and the lack of progress on reconciling the voter registration rolls Donor Nations insisted on full financial transparency and accountability from the administration and the Election Commission before they incur any more expenditure on their part.

This has all the hallmarks of a road well traveled where “something “happens that necessitates postponing the election yet again. The first time it was because we needed to register voters before we could have the elections (after being in office for five years the administration had an epiphany just as the election was to take place), the second time it was because we did not have enough time to register the voters, and yes while we are at it can we please also extend the president’s term long enough to stay in office until after the new election date? And now it is because……you can fill in the blanks;

a) More time is needed to purge the voter registration from duplicate registration.
b) The administration refuses to provide their portion of the funds necessary to hold the election.
c) Donor nations are making accountability a condition to further funds being released.

We are on familiar grounds once again and once again it is time to find a reason why it is not possible to conduct the elections on time and set a new date. The prospect of another crisis is assured, the difference this time is that the Guurti may not want to play ball with the president and grant him another extension.

Attempting to remove the chairman of the Guurti and failing to do so will most likely create a somewhat more hostile environment for the president to get his wishes (another extension) this time. And since the Guurti is the only body under the constitution capable of extending the president’s term, the administration may be in a pickle this time.

Of course this would be a problem if the law actually worked in Somaliland, but since it has been proven in the past that the law is only valid when it is in agreement with the president’s version of what is lawful and what is not, chances are that a new loophole will be created to fix the problem for the presidents and a new paradigm shift will allow him to stay in power until voters get the message that in Somaliland, one man, one vote, one time is the norm.

To add insult to injury it seems to a good number of people that the “help” provided by the Donor nations and administered by Interpeace is at a best a contributing factor to why the elections are constantly being postponed. At worst, Interpeace is enabling an administration that is not too keen in holding elections and giving them the very excuse they need to engage in delay tactics that bring the nation to a boiling crisis, where the alternative is either to keep them in place and extend their hold on power longer or the end of peace and stability as we know it in Somaliland will come to pass as the argument goes.

The difficulties cited by the Election Commission on why interested parties need to accept another election delay and possibly extend the president’s term is that the main server required a new “face recognition” software capable of removing duplicate registrations, and that the main operator was actually in India attempting to resolve the issue remotely. Now without getting into the lunacy of hinging the country’s election to the remote skills of an Indian (no matter how skillful), it is worth noting that if all the bugs are removed and this new software actually does everything that it is supposed to do, it will take this sever to run non stop a minimum of 30 days, 8hours a day of continuous operations before it resolves the problem of identifying duplicate registration. Of course if for whatever reason thirty days are not enough......more time may be required.

Now, the question is why change software and get one which will run much slower, less reliable and more complex than the one which originally came with the system that identified fingerprints? Why allow so many people to game the system and create the need to “clean” the registration rolls at this late hour? Why not start addressing the problem at the regional level before it got compounded into a national one? Is there a process where one can challenge the final result? Who is in charge of that process?

Since Interpeace is in charge of the actual registration process and is also in charge of handling all the ensuing technical issues, perhaps they can explain to the rest of us why they allowed this many problems to go unresolved for so long and bring the country back to the brink once again. It is one thing to improve the system, it is totally another when one makes perfect the enemy of good and the cure ends up killing the patient.

Somaliland conducted three successful elections without a single delay in any of them, now that we have Interpeace in the mix, elections are turning into something akin to mission impossible, and no one can say with much confidence when or whether election will come to be in Somaliland.

They say that the road to Hell is paved with good intention and it is time that Donor nations remind Interpeace that they are supposed to help the process, not hinder it and to get out of the way and allow people to vote and bring democracy back to Somaliland. Requiring one to pass a facial recognition software with a yet to be determined accuracy level before one is allowed to vote is simply outrageous.

East Africa Policy Institute. ( www.eastafricapi.com ) Mahdi Gabose


Somalia: Somaliland election postponed by two months

HARGEISA, Somalia Mar 2 09(Garowe Online) - A much awaited presidential election in Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland has been postponed to May 31, Radio Garowe reports.

Mr. Jama Mohamed "Sweden," Somaliland's election commission chairman, told a Monday press conference in the regional capital Hargeisa that the election commission has "authority on all election matters."

He indicated that there have been private meetings between the election commission, the three political parties and the agency (Interpeace) that facilitates donor funds to support Somaliland's democratic process.

The two opposition parties, Kulmiye and UCID, have not publicly supported or rejected the delay in the election date from March 29 to May 31.

However, Mr. Ahmed Silanyo, the Kulmiye party candidate and Somaliland President Dahir Riyale's main challenger, declared that only the two house of parliament have the authority to change the election date.


Somaliland: Democracy in Action - III

Abdulazez Al-Motairi March 02, 2009

As part of series of articles about Somaliland democracy development, this is one best and much informative article by non-Somali Intellectual on Somaliland Democracy and development, the writer is enlightening Somaliland democracy history:

Somaliland: Africa´s Best Kept Secret

With almost daily reports of chaos and violence rocking Mogadishu, the capital city of the failed state of Somalia, the average Kenyan would be forgiven to believe that the whole of Somalia is on fire, to be visited only by those who have signed up with fate! But alas, wait a minute. There is a safe haven in north western Somalia, actually a republican state in every respect but for international recognition. Welcome to the peaceful and beautiful state of Somaliland, one of the states Simon Reeve, in his popular award winning five-part BBC Four series, refers to as Places that don´t exist.

I was in the city of Hargeisa, the capital city of Somaliland, two weeks ago on an assignment. This trip was in many ways an eye opener to me. It drastically changed my perceptions about Somalia, and Somaliland in particular, perceptions largely informed (misinformed) by a transnational western press eternally unfavorable to Africa and especially Islamic Africa.

After my brief visit, I now fully appreciate the support Somaliland is receiving from her visitors including the admiration of acclaimed scholars such as Prof. Ali Mazrui, Prof. William Reno, Prof. George Eshiwani, Gerard Prunier, Bernard Helander, I.M. Lewis, and the courageous Prof. Iqbal Jhazbhay of South Africa to mention just a few.

The first thing that strikes a foreigner against his/her expectations is the peace, tranquility and order in the city. Unbelievably, one can walk or drive on the streets of Hargeisa by night without the slightest fear of muggings, carjacking and armed robberies, much unlike Nairobi and other major towns of Kenya where the government has nearly ceded control to organized crime. A robust and lively city, it is in many ways similar to the sprawling Eastleigh estate, in terms of aggressive commerce and social lifestyles.

However, the similarity ends there. Where eastleigh is crime prone, water and sanitation services stretched to the limit and burst sewers releasing raw human waste onto pot holed streets, Hargeisa is neat and with a working system of social services. The ordinary Kenyan accustomed to heavy police presence on our city streets, occasionally falling victim to their harassment, will not believe his luck to find unarmed and unobtrusive, though poorly dressed policemen, patrol the streets of Hargeisa. The popular thinking is that every Somalilander has an obligation to safeguard the freedom and territorial integrity which they valiantly fought for and reclaimed at great human sacrifice.

Somalilanders are united in their love for country irrespective of political affiliation.

This love for country immediately became evident to me upon landing at Egal airport. At the prompting of the Somalia embassy in Nairobi, my colleague and I hesitantly obtained visas even though we had already secured referred Somaliland visas to be issued on arrival in the country. The immigration officers were so enraged on seeing Somalia visas endorsed in our passports that they immediately refused us entry. We came to learn later that the head of a UN agency in the country and his entourage were furiously turned away on account of the same problem, two days ago. They considered Somalia´s alleged authority to issue visas for entry into Somaliland, an affront on their sense of nationhood as a separate and sovereign state. We were kept waiting at the airport for our return flight to Nairobi for three hours.

It took the intervention of a smooth talking driver to end our ordeal and secure our entry. Looking back on that incident, I salute the fierce display of patriotism by those seemingly poorly paid officers. I was left questioning the feeble sense of patriotism me and many of my compatriots, some with genuine continuing and historical grievances against the state we have for Kenya.

Somaliland has made huge strides in expanding social services to its people since reclaiming its independence on 18th May 1991, despite a limited revenue base. Without formal international recognition as a sovereign state and therefore ineligible for funding by international lending institutions, it has been handicapped in undertaking large scale reconstruction programs. With few revenue streams, the economy is heavily dependant on monthly remittances from the Diaspora and international NGOs whose involvement spreads across a range of social sectors such as health, education and skills development etc

In a span of 16 years, primary school enrolment has shot up from a dismal figure of 10,000 to 150,000 in 2007, while enrolment in secondary schools increased by 56 % over the same period. There is a renewed impetus for modernization within the universities of Hargeisa, Burao and Amoud, churning out freshly minted professionals in as diverse fields as medicine, engineering, sciences and education.

Social services such as water, electricity and mobile telephony are partly privatized. Indigenous businessmen team up in partnerships and joint ventures to provide these services at profitable but affordable costs to their people. The leading mobile phone companies Telecom and Telesom charge a fraction of what Safaricom charge its customers in tariffs, thereby increasing connectivity to a large segment of the population.

Though the economy is heavily dependent on imports due to a non-existing manufacturing sector, often only shipping out livestock to the Middle East, prices of basic foodstuffs and other commodities are comparatively cheaper.

While it is a nightmare for the average middle class Kenyan to import a secondhand car owing to prohibitive custom duties, an average Somalilander can buy a well conditioned Toyota Mark II, the popular car of choice from anything between 1500 - 2000 dollars, with the more powerful 4-wheel drive Toyota Surf changing hands for anything between 3500 - 5000 dollars in the local used car bazaars. I´m already seeing images of the typically aggressive kikuyu car dealer sniffing a lucrative business opportunity, if only he can find ways of going round the tax man.

Somaliland has established a strong and robust multiparty democracy in which the opposition has a majority in the House of Representatives. With the support of the international community, the country held its first multiparty elections widely praised as credible, free and fair in 2003, following the death of the second caretaker president, Mr. Mohamed Egal. In order to tap into the positive values of a clan system which plays an important role in regulating intra and inter group relations in much of Somalia, and also the principal culprit behind the failed state in Central and Southern Somalia, Somaliland has an upper house called the " Guurti."All clans select their representatives to the exalted ´house of lords´. A similar proposal in the initial CKRC draft was shot down in Bomas in our failed experiment at constitution making. The role of this house of elders is to moderate partisan acrimony in the legislative process, in a system of checks and balances aimed at promoting unity in diversity.

A robust and free media unafraid to criticize the establishment when necessary complete the picture.

There is in place a code of conduct, akin to our own IPPG deal of 1997, to which political parties subscribe in competition. Parties nominate representatives to the National Electoral Commission, are allotted equal airtime and space in the nation´s electronic and print media to sell their respective manifestos and programs during elections.

The fabric of the state is founded on the twin pillars of devotion to the cardinal Islamic principle of Taw heed (unity of Allah) and social justice. A very proud people by nature, the search to find the existence of a class society characteristic of a capitalist economy is tenuous and elusive. It would appear that the emergence of a conspicuous class system is suppressed by religious imperatives and the clan system which serves as a focal point of group insurance. It is not quite uncommon to find a commoner engaging and interacting with a cabinet minister on the streets. To my consternation, I found a senior government official later introduced to me as the Minister for Youth and Sports , in an animated after lunch conversation with a group of people in front of a hotel, something of a rarity in Kenya. I mean, how many times have you seen Dr. Mohamed Kuti, his Kenyan counterpart, mingle freely with the youth on the streets of Nairobi. The humility of the political class in Somaliland has convinced me that we create leaders with cult like tendencies and then cry foul when they ride roughshod over us.

As other Muslim countries in or neighboring the middle east experiencing unbearably hot temperatures, official working hours ran from 7.30 am to 1.00 pm with the remainder of the day mostly devoted to miraa/chat chewing. As is the case with many pastoralist communities, the Somalis are a socially egregious and oral people with a strongly developed tradition of social affiliation. The miraa/ chat chewing sessions provide an appropriate forum to discuss debate and even argue over common issues in their trademark loud and garrulous manner. Friday is the only designated prayer and rest day.

Practicing a moderate form of Islam, the Somalilanders are a liberal lot, with smoking a national pastime and an entrenched habit unlike in other African countries including Kenya, where the practice is frowned upon on account of its emerging health implications.

Hargeisa has a vibrant informal roadside business much like the hawkers paradise of Eastleigh´s Garissa lodge. The money changers stand out from the crowd. Countless moneychangers sitting behind meshed boxes containing wads of blue colored notes in denominations of 500 Somaliland shillings dot the streets. During prayer times, the note holding boxes are left unattended without the slightest fear of theft.

In a country where the Somaliland shillings and the US dollar are the currencies of choice, a stranger will be tempted to conclude that every resident of the city is a money changer, considering the bulky notes in everyone´s possession.

Trading at 6000 shillings to the dollar, one needs to carry a bagful of Somaliland notes to make routine purchases at the local supermarket.

But the most defining and instructive question remains, how have the people of Somaliland built such a stable democracy, society and institutions in a region that has not known peace in nearly two decades? In order to answer this puzzle, it is important to revisit the history of Somaliland.

Somaliland was a British Protectorate for nearly 80 years before attaining independence as the state of Somaliland on 26th June, 1960. The Southern part under Italian rule became independent five days later on 1st July, 1960. In pursuing a grand dream of greater Somalia which envisaged the re- unification of all territories occupied by the Somali´s, including Ethiopia´s Ogaden province and Kenya´s Northern Frontier District, the newly independent and sovereign state of Somaliland rushed headlong against the wise counsel of the first prime minister Mohamed Ibrahim Igal, into a union with the South. It was an experience they would live to regret.

The British press at the time described Somaliland as the colony that rejected its independence. When the late Siad Barre took power in a military coup; he embarked on an ambitious public works programme and an expansionist adventure to annex the Ogaden province from Ethiopia. The ramifications of the war soon spilled over to Kenya culminating in the infamous shifta wars of the late 1960´s and 1970´s in which ethnic Somali dissidents took up arms in a war of secession to unite the present day North Eastern Province with the Greater Somalia.

The effect of this war on ethnic Kenya Somalis is best captured by the infamous Wagalla massacre of 1980 in which the Kenyatta government cracking so hard on innocent citizens causing massive displacement, confiscation of livestock and indiscriminate killings as a way to suppress the emergency. Survivors and relatives of victims of that massacre are still crying out for justice.

While the abrasive Barre initially appeared to have an upper hand in the territorial war with Ethiopia, capturing the strategic towns of JigJiga and Dirre Dawa, he was soon vanquished and humiliated by an Ethiopian onslaught reinforced by superior air power provided by Cuba and Russia.

Following this monumental disillusionment and a severely bruised ego, Barre soon became paranoid and captive to the wishes of his marehan clan, banning dissent to his rule. Barre´s growing politics of exclusion soon bred discontent among the population and particularly in Somaliland which felt that it had been dealt a back handed compliment for its voluntary decision to join the Union.

Somaliland bore the worst brunt of Barre´s military actions at muzzling dissent. In 1988, he ordered a series of air strikes against the city of Hargeisa from the nearby military air base, reducing the city to debris. A war memorial featuring the fighter plane used to flatten the city today stands out conspicuously in the freedom park in honor of the veterans and as a historic reminder to the present generation.

Unlike the Rwanda genocide very little is known about the ethnic cleansing of the tens of thousand Somaliladers between 1988 and 1991.

The Somaliland National Movement (SNM) together with other popular forces in the south, joined hands against Barre´s dictatorship leading to the fall of Mogadishu in 1991. While the warlords in Mogadishu soon turned against each other over control of power, the people of Somaliland quickly organized to bring stability to the entire territory falling within the borders of an independent pre-unification Somaliland.

It is argued that Somaliland successfully managed the transition because they fell back on their experience of administration and governance for which they had been adequately prepared by the British. On the other hand, it is the butt of local jokes that the Italians trained soldiers instead of administrators in the south, hence the continued infighting and violence among the warlords of Mogadishu whose several attempts at forming a central government have proved elusive.

Smarting from the bitter experiences of unification, the people of Somaliland quickly secured and reclaimed their pre-unification borders and installed a caretaker government. Somaliland held its first multiparty elections widely regarded as credible, free and fair in 2003. The three main parties UDUB, KULMIYE and UCID have seats in an opposition dominated parliament. Sixteen years on, they are yet to get formal recognition as a sovereign state despite enjoying uninterrupted stability since 18th May, 1991.

However, it has established agreements and co-operation with several African countries including Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa, Rwanda and even Kenya. In Europe, it has either established co-operation agreements or contacts with Belgium, U.K., Sweden, Ireland, the European Union and lately Norway, which the president, Dahir Rayale Kahin recently toured on an official visit.

The Arab states, led by Egypt and Sudan, have not been forthcoming in supporting Somaliland´s statehood endeavor. Probably this has to do with the Ethiopia´s Blue Nile. A strong united Somalia - and a member of the Arab League - is obviously an excellent proxy in the war for the Blue Nile.

It is not clear, though, why the rest of the international community is not forth coming in recognizing Somaliland as a sovereign state and fail to recognize the inviolable right of the Somalilanders to revert to their original pre-unification status. We have seen the international community especially Western Europe, offer support to liberation fronts such as SPLA/M in Southern Sudan resulting in autonomy and self rule. It has further supported the separation of previously single countries such as Senegal and Mali, Egypt, Sudan and Syria, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Malaysia and Singapore and the disintegration of the former USSR into several distinct nation states.

As you read this the US and most other members of the UN Security Council are pushing for "supervised independence" of the province of Kosovo.

It would appear that the major powers in global politics especially the veto wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council, have failed to read the strategic benefits of recognizing the republic of Somaliland, as a way of bringing peace to the troubled horn.

With repeated US claims of the existence of Al Qaeda cells in Mogadishu, the international community should move fast and confer recognition on Somaliland and seal it off from possible terrorist infiltration. Terrorist elements can easily infiltrate and recruit membership in Somaliland by whipping up popular anti-American sentiments and tapping into the frustrations of an unfulfilled dream of recognition. Such recognition will also be in the best strategic and security interests of Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.

In my view, the way to go will be to divide Somalia into original two separate states to bring any semblance of order and stability. At least for Somaliland, this is the way to go. In any case, I don´t see why Somaliland should be forced to remain part of Somalia against the popular wish of its people. The people of Somaliland will definitely stand to lose a lot if forced to remain part of Somalia, after painstakingly having rebuilt their war shattered economy, democratic institutions and cities.

I think the starting point in Somaliland´s audacious and treacherous journey in securing international recognition would be for brave individual states to come forward and affirm its right to self determination to reclaim its sovereign past. This way, international opinion would progressively change to favour its position. For historical reasons, the United Kingdom should take the lead in the effort to help restore Somaliland´s sovereign past after the ill fated attempts at unification.

Despite differences in policy, the government and the opposition in Somaliland are singularly united in their resolve to become a sovereign state separate from Somalia. This presents them with a unique challenge to bridge the gap that divides them and instead harness their collective energies to rally the international community around their nationalistic cause.

This would entail the formation of a bipartisan network of think tanks and informed lobbies in Somaliland and the Diaspora to champion the cause of statehood at regional, continental and international levels.

Kenyan Somalilanders have an equally moral duty to support the cause of their kith and kin. The upcoming general election presents them with a rare opportunity to petition and influence policies of mainstream Kenyan political parties with regard to the thorny issue of Somaliland´s recognition. As a focused interest group, they can throw their combined support behind one of the leading parties in return for the recognition of Somaliland.

An entry point would be to petition the Paul Muite led parliamentary committee on the administration of justice to push a motion in parliament calling on the Kenya government to recognize Somaliland as an independent and sovereign state. Hon. Muite led a parliamentary delegation to Somaliland in December 2006 which found and reported overwhelming evidence of a functioning democracy.

Do you know that Raila Odinga, once addressed a mammoth rally at the freedom park in the middle of the city of Hargeisa? Perhaps the ever courageous Agwambo, and fourth president of Kenya, can be approached for support. Are you listening Somalilanders?

If Somaliland has satisfactorily fulfilled the basic duty of any republican state, which is to protect the lives and property of those living within its borders, what else does the international community require of it? If the streets of Hargeisa are absolutely safer than any you can find in other African capitals, what justification does the African Union have in its dithering about recognizing Somaliland?

In spite of the formidable odds stacked against it, I have a feeling that Somaliland will finally reclaim its rightful place among the family of nations - (my prediction is this will happen around its 2010 - Somaliland´s 50th anniversary of independence from the British rule) It would appear that Somaliland has failed to attract international attention for all the right reasons while the international community has failed to recognize Somaliland for all the wrong reasons.

The challenge for Somaliland is to keep stoking the fire of nationalism burning while maintaining peace and stability within its borders. This will prick the unfeeling conscience of the international community to act faster than it should. And finally, the hypocrisy of the southerners who pretend to favor a united Somalia should be exposed and dismissed for what it is. If they cannot keep peace within their own backyard, why else would they want to drag Somaliland into their never ending cycle of nepotism, violence and lawlessness, other than envy?

By Michael Torome


SOMALIA: Fathiya Hassan, "I would give up this job to go to school"

HARGEISA, 2 March 2009 (IRIN) - At only 12 years old, Fathiya Hassan has distinguished herself in Hargeisa, capital of Somalia's self-declared republic of Somaliland, by being the first girl to join the thriving car-wash business. A local human rights NGO says 30 percent of children in Somaliland engage in some form of work, making Hassan one of hundreds of children working to feed themselves and their families, despite the fact that child labour is outlawed. She spoke to IRIN on 24 February.

"I usually operate along Togdheer Street and I earn 10,000 Somaliland shillings [US$1.60] daily, but there are some days when I don't make anything.

"My family lives in Abaye settlement of Ga'an Libah District of the capital. In total, we are 11 and I help support the family as my mother and father cannot provide for all of us.

"Although I have been a car-washer for the past two years, I would give it up in an instant if I got some support to go to school. I have also worked as a cleaner in one of the restaurants here in Hargeisa.

"I think I may be the only female car washer in Somaliland and most of my clients are women, whom I like because they respect me more than the male car owners.

"Sometimes I don't get paid the same amount that a male car-washer would receive; some even tell me they have nothing to pay me; if I insist on being paid, they threaten [to beat] me.

"Moreover, the male children who also wash cars look down on me, telling me: 'You are a girl, you don't deserve to wash cars'."


Somaliland opposition leader warns against election delay

HARGEISA, Somalia Mar 1 (Garowe Online) - The leading opposition figure in Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland has warned against delaying the upcoming presidential election, Radio Garowe reports.

Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, chairman of the opposition Kulmiye party, told a Sunday press conference in the Somaliland capital Hargeisa that the two house of Parliament must hold an emergency session and "elect a caretaker President."

"My advice is that the presidential election be held on time [March 29, 2009], or that President Riyale be removed from office and a caretaker President should administer [Somaliland] until the new election date," said Mr. Silanyo, who is widely seen as President Dahir Riyale's main challenger.

The Somaliland Election Commission issued a statement postponing the March 29 election. At a meeting with Somaliland's three political parties, the election commission presented a new election date within 91 days.

"The planned election delay could bring disorder to Somaliland," Mr. Silanyo warned.

He indicated that the "only way to survive disorder" is for the two house of Parliament – the House of Guurti and the House of Representatives – to hold an emergency session and strip power from President Riyale and Vice President Ahmed Yusuf Yasin, who were elected in 2003.

Mr. Silanyo condemned the election commission for suggesting a new election date without consultation from the two house of Parliament, saying: "The election commission does not have the authority to set a new election date."

President Riyale's government received an illegal one-year term extension in May 2008, after the House of Guurti passed a motion the opposition condemend as unconstitutional.

Delaying the March 29 election date would make it the second time the presidential election has been delayed.

Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.


NEC says elections cannot be held on 29 March, cannot set a new date

A myriad of problems are bogging down the electoral process

Hargeisa (Waaheen Observer, 02/28/09) – On Monday, three members of the National Elections Commission admitted what had been rumoured for many weeks, that presidential elections planned for 29 March must be postponed. NEC commissioners were summoned to hearing in the House of Representatives a day after the House approved a fiercely contested three part resolution calling on NEC to hold elections on 29 March as planned and resolving that in the case of a delay, the two chambers of parliament, the three political parties and NEC convene a consultative meeting to decide on the way forward.

NEC commissioners who had been reluctant to talk about possible delays told members at the hearing that a number of critical steps in the process remain to be taken. The commissioners also said that they could not set a new timeline at that point, but were working with the political parties on a new schedule.

NEC did not explain the cause of the delay. For weeks, however, analysts were pointing to several difficult issues that NEC faced.

The registration system was corrupted.

NEC told the parliamentarians that they have yet to clean the registration system and produce a legitimate voter list for all polling stations. The commissioners did not say it out loud, but some of them have been privately complaining that there were far too many irregularities including a high number of multiple registrations and significant numbers of registrations without the required digital prints.

The three political parties have earlier signed a code of conduct concerning the way to clean the registration system. Purging the system of fraudulent claims for registrations may, however, proof difficult and will undoubtedly lead to a new round of acrimonious debate between the political parties.

Who corrupted the system? All political leaders are guilty of mischief although some do argue that some are more guilty than others. Potential supporters were not only exhorted but were assisted in registering multiple times in different locations. Some politicians are reported to have even forced the registration staff to do away with the fingerprinting requirement and just take pictures.

According to NEC sources, the system was originally designed to work on names and fingerprints for proper identification of voters, but because of large numbers of registrations without prints, NEC was forced to try a new photo/face recognition software. How well will this mechanism work in Somaliland’s low tech environment? Perhaps the more pertinent question is why did we allow registrations without the necessary and mandatory fingerprinting? Several operators interviewed by the observer said they were asked to do so by senior leaders, including members of parliament.

What these leaders did not realize was that at the end NEC was to produce a list of duly registered voters for each polling station and that on the day of elections a voter must present himself with his proper photo id to the designated station.

Haste makes waste

If something can go wrong it will. That is why precautions are taken, loopholes are covered, test runs are made; to minimize avenues errors could creep in.

No one in NEC has admitted that serious errors occurred, but there are some indications that there may have been some mistakes, perhaps some serious enough to cause major headaches in the future. Are all the data accounted for is a question some people have been asking?

The system was rushed. Five days of run, line up the voters, shoot and print was all that was allocated for each region. Young operators were asked to do haste with everything and register as many people as fast as possible. Errors are bound to occur in that environment. International experts were unanimous in their predictions of problems when a system that should have taken several years was compressed to two months.

Why the haste? We wasted valuable time bickering about everything. At the end we found ourselves with out pants down and elections are the corner and we agreed to rush into battle.

We again find ourselves in the same situation, the election date around the corner and no end in sight. Should we again rush in or do a proper job so that people’s voice is really heard in the elections.


Trouble in the west: Two killed in a land dispute in Gabiley region

Hargeisa (Waaheen Observer, 02/28/09) – To persons were killed and around four others were wounded on Wednesday in a land dispute between two sub-clans in Buqdhada, Gebily district. The land dispute has been simmering for a long time in an area that includes the Sheikh El Bardale valley, a farming area that has been previously settled and cultivated by the Sheikh Muhumud Rage commune.

The dispute dates back to the early 1990s upon the return of refugees from camps in north eastern Ethiopia. Some of the returning refugees have been complaining that their land has been settled by people who did not flee the war. The dispute also involves district boundaries, yet to be demarcated, between Gabiley and Borama. During the registration process, some of the residents refused to be registered as residents of Awdal. As a result registration did not take place in several small frontline towns.

Land disputes are common in Somaliland and often result in the loss of life. According to some residents, the present case involving regional boundaries is more serious and may also may have undercurrents.


Where is the budget?

Minister Awil may submit the 2009 budget to parliament on Sunday, but the House may recess on Saturday.

Hargeisa (Observer 02/28/09)- The Minister of Finance, Hussein Ali Dualeh, was summoned on Wednesday to the House of Representatives by Deputy-Speakers Samale and Bashe Farah. The House of Representatives, which was supposed to go into recess a month ago extended its session for one month in part to give the ministry of finance time to prepare the 2009 budget. The prolonged session is finally set to close on Saturday, but there was still no word from the ministry, hence the summons on Wednesday for a meeting with the House leadership.

No word has emerged from the closed door meeting between the Minister and the House leadership. Sources outside the meeting told the Observer that the Minister promised to submit a budget to the House on Sunday. These sources also indicate that the 2008 budget will be around $26 million, a full third less than the 2007 budget and will include funds earmarked for the elections this year.

It is not yet clear whether the House will go on recess on Saturday as planned or whether the leadership will ask members to extend their session one or more weeks to accommodate the delayed budget presentation.

The 2008 budget was submitted to parliament nearly 4 months into the fiscal year. The version that was finally approved was never accepted by the executive. Although the legality of refusing to use the approved budget was not tested, the government went ahead anyway using a combination of 2006 and 2007 budgets.


The Daunting Road Ahead: The challenges facing the Next President of Somaliland

http://www.longlivesomaliland.com/daunting_road_ahead.htm, Feb 27, 2009, By: A. Hashi

As the brave war worn soldiers of the SNM stood in the crumbling reins of the city of Burco and reasserted Somaliland’s independence on May 18th 1991, they knew the tasks facing the new nation appeared to be almost insurmountable. The entire country at that time had been leveled to the ground by Siad Barre’s constant bombardment, many cities were still too dangerous to enter as landmines littered their grounds, hundreds of thousands of lives were lost, and the populous was gripped with a deep cynicism brought on by a vile war, and decades of oppression and brutality at the hands of a nefarious dictator.

The road to rebuilding the nation was not simple; more wars were fought, more lives were lost, yet the people of Somaliland did not loss hope. They forged ahead, determined to make a better country for themselves and their children. The hardships they faced only seemed to bring them closer together and make their determination stronger.

Now nearly 18 years later, Somaliland has overcome many of its greatest challenges. It has succeeded against all odds, and has achieved what few thought it could achieve. Yet, as the current government of Somaliland has seemingly forgotten, the task of rebuilding Somaliland has not yet been completed. Although as Somalilanders we should be proud of our achievements thus far, we cannot forget that we still have along to go from where we need to be.

The next president of Somaliland will face great challenges, both domestically and internationally. In a country whose economic backbone is the Diaspora population living in western countries, the next president of Somaliland will need to realize the enormous impact the Global Economic Crisis will have on Somaliland’s economic, and come up with innovative solutions to deal with it, and lessen Somaliland’s dependence on Diaspora. The Lack of international recognition is another challenge that will face the next president. He will need to re-think the country’s approach to dealing with this perplexing problem and come up with a novel approach to bring the world’s attention to Somaliland.

Domestically the next president will need to being putting in place legislation that will regulate industries such as Health Care, Education, and Financial institutions, which have been largely unregulated by the current administration. The large financial scam that has recently rocked Hargeisa is just one of the many indications that financial institutions need to monitored and regulate to prevent innocent people from losing their hard earned savings. Another industry that desperately needs regulation is the Health Care system. The number of cases of fraudulent pharmacist and doctors that practice and prescribe medication to naïve patients resulting in life threatening complication and even at times death, is staggering. The next president of Somaliland needs to put in place legislation that requires all physicians that practice within Somaliland to register their qualifications with the Minister of Health, and verify that these qualifications are actually authentic.

The next President will also need to bring regions of the country that have been grossly neglected by the current administration back into the economic and political fold. The first step in this process would be to build roads to link critical cities like Erigavo to the rest of the country.

There is also the great problem of unemployment facing the youth of Somaliland. High school and university graduates in Somaliland are unable to find jobs in their respective fields. They have become disillusioned with the country and endanger their lives on the high seas in search of better lives in western nations. The current administration has made no attempts to utilize the talents and skills of its young people. Protectionist measure must be taken to ensure that jobs go to qualified Somalilanders first before going to foreigners. Businesses which choose to hire foreigner should be asked to prove that they could not find a qualified Somalilander to fill the position, and should be taxed heavily. Businesses which hire Somalilanders should be given a tax deduction in order to encourage more business to follow in their foot steps.

This is by far not an all inclusive list of the problems and issues facing Somaliland but a brief overview. Although the tasks facing the next president and administration of Somaliland may appear daunting they will have a wealth of resources at their disposal; the Somaliland populous, both in the Diaspora and at home, being their greatest asset. The next president should try and rise above the partisanship and nepotism that has plagued Somali politics for decades, and draw his government from the deep well of well educated Somalilander intellectuals both in the private and public sector. If Somaliland wishes to become a part of the global community, and become the great nation it has the potential to be, it will need intellectuals that understand the challenges facing Somaliland and can come up with the solutions needed to deal with them. The next president should usher in a new era of politics in Somaliland which looks past party and tribal divides for the betterment of Somaliland and seeks to find common ground with all factions and groups that form the government.

The challenges that face us will not easily be overcome, nor will change and progress occur overnight. It will require many years of hard work and determination to conquer these challenges; however throughout the history of Somaliland, the people of Somaliland have never shied away from adversity, but have faced it head on. Our spirit has only been strengthened not deterred by the difficulties we have faced. The next president of Somaliland’s job will not be easy, but so long as he rises to the challenges placed in front of him and tries to surmount them, he will find a nation eager to support him.


Somalia: Editor of a Somaliland Weekly Arrested in Hargeisa

Reporters sans Frontières (Paris) press release, 27 February 2009

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the arrest yesterday by police in the breakaway autonomous region of Somaliland in northern Somalia, of Mohamed Abdi Guled, editor of the privately-owned weekly Yool appearing in Hargeisa. The journalist is being held on the premises of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).

Several journalists in Hargeisa said that Mohamed Abdi Guled, better known as "Urad", was probably arrested as a result of the publication of an article on 24 February, exposing planned murder attempts against Somaliland's parliamentary deputies, leaders of opposition parties and traditional chiefs.

"This arrest is illegal, since Somaliland's media law lays down that the authorities can only arrest a journalist on the order of a court," the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

"In these circumstances and knowing that no charge has brought against Mohamed Abdi Guled, he should logically be immediately released", the organisation said.

His fellow journalists also said that the incident, forcing Urad to spend the weekend in custody without going before a court, was aimed at "intimidating the entire journalist community of Somaliland".

Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press freedom throughout the world. It has nine national sections (Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland).


"The Somaliland Police Duty Performance leading other IGAD members"

Washington( Saylac.com, Feb 27, 2009)-The copy of the report which has been sent to the headquarter office of The Coalition of Somaliland Crisis Group attached with congratulation and other remarks to the Somaliland Police Authority in Hargeisa.

External evaluation report of Police practice and service of five east African Countries has been conducted by the by an Independent Commission of East African Affairs .This is an essential element in the process of the accountability for Public resources and services by the Polices from these above mentioned countries.

This External Audit of evaluation is underpinned by four fundamental principles:

* A group of experts are appointed independently from IGAD Members in USA, UK, and elsewhere to visit Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somaliland to see and documents the Police practice in those countries.

*Appointed Experts acts quite separately from the other groups in collecting data and information they get from the specifics country the appointed and return to commission and in meeting their professional responsibility and judgment are required to exercise their assigned duty and investigation process.

*The Police Authority in those countries is asked to prepare a plan for their information assessments set out within it. They also asked to corporate with evaluation delegate for their performance management and public services.

*Any matters that may prevent the delegate from their investigation must include the evaluating process as soon as possible.

Police Duty Performance evaluation report by Independent Commission of East African Affairs
A) Somaliland 78% accurate and decency
B) Ethiopia 50% accurate and decency
C) Kenya 45% accurate and decency
D) Djibouti 37% accurate and decency
E) Somalia 10% accurate and decency

In preparing this report ICEA is not required to form a view on the completeness or accuracy of the information or the realism and achievability of the assessments published by the ICEA , therefore, we comprised a review and assessment of the plan and, where appropriate, examination on the data basis of the relevant evidence may be required.

Sponsored by Independent Commission of East African Affairs in partner with The Coalition of Somaliland Crisis Group, Ethio-entelgroup, Daily nation of Kenya.for more detailed this report contact to ICEA or The Coalition of Somaliland Crisis at saylacnews@yahoo.com


SSE Conference & Annual General Meeting

Promoting Community Cohesion, Active Citizenship & Preventing Extremism

20th - 22nd March 2009. Wiks Slott

Uppsala, Sweden

It gives us a great pleasure to invite you to a unique dual Conference and Annual General Meeting to be held at:

Wiks Slott, Uppsala, Sweden between 20th and 22nd March 2009.

Somaliland Societies in Europe(SSE) Annual General Meeting. In cooperation with our host organisation Somaliland National Association in Sweden we are planning to hold a Conference to discuss the current political developments in Somaliland and the role of the Diaspora organisations. Concurrently, we are planning the convene SSE’s Annual General Meeting.

We would be grateful if you could pencil the date into your diaries and look forward to seeing you at the event. The agenda and other information about the event will follow shortly.

Objectives of the event are:
1. To raise the profile of Somaliland Communities in Europe.
2. To raise the profile of Somaliland identity and the distinction between Somaliland & Somalia.
3. To discuss Somaliland achievements to date and the challenges ahead.
4. To support and promote links and partnership between Somaliland communities and organisations in the EU host countries.
5. To review the role Somaliland Diaspora plays and could play in the development of Somaliland and in the EU host communities.
6. To present SSE’s performance over the past year, review current activities and structure of the organisation and finally
7. To elect new committee members.

The first and second day of the conference will provide a platform for exchange of relevant experience in selected areas including:

* Somaliland organisations in EU countries and how their partnership with host countries is working regarding community cohesion, gender and other interrelated issues. The conference programme will focus on examples of good practice in integration and community-cohesion, hearing from the experiences of different Somaliland communities in EU countries e.g. UK, Scandinavian countries, Holland, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Norway etc.

* Discuss Somaliland in perspective and upcoming presidential election and the Process of Democracy and Good Government and Challenges Ahead

* Discuss SSE organisations’ capacities, activities, networking and their potential contribution to Somaliland Diaspora in Europe as well Somaliland Development.

* Discuss and identify ways to improve joined- up and partnership working of the Somaliland organisations in Europe and enhancing their performance.

* Discuss ways in which Somaliland organisations play an active role to help establish strong Somaliland community in Europe.

* Discuss how best Somaliland organisations can build a bridge between these people and their country of origin (Somaliland).

* Making robust and tangible recommendations for the future to tackle problems of Somaliland organisations in Europe and also develop guidelines for the near future to promote partnership between Somaliland organisations in Europe and their counterparts in Somaliland.

The meeting will seek to examine some of the issues concerned our co-operation and networking and suggest ways that our organizations and SSE itself can support to take these issues forward.

During the conference there will be other activities including book fair and there will also be additional activities at the book fair and it will be good opportunity to meet the Authors and also meet with other new people.

We anticipate an exciting and productive conference:

Yours Sincerely: Abdi Abdullahi, SSE Chairman


Marines tackle treacherous seas

Matt Brown, the National/http://www.waaheen.com/Feb 26, 2009

Marines from the Somaliland territory patrol the Gulf of Aden.

Somalia’s coastguard has arrested about 50 pirates in the area in the past two years. Matt Brown / The National

BERBERA, Before setting out into the warm, azure waters of the Gulf of Aden, Ahmed Saleh, a colonel in the coastguard here, surveys his men. The 10 marines are well armed with AK-47 rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and an imposing Russian-made anti-aircraft gun mounted on the bow of their speedboat.

These men carry a small arsenal for a reason. They are tasked with patrolling some of the most dangerous waters on Earth, the pirate-infested sea off the Somali coast.

“We do not fear because we have arms,” Col Saleh said aboard his patrol boat in the open water of the Gulf of Aden. “The pirates have arms too, but still we do not fear. If we show fear, they can do whatever they want to us.”

Indeed, the pirates are just as well armed and have terrorised international shipping vessels in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes while outsmarting the most sophisticated navies on Earth. In the past year, Somali pirates have attacked more than 100 boats in the shipping route from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean, according to the International Maritime Organization.

Experts believe that more than 1,000 pirates now operate off the Somali coast, taking advantage of the lawlessness stemming from the country’s 18-year civil war. Young fishermen are lured by the promise of huge ransoms in the millions of dollars. For example, the owners of the hijacked MV Faina, a Ukrainian ship carrying tanks and other weapons, recently paid a band of pirates US$3 million (Dh11m) for the release of the boat.

But piracy has its roots in illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping off the coast of Somalia, according to some of the pirates recently interviewed. Local fishermen began patrolling these waters demanding money for fishing rights from international ships. Once they realised they could make a profit, they began hijacking cargo vessels and extorting ransoms.

“Before we started the piracy, we appealed to the world to do something about the illegal fishing in our territorial waters,” said Farah Ismail, a convicted pirate serving 15 years in a Somali prison. “They didn’t listen, so we turned to piracy.”

In an interview from the prison in northern Somalia, Ismail described how his band of pirates captured large cargo ships using a six-metre skiff.

“The ships are very big and our boat is very small,” he said. “Before he sees us, we can see him. Our boat is very speedy. By the time they see us, it is too late. We use ladders to climb on board. When we are on board, the first thing we do is cut their communication. Then, we use our guns and move the crew to one area.”

Ismail, 38, is from Puntland, the anarchic Somali territory on the tip of the Horn of Africa. Most of the piracy takes place there and in southern Somalia. Pirates have largely avoided this north-western Somali territory known as Somaliland, which has a functioning government and security forces. Seeing a growth industry, Ismail and four other pirates moved to Somaliland to set up shop. The band of pirates was arrested last month, and they are all serving prison sentences.

Piracy is on the rise even here in Somaliland, where the coastguard has just three boats to patrol the entire 860-kilometre coastline. Ships from the US, European Union, Russia and a dozen other international navies stationed off the coast of Somalia, have concentrated their efforts on Puntland and the Indian Ocean coast, avoiding Somaliland.

“The local community is very aware and they alert us when they suspect pirates are operating in the area,” said Admiral Osman Jibril Hagar, the head of the Somaliland coastguard. “In Somaliland, the people don’t like piracy. They say it is an evil business.”

In the past two years, the coastguard has arrested about 50 pirates in Somaliland, according to Mr Hagar. Only one boat has been hijacked in Somaliland’s waters, a yacht sailed by a German couple that was taken in July on the border between Puntland and Somaliland.

Jurgen Kantner and his wife were sailing around the world on their yacht, the Rockall, when the pirates struck. The pirates took the couple to a hideout in the rugged mountains of Somalia’s interior, where they were held for 52 days.

“We slept in the bush, we had little water and sometimes we had no food for three days,” said Mr Kantner, 62, who has returned to the Somali port town of Berbera to fix his boat. “I’ve lived 33 years on a boat, and it was the worst experience of my life.”

The couple were subjected to mock executions. The pirates tied a rope around Mr Kantner’s neck and threatened to hang him. Once they fired a gun, barely missing his head. At one point, he was separated from his wife when he heard a gunshot. The pirates told him that she had just been killed.

The couple was finally released after a $600,000 ransom was paid. Mr Kantner said it was not clear if the German government or a private party paid the ransom.

Once his boat is seaworthy again, Mr Kantner plans to continue his voyage to Asia, even though it means braving the pirate-infested waters a second time.

“Next time I will buy a gun,” he said. “It is the only way. I will be ready. If they attack, I will fight back.”


Thieves use cat to trigger Somaliland stampede

Written by Husein Ali Noor, Feb 27, 2009

HARGEISA, Somalia (Reuters) - Thieves caused chaos outside a Somaliland mosque late on Thursday when they took advantage of a power cut to throw a stray cat into the crowd, triggering a stampede so they could rob worshippers.

Large screens had been set up outside Hargeisa's packed Ali Matan Mosque so thousands of people could watch a sermon by Sheikh Moustafa Hagi Ismael Hassan, one of the Horn of Africa country's most senior Muslim clerics.

But when a short circuit cast the downtown area into darkness, the sheikh said gangsters hurled a feral cat into the centre of the crowd, causing a commotion. During the stampede, the robbers grabbed mobile phones and money.

"A number of people were wounded, most of them beggars," Hassan told Reuters. "I've sent them to hospital for treatment."

Suleiman Abdillahi Qafil, who owns a nearby restaurant, told reporters he saw at least three children hurt in the melee. Tables and chairs outside his small business were wrecked.


Somalia: Somali MP arrested in Hargeisa

HARGEISA (Mareeg, Feb 27, 2009)-Somaliland authorities have arrested, Mohamed Mohamud "Indhobur, an MP after he landed in Hargeisa airport, sources said on Friday.

The sources say, the MP from north Somalia has been accused of treason of the national interest of Somaliland. The MP had earlier joined the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia and then to the Somali inclusive parliament.

He became an MP when 200 ARS members joined Somalia's expanded 550-seat parliament.

The MP was once appointed as Somaliland's deputy governor for Sool region but he later left Somaliland.


Somaliland Election – Africa´s 3rd Finest Democracy

http://somalilandpress.com/Feb 23, 2009, Written by Abdulazez Al-Motairi

In Somaliland, democracy means a form of popular government in which the power is held directly or indirectly by the citizens via a free election.

As first free and fair democracy in East Africa, Somaliland has a tradition of promoting democracy, liberty, equality, freedom of worship and expression. Somaliland held more than one election starting with Referendum Election on the Constitution of Somaliland, which defines the independence and integrity of Somaliland Republic in its first paragraphs. Somaliland received financial support from free world in the process of organizing the elections, including European Union that sponsors the expenses of 29th March 2009 Presidential Election.

United States of America, EU, Great Britain, African Union…etc all called for support to Somaliland democracy and Multiparty system, which is rare in Africa. Democracy analyzers ranked Somaliland on third place after South Africa and Ghana in free and fair democracy in the black continent. In 2003, UDUB, the ruling party, won with 80 votes over strong Kulmiye party. The upcoming election may surprise many people and change the leadership of the country.

UDUB Chairman and President of Somaliland Dahir Riyale Kahn know the challenge waiting him and his party in next election. He promised to lead the country for another five years, as the constitution of Somaliland allows only two terms for each leader. The Kulmiye leader Ahmed Siilanyo vowed his supporters win in next election.

In other hand, UCID party plays very vital role because its support is necessary to both the strong contestants – UDUB and Kulmiye. UCID formed opposition coalition with Kulmiye party in last parliament election, which earned UCID the Parliament Speaker Seat. Also, both bigger parties UDUB and Kulmiye need the support of UCID to cross dividing line and form the next government. It is very much expected that result will be tight.

Somaliland Election Commission is an independent, and constitution gives full authority to carry out the election without need of any political party. The commission executes all its operations without referring the cabinet of ministers, and elects its administration body and chairman between the board members of the commission.

What is highly new in Africa is the Biometric Voter Registration in Somaliland, where fingerprints of all citizens are saved in centralized database. This eliminated the duplication and identifies Somalilanders from other regional population. Biometric Voter Registration is first time in the history of Africa; even the rich African countries like South Africa don´t have such splendid technique to support democracy.

I republish an article about the development of democracy in this mainly unknown country in East Africa: http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/65273

DIPLOMATIC EMBARGO ALIENATES SOMALILAND FROM WORLD

Diplomatic impediment is hampering Self-sufficient Somaliland efforts towards statehood. Somaliland needs to do business with international community and play vital in peace and human rights restoration in the world. If no diplomatic support, Somaliland democracy will die between search of sovereignty and international stubbornness on its cause.

When the regime of Siad Barre was ousted from power in Somaliland in 1991, the long waited dream of Somalilanders was finally realized with the return of their lost integrity and prompt filling of the power vacuum left by General Mohammed Siyad Barre – the regime that destroyed the unity of the Great Somalia, which was a combination of British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland after gaining independence in 1960.

In British Somaliland, the colony meant a marginal importance to the British Empire and was used merely as a logistical supply outpost for British ships sailing to India or to the Gulf of Aden. The British colonial praxis then could best be described as indirect rule and, as a result of this soft approach to indigenous political systems, the traditional order stayed largely intact.

The older and intelligent Somaliland generations signed an agreement with British in Yemen refusing to sign a Memorandum of Understanding – MoU with a foreign party on their own soil.

Following are the stipulations of the agreement:

1. Pregnant British women should not deliver their babies on Somaliland Soil, as per the understanding that the child has the right to hold the Somali nationality since he is born on Somaliland territory.
2. No British or accompanying foreigners including Indians will be allowed to bury their dead in Somaliland without obtaining a permit from the local council.
3. British citizens should not socially interact with Somalilanders including marriage.
4. British citizens should establish their own residential community separate from Somalilanders.
5. British citizens should not interfere with Somaliland´s religion, much so, propagate Christianity.
6. Educational institutions that will be established in Somaliland by British parties should gain the support of the local council.
7. British citizens should be considered as guests, not as colonizers.
8. British citizens should leave Somaliland anytime the people of Somaliland ask them to go.

These are some of the terms and conditions specified in the agreement signed between Somaliland elders and Her Excellency, the Queen of England and Wales representatives in Aden – Yemen. The agreement was written on animal skin, which still remains in the hands of the Somaliland elders today.

Our Senior Citizens who signed such an agreement with the British were either not educated or had no experience of signing high profile MoUs. Somalilanders adopted the problem solving techniques of the elders who resolved issues under the trees. The Somaliland modern democracy is nothing but a product of these traditional problem solving techniques.

After Somaliland was declared, clan leaders and elders in Somaliland gathered in a traditional meeting and proclaimed Somaliland independence in May 1991 at Burco City. Guurti (Upper House of Parliament in Somaliland) is a traditional conflict solving body in Somaliland, which has succeeded in bringing law and order in the country.

International Recognition:

Since then, Somaliland can be regarded as a democratic and stable region. With minimal foreign aid, it has managed significant progress in its effort to consolidate statehood. In a nationwide referendum held in 2001, the country introduced a new constitution with overwhelming 97% of support. In April 2003, voters were again called to the polling stations for the election of a new president. The ballots in which Dahir Riyale Kahin was elected as president were moderately free and fair. Opposition Parties Leaders Ahmed Mohammed Siiraanyo of KULMIYE and Eng. Faisal Ali Waraabe of UCID lost against Mr. Kahin in a historic, unique and democratic manner and readily accepted the result of election.

The consolidation reached a climax at the end of September 2005 when the country held parliamentary elections. International observers from South Africa, UN, I.G.A.D and AU called the elections free and fair. Furthermore, more voters turned out to elect candidates from different clans, a clear signal that Somalilanders are beginning to trust their political system. But the consolidation of statehood has so far not been followed by international recognition from the international community.

Meanwhile, the question of Somaliland’s independence has created a row between the two former colonial powers of Somalia, Italy and Great Britain. Italy has strongly emphasized the importance of Somalia’s unity and is subsequently supporting the T.F.G. headed by Abdullah Ahmed Yousif. Unfortunately, Britain´s support to its former colony has dwindled and sometimes rejected Somaliland´s claim of independence. Britain is the only country in the world, which is fully aware of Somaliland´s history particularly after gaining independence on the 26th of June 1960. Britain knows that over 34 countries have recognized Somaliland since its independence from the UK in 1960.

International Diplomatic Embargo on Somaliland:

Although Somaliland managed stability and continuity through its democratic policy, its foreign policy has been paralyzed by diplomatic embargo against Somaliland, where the international community realizes process, democracy and statehood in Somaliland but still remains blind and even refuses to hear the Somaliland voice of freedom. In 2007, Somaliland diplomacy started shinning after Rwanda Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Charles MURIGANDE highlighted Somaliland development followed by a lecture delivered by Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Mohammed Duaale in the last AU Foreign Minister´s meeting.

I.G.A.D. is committed to Somalia’s unity fearing that a successful secession of Somaliland could be misinterpreted as a precedent of other secessionist movements in East Africa. Arab countries are trying to balance Ethiopia’s influence in the Horn. Yemen, for instance, supported Jama Ali Jama, a rival of Yusuf in Puntland, as Yusuf is regarded by many Somalis and Arabs as too attached to Addis Ababa. According to Arab theory, United Somalia is only a factor to balance Ethiopian military presence in east Africa, which forces them to throw the Somaliland case of independence in a dustbin. Yemen serves as an important transport hub for small arms to TGS ailing President Abdullah Yousuf Ahmed of Somalia despite a United Nations arms embargo (before it was lifted).

Furthermore, Ethiopia builds muscles of TFG President Abdullah-yey regime, with its subject of exercise being perceived as against Somaliland. The mature politics of Ethiopia was instrumental in maintaining good relations with Somaliland as well as with Yousif and the T.F.G.

Ethiopia utilizes Somaliland Ports after Djibouti and Eritrea sliced it off the coast of the red sea. Currently, Berbera Port is the only sea access to Ethiopian business and government supplies, because Somalia ports remain vicious and perilous for Ethiopian use. Djibouti, on the contrary, feels uneasy to have modern and democratic Somaliland in the region, and Djibouti doesn’t want to promote a business competitor for its main source of revenues – port revenue collections is the backbone of Djibouti economy. The government of Djibouti enjoys a very peaceful border with Somaliland.

US sources, in the Economist December 2005 issue, hinted that Italy is funneling weapons to the provisional government despite a United Nations arms embargo. Britain, as the former colonial power of Somaliland, is said to develop a much more open approach to Somaliland and has repeatedly encouraged Hargeisa’s process of democratization.

The United States also pursues a more open approach. The U.S. State Department announced that it “welcomes the September 29 parliamentary elections in Somaliland.” Furthermore, US based Center for Strategic and International Studies issued a number of recommendations to strengthen U.S.-African policy, describing Somaliland’s capital Hargiesa as a strategic location in the global war on terror and criticized the lack of a U.S. presence in the area.

Conclusion: Although Somalilanders voted for their independence and exhibited their right of self integrity, the latter is still a victim of ongoing conflict on the international diplomatic embargo. The International Community is deeply divided on the issue while I.G.A.D is unable to endorse any solution. Somaliland´s future rests to be seen besides Somalilanders commitment to continue with or without support from the international community.


Somaliland Opposition Leader Warns Against Harassing Civilians

HARGEISA 21 Fe 2009 (Somaliland Globe) - KULMIYE party has called on Mr. Dahir Rayaale, Somaliland president, to stop election delaying tactics and warned him from endangering the national security.

Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, the leader of KULMIYE, Somaliland’s biggest opposition party, said Saturday that his party will win a clear victory in the upcoming election.

Speaking to hundreds of people hailing from Eastern part of the country who joined KULMIYE, Mr Silanyo said “we are approaching election time, the government’s term has been extended several times already, there will be no more extension this time”.

He told the cheering crowds “We are ready for the election and we can win it in a broad daylight from the ruling party”.

Mr. Silanyo warned they “will not allow the government to use the police and military forces for harassing civilian population and journalists”. The leader of KULMIYE was refering to a recent incident in which a number men led by the mayor and head of the police of Dacarbudhuq, Laasgeel district took custody of a HCTV reporter.

The reporter, Mr. Mohamed Daud suffered injuries from the apparent beating he endured from the police during his brief custody. His injuries, although requiring hospital treatment, were minor in nature. His equipment was also damaged. Reports from the area said the vice-president was campaigning in the area when the local authorities learned the HCTV reporter was filming another event organized by the opposition KULMIYE party which attracted significant crowds. The authorities may have believed that HCTV reporting of the opposition event could undercut the significance of the one that the vice-president was attending which normally would be aired on government controlled media.

Mr. Ahmed Silanyo’s remarks came at the backdrop of what the party claims to be waves of supporters joining them. They also accuse Rayaale’s administration of adopting a narrative that was widely criticized as “favoring unity” with Somalia following the formation of its unity government in Djibouti.

Our reporter in Hargeisa says up and down the country, people show clear signs of frustration with the administration on a number of fronts which may have boosted the popularity of the opposition parties over the past two years. Political commentators believe that voters are increasingly taking a pro-opposition stand.


Somaliland VP suggests March election might be 'postponed'.

http://www.unpo.org/content/view/9262/142/23 February 2009

A senior government official in Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland has suggested on Thursday [19 February 2009] that the upcoming presidential election might be postponed, Radio Garowe reports.

Mr. Ahmed Yusuf Yasin, Somaliland's vice president, told local press that the voter-registration process might continue through March 29 [2009], when Somaliland is scheduled to hold a competitive democratic election to elect the next president.

"The ruling party [UDUB] wants to hold the election on time, but we [also] want the voter-registration process to be fair," Somaliland's vice president said.

It is the first admittance by a top official in Somaliland of possibly postponing the March 29 [2009] election, which is seen as crucial to the separatist republic's democratic process.

In 2008, Somaliland's upper house of parliament – the House of Guurti – approved a one-year term extension for incumbent President Dahir Riyale's government, whose five-year constitutional mandate expired in May 2008.

Mr. Yasin said that Somaliland's three official parties – UDUB, UC ID and Kulmiye –agreed to "convene together" if the election is postponed and to reschedule. He indicated that such an agreement was signed when the three parties formalized President Riyale's term extension last year.

Another official, Somaliland Election Commission chairman Jama Mohamud "Sweden,"old the BBC Somali Service that the electronic machine that sorts out error names from the voter-registration list "will begin work soon."

He avoided a direct question about changing the election date, but invited political parties and international donors to inspect the electronic machine and the process.

Opposition parties have accused the Somaliland administration of wanting to purposefully delay the election, a charge denied by Somaliland's government officials.


Somalia: Somaliland election commission postpones election date

HARGEISA, Somalia Feb 23 (Garowe Online) - The election date in Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland has been postponed by the election commission on Monday, Radio Garowe reports.

Mr. Jama Mohamed "Sweden," the election commission chairman, addressed Somaliland's lower house of parliament - the House of Representatives - at parliament hall in Hargeisa, the regional capital.

The parliament meeting was chaired by Mr. Abdiaziz Mohamed Samale, the deputy Speaker, and was attended by most members of the 82-seat parliament.

Mr. Sweden said donor nations have pressured the election commission to set a firm date for the election, which was scheduled to be held on March 29.

But the election commission chairman said the voter-registration process needs more time, adding that the commission successfully completed a phase of the project.

MP Ahmed Du'ale Bulale posed a question regarding what happens if the election date is postponed.

The election commission's deputy chairman, Mr. Ali Mohamed Bikalo, responded: "A clause in the previous agreement stated that a joint decision must be reached among the election commission and the political parties."

That agreement was signed last year after Somaliland President Dahir Riyale unconstitutionally extended his term by one year.


Somalia: Scamsters wreak financial havoc in Hargeisa

Hargeisa ( http://www.somalipressreview.com/February 22)--The Hargeisa based newspaper, Jamhuriya, reports that, scamsters had wreaked financial havoc in Hargeisa through a Ponzi scheme that promised swift rerurns from invetsmente. One of the victims in Hargeisa is a lady whose mother sends her US $ 100 every month. The girl in Hargeisa asked her mother to give her US $ 1000 for investments that will indefinitely entitle her for US $ 100 very month, making her less dependent on monthly money sent to her from Europe.

Many women in Hargeisa were seen going to a house in Alaamada Village in Haregisa to ask lady in charge of the scheme to reimburse them for investments. It is not known how Hargeisa courts can address those issues since there is no legal basis for putting investments into an unregulated business. “The timing of the scamsters is not very shrewd but we now have our Madoffs in Somaliland” says a Somaliland business man. The scheme is known in Hargeisa by different names such as the alliterative Jiif oo jaq ( lie down and suck) and Fadhi ku macaash ( gain profit while sitting). Hargeisa authorities have not officially investigated complaints from women affected by the scam.


Somalia: Somaliland election commission warns political parties

HARGEISA, Somalia Feb 22 (Garowe Online) - Political parties in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland have been warned against inciting the public by exchanging hot words across the media, Radio Garowe reports.

Jama Mohamud "Sweden," chairman of Somaliland's election commission, warned members of the ruling UDUB party, and the opposition Kulmiye and UCID parties not to start the political campaign until one month ahead of election day on March 29.

He also warned politicians from all sides to avoid inciting the public when using the media to express their political position, while suggesting that the exchange of heated words might have a negative impact on the upcoming election and the region's security situation.

Somaliland Vice President Ahmed Yusuf Yasin recently suggested that the March 29 election might be postponed, citing the completion of the voter-registration process.


Somaliland: Rapist and strangler sentenced to 5 years prison and blood money

Jamhuuriya Online Feb 21, 2009. The Regional court of Hargeisa sentenced Mahamed Mahamoud Ahmed (Huto) to 5 year prison and a blood money of 50 camels today for raping and strangling Mumtaz Jama Hassan- a 2 year old girl in Hargeisa in June 2008.

Chairman of the regional court judge Abdirahmah Hayan in passing the sentence said, "The court has listened to nine witnesses and based its sentence on the bases of the SHARIA Law."

All roads leading to the court were cordoned by security forces before the announcement of the sentence.

Relatives of the victim were not satisfied with the judgment, saying that this is not in compliance with the medical check up and autopsy.


Seven sea pirates sentenced to 20 year prison each

Berbera (Jamhuuriya Online Feb 21, 2009.) – The regional Court of Berbara sentenced 7 sea pirates to 20 years prison each on Wednesday afternoon.

Regional Court Judge Osman Ibrahim Dahir told the media that 5 of the sea pirates were from Puntland and the other two were Somalilanders.

Mr. Dahir said, “Two anti tank guns (Bazookas), a number of AK-47 guns, two 6 and 4 meter ladders, a large number of ammunition and blue lights seized by the security forces were brought to the court as evidence.”

The trial of the sea pirates arrested last week lasted only few days amid heavy security and minimum publicity.

This is the third time that sea pirates from Puntland has been arrested and sentenced in the last few months.


Somaliland Police Arrest 14 People Over Fruad

Hargeisa(SLY/Somalilandpress 21 February 2009 ) — 14 people have been arrested in Hargeisa accused of ripping people off with new scam on Saturday by Somaliland forces. Police have had several reports from people claiming they had paid more than $100,000 for “savings”, only to discover on Friday that the alleged office of the unknown company was closed and there was no sign of the senior officials that handle the money. Nobody knows how many people fall for the offer of cool thousands if not a million. According to Geeska Afrika News, an unknown lady had stolen thousands of dollars from residents in Hargeisa after she told them that she would save their money and will give them greater returns on monthly payments and that their money was always safe and was there in case they needed it. An offer too hard to resist. The lady never came in direct contact with her victims and always used a third party - it is believed that the 14 people that the police arrested are part of her third parties that persuaded victims to invest in her non-existant company. Somaliland Interior Minister, Mr Abdullahi Ismael Ali (Irro) said they were investigating the matter, and told people to go to the nearest police station to report their case. The government has sealed its borders and stepped up searches in airport, sea ports and border crossing points. This is the first time a case like this has happened in Somaliland, its traditionally known in West Africa - in particular Nigeria. Somaliland departed from the rest of Somalia in 1991, due to lack of international recognition there is no international institutions that Somalilanders can use to save their money even though a French bank as recently opened an office in Hargeisa. Most Somalilanders keep their savings at home or with well known local companies like Dahabshiil, Mustaqbal Express and others. Police say they need more information in order to lay charges over the alleged scam.

News Analysis: Giving Somaliland Its Over Due Recognition is key to Horn's stability.

By: Mj. Suleiman Egeh. http://www.somalilandpatriots.com/news-7454-0/ Feb 20, 2009

Introduction: Again the IGAD despots made another blunder and formed another fictitious government in exile. African dictators never learn from their mistakes. They made career out of the misery of the suffering people of Somalia. They created another false hope for a people devastated by successive warlords, brutal Ethiopian invasion they blessed and now under the mercy of violent terrorists.

Top stories:

1. The Club of Despots gathering in Addis Abba, and the nomination of Gaddafi's as its president.
2. Artha II: The selection of Sh. Shariff and the complete collapse of Embagatti

"Foreign made outfits synthesized and cloned in foreign lands can not work"

The saying goes "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

This is something the chaotic and debating societies of IGAD/AU/UN complex, have been doing to the people of the Horn of Africa for the last 20 years. These secretive and non democratic organizations have been trampling on the civil and the human rights of the people of both Somaliland and Somalia. For the people of Somaliland who have reclaimed their inalianble rights and decided on their own future, these criminal enterprises have put them in a political limbo. Non of these despots have a real legitimacy on the eyes of their people.

In the name of the people of Somalia, IGAD were collecting funds from the world, under the pretext of creating a government for them. But that is not the case, they made a career out off making Somalia a bogeyman for milking few dollars from the world, under the guise of helping the people of that country, and forming a government for them. On the contrary, what they are doing is creating their own outfit, comprised from the worse of the worse. The reservoir they draw their fake leaders from is primarily full of warlords, failed and recycled leaders, unscrupulous personalities, international vagabonds and other throwaways.

That is why non of their outfits worked and will not work in the future.They have no sense of shame from their endless blunders and mistakes. They keep on repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Somalia needs indigenous and true reconciliation, and healing process that starts in their villages, towns and cities where they sit together, and ask themselves what their real problems are? IGAD/AU/UN complex have miserably failed to bring a scintilla of resolution to Somalia's chronic problems.

These groups are vigorously resisting to confess their mistakes. In fact IGAD/UN conglomerate are part of the problem. These dictators have aggravated, stirred up, meddled, profited and perpetuated Somalia's problems. They are neither sincere nor has the ability to resolve these problems. It is time for the people of Somalia to aggressively demand these despots to take their hands out of their affairs.

These knee jerk attempts are not designed to resolve the problem but will rather aggravate it. These draconian ideas created and will create more problems than it will resolve. The people of Somalia must realize that no solution will ever come from IGAD/AU/UN failure-complex. The Rwandan genocide, the morass in Congo, the debacle and human misery in Liberia, Sierra Leone and the on going genocide in Darfur, Sudan had all happened in their watch. They failed to resolve the 30 year war between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Eritreans have resolved their problems the hard way by waging a 30 years arms struggle against Ethiopia, a country the AU made its head office in its capital Addis Abba. The AU for so long rejected to heed the cries for justice coming from the Eriterian people. Had they heeded those cries the devastating Eriterian struggle for independence would have been averted.

In conclusion the people of Somalia must not wait for the AU, the UN and its Mauritanian envoy, Abdulla Wallad, who instead of resolving his country's failure of state institutions, slavery, governance and under development problems, who made a career of Somalia, a country he knows very little of. What had happened to Embagatti will be awaiting any other IGAD/UN outfit, that did not come with popular support of the people of Somalia. As the saying goes " Easy come easy go."

There is no reason to believe that any other IGAD engineered government can work. Through out the month of December, 2008, we watched the speedy disintegration process the Embagatti group went through. It started with the abrupt departure of Abdullahi Yusuf the preeminent Embagatti architect, and the exodus of its parliament from Baidawa.The day before Sh. Shariff was selected in Djibouti Baidawa fell to the terroist group Al-Shabaab. There is no single so-called Embagatti parliametarian in Baidawa today. Embagatti was a non existent entity without the Ethiopian troops. As the Ethiopian troops started withdrawing Embagtti has fell. So in reality all the IGAD engineered outfits never existed, they only existed on paper, and on the minds of its IGAD engineers. Apparently non of them never took root on the ground.

I. In their meeting in Addis Abba the do nothing AU-den of despots selected Qaddafi as its president.This is the mother of all ironies.They did n't mention Mugabe and the monumental challenges facing the continent. Qaddafi a left over from Africa's failed 20th century presidents for life, is a leader who ran out of gas. He is no longer relevant as he overstayed his welcome both domestically and internationally. The lofty fantasies of his September revolution has failed, his dream to liberate Palestine, Unify the Arab world, and be united with with Egypt, Sudan, Tunis and Chad have all went a bust.

Gadaffi miserably failed in realizing any his dreams in his hey day, when he was flying high and has the full backing of the then powerful Soviet Union. Now at the twilight of his rule, and his popularity in wane, both his idealism and energy are all but evaporated. His recent toying with the impossible task of unifying Africa, a disintegrating continent with monumental problems, much more serious and deeper than the problems of the Arab world is nothing, but a last gasp from a failed leader. Selecting such a failed leader as their president says volumes about the corruption, ineptness, and incompetence of the long failed African dictators.

Those dictators have dashed the dreams and the promise of African independence. More than ever before, the continent has left behind the rest of the world, became saddled with astonomical problems, economic decline, rampant unemployment, poor governance, astronomical problems, negative consequences eminating from failing and failed states, poor health care, hopelessness, lack of education and unprecedented migration of its people.

II. Artha sub II: In Djibouti Sh Shariff Ahmed was selected as the president of Somalia (Mogadishu and its region). The selection of Sh. Shariff in Djibouti is a welcome news for the people of Mogadishu and Somalia. But what had happened in Djibouti is the same thing that was happening to the people of Somalia for the last 20 years. This is the fifth outfit made overseas, and called the government for all the former Somalia. That is an utter mirage and non sense. The reality on the ground and the architecs of Somalia's outfits are so far apart. Apparently reality and the actions of the engineers of the failed and fictitious outfits are so far apart as Mars and Jupiter.

Daunting challenges are awaiting Sh. Shariff. Besides Somaliand who were never part of the IGAD-UN organized conferences, this time around, Puntland, the Northern part of the former Italian Somaliland declared, it is not part of the Djibouti conference. Therefore, in reality what Sh. Shariff may be left with is the area between South Calkayo and.Kismayo. In those areas themselves, Baidawa, Merka, Kismayo and some parts of Mogadishu are in the hands of the terrorist group Al-Shabaab. In real terms Sh. Shariffs Somalia will be parts of Mogadishu and some towns in central Somalia.

Despite the fanfare in the despot den-the AU conference in Addis Abba, there are very few patches of land that may come under Sh Shariff's control. If the recent past is a guide, the same fate is awaiting Sh. Shariff. The problem nobody wants to address, is the huge disconnect between the perennial conferences goers and the reality on the ground. Forming unpopular by IGAD dictators never worked and will not work this time.

There is no realism and pragmatism in these free warlord, and failed leader parties.There is also an immense disconnect between the reality on the ground, and the IGAD despots and the UN's corrupt bureacrat's myopic mentality. Unless the bitter reality is faced IGAD/UN failed and corrupt enterprises will keep forming unpresentative outfits, led by unpopular, corrupt, and inept charlatans who do not represt anybody, and the cycle of failure, morass and mayhem will indefinitely continue. On paper at least, the just collapsed Embagatti outfit has the greatest chance of succeeding than Sh. Shariff's new outfit.

Despite being mostly on either a comma or life support through out of its short life span, the bambastic Embagatti warlords never shrank from snipping and threatening the people of Somaliland. That outfit never never anchored its feet on the ground.Through out its short life span, they were fueding, flying from one despot capital to the other, finger pointing and urguing. For all practically purposes they never had any control over Mogadishu let alone Somalia. Embagatti like the other outfits before it denied the rights and self-determination for the people Somaliland.

Somaliland is a power in its own right, and can't be dictated by neither IGAD/UN corrupt complex or their fictitious outfits. The failure will continue and the suffereing of innocent people of Mogadishu, Baidawa, Merka and Kismayo will continue. For the IGAD despots, Somalia became the boggey man through which they can milk few dollars from the world. But clearly those few dollars are drying up, because there are good results to show for the dollars they already wasted on a half a dozen falied outfits.

I would like to tell the suffering people of Somalia, It is time for you to take things into their hands.They must know there is nobody out there looking out for them. I am saying to you people of Mogadishu, " Ceelna Idiinma Qodna, Cidna Idiin Ma Maqna." Sidaa Ugaadaa and Good Luck.

Never trust your faith on neither warlords, charlatans, Siyad barre's remnents, terrorist groups, IGAD and the UN. Remember it was IGAD and the UN who brought in your erstwhile enemy-Ethiopia, the failing state that mercilessly shelled your neighborhoods, killed you and your children. Wake up! And take charge of your destiny. IGAD can not and will not bring peace and stability to you. Your peace and tranquility must come from you and not foreign lands.

The Disconnect.

There is huge disconnect between the IGAD dictators, the United Nations and the reality on the ground in the former Somalia. Though not yet got a dejure recognition due to fierce resistence from IGAD dictatorships and Egypt, Somaliland a major part of the former Somalia has declared its independence, from the rest of Somlia almost 20 years ago. Somaliland was never part of the overseas created, artificial, and so-called reconciliation conferences for Somalia. Somaliland is already enjoying a defacto recognition by its people and many countries.

Currently Somaliland has political offices in most European countries, a number of African countries and the United States. Moreover, for the last 20 years the people of Somaliland has been focusing all their energy on Somaliland. Somaliland diaspora has helped building Universities, medical clinics and other devlopment projects in the mother land. Somaliland educated class has focused all their brain energy on Somaliland. For all practical purposes, the seperation of Somaliland and Somalia is complete.

Despite all that Politicians from Somalia (former Italian Somliland) and especially the perennial participants in the endless IGAD and UN initiated conferences, act as if Somaliland as part of a non existent state called Somalia. But practically the two countries are completely seperate. Somaliland controls all the territory of the former British Somaliland. The country has successfully gone through several elections. It has a bicameral parliament, three political parties, a robust civil society and numerous indigenous non governmental groups. In March 2009, a municipal and presidential election will be held in the country..


Somaliland to Hold the First Bid Round for Hydrocarbon Exploration

http://www.qarannews.com/ Feb 20, 2009

HARGEISA, Somaliland - (Business Wire) The Somaliland Ministry of Water and Mineral Resources (Ministry) announced today that the Country’s first bid round for hydrocarbon concessions will open in February. The bid round will include eight concession blocks comprised of more than 89,624 square kilometers of onshore and offshore areas.

The geology off the coast of Somaliland is analogous to the oil-producing basins in nearby Yemen that have yielded several discoveries to date. Yemen’s Balhaf Graben Basin and Somaliland’s Berbera Basin contain striking similarities in fault trends and structural complexity. Additional indicators of hydrocarbon reserve potential are the naturally-occurring oil and gas seeps at Dagah Shabel, and most historical wells in the area contain multiple zones with shows of oil and/or gas.

In preparation for the Somaliland licensing round, TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company, ASA (TGS) acquired 5,300 kilometers of seismic, gravity and magnetic data in the offshore areas and 34,700 kilometers of high resolution aeromagnetic data covering all known petroleum basins. The surveys mark the first new geophysical data acquired in the area in almost 30 years. Data acquisition was completed in 2007-2008, and TGS used this data along with existing well logs and interpreted data to create comprehensive interpretation reports for the Ministry. The reports, as well as the newly acquired geophysical data and well logs are all multi-client products to be exclusively marketed by TGS on behalf of the Ministry.

“We are very excited about the renewal of hydrocarbon exploration in Somaliland,” said his Excellency, Mr. Qasim Sh. Yusuf Ibrahim, the Minster of Water and Mineral Resources in Somaliland. “The previous drilling has proven the existence of hydrocarbons and the reservoir class rock formations. With the help of the new geophysical data we can now map the structures needed to identify where the hydrocarbons are trapped.”

The timing for this historic bid round is as follows:

February 19, 2009 – Bid round opens
August 15, 2009 – Final submission of bids
December 15, 2009 – Expected award of concessions


Somalia: Somaliland VP suggests March election might be 'postponed'

HARGEISA, Somalia Feb 19 2009(Garowe Online) - A senior government official in Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland has suggested on Thursday that the upcoming presidential election might be postponed, Radio Garowe reports.

Mr. Ahmed Yusuf Yasin, Somaliland's vice president, told local press that the voter-registration process might continue through March 29, when Somaliland is scheduled to hold a competitive democratic election to elect the next president.

"The ruling party [UDUB] wants to hold the election on time, but we [also] want the voter-registration process to be fair," Somaliland's vice president said.

It is the first admittance by a top official in Somaliland of possibly postponing the March 29 election, which is seen as crucial to the separatist republic's democratic process.

In 2008, Somaliland's upper house of parliament – the House of Guurti – approved a one-year term extension for incumbent President Dahir Riyale's government, whose five-year constitutional mandate expired in May 2008.

Mr. Yasin said that Somaliland's three official parties – UDUB, UC ID and Kulmiye –agreed to "convene together" if the election is postponed and to reschedule. He indicated that such an agreement was signed when the three parties formalized President Riyale's term extension last year.

Another official, Somaliland Election Commission chairman Jama Mohamud "Sweden,"old the BBC Somali Service that the electronic machine that sorts out error names from the voter-registration list "will begin work soon."

He avoided a direct question about changing the election date, but invited political parties and international donors to inspect the electronic machine and the process.

Opposition parties have accused the Somaliland administration of wanting to purposefully delay the election, a charge denied by Somaliland's government officials.

Somaliland, located in northwestern Somalia, unilaterally declared independence from the rest of the country in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.


The History of Chauvinism-Created Union (1960-1990)

by Ibrahim Hassan Gagale. http://www.qarannews.com/ Feb 19, 2009

[This article is about Somaliland`s fanatical, hasty unification with Somalia in 1960 and how Somalia doomed the union with political deprivation (1960-1982) and atrocities (1982-1990). It also states reasons of why the union is not revivable. In this article, North is referred to Somaliland and South is referred to Somalia as used in the three decades of the union.]

A union, when it is about countries, is an act of uniting two or more countries with the objective of enhancing strength and advancing common interest. However, any union succeeds only if its initiative is fully deliberated, its constitution is well- thought of and defined and all sides respect and abide by it with real commitment to put it forward. The voluntary unification that took place between Somaliland and Somalia on July 1st, 1960 was driven by chauvinism (Blind patriotism) from the part of Somaliland people who failed to foresee that such hasty act in Africa without deliberations on possibilities could result in devastating consequences as happened in the 1980s. The successive, South-centered governments throughout the history of the union clearly indicated that Somalia was not ready for the unity but just took advantage of the fanatical patriotism of the North which carelessly threw its independence to unwelcoming place.

In the thirty years of the union (1960-1990), Somaliland people have learned a lot from Somalia that dismisses any chance of reviving the doomed union in the future. The following past actions of Somalia that failed the union and make it impossible to revive in the future are:-

When the first government was formed in 1960 for the New Republic of Somalia, emerging from former British Somaliland and former Italian Somalia, the South took the president, Mr. Aden Abdulle Osman (1960-1964), the prime minister, Mr. Abdirasheed Ali Sharma`arke, the ministers of foreign affairs, interior, finance, Commander of the National Armed Forces, and the National Police Chief. The union parliament was sham too for the South taking unfair number of seats. This political hijack by the South was the first political blow to the power-sharing of the freshly formed union. Mr. Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal, who was prime minister of the North at the eve of unification, was denied of the premiership which he had as a right after the South took the presidency. President Aden Abdulle Osman was re-elected in 1964 (1964-1967) and repeated the same political blunders by giving the prime minister to Mr. Abdirizak Haji Hussein (South-born) and other major cabinet posts to the South again.

The North was treated as an ordinary region in Somalia like Mudug or Benadir ignoring the fact that the North became independent state, taking independence on June 26, 1960, before the South, which became independent on July 1st, 1960, and that the North initiated the unification of the two newly independent countries in the Horn of Africa. The political betrayal and humiliation by the South angered the politicians, traditional leaders, intellectuals, business community as well as military officers of the North. This deep resentment influenced North-born young military officers, at the command of Hassan Kayd, to lead the unsuccessful military coup in Hargeisa on December 10, 1961 to reclaim independence and dignity of the North from the South-breached union. Instead of addressing the grievances that led to the Northern mutiny and starting national dialogue for reconciliation, president Aden Abdulle Osman immediately transferred South-born military to North and North-born military to South to suppress and repress Northern people socially and politically to punish them for the rightful military mutiny. The Southern troops turned Northern Regions into semi-colony with no freedom at all. Northern people were forced to travel to Mogadisho for school certificates (Even middle school certificates), passports, healthcare, business licenses etc.

In such situation of political deprivation and lack of investment in the North, General Siad Barre (South-born) overthrew the civilian government of the shaky union through bloodless coup on October 21, 1969 dissolving the constitution and the parliament immediately after the assassination of president Abdirasheed Ali Sharma`arke (South-born) on October 15, 1969. Many people believed that president Abdirasheed (1967-1969) was murdered for giving prime minister post to the North and that is why General Siad Barre toppled Egal`s two-year old government too (1967-1969). President Abdirasheed gave the prime minister to the North to control the damage inflicted on power-sharing by president Aden Abdulle Osman. General Siad Barre ruled Somalia for 21 years with iron-fist dictatorship (1969-1990) that curtailed all civil liberties. He continued the political deprivation and suppression of the North and strengthened the political domination of the South.

Worse than South-centered civilian governments, General Siad Barre grossly breached the agreement of the union which was shared between the North and the South only by making it a union shared by all Somalis in the five Somali-territories (Somaliwein) in the Horn of Africa. He gave special political and military privilege to the Ogaden tribe inhabiting in Western Somalia (Occupied by Ethiopia) and in Somalia Northeastern Region (Occupied by Kenya) thus adopting refugees as citizens and making citizens, especially those in the North, as second class citizens. General Bile Rafle, born in Somali Galbeed, became the governor of Hargeisa and Burao in the 1970s, and General Aden Gabyow, born in N.F.D, Kenya, became once the minister of defense of the then Republic of Somalia. These citizen-turned refugees widely participated in the atrocities and displacement of the central tribes in Somaliland (Isaaq Clan) during civil wars. Northern officials in South-owned governments were symbolic and powerless. Their posts were intended to mislead Northern public perception to believe in power-sharing that did not exist. If the Northern officials in the government had real power, they would prevent injustices and crimes committed against the North.

During the disastrous union, Darod and Hawiye clans dominated the government. Isaaq clan (The biggest clan in the North) was alienated throughout the union to eliminate political rivalry from North. It was also political hostility focus for challenging the hijacked union. The middle clans and the minorities were not in the radar of the political system of the union. Southern governments also practiced “divide and rule” policy in the North turning native clans against each other politically before the civil wars and finally arming them against each other during civil wars.

After all talks and negotiations between Northern leaders and Siad Barre`s regime to reverse the anti-North policies failed, the Northern people had no choice but to challenge the unabated injustices of the South with armed resistance. A group of Isaaq emigrants living in London founded the Somali National Movement (SNM), with political and military wings, in April 1981 to overthrow Siad Barre`s dictatorship. The military wing of SNM waged relentless attacks against Southern troops of oppression, suppression, and repression based in the North. It launched its first operation, operating from bases in Ethiopia, in February 1982 against the government troops. These military operations of SNM successfully continued and devastated the government troops until the major offensive of SNM in 1988. Claiming that all Isaaqs were supporters of the SNM guerrilla movement, Siad Barre`s government unleashed all sorts of human rights abuses against them such as killings, detentions, rapes, torture, unfair trials, confiscation of private properties, curfews and checkpoints in cities, towns, villages and rural areas in the North. Constraints on freedom of movement and employment and business discrimination against Isaaq were also common. Even Isaaq community living in the South suffered the same human rights abuses equally. Siad Barre also sent Northern prominent leaders and politicians such as Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal, Omar Arteh Qalib, Ismael Ali Aboker, top military officers and scholars to prison arbitrarily.

The military wing of SNM launched major offensive against government forces based in Hargeisa and Burao in May 1988 destroying most of the troops and arsenal stationed there and crippling Siad Barre`s administration in the North. In Response to SNM offensive, Siad Barre declared all-out war against Isaaq clan and started bombarding Hargeisa and Burao brutally and indiscriminately with artillery, tanks and war planes, some of them piloted by mercenaries from former Rhodesia, forcing the population of these cities to flee into Ethiopia for sanctuary leaving Hargiesa and Burao in ruins. Tens of thousands of civilians were murdered, massacred or executed summarily. In July 1989, Forty-seven (47) people, mainly from Isaaq clan, were slaughtered at Jasiira Beach near Mogadisho by Siad Barre`s Red Berets. In February 2000, the bodies of more than 700 people were discovered in mass grave near the Airport of Berbera. Other mass grave sites were also found at Malko Durduro in Hargeisa, near Burao, Gabiley and Erigavo. These mass graves held Isaaq victims of massacres and mid-night executions carried out by troops loyal to Barre`s regime in the years 1988 and 1989. It was brutal military campaign of ethnic cleansing against the entire Isaaq clan. In January 1991, the heroic armed struggle of SNM and USC finally ousted Siad Barre and his dictatorship simultaneously in the North and in the South. Siad Barre fled the country on January 26, 1991.

Having seen the political deprivation and atrocities against the North and its people, the Northern Congress held in Burao on May 18, 1991 unanimously proclaimed the withdrawal of the North from the union with the South and reclaimed its independence of June 26, 1960 renaming itself: Somaliland Republic. The referendum held in Somaliland on May 31st, 2001 reaffirmed Somaliland sovereignty from Somalia. Somaliland is not a secessionist or breakaway region from Somalia as anti-Somaliland groups claim. It just withdrew from the union it joined as an independent state on July 1st, 1960 after it failed in the hands of Somalia. Djabouti became independent state in 1977 and rejected to join the union after witnessing how the South mistreated the North. Somaliland, Somalia and Djabouti are independent with equal status and legitimacy.

The Somaliland people shall not revive the doomed union with Somalia for the following 7 (Seven) reasons:
1 - The above history of political deprivation and atrocities committed against Somaliland people during the union have no justification or excuse at all.
2 - Somalia does not admit those injustices and heinous crimes against Somaliland people. It purposefully denies or covers them up by claiming that the people of Somalia suffered equally. What they do not want to hear is that they were responsible for the injustices and atrocities in Somaliland but the destructive civil wars in Somalia were self-inflicted. President Aden Abdulle Osman and General Siad Barre can not be blamed for the injustices and crimes against the North alone because they were supported by Southern politicians, military commanders, troops and tribes loyal to Siad Barre`s regime.
3 - Any federal government shared with the tribes inhabiting in the central regions of Somalia (Mudug and Galgudud) is unlikely to survive long because they are power-obsessed, self-aggrandizing and uncompromising. Some of these tribes hijacked the union in the first decade of its age, some other supported and defended Siad Barre`s brutal dictatorship and another is blamed for the endless anarchy and violence in Somalia.
4 - Somalia still believes in government shared by Somaliwein (Government for all Somalis from Somalia, Somaliland, Djabouti, Somali Northeastern Region (Kenya) and Western Somalia (Ehtiopia). This is no man`s government that leads to political chaos and socio-economic setbacks. Somaliland belongs to Somalilanders only.
5 - The place is Africa where democracy, fair elections and rule of law are not respected. Chronic tribalism, brutal dictatorships and crippling corruptions are common and normal practice of the day. Any federal government can be easily overthrown at any time by military coups, just like General Siad Barre did, with the immediate dissolution of elected parliament and constitution. No one can guarantee or trust that this will not happen again.
6 - Neither Somaliland people nor the people of Somalia can afford to have another risky unity that leads to brutal dictatorship or despotic turned-elected governments that plunge both peoples into other violent, atrocious civil wars. They need to have separate, safe, sisterly states with mutual relations like the 18 Arab countries that also share religion, language and culture but living in peaceful, prosperous independent states. Both nations must reject blind patriotism that led them to devastating civil wars in the past.
7 - The place is Africa where the laws of the jungle rein, where tribalism and localism are more important than nationalism and patriotism and where poverty and ignorance drive people to seek living in tribal corrupt or dictatorial governments instead of making sacrifices and hard work for better life and for self-sufficiency. The critics of Somaliland independence, who advocate for reviving the disastrous unity, are either blind or indifferent to these political betrayal and appalling atrocities in this article. Their reckless, chauvinistic approach for unity must be rejected by Somaliland.
Ibrahim Hassan Gagale. Ibrahim_hg@yahoo.com, February 19, 2009


Somaliland House of Guurti blocks dubious motion

HARGEISA – Somaliland, 15.02.09 - (xogtamaanta.com) - The Upper House of Guurti of Somaliland’s parliament has halted an alleged controversial motion proposing the change for a law that allows the house members to remove their leader.

The motion which was intended to unseat the leader of the Upper House of Guurti, honorable Suleiman Adam, failed to come to the table and those who were proposing it also failed to attend the session they meant to debate on and vote in favor of replacing the current law barring members to put forward such proposals.

Reports confirm that five Guurti House members campaigning for the removal of the current Upper House of Guurti leader, Hon. Suleiman Adam, with the help of self-styled sub-clan-traditional leader, Osman Bourmeadow was backed by Somaliland’s president, Daahir Riyaale.

Despite of the huge support that Suleiman Adam gave President Riyaale during the last vigorously contested elections, both leaders are said they are now in a bitter rivalry.

In the last two weeks Somaliland media were reporting the attempts by Riyaale’s government in removing the Upper House of Guurti leader and the speculations of president Riyaale seeking 3rd extension in the face of tough elections ahead in March of this year.

According to reporters at Guurti House, Saturday’s session was heated and public has shown great interest of the Guurti’s session by hundreds of people gathering in and around the vicinity of the House of Guurti buildings, and eagerly anticipating the outcome of the hotly awaited session.

“There is a motion some of the Guurti members wanted to table it today, I’m requesting that the honorable members to put it forward, the house is ready to debate on it,” said honorable Suleiman Adam, the leader of the House of Guurti who was said he was well prepared for the motion by mobilizing members of the House of Guurti supporting him in voting against the motion.

“Our intentions are not for creating a situation of mistrust and rivalry among the house of members, but we want to tell you that there are speculations of attempts by some of the members who want to unseat the chairman of the house – or the permanent chairing committee of the house,” Said Honorable Sheikh Ahmed Furre, the vice chair of the Guurti, who was calming down the house after exchange of heated debate on the existence of the alleged motion and its perpetuators.

“For those who want to oust the House of Guurti leader, I want to tell you that you should ‘try’ to topple all of us,” Added Hon. Sheikh Furre, hinting he was astonished by the move which comes few weeks before the nation goes to the polls for presidential elections.

Sheikh Furre warned against the attempts of removing the leader of the House of Guurti in a fashion that contradicts the law of the house and called the house members to calm down and work together for the interest of Somaliland rather than personal.

The news of alleged motion proposing the removal of the current Guurti leader was like a wild fire and people in Somaliland and in Diaspora were enthusiastically waiting to see where it will end.

“For those who are proposing this motion, they should come forward and present it” said the chairman of the Guurti who was calling on the members proposing the motion to confirm their details and their proposal.

Honorable Mohamoud Aw Ahmed who stood up and confirmed that he was one of the group members pushing the motion allowing them to unseat the leader of the Guurti with apparent controversy vote out, said they were not yet ready to table the motion and instead called the house to sort out its differences in traditional way that the people of Somaliland honors for the house.

“No external interference should influence the house and we all should remit any proposal in the traditional way of this house...the motion will be tabled” said Hon. Aw Ahmed, who seemed an isolated man in the House when he admitted that he and other members were perpetuating a controversial motion supported by the Executive branch.

“This is an obvious diversion of our attention from the elections which should be the priority and held on time.” said Hon. Suleiman who vowed not allowing any more extension for the UDUB ruling party leader, president Riyaale if elections are not held on 29th of March.

“If elections are not held on time, it is the responsibility of the government and it should be accountable for its failures, there can’t be any more of term extension” added Hon. Adam highlighting where he is stands in case of elections are being postponed indefinitly.

Later the chairman of the house of Guurti asked more than fifty of the house’s eighty-one members on session to vote whether the motion should be submitted as formal motion by the alleged group who were proposing it and to debate on it or to block it.

The house overwhelmingly blocked the motion and called it ‘a dubious and unnecessary motion’ at a time Somaliland is preparing to spearhead its presidential elections.

The debatable motion purportedly backed and pushed by president Riyaale’s government was the latest controversial move by Riyaale and his cronies who were accused of seeking extension and not being honest about the upcoming elections.


Coalition of Somaliland Crisis Group Release Petition with hundred of signatures urging to prevent any civil clash in Gabiley-Awdal area.

http://www.saylac.com/news/news3feb,14,09.htm/Feb,14,2009

Petition to prevent any clash, discord or conflict in Ceelbardaale and surrounding area in Somaliland

After organizing two days campaign to gather more than hundred of supporters for this petition, Coalition of Somaliland Crisis Group received this outpouring of support from Somaliland communities around the world. This respond has strengthened our resolve and validate our belief that a silent Somaliland majority that was waiting ready, and eager to speak our emerging. Today we join together and speak as one “No need any clash in any form in Somaliland Territory"

Recommendations

* taking the necessary steps to preventing all attacks, threats and violent intimidation of civilians by any party or group, including both sides;
* respecting the livelihoods and property of the individuals and communities;
* ensuring the principle of good neighborhood and decent manner and valuable cultural heritage of peace loving and solving problem through dialogue.
*Protecting the rights of rural society in the area to cultivate their fields in stable and security.
*cooperating fully with current government and coming government alike to implement a sustainable peace in the area.
*appointing an independent commission of traditional Gurti to solve this dispute land through dialogue.
* Any involvement of violation of any kind of agreement should be reported to the appropriate authorities or current government and any one who commit this violation should be accountable.

Coalition of Somaliland Crisis Group plans to continue to gather signatures on their future website which will launch shortly, so please join and be part of the Gurmad. Send your support to our media partner saylac.com at saylacnews@yahoo.com


Going to school without shoes in small town of Somaliland is growing.-

Abuqays (Saylac.com Feb, 11.2009) it may sound strange to some readers, but it is real that more then half of abuqays and surrounding area students are adopting to keep going to school without shoes nowadays.

13 years old in an underdeveloped country of Somaliland Mohamed Farah Egeh told saylac.com he has been going to school without shoes for last four years. Mr. Farah who is now 9th grade at Abuqays town of Awdal region is one of the talents gifted student in the area.

Talking to the press of his first time he said "for the first year, it was very hard for me to go to school without shoe, but it became as usual after period of time".

He said "there are a number of students who never came with shoes at school' This is not cultural thing in this rich agricultural area in the region, but due to hard-hit drought and lack of civic development projects in the area, most of the indigenous people have left to the main city of Borama to find a job and decent life.

This agricultural area became a waste land after not cultivated for period of time. Surprising, the number of students for last five years increased 14% according Jama Hussein the Principal one of the elementary school in the area.

“There is huge setback of social development in this area and current government fully blind eyed the needs of this certain area" he added. The only resource we get for these schools comes from local donors and several trades men who generously assist us occasionally Mr. Hussein told the press.

The number of students in these schools is estimated more than 870 pupils including 399 girls from 1st grade to 9th grade.

Saylac.com, Abuqays-Somaliland


President Riyale “Planning to Depose Speaker Of Guurti”

HARGEISA (The Somaliland Globe 13 February 2009) - A second attempt in as many weeks to remove the leader of the House of the Guurti from power is under way in Somaliland. A group of Guurti members, known to be staunch supporters of President Riyale, told reporters in Hargeisa “they want change the law to make it easier to remove the Guurti leader [Mr. Suleiman M. Adam]” although they did not give reasons for their actions.

Other reports indicate they had series of meetings with Riyale before launching their second attempt to oust the leader of the Guurti. It is widely believed the reason for wanting to remove Mr. Adam is because Riyale wants the Guurti’s unquestionable support should election disputes arise in the upcoming presidential elections. Some members of the opposition political parties also accused Riyale of trying to replace Mr. Adam because he is not willing to help him postpone the elections due in less than seven weeks.

Mr. Muse Bihi of KULMIYE party told reporters “Riyale does not consider the stability of the country as paramount if in fact he is behind the attempts to remove the leader of the Guurti in an election year”.

Mr. Muse Bihi said the stability of the country was considered very important during transition year, adding “that is why Somaliland constitution dictates” we hold the presidential and Guurti elections years apart as replacing them in the same year could be destabilizing to the country.

The group behind this latest move wants to table a motion to modify the law to require a simple majority vote instead of its current requirement of two-thirds majority to remove the leader. Although the majority of the unelected Guurti are UDUB members and close to Riyale, they are currently unable to muster the required two-thirds majority. A previous attempt to table a similar motion failed.

As election date approaches, the three political parties, KULMIYE, UCID and UDUB selected and submitted their candidates for the upcoming election to the Electoral Commission before tomorrow’s deadline. The names do not include any surprises as all three party leaders were renominated, however, the two running mates of UCID and KULMIYE opposition parties are new.

Two of the parties, UCID and UDUB, held their conferences within the last three weeks. KULMIYE party selected its candidates last year in a longer more complicated process that many considered was the most transparent of the three parties.

UDUB’s selection process and its nomination of the incumbent as president and vice-president, was criticized by long term members of the party as an undemocratic because the vice-president, himself a candidate for the nomination, was chairing the committee selecting the candidates which presents an apparent conflict. The members of the committee were themselves named by President Riyale. Those critical of the process included three former Ministers of his cabinet who sought to compete against him within UDUB party but were denied invitations and access to the conference hall area which was heavily guarded by security forces. Their efforts to setup a rival conference were also derailed when numerous privately owned hotels in Hargeisa refused to host the rival conference. Local sources said the government ordered them not to host a rival UDUB conference.

UDUB is embroiled in numerous problems and could face a tougher reelection this time around compared to 2003 when the High Court decided the disputed election in its favor. The party has been plagued by numerous resignations, defections as well as expulsions from the party of important members some of whom were members since the party was established by the late President Egal.

The leader of the Guurti, Mr. Adam, who is also a member of UDUB party, was a strong supporter of Riyale and was instrumental in Riyale’s election in 2003. The two had fallen out over the past year and Riyale is believed to have been seeking his replacement.

The House of Guurti is the upper house of Parliament. Although its members should have been elected, that has not happened as Riyale is believed to favour to extend their term rather than allow elections. His opposition to support Guurti elections became clear when the vice-President defended extending Guurti’s time citing lack of necessary resources to hold elections. A major factor for their decision, may however be due to the ruling party’s loss of its majority in the lower Parliament when its members were elected for the first time in 2005. The Guurti is also important to him as it single-handedly passed last year a bill that allowed Riyale to stay in power for one more year without standing for reelection after his elected term ended in April last year.


Somaliland joins nations gathering in Yemen for tackling the piracy in the Horn of Africa

Hargeisa, Somaliland -09.02.09 (xogtamaanta.com) – A delegation lead by the interior minister of Somaliland, Abdillahi Erro has left Hargeisa for Yemen after invited to participate in a conference aimed at tackling the piracy in the Horn of Africa waters.

“We have got an official invitation from theYemeni interior minister to take part an international conference in which will be discussed the pirates in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean” said the minister before his delegation left for Yemen.

“The conference in Yemen is a fellow up of the previous conferences in Nairobi, Sri Lanka and Djibouti which we all participated” added Mr. Erro.

The minister did not elaborated the role Somaliland wants play in the fight against the piracy which is norm in its neighbor of Somalia’s Puntland region and where hijacked ships are hosted.

But in the past Somaliland has demonstrated its willingness to fight against the piracy on its waters and it formed special coastguard fighting against the pirates who are well armed and well equipped. Somaliland has adopted a policy of eliminating the piracy in the Red Sea and in the Indian Ocean.

Somaliland’s participation of such conferences highly regarded as international highlights the significance Somaliland has in the region. Somaliland has re-declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 and enjoys peace compare to the war ravaged Somalia.


Kulmiye party turns to Somalilanders in Diaspora for fund-raising

By Abdillahi M. Ali

-09.02.09 (xogtamaanta.com) Somaliland’s leading opposition party, Kulmiye turns to Somalilanders in the Diaspora for fund-raising. The party aims to launch a similar successful campaign that raised millions of Dollars for its political campaign more than four years ago when it contested in vigorous elections.

In England's East London, where it is believed the party has strong supporters, hundreds of Kulmiye die-hard members; including Kulmiye’s vice president candidate, Abdirahman Saylee and the vice-chair of Somaliland’s parliament who have traveled from Hargeisa to help the party Diaspora leaders to raise money for their flat broke party - compare to the well funded ruling party - UDUB, have gathered in a big hall and officially announced the party’s bid to raise millions of Dollars from the Diaspora, for its campaign in the upcoming elections. “Can anyone tell us if they know how much money we need for the campaign expenses in the upcoming elections?” The Kulmiye's’ main man in the parliament, Abdiaziz Samaleh asked the supporters anxiously waiting to be told the exact figure their party might need in order to succeed the hotly worried elections, and propping the Kulmiye Diaspora leaders at the conference to convince Somalilanders and party members that the party is on a precipitous path and it could be in trouble without their financial and political support.

“Imagine the elections we are facing in and who we are contesting with, the UDUB regime that has the national resources, the police, the civil servants, which it believes it can use against oppositions at its disposal” said Mr. Samaleh when he talked about what the Kulmiye and UCID, the second opposition party are facing in the elections and how they can not equalize the power the ruling UDUB party enjoys.

London is not the only place that the Kulmiye Diaspora supporters gathered for fund-raising, but as far as North America, the main-land Europe, The Middle East and East Africa, the party has launched a huge campaign it wants to boost its funds before the upcoming elections campaign kicks off in mid March this year.

“We only have two months to send our campaign message to the voters, while the ruling party has being campaigning ever since it was declared as the winner of the previous elections by using the state Radio Hargeisa, the national newspaper, and the TV by smearing oppositions, and we only have Horyaal Radio to put our messages on the airwaves.” Said Osman Adanie, who hails from American Kulmiye members and said he was representing Kulmiye North Americans for the London Kulmiye fund-raising launch.

‘The gathering of Kulmiye members in London echoed the great need that the party has for enough funds to master its campaign and to help it to quell UDUB’s massive spending of public funds for its political gains,’ a former UDUB member from Cardiff city, I asked about the conference and its aim said to me in an emotional voice.

“When Kulmiye wins, let me stress this, when Kulmiye wins the presidency and the leadership of the country, it would immediately do something about the three badly neglected areas of public service, the justice, the health and the education system.” Said Ali Guled, who is economist helping the party to prepare its policy on commerce and finance.

Speaker after speaker, the Kulmiye Diaspora leaders who came from Europe and North America all pledged their unwavering campaign to raise huge money and also called the wider members to join them in unprecedented role in Kulmiye’s plan to prevent any future vote rigging, and that is members becoming observers at polling stations. “You have great influence on how locals preceive politics at home and you are better off than locals back home, and that is why we need members from the Diaspora to join the party in being vigilant and become observers at polling stations – you won’t be bribed and you won’t be cheap or corrupted” said Dr. Mohamed Omar, who is Kulmiye’s designated foreign minister, when he talked about the role Kumiye Diaspora can take in helping the party to do better at voting observation.

For the Kulmiye Diaspora leaders, the conference was a platform they all could express their offer for the party and also assess what each delegate have done for their party the in the past.

“We are proud to be the only members who sponsored the chairman’s ‘bitty cash’ – or daily expenses, just to mention, and better organized women members in collecting member contributions in Cardiff.” Said Ahmed Arab, Kulmiye’s Wales chairman who criticize other chairmen for not being decisive in the fund-raising campaign.

Critics say Kulmiye will not have an easy ride with its campaign for the fund-raising, because many party supporters are skeptical and not happy with the return of Ahmed Siilanyo, who is over seventy years old and could not succeed the party in last elections, despite of huge funds it was supported with in the last campaigns.

Despite of all odds, the Kulmiye’s fund-raising campaign is now in full swing and it is expected the party to harness once more, but the question remains is; will Kulmiye raise enough funds this time to stay a head of UDUB party who is even digging both its pockets and tax payers' poskets deeper then ever before, in a great effort to stay in power.


Somaliland: Donors Ready to Fund Elections

Hargeisa, 18 February 2009(Somalilandpress) — Somaliland President Dahir Rayaale Kahin met with a visiting delegation from the United States and European Union yesterday in the presidential palace. During the meeting, the two sides discussed issues concerning democracy and the forthcoming elections in March this year.

A press release by the government’s spokesman Mr. Said Adani Moge, said the President told the delegation that his administration was ready to conduct the elections as soon as the electoral commission announce the exact day of the elections and goes through the right channels like the house of elders and opposition parties.

Mr. Richard Hans, the head of the delegation said they are ready to fund the coming elections and thanked the Somaliland government for their warm hospitality and cooperation.

The Presidential elections are set to be on the 29th March but the opposition parties are showing sings of worry that the government may delay the elections from it’s exact date. The President promised the elections will take place in many occasions and said he will step down if his party looses the election.


Somaliland Is Not For Criminals From Somalia

Source: HELSINGIN SANOMAT, Feb 17, 2009

Hargeisa, 18 February 2009 (Somalilandpress) — A Somali citizen who was deported by Finnish officials to Somaliland in the north of the country, says that officials there are not allowing him to remain. Finnish police were not able to confirm or deny the claim on Monday.

The man, about 25 years of age, had been convicted of a number of crimes, and was sent to Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, a week ago on Monday. The expulsion was kept out of the media.

The deportation was the first from Finland to Somalia since November 2004.

Police escorted the man from Finland to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, from where he was flown to Hargeisa without a police escort.

Since then, the deportee has made several calls to his Finnish lawyer Pekka Kivi, and said that officials there will not let him stay. Helsingin Sanomat was also able to contact the deportee.

“I am not welcome here. I will be arrested if I stay in Hargeisa. I am outside the city waiting for official papers to indicate that I am not allowed to stay here”, he told Helsingin Sanomat on Monday.

“I have built a shelter for myself out of trees and leaves. I only drink water and I try to find food”, he said, describing his conditions.

There appeared to be some confirmation of the situation on Monday afternoon, when the deportee’s lawyer got an e-mail sent in the name of the Somaliland administration.

The e-mail pointed out that the deportee cannot stay in Somaliland, because he was born in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. Somaliland does not consider itself part of the same state as the rest of Somalia.

Kivi considers the e-mail to be a genuine letter of the ministry. He passed it on to Finnish police and the Supreme Administrative Court, which confirmed the call for deportation before Christmas.

The deportee was advised by his lawyer to go to a Finnish diplomatic mission. The closest one is in the Ethiopian capital Addis Abeba.

Juha Holopainen of the foreigners’ unit of the Helsinki Police heard about the claims on Monday.

“We have not heard any information that there would have been problems in entering the country. I consider it unlikely.”

“He was allowed on board the plane as normal, and we have not heard that he would have been turned away from Hargeisa.”

Holopainen notes that it is difficult to confirm the matter, because Finland does not have a diplomatic mission in Somalia.


Somaliland Vice-President Speech on Somali Unity: Misinterpret One

Abdulazez Al-Motairi, (http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/91217/February 16, 2009

The people of the Republic of Somaliland reasserted their independence at a Grand Conference of the Somaliland Communities on 16th May 1991. For the people of Somaliland, this marked the end of the union of the State of Somaliland (the former British Somaliland Protectorate), which became an independent state on 26 June 1960, and Somalia (the former Italian colony and trusteeship territory), which became independent on 1 July 1960.

The Conference, besides endorsing the declaration of independence, resolved that an interim government headed by a President and led by the Somali National Movement (SNM), should be built and should hold office for a period of two years. Then Chairman of the SNM, Mr. Abdirahman Ahmed Ali (Tuur) was endorsed as President and Mr. Hassan Essa Jama as Vice-President by both the SNM Central Committee and the Conference. Putting behind them the long period of dictatorship and near-genocidal war of the 1980s, the Somaliland people than started concentrating on their efforts of building peace through grassroots initiatives which started even before the May 1991 Grand Conference, and then moved on to rebuilding state institutions.

Borama Conference on 1993 was finally settled and constitution was agreed by all Somaliland communities from Sool to Awdal regions. This conference established political consensus and power-sharing arrangements that provided the foundations for new state structures. There was also a strong desire, as later expressed strongly in the preamble to the new Somaliland Constitution, to break away from the past injustices and tyranny.

Somaliland independence is public decision and neither Vice President nor President or any other political party can hijack the public into another dark unity with Italian Somalia. On 18th May 1991, the people of Somaliland primarily decided to recreate the lost nation of Republic of Somaliland and during 2001 Referendum; they reassured to the world that Somaliland independence is public but not political.

The recent speech of Somaliland Vice President Ahmed Yasin was misread by the opposition parties in Somaliland for political gains, the Vice President meant that Somaliland government will not impose restrictions on business, trade and immigration between Somaliland and Somalia. But there is no way, that Yasin can consider uniting the failed Somalia again.

The recent statement of Somaliland Vice President Ahmed Yasin, say "Somali speaking people need each other" was misinterpreted by media and politicians, to achieve political gains in this hot political season where the presidential election is in less than two months – 29th March 2009.

Somalia websites circulated the speech along with Somaliland opposition parties, for political again in the upcoming elections against the ruling party UDUB. This is signs of healthy democracy, where free competition is the backbone of all time. UCID and Kulmiye opposition parties, criticized the statement and demanded the resignation of the Vice President Ahmed Yasin, and asked the President of Somaliland Dahir Riyale to disown the statement of his deputy.

Somaliland had history of stamping out politicians who call for unity with Italian Somalia. In 1993, former President of Somaliland and Former Chairman of Somali National Movement (SNM) Abdurrahman Ahmed Ali joined federal Somalia government led by General Mohamed Farah Aideed, and later he was deported from Somaliland. Former Ministers of Somaliland like Ismail Buubaa and Jamac Yare have no access to Somaliland cities. Every person who wants to join these illegitimate leaders in Mogadishu should pack up his belongings before the decision, else will rest in Prison like Tuur.

The current stability, economic development and excellent education system in the country is result of public demands, who worked hard with the government to achieve what Somaliland is today. Every tribe laid down their weapons for the sake of creating stable and strong Somaliland, and supported late former president Mohamed I. Egal. The Vice President Yasin corrected his statement, and accused the media for misinterpreting him.


Toxins from Tanneries Could Endanger Da’ar Budhuq Residents

http://saaxil.net/ Feb 14, 2009

The town of Darar-Budhuq, which is situated on the Hargeysa-Berbera road, which is aslo the administrative seat of the new Las Geel District (named after the site of the ancient cave paintings, situated 50km northeast of Hargeysa) is becoming the site of two new tanneries – one of them owned by a Chinese firm and the other by local company. The two factories which are now under construction were sited on either side of the seasonal watercourse which is vital for Dacar-Budhuq community as well as many settlements downstream.

The water course empties its seasonal water into the Gulf of Aden. Both factories are on the upstream end and are not very far from the village water source (actually one of them is approximately 100m away from the town’s only protected well). Both buildings are on the sloppy banks of the watercourse which could increase the risk of water contamination. Dacar Budhug has the potential of becoming a major town.

The population of the town dramatically increases during the Summer when it becomes a major hosting place for many families escaping the hot and unbearable weather of Berbera.

These recent developments in Dacar Budhuq are now a major subject of discussion and a good cause for worry for the residents of the town. While many of them see this as a golden opportunity which could lead to employment creation and overall development of their town, others are worried about the acute pollution problems caused by tannery waste that can pollute ground water, and thus impacting the residents’ health and affecting livestock health as well as the area’s agricultural potential.

Tanneries discharge waste. The effluents when discharged to neighboring surface water deteriorate the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the receiving body (water). Organic matter loads lead to rise of noxious odors and to depletion of the dissolved oxygen in water. Suspended solids cause turbidity and when settling onto the bottom of the water destroys living life.

Chemicals and toxic residues render the water unsafe for any domestic use and thus represent potential hazards to human health. Worldwide, international consumers and national governments are increasingly applying ever tighter demands on industry to treat wastewater and solid wastes according to international standards. Consequently industries face raising environmental costs to achieve increasingly tightening discharge consents.

This could be the reason why some industries discharge their industrial waste in a manner which contravenes international regulations. In our case, it is apparent that neither the high risks of waste from these tanneries have been discussed, nor an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was carried out.

Our institutions lack the expertise and the political will to deal with issues like this one. However, this gap could have been bridged by commissioning environmental engineering firms which could have issued an Environmental Health Check at the cost of these companies.

It is never too late, and the situation calls for a quick action aimed at controlling the imminent pollution which could definitely result from these tanneries. The risk can be greatly minimized by establishing effluent treatment plants and a strict monitoring programme.


Who might win Somaliland’s presidential election?

http://www.jamhuuriya.info/ Feb 14, 2009, by Abdirisak Ismail Esseþ

Somaliland’s presidential election is just around the corner as people are going to cast their votes to elect the president of the next five years.They are going to the polls to vote for a new president in less then 50 days remaining.So, Who is expected to win?

The next election will be the second presidential election since Somaliland seceded from the rest of Somalia on 18 may 1991 and proclaimed its independence status.It will be the second election since the introduction of multiparty democracy system.The last presidential election had taken place in 2003 and the incumbent president and UDUB chairman Dahir Riyale kahin has narrowly won with less than 80 votes.

The three candidates who are contesting in the upcoming presidential elections are Somaliland’s incumbent president and UDUB party chairman,Dahir Riyale Kahin,Ahmed Mahamed Siilaanyo,KULMIYE party chairman and and one of the longest serving leaders of SNM which was a resistance movement against dictator Siad Barre’s rule in late 1980’s,and Faysal ALi Warabe,a young returnee from diaspora and chairman of the first opposition party in somaliland UCID.

Rumours has it, that there will be a very hot contest between incumbent president Dahir Riyale Kahin and chairman of the biggest opposition party Ahmed Mahamed Siilaanyo.Whoever wins its predicted that the upcoming presidential elections would be a narrowest of margins and a hot contest as it happened in 2003 elections.

Many people believe(including me) that Kulmiye party will won in a landslide victory if the election becomes free,fair and transparent.

The government’s inability to tackle corruption,interference of electoral commission, lack of job opportunities,arrest of politicians,presidents ban of potential candidates from competing with him for the party nominations which resulted his UDUB party to split into two factions,the restriction of free media,the governments lack of accountability to its own people,the recent outburst of Somaliland vice president Ahmed Yusuf Yasin that union with Somalia is inevitable and there is no boundaries between them which shocked not only the ordinary people but also other prominent figures,politicians,members of parliament,together this and many other aspects might led KULMIYE party as a favourite for the upcoming presidential election.

In other side UCID party chairman has good chances of winning the upcoming elections as he is a charismatic politician who is known to deliver powerful, encouraging speeches.The chairman of UCID party travels frequently to spread Somalilands agenda to overseas countries to become a recognized independent country. A visionary, who hopes to transform Somaliland into a modern society.He is the only prominent leader who stays away from clanism by delivering messages that discourages people against clanism.

But his chances of winning the upcoming presidential elections is slender.

Abdirisak Ismail Esse, Islamabad,Pakistan.


Chaos In Somaliland’s Parliament as President Fails to Remove Chairman

Hargeisa, 15 February 2009 (Somalilandpress) — On Saturday supporters of President Rayale spearheaded a motion of ‘no confidence‘ against the chairman of Somaliland’s 82-seat upper house of parliament - known locally as the House of Guurti, by garnering enough votes from lawmakers.

Mr Saleban Mohamud Adan came under fire after refusing to extend the term of Rayale’s government who is facing a fierce battle in the coming up March 29th election against Mr. Ahmed Silanyo of Kulmiye party and Mr. Faisal Ali Warabe of UCID party.

However Mr. Saleban Mohamud Adan survived President Riyale’s efforts to remove the outspoken chairman after legislators backed down from proposing the motion to unseat him.

Under Somaliland constitution, a motion of two-thirds vote is required to remove the Guurti chairman.

“Where is the election?, voter registration?” Mr Saleban asked while addressing the 50 or so MPs that attended Saturday’s meeting. “The President and his Vice-president were elected for a term of five years, its now been seven years, this is the third time his term has been extended, it’s unacceptable, not this time, the election will be held on time,” he said as he continued.

Hundreds of people came out to show their support for the Chairman, some of them shouting “long life Saleban Nour” and greeted him cheerfully as he left the half under reconstruction parliament building after the Oct. 29 suicide bombings that killed upwards of 20 people in Hargeisa.

Saleban’s decision not to extend the term of Rayale’s government will receive support from the public as well as the two opposition parties and the international community. This will no doubt cast a shadow on Rayale and his administration’s confidence to win again - it’s clear they have no public assurance.

Somaliland which is not formally recognized has three political parties competing in the March 29th elections. It is the only Somali speaking nation to practice democracy where by the people go to the polls to cast their vote.

Somaliland voluntarily unified with Somalia in 1960, a union it deep regrets that has set back this young democracy. It widthdraw from the union and restored it’s constitution in 1991 after 40 years of mostly military and junta rule.

Attempt To Remove The Parliament Leader Falls Flat HARGEISA (Somalilandpress Feb 14, 2009) - A group of members of the Upper House of Parliament failed to pass a motion to change the law that allows removal of the leader of the House despite the leader’s repeated request for them to forward their motion. Nearly half of the group did not show up for today’s session, under Somaliland constitution a two-thirds vote is required to unseat the chairman. The leader of the Guurti, Mr. Suleiman M. Adam, nevertheless, asked them to come forward and present their motion. “Bring forward the motion,” Mr Saleban urged the lawmakers.

Mr. Muhumed Aw Ahmed who is believed to be spearheading this move, finally stood up and admitted that he is among the group who is behind this move and that they are not ready to propose this motion yet. Mr. Adam then, alluding to the alleged meetings that took place at the Presidential palace, started to speak about meetings that some members were attending in planning this motion to influence the Guurti.

He criticized the Presidency for its interference in the Guurti and stressed that the elections should be held on time. Mr Adam said “If elections are delayed, its the responsibility of [both chambers of] the Parliament to make a decision about the country’s leadership”.

Mr. Adam heaped criticism for a group called Interpeace for wanting to delay the election referring to rumors that it was behind promoting an idea to postpone the election date, he asked “who is Interpeace? When has this entity become a party of our leadership that makes decisions about the future of this country?”.

He stressed the Guurti’s support for the Election Commission and encouraged them to work diligently to hold the presidential elections on time.

He also criticized the large number of presidential security that had been assembled in the area the night before saying that his car was stopped late on Friday.

He unequivocally opposed any attempt to postpone the election date and stressed the elections must be held on time.

Mr. Adam also accused this group of serving the Executive Branch rather than representing the people. The leader of the group Muhumed Aw Ahmed, trying to dispel accusations from Mr. Adam, said they were advancing this motion because of the failures of the Guurti leadership. But Mr. Ahmed did not deny meeting President Riyale or working on his orders.

Mr. Adam also said the talk to change the law started more than two weeks ago. He added “The country has since been gripped by the talk of replacing the Guurti leadership since”. He said he asked them to forward their motion two weeks ago and they failed to do so just as they did fail to present it today, so he asked the Guurti to move forward and stop being held back by similar attempts from “groups like this” which he accused of acting like mercenaries for the the Executive Branch (the President).

A large crowd that has gathered outside the building in anticipating of the outcome, has erupted in cheers after learning that the attempt failed.


Somalia: Power struggle among Somaliland leaders

HARGEISA, Somalia Feb 14 (Garowe Online) - A power struggle among top leaders in Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland has added to growing apprehensions about the upcoming presidential election, Radio Garowe reports.

Mr. Dahir Riyale, Somaliland's leader, has been spearheading a weeks-long effort to dethrone the chairman of Somaliland's upper house of parliament, known as the House of Guurti, by garnering enough votes from lawmakers.

But Mr. Saleban Mohamud Adan, chairman of the 82-seat House of Guurti, survived President Riyale's efforts after legislators backpedaled from presenting a motion to unseat him.

Under the Somaliland constitution, a two-thirds vote is required to unseat the incumbent Guurti chairman.

Local sources in Hargeisa, Somaliland's capital, reported that 50 MPs attended Saturday's meeting where pro-Riyale MPs were expected to present a motion against the Guurti chairman.

"Bring forward the motion," Mr. Saleban urged the lawmakers, but no one stepped forward. The motion was closed and he then gave a long speech, addressing President Riyale, the election commission and the Somaliland public.

Hundreds of people gathered around Somaliland's parliament building, where security forces stood guard and construction continued after the building sustained damage from the Oct. 29 suicide bombings that killed upwards of 20 people in Hargeisa.

It is not clear when relations worsened between Mr. Riyale and Mr. Saleban, who were close allies in 2008 when Riyale supported measures to extend the term for Guurti MPs.

In return, the House of Guurti approved a one-year term extension for President Riyale's government, a development that stirred a constitutional crisis and was resolved after opposition parties agreed to a new election date.

Some reports said Mr. Riyale and Mr. Saleban disagreed about the way Mr. Riyale managed the ruling UDUB party's conference to appoint a presidential nominee, which angered some UDUB politicians by preventing them from becoming potential candidates.

Somaliland, located in northwestern Somalia, is slated to hold presidential elections on March 29.

The three presidential candidates – President Riyale of UDUB party, Mr. Ahmed Silanyo of Kulmiye party and Mr. Faisal Ali Warabe of UCID party – competed in the 2003 election.


Somaliland national guard successfully secured International waters

http://www.qarannews.com/Feb 12, 2009/by HAAN

Hargeisa (QRN) - The Somaliland National guard based in the city of Berbera apprehended 7 Somalia pirates from the Somali state of Puntland - the pirates were believed to be highly armed and were planning carrying out attacks in the Gulf of Aden through the red sea shipping lines.

The Somaliland national guard successfully halt their nasty operations, after the special Coast guard forces received a tip from the SL intelligence agency, the Puntland men have been followed for weeks before their arrests were made in Somaliland waters.

The SL police chief of Sahil region Col.Yacqub said they were carrying out more investigation and that the coast guards have seized a substantial cache of arms and equipment, including AK-47 assault rifles, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and other weapons.

This is the third time that Somaliland coast guards have successfully arrested pirates from Puntland and brought them in front of the court. It is possible that Somaliland has secret informer(s) within the piracy industry. In recent months, more than 14 countries have converged 20 warships on the gulf of Aden to fight Somali pirates and this has driven the pirates from their usual hot spots to other parts of the region - it is possible now they will try to attack ships in Somaliland, Djibouti and Eritrean coast.


Somaliland Official Says No US Residents Being Held as Terror Suspects

By Alisha Ryu, Nairobi/ http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-02-10-voa42.cfm/10 February 2009

Officials in the breakaway republic of Somaliland say reports it is holding more than a dozen U.S. residents as possible terrorist suspects are not true. The reports have fueled speculation that 20 Somali men who were living in the United States have been recruited by the radical al-Shabab group to destabilize Somaliland and other parts of Somalia. In an interview with VOA, Somaliland's Interior Minister Abdullahi Ismail Irro says airport security officials detained several Somali men late last month, after they had arrived on a flight from the southern Somali capital Mogadishu to the Somaliland capital Hargeisa.

The minister says two of them were arrested, suspected of trying to smuggle 10 small anti-aircraft missiles into Somaliland from central Somalia. But he says neither of the men was from the United States and they were released without charge.

"After investigation, after two or three days, the police released them," he said. "They came from Mogadishu, not from America."

Initial media reports from Somaliland said that 11 young men were detained at the airport and all of them were U.S. residents.

Several days later, local newspapers reported Somaliland security forces raided a house in Hargeisa and arrested four Somali men and a woman suspected of plotting a terrorist attack. The reports said the four men recently arrived from the United States.

Interior Minister Irro said he had no information about the raid and could not comment.

The Washington-based president of the Somaliland American Council, Rashid Nur, says he believes the Somaliland government is not revealing all it knows.

"As you have said, it is really difficult to get the true picture of who these people are and their identities. But from versions coming out of the government and from other people, some of these people are U.S. residents," said Nur. "There are also some Somalilanders who went to some of the regions in the south, received training, and came back."

The al-Shabab group, listed as a terrorist organization by the United States for having links to al-Qaida, led a two-year insurgency against Somalia's Ethiopia-backed interim government. It now controls much of southern and central Somalia.

The group is committed to implementing its strict version of Islamic law in Somalia and is vehemently opposed to Somaliland's growing closeness with Ethiopia and the West.

Western counterterrorism officials say they fear al-Shabab is running terrorist training camps in Somalia for recruits from the United States, Canada, Europe and Saudi Arabia. As many as 20 young Somali men who were living in the U.S. state of Minnesota are believed to have left for Somalia in the past 18 months.

One of those Somali-Americans blew himself up last October in one of five near-simultaneous suicide car bombings that killed more than 20 people in Somaliland and neighboring Puntland.

The al-Shabab operative suspected of planning the Somaliland bombings, Abdulfatah Abdullahi Gutaale, may also have been a U.S. resident. Interior Minister Irro says he fled Somaliland before the bombings and remains at large.


The Scheduling Of Somaliland Election.

http://www.qarannews.com/ 10 Feb,2009.

Without going into the full details of the laws regulating the timing of the elections, the National Elections Commission, in consultation with the national political parties and the donor nations that finance Somaliland elections, is the sole authority that recommends the exact timing of any election. Whether an election is moved forward, held on a previously agreed upon date, or rescheduled is the sole prerogative of our National Elections Commission.

The recommendation is then passed on to the House of Elders. This legislative chamber has the final say on the exact date. Once the Elders issue the final election writ, then the law is passed on the president for final signature. That being the case, the leaders of our national parties have no mandate to issue marching orders to the National Elections Commission. The inflammatory rhetoric in the media is counter productive; our politicians are bound to respect the laws of the land.

Before any date is set for this election, the certain hurdles should be cleared.

First and foremost, the three political parties, the National Elections Commission and European Union agency that finances our elections should sign a memorandum of understanding with the following stipulations:

1. The tabulations of the voter registration drive will go through the main Server;
2. All double/triple votes will be automatically discarded;
3. The number of purged votes from each region should be on the public record.

Without this agreement in place, there will never be a free and a fair election. Furthermore, the National Elections Commission has yet to submit their statement of expenses for the three months: November, December 2008, and January 2009. Without an audited statement of expenses, Interpeace will not release any funds for the presidential election. This election is a litmus test to our commitment to qualify for recognition. I hope our national political parties, the Commission, and the government do seriously understand the gravity and the magnitude of the issue.

Finally, a word of caution to the leaders of our political parties: Sooner or later, the election will be held. In the meantime, please be patient till the Commission submits it is regulation. Till then, no more threats and no blackmailing. The same thing applies to the die hard supporters of any party.

By Ahmed Ali Ibrahim Sabeyse


Somaliland: KULMIYE reassured Somaliland’s independence

Hargeisa, 10 Feb 2009 (Somaliland. Post)- “Why do our forces put their lives at risk in defending the eastern border if Somaliland’s borders with Somalia are not defined” asked Mr. Bihi, KULMIYE’s vice chairman, Somaliland Post reports,

Speaking to journalists, the first vice chairman of KULMIYE- Somaliland’s main opposition party-, Mr. Muse Bihi Abdi, has yesterday reassured the public confidence by stating that his party will ensure that Somaliland’s hard won independence will not be lost and that the borders with the neighbouring countries will be safely guarded.

Mr. Bihi was referring to a speech delivered by Somaliland’s vice president, Mr. Ahmed Yasin, on Sunday in which he said that Somaliland and Somalia can not be separated and that there is no border between them. In the speech, Mr. Yasin also stated that his government could work well with the new UN-backed Somali government, headed by Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

Mr. Yasin’s speech, which made a front-page story in most of the Somaliland newspapers and some foreign media outlets, has come as a shock to the public and to the opposition parties, opening all sorts of speculations about the government’s future intentions on the question of Somaliland’s sovereignty.

“Mr. Yasin’s statement constitutes a breach with the Somaliland constitution, that declares Somaliland as independent country”- Bihi told the press conference, calling the statement as “being reflective of the ruling party’s view only”.

In what was widely seen as a strong reminder to the ruling party, Mr. Bihi, “said ‘ the people of Somaliland suffered heavily both in life and in material during the union with Somalia and they won their freedom through a long armed struggle, which neither the vice president nor most of the members of his government had not been part of it”. Some regional analysts say the timing of the Vice President’s speech may indicate a change in thinking of the current Hargeisa government. They say the statement comes at a time when the newly elected president of Somalia, Sheikh Ahmed, is striking political deals with some of the factions opposed to his government. International observers have always seen Somaliland as the biggest challenge for any future Somali president to deal with.

Somalia’s new president, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, has previously led the Islamic Courts Union, which ruled parts of Somalia in 2006 before it was defeated by the Ethiopians.

Two years after the invasion and the guerrilla war it provoked, Somalia has now in many ways come in full circle. Islamist militias control the country’s capital and other key cities and the transitional government is trying to establish a foothold. But this time, Sheikh Ahmed is back as the leader of Somalia’s U.N.-backed transitional government .


Somaliland vice president says unity with Somalia is inevitable

http://www.somaliland.org/February 9th, 2009

In a surprise move, Somaliland’s vice president, Ahmed Yusuf Yasin, said yesterday that his government is ready to reunite with Somalia through a federal system.

Speaking at a farewell ceremony for the UDUB party Diaspora members who have come to Somaliland to attend the party’s convention, Mr Yaasin has, for the first time, disclosed his government’s approach towards the new Somali government formed recently in Djibouti.

He said Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the new Somalia president is a young and a moderate Islamist leader whom Somaliland can do business with’. ‘The politicians from 1960s who had been responsible for most of the today’s political crisis are gone, and Somalia has now new leadership’ added Yassin.

He said that those who believe that Somaliland and Somalia will not come together and that the border will remain closed for ever are wrong, adding that Somaliland and Somali people share a lot of common values and that no one can be stopped from going to Mogadishu. By far, this is the clearest gesture made by a serving Somaliland political leader towards unity with Somalia.

Somaliland joined voluntarily with Somalia on 1 July 1960 to form the Somali Republic and reasserted its independence at the fall of the Republic on 17 May 1991. This reassertion had been later confirmed in popular referendum in 2001. The Somaliland constitution states the independence of Somaliland as a sacrosanct.

Some political commentators described Mr. Yaasin’s statement as a radical shift in the current Somaliland government policy towards Somalia. Others pointed out that Yasin, a moderate Islamist himself, expects to have a leadership post in a future Islamist-run government in a federal Somalia. But in the short term, his remarks will surely have a negative impact on his party’s attempts to win the presidential election scheduled on 29 March 2009.


The Somaliland Parliament calls for an interim president

HARGEISA, Feb 6 (Somaliland.Org) – As the political squabbles within Somaliland’s ruling UDUB party worsens, Somaliland Parliament thinks the country needs an interim president, Somaliland. Org reports. Somaliland Parliament expresses concern about the Rayaale leadership and the negative influence it may have on the national security.

Speaking to the media, Said Elmi Rooble, the Home and Defence select committee chairman of Somaliland Parliament accuses President Rayaale of endangering Somaliland’s security. Mr. Rooble said that the president has consistently ignored to sign a presidential circular confirming the election date of 29 March 2009, as already agreed by the three political parties and the National Election Commission, casting doubts as to whether elections will take place. ‘This will jeopardise our hard won democracy and peace’- he warned.

He added that if the president fails to comply with this and his extended office term runs out, the Parliament would have to lead the nation and prepare the country for elections.

The select committee chairmen also asked President Dahir Rayaale to resolve the conflict that has borne out of the way he had managed his party’s convention. At the end of controversial UDUB party convention, Rayaale won uncontested nomination, refusing other candidates to compete with him for his party’s nomination for the coming election. This has led to a strong reaction from a rival UDUB group that is now in the process of conducting another convention.

‘If not solved, these matters are potentially dangerous to our national security and they could derail our infant democratic process’ Mr. Rooble told journalists. This is the strongest warning from the parliament so far to President’s reluctance in holding elections on time.

Rayaale’s terms of office ended on 15 April 2008 and were later extended till May 2009 on the condition that a presidential election takes place on 29 March 2009.


Somaliland’s ruling party faces worrying crisis, as presidential election date gets closer

Source: Somaliland.org, February 9th, 2009

HARGEISA, Somaliland Feb 5 (Somaliland.Org)- UDUB, Somaliland’s ruling party is in shambles, as a former senior UDUB Minister states that his party will not win the upcoming presidential election, Somaliland.Org reports.

The ruling party, already split into two factions ahead its major convention, has entered yet into another deeper crisis as the faction led by President Rayaale concluded their convention. The conference, which was reportedly attended as many as 700 delegates, has nominated President Rayaale as the party’s presidential candidate, while the other competitors were refused entry to the conference hall.

In a press conference, a prominent UDUB politician, and a former Home Minister, Mr. Ismail Aden Osman, said yesterday, that it is unlikely that his party will win the upcoming presidential election, scheduled on 29 March 2009, accusing President Rayaale of banning potential candidates from competing with him for the party nomination. He said ‘KULMIYE, Somaliland’s main opposition party, has wider public support and is better placed to win this election. ‘ I can’t see my party snatching a victory from KULMIYE, our party is high jacked by a few people and the public lost confidence in the president as a consequence, said Mr. Osman

In a statement at the conference, President Dahir Rayaale has spoken about the country’s past history and the achievement of the former Somaliland leaders and stated that his government will not tolerate anyone who attempts to endanger the security and the existence of Somaliland. ‘We know there are elements within us who constantly undermine our efforts, read the statement.

However, critics pointed out that the president’s speech lacks new policy initiatives and does not show future ambitions for the nation, adding that the statement was full of attacks directed at the other UDUB faction and the opposition parties.

Independent media was banned from the conference as well as some UDUB politicians who were deemed to be opposed to Rayaale’s nomination as well as those who would stand for the nomination to compete with Mr. Rayaale.

A rival conference led by the leader of the other UDUB faction, Mr. Abdillahi Iman ‘Darawal’ is still going on at the Deeq Alla Hotel, a few meters way from the President’s office. It is expected that this conference will also produce presidential candidates for UDUB party. Opposition leaders and international stakeholders fear that the ruling party’s deepening internal crisis may impact on the election timetable and the national security.


The Life Conditions of Somaliland Youth

by Farxan Oday from University of Hargeisa

2009-02-08 (Hadhwanaagnews)

"Youth are like young plants, they need to be cared for, if you take good care of your plants, you will have strong plants and a good harvest. It is the same with youth, if you look after them”.

The cities of the world are often regarded as hubs of wealth and privilege, but they are also home to hundreds of millions of people for whom unemployment and poverty are daily realities. Growth and development have brought millions of jobs and higher living standards to billions of men and women. Yet, it is not a wealth which every one enjoys. In Somaliland thousands of people live each day in object poverty and nastiness. Children are hungry, they cannot read or write. They are needlessly ill. With no chance of education or safe health care. Young peoples dreams shattered by the joblessness and graduates spent a good time of their life in the cafes with little to do, there tribalism, futile stories is the order of the day. We Soamlilanders, as young people, as student and as leaders of tomorrow lack of courage of our society, our government and our educators. Low rates of literacy and lack of resource centers characterized our lives and makes us hopelessness.

We live in a world were nations spend as much as the entire income of all to their youth. While in Somaliland the problem of youth unemployment is more complex than in some other parts in the continent. A complex mix of factors contributes to Somaliland’s unemployment figures, it includes an increasing number of young graduates in the high schools and a university adds to the pool of job seekers every year, worsening the situation. Slow growing economies are unable to generate enough job opportunities to absorb the young people qualifying from institutions of learning every year. Young graduates of men and women are roaming the streets of Hargeisa with nothing to do, observing the country and waiting a chance of employment.

Another problem is the moving rural young people to the major towns in the country. With little access to education, health, economic and job opportunity resulted that young rural willfully decide to move to the big towns in the hope of greater chances for employment, as well as more exciting life, causing urban drift and also fuel unemployment in the country.

Having a job provides a person not only with a source of income but also a basis for dignity and self respect. To be leaders in the context of their families and in the broader community, young Somali Landers need to find a decent job. How ever, young Somali Landers have a hard time in Somaliland job markets and affected by poor employment prospects. stagnant or slothful economies that are not growing fast enough to produce jobs for growing population forced many young men and women to migrate in Libya their way to Europe in order to search better life and job opportunity. Sadly, Somaliland youth have lose the hope of finding a decent job and this compelled them to cross dangerous path and waters to better pastures, with all too tragic consequences.

In the long risk journey some of them died in the way, while others arrested due to unaware of the political, legal, social and economic consequences involving in moving one country to another. In Hargeisa youth are asking their selves the question of where do I go from here? What do graduates do? The answer is, I need money to go to Europe and America ….. The land of plenty. Europe and America still echoes in the minds of many Somaliland generation and they believe life is there is bed of roses. We Somaliland generation of today miss out on a good quality of education and access to jobs. We have little hope in life; our future looks uncertain and our lives are characterized by hopelessness, tomorrow where shall we go?

A substantial focus to be placed on kick-starting Somaliland’s economies that have experienced at minimal growth in the last years. This will entail creating comprehensive, integrated and coherent macroeconomic view and employment policies that will benefit young people through job creation in the formal labor market.. Somaliland governments have not yet in corporate job creation plans in to their development frame work. And that is the only way to tackle job unemployment existing in our country.

Let us remember the wisdom says, “Youth are like young plants, they need to be cared for, if you take good care of your plants, you will have strong plants and a good harvest. It is the same with youth, if you look after them”.

Farhan Abdi Suleiman (oday) oday1999@yahoo.com, Hargeisa University


An independent, peaceful and Democratic Somaliland is the best way to sustain stability & development in the region says Amir Adan.

2009-02-08 (Hadhwanaagnews) An independent, peaceful and Democratic Somaliland is the best way to sustain stability & development in the region says Amir Adan, a young Swedish politician and Candidate for European Parliament for the Conservative Party Sweden.

Somalia is in total chaos, pirates prevalent in the sea and the country is in a civil war and violence. Chaos has been continuing since the Central Government collapsed for 18 years ago. Since that time Somalia had 16 peace conferences and the International Community are working hard to bring the different parties to come together and build peace, stability and good governance.

On 18 may 1991, Somaliland revoked the 1960 Act of Union with South Somalia, and declared Somaliland independent. Somaliland society and their leaders focused their limited resources and wisdom to build up Democratic Institutions through General Elections and sees today well organised compared to Somalia. There is free press, rule of law and respect for human rights. At the end of march 2009 there will be election for president. This is also another evidence of commitment and consolidation of the democratic way Somaliland have chosen. Somaliland is a model for a region that characterizes of violence and lack of democracy. It is very important that Somaliland people and their leaders continue their commitment and dedication to a nation building based on rule of law, freedom, democracy and market economy.

According to international experts Somaliland fulfils the criteria for recognition in accordance with International Law. Somaliland deserves to be rewarded by the International Community but the African Countries and especially the neighbour countries like Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti should pave the way. An independent, peaceful and Democratic Somaliland is the best way to sustain stability in region.

The African Union and the International Community should act upon the realities of the ground. What is needed here is a leadership among the African leaders and International Community. We have to stand up and defend the universal values, like freedom, self determination and democracy. I think time has come for the African leaders to wake up and show their courage and leadership. It is a time for change.

The Swedish Government lead by Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt (Conservative Party) took a courageous and pragmatic decision 15 february 2007. The Swedish government decided to “See Somaliland as a self governing entity when it comes to development co-operation”. This is an important step and the Swedish government should be praised for that. Somaliland aspiration is to be a recognised independent nation. Therefore the Swedish Government should carefully consider recognising Somaliland in the near future. I will raise the question and put Somaliland recognition on the Agenda in Sweden and at the European parliament.

Amir Adan, Stockholm University


Somaliland ruling party divides over candidate nominations

Hargeisa, Somaliland, Feb 06.09 (xogtamaanta.com) -- Somaliland’s ruling party UDUB has embroiled in a nasty and politically self-destructive quarrel that exposed the intramural UDUB divisions and the bitterness that tainted the party’s convention in Hargeisa.

The UDUB convention was said it would last three days, but with hasty crowning of president Riyaale and his vice, as the unchallenged UDUB candidates for the upcoming presidential elections turned the convention into two days of showdown for president Riyaale, his vice, Ahmed Yusuf Yassin, and their cronies.

The convention held at one of Hargeisa’s prestigious banquet halls – at Maansoor hotel was staged as a coalescing event for Riyaale for his bid to run for the second term, but influential party members and heavy weight elites barred competing with president Riyaale were left outside and deprived both their constitutional and party member rights, are calling it illegal the way the convention and nominations were conducted.

Ismail Adan Osman, the former interior minister is one of the four men wanted to contest with president Riyaale at the party convention, and was the only entrant managed to attend the convention, but not allowed to challenge the staged convention that declared president Riyaale and his vice as the UDUB’s only candidates.

“What happened at the convention and the declaration of president Riyaale as uncontested candidate is fallacy and unacceptable,” said Ismail Osman, who was speaking after he walked out the convention when he was stopped to challenge a notion prepared by the chairing committee which proposed to amend the UDUB constitution in favor of president Riyaale and his vice as the only candidate for the UDUB party.

Abdillahi Iman Dirawal, a former health minister and two other contestants, who also wanted to contest with Riyaale, but denied to attend the convention and to contest, called the nomination of president Riyaale as ‘null and void’ and vowed that they will continue to challenge the candidacy of president Riyaale and his vice.

“If Riyaale thinks we will abandon the UDUB party for him, we want him to know that we are staying and will challenge him within the rule of law” said Abdillahi Dirawal who was speaking at a mini convention they held simultaneously with the convention they were barred to participate on Wednesday.

‘The hijack of the convention by Riyaale is the discernible actions that president Riyaale is not the same guy that the people elected in the last elections -- he has changed and he is now someone else,” said Ismail Osman, the former right-hand man of Riyaale who is adamant for not accepting the way Riyaale was nominated.

The UDUB convention and the hasty nomination of president Riyaale have revealed the rift and the division the UDUB party and its elites endured, and it will make difficult for most UDUB members to rally around the declared candidates without compromise between the two camps.

The division of UDUB is also a sign of self-defeat in the next elections which three parties, including UDUB will contest in hotly worried presidential elections that each party can not afford to lose.


81 Yemenis deported from NW Somalia for illegal fishing

HARGEISA, Somalia, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in the self-declared republic of Somaliland in northwest Somalia said 81 Yemenis were fined and deported to their home country for fishing illegally in the southern port town of Berbera, officials said Friday.

The fishermen, captured by the local coastal guards last week with six fishing boats, were found guilty of illegal fishing by a regional court in the eastern Saahil Province, Abdalla Mohamed Ali, Mayor of Berbera, the provincial capital of Saahil, told Xinhua by phone from the coastal town.

Ali said the court fined the men but he did not elaborate the amount, adding that the fishermen were deported to their home country of Yemen in accordance with the court's ruling.

The mayor said Somaliland coastal guards apprehend the six illegal fishing boats and their crews of 81 fishermen who were "involved in illegal fishing within the territorial waters of Somaliland, around Berbera town".

Colonel Osman Jabril Hagar, Commander of the Somaliland Coastal Guards, said his forces doubled their efforts to combat illegal fishing in Somaliland waters and to fight piracy that has plagued the Gulf of Aden to the north of Somalia.

A number of other foreign illegal fishing boats, mostly from Yemen, were previously apprehend by Somaliland coastal guards and were deported after being found guilty.

Somaliland, which unilaterally declared its independence from rest of Somalia after the collapse of the Somali government in 1991, has not received international recognition. However, the region enjoys relative stability, has its own government, flag, police and military forces and currency.


The Threat of Rattle Snakes in the Coastal Awdal region of Somalia.

http://www.readngo.org/ Feb 6,09.

According to the U.S. army field survival manual, venomous snakes use their venom to secure food; however, they also use it for self-defense. “Human accidents occur when you don't see or hear the snake, when you step on them, or when you walk too close to them. Snakes are found in all tropical, subtropical, and most temperate regions. Some species of snakes have specialized glands that contain toxic venom and long hollow fangs to inject their venom. No single characteristic distinguishes a poisonous snake from a harmless one except the presence of poison fangs and glands. Only in dead specimens can you determine the presence of these fangs and glands without danger”.

Some of the highly dangerous snakes with powerful neurotoxic venom that affects the nervous system, causing respiratory paralysis are found in Somalia, particularly in the coastal and mountainous regions where the population is mostly nomads.

For centuries these vipers have claimed the lost of lives and limbs and human fatalities in this area. Hundreds of nomadic populations in Somalia are daily victims of snake bites (known as Abeeso by the locals), which results an immediate death, neurological effect and sometimes disfigurement or damage to limbs. The attack by these deadly snakes is much more potent at night when nomadic or rural areas people are traveling or even while asleep on the ground inside their homes. Very seldom do these nomads use proper shoes to protect themselves from these deadly snakes and it becomes more dangerous at night, especially in the absence of hospitals, lack of available medicine and health professionals in the immediate areas. And many people are dying under these unfortunate and helpless circumstances. Many families have been affected by the sudden loss of love ones and the whole communities in these regions have been terrorized by these deadly snakes, especially when these people have to perform their routine nightly functions, whether traveling or at home, without light. Unfortunately, in the nomadic lifestyle people are defenseless and have no way of saving their lives from the deadly venom, both neurotoxic and hemotoxic, which attacks their important organs, especially the nerves, blood cells and circulatory systems and causing internal hemorrhaging.

We are desperately appealing to the world to save the lives of these vulnerable communities. All expert suggestions, safety guidelines, medicine and material supports are appreciated.

We are also encouraging people in the area to use the guidelines posted in this website to help them minimize the risk of getting bitten by these deadly snakes (Abeeso).

Ali Ibrahim Bahar, PhD.


Somaliland leader 'wins' party nomination, critics disprove

HARGEISA, Somalia Feb 4 2009(Garowe Online) - The president of Somalia's separatist region of Somaliland has won the ruling party's nomination to run for president on March 29, but some party insiders have condemned the process, Radio Garowe reports.

President Dahir Riyale and Vice-President Ahmed Yusuf Yasin were present at Hotel Mansor in Hargeisa, the regional capital, where hundreds of congregants gathered for the UDUB party convention to nominate candidates for the upcoming election.

Mr. Riyale and Mr. Yasin won an uncontested nomination, drawing loud disagreement from critics inside UDUB party, including ex-interior minister Ismail Adan Osman, who stormed out of the building.

Somaliland media reported that he later accused President Riyale of "hijacking" the conference and "quieting voices" within the ruling party.

Meanwhile, a group of UDUB dissidents led by ex-health minister Abdullahi Hussein Darawal told a Wednesday press conference at Hargeisa's Imperial Hotel that the government is "exerting pressure" on hotel owners to discourage them from hosting a rival UDUB conference.

Darawal leads a faction that wants to hold a competitive political race within the UDUB party to win the party's nomination.

The two opposition parties with seats in the Somaliland parliament – Kulmiye and UCID – forwarded party leaders Ahmed Silanyo and Faisal Ali Warabe, respectively, as presidential candidates.

The candidate list for the March 29 election is similar to the 2003 election, whereby Riyale defeated Silanyo by a small margin and Warabe was a distant third.

This time around, Mr. Silanyo and his Kulmiye party are favored to win as the party of change after nearly six years of corruption and favoritism under Riyale.


Security tight in Hargeisa as UDUB holds rival conferences

HARGEISA, Somalia Feb 3 2009 (Garowe Online) - The ruling party in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland split into two camps Tuesday, holding rival conferences to nominate the UDUB party's official presidential candidate, Radio Garowe reports.

The larger UDUB convention was held at Hotel Mansoor and attended by upwards of 1,000 people, including government officials, civic leaders and Diaspora supporters.

Somaliland President Dahir Riyale gave a long speech at the opening day, describing the region's past and future ambitions and sending a clear warning to "people who endanger the security and survival of Somaliland."

Independent sources reported that security forces banned journalists and certain politicians from entering Hotel Mansoor, including a government official who recently resigned and announced his candidacy for the UDUB party nomination.

Adan Rush, who resigned Feb 1 as state minister for public works, is a long-time UDUB loyalist but was targeted by security forces because his candidacy is a challenge to President Riyale, the sources added.

A rival conference led by UDUB presidential candidates opened up at Hotel Deeq Alla, described as a relatively unknown locale for political conferences.

Somaliland authorities had reportedly pressured the owners of major hotels in Hargeisa against renting to UDUB dissidents, led by ex-Somaliland health minister Abdullahi Darawal.

The second conference was welcome to reporters, but tensions grew after Somaliland security forces began patrolling nearby streets.

Mr. Darawal, and other dissident leaders like Mohamed Jowhari, gave fiery speeches and did not seem to be bothered by the soldiers and armed trucks around the hotel.

"We do no have guns, but we have democracy. We oppose the party [UDUB] that belonged to everyone being controlled by a few people," Darawal said.

Another UDUB presidential candidate, Mr. Jowhari, said the conference is open as promised and announced a seven-member committee that would steer the conference agenda in the coming days.

President Riyale, who is up for re-election on March 29, has been increasingly challenged from within the ruling UDUB party in recent months.

Some party loyalists want UDUB to present a new candidate for president, while Riyale and his supporters want the Somaliland leader to return and compete against opposition party candidates Ahmed Silanyo and Faisal Ali Warabe.

Somaliland, located in northwestern Somalia, declared independence 18 years ago and has established its own government, currency and flag.

The separatist republic is not recognized internationally but has been relatively stable over the past decade.

The upcoming election is a major test for Somaliland's democratic progress, which was tarnished last year when President Riyale unconstitutionally extended his term by another year.


BCIMR Opens First Commercial Bank in Somaliland

Hargeisa, 4 February 09 (Somalilandpress) - The Banque pour le Commerce et l’Industrie - Mer Rouge (BCI-MR), the partly-owned subsidiary of French bank BNP Paribas, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday in Hargeisa to officially open the first commercial bank ever in Somaliland.

It is the first bank to open in Somaliland and is expected to boost Somaliland banking services and connect the unrecognized republic to the global market. It will also create new jobs for the locals.

The bank will issue a letter of Credit (LC) to it’s clients that can be used for international trade for both import and export transactions.

Participants in the ceremony included Mr Thierry Choinier - France’s Ambassador to Djibouti, business executives, traders, traditional elderly, Parliamentarians, Central Bank officials, varies organisations from NGO’s and special guests.

BNCI-MR (Djibouti) Managing Director Mr Ould Amar Yahya said the Bank’s program of branch openings was a solid indication of its confidence in the region and today is the most respected bank in the Horn of Africa.

“BNCI-MR opened the first branch in Djibouti 1954 and has since opened over 71 branches world wide - today it’s the most respected bank in the Horn of Africa and has contributed greatly to the development of the Horn of Africa,” he said.

Banking in Djibouti and Somaliland

Somaliland Finance Minister, Hussein Ali Duale (Awil) - who was also present described the event as a milestone for his administration who he said took alot of efforts to make this possible and for Somaliland as a nation.

“The world economy heavy relies on financial institutions that lets them borrow capital and issue them LC without them all businesses are crippled,” he said while addressing the guests.

He added that anyone who wants to open a bank in Somaliland is welcome as long as they will meet the country’s standards and terms.

Banque pour le Commerce et l’Industrie - Mer Rouge - (BCIMR) - is the largest bank operating in Djibouti with a market share of 45%. It is a subsidiary of the French bank BNP Paribas, which owns 51% of the bank. The Government of Djibouti owns 33%, and a Yemeni bank owns the remaining 16%. Therefore it’s possible this bank will connect Somaliland to Djibouti, Yemen and the French market.


Somaliland: The illegal crackdown on the Press

Hargeisa, 4 Feb. (Somalilandpress) - We strongly condemn the illegal crackdown on the press by the Somaliland administration and police force, we wish to inform the world even though the Rayale administration claims to be democratic and respects the freedom of the press - the truth is far from that. The intermediation, torture, police brutality, imprisoning of the press must stop - they can not have every thing the way they want. We invite everyone to join us and condemn their actions.

It is lately a repeated habit that some security personnel use excessive force against the reporters from different media outlets in the country. The last action was that of today when the Somalilandpress reporter, Mr. Abdiqani Baynah was beaten by security soldiers at Maansoor hotel while he was trying to cover the news from the UDUB convention.

Abdiqani who is a well-known journalist in Hargeisa was trying to enter the hotel while some police members argued him about his identification then one of them moved towards him and slapped him on the face forcing him to leave the place with a little injury.

Some other reporters complain about the police acts against journalists in different occasions where some reporters were even jailed without any reason simply because they were going to cover a news, taking photos or doing a video tape for their respective Televisions.


Progressio leads observers for Somaliland elections

by OneWorld.net, Feb 02, 2009/http://www.progressio.org.uk/

Development agency Progressio has been chosen to coordinate a team of election observers from four continents during the forthcoming presidential elections in the internationally unrecognised Republic of Somaliland, currently scheduled for 29 March.

The invitation to conduct the mission, issued by the Somaliland National Electoral Commission, will see Progressio working in partnership with the Development Planning Unit at University College London (UCL), FOPAG (Forum for Peace and Governance) in Somaliland and Somaliland Focus UK.

The team will oversee organisation of the election observation team and will remain in Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa, following the vote to prepare a report on the conduct of the campaign and poll.

Somaliland is situated in Somalia’s northwest. It declared unilateral independence from the failed Somali state in 1991 and has since been a haven of relative peace whilst violence and instability has characterised Somalia, its capital Mogadishu and more recently the Gulf of Aden.

Progressio’s involvement in the mission follows its leadership of the international monitoring team for Somaliland’s inaugural parliamentary elections in 2005, judged by observers as “basically free and fair”.

Progressio has been working with local communities in Somaliland since 1995 by placing skilled workers with local organisations specialising in advocating for the rights of women, youth and people with disabilities as well as supporting basic health service provision and people living with HIV and AIDS. Progressio also actively supports progress towards democratisation and stabilising the country.

Commenting on the announcement of the mission, Dr Steve Kibble, Progressio’s Advocacy Coordinator for Africa said: “Following a successful mission in 2005, we are pleased to be supporting the people of Somaliland once more. Election observation is an integral part of ensuring that democracy prevails in this fragile corner of Africa. Progressio is delighted to be working with UCL, FOPAG and Somaliland Focus UK on this project.”

Notes to editors:

1. The Republic of Somaliland is an internationally unrecognised country in northwest Somalia that declared independence in 1991. Since then, it has sought to chart a path away from violent conflict to a competitive and democratic political system. The parliamentary elections in 2005 were the first of their kind to be held in the Somali region since 1969.

2. The presidential election is scheduled for 29 March 2009, although a delay is considered likely.

3. Limited funding for the election observer coordination team is to be provided by the Government of the United Kingdom. Use of this funding is limited to core logistics, including in-country costs and security; observers will be expected to raise their own funding for travel to and from Hargeisa and accommodation in Somaliland.

4. Progressio is an international organisation working for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty. It has been leading the way on practical international development issues for more than 40 years and currently has more than 90 development workers based in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

5. Progressio is the new name for the Catholic Institute for International Relations. To find out more visit www.progressio.org.uk This message (and any associated files) is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is confidential, subject to copyright or constitutes a trade secret. If you are not the intended recipient you are hereby notified that any dissemination, copying or distribution of this message, or files associated with this message, is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please notify us immediately by replying to the message and deleting it from your computer. Messages sent to and from us may be monitored.


Somalia: Somaliland election commission chairman resigns

HARGEISA, Somalia Feb 1 (Garowe Online) - The chairman of an election commission resigned Sunday in Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland, raising concerns of a delay in the upcoming presidential election, Radio Garowe reports.

Mr. Mohamed Ismail "Kaboweyne" told a press conference the regional capital Hargeisa that he resigned after "some political parties" said they had no confidence in the election commission.

"We [election commission] were judging a match, but the match is not possible if all sides don't think we are neutral," Mr. Kaboweyne said, although he did not name which political party complained.

Recent comments attributed to UCID opposition party's presidential candidate, Mr. Faisal Ali Warabe, threw into question how much confidence he had in the election commission.

But Mr. Kaboweyne defended his record as chairman, saying that the election commission oversaw the voter-registration process ahead of the March 29 presidential election.

He becomes the second official to resign from the election commission, after a deputy chairman resigned last year, our correspondent reports.

It is not clear what impact the election commission chairman's suprise resignation will have on the upcoming election.

Current President Dahir Riyale is widely accused of violating the region's laws and illegally extending his term by an additional year in 2008, a development that postponed the original election date and damaged Somaliland's democratic record.


British Prime Minister Gordon Brown congratulates Somaliland as it still strives for International Recognition

Jan 29 2009 (Somaliland Net) - Somaliland was a British protectorate until 1960 when it gained its independence. Then they joined together with greater Somalia without any conditions or written documents.

In May of 1991 they broke free of Somalia when the Somalia government collapsed. Since then Somaliland has worked hard to achieve international recognition. To some it may seem as if they have failed miserably. Somaliland still remains anl unrecognized by the international community.

However, Somaliland has managed to grab the attention of many of the world leaders. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has recently sent an official letter to Somaliland President Dahir Rayale Kahin congratulating the president on his leadership and for thethe fresh democracy in Somaliland.

An insider at the Somaliland presidential palace has said that the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has sent this letter to the President Dahir Rayale Kahin through the British Ambassador to Ethiopia. The insider added that in his letter to the President, Mr. Brown condemned the Hargeysa terrorist attacks on October 29th 2008 by the Al-Shabab terrorist. The bombing had claimed the lives of more than 20 people

In his letter, Mr. Brown went on to say that he hoped Somaliland would prosper and continue the development of its democratic instiutions.

While Somaliland has a functioning government, Somalia has not had an effective national government since 1991, because of the various militias have been battling for control of Somalia. The most recent incident involved Ethiopia who was forced to withdraw their troops last month.

There are many leaders around the world who feel that an independent Somaliland would act as a force of stability in the horn of Africa. World leaders are waiting on the African Union to decide on Somaliland s independence. However the African Union does not approve of the rearranging of borders without an agreement. The African Union is afraid of the confusion that would come out of rearranging borders. At this time Somalia is not willing to give up Somaliland as an independent country.

Somaliland may have the sympathy of the world leaders, but without an agreement from Somalia to sway the African Union, it would seem they might never have their dream fulfilled. However, the Somalilanders will never give up trying to do what they can to become an independent country, which is recognized by the rest of the world. So, as Somaliland continues to strive towards recognition by the world as a sovereign state, the leaders of the world will have to sit and wait.


If money makes the world go round, Dahabshiil CEO Abdirashid Duale makes sure it goes to the right people.

by Paul Trustfull, Forbes Magazine. Jan 29, 2009

New York, 29 Jan (Somalilandpress) - While the world is going to hell in a handbag, money still makes the world go round. And even as the financial crisis bites a hole in our hands, the amount of daily transfers evidently show that there are plenty of people who dig deep enough to spend or share some. For most of us this transaction requires little effort, just an internet connection and a bankcard will do the trick. But what about the people in more remote areas, in which online banking has not yet become a household term? These people often rely on money transfer services, if that service is available. Dahabshiil, the Horn of Africa’s largest money transfer services company, was born from the ashes of Somalia’s civil war, when Somalian migrants needed to send money back home to help those left in its aftermath. Although the company has been a successful enterprise since its beginnings in the early 70s, CEO Abdirashid Duale has not lost sight of why the company was originated in the first place. Duale knows, as no other, that with big money comes big responsibility.

Today the Somalia region boasts some of the most advanced and cost competitive telecommunications and internet services in the world and certainly they exceed those of anywhere else in Africa. The majority of Somalian people in rural areas do not have access to the internet. If, however they should need to, they are able to do so by simply contacting a relation in town. Even the smallest towns now have internet access. Dahabshiil is investing in state-of-the-art technologies to provide both 24 hour online transfers and SMS notification to its customers and uses technology to guarantee security and exceed standards of compliance with inter national protocols and procedures aimed at combating terrorism, money laundering and other illegal usage.


11 US Residents Captured in Somaliland - Smuggling Anti-Aircraft Missiles:

http://www.somaliweyn.org/29 January 2009

The Somaliland government arrested 11 US residents who were smuggling Anti-Aircraft Missiles into Hargeisa. According to source from Somaliland government these 11 people have allegedly received training from Al-Shabaab in the use of these weapons. The Somaliland government has information that indicates these weapons were originated from Eritrea and transported to Galgudud region in Somalia, where the accused received training from Al-Shabaab.

Somaliland American Council has previously called on Somaliland-Americans on December 12, 2008 to help United States authorities by reporting any suspecious information about these people. There are reports that indicate that Somali-Americans who practice conservative Islam has weekly conference calls presumably for educational purpose; where Al-Shabaab is invited as guest-speakers from Somalia, during these conference calls Al-Shabaab uses the opportunity for recruiting by making appeals to the faith and patriotic emotions of the Somali-youth to fight Ethiopia and its friends in the Horn of Africa - Somaliland is considered a friend of Ethiopia and the West.

On October 29, 2008; there have been three simultaneous car-suicide attacks on Somaliland; at the Presidential Palace, at the UNDP building, and the Ethiopian Embassy. Thirty innocent people have lost their lives. The six men who committed the terrorist attacks on Oct 29 were US residents who left the United States and joined Al-Shabaab to attack Somaliland. In this report today another 11 US residents have been arrested by the Somaliland government alleggedly for smuggling Anti-Aircraft Missiles into Hargeisa.

Somaliland American Council (SAC) is concerned about the fact that Al-Shabaab is waging consistent attacks on Somaliland; which are becoming more dangerous and more lethal attacks, the fact that US residents or Somali-American are carrying out these attacks, and Somaliland is distracted by the upcoming Presidential elections on 3/29/09.

SAC is calling on all Somaliland-Americans to help Somaliland by fighting Al-Shabaab in the United States. We must form close relationships with the US authorities to deny Al-Shabaab an opportunity to attack United States and Somaliland. We believe today it is Somaliland and tomorrow it will be the United States; unless we stop them now, we must do this as US citizens to protect the United States and help stop these attacks on Somaliland.

Somaliland American Council, http://www.somalilandamerican.com/ contact@somalilandamerican.com


Kulmiye Has failed both its Suppoters and Somaliland

Saylac.com, Jan,29,2009/Mohamed Mousa(Ottawa)

Otawa -The core philosophy of Kulmiye Party is “strengthening peace and unity of the people and interconnecting together all regions of the country”. This philosophy is one of the basic principles of the party. Has this principle been worked?

Kulmiye party was once in a position to lead the nation to independence and prosperity but no more. The disunity among the party leaders has become an instrument of self destruction so powerful that lead to the disarray and confusion of party creators. The competition for party leadership has become a catalyst to the collapse of the party from within. The old party leaders have lost a lot of their credibility and looking for something new and clean.

Silanyo`s obstinacy, his obsession of his educational and work experience, his love of power, and indecision has overshadowed his vision and his struggle for Somaliland Independence. Think of the Old Kulmiye Party and where it is today. Where are Silanyo’s old colleagues and his comrades? They are all in confusion state and wondering the earth quake taken over them. Silanyo has forgotten his party’s core philosophy and caused the loss of the credibility of the party as well as his. Instead of building the unity among party members and regions, he has chosen the old fashioned politics of divide and rule based on his ill-conceived ideas from his old boss: Syad Barre. Silanyo has been blinded and deafened by his obsession of his work and educational experience and also his selfishness and love of power. All his deeds indicate that he is working against the wish of the people of Somaliland – Sovereignty. The turmoil he caused in the party has caused his comrades and many supporters to leave the party. The present crisis in the party gives us the best shot we have ever had of doing something about this, because it is not a healthy characteristic of Somaliland politics.

Since the opening of the candidacy of the VP and chairspersons in the party hierarchy, various clans have been fighting for the positions. Political parties in general are expected to be able to accommodate the will of the citizen for more effective rules and peaceful political conditions. This is the most fundamental task of a political party. In order to perform that political role, political parties are required to carry out recruitment process to find out candidates for party positions. The success of the recruitment process will determine the fate of the party. By this argument, it is an obligation for the political party to carry out strict selection process for the candidates. This is a task to be done by the party leaders. However, recent events show the failure of Kulmiye Party in performing its basic function. One of the negative impacts is the political climate that is packed with competition among the candidates. As a result, Kulmiye Party ignored the public interest. The recruitment process had no transparency.

On the other hand, the elected candidates seemed not to care enough whether they are suitable enough to become a candidate, and whether their presence have impaired the Party’s system. The impression seems that they only care about their personal interest. Sylanyo only perceives Kulmiye Party is his own personal mobilization, not as a vehicle to fight for the sake of public’s interest. The reality shows that Silanyo does not seem to care about the candidates’ qualities and credibilities.

Many supporters think Silanyo must be responsible for what has happened and would like some new blood and want to see new people to lead the party. New people and new democracy are in demand because of the diminished party support. Many supporters see a rare opportunity in all the misfortune; a chance to overhaul the party business. Those leaders, including Abdi Biihi, who are still lingering around Silanyo are warned to think of their political future and think otherwise before they are tainted more. There is no doubt there is some room in the other parties for the disgruntled members to join and the other parties would like to benefit from the misfortunes of Kulmiye Party. There are all indications many supporters are turning away from the party, all see as part of a leadership that failed to avoid Party’s worst political crisis. The timing of the misfortunes will cost the party the presidential election and finally its existence.

It is important to perform the Kulmiye Party’s recruitment process since it holds an important part in establishing a more democratic party and also a more favourable political situation. Political parties are expected to set up their candidates through open and participatory recruitment process. This will open the possibility of regeneration for qualified candidates that have high credibility and dedication to fight for public’s interest. Besides, it is required to open the access for public to control the recruitment process.


Which Party Deserves Support in the Somaliland Presidential Election?

Seattle(Saylac.com, Jan,29,2009)-With the Somaliland Presidential Election coming up in March of this year, 2009, one should ask, “Which party should I support?” At this time there are three political parties in existence in Somaliland today. They are all preparing to compete in the coming election being held in March.

The first party is the Kulmiye party. Some believe the Kulmiye party is a bit tribal minded. With the party being so tribal minded it’s actions and thought are not based on any principle. Tribal minded people do not fight for principles; they fight for honor of the tribe. There is no real army with a tribal minded party only warriors. It is the belief of many of the Somaliland people that a tribal minded party is not capable of leading a nation because of the complexity of a multi-party political system. There are doubts that the party can make decision based on the good of all the nationals and not just for the good of their tribal. Some would say “NO” to the Kulmiye Party.

The second party is the UDUB political party. This is the party that is in power of Somaliland at this time. It seems this party is riddled with corruption. By definition public corruption is the misuse of the public office for private gain, such as bribery, embezzlement, blackmail or extortion of government funds. There is a resolution to this problem. The only way to fix such a problem is to bring the corrupt officials to justice. However if the corruption extends to the courts, this could be more difficult. As caring citizens of Somaliland, it is best to demand change before you give the party your support.

UCID is the third political party. This party is extremely un-organized. It is as if someone didn’t sleep the night before and still attempting to function in a very busy office. They have a tendency of starting projects and never see these projects through to the end before they start another project. The cycle goes on and on with none of their projects ever getting completed. Many believe this party needs to grow. At this time they do not have the experience necessary to lead a country. Given enough time they may be ready, but at this time they are not. You would be doing this country a grave disservice by supporting this political party.

These are the three political parties who will be vying for the position of President of Somaliland. Many may not agree with the opinions spoken here, but the fact remains, think long and hard before you make a choice as to the next party your vote places in power over this country. Your future depends on it.


Somaliland Doctors Address Health Issues

Hargeisa, 29 Jan. 09(Somalilandpress) - Somaliland Doctor’s Association held a free follow-up conference in Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa designed to provide information on health topics such as diabetes, cardiovascular and other major diseases. The meeting only consisted of health officials and doctors.

The Somaliland Health Minister, Mr. Abdi Haybe Mohamed - who opened the conference expressed optimism about the conference and thanked all the doctors who came to the conference to exchange information on variety of health issues impacting the country.

Mr Haybe said that his government is ready to help them with properties (facilities) and modern machines to manage these diseases and added that two new kidney dialysis machines were on their way to Somaliland.

“I would recommend that you meet once every few month to find out results, mistakes, new out breaks, improvements and things that are holding us back - it is also my pleasure to inform you that two new kidney dialysis machines are on their way and should be here within two months, this means our patients will no longer have to be taken to United Arab Emirates or Ethiopia for kidney treatment, I hope this conference is beneficial to everyone and learn from each others as doctors” Abdi said while addressing the medical staff.

The chairman of Somaliland Doctor’s Association, Dr Saleban Abdi Gule - promised that his team will “explore the issues arising from these and further gatherings - proposals, and delegates will be able to discuss ideas and learn from the experience.” He also said his team will look into ways to improve the health of the public.

He concluded that the conference will go for three days and they will discuss variety of issues and exchange information.

Somaliland which is not recognized by the international community receives little aid from the developed nations and continues to struggle in almost every aspect of life including health.

The doctors not only need to discuss finding major health problems, improving treatments and the function of technology in health but they also need to address other issues such as the low levels of public health literacy and communication between the physician and patient.


Somalia: Somaliland Cabinet approves anti-terror law

HARGEISA, Somalia Jan 29 (Garowe Online) - The Council of Ministers in Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland unanimously approved an anti-terror law Thursday, Radio Garowe reports.

Somaliland President Dahir Riyale chaired the extraordinary meeting, where Cabinet ministers debated the anti-terror law prepared by government officials.

Mr. Said Adani, the president's spokesman, told journalists in the regional capital Hargeisa that terrorist attacks have been on the increase over the past decade around the world, and noted suicide bombings that killed 20 people in Hargeisa last year.

"The [anti-terror] law is intended to bring to a court of law people who commit acts of terrorism," Mr. Adani said, adding that the Cabinet ministers unanimously approved the law after hours-long debate.

He said the Riyale administration will present the anti-terror law to the Somaliland Parliament for ratification as soon as possible.

Somaliland, located in Somalia's northwest, unilaterally declared independence in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.

The separatist republic has a functioning government, a unique flag and currency, and is slated to hold popular elections for a new president on March 29, 2009.


The question of Somalia and Somaliland

Makwaia wa KUHENGA, Tanzania Daily News; January 29, 2009

News about the former British protectorate of Somaliland which broke away from mainstream Somalia in 1991 with the ouster of the former military ruler, General Siad Barre, is scanty. One has to browse the Internet to find out what is happening.

I did this week. The news is that Somaliland will be holding Presidential Elections on March 29, this year, complete with competing voices in the country's polity which includes a fully-fledged Parliament, House of Elders and House of Representatives.

With a population of 3.5 million people, Somaliland has three major political parties. The last vote was taken in 2003 and the next vote which was due last year but delayed for some reason will now take place in March. In the last vote, Dahin Riyaale Kahin of the 'Unity, Democracy and Independence Party' won the vote. He is expected to stand again this year, challenged by a buoyant opposition.

A dispatch by Reuters I gleaned on the Internet says: "Somaliland hopes this year''s presidential elections will lead to international recognition of the northern Somali enclave as an independent country, according to officials. "The polls are seen by many as an acid test for the former British protectorate which broke away from Somalia in 1991 when the ouster of former dictator Siad Barre plunged the Horn of Africa into anarchy.

"Somaliland has enjoyed relative peace and prosperity and has held previous democratic elections, but analysts say it is not recognised globally because of concerns that rewriting colonial borders would open a Pandora's Box of other session claims."

Reuters quoted Somaliland's Chairman of the Electoral Commission as saying: "The election is a test for Somaliland's recognition bid."

So non-recognition of this obviously de facto state of Somaliland is most unfortunate given the reality of the fact that Somalia with its capital of Mogadishu in the south, as known and recognized by the international community is, to all intent and purposes; a failed state.

As we have noticed in the intervening period, Mogadishu's Somalia has no government to speak of. The Ethiopian-backed government has but collapsed, preceding which we have witnessed the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops.

The Taliban-like rebel forces, Al-Shabaab, are threatening to capture Mogadishu and impose a Taliban like fundamentalist regime. Coupled with this spectre has been the news of the emergence of Somali pirates on the loose in the high seas in the east coast of Africa. These pirates have become an international scourge demanding concerted international action.

So the question really is: If there is a de facto state of Somaliland in the north which has proved its efficacy as a sustainable state, why has the international community been hesitant to recognize it? Is the caution to avert a Pandora Box really meaningful?

Is it not true that an internationally recognized Somaliland state will be a stabilizing factor in the Horn of Africa rather than the whole area becoming a no man's land or a den of pirates?

These are the questions to be addressed especially by the African Union and the United Nations. And indeed they are the questions requiring the attention of the big boys of this unipolar world we live in these days.

Information made available to me by a Somaliland contact group in the United States -- Somaliland-American Council - has it that Somaliland government authorities have arrested 11 US residents who were caught smuggling Anti-aircraft missiles into Hargeisa, the capital city of Somaliland.

"The Somaliland government has information that indicates these weapons were originated from Eritrea and transported to Galgudud region in Somalia, where the arrested persons were being trained by the Al-Shabaab group now poised to overrun Mogadishu," says the Somaliland-American newsletter. According to the newsletter, Al-Shabaab Taliban-like rebel group has links to Somali Americans living in the United States.

So really, if Somaliland is not supported by offering it formal recognition by the powers that be including the United States and Britain - Somaliland former colonial power - the whole country from the South to the North and indeed the whole Horn of Africa will be engulfed into the flames of a senseless war and piracy eschewed in a bizarre ideology.

To my mind, the best option would be to support a de facto Somaliland state which has proved its sustainability as it has been able to run elected governments and democratic institutions as long as 1991. This will be a spur to the rest of the former unified republic to purge itself of piracy and gangsterism.


Somalia: Breakaway Somaliland distances itself from Djibouti peace process

BBC Monitoring Africa, January 28, 2009/Source: Garoweonline.com in English 27 Jan 09

The foreign minister of [the self-declared republic of] Somaliland [in northern Somalia], Mr Abdullahi Muhammad Duale, today held a press conference in Hargeysa and announced that Somaliland was not part of the ongoing peace talks in Djibouti.

He said the talks were for Somalis, but Somaliland is an independent country which is not part of Somalia. However he wished the Djibouti talks to be successful for the Somalis.

The minister has expressed his annoyance over comments made by UN special envoy to Somalia, Ahmad Ould Abdullah, who said that all Somalis including Somaliland and Puntland were required to work for peace.

"We are telling the UN envoy that we are an independent country and we have already said that and now we are repeating'' said Mr Duale.

Asked if there were people from Somaliland who were elected as new MPs representing the Somali opposition alliance according to the 4.5 clan [power sharing] formula, the minister said those members were not representing Somaliland.


The Media bias in Somaliland

http://www.saylac.com/By Mohamed Mousa.. Jan,28,2009

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “ Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion, and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.”

The Media channels which carry news from Hargeisa suppress the ideas of individuals other than what the publishers and editors like to hear or appeals to the interest of their clan and to their business affiliations. The newspapers, internet websites, the TV, and the Radio, are all dominated by interest groups. Jamhuuriya, Somaliandtimes, Somaliland.org, and Hatuf are run by partisan groups with political and economic ambitions.

Any person in Somaliland should have the freedom to express his/her ideas whilst freedom also should inexistence for anyone to express alternate ideas in response. I thought freedom of expression was engraved in Somaliland Constitution but unfortunately all media carriers in Hargeisa are dominated and controlled by people who are affiliated to the political parties which in turn have tribal agenda. Each newspaper in Somaliland represents a certain clan and a certain party. Newspapers suppress ideas contrary to their agenda. Opinions from Somali Intellectuals throughout the world are censored and ignored by the publishers of those newspapers. Opinions and articles send to them are not printed in those newspapers if the contents in those writings are not confined to the interest of that particular clan or party. Any criticism on Somaliland whether it is positive or negative is not entertained if it is contrary to the publishers agenda. Recently, I have sent an Educational article on whether Somaliland will be able to secede from Somalia and how much it takes to reach that goal to Jamhuuriya, Somalilandtimes, Somaliland.org, Hatuf. None of them have published that Article despite sending to their editors and webmasters. These newspapers and their websites are the main news carriers form Somaliland.

Likewise, websites are controlled by the interest of their webmasters. The webmasters are influenced by their clan’s political agenda and favour their politician’s motives. Those webmasters are the gatekeepers of their masters and are hostages to the interest of their clans. To those webmasters, censorship depends on simple cheap criteria: Is the opinion speaks to the agenda of the webmaster. It is their duty to defend the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and respect the person’s independent opinion. They suppress the most urgent needs in self expression and all forms of criticism and positive innocent ideas which help the Independence of Somaliland. Somaliland will not succeed in its search for recognition if we do not work together, respect each person’s opinion, and each clan’s rights and equal share in politics.


Election Heats Up in Somaliland

Africa News, January 21, 2009

Elections in Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland are heating up ahead of the March 29 vote, when the breakaway region's next president will be elected, Radio Garowe reports.

Somaliland President Dahir Riyale was recently accused by fellow members of the ruling UDUB party of "illegally" naming a committee to organize the party's upcoming conference to select a single nominee for the election.

Mr. Abdullahi Hussein Darawal, a former Somaliland health minister, held a press conference last week at Imperial Hotel in Hargeisa, the breakaway region's capital and Somalia's second-largest city.

"Riyale has used an authority he does not have by appointing an illegal committee, and [he] even made his deputy Ahmed Yusuf Yasin the chairman," said Mr.Darawal while referring to Somaliland's vice president.

Fellow UDUB member Ahmed Sandon Hassan, who held a joint press conference with Mr. Darawal, suggested that President Riyale is planning to "eliminate competition" within the ruling party. Both Darawal and Sandon are seeking UDUB's party nomination for the presidential election in March.

Skirmish

Fighting was reported early Wednesday morning in Awr-bogeys village, in disputed Sanaag region. Local sources reported that a gunfight erupted after Somaliland officials brought voter-registration materials to the village, with pro-Puntland native militia reportedly attacking a house where the Somaliland officials stayed.

Conflicting reports emerged following the battle, with unconfirmed reports saying local militias burned one of the Somaliland armed trucks.

The Somaliland officials were led by a politician from the native clan in Sanaag, named Hayran Hagar Dirir, local sources said.

Somaliland's separatist government claims legality over Sanaag region under colonial-era boundaries. Efforts to bring Somaliland election boxes to disputed Sool and Sanaag regions have been met with violent opposition from locals.

Neighboring Puntland, a relatively stable self-governing region within Somalia, claims ownership over Sool and Sanaag due to kinship ties to the native clans.

Politicians and traditional elders from the disputed regions are mainly in Garowe, the capital of Puntland, where they participated at the peaceful parliamentary vote on Jan. 8 that brought President Abdirahman Mohamed "Farole" to power.

2009 election

The upcoming election is a major test for democratic progress in Somaliland. The breakaway republic has held parliamentary and presidential elections before, but the March election is an opportunity for the region to elect a new president who can lead the region in a new direction.

President Riyale is widely criticized for illegally extending the office term for the Guurti, the upper house of the bi-cameral Somaliland parliament.

In return, the Guurti gave Riyale an additional year in office after his five-year mandate expired in May 2008, in a move strongly condemned by the opposition Kulmiye party as unconstitutional.

The political crisis was resolved peacefully weeks later, but Riyale's term-extension damaged the young democracy's ambitious statehood agenda.

Ahmed Silanyo, the Kulmiye party chairman and Riyale's likely opponent, is a rebel veteran who fought against the Gen. Barre regime in the 1980s when Riyale was an intelligence agent for military dictatorship. If Silanyo loses the election, as he did in 2003 by a small number of votes, there are lingering concerns that an insurrection might erupt in Burao, the opposition stronghold.

With the Ethiopian occupation of Mogadishu coming to an end, and the Puntland parliament electing a new president, Somaliland is poised to embrace the wave of change that is gradually sweeping Somalia.


Security forces in northwestern Somalia seize illegal missile launchers.

Xinhua General News Service, January 23, 2009

Security forces in the self- declared republic of Somaliland in northwestern Somalia on Friday sized nearly 10 small one-time use anti-aircraft missile launchers and arrested two suspects in connection with the illegal weapons in Hargeisa, capital of the state, reports reaching here said.

Abdullahi Ismail Irro, the interior minister of Somaliland which declared its independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, said the missile launchers were originally from Eritrea and were transported through the central Somali region of Galgadud before they were stored in a house in Hargeisa.

"We have information that the missile launchers were brought from Eritrea and came to Somaliland through Galgadud region in central Somalia," Irro told reporters in Hargeisa.

"The weapons are shoulder-held one-time use missile launchers and were kept in a house in Hargeisa where we make arrests of two suspects." The two suspects from Somalia are under investigation by Somaliland police and the motive or uses for the anti-aircraft launchers have not yet been established.

Somaliland has not received international recognition for its secession from Somalia since the collapse of the Somali government in 1991. However the region, which enjoys relative stability, has its self-government, flag, police and military forces and currency.

The region has been the target of three car bomb attacks in late October of last year in which twenty-four people were killed and more than two wounded.

Eleven youths suspected of being trained with the hardline Islamist group of Al-Shabaab in the south-central Somalia were arrested. The youths reportedly arrived from Mogadishu to Hargeisa and had lived in the United States.

The suicide bombers were Somali youths allegedly recruited and trained by Al-Shabaab movement to carry out the attacks in Hargeisa. The movement which is active in south central Somalia did not claim responsibility for the suicide attacks which also targeted the northeastern semiautonomous region of Puntland.

Since then authorities in Somaliland have tightened security in the capital Hargeisa, the airports, seaports and all the other entry points of the region.


Somaliland Accuses Eritrea of Smuggling Weapons

Africa News, January 23, 2009, BYLINE: Garowe Online

Police authorities in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland have confiscated a number of anti-aircraft guns in the region's capital Hargeisa, Radio Garowe reports.

Abdullahi Ismail "Irro," Somaliland's interior minister, told reporters Friday that local police found ten anti-aircraft guns inside a Hargeisa house.

"The weapons came from Eritrea and were transferred through Galgadud," Mr. Irro said, while referring to a region in central Somalia that has been a major base for Islamists since the 1990s.

He said that two suspects have been apprehended and are being interviewed at a secret location.

Somaliland's interior minister said he believes that terror groups were planning to use the weapons to commit attacks in Hargeisa, adding that he will provide a full report to the media after the investigation is complete.

Security has been tightened in Hargeisa following a series of coordinated suicide bombings that killed upwards of 20 people in Oct. 2008.


Somaliland Election Heats Up Ahead of March Vote

http://www.portalangop.co.ao/1/22/09

MOGADISHU - Elections in Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland are heating up ahead of the March 29 vote, when the breakaway region's next president will be elected, Radio Garowe reports.

Somaliland President Dahir Riyale was recently accused by fellow members of the ruling UDUB party of "illegally" naming a committee to organize the party's upcoming conference to select a single nominee for the election.

Mr. Abdullahi Hussein Darawal, a former Somaliland health minister, held a press conference last week at Imperial Hotel in Hargeisa, the breakaway region's capital and Somalia's second-largest city.

Fellow UDUB member Ahmed Sandon Hassan, who held a joint press conference with Mr. Darawal, suggested that President Riyale is planning to "eliminate competition" within the ruling party. Both Darawal and Sandon are seeking UDUB's party nomination for the presidential election in March.

Somaliland's leader has not responded to the accusations.

Local sources reported that a gunfight erupted after Somaliland officials brought voter-registration materials to the village, with pro-Puntland native militia reportedly attacking a house where the Somaliland officials stayed.

President Riyale is widely criticized for illegally extending the office term for the Guurti, the upper house of the bi-cameral Somaliland parliament.

The political crisis was resolved peacefully weeks later, but Riyale's term-extension damaged the young democracy's ambitious statehood agenda.


Somaliland: UCID Elects Candidates for the Presidential Elections

Source: Somalilandpress, Jan 28, 2009

Hargeisa, 28 Jan. (Somalilandpress) - Somaliland political party UCID started its general convention conference today at Mansoor Hotel in Hargeisa. The conference which was well organized started with the participation of the party’s central committee and other prominent members of the civil society.

After the meeting officially started, the conference chairman announced that the members will start the election process to nominate the President and Vice President candidates of the party for the coming elections on 29th March 2009.

The party committee nominated Eng. Faisal Ali Warabe as the President and Dr. Mohamed Rashid Sh. Hassan as his Vice President candidate.

After the results were announced - members of the party’s central committee said the election was not free and fair and decided to leave the conference in protest against the outcome.

Somaliland will conduct presidential elections for the second time since it restored it’s sovereignty from Siad Bare’s dictator regime. The election will be held on 29th March this year.


Somalia: Somaliland rejects Djibouti peace process

HARGEISA, Somalia Jan 28 09, (Garowe Online) - Authorities in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland say they are not involved in the ongoing Djibouti peace process, where the next Somali president is expected to be elected, Radio Garowe reports.

Abdullahi Mohamed Du'ale, Somaliland's foreign minister, told a Tuesday press conference in the regional capital Hargeisa that the Somaliland government has no delegates at the Djibouti conference.

"We are a country that is independent of Somalia, as we have told the UN Special Envoy before," Mr. Du'ale said, while answering a question about Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah's calls for Somali regions like Puntland and Somaliland to join the peace process.

Somaliland's foreign minister admitted that politicians from Somaliland clans are part of the Djibouti peace process, but warned that such politicians "do not represent Somaliland."

Located in northwestern Somalia, the Somaliland regions are relatively stable and have a working government and an elected leadership.

The unrecognized republic is slated to hold presidential elections on March 29, when opposition leader Ahmed Silanyo is widely expected to defeat the unpopular incumbent, President Dahir Riyale.

Critics accuse Mr. Riyale of unconstitutionally extending his term by an additional year in 2008, forcing the presidential elections to be delayed.


The governing party (UDUB) has set a date on when their conference will take place.

SomalilandPress, Jan 27, 2009

Hargeisa. Mr. Rashiid Abdullahi Guled who is the head of the organizing committee of the UDUB party conference has announced the date when the party’s conference will take place. Mr. Guled who was appointed by the president informed the press that on Feb. 3th, 2009 has been chosen to be the date when the conference of the UDUB party will begin. However Mr. Guled has not given the length of the conference or where in Hargeisa, the capital will the conference take place. It is expecting that the conference will run an approximately three weeks.

Mr. Guled recommended to the UDUB party delegates to arrive in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland by the 2nd of February so that the conference can begin on time. Any delegate that arrives after this day will not be acknowledged their present of the conference and will therefore be considered an audience of the conference. UDUB party is the current president’s party and it was founded by former president Mohamed I. Egal.


Somaliland Warns Its Citizens Against Djibouti Conference

http://www.qarannews.com/Jan 27, 2009

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Somaliland, Abdillahi Mohamed Du’ale warned the Somalilanders of participating in the Djibouti conference held for Somalias functions. In a press conference, the Minister argued that Somaliland is not concerned and not part of the talks in Djibouti.

Mr. Du’ale slammed a call from the UN envoy to Somalia during the opening of the conference where he called Somaliland to be part of the talks. He praised the government of Djibouti on its efforts to restore peace in Somalia but said Somaliland has nothing to do with Somalia and that conference being held in Djibouti.


Somaliland: Communiqué from KULMIYE Party

http://www.somaliland.org/January 27th, 2009/ KULMIYE Party Somaliland

In the run up to the upcoming presidential election, KULMIYE party supporters in the Diaspora and members of the party leadership have held a conference in London on 24 January 09 to discuss some of the political, economic and social issues in Somaliland today. This was part of KULMIYE’s consultation process with respect to these national challenges. Here is a communiqué from the conference.

The conference calls on all the political parties in Somaliland, the Parliament, the National Election Commission (NEC) and the International stakeholders to stick to the election time table scheduled on 29 March 2009, and to avoid any delay.

We urge the Somaliland government to stop undermining the work of the NEC members and allow them to undertake their duties independently. The NEC will however benefit from the support of independent and international partners in fulfilling their responsibilities effectively.

We call on the President of Somaliland, Mr. Dahir Rayaale, to stop interfering in the affairs of the Upper House (The Guurti) and his unlawful attempts to influence the internal processes of the work of the House.

The conference welcomes KULMIYE’s significant contribution to strengthening Somaliland’s international relations. The party leader’s recent trip to Kenya has particularly lifted Somaliland’s position in the region.

The conference calls on the African states and the other international communities to recognize Somaliland. We believe that Somaliland can, then, play a major role in resolving some of the prolonged political instabilities in the region.

KULMIYE will develop and improve Somaliland’s political, economic and security relations with the neighboring countries including Ethiopia and Djibouti.

We condemn the government’s unlawful arrest of KULMIYE politicians. The latest victims of Rayaale’s unconstitutional security laws are Abdirashid Duale Qambi and Ahmed Abdi Gadhle who had been held in prison without charges.

On the economic and social challenges, KULMIYE will promote market principles, open trade and investment, and effectively regulate financial markets, innovation and entrepreneurship that are essential for economic growth, employment, and poverty reduction.

We believe that a broader policy response is needed, based on closer macroeconomic cooperation, to encourage growth, avoid negative spillovers and support small companies.

We will strengthen financial transparency, including introducing required disclosure on complex financial products and ensuring complete and accurate disclosure by firms and the government of their books.

The government’s existing trade contracts with foreign and national firms will be subject to scrutiny to make sure that the contracts are handelled in accordance with the law.

We pledge to strengthen our regulatory regimes, prudential oversight, and ensure that all financial markets are regulated or subject to oversight, as appropriate to their circumstances.

We are committed to addressing other critical challenges such as food security, basic health, education, the rule of law, and the fight against poverty and terrorism Dr. Mohamed A Omar, KULMIYE Foreign Affairs Secretary


If Somaliland Security Police are focusing on the checking of Surf cars, are the suicide bombers fools to use the same tactic with same equipment?

Somalilandpress.com, Jan 26, 2009/Opinions

Surf carrying explosive devices are the scariest stories at the Hargeisa tea spots.As usual for hargeisians to gather during evening hours in and around the Tea Shops. Drinking like Coffee and Tea as well as sharing news headlines of the day circulated in the city by the news papers, Radios and Television channels. This is common tradition for Hargeisa residents, they laugh, comment and share information. Well what has been very common and headline in these places are the recent terror attacks took place in hargeisa on 29/10. What has been coming to my ears so often is that”gaadhi surf ah iyo wadaad gadhwayn” that has been the identification sign for whom are alleged of being responsible of the terror, as the Somaliland Government releases an official allegation on Alshabab Terror Network.

So many Surf owners are being humiliated by “sheekhow gaadhiga surf-ta ah badal gadhkana xiir” Surf is a land cruiser look alike type of the Vehicle which carried the explosive devices weighted 120 kg, investigation results of HALLO TRUST. If you are driving Surf car, than you are going to be stopped so many check points in the city. The Security Police and Traffic Police in Hargeisa are paying their 100% attention to Surf cars. Hargeisa main roads were familiar with traffic jams due to the increase of the cars being exported from Dubai with low prices allowing almost everyone in Hargeisa to own a car. The roads are the size of 1960`s road plan. This has caused during the rush hours roads to become almost blocked. The increase of tensions caused by the recent bombings in Presidential Palace, UNDP Head Quarters and Ethiopian Embassy in Hargeisa has automatically increased the Security and Check point alerts. Mostly security forces carry on their checking during night hours and they are experiencing so many sleepless nights. If you are driving a surf car in night hours and you missed to notice that there is a check point ahead of you, you may get your tires flat. Gone are the days when you could drive round the clock in Hargeisa. If you got late at the down town or went for your friends wedding, you are likely to walk away your car at a security checkpoint and go home walking. This is the alert level of Somaliland Security Police in Hargeisa.

Let me come down to the point of this article. If Somaliland Security Police are focusing on the checking of Surf cars, are the suicide bombers dumb to use the same tactic with same equipment? Come on, my Somaliland fellows we need to think far beyond of our enemies. Their common sense will not even give them to use a car again. It’s over, that chapter is closed. We have been taught that lesson and teachers will not lose their precious time for a revision, well understood. We need to turn the page, and see what other chapters can be taught to us. To name some of the tactics suicide bombers can implement is: wearing belts chained with explosive devices, wearing jackets filled with explosive devices and etc. we should not only keep an eye on Surf cars, but we need to open our eyes wide and be smarter than those boys trained and brain-washed by Alshabab.

One more thing has to be known by the Security Forces: a bullet will not stop a suicide bomber. Bullets are used for to stop someone who wants not to die. A suicide bomber has already made his decision and convinced to die. So alerting and keeping all the Security forces ready and stand-by will not be the best policy to fight against terror. We need to implement strategic policy to fight against the ideology of terror. This is an ideology installed and programmed in the minds of innocent young school students between 15 to 25 years of age. It’s a bacteria infecting anyone regardless of tribe. We need to stand against the ideology. This ideology gets implemented from our very close schools. It grows very fast without notice. I personally believe there are so many people infected and victimized by these bacteria. Our close family relative could be the followers, the believers of this ideology. May be next day it could be in your own house, your roommate. Well, men, women, elders, school children we all need to stand together and pay attention to what is happening around our houses, neighbors, schools, Hotels and etc.

Finally, My Somaliland fellows we need to strengthen our Somaliland Intelligence Agencies so that they can be ahead of the Terrorists. They need our help; they can do their job only with our cooperation.

Written by: Suhail Ibrahim Madar, ICT Expert, Email: Suhail.madar@gmail.com


Big Oil rethinks Somaliland

http://www.africa-energy.com/ Jan 26, 2009

Obama and his team are expected to work to contain Mogadishu and offer some sort of recognition to Somaliland Big Oil rethinks Somaliland

Major oil companies who declared force majeure on their Somali assets in the 1990s are reviving their claims to blocks in the unrecognised but peaceful Republic of Somaliland (AE 152/15). Industry sources told African Energy oil companies operating in the territory had received letters from majors including BP (which took over former Somalia player Amoco) and ConocoPhillips warning them to stop work. This represents a dramatic shift in policy by the majors, whose lawyers had previously told them to ignore any companies or government officials working in Somaliland, and may reflect expectations of a change of US policy in the Horn of Africa under President Barack Obama.

The presidency of George W Bush was dominated by a failed attempt to reunite the Mogadishu-based Transitional Federal Government with its breakaway territories, Somaliland and the State of Puntland. However, with the growing power of the Islamic resistance group Al-Shabab, and the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces from Somalia, Obama and his team are expected to work to contain Mogadishu and offer some sort of recognition to Somaliland – a request that has long been sought by the Department of Defense, which remains under the leadership of Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Big Oil’s renewed interest – in addition to straitened financial markets – may explain why work has been halted elsewhere in the region (AE 154/1).


Somaliland Elections Could Provide Lessons For Somalia

By Akwei Thompson, Washington, DC/ http://www.voanews.com/ 25 January 2009

Over the last two years the situation in Somalia has deteriorated into one of the world’s worst humanitarian and security crises. But a report by the International crisis Group says the international community is preoccupied with the piracy phenomenon – instead of concentrating on the core of the crisis, the need for a political settlement.

Meanwhile, the recent withdrawal of Ethiopian troops has opened up a new period of uncertainty and risk. In contrast, in the separatist republic of Somaliland, things are heating up toward a presidential election on March 29th.

Paula Roque is a researcher for the South Africa-based African security Analysis program. She told Nightline’s Akwei Thompson the upcoming election is part of the consolidation of democracy in Somaliland.

“Well, the election is very significant because it’s part of the consolidation and stability as well…she said.” And the election she said “stands in contrast at the statehood of a non-functioning government in south-central Somalia, comparatively two northern states.”

Roque said that in voting for a government, Somalia is re-affirming that it’s got a constituency and identity that is consolidated by a popular mandate.

The South African analyst said that a successful election in Somaliland would provide a lot of lessons for peace making at the grassroots level and at the consensus level in Somalia.

Roque said Somalia is at a critical point. The success of the Djibouti process is instrumental to peace and stability of Somalia and Djibouti and needs to continue being implemented, she said.


Ethiopia Provides Scholarship for Somaliland Students

Hargeisa (somalilandpress - 23 Jan 2009) - The Somaliland Ministers of Panning, Foreign Affairs and Finance participated in a event organized for 11 students going to Ethiopia for scholarship. The head of the Ethiopian Trade Office in Somaliland also participated in the event which was held in Maansoor hotel.

The Ethiopian government provided this scholarship for 11 students who are the government employees to improve their level of study and skills. The students will attend the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia starting from this year.

The Ministers said this is a beginning of more collaboration between the two country in terms of scholarships and improving the government employees capacity and knowledge by providing such scholarships.

“To go and study in a foreign country is not easy and it is where people differ from each other. Remember you are carrying the flag of your country whenever you go” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs telling the students to maintain a regular contact with the Somaliland embassy in Addis.

The Minister of Planning thanked the both the Labor Office and the Civil Education Institute for their continuous efforts to build the capacity of the employees.


Security forces in NW Somalia seize illegal missile launchers

MOGADISHU, Jan. 23 09(Xinhua) -- Security forces in the self-declared republic of Somaliland in northwestern Somalia on Friday sized nearly 10 small one-time use anti-aircraft missile launchers and arrested two suspects in connection with the illegal weapons in Hargeisa, capital of the state, reports reaching here said.

Abdullahi Ismail Irro, the interior minister of Somaliland which declared its independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, said the missile launchers were originally from Eritrea and were transported through the central Somali region of Galgadud before they were stored in a house in Hargeisa.

"We have information that the missile launchers were brought from Eritrea and came to Somaliland through Galgadud region in central Somalia," Irro told reporters in Hargeisa.

"The weapons are shoulder-held one-time use missile launchers and were kept in a house in Hargeisa where we make arrests of two suspects."

The two suspects from Somalia are under investigation by Somaliland police and the motive or uses for the anti-aircraft launchers have not yet been established.

Somaliland has not received international recognition for its secession from Somalia since the collapse of the Somali government in 1991. However the region, which enjoys relative stability, has its self-government, flag, police and military forces and currency.

The region has been the target of three car bomb attacks in late October of last year in which twenty-four people were killed and more than two wounded.

Eleven youths suspected of being trained with the hardline Islamist group of Al-Shabaab in the south-central Somalia were arrested. The youths reportedly arrived from Mogadishu to Hargeisaand had lived in the United States.

The suicide bombers were Somali youths allegedly recruited and trained by Al-Shabaab movement to carry out the attacks in Hargeisa. The movement which is active in south central Somalia did not claim responsibility for the suicide attacks which also targeted the northeastern semiautonomous region of Puntland.

Since then authorities in Somaliland have tightened security in the capital Hargeisa, the airports, seaports and all the other entry points of the region.


I have a dream" Someday Somaliland will Emerge Strongly in Africa

by Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi, Jan 20, 2009

Somaliland is a victim of unspeakable horror of African Union diplomacy, where diplomatic connections and unwritten traditional codes are strong; Somaliland Cause of independence is facing a significant obstacle from the union. The African leaders failed to hear the voice of freedom of the people of Somaliland in last 19 years.

Surprisingly, Somaliland struggle for freedom and liberty within African Union is much difficult than that of 20th century against the white British. Somaliland, a former British Colony, won independence on 26th June 1960 from Great Britain, and mistakenly united with Somalia on 1st July 1960, just four days later. Thirty four African countries recognized Somaliland in these four days, but today after 19 years of struggle to get back its independence from Somalia, The African Union look very stubborn toward Somaliland independence without having proper reason.

The African diplomacy is overlooking the democracy and social progress in Somaliland, in which Somaliland achieved without the support of African Union and International community. However, this is against the charter of African Union, which assures fair treatment and handling to all African issues.

As Luther Martin King Jr. said, "let us not stumble in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, so even tough we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow." I still have dream that Somaliland will be independent one day, and children/citizens will get back their lost diplomatic rights and will freely move across the world with bride and dignity.

I have a dream, that Somaliland Passport will be most beloved travel document. Somaliland citizens and businessmen will trade freely, and students will join international universities with Somaliland High School Certificates. Somalilanders lost all these rights due to African Union´s illegal diplomatic embargo on Somaliland.

African Union should stop alienating Somaliland and grant rights of life liberty to its citizens. The union, which is neutral to all Africans according to its charter, should look into Somaliland cause without considering the traditional AU agenda of not accepting new members.

African Union protects the colonial border, but in other hand, rejects Somaliland based on colonial border. Is this logic? Can the union respect colonial border across the continent except Somaliland? Somaliland government submitted membership application to the African Union, and waiting a positive reply from the union. Somaliland is demanding restoration of its colonial border.

Somaliland fulfilled all requirements of nationhood according to African Union and United Nations charters. However, it remains victim of no-reason because neither African Union nor United Nation is giving Somaliland clear reason to reject Somaliland’s statehood.

Some illogic people believe that the ´failed state of Somalia´ should not be divided or separated. But currently there is nothing called Somalia, and country fall into knees in more than 20 years. Somalia set an example of failure, without any sign of recovering from the failure. Somalia felt into endless comma, so why African Union is forcing Somaliland to wait Somalia until waking up from the comma? Will AU continue to force Somaliland to wait even next 100 years?

Current diplomatic embargo on Somaliland by the African Union, alienated it from the rest of the world, and transformed Somaliland into jail. No freedom of movement, education and travel for Somalilanders due to the wrong African Union policies towards it.

The Somalilanders are forced to take-up foreign passports in order to travel freely across the world; the students cannot join international universities like Harvard and Oxford Universities with Somaliland Passport. This is result of diplomatic embargo on Somaliland by the African Union, who overlooked Somaliland demands of independence in last 19 years.

The qualified English-speaking professionals of Somaliland should identify them selves as citizens of Somalia, Ethiopia, or Djibouti…etc in the international job markets because their country, Somaliland, is not recognized diplomatically by African Union. This is creating mistrust in the hearts of these young men and women towards AU. What is their mistake? Why they don’t have right to say their true identity as a Somalilander? This is the unfair treatment of African Union and IGAD on Somaliland and its people.

Moreover, these misjudgments did not change Somaliland’s commitment towards better Africa; Somaliland is cooperative with all African countries and organizations. Many African countries have offices in Somaliland capital – Hargiesa, including Ethiopia. Somaliland has trade links with others.

"I have a dream" that Somaliland will overpower the poor policies and diplomatic discrimination by the African Union, and will create brighter future in its part of the world. "I have a dream" that Somaliland will be an oasis of peace and democracy in Africa, and an example to all Africans in development.

Today, overlooked minorities of USA – The African Americans, are making long waited history and occupy the highest post in the country. Barrack Hussein Obama is making history. And for Somaliland, the time will come that Somaliland will occupy the highest post in African Union – Chairman of African Union.


Let Somaliland be an independent country, int'l think tanks say

by Tiraspol Times, Jan 17, 2009

HARGEISA (Tiraspol Times) - The Republic of Somaliland needs to be officially recognized as an independent country says a prominent global think-tank in its latest report on security and development. The Senlis Council, which was established in 2002 as a European-based organization, reveals its policy recommendations in a report entitled Chronic Failures of the War on Terror: From Afghanistan to Somalia which was published in London on Wednesday.

In its report, the think-tank emphasises the need for official recognition of Somaliland.

" - Official recognition for Somaliland would send a clear message to all Somalis that peaceful transitions from stability are possible without the need to use overpowering military force, and will be rewarded," said Norine MacDonald, a Canadian lawyer who is president and lead field researcher of The Senlis Council.

" - Up to now, Somaliland has toiled in relative anonymity without any recognition of its extraordinary success in creating the conditions for a viable, stand-alone state, and resisting the spread of extremism found in Somalia."

The Senlis Council is an international policy think-tank with offices in Brussels, Kabul, Kandahar, Lashkar Gah, London, Ottawa, Paris and Rio de Janeiro. It works in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), as co-organizer of an international conference held in February with the attendance of General David J. Richards, until last year the overall commander of NATO-ISAF.

ICG recommends independence

The International Crisis Group also recommends independence as the best way to build a future for the people of Somaliland. The ICG advocates that the African Union leads the way on international recognition of Somaliland's right to statehood.

In a special report, the research and advocacy group makes a clear political and legal case for recognition. ICG's research suggests that an independent Somaliland would add to regional stability, rather than representing a further cause of instability in the Horn of Africa. The International Crisis Group argues that Somaliland's case is unique, and would not - as some AU members fear - set a precedent for African secessionist movement.

The current internationally recognized state of Somalia is a state in name only. Aside from the briefest of intervals, the last 17 years has been characterised by varying degrees of chaos.

In Somalia, elections have not been held since 1969. Whereas in Somaliland, the 2005 Parliamentary elections were regarded as free and fair, and a test of independence.

But if Somalia is a state in name only, Somaliland is a state-in-waiting without formal recognition.

Of all of the states in the Horn of Africa, it is the self-declared yet internationally unrecognised aspirant state of Somaliland that offers President Bush with his most viable opportunity to claim an African success story. By all rational indicators of a state’s post-conflict development, Somaliland represents impressive progress, and consolidating an area of stability and governance in the Horn of Africa will reduce the vacant space for instability, conflict and extremism to fill.

Somaliland case not creating new precedent

Somaliland has achieved an extraordinary level of political and physical stability after being raised during the bitter civil war of the early 1990s. An embattled population found the resolve to reconstitute itself, establishing functioning organs of government without little upheaval – a rarity in post-conflict reconstruction. Its drive to create multi-party democracy upon a backdrop of relative peace and security has been impressive, if not without flaw.

Somaliland’s considerable achievements must not continue to go unheralded, and the only substantial way to reward it is through full statehood, argues the Senlis Council in its report.

Somaliland’s claim for full state independence is distinct from the majority of similar requests of other separatist enclaves/exclaves. Rather than seeking to secede from Somalia, Somaliland is looking to be re-constituted as an independent state. It held this status for five days between 26 June and 1 July 1960 - being recognized by 35 states in the process - before voluntarily uniting with Italian Somalia within the Somali Republic.

For most of its time inside Somalia, the territory was ruled by dictator Siad Barre’s regime. Barre fell in 1991, along with the country’s political, economic and administrative institutions and any semblance of central government. On 18 May 1991, Somaliland revoked the 1960 Act of Union, and declared Somaliland independent. No country has officially recognised its statehood yet.

According to the report from the Senlis Council, the current policy vacuum needs to be filled by constructive engagement on the issue of Somaliland’s status at every diplomatic level, most notably within the African Union and United Nations. While this dialogue should necessarily be framed by the need for regional stability, the aim of some parties to establish a Somali Federation need not be an immediate focus of such discussions.

Somaliland declared independence in 1991, one year after the independence declaration of Pridnestrovie (Transdniestria). Both have been 'de facto' independent states for the better part of the past two decades, but neither one of them has yet obtained international diplomatic recognition. A first step towards broader international recognition will be for the two countries' Foreign Ministries to establish bilateral ties and recognize each other on a mutual basis.


Somaliland Police Force Freed the Kidnapped Teacher

Burao (SomalilandPress, Jan 15, 2009) - Reports from Togdheer say that the kidnapped Egyptian teacher has been freed after the Somaliand police attacked the kidnappers in Ceelal village, Eastern Burao. The teacher with the regional governor of Togdheer are on their way back to Burao after the successful operation.

No casualties were reported as thus far but the attack is still on going after the kidnappers escaped the scene heading towards North-east of Ceelal village. The Somaliland police will not leave them until these dangerous men are apprehended and brought to the court.

This is the first time this sort of things had happened in Somaliland, kidnapping, piracy and hostage taking is usually the daily image of Puntland and Somalia


Somaliland: Admas University College opens a new campus Source: http://www.SomalilandPress.com, Jan 15, 2009

In it’s latest expansion, Admas University College - one of the pioneer private higher learning institutions in Ethiopia - opened a new campus in downtown Burao (Burco) which is Somaliland’s second largest city.

A ceremony held at Barwaaqo Hotel in central Burao included attendants from all works of life such as civil servants, politicians, aid agencies, students, traditional elders known as Gurti and regional leaders.

The university which already had a campus in Hargeisa for the past two years with more than 1200 students enrolled - said it plans to expand its campuses into other Somaliland cities such as Berbera, and Erigavo after Burao.

The Chancellor of Admas Hargeisa campus, Mr Ahmed Dahir Mohamed - told reporters and the audience that “we plan to open a new campus which will provide distance learning for all the people in the region - so they can study while they get on with their lives.”

Mr Ahmed emphasized the fact that Admas has been successful in Hargeisa and that “they plan to expand it to Berbera, Burao and Erigavo town”.

Mr Ahmed thanked the department of Education of Somaliland, who he said share common goal and vision when it comes to education. Mr Ahmed finally stressed that Admas University College plans to collaborate with the Burao University in teaching and research, including staff/student exchange programme.

The deputy Education Minister of Togdher region, Mr Hassan Jama - who was also present at the meeting welcomed Admas Universtiy College’s plans to open a campus in Togdher’s regional capital, Burao. “I hope alot of people benefit from this golden opportunity” he said.

The Chancellor of Admas Hargeisa campus, Mr Ahmed Dahir Mohamed Among those who spoke at the Admas University College ceremony included the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Murad Zakaria Mohamed, and Communication director of Admas, Mr Mohamed Abdirahman.

The city of Burao has previously had one other university, the Burao University.

Admas University College offers a number of programs which are offered in number of levels: certificate, diploma and degree both in distance and on campus education, Which ever mode of delivery is chosen the curriculum, course material, method of assessment, and achievement certificates (Degree and Diploma) are identical.

Admas University has its main campus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and it’s second campus in Hargeisa, Somaliland.


Somaliland: Maternal and child death decline in Somaliland

HARGEISA, 15 January 2009 (IRIN) - Improved healthcare facilities have considerably reduced the rate of maternal mortality in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, but officials say much more still needs to be done.

In 1997, 1,600 out of every 100,000 women giving birth were estimated to die in Somaliland.

Anwar Mohamed Eggeh, Somaliland’s director-general in the Ministry of Health and Labour, told IRIN the rate in 2006 was 1,044 per 100,000.

He attributed this to “increasing health facilities in the main towns and remote areas, as well as improvement in living standards. However, the rate is still high, so the Ministry, with the collaboration of UNICEF [the UN Children’s Fund] and EU, is planning to further reduce the rate, establishing new health facilities for the general public.

“There are not enough facilities such as maternal health centres in the country compared to the population, and we want to reduce maternal mortality as we did child mortality, which we reduced by 50 percent,” he added.

Edna Aden Ismail, who set up a maternity and teaching hospital in Hargeisa in 2002, said the facility had contributed to the reduction in maternal deaths.

“We train professional midwives in the hospital, who are now working in the main town hospitals, such as Burao, Lasanod, Borama, Hargeisa Group hospitals,” she told IRIN.

“The other factor is we have enough equipment, professional midwives, nurses and doctors here and the most serious cases are referred to this hospital. Only 32 mothers died in our hospital out of 8,307, and many of them could have been saved if they had arrived at the hospital early enough,” she added.

Antenatal care was still inadequate in Somaliland, according to Ugaso Jama Guled, a midwife and activist fighting female genital mutilation/cutting, which she said was a major contributor to the territory’s high rate of maternal deaths.

She said other factors included pre-eclampsia, hypertension, abortions, pulmonary embolism, ectopic pregnancy and ruptured uteruses.

“Most Somaliland mothers die because of prolonged bleeding, pre-eclampsia, hypertension, infection and malnutrition, caused by lack of a balanced diet,” Ugaso said.


Somaliland Voter Registration: What is Next ?

http://somalilandpress.com/1041/somaliland-voter-registration-what-is-next, Jan 14, 2009/Editorial, Somaliland

There is no denial that the voter registration in Somaliland is a success story. With the limited financial aid and human resources plus the lack of international recognition, Somaliland still managed to go through the whole process and finally succeeded in getting its people registered for the coming elections in the first part of this New Year.

It was not an easy job, as this was the first time it happened in the history of Somaliland. The lack of experience from the officials and the registration workers plus the lack of information/experience among the population meant that there was a great possibility that things may go wrong. Yet, the process was successful with, according to the observers, minimal mistakes and incidents. Sadly, four people died and one vehicle was hijacked by a militia from the autonomous State Of Puntland during the process. Two of those who died were Somaliland military officers ambushed in the village of Widhwidh in Sool region.

Now as the first phase of the process comes to an end the question will be what is next?

We believe the Somaliland society showed their patriotism and will exercise the same for the coming elections in few months time.

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) should this time be ready for the more challenging task that is the election itself. The parties will do their all to fight a real contest for the votes and the (eventual) winner would not have had an easy way to gain victory over the others. This election will place a great deal of pressure on the NEC. Its members will have to be united and strong.

The government should make sure that all the preparations are made in order to ensure that security is tight and the voting is free and fair. The ruling party should surrender the seat if it loses the election, which will ensure the continuation of what Somaliland started in 1991 (i.e. good governance, acceptance of the rule of law and the avoidance of internal quarrels).

The opposition parties should help the NEC perform their duties and also assist the government for its national responsibilities. They should be able to accept if defeated in the elections and prepare for the next one.

The international community should take a more responsible position towards Somaliland as those elections will be marked in the history of Africa as a whole and not just Somaliland. The country is isolated from the rest of the world and without recognition it could easily fall into the hands of the terror groups and warlords that destroyed the very neighbouring country of Somalia. To prevent such chaos Somaliland should be able to have access to the international funding agencies such as World Bank, IMF and others so that it will continue building a stronger democratic society.


Growing knife crime and knife culture in Somaliland

http://www.xogtamaanta.com/page1.html/ Jan 14 2009

Xogtamaanta-Hargeisa-SL. There are reports in Somaliland that knife crime dramatically increased and there are fears of UDUB government not doing enough to tackle the crime.

The commander of police of Somaliland, Mr Mohamed Sakadi has confirmed four fatal knife crimes in the last five days alone.

“A young man was fatally stabbed to death after a row over payment in a café the young man was having a food,” the police told the media yesterday.

Another man was stabbed to death at his 'khat kiosk' where he was selling ‘khat’ -the narcotic leaves that make Somali men feel high, when two men apparently demanded free ‘khat’ and the man refused to give it away.

In Hargeisa’s Isha-Borame district, a young man was also stabbed to death when two neighbours clashed over what was described as a ‘minor row’.

Media in Somaliland reported more than seventy knife crimes in 2008 in Hargeisa alone.

The people in Hargeisa are alarmed by the increase of knife crime and they are concern about the pardon president Daahir Riyaale Kaahin gave hundreds of criminals sentenced to prison for knife and other crimes they committed.

“These criminals are terrorizing us in the nights and they even burglar houses” said a Hargeisa resident who has concerns about burglars armed with knives and other hand held weapons.

“The government is not tough on knife crime culture and this must be changed, and people must seek how to purge this evil act,” another Hargeisa resident who contacted Xogtamaanata said.

In Somaliland, it is illegal to carry guns, but knives are not forbidden and they are preceived as cultural norm to carry them, specially for people from villages and nomad areas, and they are not used to attack on anyone, but as handy tools for cutting or crafting things.

In big cities people are vigorously demanding the government to do something about the knife crimes that wasting many lives.

There are no official statistics on the number of knife crimes in Somaliland, but it is believed that knife crime is sky rocketing and this could ignite a huge increase of people arming themselves with knives as alternative of defending from potential knife attack, particularly nights.

Somaliland is largely peaceful and it has system of law and order compare to its neigbour of lawless and war ravaged Somalia.


The time has come to consider Somaliland’s quest for independence

http://www.somalilandhorta.com, January 14, 2009/Source: Conservative Europe

Dr Charles Tannock MEP says former British protectorate’s call for sovereignty should be reconsidered

Strasbourg, 14 January 2009 – The time has come to consider more seriously Somaliland’s quest for independence as the situation in the Horn of Africa deteriorates further, Conservative MEP Charles Tannock said today ahead of a parliamentary debate on the situation in the Horn of Africa.

Dr Tannock, a member of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said that an independent Somaliland, supported by the international community, could potentially be a force for stability and good governance in an otherwise hopeless region.

Somaliland was formerly a British protectorate that became briefly independent in 1960 but then chose to be absorbed into the Somali Republic. In 1991 as Somalia descended into chaos following the death of dictator Siad Barre, Somaliland once again opted to go its own way. However, Somaliland is not recognized internationally as a sovereign state by any country, despite having developed the symbols and functional governance of an independent state.

Dr Tannock said: “Somaliland is the only cohesive and functional public authority in Somalia.

“The people of Somaliland benefit from a relatively benign government and progressive institutions as well as having symbols of statehood such as a separate currency and flag. Perhaps it’s time we began to consider more seriously Somaliland’s quest for independence.

“An independent Somaliland, supported by the international community, could be a force for stability and progress in an otherwise hopeless region, and could be an ally in fighting the scourge of piracy off the Somali coast.

“Certainly the people of Somaliland would be justified in asking why the international community is so reluctant to recognize their country but was so quick to recognize Kosovo.”


Officials: Egyptian abducted in Somalia's northwest

Associated Press, 2009-01-14

Officials say gunmen have abducted an Egyptian teacher in Somalia's northwestern breakaway republic.

Senior government official Jama Abdullahi says the kidnappers armed with pistols stopped Mohamed Mustafa Ibrahim and bundled him into a car late Tuesday as he went to a mosque in the town of Burao.

It is unclear why Ibrahim was kidnapped or who abducted him.

Burao is the second largest town in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland.

Somaliland police chief Ahmed Saqadhe Dubad said Wednesday that his officers are searching for the kidnappers.

Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 but hasn't received international recognition. It has been relatively peaceful, avoiding the anarchy of the rest of Somalia.


SOMALIA: Inside a pirate network

HARGEISA, 13 January 2009 (IRIN) - Hassan* and Mohamed* were fishermen in Bossaso, in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland, northeastern Somalia, but turned to piracy out of desperation and lack of alternative livelihoods.

However, in August 2008, coastguards from the self-declared republic of Somaliland arrested them after they strayed into the region's waters. In September, they were each sentenced to 15 years in prison for their role in the piracy that has intensified off Somalia's waters in recent years.

Hassan and several others jailed on piracy charges spoke to IRIN between August and December from two prisons in Somaliland.

Hassan said: "I participated in two missions which we planned in Bossaso; the first in February [2008]. As part of a group of eight, we went to Ras Azayr area in Puntland in search of some foreign vessels. We did not find anything. We thought that since there were no foreign vessels operating in Puntland waters, we could go to Somaliland.

"I met up with a group of five men in Berbera and we agreed to operate in Somaliland waters. Unfortunately, Somaliland coastal guards captured us before we could do anything. I was later charged with organising piracy activities in Somaliland.

"I agreed to engage in piracy because we wanted to get back at the illegal foreign vessels that were fishing in our waters, denying us a livelihood. We targeted foreign cargo vessels for that reason."

Explaining how a pirate network works, Mohamed, who was sentenced in December, said: "I was captured in [Somaliland's] His District alongside four other men captured by coastguards on 13 December. I was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

"I, as do most pirates, consider myself as having been performing the duties of a coastguard. We usually work in groups of seven to 10 people. Often, our missions are financed by individuals and businessmen who collect half of the ransoms paid.

"Many people who opt to become pirates do so because authorities such as those in Puntland contribute to the degrading of the sea's environment by licensing foreign ships which use illegal fishing methods.”

Omar*, another of the jailed pirates, added: "Piracy has become booming business in Puntland territories; we receive the fuel and logistics from local business people. For example, when a kidnapped vessel pays ransom, 50 percent of it is taken by the people who invested their money; the pirates only get 50 percent."

The ransom they pay is somehow a punishment for their illegal activity in the Somali water, especially in the era without government In turn, the business people also give a certain percentage of the ransom to the influential people in the host area of operations, Omar said.

However, he was quick to point out that pirates did not attack any ship coming to Bossaso.

"No one will attack any ship toward Bossaso because the local people who support the pirates will not agree to the hosting of those kidnapped in their area, so the ships coming to Bossaso are safe from piracy."

The pirates consider the ransom they get to be retribution for the ships that fish illegally off Somali waters.

"The ransom they pay is somehow a punishment for their illegal activity in the Somali water, especially in the era without government," one of the pirates said.

*Not their real names


Somaliland: Voter Registration Successfully Completed

Jan 12 2009 (Somaliland Net) - It is quite clear that the international community are satisfied with the successful and peaceful completion of the Somaliland voter registration programme.

Both the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) from the United States of America, along with other international observers have expressed their satisfaction with the orderly and transparent implementation of the Somaliland voter registration campaign.

Despite attempts by certain undemocratic elements to disrupt the process, including the recent terrorist attacks in Hargeisa on the 29th of October [2008], the voter registration programme has now been completed and will be certified within the next few weeks after a rigorous review.

The people of Somaliland have one common goal, democracy. A society based on dialogue, discussion, consensus, and leadership based on meritocracy and the choice of the people.

The people of Somaliland share a belief in democracy and the right of every eligible citizen to exercise his or her franchise. Using the most recent technology the people of Somaliland from the East to the West, North to South came out in their tens of thousands to register for the 2009 Presidential and local assembly elections.

This voter registration programme is a further step in a process that began under the acacia tree in 1991, through several conferences in Buroa, Sheekh, Borama, and Hargeisa. These conferences highlighted the ability of the people of Somaliland to reach a consensus through dialogue and discussions.

Since the 2001 referendum to cement the sovereignty of Somaliland, the people of this nascent but democratic nation have elected a President and a parliament, freely and fairly.

In the spring of 2009, the people of Somaliland will once again go the polls to elect a President and members of the local assembly. It is obvious to the most impartial observer that democracy has taken root in Somaliland, and the people of Somaliland will not be intimidated nor thwarted by desperate acts of terrorism.

The dye is cast; Somaliland is marching towards the fulfillment of a long cherished goals, democracy, security, prosperity and international recognition. These are noble aims, and there is every reason to be confident of the ability of the people of Somaliland to attain these goals.

2009 promises to be a historic year for Somaliland and its citizens, and after eighteen years of stability, peace and progress, the nation is now, more than ever, ready to take its place among the democratic countries of the world.

Posted by: Abdirisak suleman


Somaliland To Be Recognized In The Near Future.

Source: http://www.iar-gwu.org/node/49/ 11 January 2009

"It is unlikely that Somaliland will come back to Somalia under the old conditions.

It looks like the Somalis [in Somaliland], have tasted how sweet independence and self-determination are. Time and time again the leaders of Somaliland proudly declare their achievements: peace, tranquility, and economic progress.

Hargeysa and the port city of Berbera are booming.

Berbera has become an additional outlet for the export and import of landlocked Ethiopia and are expanding the port facilities.

In addition to the roads that link Jijiga, Ethiopia with Hargeysa and onwards to Berbera, there is a regular air link between the two.

"We live in the 21st century where self-determination and independence of peoples is respected.

My expectation is Somaliland will be accepted—recognized by African, the USA and by the European countries in the immediate future."

The above remarks were made by Hailu Beshah, a former Ethiopian Ambassador and a leading expert on security affairs in Africa, in an interview with EthiopiaBlog.

Ambassador Brook Hailu Beshah, an expert on security issues in Africa discusses the impact of these events with IAR correspondent James Turitto.

Ambassador Beshah has a distinguished career, serving the Ethiopian government as its deputy representative to the United States from 2001-2004 and as acting ambassador in 2004.

From 2004-2006, he was the Permanent Deputy Delegate of Ethiopia to UNESCO. Currently, he is a professor of Security Policy Studies at George Washington University, where he teaches conflict and security in Africa and focuses on the Horn of Africa.

He recently appeared on BBC Television to discuss the consequences of runoff elections in Zimbabwe this summer, and has published articles in The Wall Street Journal.

IAR: Speaking of recognition of a free nation, Somaliland has illustrated a high level of sovereignty and stability over the past 15 years.

In a country plagued by lawlessness and in a region known for instability, Somaliland has proven to be an island of stability in a sea of chaos. Why have Ethiopia, the AU, the UN, the US, and Great Britain refused to recognize its independence as a free and sovereign nation?

Amb. Beshah: Somaliland, with its capital in Hargeysa, used to be called the British Somaliland and was ruled by the UK during the colonial period. The Italian Somaliland, literally the rest of Somalia, with its capital in Mogadishu, used to be called Italian Somaliland.

The people living in both areas are of the Somali ethnic group; they speak the Somali language, but come from different clans. In the case of Somaliland, the Isaaq clan is predominantly found there, while the Darod, Hawiya and other clans live in the rest of Somalia.

The ways and means of colonial administration had its own impact on both territories.

The British style of colonial rule—as can be observed in Anglophone Africa, countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya just to cite a few — had allowed limited form of political participation, limited form of self-rule, and local government.

Generally speaking, these had positive impacts at time of and in post- independence period.

This was a blessing in disguise for the Somaliland Somalis.

It made them more open to contending political views, to different political parties and to a young, yet vibrant press. They are more prone to modern democratic discourse--not fighting with weapons, but fighting with words. So there is a tradition of tolerance and of being tolerant.

In the case of Italian Somaliland these factors were unfortunately absent, and hence its consequences were felt right after independence and to this day.

In 1960, both colonies gained independence and agreed to form one political entity with its capital in Mogadishu.

Free elections were held and there was a legitimately elected government in place. There were also different political parties. Unfortunately, the democratic process in Somalia was short lived.

It ended with the assassination of the Somali head of state which consequently led the country to authoritarian rule culminating in the coming to power of General Siyad Barre whose reign lasted till 1991.

This led to frustration for the people of Somaliland who had resented since independence the ‘unbalanced relations’ they have had with the Italian part.

The ‘South’ dominated the ‘North’ by holding and controlling state power and the political landscape of the country. After a long and protracted civil war which was also undertaken in Somaliland, the rule of Siyad Barre came to an end. Now, after almost 20 years, Somalia still has no strong central government and has become a “failed state”.

The northerners, the former British Somaliland, organized themselves, and formed a new state called Somaliland and declared themselves as a free nation totally separate from the rest of Somalia. They declared to the world: If they ever were to be part of Somalia, it would be under an open, tolerant, democratic Somalia.

But given the current reality and condition, they argue they would rather exist as a separate country. Their effort to gain recognition and be accepted as a sovereign and independent state has not yet borne fruit.

They have approached neighboring countries, African states; the AU; EU; the USA to give them recognition. Even Ethiopia, it seems the neighboring country they counted on, refused to recognize them.

There were reports in the 1990’s that the leaders of Somaliland were considering some kind of loose political association with Ethiopia. Hence there was no “de jure” recognition. However, Somaliland has received “de facto” recognition.

Several states, especially neighboring ones, have recently begun direct relations with the Hargeysa government. A case in point is Ethiopia. Addis Ababa has opened a diplomatic mission in Hargeysa and has named an Ambassador.

It is unlikely that Somaliland will come back to Somalia under the old conditions. It looks like the Somalis [in Somaliland], have tasted how sweet independence and self-determination are.

Time and time again the leaders of Somaliland proudly declare their achievements: peace, tranquility, and economic progress.

Hargeysa and the port city of Berbera are booming. Berbera has become an additional outlet for the export and import of landlocked Ethiopia and are expanding the port facilities.

In addition to the roads that link Jijiga, Ethiopia with Hargeysa and onwards to Berbera, there is a regular air link between the two.

We live in the 21st century where self-determination and independence of peoples is respected. My expectation is Somaliland will be accepted—recognized by African, the USA and by the European countries in the immediate future.


Reflections on Somaliland’s Voter Registration

by Adan H Iman
http://www.hiiraan.com/ January 06, 2009

The voter registration drive currently underway in Somaliland resulted from a recommendation of the International Republican Institute ( IRI ) after the 2005 parliamentary election. The institute found problems in that election and in a report issued after the election the Institute observed: Efforts to vote multiple times were common and grew in number throughout Election Day, particularly among young people. IRI observers noted a number of well-organized efforts to move voters between polling stations to facilitate multiple voting. Somaliland electoral law restricts vehicle movement on Election Day only to those authorized by the NEC; in all regions IRI visited, observers spotted large numbers of trucks and other vehicles full of voters. So in the opinion of the Institute, the numbers from the parliamentary election were overstated. The results of the 2005 parliamentary election, which the Institute found overstated, were:

Awdal      133,777 
Hargeisa   253,229 
Sahil      52,695 
Sanaag     89,286 
Sool       20,557 
Togdheer   121,751 
Total      670,322 
In an effort to remedy the multiple voting discerned during the 2005 election, the Institute recommended that “ a central voter registration be created in Somaliland to ensure that multiple voting is more difficult in future”. Still the tentative results of the voter registration are alas in some regions, such as Togdheer and Sanang, nearly three times that of the parliamentary election. The voter registration, which was expected to eliminate voter irregularities, is itself riddled with massive irregularities which in addition to multiple registrations and obtaining registration cards without any finger prints, also entailed alleged widespread attempt to circumvent the system by involving underage children in voter registration. Tentative numbers released by the National Election Commission regarding those who, legally and illegally, registered are.
Awdal      133,000 
Hargeisa   420,000 
Sahil      60,000 
Sanaag     210,000 
Sool       not yet available  
Togdheer   330,000 
Total      1,153,00 
Nobody knows what kind of conclusion the Inter-peace Team, which is conducting the project, will draw from the way the voter registration was handled. The computer software will no doubt detect a substantial number of multiple registrations. Even after the multiple registrations are eliminated, however, there will be still be substantial discrepancy in some regions-due to the alleged mobilization of minor children who otherwise would be ineligible to vote- between the number of names registered now and those who went to the polls in the 2005 parliamentary elections. Remember the idea of voter registration was born in the minds of the International Republican Institute ( IRI ) when irregularities involving multiple voting were observed during the 2005 parliamentary election. The benchmark to be used must be that the number of people in a fraud - free voter registration in each region of the country must be smaller than votes cast in each region in the 2005 election, because as was pointed out earlier, the votes cast in 2005 as determined by IRI were overstated in all regions and included multiple voting.

The people who were involved in multiple registrations accrue no direct benefit in their illegal actions. The people who have direct benefit in multiple registrations are politicians. If Somaliland’s image in the eyes of the donor agencies, and the world is impaired, the politicians who engineered the registration fraud should be held responsible.

A proposition is being floated in one website which makes a correlation between the lands mass of each region and the number of people who register. The argument goes that the bigger the size of the region the more its registered voters ought to be. For example Togdheer is the biggest region and therefore it should be entitled to the largest number of registered voters.

This argument has no merit whatsoever. If land mass is the determinant of population size, Hargeisa region which is the most populous, and has three times that of Togdheer, should have three times the land mass. The fact is population in Somaliland is concentrated in the urban areas and agricultural parts of Hargeisa and Awdal while the rest is sparsely populated. No color-coded pie chart, with a wrong premise, can change this observable reality written in stone. Evaluation of the voter registration will employ scientific toots such observation of human activities and computer data analysis of those activities. Take it from me: no consideration will be given to the square mileage of any region.

No voter registration at all is better than one fraught with massive fraud. A fraudulent registration, if adopted as a basis of electing a president, and as the basis of allocating parliamentary seats, will engulf the country in political and social crisis. The tentative numbers released has the potential to skew political power in favor of some regions while disenfranchising others, which is a recipe for disaster. We should be aware that political crisis in Somaliland will be a fertile ground for Al Shabab Islamists to breed.

But the resilience and ability of the people of Somaliland to overcome all obstacles should give solace to all of us. How many times have we experienced serious problems in the past only to see our people come together and eventually find solutions. Deserving special credit are the elders who spearhead such efforts and never rest until they find a solution that is good for the country. The last time they intervened was when the controversy regarding election schedule for president and voter registration reached an impasse. I call these elders Sober Men, because they harbor no personal agenda or interest but the interest and welfare of the country in their minds and hearts.

Well now again, as in many times before, we will need the involvement of these Sober Men because Somaliland is at a critical junction.


Somaliland & Djibouti: Indeed Brothers.

http://www.qarannews.com/by Abdulazez Al-Motairi, Jan 06, 2009

Geographically, Djibouti is located at North-West of Somaliland. The famous city of Zayla at Sarar region of Somaliland serves as major trade link between the two countries; the countries exchange millions of dollars in trade every year. both Djibouti and Somaliland share common major businessmen.

The people of both the countries share language, religion, culture and are kinsmen in addition to history of living in peace and harmony. Both Somali tribes in Djibouti are also citizens of Somaliland and vice versa.

In 2003, Former Minister of Tourism in Somaliland was Nephew of Minister of Interior Affairs in Djibouti. This illustrates the deep-rooted traditional relation between Somaliland and Djibouti.

President of Djibouti Ismail Omer Gelle praised Somaliland democracy progress, peace and security development during Eid Prayer. The audience welcomed the president´s statements on Somaliland, which showed the wide and increasing support for Somaliland independence between Djibouti people. Also, Somaliland government supported Djibouti against Eritrean illegal intrusion in Djibouti territory, by sending thousands of livestock as support.

At each summer, you can see large number of Djibouti citizens moving around the major cities in Somaliland like Boorame, Gabiley and Hargiesa. The people of Djibouti come to Somaliland to escape from the blazing summer heat of Djibouti. In Somaliland, they feel like home, and even majority of them own houses and relatives in Somaliland. Somalilanders call Djibouti citizens ´Yaa Khii´ which identifies the person is from Djibouti. These are deeply-rooted connections between two countries.

Before the independence of Djibouti on 1977, the Somalilanders played vital role in the campaign of liberation Djibouti from France, and even French Forces deported large number of Djibouti citizens with Somaliland roots back to Republic of Somaliland. Majority of deportees were active in the struggle against the colonizer. The citizens of both Djibouti and Somaliland have very respected roles in the struggle against the colonizing forces in the region. Both people won their independence without bloodshed and signed agreements which led the colonizers to leave. The First Lady of Djibouti is one of those citizens with Somaliland roots, in addition to other important cabinet members and MPs. The people of both sides, Djibouti and Somaliland, share common culture, language, tradition and religion.

However, in East Africa, where diplomatic connections and unwritten traditional codes are especially strong, Somaliland democracy is facing a significant obstacle from African Union. But the hardworking Somaliland diplomacy will soon overcome the obstacles, and lead the country towards independence.

The recent visit of Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin to Djibouti strengthened the commercial and political ties between the two countries. The two Border Guard Forces of Somaliland and Djibouti coordinate on border security. Djibouti authority is very much satisfied the peaceful border with Somaliland.

No illegal smuggle, human trafficking and armed violence cross into Djibouti territory from Somaliland. This is very excellent point, in which the Djibouti authority appreciates always. Today, Ethiopia and Kenya are suffering of the illegal arms entering in their countries from lawless Somalia. So Djibouti should be lucky to have democratic and peaceful Somaliland.


The peaceful registration from the far West to the far East of Somaliland is a success story.

http://www.qarannews.com/by Jibril Ali Akli, Jan 06, 2009

“Please do not miss the intercity train which the S/L people already are on board” said the Vice President of Somaliland Mr. Ahmed Yuusuf Yaasiin as he spoke to the people of Lasanod while monitoring the registration posts in Lasanod.

The national registration started bravely in Sahil on 14/10/2008. The next leg of the registration was in the Awdal area as far west as the sea shores of Zeila, the city of old civilizations. Due to the historical and international nature of the event (registration), which was completed in both regions successfully, Somaliland came under attack on 29/10/2008. Three important places including the presidential palace were attacked and many innocent Somalilanders were killed and wounded, but luckily our leaders were unharmed.

The people of S/L who were enjoying a peaceful life for many years are still in a state of shock. The security situation in Hargeysa became very tense and difficult. Trust between the people wore very thin and the situation become volatile .Thanks to the Almighty Allah, the people of S/L started to recover from such an evil and brutal act of terrorism. They began their long and difficult journey again, which started almost two decades ago, to make their dream true - an independent and internationally recognized of Somaliland. The people of Hargeysa and the whole region registered themselves and took their identity cards. The registration went to the regions of Togdheer & Sanaag up to far east (Dhar) of the late region. Dhar is not far from Bossaso- the city port of the Puntland which is a self autonomous region of Somalia.

Puntland is always dreaming and tightening their belts to take by force the eastern area of Sanaag region as well as Sool. They failed their unrealistic and false propaganda of nepotism and tribal bases. They brought an army on that border to create chaos and trouble, but because of the will of the people and the powerful military army of Somaliland the registration went on smoothly and peacefully in the far east of the country especially in Dhar area which is the success story of Somaliland. “We started in Sahil and will be finalised in Sool and this region will complete Somaliland since first time heard its name in 1884” the Vice President said and adding “You will pay a prize if you don’t take your identity card which is now knocking on your door”.


Somaliland: Voter Registration Will Be Completed.

http://www.qarannews.com/by Ahmed Khayre, London, Jan 04, 2009

The Somaliland National Elections Commission has recently commenced the voter registration drive for the 2009 Presidential and local assemblies´ elections briefly postponed as the result of the October 29th terrorist attacks in Hargeisa.

The voter registration programmed funded in part by the Somaliland government, the European Union, the United States government and several other non-governmental organizations is using bio-metrical technology to assure the validity of the process and the accuracy of the eligible voters across Somaliland.

The voter registration programme has now been completed in five,( Awdal, Marodi Jeh, Sahil, Togdher and Sanaag), of the six Somaliland provinces.(n.b. future voter programmes will take place in each of the 16 newly created provinces of Somaliland).

The last leg of the voter registration programme began on the 2nd of January in the region of Sool. There are expectations that the process will go smoothly in this region. The killing of two Somaliland soldiers who were providing security for the National Elections Commission officials outside of Buhodle in Sool will not halt the process.

The people of Somaliland deplore the killing of these two soldiers, gunned down as they did their duty for their nation.

In a region beset by violence and mayhem, Somaliland stands as a beacon of success and stability. It was not unexpected that those elements afraid of the ballot box would resort to their usual modus operandi.

The people and the government of Somaliland remain vigilant against such crimes, and assure the international community that the voter registration will proceed and the 2009 elections will be held on time and any remaining issues will be resolved in a democratic and judicial manner, as befits a politically mature and stable nation.

The path of democracy is a long and arduous journey, and the people of Somaliland have been on this trek for the last eighteen years, and they will not be deterred or thwarted by acts of desperation from the undemocratic elements.

The citizens of Somaliland will be registered and they will exercise their democratic right in the spring of 2009.


Voter Registration Began Smoothly in Sool Region

The Republican news, 3 Jan 08

Las Anod (JMG) – Voter Registration began in the 6th and last region of Somaliland yesterday in a peaceful, quite and normal pattern with greater representation of the joint, the opposition, members of parliament and the governors of Sool Region and the district of Buhoodle.

Voter registration began in the 160 stations with 34 in Las Anod (the regional capital) early in the morning, with the exceptions of four stations.

Regional correspondent, Mr. Keyse Ahmed Digale in a dispatch said; “Voter registration began on time, but the queues in many stations were short. Many people said that this was due to lack of experience.” NEC officials in Las Anod said; “WE are not surprised by the short queues. It issimilar to the first day of Voter Registration in the other 5 regions. We hope that the momentum will increase.”

Among the dignitaries who took part in a especial ceremony for launching voter registration in Sol region were Somaliland Vice President, Ministers of Defense, Interior, Foreign Affairs, other cabinet members, chairmen of the opposition parties an executive member of the ruling party, members of both houses of Parliament and other high ranking officials.

This is the first time that heavy weights from the state councils, the political parties attended a ceremony in Las Anod.


A Strange Salary Deduction Order

The Republican news, 3 Jan 08

Berbera (JMG) – “Workers in Berbera government institutions ordered to pay 10% of their salary to the rehabilitation of the Presidency (already completed).

Authorities in government institutions said; “We are surprised at this new order from the Ministry of Finance to deduct 10% of the government institutions in Berbera only. The deduction does not apply to workers in the rest of the country. We do not know why this order applies to Berbera only, especially at a time when the plight of low income workers are suffering from high price of essential goods.”

Rehabilitation expenses is said to have been provided by local businessmen and friendly countries.


Appeal to Assist the University of Hargeisa

http://www.qarannews.com/Jan 02, 2009

University of Hargeisa
Tel: +002522525763 (Telesom), Fax: 002528285499 (Soltelco),
Email Address: administrator@hargeisauniversity.net
Site:www.hargeisauniversity.net

TO: The Somaliland Diaspora and People of Goodwill
FROM: Dr. Hussein A. Bulhan, President
DATE: December 18, 2008
RE: Appeal to Assist the University of Hargeisa

As you may know, I accepted requests from various quarters (including members of the university council and faculty) that I lead the University of Hargeisa from its latest crisis which threatened its very survival. Before I accepted the job, I was busy with my clinical work and with developing inpatient and training components to complement the outpatient services I have been providing during the past several years for trauma victims and other problems in living. However, I temporarily suspended those projects to help not only save the University of Hargeisa but also the contributions of those who preceded me by setting UoH on good financial, management, and academic standard.

The University of Hargeisa is the largest university in Somaliland. It has a total of over 3,000 full- and part-time students distributed in the faculties of law, medicine, business, information and computer technology, education, and Islamic Studies. In addition, it has the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, the Institute of Research and Development, and the Department of Mass Communication now integrated in the Faculty of ICT. The campus has sufficient space for further expansion, although we are exploring to acquire more expansive land for future growth.

Since I assumed leadership of the university two weeks ago, I and the Vice President for Academic Affairs (Mubaarik Ibraahim Aar) carried out comprehensive assessment and discovered some problems that demand immediate action while others require long-term and sustained work in the future. We also found the great potential this university has for the youth and future of Somaliland. We now have a six-month plan for action to solve the problems and nurture its potentials.

We send this appeal for help by offering a menu of programs that cost you little but go a long way develop the future of Somaliland and its youth. The menu of programs includes:

Join our "the Mentorship Program" to assist poor and deserving students intellectually and with tuition fees, defraying a total of US$ 200.00 per semester or US $400.00 per year to cover tuition fees and books. In this program, the mentors and students will be randomly matched, their photographs and emails exchanged, letting each pair directly communicate and develop mentoring relationship. Each of us found a helping hand in our personal and educational development. In joining this program, we repay a debt from our past and set an example for the future.

Volunteer to our "Visiting Professors or Lecturers Program" allowing members of the Somaliland Diaspora to visit home and catch up with news from the ground while sharing knowledge or skills to next generation of Somaliland leaders in different fields. We now have three such guest professors-Abdiwaxid Sheikh Osman from the University of Minnesota Law School, Idil Guuleed of Brunel University (in West of London, UK) graduate school of Mathematics, and Engineer Ali Abdi Hersi from Canada-all in the Quest Program sponsored by UNDP and explained in its website.

Participate in our "Academic Resource Mobilization Program" to collect necessary resources like books for our library, computers for the computer center, audio-visual equipment for our nascent Mass Communication Program which we hope will become a full-fledged faculty in the near future. Some of you had contributed books, vehicles, and computers in the past. We need your help again. Most urgently, we need language lab equipment for learning English and for our sciences and technology faculty.

Assist our "Inter-University Collaboration Program" by linking the University of Hargeisa with your alma mater or a university in your areas. We need graduate studies for our students, retooling for our teachers, access to e-library, laboratory equipment, strengthening existing teaching capacity, and developing new faculties. For instance, Asha Roobleh, Fouzia Ismail, and their social work colleagues are linking us with the University of Carleton in Canada to help us develop a Social Work Faculty at the University of Hargeisa.

Join our "Physical Expansion and Enhancement Program" to not only increase currently limited space for classes and staff offices but also improve the landscape and buildings to turn the university into an enabling and learning environment. For instance, Yuusuf Warsame Siciiid, an architect with extensive training and experience, is helping us by designing and planning physical expansion and enhancement of the university.

As some of you know, I have been a member of the Somaliland Forum and the Diaspora for many years before I moved to Somaliland to do my part in rebuilding the peace and lives broken by succession of wars. What keeps me engaged and invigorated in Somaliland, despite the many material and personal challenges, are my commitment to heal injuries of the past and help forge a better life for the next generation. Although I have the opportunity and capacity to earn far better income and live more comfortably abroad, be assured that I get in return something money can neither match nor replace.

You too can contribute while abroad by giving a little of yourself, a little of your time, a little of your income. A university is not only a venue for imparting knowledge and skills. It is also a milieu for developing a better world than we find or endure today. It is the best and most humane means to change. And what you give now, you shall somehow get back.

In short, then, the University of Hargeisa needs you! The leaders of tomorrow need you! And Somaliland needs!

I know we literally moved mountains-bringing down a dictatorial regime and building a peaceful, democratic Somaliland-when we directed our heart and hand to a common goal.

If you find within yourself a desire to help in any of the above ways, please write me at drbulan@hotmail.com to declare your decision or find more information. THANK YOU!


Should We Recognize Somaliland?

http://freedomisthesolution.blogspot.com/ December 29, 2008 by Brian Shelley

League City (BNO) Because of the plague of piracy in Somalia, should we look to recognize the one working government within this failed state?

Somaliland is a small country near the horn of Africa, not to be confused with Somalia. The international community does not recognize Somaliland, but it declared independence in 1991. It was previously a British territory and briefly a separate country until the 1960s when it joined Somalia. Somaliland is today a fledgling democracy. It is vastly more stable and peaceful than Somalia.

A BBC film crew created a short documentary that reveals the differences between Somalia and Somaliland. The three sequential youtube videos can be viewed here, here, and here. In the videos it is clear that traveling anywhere in Somalia requires a small brigade of armed guards, as the journalists routinely run into people pulling out guns. The streets of Mogadishu (Somalia) are filled with armed men. In Hargeisa (the capitol of Somaliland) however, guns on the streets are rare. Even the stop lights are operating and abided by.

The BBC journalist is welcomed into a seemingly clean, modestly modern and operating maternity hospital. They are guided by a woman who runs the hospital and sits in the government. She takes them right into a large room where the government is conducting business. The President of Somaliland, who speaks English, is affable and humble about the role of government there.

Lest you think that this government is conning the journalist, he has made a series of videos on break away regions, including one of Trans-Dneistre, which he clearly makes out to be a scary police state. There are a few other lower grade videos available as well and found this view to be the consensus of journalists who have traveled there. It appears to be a remarkable place that deserves some consideration for international recognition.

Brian holds a Master's Degree in Economics (2002) from Texas A&M University. He is an Associate of the Society of Actuaries and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries. He models annuity risk for one of the world's largest insurance companies.


President Rayale described visits to Djibouti and Ethiopia as fruitful

The Republican News, Dec 27, 2008/http://www.jamhuuriya.info

Hargeisa (JMG) – President Dahir Rayale Kahin on his return from a 7-day visit to Djibouti and Ethiopia described his visist and discussions as fruitful and beneficial.

Djibouti, I met President Ismail Omer Guelleh and Senator Donald Feingold. I had long discussions with both of them and we reached an understanding that they support Somaliland.”

“I met with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Melez Zenawi in Addis Ababa. We had a long range of discussions on the horn situation, Somalia and bilateral relations and I am sure that our visit necessary. Our discussion with the Senator and the leaders of the two countries have manifested that they are aware of the current conditions existing in Somaliland and that the situation in Somalia which gets more entangled by the day helps our cause.”

In answer to whether the president’s delegation had any talks with the Prime Minister of TFG, Mr. Nuur Adde and Sheikh Sharif, he said; “We saluted each other but we had no talks with them. We are aware that there is no one in Somalia at present to whom to talk to.”

Answering about UDUB’s Conference, he said; “UDUB has its leaders and we haven’t failed in the previous elections. It has its leaders but we will be holding the party’s conference.”

The president added that the countries his delegation met will support Somaliland in its fight against terrorism and sea piracy.

In answer to why Ethiopian Airlines has stopped its flights to Hargeisa, he said; “This is due to maintenance of our airport and they will reconvene their flights once the maintenance is over. Djibouti will provide us with equipments that will support our security and I hope this will reach us soon.”

The presidential delegation had met the US Senator Donald Faingold, US Ambassadors in Kenya and Djibouti and French Ambassador in Djibouti.


Somaliland doesn’t hit other Somalis but is ready to assist: said VP Ahmed Yusuf Yasin

The Republican News, Dec 27, 2008/http://www.jamhuuriya.info

Hargeisa (JMG) – Somaliland Vice President Ahmed Yusuf Yasin, speaking at a special ceremony held at the Presidency in which Hawiye Community in the Diaspora awarded an honorary certificate to Somaliland for giving safe haven to refugees from Somalia, especially Mogadishu.

Speaking about unity, he said; “Somaliland made every effort to realize greater Somalia before 1969, we remember that the first President, Mr. Adam Abdulle Osman (Adam Adde) to have advised Somaliland leaders in 1958 to wait for a period before the merger of the two countries. Somaliland refused that and as such the Somalia Republic was formed.” “Situation in the Republic was getting worse by the day and reached a peak during the reign of the tyrant. We don’t hate the people of Somalia and other Somalis. If Somaliland is recognized we will strive hard for solving the problems of Somalia for we are more suited to do that than the international community.” He said.

The Vice President Added that the recognition of Hawiye Community to Somaliland will help realize many things. “I congratulate the youth of Hawiye in the diaspora to have the courage to think about Somaliland in this new light. I assure you that you will get the benefits of that.”

Mr. Ali Ahmed Wardheere, a member of the Hawiye Community in the diaspora who spoke at the ceremony said; “The Hawiye Community recognizes the safe haven it gave to our community who fled from the wars in Mogadishu and Somalia. We are aware that the government and the people of Somaliland have received them with open hands and for this we are awarding them this honorary certificate which we call ‘Gobonimo-Soor’.”

Chairman of the Community in Hargeisa, Mr. Farah Bindhe Hussein, spoke in detail on how the people from Somalia who fled the wars have been received by the government and the people in Somaliland.



5 Sea pirates sentenced to 20 years each

The Republican News, Dec 27, 2008/http://www.jamhuuriya.info

Berbera (JMG) 5 Somali sea pirates sentenced to 20 years prison each. The Regional Court of Berbera sentenced 5 Somali sea pirates arrested last week to 20 years prison each. Their fast boat and their weapons were confiscated.

Chairman of Berbera Regional Court Judge Osman Ibrahim Dahir speaking to the media said, “The 5 sea pirates confessed that they exchanged gunfire with Somaliland Coast Guards before they were captured. The boat and the weapons confiscated will be given to the Coast guards.” He added, "The court has also listened to 4 witnesses brought by the prosecution."

The 5 convicted Sea pirates from the Regional Administration of Puntland were captured by Somaliland Coast Guards in Shalaw- 28 Km west of the Far East port of Hees –in Sanag region -last week.

This is not the first time that sea pirates from Puntland were sentenced by a Somaliland court. In September this year 5 sea pirates were sentenced to 15 year prison each.


Voter registration began in Eastern Sanaag

The Republican News, Dec 27, 2008/http://www.jamhuuriya.info

Erigavo (JMG) – Somaliland Vice President, Mr. Ahmed Yusuf Yasin and his delegation arrived Erigavo, Regional Capital of Sanaag Friday Morning at a time when voter registration in Eastern Sanaag began. Voter Registration in fifth region, Sanaag began on Wednesday in 150 of the 210 stations allocated for Sanaag region.

Registration has been so far moving smoothly and peacefully in these stations.

There was a misunderstanding of beginning voter registration in 60 remaining stations allocated for East Sanaag. According to our Eastern Regions correspondent, Mr. Keyse Ahmed Digale, registration began at 37 new stations in the far Eastern Part of the Region.

“There was no voter registration in the towns of Badhan and Dhahar but registration began in almost all the villages surrounding these towns. Registration in the remaining 23 stations is expected to begin either on Saturday or Sunday morning.” Said Keyse Digale.


KULMIYE blames the government for high fuel prices

The Republican News, Dec 27, 2008/http://www.jamhuuriya.info

Hargeisa (JMG) – Second Deputy Chairman of the opposition KULMIYE party, Mr. Mahamed Abdirahman Abdikader in a press conference held here this week criticized the government for the high fuel prices in Somaliland at a time when fuel prices are its lowest for many years in the International Market.

He said; “A barrel of fuel costs $200 today in Somaliland while the International price is just a little above $40. The current price was set at a time when the International Price was $147.”

Mr. Mahamed Abdirahman Abdikader added asking himself a hypothetical questions said; “Where does this extra money go which is a burden on the people and the economy? It goes to the hands of the Authorities and those connected with the trade. It is really surprising and unexpected that the government is taking such measures which affect the lives of the people. This is a crime committed on the nation by the government and should be immediately corrected. This can be done by decreasing the price to the level of the International Market – for we produce none and depend on the International Market. If immediate action is not taken, the people should protest against this injustice.”


SOMALIA: Somaliland records drop in landmine accidents

HARGEISA, 26 December 2008 (IRIN) - The self-declared republic of Somaliland recorded a sharp drop in landmine-related accidents in 2008 compared with 2007, a mine clearance organisation official has said.

Hassan Ahmed Kosar, operations officer for the Halo Trust, the only international mine clearance organisation currently operating in Somaliland, said 15 accidents - down from 45 in 2007 - were recorded in Somaliland in 2008.

"Most of the accidents were caused by unexploded ordnance [UXO] and anti-tank mines planted in roads during the confrontation between the SNM [Somali National Movement - the liberation organisation in Somaliland between 1981 and 1991] and [former Somali President] Siyad Barre's regime in the late 1980s, as well as during the Ogaden war between Somalia and Ethiopia in the late 1970s," Kosar told IRIN on 22 December in Somaliland's capital, Hargeisa.

Kosar said Somaliland was one of five unrecognised nations to have signed the international landmine ban treaty, adding that the government had destroyed 3,014 anti-personnel mines in its stores in 2003.

He said the Halo Trust had destroyed more than 3,614 landmines or UXO, 90,694 small arms, and 37,760 anti-tank mines since 1999.

According to the Somaliland Mine Action Centre (SMAC), a government body, over two million mines were planted in Somaliland between 1964 and 1990.

Abdirahman Yusuf, a SMAC operations officer, said: "According to the last survey - conducted in collaboration with international mine clearance organisations, particularly the Halo Trust - over 600 roads were mined during the war; there are also 300 minefields scattered throughout the country."

Demining operations have been going on in Somaliland since 1991.

Rimfire, a UK-based mine clearance organisation, began its first demining project in Somaliland in 1992-1993, clearing over 64,000 landmines and UXO.

“We are much bigger than Rimfire in terms of manpower and we also use modern demining equipment," the Halo Trust’s Kosar said.

In 2003 the Danish Demining Group (DDG) cleared landmines from 300 roads. Santa Barbara, an international mine clearance organisation, was also active in Somaliland 2000-2002.

The Halo Trust is carrying out a new landmine survey due for completion in late 2009. Kosar made a plea for more international funding to speed up mine clearance operations.


Somaliland's chairman of Sahil Region sentenced Pirates to 20 years in prison

Mareeg, Dec 25, 08

The chairman of Sahil Region court Dr Usman Ibrahim Dahir has announced that his court has sentenced five pirates who hail from Puntland regional state to 20 years in prison.

The pirates were arrested by Somaliland coastguards who were assisted by civilians on 13 December in Shalcow area, Xiise District, Sanaag Region [northeastern Somaliland region, northwestern Somalia].

Dr Usman said it had been proven in court and that the five men had admitted to be pirates from Puntland and were planning to seize ships off the coast of Sanaag Region.

"The court had sentenced the five men to 20 years in prison as per articles 230, 234, 118 and 73 of the penal code. The court also ruled that four guns and a speedboat used by the pirates be transferred to Somaliland coastguards," said Dr Usman.

The five convicted pirates are: 1. Muhammad Mahmud Abdi 2. Abdi Umar Yasin 3. Abdi Ali Ilmi 4. Shu'aib Usman Yasin 5. Abdirashid Abdiqadir Ilmi.

This is not the first that the Sahil Regional court has convicted sea pirates. The court sentenced five pirates from Puntland who were operating on the Somali coast to 15 years, in September this year.


Largest ever, life saving campaign to reach 1.5 million Somali children

UNICEF, 25 December 2008

Child Health Days launched to deliver high-impact interventions for children at community level.

Nairobi, Kenya, Wednesday, 24 December 2008 – Over 1.5 million children under the age of five and women of child-bearing age across the entire country of Somalia will benefit from a package of preventive care that will be delivered in local communities starting today.

The campaign of ‘Child Health Days’ was launched in Hargeisa, the capital of northwest Somalia (the self-declared republic of ‘Somaliland’) by Vice President, Ahmed Yusuf Yasin who urged every family to participate in the campaign, “I recommending to everyone to take their children to be vaccinated. This campaign is important because it will lead to the social improvement and development of Somaliland. The government is committed to its success.”

In a country with limited social services, weak health infrastructure and a volatile security situation, where one child in every ten dies before its first birthday, UNICEF and WHO are partnering with local authorities and NGOs to protect children under five against preventable childhood diseases and water-borne illnesses, to reduce malnutrition and to safeguard women against neonatal tetanus in child delivery.

The interventions comprise child immunization against measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and polio; Vitamin A supplementation; nutritional assessments; de-worming; the distribution of oral rehydration salts and water purification tablets; breastfeeding promotion; and tetanus toxoid vaccination of girls and women aged 15 – 49.

Speaking at the launch event, UNICEF Representative for Somalia, Christian Balslev-Olesen said “This campaign is historic because it marks the launch of multi-million dollar strategy to improve the survival rates of all Somali children. It is our largest ever campaign and it relies on partnerships for its outreach and its success. By working in partnership, we are aiming to reach every single child under the age of five with this high-impact life-saving package of interventions. Working together, we can protect children and their mothers against preventable diseases. Working together, we are making it possible to improve the lives of every Somali child.”

Messages raising awareness of the campaign have been sent via mosques, cell-phones, radio, TV and loudspeakers, and every Somali family is being urged to take advantage of this health care package. More than 3,600 field teams are taking the campaign to urban and rural areas of Somalia utilizing schools, health centres, mosques, and remote areas, mobile clinics.

Kaltun, a 28 year old mother of two, brought her 9 month old son Saad to the launch event be vaccinated. “I want to prevent my child getting measles and other diseases” she said, “My first child is healthier than this baby because he was vaccinated” Kaltun welcomed the campaign’s community outreach. “The [Maternal and Child Health Clinic] is too far; I have to take two buses to get there. I prefer the service to come to me.”

After kicking off in Somaliland, the Child Health Days campaign will continue in January in northeast Somalia (the semi-autonomous region of ‘Puntland’) and central southern Somalia. The second round of the campaign will be conducted in six months time.

The campaign has been made possible with the support of Denmark, Japan, the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC), the Canadian Committee for UNICEF, USAID and the UN Foundation.

For further information, please contact: Denise Shepherd-Johnson, Chief, Communication, UNICEF Somalia, Mob: +252 2 4426119 Email: dshepherdjohnson@unicef.org


Somaliland’s Voter Registration: It better be Done Right

by Adan H Iman, Los Angeles http://www.qarannews.com/Dec 23, 2008

During the last seven years, Somaliland conducted successful democratic elections to elect municipal councils, members of parliament and a president. There were no voter registrations during those elections. An indelible ink on the index finger was used as deterrence against voter fraud. Still, independent election monitors certified that those elections were, by and large, free and fair.

But the standard to hold democratic elections is to have all voters registered so that each person can cast only one vote. As Somaliland faced a new cycle of elections, the government aspired, and made it known to the international community, to enhance the country’s democratic process to the universal standard whereby all voters are registered. The international community responded with a very generous grant of $14 million to register all voting age people.

The donors selected a contractor to deliver voter registration equipment to the country and trained local staff on the equipment and how to conduct the process.

During the last two months voter registration has been taking place in the country. The number of people registered in Sahel and Awdal- the first two regions where the registration took place- was close to the number of people who had voted in the preceding elections. For the next regions in the process, Hargeisa saw the number of people who registered to be twice the number of people who went to the polls in prior election and for Burao the number tripled, to about 330,000 according to press accounts.

The donors have provided a large amount of money for the project, indicating the high level of interest and support the international community has for democracy in Somaliland. The software that is being used to register people is designed to match each genuine finger print with a unique name. A report can be generated for all deviations from this such as the existence of multiple names for a single finger print or names without corresponding, distinct finger prints.

It seems that there will be a tolerable deviation rate. If for example there is 0.05% deviation, I think that will be tolerated because it is not possible to expect that 100% of all names will have distinct finger prints. But if we have high deviation rate, than it will be a mess to remedy the situation. Shall we throw away all those deviations? Will it be better to redo in regions where large deviation were found to have occurred?

The fact is after voters in the remaining two regions are registered then the experts, and the donors, will query the system to learn about the process in each and every region.

The purpose of the voter registration effort is to have one person one vote. If, however, it happens that there are large irregularities in the registration process, it will adversely affect Somaliland in two ways: (1) the international community will think twice before granting any more aid to Somaliland (2) it will cause instability internally because regions that conducted themselves responsibly will not accept the outcome of a rigged registration process.

The Election Commission, the three political parties and the government must ensure that the voter registration is done right. We simply can not afford a registration effort that is not nearly 100% accurate. We should not rush to a presidential election unless every thing is certified to be transparent and accurate.


Somaliland recognition long over due says Hawiye leaders

(Somalilandpress, Tuesday 23rd December 2008) - For the first time since the creation of Somaliland the powerful Hawiye clan of Somalia have finally endorsed for Somaliland to be an independent country from southern Somalia. The spokesman for Hawiye clan Mr Ali Abdi Wardheere (Ali-Yare) who lives aboard is in Hargeysa this week where he met with Somaliland vice-president