People all over the world are segmented according to characteristics, loyalties and affiliations that separate one segment or group from the other. These could be geographic, demographic, professional, political or the like.
That is why, for example, Djibouti is geographically and politically different from its neighbors Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somaliland. That is why we have these names: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somaliland, Somalia, Kenya, United States, Russia, UK, Poland, China and so on and so forth.
That is why we have different systems, currencies, passports, leaders, borders and so on.
That is why we have boundaries that govern us, shape our outlook, separate us from the next entity and group us into allies, compatriots and professions.
None of us cross over into the next irrespective of the status quo without owning up to the consequences of the action. We do not shed one coat and replace it with another at will. We do not tear up one passport and pick up another falling on our hands from above.
We are not, in effect, an Ethiopian this minute and an Italian the next, and a Chinese the third minute.
That is why we have nations, flags and different identities in this world. That is how it has been; that is how it is going to remain.
On the same token, a mechanical engineer does not metamorphose into a heart surgeon whenever he/she so wishes. There are laws, qualifications and considerations that shape up who we are, what we do, with whom we have common ground and who turns against us and our interests. In latter cases, we even go into extremes – on occasion – to defend us from the ‘marauder’.
Each of us has something to sell: a product, a service, a theme, a cause, an idea, etc. etc. All of these can be used in Hargeisa as they are in Mogadishu. They have groceries, mini markets, vendors. They have courts that can use judges, lawyers. they have theaters that can use singers and musicians. they have parliaments, a cabinet of ministries that may welcome politicians. They have halls that can house all the NGOs in Somaliland.
Somaliland, as a state is made up of different elements that united to form a unit: artistes, clans, teachers, traders, pastoralists, farmers, soldiers, politicians, diplomats, elders, religious scholars, men, women, children, the young, the aged. No section or sections is either above the law of the land or can opt out without bringing down the rest with it. There are precedents of such attempts which causes us all life and much anguish.
Together, Somaliland has become the Republic of Somaliland and, together, we challenged all odds to stand together and demand that the world acknowledge our inalienable right to self-determination.
Closer to home, in Somaliland, that a grocer dons a white coat. Grasp a scalpel and start opening bellies in a hospital as a self-styled surgeon is unacceptable.
If that does not work for the said individual because of, primarily, the absence of requisite competence, skill and qualification, it does not mean that the public, the law and the world has turned against him. It only means that this person crossed boundaries, broken rules, ignored ethics, falsely represented himself, deceived others and trespassed grounds that he/she had no right to traverse in the first place.
Suppose, each of us claimed we were not subject to by law, ethics, morals, values and norms and that none of us respected the other, or the nation or set national values, by-laws or the constitution which bound us together.
Suppose, all the different associations, groups, clans, offices and – for that matter – individuals turned our backs on common, national values to claim that we were above the law.
Suppose, each of these groups, individuals and different associations tore up the national flag, promoted other countries’ standards, assisted enemies to abrogate yours, denied the Constitution, unilaterally downsized national values and causes, preached anarchy, advocated lawlessness and proclaimed yourself a phenomenon that was subject or respectful of no law, no ‘boundaries’.
Should we decide to all move over to Mogadishu and forget about this that some call the Republic of Somaliland? Should we create another federal state to be called Somalia-land?
No one is above the law.
There is no law that moderates excesses, actions of one individual or group in Somaliland but cannot touch another.
In Somaliland, the Constitution, the law that makes the Republic of Somaliland what it is – with all its causes and objectives – regulates, supervises and channels all of our actions so that (a) we remain united as one country, one Somaliland; (b) respect each other and our national causes; (c) we can live together in peace and harmony; and (d) in order to be able to observe a, b and c, we abide by the law of the country.Looking at comments made on the social media following the arrest of members of the vocalist, music group ‘Xiddigaha’, one would come to the belief that entertainment groups, media practitioners, lawyers, and other professional associations were free to go to a Mogadishu that does not recognize Somaliland’s reaffirmation of its sovereignty whenever they wished.
Incidentally, this about the third time members assisted Mogadishu to beam to the outside world that Hargeisa, the capital of the republic of Somaliland, was, in fact, ‘the second capital of Somalia’ according to Somalia’s media coverage and official reports. The ‘Xiddigaha’, to Mogadishu, were only an extension of their Waberi troupe.
Cursorily glancing through the Somali Penal Code’s Crimes against the Personality of the State (Articles 184-239) come to mind.By going through the comments of a younger generation, opposition members, other ‘Xiddigaha’ members, and listening to ‘press conferences’ on the issue, one would come to the belief that only ‘politicians’ were barred from the ‘privilege’ of flights to and fro Mogadishu.
The government of Somaliland is, partly, to blame for the current, sorry state of affairs relating to the unity of the nation and the protection of the principles adopted by national representatives of all clans, respectively, in 1991 (Burao), 1993 (Borama) and 1997 (Hargeisa).
On 2oth August 2015, for instance, what was called the ‘Somalia-land Human Rights Defenders Coalition’ was concluded here in Hargeisa. It was a UN-driven initiative. The Government said nothing about it.
Having succeeded in that, another to be called the ‘Legal Aid Workers Network’ is going to follow soon, also to be held in Hargeisa. How many others of a similar vein are held in Garowe, Mogadishu, elsewhere to bring together actors from Somaliland, Mogadishu-land, Puntland, Jubbaland and a myriad of other satellite states – all aiming to stamp out the existence of the Republic of Somaliland, systematically.
The values of the Somaliland Republic, one must keep in mind, are enshrined in its Constitution. Below are pertinent articles.
Article 1: The State of the Republic of Somaliland
- The country which gained its independence from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 26th June 1960 and was known as the Somaliland Protectorate and which joined Somalia on 1st July 1960 so as to form the Somali Republic and then regained its independence by the Declaration of the Conference of the Somaliland communities held in Burao between 27th April 1991 and 15th May 1991 shall hereby and in accordance with this Constitution become a sovereign and independent country known as “The Republic of Somaliland”.
- Sovereignty resides in the people who shall exercise it in accordance with the Constitution and other laws.
Article 34: The Duties of the Citizen
- Every citizen shall have the duty, in accordance with the law, to strengthen the unity of the nation, the protection of the sovereignty of the state, and the defence of the country and the religion.
- Every person has the duty to respect the Constitution and the laws of the country.
- Every person has the duty to pay promptly his taxes and other duties as imposed under the law.
- Every person shall have the duty to care for, protect and save the environment.
- The law shall determine the punishment for failure to fulfil the duties imposed in Clauses 1 to 4 (of this Article).
Article 23: Freedom of Movement and Association
- Every person who is a citizen or lawfully resident in the country shall be free to move to or settle at any place of his choice, or leave or return to the country at will.
- The matters (rights) set out in Clause 1 of this Article are subject to any law which forbids the movement to or settlement at specific places or during specific times.
- All citizens shall have the right to form, in accordance with the law, political, educational, cultural, social, and occupational or employees’ associations.
- Associations with objectives which are contrary to the national interest or are secret or are military in nature or armed or are otherwise against the law, whatever their outward appearance might be, are prohibited.
Article 25: The Right to Liberty, Guarantees and the Conditions of Rights and Freedoms
- The freedoms of the person shall not override the laws protecting the public morals, the security of the country or the rights of other individuals.
However one looks at it, the Republic of Somaliland is under attack. Standard bearers of this attack is from within, the lead of which being a slumbering security apparatus that – even if woken up – is disoriented and ignorant of its obligations towards the protection of the statehood, the sovereignty of the Republic.
The United Nations offices, international organizations and local networks that have working relationships with them come second as they promote the idea of a ‘one Somalia’ in their letterheads, correspondence, office signboards, and so on.
Again the government – leading by example – accepts this state of affairs scared of the withdrawal of ‘ international support’, sacrificing statehood for material considerations.
God save Somaliland!
Ms Hana Barkhad,