By Abdirahman Mohamed Dirye
If any country ever recognizes Somaliland for being democratic or colonial ties or interest or all combined, it would be the UK government. There is sizable Somali community in the UK who are mainly from Somaliland, earlier generations fought for Britain during Second World War died alongside with Royal Army. Last weeks, Sheffield City Council convened to vote not their city’s upgrade infrastructure, but somebody’s else business beyond their legtimacy : recognize Somaliland purportedly as an answer to the global blockade upon Somaliland people or give panacea to accumulated social ills over two decades especially in this time of despair as international isolation mounts upon Somaliland current government amids allegations of massive scale embezzlements and sheltering terrorists? Apparently that wasn’t the case there.
Mohamed Ma’ruf made mockery of Somaliland and put forward the matter to the municipality just to retain his Somalilander British citizens’ votes. That is all and nothing else, irrelevant of who did so, did this create media storms to force the world to pay attention to Somaliland?
The fiasco just reflects not just UK abandonment of Somaliland support but also the failure of Somaliland diplomacy when Somaliland foreign Chief Bihi Yonis sat in the council playing domestic political game to boost Somaliland ethnic voter turnout. Somaliland’s foreign policy went awry, it’s all time low since Adna Adan’s time.
Sheffield City disgraced an entire cause and derailed UK concerted effort toward Somaliland recognition worldwide reducing to mere local district council trivial matter rather than an overriding issue under consideration of the UK Foreign Office, interestingly, this “stunt” triggered cause célèbre locally and Somaliland’s ageless president peer of Sir Winston Churchill begun to feed the poor masses on psychodrama and litter public opinion with extra hypnotizing toxic to pave the way for his hangover. “Recognition materialized! Finally, recognition has arrived!” yelled disoriented crowd in front of Sheffield City Council. Is this wacky step worthy of celebration? Ahmed Silanyo President sent prize awards to Mohamoud Ma’rouf and his co-actors for their key role for the matter idolizing the greatest breakthrough since Somaliland foundation a quarter century ago.
But this child’s play suggested Somaliland current leadership considered Somaliland’s recognition somewhat “fata morgana or mirage and often nonstarter”, therefore; they allowed the Council to make fun of it in order to mislead their subjects since the Reunification Talks met much of the expectations of the Somali unionists in Mogadishu and the secession remain not mere a taboo but ruled out in the context, only irrelevant issues like joint airport (and land) running are permitted, in other words comprehensive unity with unitary government is under discussion in Turkey to threat neighbors as usual as before.
Few rational Somalilanders in the diaspora never believed one second that a municipality, be it London or New York never mind Sheffield would recognize. Following standard practice, not riding roughshod, they vote for MPs to raise their major concerns in parliament—not in local governments— including citizenship of the hosting country and recognition of their original home. It is a tragic delusion when someone claiming to be foreign minister and broker minister of “murky” exploitive oil firms is led to believe municipalities can recognize. It tellingly indicates they don’t know the proper channels of diplomacy. Both ministers sat in local government council congress watching soap opera with great enthusiasm which an author rightly described “symbolic… and has no legal weight”
If Sheffield City is serious about their recognition – which I think they are not—they can donate their dilapidated heavy equipments of 19 century to Hargeisa City Council to repair melting roads in terrible state that murder thousands of innocent people annually. Sincere people try to construct long distance roads with bare hands and shovels.
Many claim that Sheffield municipal confab ended in “recognition” to breakaway Somaliland which portrayed to help Somaliland break its international isolation was, in fact not just a cheap shot but an utter humbug.
Sheffield’s “lullaby” to Somaliland, a formerly part and parcel of Commonwealth was an exercise in futility because most of Somalilanders in and out of the country don’t see it will bring any good anytime soon, but rather complicate any endeavor for that matter: the UK overseas diplomatic missions will continue to disdain to attach UK visas on passport from Democracy lest Arabia oil family enterprises curse them while they unconditionally give their visas to Warlord-turned-Pirate-turned Jihadist presidents of Somalia! It’s a pity to lip service all time.
I am not believer in recognition is ultimate conclusion but the beginning of reconstruction and radical reform. There many other outstanding problems including massive corruption and abuse of foreign aid in the upper hierarchy of the government. But I wonder why the Western hurriedly recognized South Sudan not Somaliland, better candidate.
On the other hand, few Somalilanders said the announcement was watershed in Somaliland history. furthermore, the game show televised in the national TV“ we’ll never forget Sheffield for extending helpful hand to us when other liberal democracies denied us the right of self-determination enshrined in the UN, UK or the US constitutions” they stated sentimentally.
If recognition is available for sale, I think Somaliland would be the first buyer at the any price.
Mohamed Bihi Harun, an analyst from Somaliland based in the UK angrily stated that Somaliland is in state of leadership crisis incapable of setting about the absence of recognition. He described the talks of recognition by Sheffield is just “hot air and castle in the air as well”.
Though Sheffield’s feisty step for granting “recognition” to Somaliland without UK foreign ministry’s knowledge is admired by few people and ridiculed by many others, Somaliland surely needs UK government diplomatic support in international arena prior to recognition and afterwards as well as an ultimate exit for the state of limbo that it has been enduring since its inception.