The Unjustified Opposition of Africa to Somaliland Recognition

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The political map of Africa that shows its independent countries had not been made by United Nations, by African Union, or by African nations. It is the result of the European Colonial Occupation that invaded African Continent at the end of the 19th century and divided it up into territories with colonial borders for their own political sphere of influence. When leaving Africa mainly in the 1960s, the Europeans based the independence and diplomatic recognition of all African emerging countries including Somaliland on their colonial borders inherited from the colonial powers. Thus, the current African states is the creation of European Colonial Powers. Likewise, all the borders of the Arab World [and the rest of Asia], as well as South America also emerged from colonial borders drawn mainly by Britain, France, and Spain and were all recognized too on their colonial borders.

Somaliland is located in the Horn of Africa. It lies between the 08°00′ – 11°30′ parallel North of the Equator and between 42°30′ – 49°00′ Meridian East of Greenwich. It is bordered by the Red Sea to the North, Djibouti to the West, Ethiopia to the South, and Somalia to the East. Somaliland has a coastline with the majority lying along the Gulf of Aden (Red Sea). The country is slightly larger than England, with an area of 137, 600 km² (53,100 sq miles).

For groundless, unjustified reasons, Somaliland is not recognized yet. According to the unique history of the continent of Africa, an African country is recognized as an independent nation when it meets or fulfills the following three requirements:

1. That it is colonized separately
2. That it has its own colonial borders
3. And that it has official proclamation of independence granted by the colonizing power on specific date (see below).

Somaliland has perfectly fulfilled the three required conditions to be recognized as independent country and that is why it was recognized on June 26, 1960 by the United Nations and many countries of the international community.

As the world is aware of, the Soviet Union that had 15 Socialist Republics created by the Bolshevik Revolution led by Lenin in 1917 broke up after social upheavals and political discontent ended its existence peacefully in 1989 with new countries emerging from it such as Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia etc. The federation of former Republic of Yugoslavia that had 8 countries also broke up too after bloody civil wars [1991-1995] and new countries such as Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Slovenia etc. emerged from its ashes. All these new emerging countries were recognized as sovereign nations by the United Nations and International community. South Sudan, which was historically part of Sudan during colonial occupation, Eritrea, and East Timor were too recognized as independent nations.

So, why do the UN, AU, and the international community withholding Somaliland diplomatic recognition since 1991 [27 years] knowing that Somaliland has its own colonial borders inherited from colonial powers as the rest of Africa, that it achieved independence before Somalia in 1960, and that Somaliland withdrew from the union with Somalia after Somalia committed atrocities and crimes against Humanity in Somaliland in 1980s?

The declaration of Organization of African Unity (O.A.U) in 1964 on African Borders was the formal acceptance of the existing colonial borders inherited from colonial powers on which independence and recognition of each African country were based including Somaliland. That declaration had nothing to do with unifications, federations, and unions between two or more African countries like the failed union between Somaliland and Somalia formed unthoughtfully in 1960. A union or federation could be dissolved anytime if the sides disagree each restoring and retaining its original independence and borders. That declaration reinforces the rightful claim of Somaliland to be recognized as independent nation based on its colonial borders. That declaration does not prevent Somaliland from withdrawing from the union with Somalia and restoring its independence and diplomatic recognition achieved on June 26, 1960. If Uganda and Kenya share union today and after some time they disagree and dissolve that union, each would still be independent, recognized nation on its own colonial borders

African Union and African leaders claim that if Somaliland is recognized, it will shift or change the borders of current African independent states inherited from colonial powers leading to instability and political unrest in Africa. If that claim were true, why didn’t the recognition of South Sudan and Eritrea change the borders of Africa and cause instability and political unrest in the continent? Unlike Somaliland, South Sudan did share history and colonial borders with Sudan but, at the same time, was recognized. Senegal and Gambia founded federation or union in February 1982 calling it Senegambia. That union was dissolved in September 1989 after disagreement and each country retained its original independence and diplomatic recognition without changing the borders of Africa. So, why denying Somaliland of retaining that independence and recognition it had before the union with Somalia?

This is groundless claim and unjustified argument of African leaders to deny Somaliland of its inalienable right to independent nation. Somaliland has the same historical colonial borders with the rest of African, independent, recognized countries, and achieved independence before Somalia on June 26, 1960. Somaliland recognition would solely be based on its own unique colonial borders of Somaliland British Protectorate as the independence and recognition of any African state was based on its own colonial borders, and would never change or shift the colonial borders of Africa let alone causing instability or political unrest in the African continent.

Africa’s opposition to Somaliland diplomatic recognition is unjustified. Why do African Union and African Leaders deny Somaliland of having diplomatic recognition based on its own unique colonial borders while the rest of Africa enjoys such diplomatic recognition and independence based on their own colonial borders too? Isn’t that the height of hypocrisy?

Somaliland is not a secessionist or breakaway region from Somalia but Somaliland just withdrew from the union with Somalia after Somalia grossly violated the union and committed atrocities and crimes against Humanity in Somaliland in 1980s? If Nyanza Province of Kenya, or Arusha Region of Tanzania, or Puntland province of Somalia break away from their own respective countries, that would be secessionists, separatists, or breakaways and that would change or shift the colonial borders of Africa inherited from colonial powers and that would create instability and political unrest in the continent of Africa because these provinces share history and colonial borders with their own countries.

Before Somaliland independence of June 26, 1960, Somaliland was British Protectorate for nearly 80 years with its own unique colonial borders while Somalia was Italian colony that achieved independence on July 1st, 1960 on its own colonial borders. Somaliland was recognized by the United Nations and many countries on June 26, 1960 like the rest of African countries before sharing the hasty, devastating union with Somalia on July 1st 1960.

Knowing that Somaliland achieved independence before Somalia in 1960, why does the international community, particularly the Western World, believe in the unfounded, unjustified claim of African Union and African leaders that Somaliland is a breakaway province from Somalia while they know that it is not? Why not recognizing Somaliland on its own colonial borders inherited from colonial powers as they recognize the rest of the African countries?

The committee designated by president Ahmed Mohammed Mohamoud [Silaanyo] for seeking Somaliland international diplomatic recognition is recommended, besides their own historical knowledge and facts, to fight the unjustified offensive claim of African Union and African leaders that Somaliland is a breakaway province or secessionist from Somalia using similar approach as the one detailed in this article for the speedy recognition of Somaliland. Somaliland has unchallenged legitimacy for international diplomatic recognition. It does not need approval from Somalia as any other African country does not need the approval of its own independence and recognition from any other African country.
Somaliland government, Somaliland people and Somaliland media must also fight fiercely [domestically and internationally] the idea that Somaliland is “secessionist” or “breakaway region” from Somalia. Somaliland withdrew from the disastrous union with Somalia after Somalia committed atrocities and human rights abuses against Somaliland.

Ibrahim Hassan Gagale
Email: ibrahimgagale@gmail.com
Date: June 27, 2017  

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