In the next thirty years, Somaliland became a captive state within a state. A brutal dictatorship, fostered by Soviet Russia, eroded patriotic sentiments and the bonds of nationalism. In January 1991, after ten years of struggle against the army of the dictator Siyad Barre, the forces of the Somali National Movement (SNM) liberated Somaliland from the tyranny of attempted genocide.
We immediately set about halting the anarchy and chaos by holding meetings throughout the country to resolve deeply felt antagonisms, slowly rebuilding the fabric of our nation, the Republic of Somaliland. Today, only months after the marathon Conference in Borama elected Mohamed Ibrahim Egal as President and Abdirahman Aw Ali as Vice-President, the Republic of Somaliland is at peace with itself.
The elders, Garaads, and sultans played a vital role in preventing the political process from disintegrating: they have been a source of guidance to their constituents and wise advice to the political leaders and the commanders of the SNM freedom fighters. The strength of the elders in Somaliland, their success as advisers and conciliators, contrasts with the elders of Somalia who have singularly failed to meet their responsibilities in these respects.
This is not the picture of Somaliland which you will get from any video or film footage, from any radio broadcast or journalist’s report; this is the true picture. Despite our obvious and long-standing differences, UNOSOM persists in dealing with us together with chaotic Somalia. Perhaps this is the result of their insecurity: an attempt to bury the example of Somaliland’s success, because of the fear that it may contrast too glaringly with the failed efforts of the UN and UNOSOM in Somalia.
Although we must be aware of our shortcomings, must concentrate on mistakes we still have to correct and on achievements we have yet to realize, we are nonetheless confident that we can run our country and manage our own affairs more effectively than the UN. We have established a central administration supervising and encouraging autonomous regional and district authorities; laws governing these local institutions were passed by parliament.
Regions have been given time to hold indirect elections at the district level, prior to forming Regional and District Councils. Each district already has its own police force, which is kept going solely by the issue of rations, since neither the government nor the Regional or District Councils have yet generated sufficient revenue to pay their monthly wages. International assistance with such matters is desperately needed.
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- Somaliland: The Little Country That Could By David Shinn
- Somaliland Is A Beacon Of Democracy In An Unstable Region
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