Deputy Speaker’s visit to Somaliland: It was about time.

The honourable Farah Maalim, deputy speaker of the Kenyan parliament, visit to Somaliland was well-timed and well-received. Mr. Maalim took it upon himself to see the truth about Somaliland. First and foremost, Somaliland become independent on 26th of June, 1960, five days before joining Italian Somalia to form a union which become the now-defunct Somali Republic .

During that five day period, Somaliland received international recognition from no less 36 nations, including the USA , UK , USSR , France , Ethiopia , etc. So, let us be clear about this, Somaliland was a sovereign nation before July 1st, 1960 , with a settled population and defined borders.

In the euphoria of post-colonialism, the people of Somaliland in their haste,decided to form a union with Somalia , a union that was not ratified by parliament or put to a national referendum.

The unbalanced and unrepresentative union eventually led to a the civil war of 1988-1991, and the bombardment by the Somali Air Force of both Hargeisa and Buroa, leading to untold loss of life and the displacement of the local population.

On 18th May, 1991 , with the support of all Somalilanders through dialogue, discussion and consensus, and irrespective of tribe or social standing, Somaliland restored its sovereignty.

In the intervening 20 years, Somaliland has been stable, democratic and progressive. Somalilanders of all social and tribal persuasion have come together and rebuilt their nation, rebuilt their homes, rebuilt their economy, schools,universities and hospitals and are engaged in combating terrorism and piracy.

Somaliland is not and has never been dominated by single clan, it was Somalia that was dominated and strangled to death by a single clan.

For example, the current President, H.E. Dahir Rayale Kahin is not from the majority clan. President Kahin, then as Vice-President rightfully ascended to the presidency upon the death of his predecessor, the late Mohamed Ibrahim Egal. A peaceful and orderly transfer of power. It was constitutional and it was legal.

President Rayale was re-elected by a mere 80 votes in 2003. Again, peaceful and legal resolution to any political issues. The President faces an election this year, and whatever the outcome, the transition will peaceful, legal and orderly.

Both chambers of the Somaliland parliament are representative of the nation’s many communities.

Every section of Somaliland society, political, social, economic, educational, and religious is truly representative of the nation.

Somaliland’s opponents would do better to stop spreading falsehood about the country and use their energy towards bringing about peace and stability to Somalia .

Mr. Maalim and his delegation visited Somaliland for almost a week. They went everywhere,saw everything and met everyone. They were met with a warm welcome and open arms. They saw Somaliland ‘s progress; its successes, its needs, and its set-backs. Nothing was hidden. In effect, they saw the truth.

And now, Mr. Maalim is coming under fire because he went there, saw the truth and returned to Nairobi “pleasantly surprised and very encouraged”. And they wonder why there is no progress in Somalia .

Ahmed Kheyre

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