By Mohamed Ahmed

     To those of us who came of age after the collapse of Somali government in 1991, the need for something a kin to lucid and thoughtful conversation about how the Somali Union was formed is demanding. So much would seem, upon reflection obvious. But beyond the catchy phrases (Muqadas), the misleading crass, and dishonest language a serious historical look into the issue of the union is required. To Some history is boring stuff. They can forget about it and it doesn’t matter anymore, but if you are a Somali person history is your friend. It is your guide through the contours of Somali politics.

        Somaliland rights to secede can’t be overcome by verbal magic, but by historical facts. Let us consider the Unionist agenda of One Somalia more carefully from historical perspective. If, as appears likely, Unionist wants to ignore history, then their point collapses upon slightest scrutiny.  When a shared premise of understanding history is lacking there is the untoward consequence of big misunderstanding!

       We all know the State of Somalia came about into existence in 1960, resulting from merger of Southern Somalia, an Italian trust territory and Northern Somaliland, a British protectorate. In the words of the eminent Somali scholar Professor Ahmed Samatar these were the two original “lands” . It is indeed true all these other mini-states utterly baffles the mind.

          The 1950’s was a very noble and elevated period for Somalis. According to historians this was also the time the 1954 Anglo-Ethiopian treaty, which permitted the British to cede part of Somalia to Ethiopia was signed. This treaty motivated the North to rally behind a campaign for unification and independence. The Somali nationalism (Somalinimo) during these period obscured the historical and political differences that existed between the British-Somaliland and Italian ruled South Somalia. During the same period, it was a time where many African countries wanted to overcame colonial domination and exploitation.

             The eighty year British rule came to end on 26 June 1960 when Somaliland gained independence. Five days later, South Somalia gained independence From Italy. In a hasty decision driven by Somalinimo a Union was declared with South Somalia. This shows British- Somaliland was actually a separate independent State for five days before joining the Italian Somalia. This brief period of independence coupled with territorial integrity serves today as the principal legal justification of Somaliland right to secede. The state of Somaliland and its people indeed existed as a sovereign person!

         The Somaliland legislature passed the union of Somalia and Somaliland law on 27 June1960.But Somalia refused to sign it, instead Mogadishu based national assembly, which didn’t have jurisdiction over Somaliland, repealed the treaty and instead drew up their own Act of Union on June 30 1960, which they called Atto di Unione. In retaliation also Somaliland refused to sign their act. On June 30th at midnight the Italian trusteeship expired and president of legislative declared independence of Somalia

      Despite the lack of valid act of Union signed by both parties a United Somalia was announced. This was strange way of forming a union between two different countries. A proposed unitary constitution was adopted without the blessing of British Somaliland. In fact some reports indicated   the voters turn up in the North for the referendum constitution of June 1961 was very low. Nevertheless the new constitution was adopted without the blessing of British Somaliland citizens.

          Somaliland gullible elites were to blame for accepting a non-existent union that no one consented. According to Some observers these elites were seduced by Mogadishu power .In fact one can argue the same problem exist today with  woolly-minded elite from Somaliland( individuals like Fowzia Yusuf Haji and Buuba)  abandoning Somaliland and taking up positions in quick-get-rich scheme in Mogadishu. Seasoned politicians like the founder of Somaliland Egal was given position of Prime minister by Abdirashid Sharmake government. This government didn’t last long. It was over thrown by Siyad Barre on October 1969. General  Barre seized power and assumed leadership. He declared the country a Socialist one, and instead  got a state where opposition to his regime grew.

            Barre Regime which was brutal continued to marginalize the Somaliland citizens. The north demands for fair distribution of the wealth of the country was met with mass killing and aerial bombardment of major northern cities like Hargeisa. Africa watch, the human rights watchdog group documented- in the early and late 1980’s- the grisly killing, detention, torture, rape and the psychological intimidation of the Somaliland citizens. The Somali National Movement (SNM) which was created in London in 1981 with the declared aim of overthrowing the Barre regime responded in guerrilla tactics to defend the Somaliland public. The Barre regime was later defeated in the North by the SNM and in the South by the combined effort of USC& SSDF. It is unfortunate that after the  dictator has fallen Somalia never found peace with itself!

            In May 1991 a meeting was held in Burao and it was there that Somaliland self-determination was born. There is some who argue that the SNM leadership was against secession and favored alliance with the South, but some say the commanders’ wing of SNM supported independence. A provisional government emerged from this meeting. On 18th May 1991,  the 1960 union with South Somalia was dissolved by the northerners for the first time.

            Today Somaliland is on its fourth president with elected members of parliament and territorial integrity protected by its army. Today Somaliland has a national flag, currency, political parties and all the features associated with a recognized state! Unlike in South Somalia where political participation withered for so long, efforts at democracy and political participation flourished in the North. Somaliland was spared the anarchy that begun in South Somalia in 1991. This anarchy   spewed forth clan warlords and long odious political disagreement.

        Somaliland today is turning away from South Somalia politics, or to put it a little differently, it is moving beyond clan politics into a stronger democracy! Even those who do not make these crude differences agree that there is a profound differences in how government is run between the South and North. Many have doubted the secession of Somaliland only to have their lingering mirage of Somali unity to fade.

             Somalinimo pretension proved to be unfounded. Oh what seductive illusion it was! Even before the disintegration of Somali state the argument for Somalinimo rang a bit hollow. Somaliland citizens always lived under the threat of Somalis and not any other outside force. Somaliland citizens have demanded, reasonably enough, to be accepted as an independent state. They have moved forward and are at a point where they are behemoth with conscious to rule their land.

           When optimism and enthusiasm withers, I believe Somaliland citizens shouldn’t lose sight of the main reason they formed this country!It is the responsibility of the current leaders and the opposition parties to work towards a unified country! Somaliland evolution to its present state occurred under the mantle of visionary leader like the late president Egal, and couldn’t have happened without his leadership! This abounds irony since he was part of the gullible elites that made the previous mistake. The sooner Somalia comes to term with the unalterable reality of Somaliland independence, the better It will be for all those rallying cry for Somalinimo.                 


 Case for the Independent Statehood of Somaliland, The Carroll, Anthony J.; Rajagopal, B.

Somaliland  elusive independence New African Jan2006


  1. Somalia is suffering from a psychological disorder called Somaliland-denial. Imagine a young nation like Somaliland with distinct African protectorate and colonial history has been denied of their right to exist. In addition Somaliland faced dreadful genocide from their neighbour Somalia who is to date totallay denying this genocide ever took place.

    Somaliland’s neighbour Somalia is suffering from a psychological disorder called Somaliland-denial. This translates to totally denying Somaliland's history and identity. Every disorder has symptoms that can not be hidden and Somalia's latest one appeared during their last meeting with Somaliland in Turkey. Somalia totally denied Siad Barre's genocide against the people of Somaliland. Somaliland's delegates as shocked as they were should have left the affairs as it was to give them time to seek more advice from outside experts who can handle diagnose to these problems.

    Somalia has been suffering from Somaliland-denial which had been manifesting for many years in the form of dictatorship, warlords and radicalization with severe psychopathic leadership going on to date. What is ironic is how the outside world is turning a blind eye to the denial of Somaliland's unique African history a nation who simply can not disappear or wiped of the earth that easily. One should learn from the history of the Holocaust and how millions of innocent souls and lives were lost in the middle of civilized continent like Europe.

    Somaliland-denial is going through another phase where Federal Somalia is trying to create mini-states who will haunt this fragile region for decades to come. Somaliland has been sober and is seeking a rational help for their neighbour’s old disorder called Somaliland-denial. In the mean time let us hope that the outside world wakes up to the fact that Somaliland’s neighbour is no ordinary neighbour but one that has committed crimes against humanity and should be handled with severe care.

  2. while we did well in terms of statehood, let's not forget that history proved Unity is builds strong nation. Look at the United States of america, the European Union, they are not even homogeneous. On what grounds are we splitting? And why are we victimizing ourselves. Let's remember that we all had one big enemy, and that was the dictatorship we all suffered its wrath. Unity is the interest of Somalia as whole. Please stop spreading the hate and let's have a home we all can come back to. Let's invest in improving and building our country as a whole, we need hospitals, highways, technology, strong army (to defend us only), education, clean water resources.

    Maxaa inagu mashquuliyay kala go'a iyo calaalkan aan dhamaanayn, imisaanu qaxooti ahayn? Imisaa madax ah ee dibeda u timaada dawo? Mee natural resources-kii. Maxaa inaga khaldan waynakanee? Inaynu madaxweyne leenahay iyo nabad maxay inagu soo kordhisay? Maxaanu weli uga maarmi waynay adduun waynaha kale sownagan wali baryootamayna? dhirtii madhinay, dhulkii caydhaynay, cakuye rag iyo xukun jacayl.

    Waa waxa khayrkeen inaga reebay inaynu uun siyaasad ka hadalno, oo aanaynu u guda gelin danta guudee carruurahayaga ku silcaya qurbaha, iyo intan aan wali caydh ka bixin ee wadanka joogta ee u dhimanaya antibiotic-la'aanta maanta aanaydin eegayn.

    Psychologically ayay wax inaga khaldan yihiin, eega adduunku siduu u baadhayo cudurro, iyo siduu caydh ula dagaalamay. Nacabku waa cadaw ee aynu indhaha furano.

    • Nuura your message is not clear. When you say unity whose unity you are talking about? Is it Somaliland unity. If you are talking about Somaliland then Somaliland is united and singing in unison except there are political divisions and that is natural just like the Republicans and Democrats everywhere. Please don't take seriously the clan bashing or political bashing that goes on in here. Clan bashing has been a Somaliland tradition since time immemorial. In the old days clan arrogance used to be the fare of the day and was done through camel rustling and poetry. It is modern version, clan deriding, is now done in the internet BUT fortunately it is harmless and no lives are lost except egos are crushed. Viva Somaliland unity.

  3. Somaliland becomes independent because of tireless and negations put forward none other than, the Machiavellian Somalia. Somaliland was a nomad territory not fit for a country at least at that time only if there is sponsorship to unite Somalia was able to face save and become independent. in 1954 Ethiopia gains Haud part and even claimed some of the rest, up till independence. Somalia saved Somaliland from the jaws of Ethiopia.

    The five days of interdependent or the five-day scary: NYT
    "The five-day hiatus between independence and merger was seen as a period of potential danger. There was fear of possible clashes with Ethiopian tribes along Somaliland`s ill-defined borders. [Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia said Friday he hoped for peaceful border adjustment with free Somalis soon.]"

    — was it red green flag or was Somalia’s blue white flag on June 26: NYT
    "Early this morning crowds thronged the polo ground for the final act of independence. Mohammed Haji Ibrahim Egal, the Prime Minister of independent Somaliland, took an oath on the Quran to the new state and hoisted the blue and white, starred flag."

    – Why Queens congulatory Message delivered from Mogadishu on June 26 Mr. T. E. Bromley. British Consul-General in Mogadishu?

    – Was it long loong ago planed for Somaliland to join or coat tail the coming Somalia independence, give 5 days delegated travel time to arrive Mogadishu for the real independence of the united-as-one country, and why Aden Adde attended on june 26 Hargeisa ceremonies as President of both: The times
    "A delegation from Mogadishu, including Adan Abdullah, who is likely to be the first President of the new republic of Somalia and Somaliland, has been greeted warmly by the crowds here.
    Adan Abdullah was met by the Prime minister on his arrival at the airport. Police and Somaliland Scouts lined up to give a general salute and he was greeted by a fanfare of trumpets."

    – Why 1943 SYL charter stated, “to unite all Somali parts into one country irrespective of clan” 17 years before 1960.
    – why 1956 Somalia assembly passed resolution and adapted “ To acquire all missing parts as soon as possible and by peaceful means only” and same year started negotiating with the British who with their surprise indicated their willingness and their openness to the idea of leaving the north in time for Independence.

    • This is revisionist history fabricated right here on this spot. Take your dreams elsewhere. Somaliland is gone forever.

  4. I have often been told that there is strength in munmbers. Such belifes are substantiated by thoughts like tow heads are better than one and united we stand and divided we fall. But it has ever occurred to you that when Humpty Dumpty had a grea fall what went wrong with all those horses and men that couldn't put Humptey Dumpty together ever? This brings us to another saying that one is lonely, two is company and three a crowd. So what is good companies – those that merge together- appears to be good for people. But what has resulted from the Somali unity – Somalia and Somaliland? Have a guess. No emotions, no Somalilsim , no gruge, no enmity – these are cheap traits that get people nowhere.

    to be continued…

    • Let me give my suggestion, if my colleagues agree with me.
      No problem about re-union but on the following conditions.
      a) Hargeisa will the capital of Somalila for the next 3000 years to come – Not subject negotiation.
      b) President of Somalia will be from Somalialnd for the next 5000 years to come – not subject to negotiation
      c) Prime Minister must be from Somaliland for the next 5000 years to come – not subject to negotiation
      d) Minister of foreing affairs must from Somalialnd for the next 5000 years – not subejct to negotiation
      e) Minisister of Finance, Minister interior, Minister Finance, Minister Education, Minister of defence, Chief of staff, must from Somaliland for the next 500 years- not subject negotiation.
      e) Proportion of parliament members 70 % from Somaliland not subejct to negotiation
      f) Ambassords – all from Somaliland for the next 5000 yeart – not subject to negotiation
      g) Division of national resources – 65% for Somaliland – not subject negotiation
      And the list goes.

      What is the suggestion of the unionists.

  5. Mohamed Ahmed Thanks. I hope you are Mr. Sahar. Let me tell you this. We are not in danger despite Siilaanyo, the obstinate cum-chief clanist dictator's reparable gaffes.