ANC-NEC member and Enterprise Deputy Minister Obed Bapela and Somaliland Interior Minister Kahin Ahmed. Picture: Supplied

Somaliland’s ruling party has asked the ANC to request the South African government to fast-track the country’s recognition by the African Union (AU).

The ANC delegation led by NEC member and Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises, Obed Bapela, met with the leadership of the Kulmiye party in Hargeisa last week, where the two parties held discussions on strengthening relations.

Explaining the history of his country, Somaliland’s interior minister and chairperson of the Kulmiye party, Mohamed Kahin Ahmed, said his country was a de facto country that got its independence after many years of struggle.

“We are the only secure country in the region. We enjoy peace and stability with a full democratic system of governance. We have a one-man, one-vote system. Many European countries would have ridiculed us as many are still not recognising us.

“Our people are in support of our constitution and they live a better life now because Somaliland is maintaining the international values that make up democracy. We also have a local government system and elected leadership that is governed by International standards,” Kahin Ahmed said.

Kahin Ahmed further said that terrorist organisations were operating in other countries such as Somalia in the Horn of Africa, however, his country did not have such a challenge.

“We ask that South Africa resume talks about the international recognition of Somaliland. Since we defected from Somalia, more than two referendums with an overwhelming majority demonstrated that the people of this country needed self-determination.

“As you all know, we have no aid from the international community, and no security support from outside but rely on our own. Our security is well defended by our national security,” he said.

Kahin Ahmed promised that a delegation from his country would be coming to South Africa to work on strengthening relations between the two countries .

Somaliland was trying very hard to strengthen its political system, but he conceded, his party had inherited many challenges like the ruling party in South Africa

“We understand that South Africa is the most developed country in Africa and we wish to learn from your country. We know you also inherited problems but we are aware that your country has done a lot to develop the lives of the people.

“We need to learn a lot from the liberation movement and we want to take lessons from your party and have political schools. We have the wealth, we have resources, we have petroleum; all we need is for South Africa to come and invest in Somaliland. We will provide you with our petroleum exploration.

“We request that on behalf of Somaliland, we work with your security agencies of South Africa to defend Somaliland from terrorists. I propose that South Africa and Somaliland create a security system where our people will be trained in South Africa. We request that our officers be trained in your country to defend our small coast,” he said.

The minister called on South Africa, as an industrial country, to help his country improve its logistical systems to improve the transportation of goods.

In response, Bapela indicated that he was the first NEC member to visit the Kulmiye party, to learn about the history of both countries. He said his mandate was to ensure that both countries worked together to promote their mutual interest

“We know about your history and your journey to independence in 1960. We know that former president Thabo Mbeki pushed for the recognition of Somaliland, but his administration was cut short. The ruling party must now restart that process of full recognition of Somaliland; we did the same with Western Sahara, Palestine, and others.

“We can no longer wait, it has been quite a long time that the Somaliland people have been waiting. We must now implement this. As the leader of the delegation here, we will ensure that the requests reach our country’s leadership and that our relations are strengthened.

“We welcome the proposal to fight terrorism, Al Shabab will continue terrorising many civilians if they’re not pushed back. We have learned with Mozambique that we can’t let them roam freely and affect our oceans,” said Bapela.

In conclusion, he stated that in each business deal or investment, Somaliland should implement laws that would see levies being paid so that the country can build and strengthen its economy.

He encouraged those who wished to invest to ensure they did not plunder the country but helped it rebuild and develop the country.