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Somaliland: Litmus Test For African Democracy
By Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi
“Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis, the immorality of ignorant pen”
Africa needs to learn from Somaliland. Free, peace-loving, liberal minded and democratic – these traits were of the denizens of the country were acquired without the assistance of Crisis Defusers and Democracy Mentors.
Somaliland possesses the most advanced democratic system in the modern history of Africa, which is dominated by dictators, kings and Sheikhs. Somaliland built up complete democracy in less then two decades without any international support. This is momentous achievement and should be recorded in annals of the history.
Somaliland , as a result of a public uprising to gain freedom and democracy, is a unique model of governance in the Horn of Africa. The entire Somaliland community supported the armed struggle against the most hideous and violent regime in African history. Mohammed Siyad Barre ruled and authorized air bombings against his own people, and committed the worst genocide in East African history. Somalilanders left painful memories of Barre’s regime behind and continued building their country from scratch without any aid or help from anyone.
Somaliland ended the traditional African way of doing business, begging for aid, and rely on their own resources to achieve self-sufficiency. The rise of Somaliland took many Europeans by surprise, as Somaliland continue developing without international aid.
Somaliland imparted crisis solving techniques to Ethiopia and ended conflicts of Ethiopian tribes in Somali region. Somaliland’s remarkable techniques in crisis solving should be put to test in other conflict zones in Africa like Darfur, if and only if the international community pleads for it.
The Somaliland way of solving problems is based on traditional ways where the Upper House of the Parliament, House of Elders, play a leading role in solving disputes between Somaliland tribes. The Upper House successfully disarmed thousands of SNM militia in the beginning of 1990’s.
Somaliland has embellished its democratic political system with latest parliamentary election, which was a milestone for Somaliland’s path towards healthy democracy. International Election Observers monitored Somaliland elections and described as a free and fair election. Somaliland was nicknamed as “Africa’s best kept Secret" and "Peace Paradise in Africa".
Somaliland has a multiparty system, a constitution and a completely functional body of a modern state. Somaliland government provides all social services including electricity, water, education and health to citizens equally with symbolic charges.
In other hand, the economy is steady in Somaliland; the currency exchange rate is very stable; Somaliland Central Bank (SCB) monitors the economy and exchange rate fluctuations very closely. Although, the National Audit Department (NAD) reported corruption in the customs department but still the country continue growing day after day. Remittance by Somaliland daispora and revenue from livestock exports are the backbone of Somaliland economy.
Recently, Turkish columnist called Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis hyphenated the unity among different communities with homogeneity vis-à-vis religion, color and language. Mr. Megalommatis should delve deep into history (both current and past) before penning his thoughts. Just to expose the hollowness of his claims – the Arabs spread over 10 countries share language, color and even religion plus culture are not exactly in total harmony. Another example is Kenya and Tanzania where both countries in general share color, religion and language but were at loggerheads on many occasions.
Mr. Megalommatis appears to have a blinkered world view. These factors do not unite communities – it is actually about understanding and trusting each other. Today, In Somalia, the tribes are killing each other. Why the culture, religion and language that Mr. Megalommatis is talking about don’t stop them and unite them? Everybody, can understand that Somalis lost trust between them particularly Somaliland lost in Italian Somalia.
In his earlier articles, Mr. Megalommatis had misled the readers which might be due to his erroneous sources. I, personally, support the freedom of expression and all people should have equal rights of expressing their point of view. However, this liberty of pen should not be used to portray a partisan account of history.
It is very difficult to encapsulate the success story of Somaliland in one article, but the fact is that Somaliland established the necessary infrastructure for statehood and the international community should be acknowledged without any reservations.
“If Somaliland fails, Somalia dies”
By Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi