Somaliland had once again shown the world what a tiny self-reliant facing all setbacks of being unrecognized such as having a limited access in entering multilateral treaties and not having representations in world stage could accomplish. It is a case of the “Little Engine That Could, ” an American folktale to teach children the value of optimism and hard work. This tiny nation successfully launched and completed a simultaneous twin elections consisting of parliamentary and local municipalities on May 31, 2021. The Government of Somaliland footed all the bills of the election logistics and preparations. Government waived and paid for the registration fees and other expenses required for women and minority runners in order to create a level playing fields for all candidates. These monumental accomplishments were witnessed by international observers, media networks, and representatives from many countries. As the saying goes “this was a sprint not a marathon”. Now comes the hard work.
The time for self-gratification and patting on the back is over. Now Somaliland leaders must create a sense of urgency, as time is of the essence, to capture the internationally praised moment of success and make it continues effort, while it is still fresh in the minds of those who participated and observed the election representing varies groups of international communities and governments.
Naturally, the attention span of human beings is very short and if you don’t remind people your issues and concerns constantly it would be forgotten. Somaliland must immediately conduct follow up enquiries to get feedbacks from those observers by creating an especial steering committee consisting of experts and educated citizens both local and abroad responsible and tasked in the realization and the fruition of Somaliland recognition. This committee would operate in conjunction with the Somaliland Foreign Ministry as independent advisory team and report to president of Somaliland Republic. They would meet quarterly and report their progress and recommendations to the president of Somaliland. The committee would meet with head of states, diplomats, and varies community leaders around the world.
Somaliland has many things to offer to the world community. It is not a burden to the international community as Somaliland people and government have learned to live within their means without any help from the rest of the world. They funded their own election, they maintained peace for over three decades in a region marred by chaos and violence, it is stable and the only shining democracy in Africa. Somaliland has shown a steady progress in human rights and protection of freedom of speech. In this last election twenty-eight women candidates run for parliamentary and local elections. In an unprecedented instance Barkhat Batuun a minority candidate amassed the largest vote among the parliamentary race going beyond tribal endorsement and support.
Now it is time for the international community and governments to show their true colors and reward hard work and respect for democracy by recognizing Somaliland. After all, it was an independent nation before Somaliland united with the former Italian colony in 1960 with good intentions which was not reciprocated by their counterparts. Somaliland, a former British Protectorate, simply reclaimed its independence for the second time on May 18, 1991. This was not a secession, it was rebirth of a nation.
BY Mohamed A Samatar