Somalia: The International Community Filling Bottomless Barre
Since the fall of military administration in Somalia the international community had been embarking on a futile mission by supporting the war-torn south and ignoring the tremendous advances made by Somaliland towards peace and prosperity since this country declared independence from Somalia.
Since 1991, the south had experienced chaos in its ugliest forms, governed by various factions of trigger-happy militias, followed by interim governments paralyzed by civil war everywhere in the country. social, economic and humanitarian situation was becoming more and more catastrophic until everything went out of hand during the famine of 2011.
On the other hand fanatic Islamic groups like Al-shabab were gaining ground in many parts of the country.
For a long time, the international community was trying hard to establish a respectable form of civic governance that would oust such fanatic groups as shabab and restore the rule of law as well as democratic institutions the achievement of this noble goal is yet to be realized.
However, we must also mention here some of the positive outcomes of the huge efforts by the international community. the ouster of Al-shabab forces from large tracts of the capital city Mogadishu was a major success of the African forces. the international donors and also the Somali Transitional Government. This major military step by the African military mission in Somalia had the impact of boosting moral among the international donor community, the latter had responded well by increasing its financial support to achieve two short-time goals.
Persuasion of all countries and particularly those which promised to send troops to Somalia in order to participate in the final settlement of the Somali problem.
Upgrade and improve overall political stage in Somalia by i) paving the way for the involvement of the Somali people in choosing their representatives in the parliament which is the most important political institution in the country to overcome the role of clan-based actors who employed the entirely chaotic affairs of Somalia to serve their avaricious selfish interests.
Both missions were, ostensibly though accomplished with some success. As regards the military aspect both Ethiopia and Kenya had sent mechanized troops. the former into upper juba, and the latter into lower jubba, among fears that each of the east African powers will annex both zones in order to protect their countries from hostile Somali groups. Both counties claimed victory in both areas.
However, whether peace and stability in that part of the country will be maintained in the face of attacks by dissident groups who vowed to wage guerilla war is far from being achieved.?
On the political aspect, the role of the personal interest seeking politicians was diminished by clan elders who had successfully chosen members of national assembly who had elected a chairman and a president, but whether they will tackle the tremendous political, economical as well as the security problems facing them is yet to be seen.
On the other hand, Somaliland had come out of civil war that lasted for ten years only with victory over government forces and nothing else. The main cities were reduced to rubble almost every building was shattered, people had to build tents or shanty houses inside their once-well to do villas. Approximately 60% had to depend on close relatives working in Arab countries. Yet there were no remittance offices in the main cities.
They remained in Ethiopia they where operated during the civil war. they had to travel through the dusty pumps roads to Ethiopia along which trigger-happy youngsters sometimes stopped their buses to loot the unarmed passengers. Not only that but clan-based civil wars were fought between various clans over control of major towns or over resources. They nearly fought in Burao, Berbera ,Hargeisa and even other places, nearly 70% of the male population was armed and so to kill or be killed sometimes over trivial. things as water or a cup of tea was the order of almost everyday in major towns and even villages. There was chaos everywhere people even fled major towns to the country-side where life ran more or less smoothly.
The reign of terror had lasted full seven years when in 1997, all guns were silenced and warring clans agreed to negotiate terms of a peace treaty. Warring militias were conscripted in the police or the military and all light or heavy weapons were handed over to the government.
All that was happening and neither the United Nations nor the international community seemed to be interested in the plight of the people of Somaliland. Nevertheless, the people of Somaliland did not wait to obtain world recognition in order to rebuild their shattered country. Instead every household started to reconstruct their house with the help of Somaliland’s Diaspora every house, every shop, and everything was rebuilt and refurnished, with the help of few international NGO’s ,all schools, all healthy centers and even some government offices were rehabilitated and re-staffed, major cities were built and rebuilt beyond recognition. The size of both Hargeisa and Burao has grown by 200% or even more, there are even Universities and private Hospitals. In Hargeisa alone, there are a dozen Universities and about the same number of privately owned Hospital. Existing roads have been maintained and bridges have been constructed. Existing airports in a major cities have been extended to have adequate passenger facilities and long the runways to enable supersonic aircraft to land and take-over.
Democracy was promoted by holding democratic elections as early as 2002 after ten years since independence from Somalia was declared, it all started with referendum to legitimize declaration of independence in 1991. Since, then. local councils were held twice, election of president twice, and house of representatives only once.
This is a short account of progress that has been made in Somaliland since 1991 while the south is still in civil war and chaos. Having seen how Somaliland have exploited people in their meager resources to build a democratic society with a viable economy, now let us explore what such society can do with foreign aid and recognition.
Somaliland has got tremendous resources, they are all natural wealth given by nature to the poor Somalis. The first thing that comes to mind is of course the livestock wealth.Of course herding livestock is a God-given industry and the role of pastoralists was limited to grazing, protecting them against predators and watering them during dry seasons.
The plants on which livestock grace and the rain that irrigates the earth to help these plants and other vegetation for instance those used for shade or for protection of livestock during the night are all given by the grace of God. It is high time that pastoralists in this country abandon a way of life that entirely depends on nature. Prophet Mohamed peace and blessings be upon him said that you are all herdsmen and every herdsman is responsible about his or her herd. How to become responsible herdsmen will be the topic next week.
By: Abdillahi Ahmed Arshe