Somaliland to Celebrate 33rd Anniversary of Sovereignty Restoration With Gusto

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The people of Somaliland practically  take the world to task again by showcasing their 33-year-old successful state demanding diplomatic recognition.

Somaliland is abuzz with celebrations as it marks the 33rd anniversary of the restoration of its sovereignty. This significant milestone commemorates the day when Somaliland reclaimed its independence following the collapse of the Somali Democratic Republic in 1991.

The journey towards sovereignty was not an easy one for Somaliland. After gaining independence from British colonial rule in 1960, Somaliland voluntarily – albeit mindlessly – united with Somalia to form the Somali Republic. However, internal conflicts, governance issues, imbalance of powersharing and resources, widespread persecution, and looting targeting large sections of the Somaliland population, culminated in a devastating civil war that claimed the lives of more than 200 000 Somaliland civilians, the destruction of cities and the displacement of more than half a million people, led to the dissolution of this union, prompting Somaliland to assert its independence once again.

Since declaring independence, Somaliland has made remarkable progress in establishing a stable government, fostering democracy, and promoting economic development. The country has held multiple democratic elections, solidified its institutions, and maintained peace and stability despite the challenges it faces.

As Somaliland celebrates its 33rd anniversary of sovereignty restoration, the occasion serves as a testament to the resilience and determination of its people. Festivities across the nation include cultural events, parades, traditional dances, and reflections on the journey towards independence.

While Somaliland continues to seek international recognition as a sovereign nation, its achievements in self-governance and nation-building are commendable. The anniversary celebrations not only highlight the pride and unity of the Somaliland people but also showcase the progress and aspirations of a nation determined to forge its own path.

As Somaliland looks towards the future, the 33rd anniversary of sovereignty restoration serves as a reminder of the courage and perseverance that have defined the country’s journey. It is a time to reflect on the challenges overcome, the successes achieved, and the aspirations for a prosperous and peaceful future for Somaliland and its people.

This year’s anniversary celebrations which will be concluded tomorrow, May 18th, but had started a week earlier, are a vibrant display of patriotism, solidarity, and hope for a brighter tomorrow. As the flags wave, the music plays, and the people come together in unity, Somaliland stands tall, proud of its history, and resolute in its vision for the future.

Elections

Somaliland developed a system where each eligible voter casts one vote in elections. The country has held multiple elections since declaring independence from Somalia in 1991, including presidential, parliamentary, and local elections. The electoral process in Somaliland generally follows democratic principles, with voters choosing their representatives through a voting system that allows each person to cast one vote.

To date, Somaliland held 8 1-person, 1-vote elections the last of which combined parliamentary and local councils elections, and another combination this time around twinning presidential and national parties’ elections is slated for Nover, later in the year.

Somaliland VS Somalia Democracy Landscape

Somaliland has been relatively more successful in conducting democratic elections compared to Somalia. Since withdrawing from the ill-fated union with Somalia in 1991, Somaliland has held multiple rounds of presidential, parliamentary, and local elections. These elections have generally been regarded as relatively free and fair by international observers.

Some factors that have contributed to Somaliland’s success in elections compared to Somalia include:

1. Stability: Somaliland has enjoyed more political stability compared to Somalia, which has been plagued by conflicts and instability for many years. This stability has created a conducive environment for the functioning of democratic institutions and electoral processes.

2. Strong institutions: Somaliland has developed relatively strong political institutions over the years, including an independent electoral commission that oversees the electoral process. These institutions have helped in organizing and conducting elections in a more transparent and credible manner.

3. Consensus-building: Somaliland has a tradition of consensus-building among its political elites, which has helped in resolving political disputes and ensuring peaceful transitions of power. This has contributed to the overall success of the electoral process in the region.

President Bihi freely moves around with festive crowds in central Hargeisa on Thursday evening

In contrast, Somalia has faced significant challenges in conducting free and fair elections due to ongoing conflicts, political instability, and the presence of armed groups. Somalia has yet to hold a single 1-person 1-vote election. Instead, clan elders ‘select’ MPs and, in turn, the MPs pick a president.Somalia: UN mission pledges support as new President will face 'daunting challenges' | UN News

It is important to note that both Somaliland and Somalia face unique political, social, and economic challenges, and their electoral processes are influenced by a range of factors. The differences in their electoral success can be attributed to the varying contexts and circumstances in each region.

Diplomatic Recognition

Somaliland has been seeking international recognition as an independent state separate from Somalia. Somaliland has been functioning relatively independently since it declared independence from Somalia in 1991 after the overthrow of the Siad Barre regime.

However, despite Somaliland’s efforts to establish a stable and democratic government, build institutions, and maintain peace and stability within its borders, it has not yet received full diplomatic recognition from the international community. The African Union and the United Nations still consider Somaliland as an autonomous region of Somalia, and most countries have not recognized its independence to date.

The recognition of a new state involves complex political, legal, and diplomatic considerations, and many countries are cautious about recognizing new states due to concerns about territorial integrity, regional stability, and adherence to international law and norms.

Recognition Cons and Pros
Somaliland is a de facto independent state located in the Horn of Africa, with a rich history, vibrant culture, and strategic geopolitical position. Once a British protectorate, Somaliland gained independence in 1960 and voluntarily united with Somalia to form the Somali Republic. However, decades of oppression and military dictatorship under the Siad Barre regime led to a prolonged civil war, ultimately resulting in Somaliland’s unilateral declaration of independence in 1991.
Situated at the crossroads of Africa and the Middle East, Somaliland occupies a prime geostrategic position. Its deep-water ports and proximity to major shipping lanes make it a vital hub for regional trade and commerce. Somaliland’s stability and self-sufficiency also make it an anchor of security in the turbulent Horn of Africa. Its partnership with neighboring countries and engagement with international organizations showcase its crucial
regional role.
Somaliland fulfills all preconditions of statehood in strict accordance with the Montevideo Convention: permanent population, a defined territory, fully functioning government, and capacity to enter into relations with other states.
Furthermore, Somaliland’s union with Somalia has never been legally consummated, and this fact was underlined by a fact-finding mission that the African Union sent to Somaliland in 2005. The mission strongly recommended that Somaliland must be treated as a special case, stating ‘”The fact that the ‘union between Somaliland and Somalia was never ratified’ and also malfunctioned when it went into action from 1960 to 1990, makes Somaliland’s search for recognition historically unique and self-justified in African political history. Objectively viewed, the case should not be linked to the notion of ‘opening Pandora’s box’. As such the AU should find a special method of dealing with this ‘outstanding matter.”
There are so many precedents to Somaliland’s demand for separation from a disastrous decision that briefly tied it to Somalia semi-voluntarily (1960 to 1969), and by force under a brutal military Somalia dictatorship (1969-1991).
One of the arguments strongly favoring international recognition is that Somaliland has established a robust democratic system, holding regular elections that are widely regarded
as free and fair. The country boasts a vibrant multiparty political landscape, with a democratically-elected president, parliament, and local government structures.
Somaliland’s democratic institutions have been crucial in maintaining stability and promoting good governance. The Somaliland government has also implemented strong rule of law measures, with an independent judiciary and a commitment to protecting human rights. This has helped to foster an environment of peace and security, which has in turn attracted foreign investment and enabled economic development.
Why is recognition important?
Without diplomatic recognition, Somaliland faces significant economic challenges, including
limited access to international markets, trade barriers, and restrictions on foreign investment. This inhibits its potential for sustainable economic growth and development.

Somaliland’s position in the volatile Horn of Africa region, with its complex power dynamics and competing interests, complicates its path to recognition. Navigating the delicate regional geopolitical landscape is a constant challenge.

Somaliland’s unrecognized status prevents it from establishing formal diplomatic ties and engaging with the international community on equal terms. This diplomatic isolation limits its ability to advocate for its interests and build strategic alliances.