The Somalia-Somaliland talks and the British co-opted roadmap

July 19th, 2012

the good, the bad and the ugly – Published on Pambazuka News, by Ahmed M.I. Egal, July 12, 2012.

The British-led process to replace the current illegitimate and intrinsically unrepresentative structure in Somalia with another equally illegitimate one is an affront to the best interests and rights of the Somali people … //

… This British-led effort in ‘nation-building’ in Somalia, aided and abetted by the vast UN and NGO relief and development nomenclature, is breathtaking in its sheer audacity of seeking to impose a ‘permanent government’ upon a country that has been utterly destroyed physically, economically and psychically, through a process that doesn’t even make a perfunctory nod at legitimacy by seeking the consent of the people to be governed.

The ludicrous construct whereby one illegitimate and intrinsically unrepresentative structure is amended and updated by another, equally illegitimate one is illuminated and exposed here (SOMALIA: Phony Constitution crafted through UN rigged process ) by Mohammed M. Uluso. However, this farce of creating a ‘permanent government’ for Somalia will continue since none of the major players in this charade, even the Western powers, believe that they can endorse yet another ‘transitional government’ after 20 years and four, successive such transitions. Therefore, they have decided upon another transition that will henceforth be called ‘permanent’ and justified to be so by a convoluted, inherently illegitimate and undemocratic process that was cooked up by foreign bureaucrats, endorsed by their paid, Somali puppet leaders and imposed upon a bemused, beaten and damaged populace desperate for any semblance of normality. The Somalia-Somaliland talks are part and parcel of this British-led effort to craft and impose a political solution for Somalia.

In an address given to the Royal African Society on 22 March 1968 by Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, the Prime Minister of the Somali Republic, entitled ‘Somalia: Nomadic Individualism and the Rule of Law’, he spoke of the historical relationship between Britain and the Somali people. He characterised the decision of Britain in 1962 to ignore the findings of their own Commission that some 88% of the people of the Northern Frontier District (NFD) wanted union with the Somali Republic and not to be part of the nascent Republic of Kenya, in order to cede the NFD to Kenya thereby breaking their promise to the Somali people, as “…[a] classical example of the proverbial perfidy of Albion…”. He went on to point out that “It is perhaps a great irony that the Somalis, of all people in this world, should so genuinely and touchingly attribute to the British an unimpeachable sense of justice and fair play. With all due respect, in his own dealings with the British, the Somali was never shown an example of this quality which he so sincerely attributed to the British.” This latest intervention by the Cameron government in the politics of its erstwhile protectorate, by strong-arming the Silanyo government into the empty and essentially meaningless talks with Sheikh Sharif’s TFG, constitute yet another example of the ‘proverbial perfidy of Albion’.

Clearly, the British wish to lend some element of legitimacy to the Roadmap process whereby a ‘permanent government’ for Somalia is being created, and these Somalia-Somaliland talks are part and parcel of this spurious legitimacy. However, the entire ‘permanent government’ enterprise is irrevocably tainted since the people of Somalia view it with either bemusement and frustration, anticipation of impending wealth and power or just plain ignorance and apathy depending upon which segment of society they belong to. For example, the intelligentsia are frustrated and deeply unhappy that, despite all the pious statements about the Somali ownership of the Roadmap at the various conferences, an illegitimate, externally financed and externally-driven process is being imposed upon them. The political elite (and their business community backers), comprising warlords, present and past ‘government officials’ and Diaspora carpet baggers, are girding up for the auction of political posts and ministerial seats as they eagerly anticipate the flow of riches and patronage to come. The vast majority of the long suffering population of Somalia, however, are apathetic about the entire enterprise since they have no say in the proceedings; they just desperately hope that some semblance of normalcy can be restored, even if they can hardly recognise it should it somehow arrive.

Further, as can be seen by the anodyne statements that have been issued after each round of the said talks, including the fatuously named Dubai Declaration, they are not only an exercise in futility, but they devalue and demean the substantive talks on future relations between the two parties that must and will take place. However, such talks can only take place when there is a legitimate government in Somalia which is freely chosen by its people and which therefore enjoys their political consent. Such talks will not be limited to the Western agenda of combating terrorism and piracy, but will focus upon the major issues facing their populations, e.g. a post irredentist paradigm to drive inter-Somali cooperation and fraternal relations in the context of political realities in the Horn of Africa and regional supra-national organisations, i.e. IGAD and COMESA; settlement of claims between the two countries arising from assets located in one country but owned by the citizens of the other; extradition to Somaliland of war criminals responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity that are hiding in Somalia, etc. Because the current talks do not, and will not, address these vital issues, the real danger inherent in these talks is that they will destabilise Somaliland, which has achieved national reconciliation, representative government and political stability with no outside help or interference, by enmeshing it in the political charade of the Roadmap that comprises Western nation-building in Somalia. It is important to recognise here that perfidious Albion could not have ensnared Somaliland in its doomed designs for Somalia, if it did not have a willing partner, however resistant they may wish to appear, in the Silanyo government. The President of Somaliland and his neophyte Foreign Minister have allowed themselves to be bullied and cajoled by the British into a political dead-end that not only robs them of moral standing in front of their electorate, but in fact jeopardises the realisation of their peoples’ defining dream.

What is truly galling, not to mention pathetic, is that the threatened retribution of the withdrawal of British aid amounted at that time to a grand total of some £4.5 million in current aid and promises of more in the near future. This is a very small recompense indeed for which to sacrifice the honour and moral standing of one’s government, not to mention risk the central dream of one’s nation and people. The fact is that the Silanyo government is now stuck with this farce of talks with the TFG which are doomed to achieve nothing, since the principal topic for discussion is off the table, and they have the unenviable task of maintaining the fiction that the talks are substantive and will lead to independence to their people. To appropriate a gambling metaphor, this is a dog that just won’t run and it will not be long before the Somaliland government will have to pay the price for its massive error in judgement through popular disaffection and dissent. Meanwhile, we have the prospect of the birth of the new ‘permanent government’ in Mogadishu to look forward to, with all of the attendant tragi-comedy that the delivery of such misbegotten creatures gives rise to.

What is certain, however, is that the machinations of the self-aggrandising Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, the weak and uninspired Silanyo government and the overreaching and overweening Cameron government have conspired against the best interests of the Somali people, both in Somalia and Somaliland. They have actively promoted and sought to legitimise a bogus, undemocratic and unconstitutional process to impose a supposedly permanent government in Somalia and jeopardised Somaliland’s stability and representative, constitutionally established government by making it party to this fraud perpetrated upon their brothers to the south. This is truly another perfidy perpetrated by Albion upon the Somali people, albeit this time with the connivance of their own leaders. One can only hope that this time the people of Somaliland and Somalia see this British-led fraud for what it truly is, and that it will lift the scales from their eyes with regard to British ‘justice’ and ‘fair play’. One can also hope that the ‘man with no name’ would ride in and chase these self-seeking charlatans off the scene, but unfortunately this is real life. (full text).

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