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Hear Voices of Somaliland
Press release by: Hear voices of Somaliland (HEVOS).
HEVOS position on the London Somaliland Diaspora Conference
As you may already be aware the Somaliland Mission to the UK is organising a one day
conference in London on 1st December 2018. The aim of the conference is said to be
‘’constructing diaspora Somaliland identity in an ever-changing Europe: Unity, patriotism
and contributing through positive activism. In simple terms, their objective, as they claim,
is to harmonise and unite Somaliland communities in Europe.
This topic raises many questions including the simple ones of why now and what does it really mean?
We ask these questions, because we all know Somaliland has existed for the past 27 years
and its people both inside and outside Somaliland have been working very hard to
convince the international community about their self-determination and aspiration to
secede from the union it entered with the Italian Somalia after its independence in 1960,
and the causes for its withdrawal from the union.
This statement is to address whether holding this kind of conference in Europe,
particularly in London is the right answer and solution in uniting the Somaliland Diaspora
in Europe and elsewhere when we realistically consider the social, economic, political and
geopolitical challenges Somaliland is currently facing. If we want to achieve the
aforementioned objective of the conference we will need to be sincere and truthful to
ourselves and we can only do that if we are thinking realistically and not idealistically.
Therefore, it is of significant importance not to shy away from pointing out issues that
unite us and those that divide us and unless we can find a sound balance on these issues
we will be doomed to fail and history will repeat itself.
Before we outline the serious challenges Somaliland is currently facing, we would like to
make one thing very clear, we are and will always support and encourage the peace,
stability and unity of all Somalilanders wherever they are as we believe this is the only
way we can build a solid statehood. But, at the same we must not and cannot ignore the
real problems and challenges Somaliland is facing and how best to address them, then I
believe we can talk about sense of patriotism and activism.
Social Cohesion - anyone with little knowledge of Somalis knows they are generally a
homogenous ethnic group inhabited in several countries in the Horn of Africa i.e.
Somaliland, Somalia, Djibouti, parts of Ethiopia and Kenya, united by common language,
religion and culture but their diversity is defined by tribal lineages, and this is a significant
social structure which one must not ignore, because if tribal balance is lost in the system,
then that system will undoubtedly fail to maintain peace, stability and to harmonise the
various tribes and regions.
It is unfortunate that since the Kulmiye party took over power in 2010, the trust between
tribes has gradually declined and this is due to the divisive policies promoted by the
Kulmiye leadership in which favouritism, nepotism and massive corruption by particular
groups have become the norm and many feel that the system has encouraged those
groups to enrich themselves from public resources. Development projects were
corrupted and many regions in Somaliland have not benefited from the increasing
international assistance such as the projects funded by the Somaliland Development Fund
which Britain and Denmark contribute to.
One example of many projects misappropriated by the administration is the multimillion
Dollar Humbowayne Water project funded by the United Arab Emirates which failed due
to corruption. Both previous and current Kulmiye administration failed to shed a light on
why the project failed, how they spent the money earmarked for the project, and why
those responsible for the failure of this lifeline project got away with impunity.
Furthermore, the lack of equal opportunities for work, government contracts,
development projects between regions and tribes have damaged social cohesion,
polarised public opinion and the vast majority of the population were hoping a new
political direction from the new government but nothing has changed, and Somaliland
has never been so divided before.
Public services – many regions, particularly those in the east of the country lack the basic
public services such schools, health centres, clean water and child and Mother mortality is
the highest in the world, yet the president’s priority is to build a new presidential Palace
in his tribal backyard, which is a testament to his priorities for the country.
Peace and security – there have been recurring tribal clashes in the east of the country
where hundreds of people lost their lives, and the government failed to intervene in a
timely fashion to save lives and find lasting solution for their problems. Hundreds of
government soldiers defected from the military, because they have been complaining
growing injustices within the military forces. It is thus HEVOS’ view that this conference is
no more than a public relationships exercise aimed to camouflage the fundamental issues
facing the country at present and the government’s failure to find solutions for them.
Therefore HEVOS will not be supporting this conference and feels it is a waste of badly
needed money that could be used to save lives of Mothers and Babies in Somaliland.
HEVOS is urging the government to focus on improving those above named areas.
HEVOS executive committee