By Mohamed Omer Maigag (Taag)
If there was any lingering doubt about Somaliland Government’s talks with Somalia and the motives of President Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud Sillanyo about the 7th of Mat conference in London, these doubts were rest in peace by the President and his delegation at the London meeting with the Somaliland diaspora in the UK. There was high demand for the meeting held at the Mermaid Centre in central London on Friday 19th of April. Hundreds of Somalilanders from London, other regions and few from outside the UK could not get in. People were seated in Theatre style seating with men and women occupying separate rows.
Ever since the 23 February 2012 Somali Conference at Lancaster House, and the meetings between Somaliland and Somalia that followed at Chevening House and the UAE in June that year, many Somalilanders I personally spoke to and many who wrote about Somaliland affairs aired their frustration about the lack of clarity, confusion and lack of proper communication surrounding the Somaliland v Somalia talks and the decision of President Sillanyo’s Government about the recently announced 7th of May conference in London. What particularly fuelled these doubts is the manner in which Turkey intervened in Somali politics in the last couple of years and the nature of their true motive; doubts which created all sorts of conspiracy theories that all boiled down to one main theory: Somaliland is being sold behind our backs. The theories which gained a lot of momentum in the last few months went as far as saying Somaliland Government has accepted a deal which will make Somaliland to be part of Somalia on a semi federalism political structure and that the talks in Turkey was nothing but to discuss the formalities surrounding the new structure and the to convince President Sillanyo’s Government to take part in the 7th of May conference.
These conspiracy theories were thrown out of the window last Friday by President Sillanyo and his delegation and the morale of the hundreds of Somalilanders who participated in the Mermaid Centre event and the thousands who watched live on Somaliland TVs was uplifted As Speaker of Somaliland Parliament Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi Ciro, the Minister of Somaliland Presidency Hersi Ali Haji Hassan, and Somaliland’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Omar as well as President Sillanyo all reassured the meeting that Somaliland achieved victory from the Turkey conference and that Somaliland’s independence will not be negotiable during the dialogue with Somalia. In a very powerful speech, President Sillanyo reconfirmed to the audience that Somaliland will not be taking part in the 7th of May conference because the conference is not in the interest of Somaliland. He informed the meeting that he communicated this decision of his Government and the people of Somaliland to Prime Minster David Cameron when he met him in London.
Foreign Minister – Mohamed Abdullahi Omar used the analogy of a file to emphasise President Sillanyo’s commitment to the Independence and sovereignty of Somaliland. He informed the meeting that when his Government came to power, Somaliland’s file was inside the Somalia file but that President Sillanyo’s Government has separated the Somaliland file from the Somalia one.
The only criticism I will level at President Sillanyo and his delegation is their failure to acknowledge the Brussels rally. The public meeting was an opportunity to say thank you to the Belgium Somaliland community but no one in the delegation remembered to say a word about Somaliland’s first rally in Brussels – the capital of Belgium and the European Union.
I’m really surprised and baffled how this significant event escaped the minds of the President and his delegation. The Rally in support of the recognition of Somaliland was held on Thursday 11 April just 8 days before the meeting in London. It was disappointing to say the least that the efforts of the Somaliland Community in Belgium particularity the young volunteers who worked tirelessly for days to make this rally happen did not get the attention of the President and his delegation. I’m sure this was not done on purpose and the Somaliland Government and indeed the Somaliland nation as a whole appreciate the efforts of Europe’s Somalilanders to promote their country but we must learn to recognise, acknowledge and reward those behind Somaliland promotion events in the diaspora and back home at public meetings.
This will bind Somaliland people more together and create a good culture where the contribution of each and every one of us to the cause of Somaliland is valued.
Congratulations to President Sillanyo for taking strong stance against the 7th of May Conference and congratulations to him and to his delegation for the strong leadership they have showed during the dialogue with the Somalia Government representatives in Turkey. Somaliland survived without international recognition for 22 years; it will survive another 100 years and more without it as long as we stick to our independence core values and remain united. We should not surrender to any International pressure that proposes to take us back to the failed union with Somalia. We needed the International community in the 80’s when our people were massacred by Mohamed Siad Bare and his Regime but they forsake us – Let us not pay too much attention to them now if they are not aligned with Somaliland’s interests.
Long live Somaliland
Mohamed Omer Maigag (Taag)
Somaliland Activist (Former Chair of the SSUK)