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Can Somaliland’s New President Steer It Toward International Recognition?

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The candidate of Somaliland’s ruling party, Musa Bihi Abdi, was finally declared the new president of this semi-autonomous region of northwestern Somalia late last month, after eight days of counting, recounting and closed-door negotiations between him, his main rival and the National Electoral Commission. Now Bihi faces the task of dealing with Somaliland’s many challenges, most of all turning a nascent democracy and East African success story into a fully functioning and independent state recognized by the world.

The election was declared peaceful and free by both local and international observers, who despite concerns claimed to have “observed a poll that in the main seems to have preserved the integrity of the electoral process.”

But less than 24 hours after the closure of the polls on Nov. 13, Bihi’s main rival in the race, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, the candidate from the opposition Waddani party, complained of irregularities, sparking protests that resulted in several deaths and injuries. Fearing that the situation could escalate further, the electoral commission agreed to a partial recount. Days later, the commission announced Bihi’s victory with 55 percent of the vote. Irro, as Abdullahi is known in Somaliland, won 40 percent. Faisal Ali Waraabe of the For Justice and Development party finished a distant third with about 4 percent of the vote.

Somaliland had once again pulled back from the brink of a possible crisis. “One of the successes of Somaliland has been its relationship between modernity and tradition, and the way it uses traditional means to resolve political issues,” says Mohamed Farah, director of the Academy for Peace and Development, a research institute in Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa. According to Farah, Somaliland’s political system, which incorporates both traditional clan elements and modern political structures, has been key to its ability to manage crises over its 26 years of self-declared but still internationally unrecognized independence.

 

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Academic Researches

Somaliland: Sources of Campaign Financing in 2017 Presidential Election

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In a new research carried out by Center for Policy Analysis (CPA), a local Think tank organization publishes a new report on the Sources of Campaign Financing in 2017 Presidential Election in Somaliland. The new report focuses on how the election campaigns were financed by the three political parties and the amount each party spent on those campaigns.

You can download the full report in the below link:

Sources of Campaign Financing in 2017 Presidential Election  

 

 

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“Berbera Special Economy Zone Will Model Jebel Ali Freezone” DP World

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DP World Press Release

We are pleased to inform you about DP World’s agreement with the Government of the Republic of Somaliland to develop Berbera Special Economic Zone (BSEZ). The project will build on DP World’s existing operations at the Port of Berbera where the port has recently recorded the highest container volumes in its history. Berbera SEZ benefits from excellent connectivity being located less than 15km from Berbera port and is situated along the Berbera-Hargeisa highway.

DP World – which has over 35 years’ experience in developing and managing large-scale special economic zones and ports – will model the project on Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) in Dubai and will position Berbera as a gateway for the region; especially for those companies looking to serve countries in the Horn of Africa and the hinterland.  Investors and tenants in the zone will enjoy the benefit of an attractive regulatory framework and the ease of doing business via a One Stop Shop.

 

Presentation

Please see a short presentation on Berbera SEZ By Clicking Here  

 

Registration of Interest

Work on the project is underway and as we expect demand for the project to be high, we are currently inviting prospective companies to submit their specific requirements for operation in the SEZ.

To register your interest in Berbera SEZ, please fill out the following form: HERE

Once we have received your response, we would be delighted to discuss your requirements in further detail and address any questions you might have about Berbera SEZ. For any immediate follow up queries please contact us on PLEZ@dpworld.com

 

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Opinion: Where Do I Stand in a Changing Region?

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Over the past six decades, the Horn of Africa has been a region of strife and conflict ravaging both the human lives and state resources. Poor leadership style in the region criminalized both the state and the economy. This is why many fellow citizens in the region believe that the conflicts and crisis in the region are a state-driven.

Somalia’s prolonged state collapse is one of the heartbreaking troubles in the region and greatly impacted on the regional peace and stability. Though it could be debatable, one of the major drivers of the Somalia’s protracted state collapse, is Somalia’s irredentism policy towards the Somali-speaking regions in the Horn. Djibouti, Somali region in Ethiopia, and the Northeastern region in Kenya could be an example. In this case, re-establishing strong state institutions in Somalia by the Somalis, could mean what, to the other states in the region? Do the regional states are honest about restoring well-built state institutions in Somalia? Do Somalis are ready to abandon their irredentism foreign policy objective? These are some thought-provoking questions.

The Republic of Somaliland, which merged with the Italian Somalia in 1960 to form the Greater Somali State in the Horn of Africa declared its withdrawal from the union in 1991, following a bitter war with the Somalia’s military regime. Somaliland has not yet attained de jure recognition from the international community. This is another dilemma in the region which needs a particular attention and consideration of all parties concerned.

The decades-long standoff between Somaliland and Somalia’s warring factions, and even the successive transitional and federal governments, have been shaped by Somalia’s political instability since the collapse of the central government in 1991. This dilemma dates back to the early decades of Somalia’s creation as a state. However, if this stand off were not settled by the concerned parties, it will bring another cycle of conflict and confrontation.

The Ethio–Eritrea border conflict is another dimension of the region’s conflicts. This conflict claimed the lives of over 70,000 people on both sides. Though the two countries are closing up a chapter of hate and hostility, what does this first round negotiation and dialogue mean to the other states in the region? Could it bring political and economic change?.

The Djibouti–Eritrea clash near Ras Doumeira is another potential conflict which may erupt sooner or later, if the two countries fail to address it. Therefore, ending the border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea will definitely have an effect on this part of the region. The question is: what kind of effect it will bring?

Claiming Somalia’s territorial waters by Kenya, is a breach of the international boundaries, including territorial waters, and, without hesitation, the Kenyans has shown an interest to extend its territorial sea and jurisdiction to the Somalia waters due to the inward-looking of the Somalia politicians. This is a potential conflict which could erupt sooner or later between Somalia and Kenya.

The four-year old conflict between the Dinka and the Neur, the largest and the second largest ethnic group in South Sudan respectively, is another setback which greatly affected the prospects of the South Sudan’s state in post-independence period. Without doubt, the regional states exported their differences to South Sudan allying with the warring parties.

An oil-rich Abyei region between the two Sudans is another contested area. The two countries are claiming the possession of that part of the region. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement reached by the two sides in 2005 highlighted the importance of resolving the conflict in the contested area of Abyie. This is another potential conflict which can escalate at any time in the future if the two parties fail to resolve it.

Despite the fact that the Horn of Africa is a troubled region, I am not cynical about seeing a peaceful and a prosperous Horn African region, but, the willingness of the regional leaders to realize that ambition is discouraging. I have a grave concern over the future of the region, and returning to war in a struggle to control both the state power and natural resources in the expenses of others is inevitable and unavoidable.

I ask myself, Do the Somali leaders wherever they are aware the changing nature of the Horn? Where do they stand in this changing region? Not as individuals, but as Somali politicians and intellectuals.

 

Nasir M. Ali

Hargeisa, Somaliland

 

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