Thursday, November 21, 2019
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Somalia Versus Secessionist ClanTalks: The SSC Stand

By Northern Somali Unionist Movement (NSUM)

All unionists hailing from Somalia’s northern SSC regions (Sool, Sanaag and Cayn), defending Somalia’s unity unaided under the pain of occupation and repression by the one-clan secessionist enclave calling itself Somaliland, have waited so long for President Farmaajo to face up to his responsibilities and deal with the one-clan secession. At last he took a step after more than two years in office. On 18 July 2019 he establishd a commission to hold talks with the secessionists. We would have welcomed this initiative as better late than never if it was a serious move and the beginning of concrete actions to end the secession.

Alas, Farmaajo’s initiative is none of that. His assurance that compliance with the requirements of Somalia’s constitution, unity and legal framework would guide the talks at all times sound to many as cynical empty rhetoric to assuage genuine public doubt about his resolve to safeguard Somalia’s unity. What other judgement can one pass on his assurances when successive Somali leaders since the advent of the federal system have consistently chipped away at Somalia’s unity and constitution by tolelrating the secessionists’ continued dismemberment of Somalia, keeping silent if not condoning their occupation of unionist regions, and let unhindered their transformation from a renegade one-clan entity into a de facto separate country under the assumed false name of Somaliland?.

The federal government has not only accepted this false name of Somaliland but also what it stands for from the secessionists’ perspective– that all the clans in their so-called Somaliland are counted secessionists even if unionists, all subscribing to the breakup of Somalia and for that reason are all under the suzerainty of Hargeisa which alone is their representative at talks with the federal government. If that was not the case, it would have insisted that the talks would be held only with the one clan which opted for the secession, something it has not done in capitulation to Hargeisa. All these amount to crimes against the unionist regions such as the SSC and by extension a violation of Somalia’s constitution and unity which all make hollow Farmaajo’s assurances.

President Farmaajo called for the talks partly out of deference to the international community who has been pressing for it and partly for domestic public consumption to deflect criticism that he is idle doing nothing to end the secession. When all is said and done, these talks are nothing more than an excercise in futility that will lead no where. Farmaajo will not hand the secessionists what he cannot give even if he wants to, namely recognition. And the diehard clan chauvenists ruling the enclave will not give up their secession more so when they feel they are closer to realising their goal, not least after tasting their first sweet victory following Quinea’s landmark tacit recogniton.

Unlike Villa Somalia which only reacts to events, the secessionist enclave by contrast leaves no stone unturned in its search for recognition. As such, they have nothing to lose and even more to gain if the talks fail to take place. Unless they are defeated in the unionist SSC regions, their unchallenged status as a de facto separate country, thanks to Mogadishu, should eventually propel them to more recogniton. Who pays the price? Not Farmaajo and company for sure who by then will retreat to their adopted countries and enjoy the fruits of their office.

Predictably, and as a mark of their self-assuredness, the one-clan secessionist enclave chose to reject the talks on the ground that Farmaajo has crossed a red line by including in the Commission some members who originate from the north. It is the tail wagging the dog. and Mogadishu has only itself to blame. As if that is not a slap in the face for Farmaajo, we have their representives in Somalia’s two houses of parliaments threatening a censure motion against the government unless it backs down to the satisfaction of Hargeisa. With few exceptions, these members are nothing more than fifth column in Parliament doing Hargeisa’s bidding. It is not lost on the SSC people that while the secession has paradoxically such open backing in Somalia’s parlaiament, no voice is ever raised in support of their struggle to defend the union. As Hargeisa often chides them, they are fighting a lost cause that few in Mogadishu support.

When it comes to the SSC people, their stand on the  secession has been repeatedly made clear by the community at every level, above by the SSC traditional leaders (Isimo), the highest governing body in the SSC regions. Their message to Somalia and the international community remains the same: that there is no such a thing as Somaliland since the country of that name ceased to exist after union in 1960; that this fake Somaliland now adopted by the secessionists is a hoax to hoodwink the international community.

The stand of the Isimo on the talks between the federal government and the enclave has been spell out in a press release they issued (posted in Wardheernews) after they held a conference in Sool region on 4 July 2019 in which they declare :

  • that the talks have nothing to do with the SSC people since they have not seceded from Somalia;
  • that the talks are solely between the government and the seceding clan calling itself Somaliland;
  • And that no one can claim to represent the SSC people at these talks whether from the federal government side or by others who hail from the SSC regions but are agents of the enclave.

President Farmaajo chose to turn a deaf ear to the Isimo declaration. Nothing could hurt the SSC people more and nothing could be more insulting to them as President Farmaajo did than when the reward for defending the union is to be lumped with the secessionists as part of their enclave, the very people destroying the unity of Somalia. In so acting, he is riding  roughshod over their fundamental constitutional right to be part of Somalia and under no one else’s tutelege, the very principles he claims underpin these talks.

The Northern Somalia Unionist Movement (NSUM), established after the one-clan secessionist enclave invaded Sool in 2007 and occupied its capital, Lascanod, has been in hybernation after the establishment of Khatumo in 2012. Following the latter’s demise at the hands of Galaydh who defected to Hargeisa, and after a long absence of its revival or replacement, the NSUM has now woken up to resume its role in the struggle to free the SSC people from the daily repression and humilations inflicted on them by the occupying one-clan secessionist enclave and take their rightful place in federal Somalia. Towards this end, the SSC people have to reckon with the reality they face and act accordingly: relie on yourselves for your struggle to be free since there is no one else to relie on in Villa Somalia or elsewhere.

Northern Somali Unionist Movement (NSUM)

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