Democracy Rising

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable" ~ President John F. Kennedy

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Path To Recognition?

If there was ever a nation more deserving of international recognition (other than Taiwan) it would be Somaliland. This northern section of war-torn but recognized Somalia has escaped the death, chaos and lawlessness of its southern counterpart. It is the only part of the territory to have Democracy (a rare diamond in Africa) coupled with a thriving economy. The territory had been independent in 1960, before unification with what was then Italian Somaliland (modern day Somalia). It re-declared independence with the outbreak of war in 1991, unfortunately unable to bring the regions of Sanag and Sool, which had previously been part of its territory, back under control.

Well thats the history lesson, and the significance? Today for the first time the people of this nation are going to the polls to elect a parliament. 3 parties are able to stand, with a handful of women candidates vying for 82 seats in the lower house. In addition to funding 70% of the costs of the ballot, many observers will be from EU states.

So why has Somaliland been unable to obtain the elusive international recognition it seeks? Largely due to the instability in Somalia. The world is hoping this war-torn nation can rise from the ashes to some form of stability. By granting independence to the break-away region the fragile peace that currently exists would surely be shattered. Unfortunately the 'stability' of Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed is unlikely to bring democracy, economic growth, the rule of law, or any of Somalilands many credentials.

In his previous post as head of the Puntland region, Ahmed oversaw yet another African dictatorship, repressing media and attempting to extend his mandate through illegitimate means. He also triggered a series of skirmishes with Somaliland, attemtping to wrestle for control of land exempt from Puntlands territory. Since taking over as Transitional Head of State Ahmed has stirred up trouble through the recruitment of private militias. It seems that once again the West is chosing to support a repressive dictator, whilst one of the continents few democracies struggle by.

With international recognition, the democratic process of Somaliland could be authoritively overseen and monitored. In addition, this region could be a powerful ally to Washington. Only this week it arrested four al-Qaeda militants, including one prominent member of the terroist group. However with no positive signals coming from the world community, Somaliland looks set to remain an unknown and unloved state for years to come.


Post a Comment

<< Home