Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Kenyan Foreign Minister’s Reference To Somaliland As A Faction Criticized

Kenyan Foreign Minister’s Reference To Somaliland As A Faction Criticized

Nairobi – The following a press release by the Kenyan-Somaliland Friendship Forum:

It is with great displeasure that we, members of Kenya Somaliland Forum, take this decision to comment on the un-diplomatic statement attributed to our Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kalonzo Mosyoka, regarding the increasing tension between Somaliland and Puntland as reported in sections of the media.

Though we are in agreement in the crux of his call for the de-escalation of tension between the two neighbours, what we find demeaning in the statement is the minister’s reference to Somaliland as a faction on equal bar with Somalia’s regional state of Puntland. The description is not only wrong but deliberately offensive in the light of the fact that Somaliland is a separate entity whose successful achievements in peace-making and nation-building are well-documented and respected world-wide. Somaliland may be lacking political recognition but this does not negate her existence in reality and even in international law as has been ably demonstrated by Anthony J. Carroll and B. Rajagopal in their article entitled “The Case for the Independent Statehood of Somaliland” published in the Journal of International Law & Politics.

We appreciate the fact that our government has always taken the side of the status quo in all major regional issues, and that her position regarding Somalia, irrespective of the government in power and their effects on our basic national interests, has always been dictated by a certain individual from the North-eastern region who happens to have deep clan interest on developments in that chaotic neighbor. But what we cannot understand is the apparent haphazard nature with which some of our foreign policies are handled. Though it may be hard to change a person despite newfound political identity, Mr. Kalonzo should take a keen interest in his portfolio and embark on a process that will bring his department in line with the new realities of the government of the day. It is time that the Minister takes the president’s promise to Kenyans that the days policies were made on the roadside are over seriously.

We recommend that he consult with his colleague, Hon. Raila who has a first hand experience with Somaliland and take the time to read both academic and other commentaries on Somaliland to understand that such dismissive gestures toward Somaliland may not be fruitful, both in terms of our efforts to resolve the conflict and avoiding future conflicts that will further exacerbate the already unbearable refugee crisis.

Be that as it may, we would like to draw the attention of all Kenyans that the said conflict between Somaliland and Puntland is caused by Puntland seeking to re-draw her provincial maps against a sovereign state on the basis of ethnicity. Puntland tried several times to bring about a war with Somaliland, but so far, the administration of Somaliland has exercised restraint. Puntland’s militias even tried to assassinate the elected president of Somaliland; they have now occupied big chunks of Somaliland and kidnapped members of the Somaliland's administration.

Somaliland has tried all avenues for a peaceful resolution of the problems despite being the aggrieved party. However, its lack of political recognition limits the diplomatic avenues available to her to highlight the aggression of Puntland. Puntland, on her part, has managed to cloud the affair through proxies, and is trying to reduce the crisis to the level of militia rivalry in a chaotic Somalia, and thus, deflect adverse international condemnation. It seems from Mr. Kalonzo’s statement, Puntland is achieving the desired political ends. Never the less, it should be noted with due care that such political posturing will not resolve the problem, and Somaliland, like any other state, has the inalienable right to self defence.

On Behalf of the Forum,
Ali Mohamed.
Press Liaison Person,
Kenya Somaliland Friendship Forum



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