Somalia marks Independence Day amid political and security crisis
MOGADISHU, Somalia - On Friday, Somalia has marked Independence Day, the 60th anniversary since the northern regions [Somaliland] secured freedom from Britain. The commemoration comes amid ongoing reconciliation talks with Mogadishu, which were engineered by Djibouti President Ismael Omar Guelleh.
Somaliland was a British protectorate and became independent in 1960 on June 26th, with documentary evidence showing that many people were killed when the region was struggling to break the chains from colonialists.
The northern regions have merged with South, an Italian protectorate 5 days later after gaining independence on July 1, 1960, forming the Republic of Somalia.
But in 1991, just a year after the civil war broke out, Somaliland announced it has seceded from Somalia, but, the region did not win the get recognization despite having a functional government with its own Parliament and even currency. This has lasted for three decades.
Muse Bihi Abdi, the president of the breakaway region, hailed Somaliland for their independence, adding that his major focus was on "prosperity and progress". The celebrations are done annually despite the status of the region.
"I extend my congratulatory message to the people of the Republic of Somaliland on the occasion of commemorating 60 years of Independence from Britain on the 26th June 1960," he tweeted. "I wish more prosperity and progress for my fellow citizens of this great nation for many years to come."
Djibouti engineered talks between the two parties - Federal Government of Somali and Somaliland and a technical committee has since been formed to evaluate issues affecting the two regions. Among others, the committee is keen to solve foreign aid and airspace problems, which have often put the two regions at loggerheads.
In the next 45 days, the subcommittees will submit reports to the ministerial team before a final evaluation is done for tabling. It's anticipated that the impasse will be unlocked after years of animosity and rivalry between Hargeisa and Mogadishu.
After the opening of the talks in Djibouti, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo expressed optimism that the two parties will agree for the sake of integration and stability of Somalia in the coming years. But Bihi insisted that the controversial issues will be solved if Hargeisa is recognized.
"Our children and next generations deserve to lead a life anchored in the spirit of brotherhood guided by our forefathers and leaders who lit the way. It’s now our historic turn leaves an inspiring legacy that will create a generation with a common purpose, optimistic of its future," Farmajo said.
Mogadishu held the 60th anniversary of Somaliland at Villa Somalia, the official residence of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, a ceremony which was graced by Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and Lower House Speaker Mohamed Mursal Sheikh Abdirahman.
Conspicuously missing from the celebrations was Senate Speaker Abdi Hashi Abdullahi, who has been at loggerheads with Villa Somalia. Early this week, Abdullahi dismissed ongoing debate on electoral laws in Lower House as "illegal", adding that many clauses had been tampered with.
On Saturday [today], the National Independent Electoral Commission [NIEC] is set to table a host of proposals in Lower House for consideration, with the possible representation of Somaliland in Parliament in the next election being one of the agendas.