- President Dahir Riyale Kahin of the yet-to-be-recognised state Somaliland today said that his government had succeeded in getting the attention of African countries and making Somaliland's quest for recognition more visible than at any time before. Only in West Africa, Somaliland was still widely unknown to the public.
In his address to the nation today - on the 14th anniversary of Somaliland's unilateral restoration of its sovereignty on 18th May 1991 - President Kahin said when he took the reins of power following the death of late President Mohammed Ibrahim Egal in 2002, he had promised to the nation to focus on two issues: "to be more vigorous in explaining our issue to the world, particularly African countries which were mostly in the dark about our issue, and to speed up the democratisation process and establish a multi-party system in our country."
According to President Kahin, his government had succeeded in explaining the issue of Somaliland and the need for its recognition to African countries, particularly those in the East, North and South of the continent, as well as to Europe, America and Latin American states. Only West African nations were still unfamilar with Somaliland's quest for recognition.
Somaliland until 1960 was a British colony; the north-western neigbour of Italian Somalia. A few days after achieving its recognised independence, Somaliland united with Somalia. Following the brutal dicatorship of Siyad Barre and the chaotic disintegration of Somalia in 1991, Somaliland declared its independence. Since that, it has developed into the most stable, democratic and peaceful corner of the African Horn, but calls for international recognition have so far failed to succeed due to resistance from the African Union.
Somaliland is however gaining increased support for its quest, which also President Kahin emphasised in his speech. "Our achievements have been recognized by respected international institutions such as the Royal Institute, the International Crisis Group, the South African Institute of International Affairs as well as by media organizations such as Al Jazeera, the Gulf Information Center, the Sub-Saharan Informer and the BBC," he said.
On Somaliland's democratisation process, President Kahin said that his country's "successful and peaceful holding" of the municipal elections and presidential elections had given a boost to Somaliland's "serious efforts to building a society based on democratic practices."
The Somalilander President nevertheless launched a scathing attack on the main opposition party Kulmiye, accusing the party's leadership of making desperate attempts to unseat him through unconstitutional ways such as bribing members of parliament.
- These days we have seen one of the main opposition parties trying to buy some members of the Parliament by offering each of them US$ 1500 to impeach me, he said, "I want to ask you [the nation] do you deserve your President whom you have elected in broad daylight to be overthrown by individuals who have been bought with US$ 1500? Don't you think people who think like this are insulting our nation and damaging our statehood?"
President Kahin added that the Kulmiye party had started to incite impeachment against him after the visit of an African fact-finding mission to Somaliland and after he set a date for the parliamentary elections. "They say they want to impeach me for high treason. The question is: Is bringing an African Union delegation to our country to present our issue to the African nations a crime? or does setting a date for elections constitutes a crime and a constitutional breach?"
Recently, Hargeisa police raided the headquarters of Kulmiye party under the pretext of looking for an illegal and clandestine radio station they thought was operating from the party's headquarters. The story later appeared to be unfounded and the incident constituted an embarrassment for the government. It became obvious that Radio Horyaal, which is sympathetic to the Kulmiye party, operates from its base in Europe.
Referring to this issue, President Kahin said it was wrong to raid the Kulmiye headquarters and that he ordered the police forces not to repeat such action in future and to respect the sanctity of opposition parties head offices. He, however, urged the Kulmiye party to close the radio station, asserting that opening an illegal radio station will lead every clan to open its own radio station.
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