The political map of Africa that shows its independent countries had not been made neither by United Nations nor by African Union or by its own African nations. It is the result of the European Colonial Occupiers that invaded African Continent at the end of the 19th century and divided it up into territories with colonial borders for their own political sphere of influence. When leaving Africa, mainly in the 1960s, the Europeans based the independence and diplomatic recognition of all African emerging countries including Somaliland on their colonial borders inherited from the colonial powers. The borders of African independent states had been drawn by the colonial powers of Europe at the end of the 19th century, mainly during The Partition of Africa held in Berlin in 1884. Likewise, all the current borders of Asia and South America also emerged from colonial borders drawn mainly by Britain, France, and Spain and were all recognized too on their colonial borders.
Somaliland is located in the Horn of Africa. It lies between the 08°00′ – 11°30′ parallel North of the Equator and between 42°30′ – 49°00′ Meridian East of Greenwich. It is bordered by the Red Sea to the North, Djibouti to the West, Ethiopia to the South, and Somalia to the East. Somaliland has a coastline with the majority lying along the Gulf of Aden (Red Sea). The country is slightly larger than England, with an area of 137, 600 km² (53,100 sq. miles) and with population around 4 millions.
According to the unique history of the continent of Africa, an African country is recognized as an independent nation when it meets or fulfills the following four (4) requirements:
That it is colonized separately, that it has its own colonial borders that it has an official proclamation of independence granted by the colonizing power on specific date, and that it Fulfills the Montevideo Convention Requirements on the Rights and Duties of States held on December 26, 1933 which stated that the state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications:
- permanent population
- Defined country
- Capacity to enter into relations with the other states.
Somaliland has perfectly fulfilled the four required conditions to be recognized as independent country and that is why it was recognized on June 26, 1960 by the United Nations and many countries of the international community
The borders of Somalia, Somaliland, Djibouti or any other Africa country have the same international status and legitimacy because they all had been drawn by European Colonial powers. Anyone who opposes the legitimacy of Somaliland borders, its statehood, its independence, and its diplomatic recognition is challenging the borders and sovereignty of all African independent states (54 states) whose borders also rose from their colonial borders.
African borders are based on land only and not on lineage or clans. There are no clan borders or clan states in Africa or anywhere else in this world. There are only national land-based borders in Africa whose nations consist of many tribes or clans that share common borders and sovereignty.
The following African clans clearly show of how same African clans are distributed over different countries. The inhabitance or residence of some African clans is as follows:
- Fulani Clan: This clan inhabits in Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon etc.
- Tuareg Clan: This clan has inhabitance in Senegal, Nigeria, Mali, Niger etc.
- Lunda Clan: This clan inhabits in Congo, Zambia, and Angola.
- Yoruba Clan: This clan has inhabitance in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo.
- Maasai Clan: This clan resides in Kenya, and Tanzania.
- Afar Clan: This clan inhabits in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti
- Gabooye Clan: This clan inhabits in Somaliland, Somalia, Ethiopia
- Berber Clan: This clan has inhabitance in Morroco, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria.
- Isaaq Clan: This clan inhabits in Somaliland, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti
- Samaroon Clan: This tribe inhabits in Somaliland, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.
- Hawiye Clan: This clan inhabits in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia.
- Darood Clan: This clan inhabits in Somalia, Somaliland, Kenya, Ethiopia
- Rahanwein Clan: This clan has inhabitance in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya.
- Essa Clan: This clan inhabits in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somaliland.
The land of Harti People in Sool and Eastern Sanaag is located within Somaliland British colonial borders. It is integral and inseparable part of independent Somaliland. Thus, there is no “disputed land or territories” in Somaliland as some may claim preposterously. Somaliland does not accept the idea of “disputed land in Somaliland” as any other African country would not accept to call part of its territory “disputed land”.
Puntland Administration of Federal Somalia dreams to reunite Harti people, sub-clan of Darod, of Somaliland, Somalia, and Ethiopia to create Harti country in the Horn of Africa. Would the United Nations or Africa accept to create Fulani country by reuniting the Fulanis of Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon or Tuareg country by reuniting the Tuaregs of Senegal, Nigeria, Mali, and Niger? The answer is: No. likewise, Africa would never accept that the Puntland Administration of Federal Somalia reunite Hartis of Somaliland, Somalia and Ethiopia to create tribal crisis in the Horn of Africa. There is no country in Africa or in any other continent whose population is based on single clan or lineage as Puntland Administration of Somalia claims blindly.
The internal security, stability, and peace of Africa rest on respecting, recognizing, and implementing its current borders that rose from colonial borders. If an African country would claim the clan and its land located in another African country, the continent would fall to endless devastating, bloody clan wars, violence and anarchy. The African continent would not exist as we know it today. The peace and stability of African states depend on respecting and recognizing colonial borders. United Nations and African Union should not allow any country like Somalia or any other country to change or redraw African colonial borders to avoid the danger of plunging the continent into endless clan wars and anarchy.
African Union and African leaders claim that if Somaliland is recognized, it will shift or change the borders of current African independent states inherited from colonial powers leading to instability and political unrest in Africa. If that claim were true, why did not the recognition of South Sudan and Eritrea change the borders of Africa and cause instability and political unrest in African continent? Senegal and Gambia founded federation or union in February 1982 calling it Senegambia. That union was dissolved in September 1989 after disagreement and each country regained its original independence and diplomatic recognition without changing the borders of Africa. So, why denying Somaliland of regaining that independence and recognition it had before the union with Somalia? Somaliland diplomatic recognition does not need any approval from Somalia as any other African country did not need approval of its independence and diplomatic recognition from any other African country.
Somaliland is not a secessionist or breakaway region from Somalia but Somaliland just withdrew from the union with Somalia after Somalia grossly violated the union and committed injustices and atrocities in Somaliland between 1960-1991. If Nyanza Province of Kenya, or Arusha Region of Tanzania, or Puntland province of Somalia break away from their own respective countries, that would be secessionists, separatists, or breakaways and that would change or shift the colonial borders of Africa inherited from colonial powers and that would create instability and political unrest in the continent of Africa because these provinces share history and colonial borders with their own countries.
The declaration of Organization of African Unity (O.A.U) in 1964 on African Borders was the formal acceptance of the existing colonial borders inherited from colonial powers on which independence and recognition of each African country were based including Somaliland. That declaration had nothing to do with unification, federations, and unions between two or more African countries like the failed union between Somaliland and Somalia formed un-thoughtfully and hastily in 1960. A union or federation could be dissolved anytime if the sides disagree each restoring and retaining its original independence and borders. That declaration reinforces the rightful claim of Somaliland to be recognized as independent nation based on its colonial borders. That declaration does not prevent Somaliland from withdrawing from the union with Somalia and restoring its independence and diplomatic recognition achieved on June 26, 1960. If Uganda and Kenya share union today and after some time they disagree and dissolve that union, each would still be independent, recognized nation on its own colonial borders
Somaliland and Somalia are not the first two countries in this world whose union dissolved or ceased to exist. The Soviet Union that had 15 Socialist Republics created by the Bolshevik Revolution led by Lenin in 1917 broke up after social upheavals and political discontent ended its existence peacefully in 1989 with new countries emerging from it such as Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia etc. They are all recognized by the UN and international community on the basis of their original borders existing before the union. The federation of former Republic of Yugoslavia that had 8 countries broke up too after bloody civil wars between 1991-1995 and new countries such as Serbia, Croatia , Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo etc. emerged from its ashes. All these countries are also recognized diplomatically too for their original borders existing before the federation. This shows that the unity among countries that share a union is not sacred anymore if they have disagreement. So, Somaliland Republic deserves international diplomatic recognition based on its British colonial borders.
If the United Nations or Organization of African Union do not respect and recognize Somaliland borders, emerging from colonial borders as any other African country, then the territorial integrity of each African country would be questionable and would be at risk of dispute and continental disintegration through endless clan wars.
Ibrahim Hassan Gagaale