An open letter to: Hon. Henry Bellingham Minister for Africa Foereign & Commonwealth Office

Main feature: If Somaliland can break away from Somalia, then Awdal State has every right to secede from Somaliland and that is prominently embodied in Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations.
Hon. Minister;
On behalf of the people of Awdal State, it is my pleasure to write this letter to you. Without taking too much of your time, the essence of writing this to you is to thank you and your government for the magnanimous effort for organizing and launching the London conference and hope that Britain’s initiative to hold this conference will bear fruit.
Your Hon., we the people of Awdal State believe that this conference is a good avenue where the finest and most vibrant minds in the peace loving civilized world can find a strategy to address Somalia’s problems and to help its people. Apart from that, it also affords the insightful Somalis the opportunity to have an input to the solution.

Your honour, with all due respect, as is obvious and should be, specially to the British government, Somaliland is not a new found land. It is the land which was known as the northern part of Somalia before the fall of the Somali Republic. It is the land which was before known as the British Somaliland. It is also the land where known tribes lived (Gadabursi of the Western regions, the Isaaqs of the Middle regions and the Dhulbahante and Harti tribes of the Eastern regions) long before the British colonized. Indeed it is not a new found land in1991. It is our good intention here to remind the world community that every clan in north Somalia (The former British Somaliland) has the right to determine its own destiny.

Your honour, where is currently known as Somaliland was formed in confederacy of tribes united by a league. An ideology of clans uniting to change the course to betterment (peace). A league based on understanding, cooperating, caring and sharing. A union with a vision of peace building and advancement.

In contrast, it has become apparent that the agreed upon policy of the foundation of Somaliland has been hijacked by elements whose doctrine is embarked upon an ideology adventure which lead the agreement into a ditch – The so called Somaliland. These ego-centric power crazy and tribal minded elements have slowly and dangerously moved Somaliland towards a clan state where selfishness, greed, injustice and dominance have become the state norm. Elements whose doctrine states to wield control onto others and whose motto are to establish a one clan state to bend the will of others.

Your honour, it is a mutual decision among the people of Awdal State that we must take a tough new line on Somaliland. We had enough with the methods of guide diplomacy and muted appeasement. These degrading schools of thought have clearly failed.

Your honour, it is our good intention and duty to protect our rights. Awdal had this union relation with Somaliland since the formation of the confederacy and has not been able to get the slightest concession on respect and fairness. The fact of the matter is that Awdal has gone through a dramatic shift from two decades policy of one clan show to a policy of taking matters and protecting their rights under the hijacked clan based rule of Somaliland.
It is obvious that people of Awdal are increasingly finding themselves facing economic decline, injustices and dwindling rights and these harsh circumstances have caused the people of Awdal State to drop their support of Somaliland and take their destiny into their hands. We the people of Awdal support a federal government of the people by the people and for the people of Somalia.

There were numerous attempts to revive the functionality of the federal Somali government before, the one being initiated and organized by the British government is another to come. We the people of Awdal State thank the British government for their restless efforts to bring the Somali map back to the civilized peaceful world map.

We the people of Awdal State recognize that the London conference is the last chance for the Somali people to come back to the world community and there fore would urge the British government and the other interested parties to pay attention to the main pillar which would hold the Somali house together. That pillar is the unity of the Somali nation. The idea of the power crazy Siraanyo led SNM group (Separatists) must not be allowed. Somalia must be one and only one government under one flag.

Your honour, The two most important words the third world countries always hear and learn from the civilized western world are democracy and self determination. We urge the western countries and specially the British government to honour the real meaning of the words. We urge the stake holders that would attend the conference to exerciser the value meaning of what the civilized western world preaches.

Somaliland must not be given the chance to separate from the rest of Somalia. Democracy and valuing the will and the desire of the people should take the front seat. Breaking Somalia into different parts will not solve the Somali problem but will further create more problems and will bring a new headache to the civilized world. Somaliland is not democratic and must not be allowed to play the self determination card as well. Surely that will also open doors for others to do the same.

Somaliland’s undemocratic contradiction

In a democracy, every citizen has certain basic rights that the government cannot take away from them. These rights are guaranteed under international law. On the contrary, in Somaliland people from western regions – the Gadabursi people (Awdal State) and those in the eastern regions – have no rights at all.

People in that particular regions namely the Gadabursi and the Dhulbahante have no rights to have their own beliefs and to say and write what they think. If they say, write or even think against the so called Somaliland government they are automatically jailed with no mercy for no particular time with out any due process.

There is no freedom and pluralism in the mass media in Somaliland. No media is allowed to report anything against the government. No media functions in the Western Regions (Awdal State) of the Gadabursi people and eastern regions of the Dhulbahante (Khaatumo State). No single person from Gadabursi tribe nor the Dhulbahante even works in the Somaliland national media. And because of putting the lid on the peoples’ mouths, there are hundreds of Gadabursi people and the Dhulbahante that are in jails around the country who are accused of either saying or writing against the government.

People in Awdal State ( the Gadabursi) have no right to associate with other people, and to form and join organizations of their own choice nor have the right to assemble freely, and to protest government actions. There are hundreds in jails in Borama accused of supporting Awdal State political organizations.

Your honour, in Somaliland, democracy is a system of rule by individuals not by laws. In Somaliland citizens are not equal. People of the western regions and eastern regions are discriminated against just because they are not of Isaaq clan. Hundreds from Gadabursi and Dhulbahante tribes are arrested, imprisoned, or exiled arbitrarily. Torture and cruel and inhumane treatment are the common norm in jails.

Somaliland is a one-tribe government that has armed itself to the teeth, syphoning the bulk of international aid handouts to amassing military hardware and creating a military machine. That accompanied with the control being in one clan – if Somaliland is given the chance to break away from Somalia, make no doubt about it, the Somaliland government will surprise the civilized world to experience a genocide not seen in recent decades To avoid that, the world community must not ignore the wishes of the other tribes in the region – The Gadabursi and the Dhulbahante who have been the habitats for centuries. Their policy of united Somalia should be honoured.

Somaliland’s intent to self determination

Somaliland is a one clan government, a government of one clan by one clan for one clan which sees the separation from Somalia as a chance of wealth for the people in the middle regions of Northern Somalia – the former British Somaliland. If hope is to emerge from the London conference with a stronger common understanding of the way forward and a renewed political commitment in the long haul, preference should be given to unionists (Awdal State and Khaatumo State). The separatists should be shut down.

Essentially, the right to self-determination is the right of a people to determine its own destiny. In particular, the principle allows a people to choose its own political status and to determine its own form of economic, culture and social development. The principle of self-determination is prominently embodied in Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations.

Hence, if Somaliland is given the right for self-determination, then the other tribes – The gadabursi and the Dhulbahante have also the right to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their destiny. Their right of self-determination to join to the Somali Republic should be honoured.

The people of Awdal State have suffered under the one clan administration of Siiraanyo and will not tolerate to live in oppression any more. It should be known to the civilized world that the people of Awdal State have the right to full political independence. Awdal State should be allowed and supported for their right to take their destiny into their hands.

Your honour Awdal State stands for;

Awdal State is ready to control its destiny. People of Awdal have not only accepted responsibility but committed themselves to controlling their destiny. Awdal State made it clear that it stands for Somali unity and hence supports federalism unlike Somaliland (The separatists).

Awdal State unlike the separatists of Somaliland supports a system of federalism to function in Somalia. A system with a single national government which exercises its particular powers across the country with multiple regional governments which exercise their powers within their particular regional territory.
In that sense for example, Awdal State like any other state government will have its own particular jurisdiction in areas of public policy in which it and only it may exercise authority or may have the final authority.
Unlike Somaliland Awdal State stands for peace and good neighbourhood. Unlike Somaliland, Awdal state is democratic and guarantees the human rights and freedom of speech.
Your honour, Awdal State has the right to self-determination. If Somaliland breaks from Somalia, then Awdal State has every right to break away from Somaliland and join hands with the federalism of all Somalis.
Lastly, it should be known that if Awdal State is not allowed to present its case in the conference, the British and other interested governments and organizations should know that the representatives from Somaliland are only representing their own clan and not for the people of Awdal State (The Gadabursi) nor the other clans in the region.
Executive Office chief of staff (Awdal State)
Suleiman A Dugsiye.

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