By: Yusuf M Hasan
THT: It is my honor and privilege to appear before the Parliament of the Republic of Somaliland today, to deliver the 2020 Constitutional address.
AS usual every year and more so 2019 marks a year of peace, unity and a year of national diplomatic success for Republic of Somaliland,
In our region and the world in general, there are socio-economic changes and political alliances, which can distort the face of the world today.
In Somaliland, it has not failed to be the turning point in the world and to make new political allies.
My annual constitutional state of the nation address this year contains insights on:
- Community Services
- Security and
- Foreign Affairs
Ladies and Gentlemen I will begin with
The economy is the basis for the development and transformation of life and society in every country. Therefore, the government is focusing on the development of the Republic and the promotion of the national economy:
- The GDP growth rate in the UK has increased by 2% in the last two years. Whereas the economic growth in Africa is estimated at 3.4% in 2019 by the United Nations. This indicates that Somaliland’s economic growth is on the rise, despite the unique economic constraints of the Republic of Somaliland.
The government has been able to raise inflation by 19% to 4% in 2019; we have also succeeded in raising the value of Somaliland Shilling by 21% in 2019.
Revenue for the country surged 4.5% in fiscal 2019. This shows the efforts and capabilities of the National Revenue Authority.
- In the fiscal year 2019 the government expenditure on national projects amounted to 152,040,135,320 SL Shilling, paid entirely by the State.
- In the 2020 national budget my administration has allocated 827,455, 889 SL Shillings to projects entirely funded by the state.
- The Public Finance Management System (PFM) has been implemented, which will help improve the country’s financial system, tax collection, revenue growth, spending power, implementation of development projects thus drive economic growth in the country.
Although every effort is being made, there are major economic challenges that need national consultations because we are a country of imbalance in exports and imports.
For example, in 2019 we imported goods worth $ 572,713,970 assessed (Customs Import – Export Value), we exported goods worth $ 211,732,852 thence a deficit of ($ 360,981,118) a financial constrain.
Therefore, in order to get out of the trade imbalance we will increase production and manufacturing in the country. They have made tax exemptions worth up to $ 15 million for small-scale industry and limited-use products
- Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries
The government has focused on promoting agricultural production, animal welfare and fisheries. Therefore:
- The government utilized 42,000 hours in tilling support to farmlands while free seeds were delivered to 14,000 households nationwide.
- The state donated 7 tractors to Agricultural Cooperatives in Berato and Beer in Daadmadheed and Togdheer Regions.
- 4.750 meters of water and 85 Water pumps were availed and distributed equitably to 170 families in all regions of Somaliland.
- 38 veterinary teams from the government vaccinated 3 3 million livestock against various diseases nationwide.
- 1,500,000 ailing livestock including sheep, camels, cattle and horses were treated without charge.
- Livestock fattening forage was distributed free of charge 19.550 families pastoralists in all regions.
- The government has purchased four boats for training fishermen in the country.
Physical infrastructure such as roads, sea-ports and airports play a vital role in the development of our country. To this effect:
- Expansion and modernization of the Berbera Port is underway, and I have great honour to inform that 43% which is 400 meters long of the first phase of Port Expansion is complete.
- 7% of the Berbera Corridor which connects Somaliland and Ethiopia is complete and in use.
- Construction of 22.5 kilometers of track as part of the Berbera Corridor Economic Corridor geared towards diverting heavily laden trucks from the capital Hargeisa will start soon.
- The governments of Somaliland and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to elevate Berbera Airport to international standards for purpose of supporting cross-border regional, regional and international trade.
- This administration has completed construction of an additional 107 kilometers of the Burao –Erigavo Road thence an in use stretch of 201 km having inherited94 km from the previous administration .
- Construction of 49 49 kilometers of Hargeisa-Kalabaydh highway has been completed and in use.
- Construction of the Bridge connection Borama town to Amoud University is nearing completion and shall be inaugurated soon.
- Extensive repairs have been made to the road between Las Anod and the village of Samakaab and Adhi-caddeeye.
- An extensive renovation to the second bridge in Burao destroyed by heavy rainfall has been completed.
- In 2019 traffic accidents caused death to 274 citizens and to negate such catastrophes we are in advanced stages of implementing new traffic rules especially pertains to speed governors in the country.
- Community Service
- Health Development
Based on the importance of health care and improve health services to the community, the government is focusing on the public’s access to economically affordable quality health services, therefore:
- Priority has been given to health services in vulnerable communities, such as maternal and child health clinics.
- To improve health services at all levels 512 public health professionals have been recruited and seconded to all regions.
- Provided further training to 3,100 Health Professionals, to improve the quality of health services available to the Somaliland community.
- 733,654 children under five years of age were vaccinated against infectious diseases, 10% more than in 2018.
- 52 526,273 people in outpatient and inpatient care were treated free of charge in public hospitals and clinics nationwide.
- For the first time in the history of Somaliland, 10 children underwent successful heart surgery in Hargeisa, under full government sponsorship.
- 22 new public health centers equitably distributed nationwide were set up to provide health services.
Ladies and gentlemen;
Education is the key to sustainable development and the light of productive life. Human progress is largely made possible by the quality of education in each country.
Thence Government, taking into accounts the importance of education to the development of the nation and the life of the younger generation in this country, following was implemented
- National Teachers Training College was established and to improve basic education the cahoots of 400 teachers from primary schools across the country are undergoing training,
- International educational scholarships have been granted to 450 students from all over the State, beneficiary selection having been based on the ranking of the final school exam scores.
- From February 2019 the policy of ensuring that all primary school pupils in the country have access to approved curriculum text books. To this effect the government distributed 100.200 text books for use by 153.077 students in all regions of the country.
- 400 new teachers have been hired to increase the quality of education services in the country.
- 201 new classrooms were built in 102 schools from Awdal, Togdheer, Saanag, Sool and Sahil regions.
- Water Development
Ladies and gentlemen;
We are all convinced that water is the first basic want of human life and as a result, the Government has made a concerted effort to bring water and water expansion to urban and rural areas. To this effect
- 32 wells were dug.
- 66 boreholes were rehabilitated through a depth increase to enhance sustainable water supply.
- Exploration of 33 new boreholes has been completed and only pends commencement of drilling.
- 8 new dams have been drilled, and 12 have been repaired.
- 153 new water reservoirs have been constructed, and 203 existing ones reconditioned.
- Water supply expansion projects have been accomplished in Hargeisa, Burao, Berbera, Erigavo and Borama.
- The Hargeisa water supply expansion project is ongoing and nearing completion soon. 80% of water supply availability has completed while 30% of distribution to consumers is complete so far.
- Job Creation for Youths
The government of Somaliland recognizes the importance of youth and exploits the potential of youth in the development and security of the nation as well as in the wider Horn of Africa region:
In pursuit of realizing this objective my administration
- Launched a comprehensive job creation program for young Somalilanders through the ‘National Employment Program’. To date 1,349 young people, both boys and girls have graduated from the Program. All the beneficiaries have undergone a 3 months training that includes life skills and are now active in various government agencies, some of whom have joined the Somaliland National Army.
- In 2020 The National Employment Program will recruit 1,000 new youth this year.
- The government announced the implementation of the Somaliland Youth Development Fund. It will be an independent youth fund that operates in the country officially, with the objective to facilitate young people with creative and entrepreneurial skills. Those in need of financial support for startups shall be assisted without interest. We are asking the business community of Somaliland to participate in the Youth Fund, and as a Government we will be contributing to a sustainable fund every year, and have already invested the first $ 200,000.
Despite all efforts, youth unemployment appears to be high, posing a serious threat to the country’s security. Government research shows that the skills needed in the labor market and the educational skills offered by the country’s universities are imbalanced and there is a great need for hands-on technology. Therefore,
- The government targets to negate this skills needed and available imbalance by 20% annually through establishment of technical and vocational schools nationwide that shall offer internationally acceptable training.
- Security and National Defense
Ladies and gentlemen;
The government has made it a priority to strengthen security and borders in the Republic of Somaliland. To this effect
- The morale of the various branches of the Armed Forces has increased through welfare friendly programs.
- Increased the number and quality of recruits to the Armed Forces.
- In order to provide effective medical services to all serving officers of the armed forces construction, equipping and staffing of the National Army Hospital has been accomplished.
- The National Army Pensions and Retirement Compensation Act has been completed and approved. The Act, as its name implies, assures the rights and benefits of Armed Forces personnel.
- An End has been brought to all clan related violence in Saanag Region through government supported reconciliation.
- Implementation of a Regional and District Security Strategy has managed to reduce youth crime in urban centers of the country by 68%.
- Enhanced Security co-operation with neighboring countries has resulted in a significant reduction of cross-border crime.
- In response to the needs of the Civil servants, armed forces and other law enforcement agencies to have access to land for family settlement, the government decreed that a sizeable portion of public land be set aside for allocation to these gallant and diligent servants of the nation.
Without doubt all the achievements garnered by this country have been made possible by the National Armed Forces, which has always been dedicated to the establishment and protection of the Republic of Somaliland.
In recognition I send my personal congratulations and that of my administration to all Somaliland armed forces servicemen and women their families and children, and I say, you are the National Guard.
- Drought and Climate Change
Climate change is a reality that has a real impact on the world and especially our country Somaliland. We have seen drought recurring and rains failing to fall as expected. This has affected the livelihoods of people, animals and the environment.
To mitigate this Government:
- Established a National Food Storage agency, which will have centers in all regions of the country.
- Following devastation caused by tropical cyclone Sagar in Awdal, Salal, and Sahil regions the government assisted 600 families each family given 15 animals to return to their normal lives.
- Foodstuff and tools delivered to 28,200 families displaced by drought in previous years.
- Jobs created or cash given to 11,000 families in affected the region.
- The government has set up 460 repatriated youthful illegal migrants in a resettlement program.
Ladies and gentlemen,
According to the Somaliland Constitution, every five years the people of Somaliland must elect members to the National Assembly. During my two years in office, the Government has been working tirelessly towards holding t House of Representatives and the local council’s elections simultaneously. We already contributed the budget share allocated for these elections.
Opposition parties have for two years refused to go to polls under the then incumbent National Election Commission until expiration of his term late last year
As per the constitution a new Commission was appointed and taken through the necessary legal steps. However, the two opposition parties of Wadani and UCID refused to join or recognize the electoral body whose members had been approved by the Executive Council and the House of Representatives, and duly sworn in by the Supreme Court
Having lost two years through baseless and illegal disputes by the opposition parties the only way we open today, is to embark on jumpstarting the registration of National Political Associations. This will facilitate parliamentary local council’s elections as per constitutional stipulations with the three top political groupings turning to official Somaliland political parties.
To this effect I will soon submit to parliament a bill of Amendment to the Rules that apply to the matter, and I hope you fulfill your constitutional obligations.
- Foreign Policy
Ladies and gentlemen;
Foreign Policy in the Republic of Somaliland is founded on the basis of peace, good neighborliness, mutual respect and economic co-operation and movement of people with the Horn of Africa region and the international community.
- Quest for the recognition of the republic of Somaliland
Somaliland’s foreign policy towards recognition is divided into two major categories: Global recognition of Somaliland as a sovereign nation, with priority to do this given to the African continent and the negotiation of arbitration and separation with Somalia with which Somaliland entered into a voluntary union in 1960.
Therefore, the Government recognizes that the issue of Somaliland’s recognition rests solely within the African continent, the administration has embarked on extensive lobbying among African countries resulting in the fact that, Somaliland’s status has become one of the priorities of the African as exemplified by the last African Union Summit.
Somaliland and Somalia
We all know that the Somaliland-Somalia talks have been on hold for some time. However, on February 11, 2020, the President of Somalia and I met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
On 09 February 2020, I traveled to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to strengthen a delegation led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was lobbing at the 33rd African Union summit.
On February 11, 2020, I was invited by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmed his office to. After usual welcome and brief meeting, he told me that the President of Somalia will enter the Prime Minister’s Office shortly thereafter. From there began a sudden, triangular, unplanned meeting between the three of us.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister proposed to intervene in the crisis between the Republic of Somaliland and Somalia, as it is an issue in the Horn of Africa region, and the Prime Minister is advocating for peace, development and regional cooperation within The Horn of Africa region.
Of course, the request to mediate from the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, a Noble Peace Prize winner, who also leads the second most populous country in Africa, was accepted with agreement that finer details and agendas shall be ironed out at a later date and that was the end of the three pronged Somaliland, Somalia and Ethiopia meeting.
Though there are other Governments that are already involved in the dialogue between the Republic of Somaliland and Somalia, the Prime Minister’s meeting did not discuss any details about who will be involved in the talks, and limited to that meeting. Suggestion and acceptance.
On February 13, 2020, the Somali President issued a statement apologizing to the people of Somaliland for the massacre of the Somali Democratic Republic. This we fully accept Apart from the phrase, ‘those who took guns, should also apologize ‘, which literally translates to apportioning equal blame of the genocide between the Somalia government and civilians who opposed it
The Republic of Somaliland was 73 years old as the British Somaliland Protectorate before gaining its independence on 26 June 1960 to become Africa’s 15th independence state and subsequently recognized by 35 governments, including the worlds largest.
The Republic of Somaliland entered its 1st July 1960 voluntary union with Somalia with only one condition that is the establishment of a Somalia republic composed of the five Somali speaking regions namely Somalia, Somaliland, Djibouti, Ethiopia Somali and NFD Kenya. But the 31-year-old search did not materialize.
The president of the Somali Democratic Republic of that time formally resigned from the search for great unity in Somalia at the turn of the century, making it clear in his meetings in Djibouti and Addis Ababa.
Brethren, it is noteworthy that the Union of the two countries in the 1960s has never been completely legal under international law.
On June 20, 1961, when a referendum of union with Somalia took place 68% of the people of the Republic of Somaliland rejected, and quoting scholar. Paolo Contini there is no legal basis for unity.
To exemplify the lack of legal standing for this union, Somaliland officers in the Somalia army who staged a failed coup in Hargeisa and prosecuted for resisting the Unity Act with Somalia were on December 10, 1961 acquitted by a court presided over by Mr. Sgt. Hazel Wood on the grounds that such an alleged unity did not exist legally. The coup plotters all from Somaliland were released in May 1963.
When the first government was formed in 1960, the Council of Ministers consisted of 14 ministers and three ministers were appointed from Somaliland while within the united parliament, only 26.8% were granted to Somaliland.
For international projects and grants to the Somali Democratic Republic, the Republic of Somaliland used received 7%.
on 26 June 1960 The then six districts (Hargeisa, Borama, Burao, Berbera, Las Anod and Erigavo) of the Republic of Somaliland were constituted into only two provinces while The six districts of the Somalia (Majertenia, Mudug, Hiraan, Banadir, Lower Juba and the Lower Juba), were divided into six regions.
In the 1977 war, between Ethiopia and Somalia, 11 camps hosting 400,000 refugees, were built in the regions of Somaliland. That made it financially, socially and environmentally burdensome for Somaliland.
On 6 April 1981, the Somali National Movement-SNM was launched, in search of the lost 1960s republic of Somaliland.
In 1988, the Somali government’s army then second strongest in Africa invaded Somaliland territories with airplanes, artillery, tanks and heavily armed infantry that were used to attack people indiscriminately.
This atrocities resulted in the destruction and hostile of major cities, massacre of than 50,000 people within days, thousands others maimed, hundreds of thousands others internally displaced where more than 600,000 people mostly in eastern Ethiopia camps and over 400,000 externally not to mention the massive loss of both public and private property looted by the invaders.
So far and still counting 43 mass from this Somalia genocide have been unearthed in Somaliland.
2001 an investigation conducted by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in coordination with the United Nations Coordination Unit for Somalia (UNCU) they confirmed that there was a genocide committed by the government to its citizens in Somaliland from 1988 to 1991.
The conflict that led to the dismantling of the United Nations Law and the two-party power-sharing system has led to the collapse of the Somali Democratic Republic in 1991.
On 18 May 1991, the Republic of Somaliland withdrew from its failed union with Somalia.
For thirty years the Republic of Somaliland has been an independent nation, but unfortunately, Somalia has been fighting against sovereignty of Somaliland.
During the Somalia federal government led by President Mohamed Abdilahi Farmajo, a number of several measures hostile to Somaliland were instituted among them:
- Prevention of development projects; the largest opposition being development of the port of Berbera.
- Opposition to the Somaliland Special Arrangement Fund.
- That the Government of Somalia alone receives international educational, economic and military grants in the name of the collapsed Somali government.
- Failure to comply with the High-Level Management Agreement signed by President Silanyo and President Hassan Sheikh.
- Attempts to stop Hajj bound herds from Berbera Port.
- Waging an international campaign against any government that shows respect and dignity for the Republic of Somaliland, as happened to Guinea Conakry.
While these and other issues remain, we believe the difference between the two countries can be resolved through dialogue and peace.
It seems that the time has come for Somalia to seek the only solution to the peace and co-operation of the two brother states. The solution is two things:
- That Somalia respects the right of the Republic of Somaliland to take its decision of 18 May 1991 that renounced the union Constitution.
- Somalia fully recognizes the sovereignty of the Republic of Somaliland as the only solution to good relations between the two countries but the only solution.
On the Rumoured visit of the Somalia president to Hargeisa, it is impossible and will never happen considering the atrocities undertaken by his country towards citizens of Somaliland.
If it shall ever happen, the only avenue open for the president of Somalia to visit our country is for him to acknowledge the sovereignty of Somaliland after which he or she shall receive a red carpet welcome.
But to properly conclude the rumoured visit by Somalia president let me quote prominent poet Farah
‘Qosol Been Ah, Fool Wada Qayaxan, Qiil aan Garanaayo,
Booraan Afkii laga Qafilay, Qabarna Hoos Yaalo,
Doqon baa Halkii Lagu Qatali, Qoorta Soo Dhigane,
Ma Anigaa Middiyo La ii Qarshaa, La igu Qali Doono,
Qoontiiba Lama Baananine, Qire Yaraa Nabaddu,
Waar yaadha Kala Quusanaye Qoomamo la’aada’.
Long Live REPUBLIC OF SOMALILAND-Unquote
H.E Muse Bihi Abdi
President of the Republic of Somaliland