latter observation in his seminal and up-datedbook,
A Modern History of the Somali
. His con-clusion in this revised study states:For the moment, thus, it seemed thatdespite the reluctance to recognize theSomaliland Republic officially, thismight actually be for some time the onlyviable Somali state on offer. It mightaccordingly prove necessary to recognizethat, in this as in so many other cases,half a loaf is better than none.
In fact, Somaliland did nothing more thanend a union it had entered into as a sovereignindependent state, and has since pulled itself up by its own bootstraps. Recently, Senegal,the European Union and Somaliland’s neigh-bour, Ethiopia, have shown promising signsof wanting to end the impasse.Ethiopia hosted Somaliland PresidentDahir Riyale Kahin on a state visit in 2002and 2003, and President Wade of Senegalhosted the Somaliland president in early2003. Somaliland’s northern neighbour,Djibouti, has also shown signs of planning tomend fences with Somaliland. Recently,Somaliland President Kahin made a three-dayofficial visit to Djibouti, where its was agreedto re-establish diplomatic links and to co-operate on border security.A South African delegation paid a fact-find-ing visit to Somaliland in January 2003 anddeclared it to be “a challenge rather than aproblem for the African Union”.
More recent-ly, the South African department of ForeignAffairs sent a diplomat under UN auspices toexplore the situation in Somaliland. In May2003, South African Foreign Affairs MinisterNkosazana Zuma hosted the SomalilandForeign Affairs Minister for talks on advancingpeace and stability in the region. Law advisersfrom the South African Department of ForeignAffairs support Somaliland’s argument forindependence. “It is undeniable that Somali-land does indeed qualify for statehood, and it isincumbent upon the international communityto recognise it,” reads the DFA legal report.As Fatima Ismail, a UN human rightsexpert notes:The country has shown the AfricanRenaissance spirit of self-reliance andresilience and has produced a sustain-able government and constitution. …They have got their act together while inthe south (Somalia) the TransitionalNational Government (TNG) has beenunable to do so. … The internationalcommunity must take notice of this. Itcannot remain ostrich-like with its headin the sand
.The energy that the international communityhas put into the process that led to the instal-lation of the southern TNG government inSomalia has not produced the desired result.Kenya is currently hosting the 14
interna-tional peace conference on Somalia.
Kenya’s mediation of the peaceprocess in Somalia
The Kenyan government appointed a newmediator to take over the Somalia peace talksin Eldoret, Kenya, which have been boggeddown since they began in October 2002.Bethwell Kiplagat, a senior Kenyan diplomat,will replace Elijah W Mwangale, who wasblamed by Somali warlords and Westerndiplomats alike for not properly managing thetalks.“Warlords continue to hold sway inSomalia and violence has resumed to a dis-turbing degree. The international communityshould be looking at the reality on theground,” according to Fatima Ismail.Professor Hussein Bulhan, head of theSomaliland Academy for Peace and Develop-ment and former head of the Anti-ApartheidMovement at Boston University notes:If the international community plans toapply the principal of territorial unityand the fiction of a ‘sovereign Somalia’without understanding the history, factson the ground and the genocide experi-enced, it would be planting the seeds forconflict more deadly than previouslyseen in Africa.The expectation of the Somalilandpeople has rightly been raised by thesuccess of their democratic and modesteconomic development. To frustrate thisexpectation and to force a union withthe South, against the will of the people,is also to court a deadly conflict.78African Security Review 12(4) • 2003