The Republic of Somaliland entered the New Year, 2022 a period of constitutional ambiguity, stemming from an announcement made by the minister of information Mr. Koore during ceremonial speech saying that the terms of the existing political parties and licenses are about to expire in December, 2022 according to the Somaliland constitution.
When the constitutionality of this came forth in the parliamentary debate it resulted in chaos including physical violence among the individual PMs.
The current opposition parties were not thrilled by the prospect of bringing “new kids on the block” and sharing a stage with a new rivals, and they vehemently defied the notion of opening of new political parties. This created a confusion and uncertainty among the opposition parties, the parliament and Somaliland citizens. Suddenly, Somaliland was in a dangerous crossroads between the influx of democracy and lawlessness. This was a constitutional litmus test for the new and young republic. Proudly, but not surprisingly the Somaliland constitution passed the trial with flying colors and democracy prevailed.
Democracy is a fragile even in those regions of the world where democracy flourished for hundreds of years including The United States of America where its democracy was threatened in January, 6th 2021 by then outgoing president.
“…Upon exiting the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: “A republic, if you can keep it.” The brevity of that response should not cause us to under-value its essential meaning: democratic republics are not merely founded upon the consent of the people, they are also absolutely dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people for their continued good health”
On January, 16, 2022 the Republic of Somaliland and its citizens kept their republic ones again, when the Superior Court of Somaliland ruled for a group of citizens to pursue and exercise their rights to form political parties of their own, and at the same time rejected the validity of the court filing of forty-seven members parliament due to procedural irregularities.
Although the Somaliland democracy is in its infancy, it has demonstrated that it has a robust foundations, its constitution and the three branches of its government.
While this constitutional debate was playing out locally, Somaliland footprints were being seen in all major world stages both in friends and faux included. The British parliament is schedule to debate about the recognition of Somaliland on January 18, 2022, and the president of Somaliland H. E. Muse Bihi is scheduled to meet his counter part the President of the United States, President Biden. On the other hand Beijing is expanding its influence in the Horn of Africa, which is worrisome to both nations and to the western hemisphere regions in general.
This renders the Somaliland Republic an important geopolitical spot to the rest of the world to counter the aggression of the Chinese government and its expansion.
Somaliland has a unique form of government, a hybrid of western style democracy and a chamber of elderlies (Guurti). These blend of local and international system of laws are the real guardrails of the Somaliland democracy.
This time the constitution prevailed and many times in the past in the thirty-one years of the history of Somaliland the Guurti came to the rescue. That is why the criteria and the requirement of the future Guurti should be similar to the current serving body. The individual candidate’s qualifications for the Guurti must be based on the knowledge of the customs and traditions of its community and must demonstrate the ability and skills of conflict resolution. In other words must be a mature individual.
By Mohamed Adan Samatar
Beeman, R. R. (n.d.). National Constitution CenterRichard. National Constitution Center – constitutioncenter.org. Retrieved January 17, 2022, from https://constitutioncenter.org/learn/educational-resources/historical-documents/perspectives-on-the-constitution-a- republic-if-you-can-keep-it