Somaliland Independence and Union experience
The political history of Somaliland follows a recognizable trajectory from colonialism to independence to failed union to dictatorship to self-determination and democratic governance.
After being a British protectorate since late 1880s, Somaliland became an independent country on June 26, 1960. The rest of present-day Somalia, then administered by Italy, became independent four days later. By 1st July, 1960, the two states decided to merge. But the northern population felt slighted almost from the start, since most of the power went to the South. The northern population rejected a referendum on a unitary constitution in July 1961 and, later that year, military officers in Hargeisa began an unsuccessful rebellion to reassert Somaliland’s independence. The military took over the control of the Somali Republic state through a bloodless coup and sent to jail the ruling civilian elite, including the last democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, together with his ministers. In addition to that, the military regime has started repressive policies against northern clans, especially the Isaaq clan, and treated its members as second-class citizens.
Mohamed A. Duale
Coordinator of Somaliland Civil Society Election Forum at SONSAF/coordinator of Somaliland Independent Intellectual Forum