The horn of Africa has endured some of the biggest wars in Africa. The region is one of the most unstable in the world. Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are historically the principal states shaping the region’s politics and due to the Greater Somalia (GS) ideology Somali children know how to shoot machine guns more than they know how to use a pencil. Because of the GS, Somalia has been the only country in the world without a government the last 16 years. And these irredentism ambitions of Greater Somalia will bring more wars in the region since satisfying Greater Somalia means destroying the boundaries of Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. So the big question is, why aren’t horn of Africa countries assisting Somaliland get its independence and give GS the final blow?
As Ethiopia and Kenya keep quiet, the propaganda attack against Somaliland by Greater Somalia (GS) advocates is increasing everyday. Many GS supporters are accusing Somaliland of being Ethiopian puppet. This is comical because it is not Ethiopia that originally put the Somaliland boundaries; it was UK holding it as a “British protectorate.” So Ethiopia has nothing to do with the plan of Somalilanders to have their own country. They already declared independence many years ago and for them it is a done deal. Ethiopia has nothing to do with their decision. Yes, Somaliland was “federated” with Ethiopia 500 years ago and Yes, a small part of Somaliland was governed under the Ethiopian ancient Kingdom of Axum in the 3rd century. But today it is the 21st century. Ethiopians today don’t have any ambition to take any part of Somaliland. In fact, Haile Selassie was able to reach Mogadishu and Hargeisha many times during various battles six decades ago, but he was never interested in taking over Somalia. Also after the failed invasion by Siad Barre, Ethiopia could have kept its troops in Somalia and tried to permanently take its lands during Mengistu government. But Ethiopia was not interested. In general, Ethiopia has NO interest in colonizing or in taking Mogadishu or Hargeisha.
Secondly, other Greater Somalia (GS) supporters are accusing Somaliland of being a secessionist. In fact, this “secessionist” label is being used as a curse word. This is even more comical because the same people who support the secessionist ONLF are accusing Somaliland for being secessionist. This is illogical. It doesn’t make sense.
But what is logical politics is for all the people in the horn of Africa to identify the historical source of the region’s problems. All countries in Africa are ethnically mixed and diverse. All African nations have a multi-ethnic society; some of these are shaped this way because of historical African conquests and some of these are shaped this way because of the general AU consensus to keep the status quo of boundaries used during the European colonization. However, when we come to the Greater Somalia advocates, they are seeking to be a nation of only one ethnicity by annexing the territories of other African nations. By doing so, GS contradicts the de facto AU status quo of a multi-ethnic society. For the GS to be achieved, it has to break up all neighboring countries. East Kenya has to be annexed, southeastern Ethiopia has to be annexed and parts of Djibouti must be annexed. Thus, it is clear that the horn of Africa will never have peace and stability as long as GS politicians dominate Mogadishu politics. It is long overdue for Mogadishu politicians to accept the reality in Africa and to accept the status quo in Africa. So ONLF, ICU and many other Somali groups seeking to directly or indirectly satisfy their Greater Somalia ideology must be opposed if we care for the stability of not just the region but also the whole Africa. The Horn of African countries recognizing Somaliland’s independence will give the final blow to the GS ideology and marginalize the GS advocates out of mainstream politics in Mogadishu permanently.
The writer lives in America and he can be reached by ethiom842@ yahoo.com