Should Somaliland allow the formation of a Unionist Party? (A Response).
First and foremost let me start by acknowledging the obvious, Mr. Bashir Goth is one gifted writer who
does not shy away from controversial issues and with his keen intellect has proven over the years to
get his point across without losing his eloquence or wit, and true to his form he made a very passionate
argument in favor of democracy and the right for citizens to engage in lawful acts without fear of
retribution from anyone.
Now, who can object to such a clear cut argument where one argues that true democracy means that
one should tolerate dissent and divergent views from what is considered main stream? The answer is no
one should, except for when the proposed action runs afoul of the constitution and the very existence of
Democracy and free speech are not limitless and even in Washington DC where I reside one cannot
shout fire in a crowded theatre, nor can anyone establish an organization or party whose sole purpose is
to bring about the demise of the United States of America.
Every nation’s first ambition is to safeguard its own survival and sovereignty, and Somaliland is no
different, and to that end the first article of the Somaliland Constitution states that:
Article 1: The State of the Republic of Somaliland
1. The country which gained its independence from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland on 26th June 1960 and was known as the Somaliland Protectorate and
which joined Somalia on 1st July 1960 so as to form the Somali Republic and then regained its
independence by the Declaration of the Conference of the Somaliland communities held in Burao
between 27th April 1991 and 15th May 1991 shall hereby and in accordance with this Constitution
become a sovereign and independent country known as “The Republic of Somaliland”.
The First article announces to the rest of the world that “We” the people of Somaliland are standing
proud once again among the free nations of the world. The Constitution further delineates not only the
time but where in the world this nation is located in article two.
Article 2: The Territory of the Republic of Somaliland
1. The territory of the Republic of Somaliland covers the same area as that of the former Somaliland
Protectorate and is located between Latitude 8’ to 11’ 30’ north of the equator and Longitude
42’ 45 to 49’ East; and consists of the land, islands, and territorial waters, above and below the
surface, the airspace and the continental shelf.
There are fundamental rights given to the citizens to express their political views and form
associations of any kind provided they are peaceful and do not run contrary to the laws of the land,
for instance even though free market economy is guaranteed under the law, one cannot establish a
brothel, because it runs contrary to the values system of the people.
It is difficult to argue on one hand to be for the sovereignty of the nation and on the other make a
passionate argument to bring about potentially the conditions that may precipitate the downfall
of the very thing one professes to be for. But just for argument sake let’s say that such an entity
came to political scene, and it garnished enough support from the people to be seen as a viable
alternative to the existing parties by a number of supporters.
How does one get around the Constitution and make this entity legal? One can say that laws are
written by people and not God, therefore one can amend the laws to allow this expanded version to
take hold. Of course one need to remember that this Constitution was not dropped by the Heavens
but was adopted by the people with a 97% approval rate, and even though it allows amendments, it
also limits what can be amended.
Article 127: The Limits of Amendments or Corrections of the Constitution
No proposal to amend or correct the Constitution shall be made if it includes a provision which is in
conflict with the:
a) Principles of Islamic Sharia.
b) Unity of the country(territorial integrity).
c) Democratic principles and the multi-party system.
d) Fundamental rights and individual freedoms.
Unity of the country (127b) and the democratic principles of the multi-party system (127c) are both
articles that cannot be amended. I am not a lawyer by trade but my interpretation is that the political
system is free to engage the masses as long as it does not challenge the very existence of the nation.
Ultimately this is a Constitutional question, not a political one, and if one is supportive of changing the
Constitution, not just amending it (since the article in question is not amendable), one should engage in
making that argument and hope to pass a new Constitution with more than 97% approval rate.
Bad actors are not those who oppose unionist, but those who insist on the idea of unification despite
popular sentiment and laws clearly rejecting such notions. As demonstrated earlier in the last election,
change is possible in Somaliland, as long as one invests time and the resources necessary to bring it to
The Somaliland Constitution is not a perfect document, and there are articles in it that should be
amended, the right for Somaliland to exist is not one of them.