Kenya has said its policy towards Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland has not changed, despite the region’s recent attempts to seek global recognition as an independent entity.
Instead, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Raychelle Omamo said Nairobi views Somalia as a single entity with federal regions under autonomous administrations.
She reconsidered on Friday the publication of a report on the work of the Foreign Office since 2020.
But the focus was on Somalia after the British House of Commons debated Somaliland’s “independence” as local politicians urged their government to recognize the region as separate from Somalia.
“We don’t want to interfere with what politicians are doing in other countries. But for now, we recognize and accept the federal nature of the country of Somalia,” she told a news conference in Nairobi Recognize Somalia as a separate entity. And so, for us, we will once again treat Somalia as a friendly neighbor and accept that there are federal entities, and we will use those federal entities in ways that maintain Somalia’s unity and friendship with Kenya.”
UK Parliamentary Debate
The UK Parliament debated the request for recognition of Somali leader Muse Bihi Abdi, who had landed in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa without the usual protests from Mogadishu when a red carpet is rolled out for him abroad.
There was no expectation that Ethiopia would signal recognition, but this trip delivered de facto continued to treat Somaliland as a separate entity.
Ethiopia, the United Kingdom, Kenya and several other countries have consulates in Hargeisa. In December 2020, Mogadishu briefly severed ties with Kenya after hosting Bihi, who has since toured Ethiopia and Djibouti without the protests of Somalia.
Ms Omamo said Nairobi’s interest be it to keep Somalia united and at peace.
In the UK, the motion led by Conservative MP Gavin Williamson sought to challenge London to recognize what it called a region in the Horn of Africa, which has defended freedom in a volatile area of the continent.
The motion, which aims to ensure that Somaliland’s “1991 Declaration of Independence” from London Recognizing Somalia, the UK government is calling on it to formally declare the region an independent state, while taking steps to ensure dialogue between all parties, including the African Union, to achieve a to bring about a lasting solution.
Somaliland diplomats excited
The proposal excited Somaliland diplomats, and many backed it to enforce their desire to get out of Somalia’s shadows.
“We have championed democracy, the rule of law, a free market economy, human rights and other freedoms of the press and public opinion for 30 years,” said Mohamed Hagi, head of Somaliland’s diplomatic mission in Taiwan.
“Our country deserves to be recognized by all our governments of 1991-2022 benefit the democracy [to] hold our people together.”
But politicians in Mogadishu were angry, although Somalia made no formal statement on the debate.
Formerly known as British Somaliland, it merged with the ita in 1960 Lienian Somaliland to establish the Republic of Somalia. But after the fall of Siad Barre’s regime in 1991, Somaliland unilaterally declared its independence. It has successively formed its own governments, a central bank, an army and a police force.
Somaliland’s dispute with Barre was that he killed tens of thousands of Somalilanders in pursuit of guerrilla fighters who targeted his regime. One of the bombers was even memorialized in Hargeisa with a statue in the center of town.
Somalia rejects the bid for independence, and successive Somali governments have banked on politicians in the North who want a union rather than two independent states to argue that there is a Somalia.