19 May 2007 04:14


  • Title: [SW Country] (Kimiko) A blueprint for the resolution of the North-South question - Somalia
  • From:[]
  • Date :[26 March 2000]

"..The importance of the catalyst role of the North for the stability of the South must be fully understood and appreciated. Conversely, the recent creation of "Puntland" clearly revealed the vulnerability  of the North in this respect, and the latter's need for the catalyst role  of the South for its own stability..."

"...Southern Leaders to accept the following : 1. Somaliland is a fact that cannot be denied.  United,  separated or in between is an altogether different discourse.  Whether the people of Somaliland calls themselves a Republic, State or Territory  is their own prerogative, and that should not constitute a big problem  for the Southerners.  There has to be an acceptance of the Somaliland nomenclature. 2. Accept the equality of the two peoples (North and South) who together formed Somali Republic in 1960. 3. Accept the inalienable right of the people of Somaliland  to self-determination and the opportunity to determine their own destiny (united or separated)..." Kimiko

Dividing Somalia into North-South entities and resurrecting these long-forgotten defunct blocks is, perhaps, oversimplifying the issues in present day Somalia. Where is the much hailed "building block" approach to reconstitute Somalia?? Didn't we (they) conclude that any new Somalia will consist of 4 -5 blocks, zones, states...??  SW

A blueprint for the resolution of the North-South question
By Dr. Mohamed Warsame (Kimiko)


Somaliland, a former British Protectorate and one of the Somali Territories
partitioned and administered by foreign powers, attained
independence on 26 June 1960, and five days later joined in union with the
United Nation Trust Territory in the South whose UN's guaranteed and fixed
independence was due on July 1, 1960.  Thus on July 1 1960, the Somali
Republic  comprising these
two territories was born.

Practically the people of Somaliland had brought about the unity and the
birth of the Somali Republic.  Inspired by nationalistic
sentiments, instead of establishing their own state, they freely decided to
unite with their brethren in the South and waited for the latter's fixed
date of independence so as to form together one single Somali State.

The equal minded people of the South welcomed and  wholeheartedly embraced
the initiative of their brethren in the North.  Thus two
brotherly Somali peoples became united by an action of union.  It should be
noted here that beyond the act itself no other negotiations took place
between the two entities.  The people's desire for unity and independence
was so overwhelming that the authorities of the two territories  had to
immediately proceed with the merger of the two councils of ministers  into
one, and similarly the two parliaments into one.  Naturally the  armed
and civil servants followed suit.

For all practical purposes a complete unity was achieved even before the
dawning of July 1.  This unity had culminated in the
adoption of a constitution approved through a referendum in 1961.

The constitution contained all the features necessary for  the establishment
of a democratic system of governance.  A highly centralized  unitary state
with all the democratic institutions was put in place.   But, in practical
terms, it was patterned along the lines of the inherited  colonial system.
Insofar as the masses were concerned, everything remained  the same.  Only,
the white faces were now painted in black. Everything came from the top but
without proper or adequate  mechanisms to reach the bottom in the desirable
manner.  Just as before  all that periphery could sense and see was deja-vu:
district commissioners,  police chiefs and
judges all appointed from an unfathomable top and yet alien  to the true
concerns of the communities they controlled.

The democratically elected government proved to be unsatisfactory in that it
failed to properly address the real issues of concern to
the people. Obviously, it did not live up to the expectation of the  masses
which mainly explains why the people did not react to the military  takeover
soon after the assassination of the elected president in 1969.


Despite all its shortcomings, however, under civilian rule individuals
enjoyed complete freedom and equal opportunity for self-enhancement and even
for "Musuq Masuq" (improper/unorthodox dealings) or subtle corruption, for
that matter.  Notwithstanding their complaints about the  ineptitude of
government, the Somalis felt proud of being portrayed as  the only country
Africa where democracy flourished and governments changed  through
process.  Above all there always existed room for  improvements in the
democratic system.

Needless to say, with the military takeover in October  1969, all
was lost at once and forever.  Not only was the constitution abrogated and
parliament dissolved but all the other democratic  institutions, including
the judiciary, were abolished as well.  Consequently all  freedoms and
liberties were gone with the wind.

An absolute military dictatorship was immediately set up  with the
intent of subverting and destroying all the values of the
Somali society including religion, tradition, respect for family and human
dignity, freedom of speech and association, and above all individual
self-respect.  All citizens were to be made dehumanized (zombies).

For this purpose, the new regime's foundations were built  on the worst and
deadliest precepts for any imaginable bad government
(communism, militarism, autocracy and clansim).  All these combined
instruments  were devised only for one purpose: Preserve power through the
oppression of  the people. The regime purported to adopt a scientific
socialism system  of governance for 100% Muslim population of overwhelmingly
nomadic stock  (70-80%) and with no proletariat base whatsoever.  Indeed
was a callous affront to the faithful.

The regime set up a pervasive and an omnipotent military  rule with special
courts whose decisions were final and unquestioned.  Almost  all state
functions, especially in the districts, were entrusted to  military
of rank and file.  People were subjugated and humiliated.

At one stage there were 19 centers of authority (including the infamous
National Security Service) each vested with the powers to
arrest and detain citizens at will.  Interestingly enough each of these
centers of authority acted independently from the others and was solely
responsible to the "Father-of-the-Nation", "Father-of-knowledge" or
"Light-of-Africa" as Mohamed Siyad Barre was called, depending on the
circumstances.  It is estimated that during the period 70-80% of Somalia's
urban  male population
went through the gates of prison, and thousands perished or  vanished.

The regime eventually become autocratic where one man alone  could decide
fate (including death) of any and every Somali without a  single question.
Corruption and all kinds of abuses became the order of the  day.  At the
all the powers of the state institutions were completely eroded and chaos
reigned the land, just waiting for M.S. Barre's exit.

The regime revived and strengthened the hereto for half dormant clansim on
the well known expediency of "divide and rule".  Since this
question represents the soft under belly of the Somali people here a  pause
is necessary.

At the time of the military coup d'etat there were no visible clan
certainly not on political grounds.  Logically  there was no need for the
military to use, for political purposes, this  potentially devastating but
otherwise harmless instrument.  The  civilian politicians were using other
more subtle methods of corrupting the  people.

For M.S.Barre, however, clansim was an important piece for his political
jigsaw puzzle to hold onto the grip of power.  He had to
revive it by all means because he - an old policman - well knew the deadly
efficacy of clansim, as the ultimate instrument to divide the people  and
instill enmity and mistrust between and among the various segments of the
Somali family of clans and sub-clans.

After only two years of the regime's existence, M.S. Barre  with no apparent
reason, highly orchestrated a faked death of clansim by
burying an effigy symbolizing clansim in a a big rally in the capital.  This
was a time when the regime was enjoying a relatively high degree of
acceptance among the populace.  There was no opposition, and the country
seemed  to be smoothly sailing towards progress and prosperity.  The only
thing  that people resented was the adoption of communism but even here no
complained or spoke openly against it.

At first, people were astonished of this unnecessary  orchestration and
fanfare about clansim but to many it soon became clear that
M.S.Barre intended to use it as the ultimate weapon to further his
objectives of oppression.

In this connection, the late satarist Farah Galoley aptly remarked :
"M.S.Barre buried clansim naked, and resurrected it dressed in
dinner jacket".  From M.S. Barre's vantage point clans had to manipulated to
a degree where they would mistrust and suspect one another.  For this
purpose some were induced and labeled as pro-regime, while other were
chastised and labeled anti-regime.  True, this machiavellian scheme served
him  well for sometime, but it eventually destroyed him.

Mistrust and enmity were assured as desired.  The oppressed  clans resented
the connivance of the favoured clans with the regime, while  the latter
became increasingly fearful of the possibility of future  repraisals and
vengeance against them.

While the clans portrayed as being disloyal were persecuted  and severely
punished those considered loyal were not satisfied with the
rewards.  The end result was a general malaise and uneasiness among the
populace on both sides of the fence.  They all felt despair and hoplessness.

The absolute ruler was a shroud, cunning, ruthless and  power drunken to the
extent that he would kill or marginalize even his own
children unless they served his purposes of keeping the power.  Contrary to
what  many believed them even his own clan did not matter unless they fit
into the politico-jigsaw puzzle.  As a matter of fact and in  retrospective
his clan did not fare any better than the others.  At best they were spared
massive harsh punishment and seemingly enjoyed a semblance of easy  life in
an otherwise poisonous atmosphere.  Eventually the out of  favour clans
started arming themselves to directly challenge and fight the  regime to the
end.  They have only succeeded in destroying the regime.

Mr. Barre had resurrected, nourished and extensively used clanism to kill
others but he too was eventually killed by the same
clanism.  The clan system is benign in its pure form but when mingled with
politics it soon becomes a ruthless monster that devours all.  This should
serve as a lesson to all future would be clanists.

To create ultimate disunity and enmity among and between  the various
cosmopolitan communities, during the lastg weeks prior to
M.S. Barre's departure, huge quantities of arms and ammunitions were
distributed in Mogadishu by his son-in-law and Minister of Defense, Gen.
Mohamed Hersi (Morgan), to some of the clans which immediately resulted in
the killing of neighbours by neighbours and relatives.  One could easily
understand that when mama Beyden was supplied a gun, then this mama would
kill the next door mama Warley.

The immediate effect of this diabolic plan was that many innocent people
fled  the capital leaving behind their homes and other
properties; the mediate effect was the spread of a traumatized people full
of hatred and resentment throughout the country and beyond; and ultimate
effect was the polarization and fragmentation of the entire nation and its
state whose reconstitution after long and harsh years of bloodshed and
bewilderment still remains up in the air.

The negative legacy of such a man and his system of government still
persists long after his departure and will probably persist
for some time to come.  Indeed, M.S.Barre was an "Evil Genius".


Surely the military coup d'etat of 21 October 1969 proved to be fateful and
a new dark era had dawned for the Somalis.  The Head of the  Military Junta
who emerged as the undisputed sole ruler of Somalia had  particularly targeted
the North for repression, devastation and  humiliation.  There were even
attempts, a lot of people are convinced, to uproot  specific populations
from their habitat and replace them with other populations.

In fairness to the Southerners, Mohamed Siad Barre and his  coheres were
equally brutal to the majority of the other Somalis though
to a less degree.   A fact only dictated by their own compelling
circumstances and not out of love or respect.

In early 1991, M.S.Barre whose troops had particularly  devastated the North
by indiscriminate acts of genocide and pillage on the onslaught of the USC forces,   he fled the capital but still remained in Somali soil (Gedo region)  until he was finally driven out of Somalia and into
exite  by Gen. Aideed's forces on 28 April 1992.

Soon after the overthrow of the totalitarian regime the  South went into a
series of civil wars caused in part by M.S.Barre's remnant
forces who were attempting to retake the capital by force of arms, (only
this time under clan banners), and in part by rifts among the USC
leadership coupled with personal rivalries.  All-in-all clanism carried the day. The
first sign of trouble appeared when, immediately after  M.S.Barre left
Mogadishu, but still en-route to Buur-Dhuubo (Gedo region),  Ali Mahdi
Mohamed and a group of close associates (most of them from the Manifest
Group) who, fearful and suspicious of the armed opposition movements,
hastily installed a transitional government.  An act which  was considered by many
as a kind of a coup d'etat.  This pre-emptive move was  done without
consultation with or the knowledge of the opposition  leaders including
those of the SNM (North) who had understandably felt ignored
and/or marginalized. The fact that the Prime Minister of this government was
a Northerner did not really matter for the SNM leadership or the Northerners
as a whole.

All other segments of the society were ignored as well.   This surprise act
further reinforced the general distrust of and contempt for
all state powers and domination of the South.  Nobody believed in the
emergency of a just and fair minded government in the

Therefore, Ali Mahdi's impromptu Government soon proved to be incapable of
restoring law and order in the capital let alone the
regions where some clan conflicts had already flared up while others were
predictably looming on the horizon.

In the early of part of 1991, there existed a general  confusion and a clear
sign of instability in the whole country which was heading
towards the ubyss of despair and fragmentation.  Above all there were no
early signs of resolving the already complex and multi-faceted conflicts  in
the South. Even M.S. Barre was still living there with the hope of  retaking
power. Thus, among other things, the situation then prevailing in  the South
was just enough to decisively influence the Northerners to  embark upon a
secessionist course.

Mindful of the still visible atrocities perpetrated by the genocidal defunct
regime and pressurized by the traumatized population who
felt that all their miseries had stemmed from the union with the South, the
SNM  leadership in a meeting held in an emotionally charged atmosphere in
city of Burao on May 18, 1991, declared the establishment of the Somaliland
Republic as an independent and separate state.  A fact that has, in turn,
further aggravated the chaotic situation in the South which has  since
plunged into a much deeper and more dangerously divisive civil strife  which
still lingers. With the North's catalyst role gone, things went from bad
to worse.

Therefore, put simply in proper perspective, the secession  of the North was
inevitable regardless of its merits or demerits.  The
country ipso-facto fell apart.


Before presenting the salient points of the plan in  concrete terms some
basic facts must be established here :

Regardless of all the current political differences, and  whatever
arrangements that may be eventually agreed upon, the
interests of the Somali people (ethnically, religiously, culturally,
historically,  economically,socially) are so interwoven that their destiny
remains one.

Under all circumstances, the rights and wishes of the  people of
to determine their own destiny must be beyond any dispute.

Undoubtedly the North-South unity and the birth of the  Somali Republic
represent the defining moment of the Somali people's
history.  And any one who made a contribution to this end deserves the
respect  and gratitude of the Somali people as a whole.  If however,
subsequent  events did betray their aspirations and expectations that is
an  unfortunate and sad chapter of this people's history.

There are some important facts that many people knowingly  or unknowingly
tend to overlook.  One of these is the importance of the
North for the stability of the South.  In early 1960, the South (Trust
Territory) was already manifesting some signs of instability because there
existed a rift among the rank and file of the SYL which fought and
spearheaded the independence of the Somalis (Pan-Somalism) in the forties
and fifties.  At the beginning the rift was primarily due to normal power
struggle and rivalry between political personalities, but soon it  assumed
some clan understones.

In this connection, it should be recalled that just 6  months prior to the
independence date none other than Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke,
the first Prime Minister of the new Republic and later its second
was with other friends at the United Nations petitioning for the
postponement of the Trust Territory's independence date which was set by the
UN in  1949.  The main complaint was that both parliament and government
being dominated by one particular clan.  Understandably, the UN did not
accede  to the request.
Most probably the parties would have solved their  differences but it was
unity brought about by the Northerners that made such
differences totally irrelevant.

The importance of the catalyst role of the North for the stability of the
South must be fully understood and appreciated.
Conversely, the recent creation of "Puntland" clearly revealed the
vulnerability  of the North in this respect, and the latter's need for the
catalyst role  of the South for its own stability.

Aden Abdulle Osman and Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, both  southerners, became
President and Prime Minister, respectively.

Though they did not forcefully react, the Northerners immediately felt
marginalized and thus disenchanted.  Even many Southerners
saw the combination as politically wrong.  Obviously, the seeds of  the
North's grievances were sawn then.

As a manifestation of their disappointment the majority of the Northerners
disapproved the constitution in the 1961 referendum and, in
December of the same year, there was in the North an attempt of a military
coup or mutiny by young Northern Officers disenchanted with the system.

The real reasons for this attempted coup had since been  disputed between
those asserting that it was politically motivated with
secessionist flavors and those sustaining that it was simply due to the
officers reaction against injustices suffered within the military
establishment.  Probably it was due to a combination of the two.  Whatever
lies at its  roots the attempt was a plain and forcefully manifested
discontent.  A clear  signal, in political terms.


In the face of the enormous national calamity, there is a  definite need for
a negotiated settlement without which none of the two
entities is likely to survive.  The negotiations should be based on
real-politic  and in the interest of all the Somalis.  They have to be fair,
honest,  equitable and transparent.  There should be no prejudices or mutual
recrimination.  Each and every negotiator, northerner or southerner should
realize that he/she represents the interest of the Somali people.  For this
purpose a conference
by and for the Somalis should be organized, preferably in  Hargeisa.  The
ultimate aim of such a conference would be the formation of
an acceptable National Transitional Government.  However, before anything
else there should be an agreement on the form and character of such a
central government.

Southern Leaders to accept the following :

1. Somaliland is a fact that cannot be denied.  United,  separated or in
between is an altogether different discourse.  Whether the
people of Somaliland calls themselves a Republic, State or Territory  is
their own prerogative, and that should not constitute a big problem  for the
Southerners.  There has to be an acceptance of the Somaliland nomenclature.

2. Accept the equality of the two peoples (North and South) who together
formed Somali Republic in 1960.

3. Accept the inalienable right of the people of Somaliland  to
self-determination and the opportunity to determine their
own destiny (united or separated).

4. Accept and acknowledge the legitimate grievances of the  people of
Somaliland and express brotherly sympathy with them.

5. Condemn the atrocities perpetrated by the inhuman defunct regime against
the people of Somaliland.

6. Accept a complete renegotiation of the 1960 act of  union.

7. Accept that fair and free referendum is conducted in the  North so as to
ascertain, once for all, the true and genuine wishes of the
people of Somaliland and abide by the results.

8. Accept that the North-South unity can only be maintained through
persuasion, fairness and inequivocable transparency.

9. Accept that the north enjoys a large degree of autonomy during the
transitional period.

The Northern Leaders to Accept the following :

1. Accept that the people of Somaliland who brought about the unity and
established, on their own free will, the Somali Republic
with their Southern brothers remains part of that Republic until that same
people, through their own expressed free will, decide otherwise.

2. Accept that any eventual separation must come through democratic process
(referendum, plebiscite etc.).

3. Recognize that it would be unfair and indeed undignified, to say the
least, if the people of Somaliland who opened a wide gate
for unity and broadly came in were to be tricked into furtively exiting
through the window on ephemeral circumstantial events.  Anything short of
true and genuine wishes of the people would be disastrous in the long run.
A fact that should always be kept in mind by all concerned.

4. Accept the fact that, separation or not in all respects
(ethnically,religiously, historically, culturally, socially,
economically) the Somali people's destiny irredeemably remains one.

5. Accept that you bear great responsibility towards the Somali people as a
whole in this critical stage of its predicament.

6. Accept to enter into a transitional arrangement and  fully partake at all
levels including the uppermost ones the responsibility of
government during this period.

7. Understand the fact that the South's stability depends to a large degree
on North's involvement and willingness to play the role of
an indispensable catalyst.  Similarly, an unstable South spells trouble and
instability for the North.

8. Demand that a referendum be held in the North at the opportune time.
Preparations should be made during the transitional period
of 3-4 years, or sooner if conditions seem propitious.  Federation would be
most desirable.

9. Understand and appreciate the fact that it was not the  people of the
South who committed crimes against their brethren in the
North, but rather a ruthless regime whose rank and file included many
prominent  elements from the North.

10. Demand that this period be used as a time of reflection  and
experimentation under the applicable principles and  practices of

Naturally, other relevant points could be added to the list  by either side.


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