By Yohannes Anberbir, Hargeisa, Somaliland
Somaliland's ruling party chairman and potential successor of the sitting president blamed Addis Ababa for delaying Somaliland's plea for recognition, which he said has not been answered for the last 25 years
Muse Bihi Abdi, chairman of the ruling party of the self-declared Horn of Africa nation and presidential candidate plus potential successor of the incumbent president, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, told The Reporter and other selected media on Friday that the main challenge for recognition of Somaliland as a sovereign state during the last quarter of a century is Addis Ababa.
He pointed out two reasons justifying the blame. The first and main challenge his country is facing is the African Union (AU) which he described as the ''tallest tower'' in the capital of Ethiopia.
“The tallest tower built by the Chinese at the heart of Addis Ababa, where the continent’s heads of state gather every year is our challenge,” he said.
The Government of Somaliland has submitted its case of international recognition to the AU decades ago but it has not been considered, he said.
The second main challenge, according to him, are neighboring countries, especially Ethiopia, he said. “The big brother in this part of the region is Ethiopia, followed by Kenya and Djibouti, who perfectly know the case of Somaliland more than any African nation; nonetheless, they just kept silent with regards to our case,” he said.
Somaliland is currently celebrating its 25th independence anniversary in the capital Hargeisa.
According to him, all three neighboring states, particularly, Ethiopia, “the superpower” as he described it, have a lot of excuses and said that none of the excuses could hold water for Somaliland.
He said that one of Ethiopia’s excuses is because of the age-long hostility it has with Somalia while the other is claiming neutrality as it is the headquarters of the AU. “The same is true with Djibouti and Kenya,'' he said, “They don't want to be the first to recognize Somaliland,” he added.
Analysts, however, blame world powers, specifically the United States and the European Union for hindering Somaliland's recognition aiming to maintain the Union of Somalia. Therefore, they say, the AU and member countries of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are helpless unless they got the nod from the world powers.
The chairman, however, opposes this assertion. “We are Africans and are independent to make our own decisions even if the western influence exists,” he argued.
Chairman Muse Bihi Ahmed believes that African leaders are phobic when it comes to recognizing Somaliland. African nations are afraid of the reality including Ethiopia which is brave to put
a secession article in its constitution, he concluded.