Investigative Reports

Ministry of Information Spends 600,000 US Dollars to Fix a Decade Old Radio Station

According to a contract signed by the Minister of Information, Culture...

How Somalia is trying to Stifle Somaliland – US ties with an Online Troll and a pseudo-Charitable Organization

In February, June, and  August 2022, Mr. Okeke-Von Batten filed Lobby Disclosure Act...
Home Blog

National Election Commission Announced Nine-Month Delay of Presidential Elections


In their first press statement since sworn in, the new National Election Commission has announced that the constitutionally mandated presidential elections scheduled for November 13th will be delayed. The Commission stated that elections will be held in nine months starting on October 1st, and cited time, technical and financial constraints as the reason for the delaying.

The selections, confirmation by parliament, and swearing-in of the new National Election Commissioners have dragged on for months and were completed on September 7th, 2022. The previous Election Commission, led by Mr. Abdirashid Riyoraac, dissolved following a dispute among the commissioners and an accusation of corruption that prompted an investigation by the Auditor General’s Office. 

The opposition has accused President Bihi of orchestrating the disbandment of the election commission to ensure elections are not held on time. President Bihi has countered the opposition’s accusation that the delay was caused by opposition members of parliament who failed to confirm replacement commissioners

The opposition parties of Waddani and UCID have welcomed the statement from the Election Commission, although they have in the past opposed presidential term extension and staged protests where at least six civilians were killed and scores injured. It is unclear if the argument of which election, presidential or national political parties, comes first is settled between the President and the leaders of the opposition parties.

President Bihi has argued that the new parties currently amid registration are the only ones eligible to take part in Presidential Elections, whereas the opposition parties have argued that the President is trying to eliminate the current opposition parties and that the presidential elections come first.

Earlier this week, Members of Parliament approved a motion to amend the election laws Number 91/2022 and Number 14. The amendment ratified the combination of presidential and political party elections where the presidential elections will be participated by Waddani, UCID, and the ruling party of Kulmiye and the other parallel election will decide which of the new or existing parties will qualify as a national political party. Somaliland law stipulates that only three political parties can exist for a term of ten years. It is unclear if the Senate and President will approve the proposed amendment to codify it into law.

The National Election Commission’s statement that it cannot hold the presidential elections on November 13th, 2022 paves the way for the Somaliland Senate, which has the constitutional power to extend the presidential term to start deliberation and approve term extension for President Muse Bihi Abdi. In the past, the Senate has ignored the extension period recommended by the Election Commission and has given past Presidents two-year term extensions. This will be the sixth time presidential elections are delayed in Somaliland.

Despite the normalization of election delays and pitched political disputes in election season, Somaliland has earned high praises for its ability to hold one-person, one-vote elections and peaceful transfers of power. It is unclear if the latest delays in presidential elections and continued political jostling will effect in its quest for international recognition.

Dishonest Broker – Why Turkey Will Not Run Somaliland – Somalia Talks


On December 28, 2018, Turkey named its former Ambassador to Somalia Dr. Olgan Bekar as a Special Envoy for Somalia and Somaliland Talks. Thought the former Ambassador to Somalia has had limited contact with the Government of Somaliland especially President Bihi’s current administration, he known to be very comfortable in navigating the political scene in Mogadishu.

In this report, we are examining Turkey’s history in Somaliland and Somalia and their role as mediators in the past talks.

Dr. Olgan Bekar, Turkey’s Special Envoy for Somaliland – Somalia with President Muse Bihi Abdi

Turkey is not the only country interested to have Somaliland and Somalia get back to the negotiating table and reach some sort of a settlement.

The topic has come up during President Muse Bihi Abdi’s meeting with the Ethiopian Prime Minister in Addis Ababa this week though it is unclear the extent to which they discussed the subject or if any concrete steps to get the two sides talking were agreed upon.

Somaliland and Ethiopian leaders meeting in Addis Ababa

It is important to understand that various stake holders have different expected outcomes of such talks and Somaliland might be the odd man out as it seeks to gain an amicable completion of its divorce from Somalia.

According to statement from Somaliland Presidency following President Bihi’s meeting with the new envoy Dr. Bekar on February 9, The President informed Dr. Bekar and the Turkish delegation that since past talks has not yielded any results all future dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia must include the international community.

Sources from Somaliland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation present in the meeting with the President and the Turkish delegation stated that President Bihi also informed the Turkish envoy that bringing a level of balance in how Turkey invests in Somalia and Somaliland is a good way to show Somaliland that Turkey is impartial and a friend to Somaliland.

To understand if Turkey can be an impartial and an honest broker on Somaliland and Somalia talks and its general standing in the world community, we have spoken to Mr. Michael Rubin who is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where he researches Arab politics, the Gulf Cooperation Council, Iran, Iraq, the Kurds, terrorism, and Turkey.

President Bihi with Michael Rubin and Presidential Economic Advisor Dr. Osman Sh Ahmed

Somaliland Chronicle: Do you think it is wise for Somaliland to accept Turkey as a mediator in Somalia talks given the Turkish Gov support and massive investment in Somalia?

Mr. Rubin: Turkey does not have a track-record as an honest broker, and President Erdoğan has an ideological agenda which does not value Somaliland’s democracy and security. It is crucial to broaden any such mediation beyond a single country.

Somaliland Chronicle: In your latest article you wrote about Turkish support for terrorism and specifically for Al-Shabaab. What is Turkey’s reasoning for supporting Al-Shabaab?

Mr. Rubin: There is no single international definition of terrorism, and so Turkey often says it is combating terrorism, but denies groups like Al-Shabaab in Somalia or Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Mali are terrorists. Erdoğan’s goal is a more Islamist order. His fault, though, is confusing some Islamist movements with Islam itself.

Somaliland Chronicle: President Bihi recently met with a Turkish Envoy in charge of the Somaliland/Somalia talks, do you see any value in having Turkey to mediate or be part of those talks?

Mr. Rubin: Certainly, there is value in consultation with Turkey, as Turkey retains a diplomatic presence in both Somalia and Somaliland. President Bihi is correct, however, to seek a broader mediation rather than reliance on a single country.

As President Bihi informed the Turkish delegation, there is an imbalance in how Turkey provides and and invests in Somaliland and Somalia. Let’s break down what Turkey so far done in is to Somalia:

Turkey in Somalia

Security Influence

Turkey is Somalia’s true patron state, one of its most expensive efforts is to rebuild the Somali National Army from scratch and in its own image.

The largest military force in Somalia is of course AMISOM but Turkey’s military presence dwarfs that of any individual country in the AMISOM troops stationed in Somalia. In fact, Turkey’s largest military installation outside of Turkey is in Mogadishu.

Dr. Olgan Bekar with Somalia’s Prime Minister Hassan Khaire.

The 1.5 square mile Turkish military training installation is capable of churning out 1,500 fully trained and equipped soldiers at a time. This is according to Turkish and Somali sources familiar with the facility.

Below is a tweet from Turkish Embassy in Somalia showing images of Somali military personnel being trained in Turkey.

While Turkey rates as the 18th largest military in expenditure globally, it has a fledgling arms industry and rebuilding the Somali National Army represents a lucrative opportunity to supply it with the equipment it is manufacturing.

According to a recent VOA report, in what seems to be a clear violation of the United Nations Security Council’s weapons embargo on Somalia, Turkey has been supplying armament to units of the Somali National Army it has been training.

Economic Influence

Since September 21, 2014 Albayrak Group has been operating the Mogadishu Port on a 20 year concession where the company takes 45% of all revenues from the port.

Public records show that Albayrak Group does not have a track record in managing world class ports, besides Mogadishu Port, it also manages and the Trabzon Port in the Black Sea on Turkey’s Northern border with Georgia.

Compared to Albayrak Group and the 2 ports it manages, DP World manages about 77 marine and inland terminals including Somaliland’s Berbera Port.

Other Turkish conglomerates such Enez-İnşaat and Kozuva Group are also active in Mogadishu.

Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle Airport has been managed by a Kozuva subsidiery, Favori Airports LLC,since September 2013.

Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle Airport

Here is the Somali Prime Minister Mr. Hassan Khaire thanking Qatar for funding road networks between Mogadishu, Afgoye and Jawhar and also thanking the Turkish Government, presumably Enez-İnşaat who according to him have “won” the contract to build said roads.

Turkey bills itself as Somalia’s rescuer and multiple visits by Erdoğan to Somalia especially in what is considered a relatively difficult time for the Somali people were designed to convey that exact message but economically, Turkey stands to gain more from Somalia and Mogadishu than it lets on.

Image result for erdogan visits mogadishu
Erdoğan and his wife in Mogadishu.

According to some estimates, the most profitable route in Turkish Airlines is the Mogadishu – Ankara route. And aside from the large visible projects, there are tens of thousands of Turkish citizens living and working in Mogadishu.

Despite the obvious economic gains Turkey is making in Somalia, it is gearing up to do even more business in that war-torn country.

Getting involved in one of the least stable country in the world, Turkey is employing the concept of first mover advantage. This means less competition from the Chinese and other actors vying for influence in Africa.

Turkey heavy bet on Somalia and specifically Mogadishu is yielding economic results for Turkey beyond what Erdoğan has expected. In fact, Turkey’s largest embassy in the world is not where you would expect, like Washington DC, Brussels or Berlin, it is in Mogadishu, Somalia.

One of the most attractive features of Turkey’s patronage of Somalia is it is non-interference posture in Somalia’s domestic politics. It is worth nothing that Somalia ranked lowest in global corruption index and any country that is willing to look the other way is a welcome reprieve from the usual admonishment for President Farmajo’s weak administration.

Turkey in Somaliland

The most visible contribution of Turkey to Somaliland is a recent 216 medical machines donated by TIKA, the Turkish aid agency to Hargeisa Group Hospital.

Although this particular instance has been widely publicized by TIKA, Somaliland Chronicle has been unable to locate anything of note done in Somaliland either by Turkish Government or it is aid agency TIKA.

There are, however, multiple unfulfilled pledges by the Turkish Government in the past to help build roads in Somaliland according to multiple former and current Somaliland Government officials. None of these pledges have materialized.

One thing of note is that Turkey has been particularly adept in dangling a carrot of aid and development or simply inviting them to Istanbul on a whirlwind of meetings and tours to get them to buy into the importance of Somaliland and Somalia talks.

No other country has put so much effort to try to mediate Somaliland and Somalia as much as Turkey. In fact, this might be the only thing Turkey has done in Somaliland. There were many rounds of talks that hosted by the Turks in the past and personally supervised by President Erdoğan himself, unfortunately, these talks have been a disaster for Somaliland.

Turkey’s obsession with Somaliland is rooted in the simple fact that the rift between Gulf states of UAE and Saudi Arabia on one side and Qatar, Turkey and Iran on one side has been playing out in Somaliland and Somalia.

Image result for somaliland dpworld signing
President of Somaliland HE Muse Bihi Abdi and DP World CEO Mr. Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem

The United Arab Emirates base in Berbera and DP World managing the Port gives the UAE and its ally Saudi Arabia an advantage and a foothold in the strategic 850 kilometers of Red Sea coastline with a direct access to Bab Al-mandab.

Turkey and Qatar has been spending heavily in trying to unseat the Emirates from both the military base and the Berbera Port by mobilizing the Somali government to oppose these deals. Additionally, Turkey has been advancing particular talking points that have been seeping into public discourse in Somaliland such as the importance of Somaliland – Somalia talks, the ramifications of hosting a foreign army in Somaliland via the UAE base and the deterioration of service at the Berbera Port. These same exact talking points are parroted by many civil organizations and opposition parties in Somaliland.

Somaliland has repeatedly signaled it’s willingness to talk to Somalia but its demand for the international community including the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union to get involved and President Bihi’s impossible task for the Turks to raise their level of support for Somaliland to something comparable to Somalia’s almost guarantees that Turkey’s role will be a lot smaller in future dialogue between the two countries.

Breaking – United States Ambassador to Somalia Mr. Larry André to Retire


According to sources, the United States Ambassador to Somalia, Mr. Larry André, is retiring in the next few months. Mr. André, who has been appointed on February 2021 to replace Ambassador Donald Yamamoto, is leaving before his term is up, an unusual timing that could signal a deeper issue with his performance as the United States Representative in volatile Somalia.

Ambassador André has doubled down on positions held by his predecessor Ambassador Yamamoto who all but ignored Somaliland and adhered to the “One Somalia” policy despite the inclusion of Somaliland in the landmark National Defense Authorization Act of 2022 that signaled a significant shift of the United States policy towards Somaliland and mandated the Departments of State and Defense to work directly with Somaliland on security and potential military base in Berbera.

Since his appointment to Somalia, Mr. André had visited Somaliland once in May 2022 when he accompanied the former Africa Command General Stephen Townsend to tour potential facilities for the US base in Berbera. Current Chargé d’Affaires and likely successor Mr. Tim Trenkle led a delegation to Somaliland on February 23rd and met with government officials, including the President of the Republic of Somaliland, the opposition parties, and civil society organizations.

Counterproductive and antagonistic language towards Somaliland from the Embassy has led to a public spat between the Somaliland government and Ambassador André. In multiple interviews and an op-ed he penned to respond to a public spat with Somaliland over language often tweeted by the US Embassy in Somalia, Mr. André has insisted that the Somali constitution is his guide to advancing what he called shared interest. 

In an interview we had with Ambassador André in July 2022, we asked him if his strict adherence to what he repeatedly called “historic Somalia” may be a contrarian position to the interest of the United States when it is seeking to partner with Somaliland security matters “My job is to accurately represent the views of the United States government. If I took “a contrarian position to the rest of the U.S. government” then I would soon become a former ambassador,” he responded.

It is unclear if Mr. Andre’s early retirement directly results from his strict adherence to the “One Somalia” policy and implementation of the National Defense Authorization Act 2022 objectives in Somaliland to advance the national security interest of the United States.

Efforts to reach Officials from the Somalia Embassy were unsuccessful.

Ministry of Information Spends 600,000 US Dollars to Fix a Decade Old Radio Station


According to a contract signed by the Minister of Information, Culture and National Guidance, Mr. Saleban Ali Kore, the Ministry will pay Gorof Procurement and Logistics company a sum of 600,000 US dollars to fix a large radio station that the Ministry has purchased and inaugurated in October 2012. The radio station, which has been out of service for a very long time, is manufactured and installed by the Chinese government-owned Beijing Science & Technology Co., Ltd. In addition, there is no evidence of the 600,000 US dollar repair contract going through a public bid by the National Tender Board. 

According to sources familiar with the defunct radio station, at its inception a decade ago, the government balked at the price tag, as well as the complex specifications put forward by the manufacturer BBEF and opted out of major design elements, including the placement of antenna array at the northern outskirts of Hargeisa. Sources add that the contract with BBEF did not include support, training, or skills transfer to the Ministry’s technical staff to maintain the radio station.

Sources add that the radio station functioned on and off for a while before going offline few years ago, and multiple attempts to restart it were unsuccessful. On December 2022, the Ministry of Information, Culture, and National Guidance paid the original manufacturer Beijing Science & Technology Co., Ltd [BBEF] 62,000 US dollars to fix the radio station. It is unclear why the manufacturer has not succeeded in restarting the radio station.

Besides complexity and lack of basic know-how to maintain the radio station, sources familiar with this project stated that the shortwave transmitter Somaliland purchased from BBEF is a high-powered liquid-cooled system, and the cost of running it became an issue in terms of massive fuel consumption and monthly trips to Ethiopia to import the cooling liquid for the power-hungry system.

There is not much to go on Gorof Procurement and Logistics company, the company the Ministry of Information, Culture and National Guidance awarded the contract, and there is no indication that it has done any prior business with the government of Somaliland or if it possesses the technical know-how to restart the decade-old radio station.

Despite billing the government for 50% of the contract, Gorof Procurement and Logistics CEO Mr. Abdikarim Mohamoud Diriye did not answer questions about the contract, particularly the company’s technical capacity. Mr. Diriye stated the project is still at a very early stage and there isn’t much to share at the moment. When confronted with the $300,000 invoice he billed the government, Mr. Diriye pointed to a confidentiality clause in the contract and directed all questions to the Ministry of Information.

The Unusual contract stipulates that it supersedes and nullifies a prior agreement to purchase a 50kw solid state radio station and re-payment of 96,000 US dollars borrowed from the Central Bank for a study of the now-aborted project to procure a new radio station. The contract does not state who conducted the 96,000 US dollar study and whether Gorof Procurement and Logistics were awarded the contract to buy the 50kw radio station, and if any funds were disbursed for this reason.

A cursory check of the parts list in the contract totaling 265,500 US dollars shows the items are available for much less than the astronomical figures the Ministry and Gorof Procurement and Logistics company agreed. For example, the High-Frequency Metal Ceramic Vacuum Tube Amplifier Triode model #4CV100000C listed in the contract for 55,600 US dollars is available on Alibaba for less than a thousand dollars. 

Item Name/ModelGorof/Ministry of
Information Price List
Market Price
100kW PAQt Tube Model # 4CV100000C$55,600.00$850.00
Water Pump Model # GZ50-32 160/2.2$19,600.00$591.00
Audio Processor Model # ORBAN 9300$18,400.00$5,595.00

Despite multiple claims by the Somaliland government, and particularly President Bihi, that all government contracts with a price tag of more than 5000 US dollars go through the National Tender Board, there are many instances where lucrative contracts were awarded to private entities and occasionally retroactive permission was sought from the National Tender Board.

President Bihi who ran on an anti-corruption platform has not succeeded in curbing rampant corruption and at times failed to re-nationalize public services contracted out to private businesses.

Minister of Information, Culture and National Guidance Mr. Saleban Ali Kore did not respond to repeated queries about this contract.

Ministry of Telecommunication and Technology Spent Tens of Thousands of Taxpayer Funds on Documents Plagiarized from the Internet


According to government records and agreements examined by the Somaliland Chronicle, The Ministry of Telecommunication and Technology has spent tens of thousands of dollars on multiple contracts for policy, awareness, and training documents copied from various online sources.

Documents show a frantic pace of spending towards the end of the 2022 where multiple contracts under 5,000 US dollars which falls threshold of National Tender Board requirement for public bid were awarded to various companies with the majority going to a company called Somali Software Engineering company.

In recent months, plagiarism has become a standard operating procedure for some government agencies and the latest to do so were the Ministries of Transportation and Health which released major policy documents that were plagiarized from Rwanda and Bangladesh.

In the case of the Ministry of Telecommunication and Technology, its documents for awareness, fiber optic, and postal service are riddled with spelling errors and were entirely copied or stitched together from various sources on the internet.

Some of the projects implemented in this period include the Postal Customer Service Policy document put together by ministry employees who have been compensated 5,000 US dollars for their effort despite being salaried government employees and their product being a copy of Kenya’s Postal Customer Service Guidelines. Email addresses and other identifying marks were not removed from the Kenyan Postal Services document to hide its origin. In addition, it cites laws and statutes that do not exist in Somaliland.

The awareness campaign and fiber optic training documents which the Ministry has funded and implemented by Somali Software Engineering, a company frequently used by the Ministry of Telecommunication and Technology, are elementary and lack technical depth. The most egregious case of plagiarism by the Somali Software Engineering company is the document titled “Excessive use of technology devices and their healthy impact” where a single paragraph seems to have been stitched from multiple sources that have nothing to do with one another and the ministry paid 5000 US dollars for it. 

Efforts to reach the Director General and other officials from the Ministry of Telecommunication and Technology about the review process of documents produced by consultants and qualifying processes to award contracts were unsuccessful.

Guban View: The Civil Disturbances in Las-Anood, another critical battle for Somaliland freedom


For too long, the Las Anood communities waited patiently for Somaliland to bring justice to the perpetrators of over 40 unresolved assassinations against Somaliland government officials including judges and prosecutors and felt betrayed.

I understand Las Anood leaders’ frustrations over how the wheels of justice turn to slow for the victims of those assassinations and their families.  And I know good people who were equally appalled by the unresolved murders.

But from outside Las Anood, it was hard to understand how the unresolved assassinations could possibly justify with the surge of violence, massive property damages, and the senseless deaths of over 20 people. Unfortunately, Somaliland law enforcement have used deadly force to quell rioters, armed with weapons such as guns and machetes, to restore order. My heart goes out to them and all others who have suffered losses.

What we saw the last few days on the streets of Las Anood was not about people protesting the outrage of injustice over unresolved assassinations. It was not peaceful demonstrations; it was the brutality of jihadists and mob violence. Somaliland should use whatever force is necessary to restore order. The madness in Las-Anood must stop, and the violence will end.

We should not confuse most people who seek to protest peacefully with the bands of al-Shabaab jihadists, anti-Somaliland anarchists, who infiltrated protest marches, and used women and children as shields, to exploit the chaos in Las Anood for their own political expediency.

The most recent unrest in Las Anood has made crystal clear to Somalilanders that we must urgently deal with these radical and violent groups. They are united against a functioning, multi-clan, peaceful, free, and democratic Somaliland thriving in the Horn of Africa.

The mission of the emboldened anti-Somaliland anarchists is bigger than civil disturbances in Las Anood. They do not believe our constitution; they hate our system of government, our flag, and our country. They will do whatever it takes to bring down our country, including burning and even destroying to the ground Las-Anood, a town that made significant progress for the last 2 decades.

Anti-Somaliland extremists’ groups are using social media as a platform to disseminate propaganda and lies, to incite hatred among Somaliland communities and violence in Las Anood. They lie about the recent unrest in Las Anood, by accusing Somaliland forces of committing a “Genocide” because do not understand the meaning of genocide. They are also saying Somaliland is behind the politically motivated assassinations.

But what are Somaliland authorities gaining from killing people who support their administration?

Some of those responsible for spreading these lies include Somaliland fake news media, Cirro, who has ambition to be the next president of Somaliland. For instance, Cirro used inflammatory language to describe the riots in Las Anood. He called the riots a “deliberate genocide” committed by Somaliland law enforcement. He is inciting violence against our police and army, and he has become a conduit for anti-Somaliland extremists’ plot to undermine our system of government and security. Cirro’s behavior for the last few days is yet another reason why he should not be the next president of Somaliland.

But I want to remind Cirro that our police keep the peace. They protect him and face danger every day. They make little money, $100-150 a month, but they care about their communities and their country. Thousands of police officers, firefighters, and soldiers are risking their lives now on the streets of Las Anod and other Somaliland cities, to keep us safe, and they deserve our support.

Las Anood communities have the right to know why the Somaliland government failed to act on those assassinations. After peace is restored in Las Anood, our law enforcements must focus like a laser solving those assassinations.

President Bihi in an address to the nation on civil unrest in Las Anood, said dozens of people were arrested for those murders and promised to move into high gear on the criminal investigation into the unsolved cases and the civilian deaths. To de-escalate the civil disturbance, the Somaliland army has withdrawn from Las Anood, and arrested two soldiers.

The president also warned those who are trying to exploit the civil disturbance in Las Anood that he took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend Somaliland, an oath that requires every JSL President to establish justice and ensure public safety.

General Cambaashe who is the commander of Somaliland military in the Sool region vowed to restore order in Las Anood. He warned outside agitators who are very determined to destroy the progress of Las Anod for the past two decades that Somaliland army will take swift action to claim the streets of Las Anood from the criminals. Kudos to Gen. Cambaashe for doing the most basic responsibility of government: maintaining public order and safety.

We must keep on working to create a climate of healing, de-escalation, trust, and tolerance, a climate that rejects tribal barbarism, and division. We must allow our kinship and lineage to bring us together, and not to divide us. We must resolve our political division by peaceful means or through ballots boxes!

Anti-Somaliland anarchists’ main goal is to drag Somaliland into the “fratricidal violence” and the lawlessness that characterizes present day the so-called Republic of Somalia. But there is no option other than a free and independent Somaliland because the people had already decided their own political future through referendum back in 2001. 

Engaging anti-Somaliland extremists on the battlefield is critical to our hopes of preserving and restoring our freedom for future generations. We must not be complacent about those who are trying to harm Somaliland. We must also be vigilant and protect our freedom, because “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

Let me conclude by saying to the people disturbed by the violence and lawlessness of the past few days, and to the good people of Las Anood caught at the center of this senseless suffering, your future belongs with Somaliland. Order will be restored, the violence will end, justice will be served, and Somaliland will prevail!

May God Bless the Republic of Somaliland


Ali-Guban Mohamed
Founder and Editor

Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints of Somaliland Chronicle, and its staff. 

Creative Commons License

Notice: This article by Somaliland Chronicle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Under this license, all reprints and non-commercial distribution of this work is permitted.

Somaliland Army Ordered to Barracks to De-escalate Las Anod Crisis


Somaliland Armed Forces command announced the arrest of two of it’s members responsible for the death of a civilian yesterday that led to further riots and attacks on their positions in Las Anod. Initial unconfirmed reports indicated that the deceased individual was armed and opened fire on troops who returned fire killing him. Army spokesman stated that the incident is under investigation.

In consultation with the elders of the local community to de-escalate, the Army spokesman stated that the army units in Las Anod were ordered back to their Barracks.

The President of Somaliland Muse Bihi Abdi said in speech earlier in the week that the Military would leave the city once normalcy was restored.

Speaker of the Parliament Mr. Khalif who has also heavily criticized [link to bbc interview] the executive branch headed by President Bihi on its handling of the situation in Las Anod in two interviews he gave to the BBC Somali service has suggested the removal of the army from the city to help es-escalate the situation. Mr. Khalif is among many dissenting voices which called for calm and immediate de-escalation.

The Mayor of Las Anod city has confirmed the removal of the armed forces from the city and added that one of the region’s most influential leaders Garaad Jama Garad Ismail is in Las Anod and is working with others including business owners to stop further disturbances, remove rocks and other debris blocking the streets and help re-open the city.

“Today the 5th of January 2022, the city of Las Anod is peaceful, there are no riots or crisis and we have returned to normal” said the mayor in his press briefing on the state of the city of Las Anod. He also thanked the residents and called upon them to safeguard the peace and security of their city.

Conflation of the targeted assassinations in Las Anod and Sool that have led to the riots with territorial claim from Somalia’s Puntland region over parts of Somaliland including Sool region on the basis of tribal composition have led to sharp rise in incitement of violence from prominent politicians from Somalia particularly Puntland region and others in the diaspora who have called on the people of Las Anod to take up arms against Somaliland.

Threats of incursion into Somaliland from Puntland’s armed forces in neighboring Somalia and President of neighboring province of Somalia Puntland, Mr. Said Abdullahi Deni who promised to send troops into Las Anod to help free it from Somaliland have not materialized.

Despite deteriorating security situation in Puntland including a bombing at Hotel Jabir where government officials including the Ministers of Interior and Finance as well other security officials were meeting and multiple shootings around the region that results in death and injury of civilians, many in Puntland including prominent politicians and media have sought to exploit the grieves of the people of Las Anod to further their claims over parts of Somaliland. United States has recently sanctioned many prominent businessmen from Puntland on illicit arms trade.

President Bihi Addresses the Las Anod Crisis and Warns Somalia that Somaliland will Defend itself if Attacked


The President of the Republic of Somaliland addressed the nation today about the ongoing crisis in Las Anod and stated that terrorist groups assassinated 40 people, mostly government officials and prominent members of society, including high-ranking members of the opposition parties and has called for calm and reiterated Somaliland’s commitment to peace and stability.

Las Anod, the capital of the Sool region has seen days of protests following the assassination of a prominent politician from Puntland, Mr. Abdifatah Abdillahi Awil. Somaliland security forces have been accused of heavy-handed response that result in the death and injury of civilians.

President Bihi stated that 32 suspects are in custody in connection with the forty assassinations that have taken place in Las Anod since 2009, while eight others remain at large. He added that while some have been sentenced to prison terms he did not specify, two have been exonerated while the prosecution of seven suspects is still ongoing.

Speaking of the deaths and injuries following the recent protests in Las Anod, President Bihi sent condolences to those affected and stated that a thorough investigation will be conducted once the current situation is under control.

“Today, the task in front of us which we are working on is for the peaceful coexistence of the people, and we are working with the leaders, the intellectuals, the youth, the traditional leaders, and the women of the people living in Las Anod. What we are saying is, let’s talk about our differences, but first, let’s secure peace. If there is no peace, nothing can be solved. The army is not there to oppress the people and is there to defend them and will leave once peace is restored” said President Bihi.

President Bihi spoke of external factors including Somali government officials and foreigners calling for violence in Las Anod and spoke of a Mr. Farah Maalim, a Kenyan member of Parliament national at length and his previous role in actually helping integrate Las Anod in Somaliland.

Recently, the President of the Somali region of Ethiopia Mr. Mustafa Mohammed Omar has warned a diaspora group which held a meeting in Jijiga that incitement and actions against neighboring countries are not welcome.

In addition, President Bihi addressed the President of the Puntland region of Somalia, Mr. Saeed Abdullahi Deni, who has openly declared war on Somaliland and threatened that he send troops into Las Anod. The Puntland region of Somalia claims the Sool and Sanaag region of Somaliland as part of Puntland based on a tribal composition. Somaliland’s boundaries are based on colonial boundaries on which much of Africa’s boundaries are based.

“War was declared by the President of the Puntland administration and his deputy, but we did not expect that Puntland would declare war, but today we are calling for peace and good neighborliness, and we appeal to them to reconsider as war has no benefits. But if you attack us, you will reap what you have sawn, and Somaliland stands ready to defend its sovereignty,” said President Bihi.

Members of Parliament, Ministers, and other prominent politicians have called for the assassination of Somaliland government officials in Las Anod for years. Mr. Deni, whose close advisors include Mr. Mohammed Said Hersi Morgan, known as the Butcher of Hargeisa for his role in the genocide against the people of Somaliland, has been under pressure to respond to events in Las Anod.

President Bihi, who has been widely criticized for tone-deafness and failing to unify the nation with multiple meetings with leaders of Somalia despite their open hostility to the security and sovereignty of Somaliland, stated in his speech, “Today in Somaliland there is no opposition or pro-government, and we stand together for the sake of our nation.”

The Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs sharply rebuked a statement from the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission in Somalia Mr. Souef Mohamed El-Amine, and called upon him to stick to ATMIS‘s mandate to secure Somalia, and that Somaliland is an independent country. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called upon the International Community to stand with Somaliland in its effort to combat terrorism and condemn those who have carried out the assassinations in Las Anod and the neighboring leaders who are calling for violence in the region.

On May 2018 Somaliland clashed with armed militias from Puntland over the control of its eastern flank with Somalia. The unofficial truce between the Republic of Somaliland and Puntland has held with minimum incidents.

President Bihi did not specify concrete steps to address the grievances of the people of Las Anod including law enforcement overhaul and steps to ensure the safety and security of the public in the region.

Somaliland Parliament Assigns Committee to Revamp the Criminal and Penal Codes


According to a circular issued by the Somaliland House of Representatives, the first Deputy Chairman of the Parliament Mr. Saeed Farah Mire [Giire], has assigned a committee to amend and update Somaliland’s General Penal Code and the Criminal Code.

Deputy Chairman Giire, as he is widely known, noted in his circular that the laws are outdated which resulted in gaps that that does not cover certain crimes that and that the changes and amendments to the General Penal Code and the Criminal Code must be in accordance with the Islamic Sharia and International Law and Somaliland’s cultural principals.

Although Somaliland regained its independence in 1991, its criminal and penal codes are still based on the draconian laws created in 1960 for Somalia. It is unclear how the proposed amendment to the criminal and penal codes will reconcile Sharia, international and customary laws of Somaliland into cohesive criminal and penal codes.

Somaliland should be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize


Upon gaining independence from Britain on June 26, 1960, Somaliland voluntarily merged with Somalia on July 1st, 1960, to create the Republic of Somalia. In the wake of the dissolution of the Central Somali state, Somaliland reinstated its sovereignty on May 18, 1991.While fulfilling all the criteria for statehood, i.e., defined boundaries, a permanent population and a functioning government that routinely engages in relations with other states and international organisations, Somaliland is yet to achieve de jure recognition but continues to function as a de-facto sovereign state.

Somaliland has created an organic and legitimate hybrid state rooted in society by merging Somali institutions of governance with constitutional multi-party democracy. In doing so, the young state has transcended the (semi) Weberian OECD-model of statehood and has given birth to the hybrid turn in the peace and state building literature. The people of Somaliland have demonstrated a genuine and robust will to maintain peace and build a vibrant democracy. Since 1991, Somaliland has experienced five consecutive peaceful transfers of power. Impressed with the successes of Somaliland’s peace and state building trajectory, some scholars and practitioners have gone as far as to suggest that Somaliland offers an alternative model of statehood in Africa.

Making Somaliland a puzzling and fascinating case is that its successes were achieved with virtually no external assistance. Political and social leaders in Somaliland have achieved on their own what the combined capacity and economic means of the international community has failed to achieve in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Somalia. Actors fighting on opposing sides of one of Africa’s bloodiest civil wars voluntarily ceased hostilities, peacefully negotiated and in this way created peace, stability, democracy and built an inclusive state. Why Somaliland has succeeded on its own while numerous other post conflict societies have failed despite foreign intervention and assistance is a question that continues to baffle scholars and policymakers alike.

Somaliland’s road to peace and a functioning democracy was challenging and required concerted effort and leadership steered by prudence and providence. Throughout the 1980s Somalilanders were arbitrarily and indiscriminately persecuted by Maxamed Ziad Barre’s brutal military regime, culminating in 1988 where Somaliland’s two largest cities were razed, killing 50.000 people. Rather than prolonging the war after Barre’s army was ousted from Somaliland in early 1991, leaders of the insurgency (Somali National Movement) that fought Barre and representatives of the communities that had supported the central government voluntarily commenced post war peace and reconciliation efforts. A series of peace conferences took place in different areas of the country from the early 1990s to the mid-1990s. The first grand conference was held in the port city of Berbera in early 1990 with the last being held in the capital of Hargeysa in 1996-1997. It was at these conferences that the different social groupings in Somaliland would meet, each make their case in the spirit of Somali egalitarianism, peacefully negotiate, and solve thorny issues through consensus. This capacity to overcome internal collective action challenges through generalized pro-social behaviour is a key factor in grasping Somaliland’s remarkable success in peace and state building. While Somalilanders were struggling with consolidating peace and building a viable state, the international community, under the guise of the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM II), was going at lengths to disrupt Somaliland’s reconciliation efforts and tried to bring all actors under the framework of UN-led peace and state building in Mogadishu. It is therefore safe to say that Somaliland did not merely make it without external assistance during its formative years (1991-2001), but that it made it despite of the international community.

FILE PHOTO: A Nobel Prize medal replica is on display inside the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway September 19, 2022. REUTERS/Victoria Klesty

Against this backdrop, it appears peculiar that Somaliland has not yet been shortlisted for the Nobel Peace Prize. Since World War II, the Peace Prize has annually been awarded to those who have done outstanding work within the four main areas of: arms control and disarmament, peace negotiation, democracy and human rights and work aimed at creating a better and more peaceful world. With scarce resources and against all odds, Somalilanders succeeded in ending violence, consolidating peace and in building one of the most vibrant and inclusive democratic states in the developing world. That Somaliland did not collapse into a never-ending vicious cycle of endless violence and devastation is, more than any other reason, attributable to the sheer will of the people of Somaliland. It was them who came together voluntarily, negotiated peacefully, and averted a looming catastrophe through concerted effort. It is by attention to this point that it appears rather difficult to advance a tenable line of reasoning against the motion that the people of Somaliland are worthy of at least being considered for the Nobel Peace Prize.

While the Norwegian Nobel Committee is responsible for selecting the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, a nomination may be submitted by any persons who qualify to nominate. University professors are among those are considered ‘qualified nominators’ and there is surely no shortage of senior academics with a Somalilander background in universities around the world. Some of them receive a hero’s welcome upon returning to Somaliland. It is therefore quite puzzling that none of them has hitherto been willing to nominate Somaliland for the Nobel Peace Prize.


Jamal Abdi holds a MSc in International and European Relations. He is currently a PhD candidate in international relations at Keele University. His research focuses on peace and state building in Somaliland.

Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints of Somaliland Chronicle, and its staff.

Creative Commons License

Notice: This article by Somaliland Chronicle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Under this license, all reprints and non-commercial distribution of this work is permitted.

Wasted Three Decades for Seeking Somaliland’s Recognition: Critical Assessment on Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Institutional Mechanisms

By: Abdifatah Ahmed Ileeye


De facto states are often marginalized internationally, even in instances where they successfully manage to control their semi-autonomous jurisdictions and provide certain public services to their citizens. Globally, their sovereignty remains unrecognized. This can be attributed in part to the parent state’s reluctance to acknowledge the de facto state’s independence – the declaration of which is often contested – and the international subjectivity on the de facto state’s nationhood. In addition, the institutional capacity of the de facto state’s foreign affairs function and its potential to have international influence are also factors that weigh on recognition as an independent state. This paper assesses the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s (MoFA&IC) institutional mechanisms based on the conceptual framework which consists of the foreign policy document, key legislations, lobbying strategy document, and foreign policy evaluation framework.  The paper found that the MoFA&IC of Somaliland lacks some key institutional mechanisms including a foreign policy document. Such deficiency at the institutional level negatively affects the institution’s capacity to have impactful influence towards the international system and jeopardizes its ability to effectively seek recognition, or at least affiliation with a patron state which can advance Somaliland’s aspiration for recognition.

1. Introduction

Somaliland gained its independence from Great Britain in June 26, 1960. Only five days later, Somaliland and Somalia voluntarily formed Somali Republic, which lasted thirty years, until 1991 when Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia, and after the collapse of the Somalia’s central authority. After a series of nation-building, state-building, and democratization processes, Somaliland established a relatively functioning constitutional and democratic governance system. This led to the adoption of the constitution, two successful House of Representatives elections through the multiparty political system and also through a public one-person-one-vote process. In the same period, five different presidents have ruled Somaliland where three of whom were directly elected and subsequently made a peaceful transfer of power. The country also established state organisations including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation which manages Somaliland’s foreign affairs on one hand, and expected to realize Somaliland’s recognition as a sovereign state in the international system on the other.

Despite the fact that Somaliland has relatively succeeded in managing its internal sovereignty and undergone a democratization process through the adoption of a multiparty system, it still remains a de facto state, more than thirty years after its declaration of independence. Furthermore, Somaliland is not a member of the global financial institutions which include the Bretton woods system; the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Neither is it a member of regional bodies such as the African Union (AU) or the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). This raises a pertinent question; why has Somaliland remained a de facto state thirty years after declaring independence; and why hasn’t the country convinced at least one patron state that could recognize its sovereignty and advance its quest for recognition at the regional and international bodies? First and foremost, this question calls for a critical enquiries from different angles in order to identify and define the existing internal and external political, economic and institutional challenges on one hand; and to come up with evidence-based policies and strategies to counter those challenges on the other.

Many papers covering a wide range of Somaliland’s nation-building, state-building, and democratization processes and its de facto status have been published (See Bradbury 2008; Pegg 1998; Berg and Pegg 2016; Jonathan Paquin, 2010; Roland Marchal, 2018; International Crisis Group 2009, 2015, 2019; Smaker and Johnson 2014; Kibble and Walls 2010; Tansey 2011; Rudincova and Hoch 2015; Pegg 2017 etc).

However, based on the literature review conducted, there is a literature gap on the critical institutional assessment of Somaliland’s public institutional mechanisms[1] in general and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in particular.

Therefore, this paper seeks to answer the question, ‘to what extent has the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation demanded the establishment of fundamental institutional mechanisms and to what extent have those mechanisms been operationalized? The study argues that Somaliland’s internationally contested sovereignty and Somalia’s refusal to acknowledge Somaliland’s restored independence are not the only factors that result in Somaliland’s prolonged absence of de jure recognition and exclusion from the international financial institutions. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s lack of institutional mechanisms including foreign policy document, which weaken its institutional capacity, is a contributing factor too.

For the methodological perspective, the study is a qualitative one. A comprehensive literature review is undertaken so as to develop a deductive relevant framework for analysis. Regarding the data collection, the primary data is collected through Key Informant Interviews from officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, a desk review on the available relevant documents and platforms is also undertaken in order to generate the other supportive evidences.

The paper is structured as follows: The first section is a brief introduction and background to the study, while the justification for a written foreign policy document is discussed in the second section. The challenges arising from the absence of the Somaliland foreign policy document are analysed in the third section, while the fourth section presents the gaps in the key institutional legislations. The fifth section is a discussion about the absence of a lobbying strategy document. The sixth and seventh sections present the foreign policy evaluation framework and the conclusion of the paper, respectively. Finally, the study makes some recommendations in the last section.   

2. Rationale for a Foreign Policy Document

Somaliland is a de facto state. According to Scott Pegg’s, “the de facto state is a secessionist entity that receives popular support and has achieved sufficient capacity to provide governmental services to a given population in a defined territorial area, over which it maintains effective control for an extended period of time” (Pegg, 1998). These states, as the literature shows, are peculiar in the way they are perceived on one hand and their interaction with international sovereign states on the other. Although the contested states might achieve relative self-rule and internal sovereignty, they have failed to gain de jure recognition from the other sovereign states or, at best, recognized by some states. As a result, de facto states are either in precise isolation or  have a restricted recognition and constrained engagement with the international system (Caspersen, 2010).

From the specific forms of nation-building, state-building and democratization in de facto states, five factors shape the formation and development of the states. First, de facto states are considered the victorious side of the civil war that resulted in their establishment. Second, a de facto state with ethnically homogenized residents is established through forcible population displacement. Third, a prolonged absence of international recognition renders the military victory of the contested state precarious and existentially insecure, even many decades later. Fourth, de facto states are open to international normative pressure to behave in certain ways. Finally, most de facto states (with the exception of Somaliland case) depend significantly on support and assistance from an external patron state (Caspersen, 2008; Kolstø, 2006; Pegg, 2017).

With the exception of the first two factors – the one relating to the historical narrative and the one based on the nation-building process, the other three elements explicitly reflect the extent to which a de facto state needs to have a comprehensive and responsive foreign policy that can effectively and efficiently address its key national interests. The term “national interest” has been basically used by statesmen and scholars to describe the key political, social, security, and economic survival and development goals of the nation-state in the international arena. The exact attributes of national interest and its meaning are discussed differently in academia, military strategies, and foreign ministries. It is therefore ambiguous in the art of diplomacy and the study of international politics. Nevertheless, from general perspective, four fundamental national interests are considered by the sovereign states as follows (Nuechterlein, 1979):

  1. Defence interests: the protection of the nation-state and its citizens against the threat of physical violence directed from another state, and/or an externally inspired threat to its system of government.
  2. Economic interests: the enhancement of the nation-state’s economic well-being in relations with other states.
  3. World Order interests: the maintenance of an international political and economic system in which the nation-state may feel secure, and in which its citizens and commerce may operate peacefully outside its borders;
  4. Ideological interests: the protection and furtherance of a set of values which the people.

In other words, the national interest components consist of physical survival, economic prosperity and political sovereignty (Roskin, 1994). Contested states are different from recognized states: they lack recognition of their political sovereignty (Pegg, 1998). Therefore, one of the national interest priorities of the de facto states is to obtain external sovereignty from the de jure states in the international system.

From a theoretical perspective, recognition of sovereignty leads to the prioritization of the national interests depending on the way it’s theoretically defined; declaratory or constitutive theory. The declaratory theory posits that,an entity that possesses minimum characteristics of statehood (a territory, population, government and a capacity to maintain relations with other states) is automatically a state and an international subject – recognition  can only mark the   willingness of other states to have relations with it’. The constitutive theory on the other hand states that,an entity is ‘constituted’ as a state and international subject through the actions of other members of the international community recognizing it as a state’ (Vidmar, 2012). However, the primary national interests of a given de facto state in the international system, and how that state defines the recognition and its meaning to the statehood, constitute and frame its foreign policy, as the sum of external relation, of the state (Hill, 2003). So, a foreign policy document should be developed in order:

  • To identify and formulate the decision-making guiding principles for Somaliland’s external relations;
  • To propose the required key institutional mechanisms regarding the foreign service of the state so that the national interests are effectively protected;
  • To prevent any sort of ambiguity towards the state’s primary national interests that reflect the short and long term development, economic development and political sovereignty of the state;
  •  To provide uniformed familiarization on national interests, foreign policy objectives and strategic direction to the foreign service personnel; and
  • To systemically and strategically prevent and manage the regional and global threats against the interests of the state.

3. Somaliland’s lack of a Foreign Policy Document – Three Decades On

Somaliland’s foreign affairs are institutionalized through obligational approach of institutional legalization (Amenta & Ramsey, 2009). According to article 40 of the Law 71/2015 (Law on delineation of the government organization and independent public bodies[2]), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Somaliland was established to administer and lead the Somaliland external relation in the international arena. The law frames the mandate of the ministry and assigns specific institutional duties. When it comes to the foreign policy, more specifically, paragraph 12 of the article 40 of this legislation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has the responsibility to formulate and develop the Somaliland Foreign Policy at regional and international level. Such assertion implies two significant propositions; first, the issue of the foreign policy formulation is obligatory. In this regard, the ministry should design, formulate and develop a foreign policy to act as a basis for decision making on Somaliland’s external relations. Second, having a detailed and structured foreign policy at regional and international levels requires the ministry to have a written foreign policy document.

Somaliland has been going through a nation-building, state-building and democratization process since 1991. Remarkably, five different presidents—Abdirahman Ahmed Ali, Mohamed H. I. Egal, Dahir Riyale Kahin, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Silanyo) and Muse Bihi Abdi ruled Somaliland in more than three decades. Regarding the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Ciise Kayd, the current minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, is the 15th minister to lead the ministry since its establishment. However, the Somaliland Ministry of Affairs lacks a finalized foreign policy document that guides the decision-making processes on Somaliland external relations. 

Despite a draft foreign policy document being introduced by the 13th minister of foreign affairs, Dr. Sacad Ali Shire, none of the five different administrations has succeeded in formulating and implementing a finalized written foreign policy document that shapes decision-making on Somaliland’s external relations in the regional and international arena”, MoFA&IC officer stated in an interview.

Similarly, one of the heads of Somaliland representative offices was also asked in a key informant interview if they have a foreign policy document which shapes the decision-making process in the Foreign Service. He states:

Basically, there is a top-bottom hierarchical decision-making structure which shapes the strategic and policy directions of the ministry. [We] follow and implement those given directions. However, there is no finalized foreign policy document so far”, a diplomat from Somaliland MoFA&IC said in an interview.

The decision-making processes in foreign policy are intricate, with a myriad of short and the long term outcomes (Cimbala, 1973). Such complexity arises from multi-dimensional internal and external factors including the rapid global political, economic, social, geopolitical, and technological transformation and dilemma on one hand, and the ambiguity of the term “national interest” in the art of diplomacy and the study of international politics on the other. National interest thus needs to be clearly defined in a foreign policy document. Furthermore, de facto states which are not officially recognized can arguably suffer more due to the intricacy and unpredictability of the foreign policy decision-making processes (Pegg, 1998). MoFA&IC’s lack of a foreign policy document jeopardizes the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ institutional capacity to fulfil its mandate. First, the absence of a foreign policy document implies that there is lack of precisely and scientifically defined and prioritized national interests related to the economic prosperity and political sovereignty of the de facto state. Second, there are different foreign policy models (independent foreign policy, complaint foreign policy (Kosovo) and outsourcing foreign policy) that could be adopted by a given de facto state to secure its fundamental prioritized national interests (Keil and Stahl, 2014). So, Somaliland’s lack of empirical-based foreign policy indicates that such models were not considered, hence the lack of a strategically chosen model that would lead to the realization of to the national interests.  Third, it also points to the lack of consistent foreign policy objectives at regional and international level which would ideally shape the Somaliland’s external relations based on the prioritized national interests. Such assertion does not denote an absence of the top-bottom leadership ad hoc decision-making on the foreign relations. Likewise, it does not evaluate the outcomes from the current or the previous decisions made. However, it denotes the lack of systemic institutional design, and the operationalization of a policy-based decision-making approach.

On the other hand, article 40 of the Law 71/2015, the law on delineation of the government organization and independent public bodies is the only parliamentary act which frames the mandates of the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. This article consists of only thirteen paragraphs which illustrate the obligations of the institution. Since Somaliland is a de facto state and still lacks its de jure recognition, seeking the external sovereignty of the state should have been one of the primary responsibilities of the ministry, but none of the thirteen paragraphs of the article state that the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has the legal duty to seek the country’s de jure recognition from the UN Member states of the General Assembly. From a legal perspective, surprisingly, it implies that the recognition issue is not a part of the MoFA&IC’s institutional obligations.

4. Gaps in the Key Institutional Legislations

A State consists of institutions with unique political missions, functions, responsibilities, and roles. These institutions structure relationships between; the government and the citizens or subjects, social relations among different groups of citizens or subjects, and interaction with other states (Amenta & Ramsey, 2009). In accordance with Abbott, Keohane, Moravcsik, Slaughter and Snidal’s theoretical propositions, public institutions of the modern nation-states are established through legalization approaches. These processes ensure that such institutions have uniform sets of characteristics grouped into three qualities; precision, delegation, and obligation. Precision means that rules unambiguously define the conduct they require, authorize, or proscribe. Delegation refers that third parties have been granted authority to implement, interpret, and apply the rules; to resolve disputes; and (possibly) to make further rules. Obligation denotes that states including its institutions or other actors are legally bound by a law (Abbott, Keohane, Moravcsik, Slaughter and Snidal, 2000). Similarly, Max Weber’s theory on legitimization of power in general and the legal rationalization in particular denotes that the institutions are ruled by law, so as to legitimize their exercise of power (Moore & Sterling, 1987).

First, this approach implies that the institutional policies and structures have to be basically rationalized. Second, it proposes the legalization of the rationalized ideas through formal processes of enacting laws so that public institutional interventions are guided by the law. This is where institutional legitimacy in the modern democratic nation-state comes out. In addition, the specifications of the institutional mandate and the scope of work are also framed by its legislations in order to avoid mismanagement, negligence of public duty, and overlap of responsibilities in the public institutions. So, states establish a ministry of foreign affairs to manage its external relations in the international arena based on legislations that frame the institutional mandate to be fulfilled. This ministry handles such duty through diplomatic missions, consular offices, representative offices, liaison offices or cultural offices. Below are the fundamental institutional legislations for a ministry of foreign affair according to Keil and Stahl; and Marleku (Keil and Stahl, 2014; Marleku, 2013):

  1. The law on Foreign Service
  2. The Law on Consular Service of Diplomatic and Consular Missions;
  3. The Law on Governing the Employment of Diplomatic and Consular Personnel;
  4. Regulation on Foreign Service;
  5. Regulation on Consular Service.

4.1. The law on Foreign Service

This law legally shapes the entire foreign service of a given state. It describes the management of the Foreign Service including leadership, regulation of institutional structure, delegation of functions, and the creation of the required board of Foreign Service. It is the one which defines the scope and number of appointments that the president and the minister of foreign affairs are entitled to nominate. It also administers the recall and reemployment of the career members, as well as handling the arrangement of the Foreign Service positions and agencies. Similarly, the law on Foreign Service establishes the career development institutions including training centers for diplomats, and frames the Foreign Service retirement. In fact, this legislation is enormously significant to the establishment of the required institutional mechanisms so as to fulfil the mandate of the ministry of foreign affairs.

Somaliland external relations are run without a Foreign Service Act. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been functioning for the last three decades and engaging with other states and non-state actors. It handles the state’s external relations and has established different Representative Offices in a number of countries including the USA, the UK, the UAE, Ethiopia, Taiwan and Sweden. In fact, different personnel, including diplomats, have been working in each Representative Office. Despite the fact that all the laws approved so far by the Somaliland Parliament since the Somaliland declaration of independence have been reviewed[3], the law on Foreign Services has never been drafted and submitted to the parliament for possible approval. This indicates that the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs lacks a key institutional mechanism which would has been legally managed the institutional leadership, structure, operations, career development and support of the members of the diplomatic service. In fact, this jeopardizes the institution’s capacity to influence the international system.

4.2. The Law on Consular Service of Diplomatic and Consular Missions

Consular personnel perform a variety of functions of principal interest to their respective sending countries including issuance of travel documents, attending to the difficulties of their own nationals who are in the host country, and generally promoting the commerce of the sending country (US State department, 2018). In this regard, the law on Consular Service of Diplomatic and Consular Missions guides the whole consular service undertaken by the consular post or diplomatic mission. Basically, this legislation is in line with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations adopted in 1963 (US State department, 2018).  Based on the reviewed laws approved by the Somaliland Parliament, the law on Consular Service of Diplomatic and Consular Missions of Somaliland has neither been drafted and submitted to the parliament nor approved. This denotes, similarly, that the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs lacks a key institutional mechanism which would legally administer its consular services in diplomatic and consular missions.

4.3. The Law on Governing the Employment of the Diplomatic and Consular Personnel

There is increasing agreement amongst scholars and practitioners that diplomacy in the late 20th and early 21st centuries is changing, and changing fast. Such dynamism often centers on shifts in the balance of global powers in geopolitical affects since the end of the Cold War. Similarly, the effect of the accelerating globalization and a rise in regionalism on diplomatic practice is also a factor. In addition, the speedy transformation of technology leading to the emergence of digital diplomacy plays its significance role as well (Bjola and Holmes 2015; Kerr and Wiseman 2013). In this regard, diplomacy first entails an engagement with the notion of profession. It also includes an account of the sedimentation of professional claims as to skills exclusivity and expertise on international relations, diplomatic interventions and multiculturalism. So, there is a need for developing new skills, new methods, and new partnerships for the effective working of national and supranational diplomatic services which are tasked with the management of complex regional and global problems.

In such a new context, new skills such as social media and digital literacy, transnational networking beyond traditional coalition building, remote sensing, data-mining, visual translation, Logical Framework Approach (LFA), Results Based Management (RBM), Right Based Programming (RBP), or information gathering through crowdsourcing, amongst other techniques, are becoming increasingly common in diplomatic practice. All over the world, diplomacy is a highly regarded profession, and requirements for admission—frequently included ‘proper’ social origin and qualifications. That process allowed for some minor national differences to survive, primarily in terms of formal conditions for recruitment and career development of professional diplomats (Bagger 2015). Such exclusively required professionalism in the diplomatic sphere demands a law governing the employment of diplomatic and consular personnel so as to train and hire professional diplomats and diplomatic staff that can conduct the complex diplomatic tasks at regional and global levels. More importantly, despite the contested states’ lack of external sovereignty and their keenness to effectively influence the policies of the other recognized states, they have to adopt a professional based recruitment approach guided by specific laws on employment of diplomatic and consular personnel.  

In the Somaliland case, the specific law that would manage the staffing process of the diplomatic and consular personnel is not approved by the House of Representatives[4]. As one of the MoFA&IC senior officers stated in an interview, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation employs the Civil Servant Act for the employment of its staff. This law guides the entire employment processes throughout the public institutions in general, but does not specifically regulate the diplomatic and consular personnel so as to hire the right people to the right position in the Foreign Service. In fact, such legislative gaps which damage the institutional capability are not perceived as an isolated issue. This is a consequence of the lack of a foreign policy document which would have outlined the requirements for professional diplomatic and consular personnel and proposed the relevant legislation needed. 

5. The Absence of a Lobbying Strategy Document

The de facto states, as they lack their external sovereignty, use lobbying firms and individual lobbyists to influence state policies and advocate for the attainment of the prioritized national interests including survival, political sovereignty including recognition, and economic prosperity (Roskin, 1994). The lobbying interventions sometimes fail to influence the target policy outcomes due to various reasons. In some cases, lobbyists are very active in attempting to influence policymakers and the other influential actors, but their strategies are not comprehensive, consistent, or effective in a way in which they can substantially affect policy outcomes. In contrast, in some other cases, lobbyists are not adequately competent and they exert limited efforts to influence policy outcomes (Bruycker & Beyers, 2000). In both cases, such failure can be strategically prevented through the development of a well-studied, strategically analysed and consistently formulated lobbying strategy document.

Although Somaliland undertakes different lobbying activities through different approaches including hiring lobbyists, the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation still lacks a comprehensive lobbying strategy document that can systemically manage its lobbying interventions in order to primarily seek the external sovereignty and enhance its diplomatic engagement with the hegemonic powers of the world. One of the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials stated in a key informant interview:

Yes, we use different lobbyists to do various lobbying activities in different platforms, institutions and with officials. Mostly, we deal with them on a contractual basis in order to implement specific issues related to our external relations. Regarding the lobbying strategy document, it is not available yet”, MoFA&IC officer

A national strategy for digital diplomacy, as a lobbying strategy component, becomes a well-known, low-cost and relatively effective approach to globally spread information on the country’s political, cultural and economic developments through online platforms. It promotes the national image and attracts international investors and tourists. Nonetheless, Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs has its own website ( This online platform is still under construction and lacks adequate political, economic, cultural and historical information that can influence foreign audiences. However, the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs should develop a comprehensive, multidimensional, consistent and impact-oriented lobbying strategy document tailored with the defined national interests and foreign policy objectives. First, this document would help the institution to avoid expensive lobbying interventions that might end up with failure or little impact. Second, it would promote the accomplishment of the institution’s foreign policy objectives in a strategically coordinated manner.

6. The Absence of a Foreign Policy Evaluation Framework 

Public policies, including foreign policy, are designed, formulated, and implemented to accomplish certain objectives. To objectively evaluate policies and measure their effectiveness and efficiency, there should be a relevant evaluation mechanisms in place, including independent evaluative bodies and policy evaluation frameworks tailored with the key relevant measurable indicators which be able to measure the extent to which a given foreign policy being effective and efficient. The term “effective” denotes the logical framework of the policy which consists of input, activities, expected outputs and outcomes or goals. The term “efficient” is related to the economic cost-benefit analysis (Gasper, 2006). However, the foreign policy evaluation framework is not an independent mechanism which can be separately formulated and operationalized. It is, first and foremost, dependent on the prevailing foreign policy document, the implementation of which is subjected to evaluation. In fact, as long as the foreign policy document is non-existent, the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is consequently lacking the foreign policy evaluation framework, too. This raises this inquiry: how the interventions which have been undertaken by the MoFA&IC of Somaliland are empirically evaluated, and how their effectiveness, efficiency and impact are measured?


Somaliland has relatively succeeded to manage its internal sovereignty and adopted one of the most acknowledged democratic governance systems in Africa in general and the Horn of Africa, a fragile and hostile region, in particular. Similarly, Somaliland has been engaging with the international community in different programs for the last three decades. In contrast, after thirty years from Somaliland’s declaration of independence, Somaliland is still a de facto state and lacks its external recognition of its sovereignty. The reason behind the prolonged lack of recognition can be attributed to many factors with different magnitudes including the way in which Somaliland perceives Somalia when it comes to seeking de jure recognition, and the international subjectivity on Somaliland’s statehood status. However, the study assessed the institutional mechanisms of the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in order to assess the institutional capacity as outlined in the ministry’s foreign policy document, legislations, lobbying strategy document and foreign policy evaluation framework. Based on the indicators of the conceptual framework, the six institutional mechanisms assessed so far are not in place at all. This means the institution has been lacking its backbone for more than thirty years, and, in fact, its institutional capacity has been strongly jeopardized. Isn’t it questionable: how such paralyzed institution can seek and expectably succeed to the realization of Somaliland de jure recognition? The fact is: Somaliland’s thirty years of seeking recognition is now a wasted time and resources.  So, the issue related to Somaliland’s contested international subjectivity and Somalia’s refusal to acknowledge Somaliland’s restored independence are not the only factors resulted Somaliland’s prolonged absence of de jure recognition. In accordance with the assessment, the weakened institutional capability is also contributing, too.   


There is a direct relation between the institutional mechanisms and the institutional capacity to deliver its mandates while observing legitimacy, professionalism, effectiveness and efficiency. The study recommends that:

  • A comprehensive foreign policy which guides the decision-making of the Somaliland’s external relation should be developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation;
  • The law on foreign service, the law on consular service of diplomatic and consular missions and the law on governing the employment of the foreign service personnel should be developed and approved by the Somaliland Parliament;
  • A well-studied lobbying strategy document should be produced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation so as to guide the lobbying interventions to make sure they are effective and efficient;
  • A precise and detailed foreign policy evaluation framework should be developed by the Ministry through the establishment of an independent body which can conduct such policy evaluation;
  • A critical institutional assessment should be undertaken by the Somaliland Good Governance and Anti-corruption commission so as to identify and counter such fundamental gaps on the institutional mechanisms;
  • Adequate financial resources should be allocated to the Ministry so as to deliver its duties in the above-mentioned institutional mechanisms.

About the author

Abdifatah Ahmed Ileeye is researcher and consultant specializing in governance and sustainable development in the Horn of Africa. He has written extensively on a wide range of topics related to governance, public policy, institutional development as well as in the humanitarian and development sector. His research interests emphasize on institutional development in Somaliland. He also studies the effectiveness and efficiency of Somaliland’s local municipalities and governance. Abdifatah received his M.A in Governance and Public Policy from the University of Passau, Germany. He also obtained his B.A in Global Studies and International Relations from New Generation University, Hargeisa, Somaliland. He is currently based in Kassel, Germany. Mr. Ileeye can be reached @


  1. Amenta, Edwin & Ramsey M. Kelly (2009). Institutional Theory. Access:
  2. Bagger, T. (2015). “Review2014”: A project of reflection and change in German Foreign Policy’, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, 10(4): 421–429.
  3. Bruycker De Iskander & Beyers , Jan (2000). Lobbying Strategies and Success Inside and Outside Lobbying in European Union Legislative Politics.
  4. Burnham, P., Lutz, K.G., Grant, W., Layton-Henry, Z. (2008). Research Methods in Politics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  5. Bjola, C. and M. Holmes, Eds. (2015). Digital Diplomacy: theory and practice. London: Routledge.
  6. Cimbala, J. Stephen (1973). The Policy Science and Foreign Policy: An Introduction.
  7. Caspersen, Nina (2010), Playing the Recognition Game: External Actors and De Facto States;

  • Caspersen, N. (2008). Separatism and democracy in the Caucasus. Survival, 50(4), 113– 136.
  • Gasper, Des (2006). Policy Evaluation: From managerialism and econocracy to a governance perspective.
  • Hill. C. (2003). The Challenging Politics of Foreign Policy. London: Palgrave Macmillan
  • IOB (2009). Evaluation policy and guidelines for evaluations.
  • Kolstø, P. (2006). The sustainability and future of unrecognized quasi-states. Journal of Peace Research, 43(6), 723–740.
  • Keohane O.R. (1969). Lilliputians’ Dilemma: Small States in International Politics. International Organization, 23.2, pp. 291-310.
  • Kerr, P. and G. Wiseman, Eds. (2013). Diplomacy in a Globalizing World: Theories and Practices, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Marleku, Alfred (2013). Small States Foreign Policy: The Case of Kosovo.
  • Nuechterlein E. Donald (1976). National Interests and Foreign Policy: A Conceptual Framework for Analysis and Decision-Making. British Journal of International Studies, Oct., 1976, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Oct., 1976), pp. 246-266.
  • Ormerod, RJ (2010). Justifying the methods of OR. Palgrave Macmillan Journals on behalf of the Operational Research Society.
  • Pegg, S. (2017). The “Twenty Years of de facto State Studies: Progress, Problems, and Prospects. Oxford Research Encyclopedia. e-516.
  • Roskin, G. Michael (1994). National Interest: From Abstraction to Strategy. Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War.
  • Soeren Keil & Bernhard Stahl, Eds. (2014). The Foreign Policies of Post-Yugoslav States: From Yugoslav to Europe.
  • Sterling, S. Joyce and Moore, E. Wilbert (1987). Weber’s Analysis of Legal Rationalization: A Critique and Constructive Modification. Sociological Forum , Winter, 1987, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Winter, 1987), pp. 67-89.
  • Vidmar, Jure (2012). Explaining the Legal Effects of Recognition. The International and Comparative Law Quarterly Vol. 61, No. 2, pp. 361-387 (27 pages).

[1] The term “Institutional mechanisms” refers the policy, legislations, strategy and policy evaluation frameworks of the institution.

[2] See the act from the solicitor general’s website:

[3] See the solicitor general’s official website:

[4] See the solicitor general’s official website:

Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints of Somaliland Chronicle, and its staff.

Creative Commons License

Notice: This article by Somaliland Chronicle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Under this license, all reprints and non-commercial distribution of this work is permitted.

Security Cooperation Between Somaliland and United States gets Underway


The United States Africa Command spent several days in Berbera working with various branches of Somaliland’s armed forces, including the Somaliland Coast Guard. According to Somaliland government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, Africa Command personnel from Djibouti and Stuttgart were in Berbera for a series of meetings with commanders of various branches of Somaliland’s armed forces to assess areas of cooperation.

Publicly available flight data shows a series of US Military transport planes making multiple trips from Djibouti to Berbera sometimes in the same day from the 4th to the 14th of December 2022.

The latest visit of AFRICOM personnel to Somaliland and Berbera comes as the National Defense Authorization Act is in its final stages of approval. The NDAA contains a historic provision that instructs the United States Departments of Defense, State, and the US government’s aid agency USAID to establish a direct working relationship with Somaliland and report back to congress on progress.

The addition of Somaliland in the National Defense Authorization Act — one of the most significant pieces of legislation in the United States — signals a historic paradigm shift of the United States policy towards Somaliland. In addition, it brings a much-deserved repudiation of the State Department’s skewed view of the region that has clung to a one-Somalia policy for years and kept shuffling billions of tax-payer funds into the most corrupt government in the world as Somalia has spiraled further into chaos and has kept Somaliland essentially isolated.

Although the NDAA provision about Somaliland does not explicitly indicate the positioning of US armed forces or a military base in Somaliland, the United States department of defense, particularly the Africa Command, has shown increased interest in Berbera with high-profile visits that include the May 2022 former Commander General Stephen J. Townsend

According to diplomatic sources, a delegation from the US Embassy in Somalia led by Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr. Tim Trenkle, which was scheduled to visit Somaliland during the same period was canceled. It is unclear if the cancellation of the embassy’s mission to Somaliland was related to the Department of Defense personnel in Berbera during the same period.

Prior to being posted to the US Embassy in Somalia two months ago, Mr. Trenkle as served as Foreign Policy Advisor to the Commander of Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA).

US AFRICOM press office did not respond to inquiries regarding the visit to Berbera and attempts to reach officials from the Foreign Affairs and Interior were unsuccessful.