Somaliland: At 26 the Country is still 25 as State Defers Independence Day Commemorations

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Selling 18th May Day specific clothing in Hargeisa Somaliland

Somalilandsun- The pomp glorifying the sovereignty of Somaliland displayed annual on the 18th May is not to be this year.
This was announced by the minister of information and national guidance Osman Abdilahi Sahardiid in Hargeisa where he said the decision to defer the annual Independence Day celebrations was reached by president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo.
According to minister Sahardiid the prevalent drought in the country was justification behind the decision not to hold festivities commemorating the 26th Somaliland Independence Day on 18th May 2017.

Somaliland information Minster Osman Abdilahi Sahardiid

“While is is a very important occasion president Silanyo has ordered that related Independence Day expenditure towards commentating our country’s 26th anniversary d directed towards drought relief fund” said minister Sahardiid
Somaliland just like other countries in the Horn of Africa is suffering its worst drought in 60 years that has resulted in the death of large numbers of livestock which is the main livelihood source as well as internal displacement of thousands of families
Despite the importance attached to the ongoing drought relief efforts the non holding of festivities marking Somaliland’s 26th Anniversary of independence comes with a myriad of negative effects.

18th May usually a day to induct Somaliland youth with nationalism and love of flag

Among the attendant negative effects that differing the Commemorations shall ensue with include loss of income to many, a dent to the quest for international recognition, the loss of the one single day that Somalilanders both at home and in the Diaspora glorify in their country’s hard won and sustained sovereignty.
For during these festivities citizens celebrate adorned in clothing in the green, white and red colors of their country’s flag
Similarly public, commercial and residential buildings and vehicles are also adorned with these colours, a tradition that has been in existence as far back as 18th May 1991 when the country officially reclaimed its sovereignty after withdrawing from its 1960 voluntary later turned fateful union with Somalia.

A foreign journalists photographs a hawkers shop in Hargeisa in May 2016

Now that the festivities have been scrapped from the national calendar major business concerns that import a large quantity of coloring and clothing to be made into flag adorned caps, headscarves,T-shorts and assorted clothing are left holding their now useless stocks at hand.
Others to feel the economic pinch are local tailors whose sew the various apparel, printing companies that conduct robust business put up billboards, painting cars as well as an assortment of clothing.
But most common citizen to be affected are the hawkers who for the fortnight prior and unto the 18th May Day engaged in brisk trade for the miscellaneous apparel be it at major cities or rural trading areas nationwide, not to mention those in the Diaspora.
Read: President Silanyo queues with ordinary citizens purchasing 18th May Apparels
As for the quest of international recognition now in its 26th elusive year, the country shall miss much publicity provided by the large contingent of foreign journalists who visit annually to report on the 18th Independence Day independence commemorations.
Representing major global media outlets like the BBC, Aljazeera, CGTN, CNN, Presstv and many others the reports submitted do not only concentrate on Anniversary events but include much details about little known Somaliland as opposed to neighbouring Somalia, thus putting the country in the global stage.

None in Somaliland is left out during 18th May Independence Day commemorations

While the loss of income and international limelight is worrisome the main impact of the decision not to commemorate the 26th Somaliland Independence Day commemorations this year is the lost opportunities for Somalilanders to converge and glorify their country.
For starting from 17th to 20th May Somalilanders both at home and in the Diaspora are to found engaged in one function or another where their country’s sovereignty and apartness from Somalia is the only palette.
At hotels and public places in far between places like Toronto, Hargeisa, London, Amsterdam, Erigavo, Minneapolis, Borame, Paris, Nairobi, and Cape Town to memotion just but a few the Somaliland flag and colours fly high at various functions organized by citizens in cooperation with the Government in Hargeisa.
Read: Diaspora Somalilanders invited to 26th Somaliland anniversary of Independence Party in Ohio
Meantime a number of local journalists queried on the issue had divergent views as pertains scrapping the 26th Somaliland Independence Day Anniversary on the 18th May 2017 as well as the importance of the day itself.
According to Saeed Agjar the editor of www.mahiigaannews.com stopping the commemorations came to late for the drought victims since it w announced when heavy rains are prevalent in most parts of the country.

18th May 2017 Somaliland Independence Day planned activites in Ohio

Adding that the 18th May Day is a very important day for Somaliland being the day the nation commemorates withdrawal from union with Somali, journalist Saeed Agjar says stopping the Anniversary festivities bodes ill to “our sovereignty in addition to giving pro-union with Somalia wood for their dying fires”
“Rains are everywhere thence justifying the non 26th independence anniversary commemorations annually held on the 18th May since 1992 is ill advised and should be rethought” said journalist Saeed Agjar.
Seemingly perturbed the journalist said “since the decision was reached when rains have started why should the government use drought as justification to stop celebrations of the most important day in the country”
Adding that “on the other hand in lieu of the queries over suspicious non disbursement of the already collected drought relief, how sure are we that the 18th May expenditure purported to be directed to drought alleviation shall actually be so”
According to the journalist the whole move is suspicious and his very words in Somali language were

Somaliland journalist Saeed Farah Agjar

marka uu roobkii gugu bilaabay ee xilli roobadkii bilaabay sabab loo joojiyo maalinta ugu weyn ee qaranku lahaa man garan , ta kale dhaqaalaha ay xukumaddu tidhi abaarta ayaan ugu deeqaynaa yaa damanad qaadi kari maadama lacagtii gurmadka abaaraha ay bulshada Somaliland walaac ka muujisay madaxweyne ku xigeenku guddoomiye u ahaa kooxda ?” Saed Farah Cagjar
Similar according to freelance journalist Khadar Mohamed Hashi the news that 18th May Independence Day shall not be celebrated was the worst of the entire year.
“Imagine 18th May as an ordinary day in Somaliland without usual festivities where armed forces display their might, cultural activities galore and Somaliland nationalism reaffirmed” said journalist Khadar.
As per the importance of the day 18th May to citizens and the country the freelance journalist added this day is the very essence of the Somaliland sovereignty being, when we reminisce on the past when lots of blood was spilled for independence.
“Not commemorating the day in 2017 shall go along way towards effecting major injuries and constraints to the Somaliland sovereignty and subsequent quest for international recognition” said journalist Khadar Mohamed Hashi, read below his words in Somali

Somaliland freelance journalist Khadar Mohamed Hashi

18-ka May waa maalin ku suntan taariikhda Somaliland waana maalin jiilashii hore u ah xusuus, jiilasha danbena dhiirigelin iyo rajo. waa maalin qaran oo dhiig badani u daatay joojinteeduna waxaa ay dhaawacaysa jiritaanka iyo madax banaanida qaranimada Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland, sanad walbana maalintan waxaa laga xusaa guud ahaan Somaliland oo dhan bisha shanaad waana maalin 11-ka bilood ee sanadka oo dhan ka soocan” Kadar Mahamed Haashi

For journalist Feisal Ahmed Kharshe editor of www.buuhoodlepost.com “there is no reason sufficient to justify differing the annual independence day anniversary commemorations.
“Forget about the many traders who shall lose large sums of money and the drought 18th May is a day to be commemorated at all costs” said Feisal Kharshe adding that those in charge should at least replace regular festivities with some other sort of communal activities
Below his comments in Somali language

Somaliland journalist Feisal Ahmed Kharshe

Saameynta Khasaaraha Ee dhinaca Ganacsiga Ay Ku Yeelatay Xuska 18 may Ee Wasiir Cadaani Uu Ku Sheegay Inay Ahayd Bukhaanbukh Ka Dibna La Baajin Doono, Ayaa Laga Dareemayaa Suuqyada Hargaysa, Ka Dib Markii Rinjiga Iyo Dharka Soo Degayey Saddexda Kalar Ee Cadaanka, Akhdarka, Iyo Casaanku Ahaayeen Kuwo Ilaa Bishii Abril Løogu Soo dejinta Badan Yahay , Dawaarlayaasha, Brinterada,Iyo Farsama Yaqaanada Ayaa Xaqíijiyinaya Inaanay Wax Kale Ku Hawshoon intii Muddo Ahayd, Abwaanada Heesaha Xuskaa Samayntooda Løoga Danbeeyo Ee Uu Ka Mid Yahay Saxibkay Abwaan Jilbocuur Ayaan Madaxa Kor U Qaadin, Cali Waa Saaxiibkay Wuxuu U Badan Yahay Suuqyada Aagga Khasabka Iyo Hotelada Ubax Waxa Uu I Tusay Farshaxan Uu Ka Sameeyey Caaga Dhuudhuuban Ee Cartönada Lagu Soo Bíingareyo Markay Debeda Ka Soo Degayaan In Ka Badan Kun iyo Siyaado Farshaxankaas ah Ayay Faruhu Igu Mudhxeen Oo Maalintaas Aan Ugu Talo Galay, Mid Ka Mida Qolada Bacadlaha Ee Dharka Ka Ganacsada Ayaa Ii Sheegay in Uu Isaga Ugu Lamaanaa Safar Kale Oo Ahaa Kíi Ramadanta Iyo Dharka Iidda, Waxaana Rajaynayaa Ayuu Yidhi Inaan Ka Daboolo Khasaaraha 18 may da Baaqatay Ka Ganacsigeeda Igaga Yimid Safarkaas Kale.

Even visitors to Somaliland celebrate 18th clothed in flag colours

As per our very own www.somalilamdsun.com and www.somalilandsun.net correspondent Latifa Yusuf Masai, the 18th May should not be commemorated in the first place thence support the non celebration announced despite negating justification.
She opinionated that “Drought has nothing to do with the government decision to differ the 18th May 2017 commemorating the country’s 26th anniversary of not independence but re-independence, I believe funds unavailability is the reason”
Further to her empty coffers believe, Miss Latifa says another example in which drought was used as a justification is the government’ decision to withhold salary payment to new civil servants joining the service in 2017 despite the fact that their remunerations are included in the 2017 budget approved by parliament and now under implementation
On the 18th May as the Somaliland Independence Day being commemorated as country’s Independence Day is erroneous since 26th the day should be the official day since Somaliland ceased being a British protectorate in 1960.

presidential Silanyo joins ordinary citizens purchasing 18th clothing at the Waheen market in Hargeisaa in 2016

“Instead of celebrating 26 years of independence in 2017 Somaliland should be commemorating its 57th anniversary” said Latifa stressing on the fact that the prioritization of 18th May which is the Day Somaliland officially withdrew from union with Somalia in 1991 is a betrayal of its actual history for Somalia did not grant “us freedom on 18th May 1991 but the British did on the 26th June 1960. Said Latifa Y Masai
In a forceful conclusion Latifa says “scrap the 18th May Day completely from the Somaliland calendar thence complete divorce from Any association with Somalia”
Any As we prepare to spend a forlorn 18th May devoid of regular pomp non will fail to wonder whether the decision occasioned by severe drought is worth the negative impact.
But more important shall we actually see and witness the supply of drought relief to the needy?
Most imperative maybe we should at least have turned the day into a nationwide sanitation campaign thence facilitate the semblance of a public meet for the people.

Somaliland national colours on

What of the many activities already organized by some citizens in the Diaspora whose finical accruement was to have been donated to drought victims?

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