By Dr. Suleiman Walhad
February 4th, 2023
Somalia’s Foreign Minister and Somalia’s Special Envoy to the East Africa Community are both wrong in pushing forward the agenda for Somalia to become a member of the East Africa Community. For one, why would Somalia join an organization that even its name is not representative of what it actually is. If they can err in their name, they can also err in many other things that are not beneficial to Somalia. This is an organization that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean, on the estuary of the Great River Congo, to the Indian ocean. It actually lies in the center of the continent and should have been called the Central Africa Community. Somalia, then is moving in the wrong direction. It is neither East nor Central Africa but actually it is a geographical outcrop of Africa called the Horn of Africa and that is where it actually belongs. The fact that there are Somali residents, as a person talking on behalf of the EAC was saying recently in Mogadishu, in the EAC member countries, does not warrant that Somalia become a part of that organization. He forgets that Somalis live and are citizens of some 145 countries of the United Nations Organization, representing some 75.1%. of the worldès countries or may be he does not know! If Somali residence in a region should be a justification, then Somalia should also join the European Union or the Turkic Council or the GCC countries and even the USMC. He did not present a good case for the EAC.
Somalia’s Foreign Minister did not justify either the motif for Somalia joining the EAC. He did not elaborate the reasons compelling the country to join an organization with which Somalia and Somalis share extraordinarily little. He further failed to justify why should Somalia join an organization some members of whom wrongly occupy Somali territories both land and sea and which wants more. Now he has allowed them the country to be swallowed lock, stock and barrel. And I am surprised at my friend, Dr. Hadliye, the only Special Envoy to the East Africa Community, who knows it is wrong but still justifies Somalia’s membership in that community and wrongly at that. There are no Special Envoys to the East Africa Community except Somalia’s, contrary to the many Special Envoys to the Horn of Africa from across the globe. The fact that Somalia is recovering from a long civil war and putting its house in order is not a justification for Somalia to join the EAC. The case put forward by the EAC and the Somali Government remains hollow and must be rooted in other dimensions. Is Somalia being forced? Perhaps the story would come out and those who commit this erroneous mistake would be judged by history.
Somalia has always jumped the horse and joined other organizations that have nothing to do with Somalis. They paid heavy prices in taking other peoples causes and It is our belief that Somalis would pay a heavy price in joining, if it ever happens, for joining this EAC or Central Africa Community. One should not say that Somalia should not join any organization, but a potential organization should be relevant on many fronts for the country. There should be economic, social and political advantages to be benefitted from. If Somalia has to join an organization, it should help found a new organization for the SEED countries – The Horn of Africa States. There, one would notice the complementarities of the region between the highlands and the lowlands, between energy and ports, marine and agriculture and, indeed, people of the same stock. One would also notice that the Horn of Africa States has a deep and rich historical background, which is not possible in the neo-colonized countries in central Africa with no history other than the colonial period and after.
Somalis should not exchange a more than five-thousand-year history with the whims of untested or corrupt politicians. Why are they rushing to join this organization when Somalia is not even in control of its territory or when Somalia does not even have a constitution or when they would allow Non-Islamic rules override the Muslim faith of the people? There are so many questions on the issue, and it is our hope that Somalia would come to its senses. We say to them: Do not repeat the Arab League fiasco. The country would only be bound further with other wiry strings from which it would not be able to extract itself. Somalia is not the UK which extracted itself from European Union, rightly or wrongly.
And for the EAC, why would it be pushing to have Somalia join them, when it does not share anything other than the continent with them? Was it not the Tanzanian Nyerere, who shouted “at Least an African” when a Cameroonian was elected as the Secretary General of the then Organization of African Unity instead of the Somali Foreign Minister of the time, as if the Somali was an alien from some other planet! Why would Somalia and Somalis join countries where Tanzania is a member. Probably, the current leadership of Somalia is not aware of this!
The EAC when it accepts membership of Somalia should also know that it would inviting all its troubles too. Even the British at the turn of the twentieth century warned that if Somalis were allowed to expand in East Africa, it would not be a good idea. Perhaps current EAC politicians should read Sir Charles Norton Edgecumbe Eliot and what je said of the Somalis in his book on the East Africa Protectorate in 1905.