It Pays To Have Powerful Friends: A Musing on the African Union

The African Union has long maintained that they respect colonial borders and are not willing to set a precedent where secession movements can run rampant in Africa.  Within the next few days, though, they appear poised to recognize a new state, South Sudan, with no separate colonial history, no clearly defined people or territory, and no institutions of statehood whatsoever.  Now, given the corrupt nature of Sudan’s government, which has engaged in such activities as slave trading and genocidal hostility, this blog wholeheartedly supports the independence of South Sudan, even with its implications [1].

Nonetheless, as Somaliland247 helpfully points out [2] and has been pointed out previously in this blog [3] [4], there are larger issues at stake here than merely the fate of one new nation in Africa.  If the African Union wishes to be consistent with its principles of recognizing colonial boundaries, there are two nations that deserve a plebiscite immediately to determine their status as independent African nations:  Somaliland and Western Sahara.  Both nations have lengthy histories of independence, separate colonial status, and a clear desire to be free.  Somaliland has developed a currency, institutions of justice that are among the class of Africa [5] and world-class standards of democracy involving numerous peaceful transfers of power.

And yet Somaliland, despite controlling its own territory for the last 20 years, being the victim of a genocidal campaign against it by a power-mad Cold War dictator, and having an excellent system of government, is not even granted the honor of holding a plebiscite for its own well-earned independent when Johnny-come-lately nations like South Sudan are, flouting the supposed rules and standards of the African Union all the while.  Why is this so?  The answer is, South Sudan has powerful friends like Bill Clinton, while Somaliland has sought to win its independence on the merits of its case rather than through the pressure of powerful friends.

Clearly, the African Union, which would appear to have a hostile bias against Somaliland [6], must be worked on by diplomatic means as it appears blind to the claims of justice and precedence.  Fortunately, Somaliland is beginning, at long last, to cultivate friendships with China [7] [8] and diplomatic attachès in the United States [9].  Hopefully, these efforts bear fruit and Somaliland is able to enjoy its well-earned independence.  Enough time has gone by, and with the example of South Sudan’s nationhood soon to come, it is high time for the African Union to get its act together with Somaliland.

If the African Union wishes to maintain any credibility as an institution with the best interests of the people of Africa in mind, they can begin dealing with their unfinished business.  An excellent place to start gaining some plaudits for helping provide a positive example of Somali democracy would be by granting Somaliland a plebiscite for independence.  Somaliland could hold it tomorrow, and the vote would almost certainly be a landslide for independence–and it could easily be made official with some international observers from the EU or the Carter Foundation to make sure that the election was free and fair.  All that is needed is the political will of the African Union to do the right thing and pull the plug on a misguided union.  Does the African Union have the moral courage to do the right thing?  Only time will tell.










About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in International Relations, Musings, Somaliland and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to It Pays To Have Powerful Friends: A Musing on the African Union

  1. Pingback: A Modest Proposal For A Plebiscite To Resolve The Status Of The Republic Of Somaliland | Edge Induced Cohesion

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