Political transformation in the Horn of Africa is moving rapidly created concerns and uncertainty circumstances in the region:
December 21, 2018 - Written by Golisnews Editor

Political transformation in the Horn of Africa is moving rapidly created concerns and uncertainty circumstances in the region:

 The political reforms in the Horn of Africa  has been rapidly changed in the geopolitics in the region. The original horn of Africa or Somali peninsula situated in Northern East of Africa are Somalia, Somaliland, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Eritrea. It covers approximately 2,000,000 km2 (770,000 sq mi) and is inhabited by roughly 120 million people.

According to the IMF, in 2010 the Horn of Africa region had a total GDP (PPP) of $106.224 billion and nominal of $35.819 billion. Per capita, the GDP in 2010 was $1061 (PPP) and $358 (nominal).

There are also greater Horn of Africa regions the so called Intergovernmental Authority on Development ( IGAD) member countries including Sudan and Kenya.

Horn of Africa devastated in the last decades  by civil war, border conflict, fluxes of refugees, famine, pirates and terrorist attacks. The current indications shows except Somalia the region is peaceful and stable.  The refugees returned back home. The reconstruction and rehabilitation projects are going on, the economy of the region appeared to be booming.  Ethiopia and Kenya are one of the fast growing countries in Africa.

 

The current development indicated that international community is interesting engaging the Horn of Africa region. This region situated strategic position regarding the marine transportation through Gulf of Aden route connections between Africa; Europe and Asia.

The Gulf of Aden is a crucial channel for shipping, mainly for Persian Gulf oil, making it an important waterway in the global economy. The red sea is one of the most important maritime corridors in the world; it carries more than 10% of the worlds shipping trade.

Approximately 11 percent of the world’s seaborne petroleum exceed through the Gulf of Aden on its way to the Suez Canal or to the final destinations.

According to Reuter’s reports Saudi Arabia exports an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 barrels per day through Red sea channel.

The waterway is part of the important Suez Canal shipping route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea in the Indian Ocean, with nearly 30,000 ships crossing the gulf annually.

It seems that Djibouti is the only country in the horn of Africa which has been benefited it’s strategic position in the red sea. Djibouti is close to Babul Mandab. It provides largest military base accommodated for more than 40 nations from different countries some of them are not friends with each other.

Following three years of protest and unrest on 15 February 2018 Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his resignation as chairman of the EPRDF. As an un writing policy of Ethiopian politics, EPRDF’s acting chairperson should be the next prime minister of Ethiopia.

On 1 March 2018, members of the 180 members of the EPRDF started their meeting to elect the party leader. Each of the four parties sent 45 members. The current Prime Minister Abey Ahmed was elected as Ethiopian prime minister.

In this case, the revolution of political changes started from Ethiopia had impact on other regions. Ethiopia is the regional power not only militarily but has also economical power. Those changes is moving rapidly would put the political arena in chaotic situation which formulated new political structure and new allied in the Horn of African countries. Previously the most dominant country in the region were Ethiopia, Kenia and Djibouti. The new regional political actors established since the Ethiopian revolution are including Ethiopia, Eretria and Somalia whose was foe a couple months ago.

It appeared that political leaders in that country came together and exchanged visits in their country strengthening their relationship and formed new political partnership and economic cooperation.

It is vital important the political leaders to be accounted the feeling and views of their citizens.  The leaders in the Horn of Africa states to be sensitive and raising public awareness regarding those changes . Leaders to be engaged with their citizens in order the  to participate and contribute the reforms and the transformation process.

These changes have been particularly beneficial for Eretria and they made political reunification with regional intergovernmental organization IGAD. It appeared those changes had a negative impact on Djibouti which feel to be left alone and remained in the isolation position.

There is also a negative impact relation between Somaliland and Somalia which has impact of border conflict and disintegration which could impact political crisis chaos in the Horn of Africa.

Eritrea was battling the border with Ethiopia; Djibouti and Yemen. Eritrea is also accused of behind the violence in Somalia assisted with radical Islamist militant groups fighting against Federal Government in Central and South Somalia. There was also border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea and previous prime minister Meles Zenawi imposed economic sanction and weapon embargo on Eritrea.

This hostility ended up previously when both countries normalized their relationship and Ethiopia accepted the UN recommendation regarding border dispute between the two countries. Djibouti is now excluded in the political block following establishing new regional allied including Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. The civilian in the Horn of Africa are confused, they don’t know who are their friends and foes.

The above mentioned factors are contributed to the disruption of the fragile inter-regional conflicts. Meanwhile Somalia president desire to resume Somali federal government influence in the horn of Africa,  in addition to extract the exits of internal problems at home.  The Horn of Africa is at stake and there is an economical war between the United States and China. as well as the Horn of Africa affected by the war in the Middle East between Iran and the Gulf counties.

There is also a lot of impact on the division of Gulf Arab states and the Qadar conflicts. This caused new conflict and political disagreements among countries in the horn of Africa.The above mentioned factors have contributed to the disruption of the fragile inter-regional conflicts.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abey Ahmed said recently during his visit to Mogadishu Somalia and Ethiopia will be united and formulate one single government..

Ethiopian prime minister repeated again during the recent meeting in Amhara region with trio leaders , that  Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea should have only one president instead of having  three presidents at present.

Ethiopia  indicated its plan to develop a naval force that will be able to settled in the Red Sea, one Ethiopian general said the Red Sea situated not far 70 km from Ethiopian border. The question is where the naval base will be stationed, and there is a growing doubt this will be somewhere in Somalia.

Ethiopia is calling on a number of threats to the territorial integrity of Somalia and other neighbors. If Ethiopia decided to station military base in Somalia territorial water without consent with the official authority ruled in the region, as result this would be damaged security and stability in the whole region. This action causes border conflict and instability in the Horn of Africa.

There are also reports stated that the weak Somali federal government President requested Ethiopia to send a military to Somaliland territory to be enforced Somaliland authority give up it’s sovereignty and rejoin union with Somalia revolving  ideology of greater Somalia, in return Ethiopian Naval could be stationed in Saylac city situated in the Red sea. In the addition the report added that the Ethiopian Prime Minister rejected the offer. Somali president agreed the Ethiopian naval base will be positioned in Marka located in Indian Ocean.

Conclusion:

  • Horn of Africa region sited a strategic position regarding the marine transportation through Gulf of Aden route connections between Africa; Europe and Asia.
  • The current political transformation in the region leading the Ethiopian Prime Minister that provided opportunity to spesific countries, while excluded others. It appeared the current situation Eritrea and Somalia appeared to have advantage positions, while Somaliland Djibouti,.Kenya, and Sudan appeared to be disadvantages for the current changes. .
  • Somaliland managed peace and stability and stands it’s shoes without or limited support from International community. Somaliland fulfill all conditions required the sovereign including territorial land to rule, own flag, own currency. Somaliland is able to control its territory and maintaining peace and stability in its territory.
  • Somaliland appeared to have a bright future and there significant many achievements since 1991 when Somaliland restored it’s sovereignty, after unpopular unification with Somalia in 1960.
  • Political transformation and democratization process in Somaliland is in progress. Somaliland adopted multi party political system since 2002. Different elections took place in Somaliland including parliament, local government and presidential elections. Those election based on one man one vote ended successful and peaceful. The international community observed the election and declared it were free and fair elections.
  • In contrast Somalia is failed state and Somali Federal Government ( SFG) territory is devastated by the civil war, political conflict. SFG political culture is dominated by clan founded political system. Somalia is familiar with Corruption, nepotism and political conflict, terrorist and pirates groups operated it’s territory.  Somalia could not stand itself more than 20000 African peacekeeping forces stationed in the country to assist with a weak Somali Federal government.

Recommendations:

  • It is vital important the political leaders in the region to be accounted the feeling and views of their citizens. The leaders in region to be raised public awareness regarding those changes. Leaders to be engaged with their citizens encouraging participation and contribution the political reforms and the transformation process.
  • Ethiopian Prime Minister (EPM) to have grasp the political diversity and political conflict in the region and is better to adjust his vision, in order to adopt inclusion strategy for all the countries in the region and not be left behind any country in the region.
  • EPM to visualize the whole history in the Somali politics and not in receipt of one-sided information.  .
  • EPM  to acknowledge  that  Farmaajo is not the president for the whole Somali speaking society.  Somali Democratic Republic separated from two different countries ( Somalia and Somaliland) which required  two different approach and two different strategy. Although Somaliland to be gained yet diplomatic recognition it is independent county separated from the rest of Somalia since 1991.
  • The Ethiopian prime minister should not to choose to ally one side of the conflict between Somalia and Somaliland. It is better to take a neutral position and mediation role. EPM to launch negotiation efforts between the two parties to find a sustainable solution to end the hostility.
  • The two countries (Somaliland and Somalia) to come together to  discuss about possibility how the two countries resume a dialogue to find a peaceful solution for this conflict.
  • Somali Federal Government to accept that the Somaliland independent country. It is important that both sides to build a relationship based on mutual interest.  The two countries to cooperate working with maintaining peace and security and strengthening partnership and economic cooperation.
  • Finally regarding above mentioned reasons I regard two states solution is the only viable option to end the conflict between the two countries( Somaliland and Somalia) which existed since  unification of 1960s..

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Abdi Abdillahi Hassan,

 

Berbera, Somaliland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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