Last week we have read on one of the web journals about the proposal submitted by Somaliland and Puntland to be part of Ethiopia. What are the pros and cons of this proposal, specially if it comes true?
It is the day to day wish of every Pan Africanist to see a united, stable and strong Africa. Unification of Africa can be achieved by a regional unification of member states. Whether this process should be a slow process evolving from economic integrity then political unity or a one go over the night marriage deserves much scrutiny. If countries unite in the ground of mutual benefit and understanding it is for the benefit of the citizens. In countries like Ethiopia such unification with neighbouring countries is not an easy question. Is it legal to integrate a breakaway nations in to our territories? Specially in an era when the dust from Crimea has not yet settled?
One may see the free access to the sea as an encouraging motivator, but we have to think out of the box. These two territories although democratic, stable and peaceful compared to the Southern Somalia, they don’t have international recognition as sovereign nations. This might evoke the old rhetoric that Ethiopia was working to disintegrate Somalia and incorporate its territories, which is a total farce. What Ethiopia dreams and works is in the creation of stable region because no country could be stable if surrounded by failing and imploding countries.
Napoleon Bonaparte concord Europe and was able to expand France’s territory, but when he was ousted he had created a smaller France than he originally got. Adding more territories sometimes costs a country what has been its own. We rather boast the good brotherly neighbourhood with these two countries instead of unification at this time. Lets pave the way for that to happen .
The question of free access to the sea shouldn’t push us in to unintended marriage. It is a matter of couple of years now to get once more our right to the port. Forging federation with Djibouti is to me more sound than with Somalia currently.
Supporting the cause of the Red Sea Afars is also another option to be seconded. The people of Afar shouldn’t be denied of their demand to live with their mother country Ethiopia.
But the most important thing is we have to be united inside. All the separatist moves of some factions should be extinguished. People of Ethiopia should live in harmony, mutual respect and love. No region in Ethiopia is less important to the strength of the nation. The notion that my region is giving more to the country so I should secede doesn’t hold water. Every region of Ethiopia has shed blood for the sovereignty of the country. What the government of Ethiopia should be working more is in equalising the growth of all the regions. The fact that some regions are near to the capital or the port shouldn’t skewed the economic growth of the regions. Investors might prefer the most profitable business but government should focus in equalising the opportunities. Each region should feel the existence of the other region is as important as its own. Once we create this attitude, let alone Somaliland and Puntland, all the other IGAD countries will ask the same question.