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Publication Detail
Liberation Struggle for Regime Change: Somaliland’s transition from conflict to civilian government
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Walls M
  • Publisher:
    Taylor and Francis Group
  • Publication date:
  • Place of publication:
  • Series:
    Routledge Studies in African Development
  • Editors:
    Bereketeab R
  • ISBN-13:
  • Status:
  • Book title:
    National Liberation Movements as Government in Africa
  • Language:
  • Series editors:
    Hurd H
  • Keywords:
    Somaliland, Somali National Movement (SNM), Somalia
  • Addresses:
    Michael Walls
    University College London, London
    Development Planning Unit
    34 Tavistock Square
    WC1H 9EZ
    United Kingdom
Somaliland’s story is increasingly being told: a small country that won practical if not recognised autonomy from its southern neighbour after a protracted and bloody civil war. Since the victory of the local insurgent group, the Somali National Movement (SNM) at the start of 1991, Somaliland has seen a transition from interim military administration to civilian government, and then a series of elections for local government, parliament and the presidency. It is a remarkable story, and not least for the role played by the SNM in that transition. They were not successful in establishing themselves as a viable government - indeed they followed the familiar narrative in which, no longer faced with an enemy to unite them, they disintegrated in a welter of clan-based in-fighting. What is remarkable, though, is that, through a combination of locally legitimate meetings and conferences and sometimes enlightened leadership, they did not derail Somaliland from an increasingly stable political path. To understand why that occurred, this chapter examines the process that contributed to it. Essentially, that means looking in some detail at the events that took place between 1981, when the SNM was formalised in London, and 1993, when the military administration passed the mantle to a civilian government on schedule and in a national conference convened for the purpose. The SNM was formed with a strong sense of grievance that only grew more intense as Siyaad Barre’s government became more brutal and repressive in their methods. This consolidated Isaaq solidarity, but the brutality of the Siyaad regime also gave rise to a sense of principle that was carried through the struggle, and importantly surviving into the post-conflict process of reconciliation.
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