25 years old and still unknown

May 18, 1991 was the day Somaliland declared its independence from the republic of Somalia and became its own sovereign state.

Yesterday, twenty five years have passed since that day and Somaliland is thriving all on its own. Still unknown to most of the world but hardly allowing that minor detail to define its existence.

As the country celebrates a quarter of a century’s existence, a lot is still on the minds of people. The quest for international recognition aside, Somaliland prepares for its next presidential election this year. Next year the elections for a new president should bring some form of hope for the country as new regimes often do.

Except for the slight presence of voter apathy seen the last two weeks during the call for voter registration. Many people have not been going to register and talk on the street had been ranging along the lines of “what’s the point they’re all the same anyway..”

Perhaps the people may have given up on their governmental institution and honestly they wouldn’t be blamed for it. Why? For these clear reasons:

It has been 25 years since this country has been founded and there has been very little development seen regarding governmental institutions. Most barely function as well as they should with long queues that could go on for days and all the work being left to that person in charge who does not want to delegate the duties accordingly.

It has been 25 years and as the capital city expands and grows with each passing year with an influx from people from other cities as well as neighbouring countries. Hargeisa city’s fundamental services are still catering to a population of less than 50,000 people of the 1950s. The water services are a nightmare especially during the summer season when many of the Somalilanders who have settled abroad come and visit. Every year however there is talk of expansion but nothing really is seen on that front, yet.

It has been 25 years, each and every year more and more cars come into Hargeisa city while there are barely any roads to accommodate all these vehicles. Many are old and have numerous potholes due to lack of maintenance from the local government. And while some new ones have been built partly in large due to donations from the general public, most have after two years or less have also come under that same pothole problem of their sturdier predecessors. How will this problem be fixed? That has yet to be addressed.

It has been 25 years and while the governmental institutions are barely doing their part in providing the proper services they are meant to — aside from mostly concentrating on collecting taxes from people, doing vaccination runs and asking people to come register for voting season. The private sector has been booming with most of the services that actually function being provided by these private companies, be it electricity, telephones and internet.

It has been 25 years and yet so much is still missing from a country that is meant to be this old. It’s a wonder if given another 25 years whether things would actually change or not.

One thing is certain however, despite all the challenges Somaliland faces, its people are its true power. It is the resilience and strength of the common man that proves just how much they will persevere regardless of the hardships they face in their day to day lives — be it by bad governance or unrecognition from the outside world.

The power of the people is what has allowed them to come as far as they have today and it is that power which will make anything possible.

Happy independence day to the people of Somaliland.

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