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Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work

Securing the peace in Somaliland


The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of the 2010 presidential elections on peace and security in Somaliland and suggest areas where external assistance could be of value. The report, Securing the Peace in Somaliland, was the outcome of collaboration between the Rift Valley Institute and the Academy for Peace and Development (APD) involving Somali and international researchers.

The Project

The breakaway Republic of Somaliland has been the most stable area of the former Somali state since Somalia’s collapse into civil war in 1991. During the past two decades  Somaliland has successfully managed a process of reconciliation, restored law and order within its borders, revived infrastructure and municipal services and demobilized militias.

Despite the restoration of political order, human development indicators remain poor. The government has had few resources at its disposal to tackle major challenges. These challenges include the timing and format of elections, absorbing returnees and migrants from southern Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti, the sedentarization of pastoralists, the expansion of urban settlements, constraints on livestock exports, environmental fragility, clan competition over political institutions and national resources, the threat from militant Islamists and territorial disputes with Somaliland’s neighbour, Puntland.

Since 2002, four multi-party elections have been held in Somaliland that were held to be free and fair by international observers. In June 2010, presidential elections led to a peaceful transfer of power from the government of President Dahir Riyale Kahin to that of President Mohamed Ahmed ‘Silanyo’ and the Kulmiye party. The elections, which were delayed for two years, brought renewed optimism in Somaliland and an opportunity to revitalize the process of democratization and state-building that had been threatened by increasingly autocratic and corrupt government politics.

Securing the Peace in Somaliland examined threats to peace and security in Somaliland as well as the potential for sustainable peace in the region. The research comprised a literature review, interviews and group discussions conducted in Hargeysa, Borama, Berbera, and Burco. It resulted in four case studies and a contextual study, authored by Mark Bradbury, Hibo Arteh, Ahmed A. Dualeh, Mohamed Hassan Ibrahim and Markus Hoehne, which identified a number of destabilizing factors in Somaliland. The papers were discussed in a workshop with selected civil society actors in Hargeisa.

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