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Is ICJ ruling in sync with dream of Somalia?

NATIONAL
By Amos Kareithi | October 13th 2021
Lord Delamere, 1961

In the world of geopolitics, coincidences are rare. When they occur, they are pregnant with expectations and the jury is still out on whether what happened on October 12, this year, when the International Court of Justice delivered its verdict on a maritime dispute between Mogadishu and Nairobi had been premeditated or was a mere coincidence.

The timing was eerily symbolic for Somalia. It relived the dreams and inspirations Somalia founders had when they first hoisted the blue flag in Mogadishu on October 12, 1954. 

This was historic moment for Somalia whose people were scattered in Ethiopia and regions controlled by France, Britain and Italy. At the advent of colonialism, the North Eastern part of Somalia was taken over by Italy while Britain also controlled parts of the country.

The country experienced a rebirth in October 1954 following the unification of the different fragments which came together under one flag with a promise of a free country.

When Somalia ultimately broke the shackles of colonialism on July 1, 1960, following the unification of regions formerly under Italy and Britain, the new republic marked the day by unfurling their blue flag whose centre was dominated by a five-point star.

Each of the five points of the star is significant. One of the point represents the Somali clan in Ogaden and the others symbolically represent clans in Djibouti, former North Eastern Province of Kenya, Somali controlled by Italy and finally those in British Somali-land.

Long before the hostilities between Kenya and Somalia, Lord Delamere committed a critical mistake when he entered Kenya through north in November 1897.

The biggest mistake for the aristocrat who had been mauled by a lion in Somaliland and was being carried by porters walked into a battle in Lake Baringo where he was warned by an Imperial British East African (IBEA) Company caravan master James Martin that any acts of aggression would be resisted.

He, however, convinced Martin that his entourage which comprised of 200 camels posed no threat, for the Isahakis accompanying him were from Somaliland and not from the part controlled by Italy.  

This explains why Somalia aggressively supported the breakaway of North Eastern region from Kenya before independence in 1962 so as to actualise their dreams as envisaged in their national flag.

Although Mogadishu has since exchanged the green tri-colour Italian themed flag for the white-five pointed star, the dreams of the founders still remain a mirage especially after the defeat of the secessionists and the eventual collapse of government in Somalia in 1990s.

The verdict of the ICJ was an icing for perfect birthday gift to a country which gained a few hundred nautical miles in the mineral-rich waters deep in the Indian Ocean at the expense of Kenya, adding more colour to a tip to one of the five points in their flag.

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