1st of July, 1970
July 1st is the day when the Somali people emerged from the darkness of foreign rule and ushered in a new era of hopes and expectations, and took over the reins of their country in dignity and pride. The problems inherited from the colonial period were numerous. There was no sound economic and social plan to develop the country. There was acute unemployment. Political problems were rife, and the Somali nation was in a state disintegration.
The Governments which ran the affairs of our country from 1st July 1960 to 21st October 1969 have dismally failed in building a viable nation based on firm social and economic foundations. Corruption, tribalism, nepotism, injustice and embezzlement of funds became the order of the day and the existence of the Somali nation was threatened, Revenue collected in the form of taxes from the Somali people, many of whom lived on a hand to mouth basis, was used for personal interests. The financial and technical assistance poured into our country by friendly states was criminally robbed from our people.
The Supreme Revolutionary Council makes no dishonest promises in seeking a mandate from you. We shall formulate a feasible programme in which every Somali, men and women, young and old, can participate in the task of nation building so as to translate our aspirations into reality. The economic and social problems we inherited from the colonial powers and the former regimes are colossal. We must take up the challenge and by hard work help the government's efforts to succeed. This will only be possible through the cooperation and participation of the people. Let us pool our resources and energies for the progress and ever-lasting prosperity of our country.
The most pressing issue facing the Revolution is the economic problem. We fully realise that we will be judged by our economic policies, and the gains and failures we record in this field. Economic is the Central issue. On it, depends the success of the social, political and other activities of the nation. It is a simple question of bread and butter, and economic development is a matter no government can disregard.
Every one of you recognises the gravity of our economic situation today. As one of the less developed countries wea common Third World problem of neglect, discrimination and lack of interest from the so called rich nation's club of the world. We also have our special problems which could have been ameliorated by a government which was a least aware and sensitive to the needs and aspirations of the people. The sad ignominious record of the defunct regime shows as a mark on our people and on our country. There is rampant poverty, hunger, mass unemployment, chronic government deficits, etc. The list of our economic ills is too familiar for me to repeat. The defunct regime's attitude to development questions and their total neglect of the people's interests is a sad chapter in the history of our country faces.
The coming to a head of this situation was one of the major causes of our Revolution on October 21st, 1969. For the past nine months the Supreme Revolutionary Council, government and the Somali people in recognition of the present economic situation have begun to address themselves in earnest to redress these ills and put the country on a sound economic footing.
In the county's planning for the development of the future, the Revolution foresees progress only after the complete overhaul of the former regime's defunct and unworkable systems. The mistakes and failures of the past decade have to be rectified and compensated for in the shortest time. To this end all public organs and the entire population is called upon to take part in the full implementation of our economic programmes. The broad development objectives and general strategy for the future will be to develop the country's full economic potential, to raise the standard of living of the people, to provide full employment and bring about justice and, eradicate all forms of exploitation.
In achieving these objectives priority will be given, sectorwise, to Livestock, Agriculture, Industry, Water Resources Development, Mineral exploration and Exploitation, Tourism and Training. In all these fields, greater importance will always be given to projects involving directly productive activities as opposed to un-economical prestige projects. The state will have to progressively participate more directly and on a wider scale in the development of the country. We must mobilise more resources for this purpose, and the public must engage in more co-operative projects and self-help schemes.
New markets will be sought and traditional ones consolidated for local products. At the same time essential food and major commodities of consumption for which raw materials are available within the country, will be produced locally. More financial resources will be diverted to development rather than consumption.
We have not publicised our development projects because we do not want to raise the hopes of the people prematurely. We are determined to press ahead with progress, rather than to talk about our plans.
The unsolved problems of the past will be tackled, and mistakes of the former regimes will be rectified. All the efforts of the Revolutionary Government will be directed towards the development of every part of our country including remote and forgotten districts. The (Crash Programmes) in progress will educate our people to realize the untapped vast potentialities through self-help schemes and co-operatives. With the full co-operation of the people we shall marshal our energies and mobilise all available resources to achieve national wellbeing by fighting man's greatest enemies: poverty, disease and ignorance. We ask you to play your role in the most exacting way for the fruits of our efforts will be yours and yours along.
With regard to the foreign policy of the Somali Democratic Republic, the first pronouncement of the Supreme Revolutionary Council has laid down the following objectives;
Oppose and fight against all forms colonialism and neo-colonialism.
- Struggle to maintain Somali national unity.
- Recognise strongly the principle of peaceful co-existence between all peoples.
- Continue the policy of positive neutrality.
- Respect and recognise all international commitments undertaken by this country.
Since the popular Revolution took place on October 21st, 1969, the Somali Government has been playing a tangible role in international affairs: We participated most effectively in the meeting of the East and Central Africa States held early this year in Khartoum in which it was decided that the next Summit Conference be held at Mogadishu in June 1971. The selection of our capital as a venue for meeting of Heads of State and Governments of East and Central African countries naturally gives us honour and pride. The Somali delegation also participated effectively in the Islamic States Conference held at Jeddah in March 1970 and the Non-aligned States preparatory meeting held recently in Dar-Es-Salaam.
In addition to all these plausible efforts arid successes of the Somali Democratic Republic in the international platform, the Somali government has materially and morally contributed however modest, to the assistance of Equatorial Guinea. This country suffered undue hardship in the hands of neo-colonialists immediately after its independence today, Equatorial Guinea one of the progressive countries of Africa, is a close friend of our country, thanks to the spirit of brotherhood which the African countries have demonstrated during her darkest hours of its statehood.
Today our voice is heard more loudly than ever before; our weight is being felt by the international community and our fervent implementation of positive neutrality has enhanced our image and prestige among the progressive nations throughout the world. The African Group in the United Nations have elected the Somali Democratic Republic to a seat in the Security Council which is the most important organ of the United Nations.
Consistent with our declared policy, we have recognised governments in exile, which have proved in line the United Nations Charter.
In a recent declaration we have made on international issues, we have equivocally demanded that countries in Indo- China be left to run their own affairs to decide their own destiny without foreign troops in their territories or political pressure on their leaders.
We signed the treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons because we believe that the wealth wasted on these destructive weapons could be diverted to the welfare of mankind.
Although at the time when the popular October Revolution took place, our relations with the neighbouring countries were friendly, yet no final agreement was reached on the well- known disputes. As a result, the Somali people particularly those in the rural areas were left to live in a state of anxiety and lack of security. The revolutionary government in accordance with its pronouncements intends to find ways and means of setting our disputes with the neighbouring countries in a responsible manner and I repeat in a responsible manner and in accordance with the Organisation of African Unity Charter.
We in the Somali Democratic Republic do not intend to kindle a fire in the Horn of Africa. We have heard, and some of us have seen the effects and repercussions of war, which twice struck this world and left behind untold sorrow and suffering. What we intend to do is to press for a peaceful and amicable settlement of all disputes which engulf us and our neighbours, and which sow the seeds of suspicion and hatred between the peoples and governments of our part of the world. If these perennial and thorny problems are neighbourliness, the efforts of all states concerned, including the Somali Democratic Republic, will be concentrated on the eradication of the arch enemies of mankind -disease, ignorance and poverty, and on the economic and social betterment of our peoples.
We shall no longer content ourselves with diplomatic and hypocritical statements to our neighbours. We shall bring to the round-table conference concrete and hold proposals that touch the crux of our disputes with our neighbours, aimed at creating prosperity, progress and everlasting peace in the Horn of Africa.
The Revolutionary Government welcomes the atmosphere of cooperation and harmony between the Somali people and the French authorities in French Somaliland.
But this atmosphere should lead to the independence of that territory. As a progressive and historically revolutionary country, France should grant independence to French Somaliland, as it has done in the case of other African countries which are today the greatest friends of the French for all times. In this context I firmly believe that the people in that territory must be given their right to exercise the principle of self-determination in a free and democratic manner, and free from any pressure of interference from any quarter or from any country, no matter what vital interests that country may claim to have in shaping the future of French Somaliland. It is our conviction that is the best solution to the thorny problem. On our part we shall reserve no efforts and explore all avenues to forge an everlasting friendship between the Somali Democratic Republic and France in all fields of cooperation. We shall also strive to make positive contribution towards the noble goal of bringing about the true independence of our brothers in the «French Somali Coast.»
The policy of the Supreme Revolutionary Council and Government with regard to the Middle East question remains unequivocal, and has the total support of the Somali people for their Arab brethren and their condemnation of Zionist aggression. We shall continue to support them to the best of our abilities in their struggle to regain the territories of the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan occupied by the Israel aggressors. Our rejection of the Israeli claim to these territories stems from our adherence to accepted principles of international law which do not recognise any right acquired through aggression.
The truculence, bellicosity and false vanity of the Israeli aggressors is fed and nourished by world imperialism at its free-front.
The closure of the Suez Canal does not only affect the United Arab Republic alone but also the countries in and around the Red-Sea basin, including the Somali Democratic Republic.
The European countries should not pretend that it does not affect their economics. The significant and important reasons for the cutting of the Canal more than a century ago are still valid in the modern world of today. We should not all lose sight of this reality.
Apart from our close links with the Arab World, our strong support for their just cause is animated by two main factors. As a member of the Organisation for African Unity, we have an obligation according to the charter of this organisation, to consider any aggression against a member state as aggression against us. The human aspect of the matter is also important. In this era the United Nations has bridged the gaps existing in the world, and geographic distances have been rendered insignificant as a result of modern technology. People on this planet have become so interdependent that we should be governed by international conscience. IsraelIsrael seems to be forgetful of its own history. It was only in the last world war that the Jews gained the sympathy of mankind because the atrocities committed against them were inhuman. The beastly way in which innocent children were massacred could not be tolerated by the rest of the world, the ghastly manner in which Jewish men and women, young and old, were indiscriminately mutilated and cremated alive in gas chambers could not quieten those who valued humanity. It was because of this that mankind condemned Hitler, who fell victim to his own fallacy. We are condemning for the same reason because she is using the same tactics in physically eliminating innocent people and evicting them from their legitimate homes. The Zionists are following the very policy which they once complained was the cause of their destruction. Their self-destruction and their doom will be assured if they are not mindful of the realities of history, which for them was favourable witness in the Second World War, but is against them today.
The African States are engaged in a bitter struggle against the minority regimes which are bent on oppressing the African peoples in South Africa, Rhodesia, Angola, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau." The efforts of the African States directed towards the liberation of the African territories under colonial and minority white regimes have achieved some measures of success through the Organisation for Africa Unity Liberation Committee and through the United Nations. Pressure has been exerted on the Western countries which trade and invest in these territories to withdraw their material and moral support from the present minority and colonial regimes in Southern Africa and elsewhere. As a result Britain, Sweden, Norway and Italy withdraw their contributions to the construction of Gabora Bassan Dam Due to the hard work of African States; many resolutions have been passed which called upon all States to cease giving aid and comfort to the oppressive regimes in Southern Africa. Despite these efforts of the African States the illegal Government of rebel Ian Smith is consolidating its position to such an extent that he has declared a Republic.
A repressive and in-human legislation which entrenches white supremacy and rule in that territory has been enacted by them. Assured of military and economic support by South Africa and Portugal and other allies and encouraged by the acquiescence of the administering power i.e. the United Kingdom; the rebel government in Salisbury has introduced Apartheid into Rhodesia by the promulgation of South African type laws, which deny both civil and political rights and freedom to the African population.
The failures of sanctions against the regime in Rhodesia and the obstinacy of the South Africa Government and Portugal in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau to restore fundamental rights and freedom to the African majority is a direct result of the policy of the Western powers that pay lip service condemnation to Apartheid and all forms of racial discrimination and yet maintain investment and trade with South Africa and its satellites in Angola, Mozambique and Rhodesia. This course of action no doubt makes a mockery of world opinion and flouts the United Nations Charter and its resolutions.
It is obvious that the African States should reconsider their strategy in their struggle against these regimes in Southern Africa and elsewhere and re-adjust their relations with countries that aid and comfort the arch enemies of the Black Africa. Our enjoyment of independence and freedom is meaningless and futile when our brothers in that part of Africa are oppressed and denied their inalienable rights to self-determination. We, the African States should redouble our efforts to awaken the world to the dangerous situation in Southern AfricaSouth AfricaAfrica. We shall morally and materially, support the Liberation Movements of Africa until the last of Africa in liberated from the usurpers of Africa's wealth, dignity and pride. which may at any moment precipitate racial conflagration, which may cause human sufferings of major proportions. As a member of the United Nations Special Committee on the Apartheid policy of and as a member of Liberation Committee of the Organisations of African Unity, the Somali Democratic Republic will continue to play an active role in the struggle against the unholy alliance and dominance of minority white regimes in every part of
I would like to conclude my address by reminding you that the progress of our country necessitates the contribution of everyone of us towards our national endeavour. If you build a school or hospital here or construct a canal there by self-help method, I consider that to be a constructive contribution to the development and progress of our country. But we must hasten our tempo so that we gain what we have lost since independence. Due to the curtailment aid our country by certain Governments, we must prove to the world, particularly the developing nations, the resourcefulness of the Somali people and our ability to develop and advance with our own resources, however meagre, without aid with strings. This is our sacred trust which we owe to our country, to our dignity and pride as a nation and last but not least to posterity. With regard to our relations with foreign countries, I would like to emphasise that as a non-aligned State, we extend our friendship to those who return it and as a complete sovereign state our destiny is determined by the dictates our thoughts. This is the basis of our endeavour at home in nation-building and in the international issues of today and tomorrow.