Dualeh is a senior Somali political figure, currently Somaliland’s Minister of Finance. In this 2002 book he reminisces about his own life and reflects on the future of the Somali people.
The other particularly fascinating chapter is his account of being Somalia’s ambassador to Uganda during the reign of Idi Amin, who he got to know rather well (and chided directly for being too ostentatiously public in his mosque attendance). There is an extraordinary anecdote of his amost walking in on a meeting between Amin and the Minister of Finance, where Amin demanded that, if the country was running out of money, they should just print more. The minister refused, and fled Uganda that evening, probably wisely.
It’s a bit frustrating that the chapters are arranged in slightly haphazard order: we have the story of the author’s failed 1961 coup after the story of his subsequent trial, and the account of the 1990s collapse of Somalia comes before the account of the misrule of the 1970s and 1980s which caused it. And I found myself wondering for several chapters why it was that the international community failed to mediate when the 1960 arrangements broke down (cf Cyprus where they didn’t do much but at least did something); and eventually the answer appeared – Somalia was a Soviet client state, so nobody was much interested in helping sort out its internal governance problems.
Dualeh makes a very clear case for Somaliland’s recognition as an independent state. It easily clears the hurdle of the Montevideo criteria