Somalilandsun- Somaliland has been abuzz off late!Be it in London Somali cafes or the dusty streets and khat dungeons back home,most Somalilanders are left rubbing their hands in anticipation.
This is largely due the coverup of the recently signed Berbera port contract between DP world and somaliland.
It has been unavoidable for those of us who keep to tabs with the news-pertaining to our beloved Horn
This-latest scoop by somaliland has been widely covered on Somali media and even on the international stage via prominent media outlets. The excitement surrounding this deal,alongside the much drooled overoil activities set to commence later this year, has filled many a Somalilander,both at home and abroad-with hope.At this point, it is not my-intention to be a Debbie downer by downplaying the significance of the deals as they unfold, but one must comprehensively contextualize their impact. More specifically speaking, the DP World contract-ought to be scrutinized and thrust forth into more transparent realms by the Government.Currently as it stands, all we Somalilanders know is that DP world are approaching which aggression and intend to be ‘bullish’ in their Berbera undertakings. This is as per the confession made during the press conference-which was done-post their executive team executing a familiarization tour in Somaliland. Honestly, just watch it and you can’t help but detect an element of bullying in their remarks. So heatedly are we being come on to, that one can’t quite help feel like-something is imbalanced amidst all this. Berbera port has aprreciousness that is concealed-from most of Somaliland truly only known to her ‘bullish’pursuant.
Despite disheartening attempts by the government to clamp down on any journalists who dare question the deal, the public shouldn’t shy away from posing more throbbing questions. For a starter, most may not know this but four years back, Somaliland was on the cusp of signing a similar deal with Glencore for double the amount agreed to by DP World.
We are talking of a deal that stood to amount in excess of $1.3 billion.the concerning questions-for me as a Somalilander remains why now? Why the hefty compromise in figures? Could this be a better late than never deal hastily done with the end of regime tenure in mind? Worse still is, why curtail the access levels for those who want a mere generic understanding of the deal?Let alone the mandatory zooming in of what the terms and conditions entail as should be the standard procedure.Mind you the Berbera MPs explicitly requested for the contents but their efforts sadly remain futile.
Would it be too much for the government to provide better disclosure and in doing socurb any vocalcritics via facts in place of jailing? How about a simple comparing and contrasting of the two projects? What we are calling for as Somalilanders is for less mystery to shroud the deals and yes this includes the parliament and competent civil societies having access to details. Lest we forgetnotthe structure in place endorses the idea of withholding contracts from the Parliament as was evident several years back when the Oil blocks were signed off to Genel and their likes.
Yes,projects of this magnitude should be welcomed and applauded to some extent,but unless it’s intricate doings-come to surface, the Government will continue to subject itself to continual questioning. And untillessshadypersonnel are mandatedwith thetask of overseeing the projectimplementation,the Emirati $$$ pouringinwill cause a serious and irreparable rift between Somalilanders. We say until these pressing issues are tackled,there will remain a segment of Somalis hovering with seeking to uproot those who harbor ill and gluttonous intents. In this era of exposure, Ishall refrain from finger pointing and calling out names,but itis no secret that some of the folk who are steering this entire project are notonly building fortified mega palaces, but more worryingly theyhave been known to have a soft spot for corruptdealings in the not too distant past.
Berbera is a crowning jewel to the wider geopolitical interest of both the Gulf nations and the West in addition to being a potential gateway to the rest of Africa on mightier levels. Some would even argue that if played more shrewdly, the Berbera portal card could be used asalaunch pad for amore strategicand less forgivingrecognitionlobbying campaign.Starting with the powers that be in the AU, Somaliland need not forget factoring in her coastal importance to Africancommerce in decades to come. Look no further than the very Ethiopia where the AU is headquartered, Ethiopia,which standsto gain untold economical benefits from being the primary nation outside Somalilandtothriveoff projects of this ilk. With that in mind, I urge the SomalilandGovernment to place heavier emphasis on this angle and utilise their leverage when having discussions in AU and IGAD circles.
Last but not least, we have to ensure once the election takes place next year, there should be areliable systemin place whichoversees the transition.For progress and prosperity to be facilitated in Somaliland, a financially crystal clear mechanismshould be left behind by the incumbent. As alien a concept this may seem to the current regime, it is a strong possibilitythey may vacate the seat. Therefore,in order to avoidchaos and potential lootingof resources,we urgethat these concernsbe incorporated in our National Election Manifesto.As has previously been the norm, we as a nation can no longer afford the usual information vacuumcreated once power is shifted. The government finds itself in new financial terrain,a territorythat involvessigning mega projects that risknational assets.Come 2017, we expecta flurry of activitiesto beunderwayand this should not be jeopardized by incompetence and greed. If indeed the baton is to be handedoverto newcomers, then let it be known,citizens ofSomalilandshall NOTtolerate it to be ina manner that reeks with systematic abuse of power. Otherwiseif we sit aside,this will only lead onto misappropriationof fundsbecoming even more rampant. As an observant citizen, my impending fear stems from the possibility ofthe incomingGovernment to seek only fortheir slicewhen it comes tothe Somaliland pie.In conclusion, revenue deriving from these projectsmustbe well managed and its impact has to manifest itself on the ground. Gone are the days whereby Somalilanders will just stand aside as spectators.
To those handling our affairs on such a scale,let it be knownthatanything short ofaccountability, willbe met with the wrath of disgruntled citizens. After all it is us the citizens who OWN Somaliland.
Adam Saed Noor (Goray)
deputy chairperson UCID Party Europe