Somaliland: Hargeisa City Living and the Traffic Jams


Somalilandsun – Hargeisa is becoming quiet the metropolitan with sprawling buildings that seem to be erected overnight by the numbers with ever increasing shops, coffee places, restaurants and other bazaars providing mixture of services for residents, new and old.
Diaspora with extra bucks to spend seem to be enjoying more than they should but local emerging middle class with their purchasing power is by far demanding better goods and services.
That entire buzz is generating traffic jams in already narrowed, degraded, bad roads that in need of immediate attention to overhaul the entire faded streets that look like as they were paved a century earlier. Pot holes, street vendors inching closer to the two lane roadways and teenage boys that think walking in the middle is a fashion make already difficult driving conditions even worst.
With the entire hurdle, people still go on with their usual routine, managing to deal with the hustle and the bustle of this increasingly crowded city, unless government road authority closes arteries that connect the main centers to haphazardly begin construction work in the middle of the day.
This is exactly what happened on Thursday, February 13 2014. Some genius decided to close the main Madaxtooyada road on the most busies morning of the week, the last day of the work week here in Somaliland.
The Hargeisa main road that runs from down town to government offices in former Gobolka administration area is the bottleneck of the city where most business offices and shops are located. Whoever behind this closer decided, what the heck, it is Thursday morning, busiest morning of the week where majority of residents are rushing to do the last minute errands or to finish the weeks unfinished business before the weekend approaches, so add little spicy on their day.
Little does he know that thousands of cars become stranded on every inch around the 10 block radius surrounding the Madaxtoodayda, (the Presidential Palace). Think of the security nightmare!
Already untested, unregulated drivers with bad manners whom mostly never put sight of traffic rules become more erratic. Frustrated commuters sought answers from nervous looking, poorly equipped and badly trained militia remnants converted to act as traffic police. No one of these supposed to be traffic police had answers for the city people.
At one point a Lieutenant Major Officer sitting on an old motorcycle got irritated with the drivers and more often used #$%$ word to match their heated query and harshly responded curse words with all the energy he could master (however it seemed weak). I happened to be the receiving end of the curse when I threw comment at him and said, “Who would in his right mind could have ever created such a mess”. He made my day when he said that, “we #$%$ the mess so go on boy ” ( I later found out this tired looking, chain smoking, retired old guard on the edge of drawing his gun named Abdi is fed up with all the fuss). I was thinking to shout to him to, “lay off the Qaad and gather your strength old boy”. But I’m sure any provocation would further exacerbate the situation and may jolt him reach his red pistol on his hip. So go on was the right action as he demanded
But, SERIOUSLY, can anyone tell those road guys to get a real plan and stop making this sort of gridlock. The damage to the economy let alone the security problems this sort of decisions to lock down the city create is unimaginable.
Hargeisawians are already grabbling with the government entourage that decides to make a chaos whenever one of them is traveling to and from the airport. Can we just go on with our daily lives like any other normal city dwellers without suffering with the brunt of your incompetence? PLEASE!
Magan Ibrahim