Somaliland: Maqaahida Inaanta, a Civil War Hospitality Symbol Goes to Rot


As the famed SNM rebels tea shop of choice in the outskirts of Hargeisa is abandoned and forgotten

Maqaahida INAANTA signpost

By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somaliland Sun – The determination for self-rule among citizens of Somaliland is unquestionable even after half a century of failure to garner international recognition.
The quest for international recognition started immediately citizens decided on 18th May 1991 to withdraw from their 1960 voluntary union with Italian Somalia to form the now defunct Republic of Somalia.

Though reasons behind the withdrawal are varied and not of import here, aggrieved citizens of the then Northern Region of the Somalia republic came together and formed the Somalia National Movememt-SNM a rebel movement that led to the ultimate collapse of the brutal regime of Siad Barre that ended with thousands of northerners either killed, maimed or displaced for life.
During the final onslaught on the Barre regime rebels of the SNM found a base to relax, plan their attacks and get food and drinks mostly tea at a small one roomed ta shop a few kilometers west of Hargeisa.
Since it was operated by a young lady who had escaped her home in Hargeisa in Fear of the Siad Barre Somali National Army-SNA soldiers, and owing to lack of a name for the ramshackle Rebels base, patrons named it Maqaahida Inaanta (Lady Teashop).
Coined a name and with the SNM establishing bases closer to Hargeisa, where the now very weakened SNA was gasping its last breathes of air, Maqaahida Inaanta became the relaxation base of choice for the Rebels.
SNM era famous Maqaahida INAANTA left to rotThe small lady opened tea joined, Maqaahida Inaanta, thus became very popular from the early 1990’s and even after the struggle had ended and the republic of Somaliland declared.
The irony is the famed Maqaahida Inaanta without doubt a historic war of liberation monument is now gone to waste, though exploits of the SNM struggle continued to be recounted at every small meeting place in Somaliland on a daily basis, not to mention that current administration of Kulmiye party is basically one formed by Ex-combatants with the president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo having been the chairman of the ragtag rebel movement that managed to battle and defeat the SNA then one of Africa’s strongest army.
The demise of Maqaahida Inaanta is replicated in the whole of Somaliland where the achievements of SNA, defeat of SNA, led to the rebirth of the Republic of Somaliland, a former British protectorate that had denied its independence in favor of the later turned fateful union with Italian Somalia.
Even after its proscription I. 2015 UBUB party still maintains support all over somalilandThough Somalilanders are determined to maintain at all costs their sovereignty termed as non-negotiable and irrevocable the gone to waste historic monument MAQAAHIDA INAANTA is a replica of the ignorance imparted on issues important national history as well as to the quest for international recognition like the numerous petitions to world leaders that only a few take the time to sign.
What of our silence as UDUB the country’s first political party and country’s father of democracy, was dumped to the dustbin?, talk of history.
But while petitions take time and results are controlled by others, we as citizens can help keep the country’s history alive, should revive the MAQAAHIDA INAANTA, a dollar a citizen and campaign for the operator’s official recognition as a war hero, though she never fired a gun.

25 years on Maqaahida INAANTA has grown into a thriving village marketplaceFunny enough history refuses to go and Maqaahid INAANTA the formerly one mud house centre has become a full market place