Somaliland: Thank You For the Trees Minister Waran’ade, But Where Is the Water?



Somalilandsun – Thank you for your innovative ideas for changing the landscape of Hargeisa city, it has been long overdue. Planting trees, building side-walks, lifting hangings, and cress-crossing wires are all welcomed by the residence of Hargeisa.

However, people of Hargeisa expected this and much more from you because of your track record. Also, as is the case for many in your government, you’re not a taxi driver from London who wants to score political points in order to build his resume. You’re not a retired individual from abroad who wants to make up for his lost years. And you’re not a failed opportunist who is seeking a quick fix from this vulnerable state.

You’re a charismatic and nationalistic citizen who has been there since the inception of this young nation. The confusion years, peacemaking years, institution buildings years, and you’ve seen the highs and lows of Somaliland as it travels through this murky unchartered road.

In the past, you shine whatever portfolio that was given to you or institutions which you manage for a short time, such as Hargeisa Airport and Radio Hargeisa just to name a few.

In addition, thank you for your recent employment advertisements in your ministry. This is not a common thing to see in Somaliland, and it is my hope that other government institutions shall take a note on it and put their hiring practices on the table for everyone to see. It is also my hope that the test and procedures for these positions are as transparent as the advertisements themselves.

Nevertheless, people of Hargeisa are surprised to see that you have fumbled at this time by putting the car before the horse and introduce a window dressing project while ignoring the most pressing issue for this city (water).

Though changing the view of the city is good, it is not the most urgent need of its residence and was not expected from you. Mr. Minister, as you are well-aware, people of Hargeisa continue to suffer due to the lack of basic drinking water as 70% of them depend on water trucks.

You’re also well-aware, the hardship, the diseases, and economical pain that this issue has caused to Hargeisa’s population. This matter has been in the media lately and seemed to get some attention from the authorities. Some of the international community came forward as well – and it is all good.

However Mr. Minister, in order for this to move forward or to do anything useful in that part of the world requires leadership and political weight behind it. And this is where you come in as an interior minister.

Somaliland Interior minister Waranade (in black) consults  residents during a patrol of the city Hargeisa

Waste management is the second vital issue (among the others) for Hargeisa residence. The city badly needs to be consulted by environmental and waste management experts before taking any random unintelligent action which contains no scientific merit and does not produce any viable results. Nowadays, it is not hard to get this kind of help.

There are many different environmental and non-governmental organizations that the city of Hargeisa can approach to about this issue. However, the vision and leadership has to be available first and foremost, then and only then Mr. Minister, you and others who have some nationalistic feelings in their system can explore other ways to improve the landscape of Hargeisa City or other parts of the country.

Otherwise, your recent initiative for organizing the city’s landscape would be seen as using a “cut and paste” mentality. The beauty of every city in the world depends on the economical reality of its residence. And the question that the people of Hargeisa are asking you is “we get the trees, but where is the water to irrigate them?”

Ali Jama (Toronto)