“While we shall contribute whatever we have we hope our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora shall fill the pot” Shepherd Gurhan
By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun – Worries pertinent to the availability of funds for the construction of the over 300 Kms road connecting Erigavo and Burao towns are slowly being negated by contributions from various quarters.
The initiative by President Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo towards construction of the currently seasonal Burao-Erigavo road which the head of state jumpstarted by laying the foundation stone in Afmadow village recently continues to receive support from diverse quarters.
At its latest meeting chaired by president Silanyo in which the annual budget for 2014 worth $220m was approved the Somaliland council of ministers also pledged to contribute $2000 each towards the construction of the road linking Sanaag region to the rest of the country.
The honourable minister’s contribution comes in the heels of a major fundraiser by leaders from the sprawling Sanaag region at Imperial hotel in Hargeisa where over $1 million is reported to have been donated.
In Erigavo town regional and local government leaders taking advantage of the communal goodwill accorded the president Silanyo road construction project have mobilized residents with the resulting contribution of a large amount of funds with more fundraisers planned and millions in pledges expected to be harvested soon.
The civil service and the armed forces have not been left out in endeavours to see the successful outcome of the biggest project Somaliland as a nation embarks on since reclaiming self-rule in 1991.
Immediately upon the foundation stone laying by President Silanyo on the 16th of this month the commander of the national army General Ismail Shakale and the police commissioner Brigadier Abdilahi Iman Fadal pledge a monthly contribution of one dollar by each serving officer for three consecutive months.
On the same day the minister of Education Ms Zamzam Abdi Aden also pledged an unspecified amount of contributions from the country’s public education sector thus giving other ministries an impetus that is reported to be in high gear.
The contributions at hand plus pledges made in addition to the more expected from the many fundraisers in the planning coupled with the chip in by the central coffers have elicited much enthusiasm from citizens who are now proposing the road extend to as far as Las Qoray town.
While the local residents have shown hitherto unseen willingness to involve in a public project practicality the silence emanating from the Diaspora is worrisome.
According to a shepherd in Erigavo district Ismail Gurhan who says he is ready to contribute from his earthily wealth in the form livestock the Somaliland’s citizens in the Diaspora known for their largesse are expected to play the biggest role in seeing to it that the Burao-Erigavo-Las Qoray road is completed.
“While we shall contribute whatever we have we hope our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora shall fill the pot” pleaded Shepherd Gurhan
The 375 kms road which will begin from Ina Afmadoobe village east of Burao will connect the Las Anod Burao tarmac road built by the Chinese in the seventies to Erigavo through Saraar plateau.
According to the editor of www.medeshivalley.com Mr. Mohamed Ali “Accessibility by road to Erigavo is often tiresome and time-consuming .Overland access to Erigavo, the capital of Sanaag, takes at least 12 hours on the nearest tarmac road that connects Burao and Las Anod to Mogadishu. The distance between Erigavo and Burao is approximately 240 miles and is rugged and the current rough road zigzags through Adado Garadag Mountains and El Afweine all the way through Yufle to Erigavo”
The construction of the road will pave the way for the quick follow of trade between the fertile Sanaag region and the rest of Somaliland. Cash crops and other products grown in Sanaag can reach Hargeisa in less than a day when the road is finished. This will eliminate the dependence of the consumers on crops imported from Ethiopia as the current production in the western region cannot cover the local demand.