by Ahmed Kheyre
Somaliland sun- strong delegation led by President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud “Silanyo” paid a visit to the United Arab Emirates, in particular the Emirate of Dubai, in order to finalize the management of the Berbera port, hence forth to be known, as the Berbera Free Zone.
After much stiff competition, between Dubai World and Bollore of France, the contract was award to DP. The delegation signed the agreement at the Palace of the Dubai Ruler, Sheikh Mohamed Ibn Rashid Al-Maktoum. The Somaliland delegation was received with much pomp and ceremony by the Sheikh Mohamed and his colleagues. Which is in stark contrast to the feeble protocol witnessed at the swearing in ceremony of Djibouti’s President Geelle on Sunday.
A lot of people in Somaliland took umbrage with the lack of protocol accorded to President Silaanyo. But, in all honesty, it is a tempest in a teapot. The fact of the matter remains, Somaliland does not have the de-jure recognition, and the international community in its “wisdom” has decided to recognize a federal entity in Mogadishu, which is not elected by popular franchise, which relies on AMISON forces to prop it up, and doesn’t control more than a few blocks of Mogadishu. But, it is what it is. So, there is no need to get upset about a lack of protocol in Djibouti. We are free, secure and democratic, and long may this remain so. Insha’Allah.
To get back to the Berbera Free Zone agreement. The deal which is between the Republic of Somaliland and Dubai World, is a 50/50 deal, according to Foreign Minister Dr. Sa’ad Ali Shire, who signed on behalf of Somaliland.
As part of the deal Somaliland received an advance of “$15 Million Dollars”, according to the minster. The figure could be higher or lower. $5 Million dollars are for new equipment for the port and the balance to the coffers of the Somaliland government. Ostensibly.
The deal will have to be debated and voted on by the Somaliland parliament, which is a given, since this 10 year old parliament is basically corrupt and toothless. So, the deal is done, Dubai World gets the contract, bad luck Bollore. The current port manager Ali Xoor-Xoor also appears to be on his way out. Even though he was with the delegation in Dubai, he was noticeable by his absence from the signing ceremony and other photo opportunities. The news in the markets is that the puppet leader in Mogadishu Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, got his cut from deal , for agreeing to drop his ludicrous claims on Berbera.
It is a murky deal, which needs to be illuminated, but, we will give it the benefit of the doubt, and judge the results. However, judging by the track history of this current administration in generating funds from sale or lease of national assets, someone will get rich, but, it won’t be the average Somalilander.
May 18th, 2016 will be the 25th anniversary of Somaliland’s reclamation of sovereignty. And as such, the people of Somaliland have to be vigilant against nefarious forces bent on causing mayhem and havoc during the celebrations. There is a school of thought which believes that the 26th of June should be the national independence day, because, they insist that it applies to all Somalilanders. This is true, and this date is celebrated in Somaliland. But, we all know that we threw away our independence from the United Kingdom on July 1st, 1960 and only reclaimed our sovereignty back on the 18th May, 1991 in Burco, with the blessing of all Somalilanders. So, let us celebrate both, and remain vigilant and aware.
Finally, the Somaliland National Elections Commission (NEC) has deflected criticism of its handling of the Marodi Jeh registration; which still going on, so go and register; by heading of to Sanaag!. The only thing is that voter registration will not begin there until early July, after Ramadan, Insha’Allah.
Furthermore, the NEC big-wigs didn’t take any technocrats or staff with them to Sanaag. It is better to get the job done in Marodi Jeh first and then head of to Sanaag and Sool. It is called, prioritization.
Allaa Mahad Leh