Somaliland: Oromo-Somali Conflict in Ethiopia, Khat Trade and Kenya

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What is behind clashes in Ethiopia’s Oromia and Somali regions? And what does it embody for Somaliland’s recognition

Local Khat is doing good in Somaliland followong end of Ethiopian imports

By: Yusuf M Hasan

Somalilandsun- Within the week almost twenty Ethiopians are reported as having lost lives during confrontation between ethnic Oromos and Somalis.

The clashes have displaced at least 30,000 people, some of whom have taken refuge in makeshift camps at a stadium in the eastern city of Harar, whilst others are camping at police stations.
This new crisis in Ethiopia defies all past norms since its is a confrontation between the Somali and Oromia regional administrations rather than between the federal government and Oromo administrative region
For Somaliland which neighbours’ Ethiopia the ramifications have been severe with not only a number of attacks against ethnic Oromos in a number of towns in the country but as pertains the import of Khat, a herbal stimulant produced by the Oromos.
Sad to cost around $250,000 on a daily basis, Khat has been in the last four days been completely absent from the market in Somaliland where almost 65% of the population are chewers.
The none arrival of the daily supply from Ethiopia is twofold one being the cessation of harvesting by the Oromos and the deadly confrontation with Somalis that has ensued with a number of Somaliland nationals killed or injured in Ethiopia.
While the deaths and injuries have seen repercussions in Somaliland especially in the towns of Burao Borame and the Gabile center of Arabsiyo, where some Oromos resident in the country have been attacked, presumably in revenge for similar in Ethiopia other none violent outcomes have been observed.
First and most poignant has been the total absence of youthful shoeshiners as well as beggar families all Oromos from the streets of Hargeisa and to a lesser extend other Somaliland towns.
The other outcome and more beneficial of the Oromo -somali conflict in Somaliland has been the availability of local Khat, never before in the markets of the country, presumably because of quality.
The rush to chew the locally produced Khat, ensued a day after the clashes in Ethiopia that saw the few kilograms of the herbal plant reaching Hargeisa being sold at the exorbitant cost of $15 a bunch initially costing $5.

Read: My Time with One of Somaliland’s Khat Kingpins

Though a few people were able, either die to addiction or affluence to purchase at that cost most Chewers opted to abstain.
With a majority of chewers idling around the outcome immediately discerned was mosques filled to brim and hotels running out of foods before 3 pm.
Ignored for a long time local Khat producers took advantage and to date their product is being consumed by all.
A Khat farm in Gabile Somaliland The turn and love of locally grown Somaliland Khat seems to have been stimulated by rumours spreading fast in the capital Hargeisa that the highly priced plant entering the country despite one the conflict was poisoned by the Oromos anger you at attacks by liyuu police from the zone five Somali administrative region of Ethiopia. Since we can not verify this fact the allegations remain that, rumours.

The other beneficiary of the Oromo-Somalis conflict in Ethiopia is the Miraa producers in Kenya following the now flooded markets of Somaliland with the stimulant herb from the country.

While most chewers appreciate the Kenyan Miraa difficulty is the style of chewing since the Kenyan one requires peeling the skin of the herb as opposed to the Ethiopian one in which mirqaan is through chewing the leaves.
While none will claim happiness at confrontations resulting in deaths, most Somalilanders are slowly starting to appreciate the absence of the very addictive stimulant plant from the neighbouring country.
As for Kenya which has been after the Somaliland market since the U.K. and most of Europe banned its Miraa better quality should be availed thence completely take over the local market.
In July of 2016 the issue of kenya’s recognition for Somaliland as a sovereign nation was talk in both Nairobi and Hargeisa following a visit by the governor of Kenya’s Miraa growing county of merit, Peter Munya for discussions on the products import.
For Peter Munya is the first (1st) and the current Governor of Meru County, Miraa which is the main produce of his region was in need of urgent markets having been banned in the U.K. And wider Europe as well.
During his sojourn to Hargeisa where he held her third level meetings with a team of Somaliland great ferment officials , governor Peter Munya was in pursuit of enticing the government of Somaliland to lower taxes imposed on Miraa Vis a vis Ethiopian Khat.

“If this was forthcoming thence new markets for his county, Givernor Munya promised to lobby for the recognition of Somaliland among the Kenyan legislative assembly.

Back on his hometown the governor reported to his people that “I requested the Somaliland government to lift trade barriers that have hindered the sale of Miraa in the country”
Mr Munya said he has been in the country , Somaliland, for three days where he held talks with the Deputy President Abdirahman Ismail Sayli , the foreign affairs minister and finance minister in the capital city of Hargeisa.
Speaking at Ambaru Primary School in Igembe North , Mr Munya said 99 per cent of the miraa sold in Somaliland comes from Ethiopia, despite Meru producing a higher quality crop.
He said miraa from Kenya, which is highly preferred there, is charged 300 per cent duty while the Ethiopian miraa is charged 100 per cent duty making it impossible for fair competition.
In my deliberations with top government officials, I managed to convince the government to appoint a technical committee to review the duty in exchange of some form of recognition of the Republic of Somaliland by the Kenyan Government,” Mr Munya as he revealed that he is in earnest search for Miraa Market in the Unrecognized Country

Read: Somaliland: Kenyan Trade for Recognition
So is this the time to advance this pledge and promise by the governor thus reduce taxation of his Miraa and call upon him to start the pledged lobby for the recognition of Somaliland? While considering that Peter Munya lost the meru governorship to Kiraitu Murungu during the august elections in Kenya.

Watch:
Somaliland – Khat arrives by air from Kenya – Video

Awway from Somaliland and Kenya What is behind clashes in Ethiopia’s Oromia and Somali regions?
Thousands of people have fled Ethiopia’s Somali region following deadly clashes in recent days between ethnic Somalis and Oromos. The BBC’s Kalkidan Yibeltal looks at the cause of the conflict and whether it can be stopped.
Dozens of people are reported to have died in clashes across Ethiopia’s Oromia and Somali regions in recent days.
Miraa from Kenya is replacing the Ethiopian plant in Somaliland This According to Adisu Arega, Oromia government’s spokesperson, 18 people have been killed.
Twelve of those victims are ethnic Somalis, Mr Adisu told the BBC.
The figures are however disputed by the Somali regional government, which says that more than 30 ethnic Somalis have been killed in the Oromia town of Awaday.
The clashes have displaced at least 30,000 people, some of whom have taken refuge in makeshift camps at a stadium in the eastern city of Harar, whilst others are camping at police stations.
Local administrators have now asked aid agencies operating in the area to provide humanitarian assistance.
How serious is the trouble?
Following intense anti-government protests that plagued the Horn of Africa country during most of 2016, the government imposed a 10-month state of emergency, which was lifted in July.
While this heightened state of alert calmed most of the restive areas in the Oromia region, it did not stop cross-border clashes in the Oromia and Somali areas.
In February and March, hundreds were reported to have been killed in the southern Oromia district of Negele Borena after an incursion by a paramilitary force called the Liyu Police, which is backed by the Somali region. Continue reading What is behind clashes in Ethiopia’s Oromia and Somali regions?

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