The yet to be recognized de-facto state of Somaliland has been in existence for the last two and half decades. In the span of this period, Somaliland took great strides in establishing all required institutions including democratically elected governing bodies. During all this time Somaliland as a government independent from their former union counterpart in the south has managed to survive on meager handouts from the international communities through the UN and other NGO’s.
Against all odds Somaliland people by all means survived on their traditional lifeline, which is shipments of livestock exports to their neighboring Middle Eastern oil rich countries, across the sea, and without overlooking supplementary income in the form of remittance from the Diaspora Somaliland administration due to its unrecognized state and the volatile nature of land ownership have for the most part gave a blind eye to addressing the need for a significant land reform through administrative and traditional channels in line with the with their government structural systems. At the moment there are no land laws in place except for the statutes that existed during the union era and which are limited to the urban areas.
In this case just like any other Somali inhabited regions in the rural areas the livestock are grazed in the communal lands and each clan have set of traditionally recognized boundaries; As a matter of cultural rules the border recognition are informally enforced and can only be violated in case of dire droughts. Therefore the rules stands as informally enforced mutual cultural practice adjudicating for temporary permission for one clan to reside and graze on other clans’ territory and when the droughts are over clans are confined to their respective territories. These codes or informal statutes and are promulgated from the traditional cultural precedence known as” XEER”. Well this system existed for centuries and since then worked well for the peaceful co-existence and in line to the nomadic communal lifestyle. As archaic as they seems to be they fully provided for the Middle Eastern oil rich nations a source for organic fresh lambs, goat and camel meat a favorite for those in the upper and middle class of these oil rich nations.. The existence of this kind of traditional way life which also benefited the middle eastern meat market have of late been under tremendous stress from severe droughts probably as a result of global warming effects.
As if the aforementioned natural hazards were not enough of a burden, Genel a Turkish based multibillion oil and gas corporation in cahoots with a gang of brokers in Somaliland have been crafting a clandestine oil exploration deal which has left the Somaliland within and those in Diaspora with lots of questions and suspicion than satisfying answers. The one major question people are asking is who is the real signatory to this deal with Genel is it a private company, The weak Somali federal, or Somaliland government? If it’s the administration then shouldn’t it be public information? In my curiosity here and there I found this link which highlights some sort of percentage interest, and the landmass to be explored. http://www.genelenergy.com/operations/somaliland.aspx#
Reading from this source we all are aware of Genel as the main contender but we still don’t know who owns the East Africa resource groups and who are it’s the shareholders? What about Petrosoma who owns it and who are its shareholders? And if the percentage has been fully assumed by these groups what remains for the public and government. Did the government only settled for the taxes. I believe that Somaliland public deserves to know more about this
If this is the case what is the role of the government on this? Are the Somaliland parliaments and house elders aware of this issue? If so do they have oversights and regulations, governing the exploration and drilling if at all oil is found what is the fate of the communities that regards these lands as their ancestral land and the only economic lifeline as communal grazing lands. This and many other valid questions are being asked yet there is no clear answer forthcoming from their elected government. An administration that prior to assuming powers promised transparency and accountability.
There some reports from reliable sources stating that the East African Resource Group is owned by the main broker for Genel and in share with numerous top government official including the minister for water and natural resources, Mr. Hussein Duale a US naturalized citizen living in Los Angeles until when he was tapped by the current administration after it came to power in the historic democratic election of 2010.
So far the first contracts for the initial expeditions has already been granted and have been awarded to individuals from the Diaspora who have close tribal and family ties to the Energy Minister and other top government figures. The information also highlights that the Petrosoma just like the East African Resources Group is the broker SL-6, SL-7 and SL-10A blocks on the Oodweyne sprawls. In this deals the interest have been shared as follows, Petrosoma takes 20% after Genel took 50% and Jacka Resources of Australia taking 30% , According to the reliable sources the owner of Petrosoma is solely responsible for the Oodweyne block and is totally free from any government directives and oversights.
Well if this comes to pass, then it’s clear that there is some bigger conspiracy here. A big hand has been dealt to this unrecognized enclave for which would not only affect the specific lands of drilling and the unsuspecting nomadic locals, but would also corrupt the fundamental essence that created and upheld Somaliland for the last two decades. This unjust contract would undoubtedly jeopardize the tranquility and the governance system of this de-facto republic. In this sense Somaliland unrecognized de-facto territory is about to be turned into a “Banana Republic” .In order to understand the meaning of Banana republic please go to this link http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-banana-republic.htm
One thing seems to be common here the owners of both East African Resource group and Petrosoma are all from the Diaspora with their families far from this forsaken lands .For them is to rip from these resources and stash the proceedings into their adopted nation’s bank accounts, which are more than not of the industrialized western nation. For them the environmental degradation and the impacts facing the communities that settles these lands is a secondary one if not lesser. As ethics dictates this individual cannot represent the communities that settle this lands regardless of their masquerade as hailing from the clans that occupy this lands.
It’s therefore a duty upon the patriotic nationals of Somaliland both within and in the Diaspora to demand for an immediate release and publicizing of all the petroleum deals that went between the Somaliland administration and all the involved parties. If need be, to be reviewed and amended. The communities settling these lands would not go down without a fight for their rights. They will pursue all peaceful means to have these contracts amended and ratified by the Somaliland legislature. I hope that the current administration headed by Ahmed Siilanyo would take measures to correct the wrongs and would create an environment that will exempt Somaliland from some African oil rich nations where the oil revenues turned to be a curse than a blessing to the masses. It’s the duty of the government to appropriate a portion of the proceedings for the sake of all Somaliland citizens regardless of their geographic locations.
I also would like call on the executives and the shareholders of Genel to suspend the expedition until the ongoing scuffles within Somaliland settles. I hope that Genel would take a lesson from the disasters in the Niger Delta and not far from Somaliland, the Ethiopian disaster where the separatist Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) in April 2007 killed 74 workers at a drill site during a raid on the Abole oil field in the Ogaden region. Somaliland too despite of its stability for the last 20years it can potentially turn volatile given that the nomads are still armed and can easily resort to violence if their demands are not appropriately addressed.
The Somaliland people are one uniquely united people. I am sure that they will not allow for a clique of individual with all grandiosity to divide them along clan line at the expense of plundering and polluting their God given lands and resources. In lieu of all this there is a well documented report by a consulting company known as control risks titled; A new Frontier, Oil and Gas in East Africa. This report extensively covers all areas that need to be exhausted before engaging in the production of oil and gases. I will suggest for both the contending corporations’ and the administration in place to engage with the communities settling on this lands and making sure that all the information pertaining to this project becomes public information, and for the sake of all that comes under the fold of the Somaliland republic.