By Ali Ege Duale
President Muse Bihi Abdi of the Republic of Somaliland is on an expedited mission to bring back the country to track after a dismal seven and half year of ailing President Silanyo’s tenure during which the institutions of governance deteriorated, public property and finance decimated, and the juridical processes marred. The challenges the new president has started to unwind are enormous but the public is anxious to support him all the way. The energy and enthusiasm shown thus far through his relentless efforts has delighted many an observer. At the foreign affairs scene, his quick and efficient contact with the neighbouring countries of Ethiopia and Djibouti are significant. Ethiopian friendship is paramount and any security concerns it may have over the United Arab Emirates proposed Military Facility at Berbera ought to be addressed in ways beneficial to both countries. The general public of Somaliland regard the agreement entered into by the former Somaliland regime ( Silanyo’s) as immature and far from reflecting the interests of the nation and essentially ill-acquired and illegal. Some of the points raised demonstrating the illegality include:
- The apparent use of bribery and corruption to gain votes in Parliament and payola tactics to neutralise public opinion by disseminating falsehoods on illusionary gains that cannot be substantiated
- The parliamentary joint session was unprecedented and illegally assembled. The Joint session can only be called on certain occasions promulgated by the Constitution. The House of Representative’s Chairman left the Session and hence that gesture principally abrogated the Joint session set-up. No agenda was formulated together by the parliamentary bodies and no discussion by MPs was permitted. No parliamentary procedure was followed and MPs were physically thrown out of the session after demanding procedural point of order. Such an infraction of procedure nullifies any outcome.
- The document circulated in the Joint session was not the Protocol Agreement purportedly signed by the two States. A flyer summarizing, what was alleged to the benefits to be gained, was distributed. It contained no terms, no conditions and no specifics on the points agreed upon contradicting the Constitutional requirement that agreements between The Republic of Somaliland and other foreign bodies ought to be forwarded to House of Representatives for appraisal and adopted if found commensurate with national interests. Such rudimentary requirement of evaluating the content of Agreements had been ignored. It still remains shrouded in secrecy up to this day as the new President and his government strive to rectify the ramifications caused by the ignominious deal.
- The purported financial gains have also not been revealed. The mention of 4 million dollars to be obtained by Somaliland in the deal is an outrageous rib-off which amounts to robbery. The mention of projects accompanying the deal and UAE administering the Projects, as their prerogative, is an insult to injury. The arrangement is made in such a fashion as to forestall the new government led by The President Muse Behi Abdi to affect the spending of the proceeds and make a determination as per the priorities of the state.
President Behi’s immediate request to temporarily halt the Projects underway at the site is commendable but it turned out that the smug UAE representatives ignored the request and continued with their unilateral ways in spite of the order. An officer of the Sahil regional authority who was asked why the activities at the site still continue queried whether the UAE representatives would heed a local chapter of the government if the clear and succinct call of the President are being ignored. This is reminiscent of things to come when we know that they do the same in Mogadishu with their forces attacking and ransacking the house of an MP and blatantly casting aside government of Somalia security authorities.
The deteriorating climate of peace and stability in the Horn and the audacious attempts to destabilize Ethiopia by some Arab countries allied with the Emirates is a sure sign that the facility being sought by them is for malicious intent. The crookery and deceit with which the so-called Agreement has been manipulated through the inept regime of the Silanyo era was done not for the somaliland’s interest but for the monetary gains of a few greedy characters. Such characters, who have the audacity to raise their voices in public recently, should be tried for their treasonous actions.
The UAE treats Somaliland in ways similar to that they treat other Somalia regions. They neither respect our statehood nor respect our people’s quest and aspirations for independence and sovereignty. They have capitalized on our weak institutions and pauperism and have never indicated an iota of respect towards our people and government. The President is right to demand critical details of the secret UAE military base deal and to question the cost and effect valuation of the scandalous so-called Agreement.
We would be anxious to know whether the Agreement made with Somaliland on the Military Base has been approved for them by the Somalia government of the past or present. In the case of that happening, such a revelation should automatically abrogate the Agreement. If the appropriations of funds are not satisfactory and in Somaliland’s interest, the Agreement should also be annulled. Somaliland should remain vigilant not to let its guard down and not allow hostile forces use it as a launching pad to harm our brotherly neighbours, primarily Ethiopia.
Ali Ege Duale
Hargeisa, Jan. 20 , 2018