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Part 1 of series of reflections on the governance of the poor, unqualified, and inept leaders who populate the Somaliland government

Wed 16 August 2017.

Borama, the shining city by the hill is plagued by weak, corrupt, and non-existent local government. Borama is the capital city of Somaliland's Awdal region. During the Middle Ages, the region was ruled by both the Effete and Adal empire. In the late 19th century, and the first half of the 20th century, the region became part of the British Somaliland protectorate. These days and especially in the reign of the Kulmiya party presidency of Ahmed Mohamed Siranyo, governance in Awdal, and all other parts of Somaliland in both the  local, and national governments are in shambles. If you go to the local government or municipality for anything, the workers of different departments are not there. The few moments they are there, they are not there to serve the public, they are not there to deliver justice, they are not there to resolve disputes, or conflict,  they are there to milk few dollars from someone, these people are never ready to look at the legitimate papers someone may show them. Some of them may not even know how to read, and some may not care. Clearly there is nobody to monitor what these people are doing to the public. Redressing mechanism is totally absent. These government offices are not places to serve the people. They are places where tax is collected, but a good junk of the public money they are collecting may go to personal pockets, and in return no services are delivered to the public. The prevailing absolute peace in Somaliland is created, maintained, and sustained by the public.

  Moreover, they constantly intimidate people by threatening them to put them in jail for nothing. Their words and I quote go like this: “ I will put you in jail if you ask about any legitimate matter.” This means they are using the police power to intimidate the public. Their goal is to discourage legitimate dissent, inquiry, and people expressing their ideas without fear.  I would like to inform the residents here in Borama, and in other parts of Somaliland that they have no local as well as national governments that could safeguard their interest, rights, and property. In Borama you may survive if you have few dollars to pay these inept, uneducated, impostors and monsters that populate the police department, local government, district court, the governorship as well as the national government. The governor of the region is never present. He is always absent. This means there is no where people could complain to about these predators.

These inept so-called local leaders are there for themselves which means to extract bribe from all sides of disputes. That is why the region is bedeviled by voluminous chronic land disputes. Unfortunately there is nobody to arbiter between disputing parties. There is no difference between legitimate complaints and illegitimate ones. These days, anybody can create a land dispute out of the blue, and probably win any baseless or unlawful complaints if the right people are to be bribed. There is no respect for the legal ownership papers showing property ownership where all types of taxes is paid. The ownership papers of citizens showing payment of their taxes regarding their property, land, or farms are meaningless. They know how to collect the money, but the papers they deliver showing property taxes paid are meaningless, they did not take the time to read these papers. These inept so-called local officials will never say, baseless complaints are illegitimate, and they should be dismissed. To them all complaints whether lawful or not are fine. There are thousands of serious land disputes between people, and making matters worse, no legitimate neutral arbiters of these disputes are in sight anywhere. These problems could be serious sticking points that could jeopardize peace in Somaliland.

Moreover, high government offices in Somaliland and especially most of government departments are run by under-educated, inexperienced, and people only care about themselves, who did not give a damn about the country and the people. For example, most ministers come to work at 9.00 am in the morning, after one hour they go for coffee break, come back, and go for lunch at 12.00 mid-day, after that they go for their routine (Qat sessions). These are never ending habitual or cyclic rituals that happen every day. Comparing the later to a western analogy, these people are going to a nightclub every night of the week. 

Last but not least, there are individuals who are using public institutions to take peoples’ land. Worse than all these above named is the chief of the tax office in Zeila. That man is a heartless tyrant who is preying on the poor people of the region, as well as the people who are coming from Djibouti in the summer, when the weather is intolerably hot. The people of the area have complained about this illiterate monster so many times, but nobody pay attention, or heeded about their complaints. This man levied so high taxes on the peoples’ heads. This man did not report to anybody in Salal or Awdal regions where the custom he presides over is. I could not see what democracy means when people are not able to control their destiny. Democracy is meaningless when people have no say in their faith and future.

Suleiman Egeh is a freelance writer and a senior science instructor





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