Somaliland’s contractual agreement with DP World faced resistance from stakeholders in Berbera seaport who used to run the port for their own mood for the past decades. Somaliland authority received $ 15 millions in advance from DP World according to the Finance Minister Samsam. But it could more than that. “Anyone rebels the deal is considered to be allied with Somalia (referring the unionist Regime of Somalia)” said Ali Shoombe. The government can’t imagine to drop the deal for its high liquidity, the largest amount of cash receipt ever in Somaliland’s history. Verbal attacks exchange on TV screens between proponents and opponents of the deal for financial benefit and loss respectively might lead Somaliland to brutal war between the tribe of the president and Berbera port town dominant tribe of Ciise Muse but the any conflict may affect the entire region . There’s growing fear of sleeping Al-Shabab cells in Somaliland may take advantage much like Somalia.
For the past few weeks, minister of Defense and Police Chief frequently visits the presidential palace following the arrival of the money in the millions and pondering what to do with the people in Berbera who argue their doubt on the ‘murky’ deal is justified. “We Cise Muse are original inhabitants of Berbera port town but so far no one from the government or ministers from our tribe like Sa’ad Shire came to us to know our opinion towards the deal let alone consulting, it’s too much, it’s total humiliation!” The government troops deployed in-streets and out-roads of the town to subdue any possible demonstration. As far as the eye can see paramilitary troops transferred from over the country based in Berbera schools operating. The government says the opponent is just tiny tribe and this country passed that clannish interest stage. However, UK expats from Saaxil met in Birmingham, UK, televised their conference back to home asking the government not to use force to realize short-term gains. Abdiwarabi and Salaben Nur of the Guurti Peace Senate remained silent for unknown reasons. The two sides in deadlock and it may escalate into deadly civil war. DP World’s injection of cash to small budget country of 250m jeopardizes political stability.
Muse Bihi of Kulmiye party successor’s nasty remarks “you killers and corpses shoes thieves” galvanized Berbera port residents to obstinacy as the remarks hurt their tribal honor. The situation may explode at anytime and some ministers were accused of venom against the innocents of Berbera to score politically, said Berbera man who preferred anonymity.
Tribal conferences the likes of Gar-adag , Caynaba, Daallo and others were the norm but the government banned Baxara-Saafka gathering by Berbera dwellers which announced before the DP World contract came to light for fear they may derail money in the millions in pipeline.
“it’s always bad to use excessive force against civilians and it’s unpleasant reminder of the ex-military regime of Somalia and this insanity has to stop, why try other political means to defuse the tension. The country needs investment, not war,” said Hon. Abdirahman Mohamed Abdilahi of Wadani opposition party. Many civilians packed their luggage out of fear from their beautiful beach town may be at the edge of deadly civil war for no reason but greed. Abdiqadir Jirde great statesman of integrity, former MP added his voice “the deal is illegal because it’s done in the dark, nobody knows exactly what the agreement is about just few people are shoving at our faces”. Bashe Awil the son-in-law the sole backer of the deal admitted in clandestine meeting with his inner circle that the contract is so unpopular and unwanted.
Star TV the only independent channel out of the hand of the government that updates Somaliland audience worldwide on the recent developments feels the heat from the government.
Berbera port porters worried to lose their jobs once DP World takes over. So far, the government didn’t clear their anxiety which exacerbated the tense situation in Berbera.
The writer is a Somaliland activist and senior editor at The Democracy Chronicles, African news edition.