Somaliland joint houses of Elders & Representatives overwhelmingly approve UAE naval base

A joint session of the Republic of Somaliland’s bicameral parliament, today, approved a proposal His Excellency the President submitted on grant of naval base to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Out of a total roster of 165 MPs, 144 approved the proposal, 1 did not, another abstained following a brief scuffle between a few dissenting members and the House bailiffs after they tried to disrupt the proceedings of the house with unruly boos and howls as soon as the President left the house. Around ten MPs were absent on leave or were traveling abroad at the moment.

Among the leading MPs who voted on the UAE base agreement to the next logical stage were ardent supporters of the House Speaker’s Waddani party contrasting his walkout and a press conference he held the evening before to block the motion.

His excellency the President of the Republic of Somaliland, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud “Siilaanyo”, addressing the two houses of the parliament in his yearly statement, lamented the absence of international recognition for the republic despite the gargantuan achievements it has realized on restoring peace and stability to the country, building a full-fledged functioning state with its own flag, currency, passport, military, police, navy and other security departments directly contrasting the anarchy and instability of  an internationally propped weaker Somalia in Mogadishu.

“The absence of diplomatic recognition deprived my country of entering into any meaningful bilateral relations to prop up development or in securing international loans to rebuild its infrastructure,” the President stated.

President Siilaanyo stated that his government, and the government that preceded him, left no stone unturned to attain that much-coveted place on the international forum as an equal partner of other sovereign nations.

“For over twenty-five years full recognition as a sovereign nation has eluded my country. But that does not mean we cannot pursue other venues to develop our country and rebuild our war-torn home,” he said.

President Siilaanyo pointed out, by way of exemplification, the agreement with DP World, and how that agreement ushered multi-pronged development projects not only for the port of Berbera but for the whole country.

“The agreement we reached with Duba Ports World infused life into our main port and the economy despite the vociferous protestations and vilification from few development-spoilers,” he said.

Likewise, he said, some of the most internationally renowned oil-exploration companies have decided to invest in the untapped resources of the sector.

His Excellency the President, speaking of the proposed UAE military/naval base in Berbera, stated that the deal was part of his government’s quest for all-round development and the reconstruction of absent or debilitated infrastructure.

“Somaliland has to win internationally formidable friend to its side. The projected UAE base in Berbera is another extension of the country’s quest for development,” he said.

By way of example, the President revealed that the UAE will be building the 250-kilometre road between the seaport town of Berbera and Wajaale on the border with Ethiopia.

“We pursued untold of channels to secure funding for this very vital road. Our economy much depends on it. The UAE will now build it on on estimated US$250 million,” the President said.

Other side benefits of the agreement include the building of another civilian and cargo air terminal in Berbera, the provision of affordable, dependable power supply to Berbera city, roads, and a number of other projects relating to energy, health, education and the like.

Above and beyond that, the new deal with the UAE grants top priority to job creation among the milling skilled but unemployed youth of Somaliland at all counts as it encourages investors to step forward and invest in Somaliland productive sectors and natural resources.

The President assured the MPs that the agreement will in no way slow down or compromise the country’s quest for full sovereignty but would rather energise and add a catalyst to cut fresh corners, take on more steadfast allies.

Closely following behind the agreement that the government of Somaliland reached with Dubai Ports World in August 2016, today’s approval of the UAE base by the parliament is another incontestable testimony to President Siilaanyo’s unfazed biting logic, charisma, and appeal as a leader.  

On the other hand, the President congratulated the newly-elected president of Somaliland cautioning him, at the same time, to interfere in the sovereign affairs of the Republic of Somaliland.

House Speaker Irro goes against the House he led

Last evening, Saturday, the House Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chairman of one of the two national political parties, Waddani, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi “Irro”, called for a boycott of the proposed military base.

He, also, called the scheduled address of the President to the joint houses the next morning ‘unconstitutional’ despite the fact it was perfectly so according to the national Constitution which grants the President the right to call a joint session (a) for his yearly address; (b) to submit to them proposed agreements with foreign countries, and (c) in trying times such as if the country was to go to war or was facing a very threatening situation.

Despite his call to block the session the evening before, the House Speaker appeared for the President’s address in the morning (see photos below) but walked out of his House immediately afterwards.

Waddani offices become Kulmiye’s overnight

As a result of the House Speaker’s televised outburst late on Saturday evening, throngs of young Waddani supporters were spooked off by their Chairman’s words at the press conference and others before it.

This led to a change of allegiance to the ruling party – Kulmiye – and new coats of paint given Waddani’s offices in the 26 June district of Hargeisa to reflect the change of heart.

It remains to be seen what alternative course of action Speaker-cum-Chairman Irro will take to face supporters or how he can plausibly justify his actions without jeopardising his chances in the upcoming elections as a presidential candidate.

The Scuffles

Watch the video below and judge for yourself.

Images of the morning:

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