Saturday July 8, 2017
Farah Ahmed Hoshle
Bender-Beyla communities are extremely opposing and condemning the decision of the governing council of Puntland state in which two villages under Bender- Beyla district have been named as districts on 29th June 2017.
The newly formed municipalities have not come on peoples’ aspiration and needs, nor prior assessment and community consultation to justify nomination of new districts. As they did not comply legal requirement in terms of demography, borders, resource base and potential to function as a local administration. It was only based a wicked desire of politicians, in order to persuade the people they represented and show off to have attracted a development, while functionally failed their role in public offices.
Bender-Beyla district is an ancient district (one of six districts of Bari region) with diversified inhabitants from different communities in terms of clan origin. They do respect each other while employment opportunities are open to every Somali citizen regardless of its clan.
Moreover, in this year the district hosted a large number of pastoralists with their animals from 13 regions of Somalia which had been affected by the havoc drought. This is meant that district mayor, his officials including local council members, traditional leaders and communities have offered a great hand to pastoral population and their animals by providing security services, water trucking, food supply and other provisions as well as advocating to them for humanitarian emergency interventions during drought till now.
The local communities of all background are peace-loving people and believe principle of co-existence in peace and harmony, even there is no any hostility and conflicts among the society. The local communities share the common resources such as the rangelands and water sources.
However, the current Puntland administration had failed to achieve the reconciliation process and create a peaceful environment between the communities in Puntland that would accelerate the promotion of community cooperation. As people expected that government took a lead the dialogue and negotiations among communities; but current administration plotted to split up and create instability among communities to distract current political tensions developed intensively by oppositions within the parliament and some of key elders.
Bender- Beyla is remote and hard to reach district located along Indian Ocean and away from main tarmac road; the socio-economy of the communities have mostly relied on fishing production and its people are real tax payers. Communities attempted several occasions to benefit developments and other assistances from current Puntland administration, but ironically they have met several drawbacks. For example the Puntland administration has given authorization to large number of foreign fishing vessels. Now it is evident that government licensed illegal fishing had negatively impacted the livelihoods of local fishing communities in Bender- Beyla as well as others in Puntland. Fishing communities are now in degrading poverty, as they faced less production and many families had shifted to major towns for search of job opportunities for their survival.
In other hand, the current administration failed to invest and provide basic services to underserved communities, in spite of small development projects implemented by humanitarian agencies. They have only been involving basic social services in the villages alongside the main tarmac road from Garowe to Bossaso, even those have not obtained much support from the administration.
Generally many communities in villages of Benderbeyla have no access to safe drinking water for themselves; while current government had neglected law enforcement, deepening the social security and restoring justice system that would pave the way toward a sustainable stability and development.
Bender-Beyla declaration community
1. We urge the Puntland parliament members to undertake an urgent action to halt the formation of new districts and regions. While disqualifying those not fulfilling the basic requirements of the new districts. As current decree had not compliant to Puntland constitutional articles and existing standards.
2. We recommend to Puntland administrations to halt offering communities the false promises including formation new districts or regions and forming ghost traditional leaders.
3. We recommend the Puntland administration to come up with a clear plan for carrying out reconciliation between the communities through consultation with intellectuals, traditional elders and social groups. That in turn would deepen the peace and boost economic and social development.
4. We advocate to the administration to perform the pledges related to the infrastructure development in justice manner and give priority to the remote districts including 240 km road that connect between Bender- Bayla and Qardho districts.
5. We recommend to the administration to discontinue the illegal licensing of foreign fishing vessels. In turn, to support the small fishing communities to improve their livelihood that would increment government taxation.
6. We strongly support Puntland administration to lead citizens in the principles of impartiality which is stand for justice and equity.
7. Finally, we all aware that Bender-Beyla administration and its communities hosted the drought affected people in the year 2017 and indicated the brotherhood based Somali patriotism; it deserves therefore to appreciate and acknowledge it, instead of degrading the district into small pieces through unlawful nomination of new districts.
“Bander-Beyla district and its communities are too small to be divided”
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