19 May 2007 04:16

SOMALIA WATCH

 
Column
  • Title: [SW Column] SOMALILAND ON FIRE - OPEN LETTER TO THE SOMALILAND  PRESIDENT. 
  • Posted by/on:[AAJ][01 Sept 10]

Opinions expressed in this column are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of SW.


SOMALILAND ON FIRE

OPEN LETTER TO THE SOMALILAND  PRESIDENT.

by  Somaliland Environmental Action Group.

Ali Ibrahim, Kaizi Deria,  Awil Mohamed, Yussuf Ibrahim and  Musa Hersi

  contact : caateye@emirates.net.ae

 

His Excellency, the  President.

We are Somalilanders with no political ambitions .We are not a party to the current awful arm-twisting political struggle. However our main concern here is the destruction of the country’s natural resources by its own elected authorities.

Rather than seeking internal cohesion, and international recognition, Somaliland authorities have embarked a very dangerous course of putting fire on its natural vegetation. They gave licensing permits to few greedy companies to burn the forests for export oriented Charcoal Production.

The Gulf Countries are flooded with Somaliland charcoal. Supplies have outstripped demand, which led prices to come down to US  $ .50 Cents (Fifty cents) per kilo. After the ban of livestock exports, these government-licensed companies/individuals have turned to the forest. They have all the necessary tools for exploitation at their disposal – legal protection from the government, burning equipment, transportation fleet, and Somaliland shillings to silence the needy local farmers and livestock herders.

The worst affected area is the Odweina delta, east of Hargeisa, primarily Qansax, Geli Darxumo, Dhobaweyne and Qudhac locations. Mr. President, you know these areas because you were born there.

The local authorities and elders in these areas are helpless to confront this menace, simply because these companies, some of them backed by Foreigners, maintain valid and legal permission from your Government.

The smoke that covers the skyline, on certain occasions, is similar to an Armada of sailing Greek steamships or chimneys from Petro-chemical industrial complex. It is awful scenery comparable to the tragic Shakespearean Macbeth scenes.

       ¨         We understand that your Government has licensed these enemies of nature, most probably, for tax collection.

       ¨         We also understand that the President may not be fully aware of these criminal activities, as your are mostly within the confines of your Presidential Palace.

       ¨         We suspect that the Respectable Minister of Agriculture may have some personal economic gain from this lucrative trade. Perhaps he is the Godfather of the Mafiosi and Charcoal Chief.

Whatever the circumstances and the motives behind this calculated destruction, we believe that it is within the Government’s solemn duties to protect the country’s natural endowments, vegetation, fauna and flora.

Therfore, we urge the President to:

·        Immediately halt this heinous criminal activity of destroying the country’s national wealth.

·        Form an Assessment Committee to assess the damages that have been already inflicted for future follow-up and records.

·        Investigate the corrupt Government officials who authorized this trade, and bring them to justice. However, if you gave the authorization, then the case is closed. A sitting President is not guilty, at least for the time being.


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