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Somaliland: Drought and Democracy By:Mohammed Dahir Ahmed

Somaliland: Drought and Democracy

By:Mohammed Dahir Ahmed

Recurrent draught in Somaliland is affecting lives and livelihoods. In the last 30 years there have been seven major shocks or “bad” years in Togdheer region alone of these six have occurred the last 15 years according to the findings of a consultative workshop on seasonal livelihood programming in the Hawd livelihood zone of the Burao and Oodweyne districts of Somaliland, which I have attended. Such shocks or draughts in Togdheer region had various names identified in the consultative workshop such as:

Date     Name in Somalia Name in English

  1. 1934-1935 Baha Widespread droughts.
  2. 148-1949 Siigo As Red dust
  3. 1950-1951                      Doomle                 the Boats.
  4. 1959-1960         Gadhigadhisaar Truck on Truck
  5. 1975-1976 Dabdheer Long tail-long-lasting.
  6. 1979-1980 Dhumato the unexpected.
  7. 1984-1985 Soor biyowar Lack of food and water.
  8. 1999-2000 Qailowayn The big cry
  9. 2004-2005 Alla allay God God.
  10. 2006-2007 Taag Run away.

One of the main findings of that consultative workshop was, as shocks increase in frequency and intensity, households will not have sufficient time to recover before the next shock occurs, and over time coping capacities become increasingly destructive which will push households deeper into vulnerability.

Thus, it is imperative that authorities should not wake up only when households lost their assets and the situation becomes serious rather they should plan appropriate strategies for building pastoralist communities resilience capacity to shocks and recurrent draughts. Seasonal forecasting capabilities should be put in place to make appropriate preparations and coping mechanisms.

Similarly rain water catchment capacities should be enhanced and appropriate water facilities installed. Inter departmental coordination as far as the pastrolist communities support should be aligned with their priorities needs. Lack of inter departmental coordination risks spreading the efforts of respective departments and some times results work duplication.

On the other hand some politicians use the predicament of pastoralist’s communities for their political advantages, trying to deny the democratic right of the pastoralists to choose who they want in office. Such politicians are cowards and merciless, since they do nothing to prevent or mitigate such calamities but only try to utilize to further their political ambitions. Of course, it is essential that Somaliland government and the citizens at large extend hand to the current draught victims, especially big corporations and companies which normally do not pay fully their chargeable tax to the treasury.

Those politicians in our country whom are calling stalling the democratic process for the sake of the drought are wrong since supporting the victims of the draught and at the same getting ready for the March 2017 Presidential elections can be done hand in hand. Such elections preparations include getting the final voter list, securing the share of the election budget expected from the donors and distribution of voting cards etc.

By: Mohammed Dahir Ahmed