Pontus Marine LTD- Leader of fishing industry in Somaliland

Friday, October 16, 2009

Somaliland: Clans re-arming in preparation for renewal of El Berdale Conflict


(M e d e s h i)
Somaliland: Clans re-arming in preparation for renewal of El Berdale Conflict
HARGEISA, 16 October 2009
(One of the farms in Buqdhada, near the disputed Elberdale farmland . Photo by : M. A . Jibril)
Officials are warning renewed fighting is likely between two rival clans in breakaway Somaliland, where they are reported to have amassed a large number of weapons and positioned hundreds of militiamen near disputed farmland in Gabiley region.
"We are afraid new conflict could break out any time," a police officer, who requested anonymity, told IRIN, adding that the clans had at least 1,000 militiamen, armed with automatic rifles such as AK47 rifles and BKM handguns, in or near the Elberdale farmland area.
The dispute over the farmland dates back to the 1950s with the two clans - the Reer Nour and Reer Hared - each claiming ownership.
Since the beginning of 2009, they have fought at least four times: in April, May, July and September, resulting in 19 deaths and several hundred families displaced.

Dahir Muhumed Eggeh, one of the Reer Hared militiamen, said a farming project, established in the late 1950s, was at the centre of the conflict, which came to a head in 1988. The clans fought on opposite sides of the 1981-1991 war between the Somali National Movement (Somaliland's liberation organization) and the army, which was loyal to then Somali president, the late Mohamed Siad Barre. The Reer Nour supported Barre while Reer Hared supported the SNM.
Aw Hassan Diiriye Elmi, a former chairman of Gabiley District, said: "This conflict is linked to the repercussions of [actions by] Siad Barre, who tried to remove one of the clans from their land... we came back to the country from refugee camps to find new signs put up by our neighbours, who have since tried to take away our lands."
With the two clans arming militiamen, the price of handguns and other light weapons has gone up.
"Before [in 2008], light weapons, such as a Kalashnikov, cost US$370-400, but now it goes for between $650 and $700," one of the militia leaders in Elberdale said.
Weapons smuggling
The militia leader, who requested anonymity, said: "There are two routes for weapons to enter Somaliland - crossing from Bosasso [in Puntland] to the eastern regions of Somaliland, and from the west, especially the area between Zaila and Lughaya at a place called Sanka Doonyaha, where fast boats load weapons at night."
Abdillahi Omar Qawdhan, a Somaliland coast guard consultant and marine expert, told IRIN: "We have information that illegal small arms are smuggled to parts of the Somaliland coast but what we know is that small-calibre ammunition is imported to the west coast in sacks by the Yemeni boats that import fuel and other items to the west coast ports such as Cel-Sheik, Bula-Har, Bulo-Addo and Zaila.
"We have information that even small arms such as the BKM and bullets are being imported by local businessmen. Weapons destined for Ethiopia as well as Somalia have been smuggled to these places.
"Since the beginning of 2009, we have recovered more than 300 pistols [smuggled in] from Yemen in the eastern Berbera [Sahil region]," he said.
However, Mohamed Osman Hudhun, Somaliland's western coast army chief, disputed this, saying: "There are no weapons imported into the western coast because I am from this area and every single incident is reported to me."

Source IRIN
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Women whipped for wearing a 'deceptive' bra


(M e d e s h i)
By Mail Foreign Service
16th October 2009
(Photo: Desperation: A woman feeds her child at a newly formed camp for refugees affected by drought in Somalia yesterday. Somalis are also contending with hardline Islamists seeking to impose a strict form of Sharia law on the country)
A hardline Islamist group in Somalia has begun publicly whipping women for wearing bras that they claim violate Islam as they are 'deceptive'.
The insurgent group Al Shabaab has sent gunmen into the streets of Mogadishu to round up any women who appear to have a firm bust, residents claimed yesterday.
The women are then inspected to see if the firmness is natural, or if it is the result of wearing a bra.
If they are found wearing a bra, they are ordered to remove it and shake their breasts, residents said.

Al Shabaab, which seeks to impose a strict interpretation of Sharia law over all Somalia, also amputated a foot and a hand each from two young men accused of robbery earlier this month.
They have also banned movies, musical ringtones, dancing at wedding ceremonies and playing or watching soccer.
'Al Shabaab forced us to wear their type of full veil and now they order us to shake our breasts,' a resident, Halima, told Reuters, adding that her daughters had been whipped on Thursday.
'They are now saying that breasts should be firm naturally, or just flat.'
Officials of Al Shabaab, which Washington says is Al Qaeda's proxy in the failed Horn of Africa state, declined to comment.
The group's hardline interpretation of Islamic law has shocked many Somalis, who are traditionally moderate Muslims. Some residents, however, give the insurgents credit for restoring order to the regions under their control.
Al Shabaab, which means 'youth' in Arabic, control large swathes of south and central Somalia.
Abdullahi Hussein, a student in north Mogadishu, said his elder brother was thrown behind bars when he fought back a man who humiliated their sister by asking her to remove her bra.
'My brother was jailed after he wrestled with a man that had beaten my sister and forced her to remove her bra. He could not stand it,' Hussein said.
Men were not spared the' moral cleansing'. Any man caught without a beard was been publicly whipped.
'I was beaten and my hair was cut off with a pair of scissors in the street,' Hussein said.
'My trouser was also cut up to the knee. They accused me of shaving my beard but I am only 18.
'They have arrested dozens of men and women. You just find yourself being whipped by a masked man as soon as leave your house.


UN backs Gaza war crimes report

(M e d e s h i)
UN backs Gaza war crimes report
By Frances Williams in Geneva and Vita Bekker in Tel Aviv
Published: October 16 2009 11:39 Last updated: October 16 2009 17:39
The UN Human Rights Council on Friday endorsed a damning report alleging war crimes by Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, in the face of stiff opposition from America and Israel.
The passing of the resolution, drafted by the Palestinians and their allies, steps up pressure for the prosecution of Israeli military and political leaders.
The report on the Gaza conflict in December and January, compiled by a four-member team headed by Richard Goldstone, a South African judge, urges the security council to hand the matter over to the International Criminal Court in The Hague if Israel or Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza, fail to mount credible war crimes investigations within six months.
Luis Moreno Ocampo, chief prosecutor at the ICC, is already considering whether the ICC has jurisdiction to prosecute alleged war crimes in Gaza, independently of any security council referral.
While the report also accuses Hamas of war crimes, it lays more blame on Israel. The country’s foreign ministry has mounted a diplomatic campaign to discredit the report and prevent a resolution at the Human Rights Council, warning that it would destroy chances of resuming peace talks.
Israel rejected Friday’s move as “one-sided” and “unjust”. It added that the resolution ignored Hamas attacks against Israeli civilians and the “unprecedented” precautions the country took to avoid harming civilians.
Twenty-five members of the 47-nation council, including China, Russia, Brazil and South Africa, backed Friday’s resolution supporting the report’s recommendations, which include referral to the UN security council.
Six countries – the US, Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine – opposed the resolution. Eleven, including Japan and Mexico, abstained, while France and the UK declined to vote.
Diplomats said it was unlikely that the US, which has a veto in the security council, would support action on a report that its officials had described as flawed.
John Sawers, UK envoy to the UN in New York, has attacked Israel’s failure to co-operate with the inquiry. He provoked a furore in Israel this week when he told Israel Army Radio: “This investigation is being led by a serious figure, Judge Goldstone, who’s a South African Jew who’s got long experience of injustice against his own people and in his own country.”
The US, though it has urged Israel to investigate war crimes allegations, said the report was unbalanced and feared its adoption would damage the prospects of resuming Middle East peace talks.
The Goldstone report accuses Israel of using disproportionate force, intentionally targeting civilians, destroying infrastructure and using human shields during the operation it had launched in response to rocket fire from the impoverished seaside territory.
The report also recommended that countries use the principle of “universal jurisdiction” to arrest and prosecute those suspected of war crimes. Israeli officials already take care not to travel to countries where arrest is possible.
Additional reporting by Harvey Morris in New York
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Binyamin Mohamed : Ban on 'torture documents' lifted


(M e d e s h i)
Ban on 'torture documents' lifted
The High Court has ruled that US intelligence documents containing details of the alleged torture of a former UK resident can be released.
Ethiopian-born Binyam Mohamed, 31, who spent four years in Guantanamo Bay, claims British authorities colluded in his torture while he was in Morocco.
The UK government denies allegations of collusion and says it will appeal against the court's judgement.
It had stopped judges publishing the claims on national security grounds.
The key document in the case is a summary of abuse allegations that US intelligence officers shared with their counterparts in London.
Any publication of the material will be delayed until an appeal takes place.
When the High Court gave its original judgement on the case last year, a seven paragraph summary of Mr Mohamed's torture claims was removed on the orders of Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

BINYAM MOHAMED
Detained in Pakistan in 2002, questioned there by MI5 officer
Transferred to Morocco, claims he was tortured in US custody and asked questions supplied by MI5
Later interred in Guantanamo Bay and eventually released in 2009
Mr Miliband argued that releasing the material would threaten Britain's national security because future intelligence sharing with the US could be compromised.
But Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones ruled that the risk to national security was "not a serious one" and there was "overwhelming" public interest in disclosing the material.
'Deep objection'
Their judgement was also delayed on Friday because MI5 insisted part of it - explaining why there was such a significant public interest in the case - should be redacted.
Responding to the ruling, Mr Miliband told the BBC the court had "fundamentally misunderstood" the key principle of intelligence sharing.
"We have no objection to this material being published by the appropriate authorities, in this case the United States," he said.
ANALYSIS
By Dominic Casciani, home affairs correspondent, BBC News This judgement is part of the high-stakes political poker game surrounding what we can and cannot know about the intelligence agencies that act in our name. They share information confidentially to save lives and co-ordinate a strategy against enemies like al-Qaeda, but the government says they don't do so thinking it will be made public. The High Court insists the seven key paragraphs it wants to publish are in no way damaging to national security. And it's worth noting that the judges have not ordered the release of 42 other documents in the case. This ruling looks unprecedented because it strongly defends the public's right to know. But it remains to be seen whether judges have overruled national security and, in so doing, put any special intelligence relationship under strain.
"What I do have a very deep objection to is the idea that a British court should publish American secrets - in the same way that I would have a deep objection if an American court started publishing British secrets."
Mr Miliband said the government stood "firmly against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment", but he vowed to continue to challenge the court's ruling "in the strongest possible terms".
The US also denies any allegations of torture concerning Mr Mohamed and a former senior official in the Bush administration told the BBC releasing the material would have an "enormous chilling effect" on US-UK relations.
'Dirty work'
Mr Mohamed, who once lived in north Kensington, London, was first detained in Pakistan in 2002. He was questioned there by an MI5 officer before being transferred to Morocco.
He says while in US custody in Morocco he was tortured at the behest of the CIA and asked questions supplied by British intelligence agency MI5.
Mr Mohamed was later transferred to Guantanamo Bay and eventually released in February this year.
Before Friday's judgment, Mr Mohamed told BBC the material should be released.
“ It is irrational to pretend that evidence of torture should be classified as a threat to national security ” Clive Stafford-Smith Binyam Mohamed's lawyer
He said: "The public needs to know what their government has been up to for the last seven years.
"There's information in there, which I'm 99% sure, states that the US sub-contracted the UK government to do its dirty work."
Clive Stafford-Smith, Mr Mohamed's lawyer and director of human rights charity Reprieve, said the government was "trying to conflate national security with national embarrassment".
"The judges have made clear what we have said all along - it is irrational to pretend that evidence of torture should be classified as a threat to national security," he said.
"Rather, it is proof of a crime committed against Binyam Mohamed, and as such it should be fully aired in a court of law."
'Serious questions'
Shadow foreign secretary William Hague said it was "for the US administration to decide whether or not these paragraphs should be released".
"However, there are still serious questions about the British government's handling of Binyam Mohamed's case, and the foreign secretary's inability to convince the court that in this particular case the government's policy is right," he said.
Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Ed Davey said the court was right to argue that publication would not jeopardise British-American security co-operation.
"The foreign secretary is in danger of putting his own judgement about the security services above the rule of law and democracy," he added.
In March, Attorney General Baroness Scotland confirmed the police would investigate whether an MI5 officer had been complicit in the alleged torture of Mr Mohamed.
Jeremy Croft, head of policy and government affairs at Amnesty International UK, welcomed Friday's ruling, but said it underlined the need for a full, independent inquiry "into the UK's role in human rights abuses in the 'War on terror'".
Story from BBC NEWS:
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Firm to fund Somaliland's largest port


(M e d e s h i)
ADDIS ABABA - French company Bollore Africa Logistics is to invest €500-million in the Somaliland port of Berbera, a crucial lifeline for landlocked Ethiopia, a diplomat said Wednesday.
Berbera, less than 300 kilometres east of the former French colony of Djibouti, faces Yemen on the Gulf of Aden and is the economic capital of Somaliland, a breakaway state more stable than the rest of Somalia.
"Bollore is about to invest €500-million in Berbera port to improve the port and create a new corridor to the hinterland.
Ethiopia is very excited about that," a French diplomat based in Addis Ababa said.
"The project is not completely finalised, but Bollore has a huge presence in West Africa and is interested in East Africa," the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
The company is part of a group owned by Vincent Bollore, a leader in West Africa's ports sector and close friend of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Somalia has the longest coastline on the continent and forms the "horn" of Africa, which juts out into the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden and commands access to some of the world's busiest maritime trade routes.
Ethiopia has had good relations with the self-proclaimed government of Somaliland and is heavily reliant on the port of Berbera for supplies.
The Bollore group confirmed to AFP in Paris it was interested in the project but did not elaborate further.
"We have not made an offer yet and no amount has been agreed," a spokesperson said.


VOA launches FM station in Hargeisa

(M e d e s h i)
VOA launches FM station in Hargeisa
October 15th, 2009
by Andy Sennitt.
The Voice of America (VOA) has launched a new radio station on 88.0 FM in Haregeisa, capital of the Somalia breakaway region of Somaliland. VOA Hargeisa 88.0 will air 24 hours of VOA programmes daily. The broadcast stream includes three and half hours of news and features from VOA’s Somali service along with popular English news, discussion and music programmes such as World News Now, Daybreak Africa, Hip Hop Connection and Music Mix. Besides Somali, VOA also broadcasts in English and 11 other languages throughout Africa. More information is available at www.voanews.com/Somali and http://www.voaafrica.com/.
(Source: VOA)
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Somaliland Foreign Minister Thanks All Political Parties and Friends of Somaliland

(M e d e s h i)
Somaliland Foreign Minister
Thanks All Political Parties and Friends of Somaliland
Hargeisa – Somaliland Foreign Minister Abdillahi Duale today 14 October, thanked all Somaliland political parties, as well as the friends of Somaliland for their well spirited engagement and support.

“The Somaliland Government brings to the attention of the international community that it affirms that a free, fair and peaceful Somaliland elections are now possible. Clearly, this will be possible under the condition that the recently signed six-point agreement is faithfully implemented”, he said

“Currently, the restructuring of the Somaliland National Electoral Commission is presently underway under specific selection criteria”, he added.

In this context, Somaliland Foreign Minister Abdillahi Duale, “thanked all Somaliland political parties for encouraging a home-grown consensus agreement. Our friends, especially Minister Dr. Tekeda Alemu of Ethiopia for his lead mediating role and the supportive partnership of the United Kingdom. The African Union Special Envoy, Mr. Nicholas Bwakira and the UN Special Envoy, Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, for their visits to Hargeisa and timely advice.”

We are particularly encouraged by the Federal Democratic Government of Ethiopia’s statement of 28 August 2009, that “Somaliland’s success—no matter how impressive it may have been—should not be taken for granted,” and the African Union’s statement that “the African Union in consultation with the international community is available to assist all parties in Somaliland to reach an amicable solution or common understanding, as part of its overall efforts to promote peace, security and stability in Somalia".

Somaliland Foreign Minister Abdillahi Duale concluded his statement:
“We call on friendly countries to energetically champion the case of Somaliland within IGAD and the African Union. Indeed, the unsettled international status of Somaliland severely restricts our people from effectively transacting with the world in order to advance our development and post-war reconstruction goals. Currently, the high-levels of unemployment lead to many of our youth to migrate to neighboring countries, as far as South Africa, the EU and USA, and sadly many end up joining groups with a terrorist agenda”

“We hope that this brisk sprit of engagement with Somaliland by the friends of Somaliland and multi-lateral institutions will continue with the same sense of urgency, to advance Somaliland’s stability and a better future for its children, in the inter-connected interests of regional and world peace and security ”.

Issued by

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Hargeisa, Somaliland
14 October 2009
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Africa: Chinese Scramble


(M e d e s h i)
Beijing should help the West to bring good government to Africa
Times Online
Has the West lost the new scramble for Africa? That is one way of reading China’s continuing waves of investment in the continent. China, the critics say, props up despotic regimes while bleeding Africa dry of the resources that it needs to feed the Moloch of its expanding economy. Even some African Union (AU) officials warn of Chinese “neocolonialism”. On the other hand 60 years of Western development aid with strings attached has done little more than make the former colonial powers feel better about themselves. It has brought neither prosperity nor stability to Africa. Investment, by contrast, could do both.
News that a Chinese investment fund is negotiating a $7 billion oil, mineral rights and infrastructure deal with the military regime in Guinea again shows that China values economic advantage and political influence over human rights. Last month the troops of Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, who seized power in Conakry last year in a coup, took part in the massacre of 150 unarmed opposition protesters. Western nations and the AU have called for sanctions or even “intervention” unless Captain Camara stands down and allows free elections in January.
China, which insists that it does not “interfere in the internal affairs” of the countries in which it invests, props up the regime in Sudan of President Omar al-Bashir, who is accused by the International Criminal Court of war crimes in Darfur. This kind of “no strings” aid is short-sighted as well as immoral: the coup leader or petty despot whom you bargain with today may be history tomorrow. Worse still for the investor he is likely to show the same regard for commercial contracts as he does for citizens’ rights.
But there is little point in Western diplomacy that simply runs into the wall of Chinese power. Sixty years after the Communist revolution, China has become a major world player, and is beginning to realise that this brings with it global responsibilities, from climate change and international piracy to the threat posed by Iran’s secret nuclear programme. This should be extended to include Africa. Last week China joined Britain, France, Russia, the United States and the European Union in calling on government and rebels in Sudan to honour the 2005 peace agreement and hold “free and fair national elections” in April next year — the first polls since 1986.
As President Kagame of Rwanda said in Berlin yesterday: “I wish the Western world would invest in Africa rather than give development aid. There is a need for aid, but it should be used to allow trade and build up companies”. This the Chinese have understood. Africa is rich in resources that China needs to fuel its economy; Africa needs roads, airlines, computers, schools, energy, telecommunications.
What Beijing has not yet understood is that economic stability, if it is to endure, needs to be underpinned by political stability based on human rights. The West should continue to compete with China for investment opportunities in Africa while at the same time persuading Beijing to help to bring good government to a continent that for too long has suffered from corruption, civil wars, poverty and disease. China, for its own sake and Africa’s, must accompany its appetite for natural resources with a demand for the rule of law.

Sewedy Cables starts production in Ethiopia


(M e d e s h i)
CAIRO, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Egyptian El Sewedy Cables (SWDY.CA) said on Tuesday it had started production at its power cables plant in Addis Ababa, with an annual capacity of 10,000 tonnes of copper and aluminium.
Total investment for the construction of the plant totaled $36 million, and was 40 percent financed through equity. The remainder was financed through medium-term debt facilities raised in Ethiopia, El Sewedy said in a statement.
The company owns 85.7 percent of the new facility while its partner, Dynamic General Trading, owns the balance.
El Sewedy, the largest Arab cable maker by market value, posted a 30 percent drop in first-half net profit to 369 million Egyptian pounds ($67 million) as volumes grew but prices slipped. The firm said in July it would build a $25 million electric transformer plant in Nigeria.
(Reporting by Sherine El Madany; Editing by Dan Lalor)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oil boat catches fire in Bossasso ,NE Somalia


(M e d e s h i)
Oil boat catches fire in Bossasso, NE Somalia
A boat carrying oil catches fire in the commercial port town of Bossasso in the semi-autonomous northeastern Somali region of Puntland, Oct. 10, 2009.

The boat was engulfed in flames after workers trying to off load the consignment of oil. The accident caused brief suspension of work at the port.
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The political development of Somaliland and its conflict with Puntland

(M e d e s h i)
The political development of Somaliland and its conflict with Puntland
Berouk Mesfin
ISS Paper 200, September 2009
INTRODUCTION
The Horn of Africa is the most militarised and conflict-ridden region on the African continent, with armed conflicts raging frequently within and between states. In 1991, Somaliland emerged as an autonomous entity in this turbulent region after unilaterally declaring its independence from the rest of Somalia. Over the past eighteen years Somaliland has managed to display an enviable measure of peace and stability. Through successive clan conferences, Somaliland established relatively viable institutions which paved the path for reconstruction of an entity mainly employing local resources. Somaliland has thus been depicted as ‘an oasis of stability in an otherwise chaotic Somali regional environment’.The accomplishments of Somaliland, however, have been overshadowed by the lack of international recognition of its statehood and also its territorial dispute with neighbouring Puntland. The overall objective of this paper is to provide a detailed account and analysis of the political development of Somaliland and its conflict with Puntland.
Background
Somaliland came to the fore of the international political system immediately after it declared its independence from the rest of Somalia on 18 May 1991. The Grand Conference of the Northern People was held in Burao and was composed of the leaders of the Somali National Movement (SNM) and representatives of all clans inhabiting north-western Somalia. The newly established entity assumed the borders of the former British colony which adjoins Ethiopia to the south and west, Djibouti to the north-west, the Gulf of Aden to the north, and Puntland to the east. The demarcation of these borders was the product of the Anglo-Ethiopian treaty of 1897.
Somaliland covers a land area of 137 600 square kilometres and has a coastline of 850 kilometres. It had a total population of about three million people in 1997. Pastoralists make up some 55 per cent of the population, whereas the rest is composed of urban and rural dwellers. Territorially Somaliland is divided into six regions, namely Northwest, Awdal, Sahil, Togdheer, Sanaag and Sool, which are subdivided into 30 districts. The largest city and capital of Somaliland is Hargeisa to which Britain relocated its colonial administration in 1941, while Boroma, Berbera, Burao, Erigavo and Las-Canood are Somaliland’s major cities. Somaliland’s principal port is the strategic port of Berbera.
There are three major clan families, namely the Isaaq, the Darod/Harti (including the Warsangeli and Dhulbahante) and the Dir (including the Iise and Gadabursi), representing 66 per cent, 19 per cent and 15 per cent respectively of the total population. Pertaining to regional distribution, the west is inhabited by the Iise and Gadabursi clans. The Isaaq live predominantly in the central part of the Somaliland, while the eastern parts are occupied principally by the Warsangeli and Dhulbahante clans.
The people of Somaliland share a common language, culture and religion among themselves as well as with the rest of Somalia. Economically speaking, they pursue a traditional livelihood system based on nomadic pastoralism. Livestock production makes up the backbone of Somaliland’s economy, accounting for about 65 per cent of its economy. Somaliland’s economy is also heavily dependent on remittances from the diaspora. Estimated to reach US$500 million per year, remittances constitute the largest single source of hard currency entering Somaliland. Remittances actually bring more currency to Somaliland than livestock export and international assistance combined.
The 2001 constitution established a hybrid system of government. Constitutionally, Somaliland has three branches of government. A president, elected for five years, heads and nominates a cabinet of ministers theoretically subject to parliamentary approval. The legislature is composed of two chambers, the unelected upper House of Elders (the Guurti) nominated by the clans during various peacebuilding conferences and the lower House of Representatives, which is directly elected for six years but clearly lacks an understanding of its role and functional capacity. The 82-member House of Representatives is supposed to be the main legislative chamber. It approves all legislation as well as the annual budget and acts as a check on the power of the executive, which is the strongest branch.The ostensibly independent judiciary is complemented by a moderately vibrant print media.
Read full paper here : http://www.issafrica.org/index.php?link_id=3&slink_id=8353&link_type=12&slink_type=12&tmpl_id=3
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The need for new blood in Somaliland politics

(M e d e s h i)
The need for new blood in Somaliland politics
Somaliland’s fledgling democracy is being hijacked by greedy and defunct politicians who are not fit to lead the nation. These men have no respect for rule of law and are inciting hatred and violence among the Somaliland public. A good example of this is the recent violence in which at least two innocent people were killed and more than 30 injured.
Politicians who worked under the deposed government of Dictator Siyad Barre dominate the current political scene. Most of these politicians have continued with the same oppressive political vision as the previous government, which was marred by lack of free speech and other human rights abuses.
(See: www.medeshi.com/2009/09/call-to-all-somalilanders.html).
All three political party leaders have been at the head of their party since the last Somaliland presidential election in 2002. Why has no one given a chance for new people to rise to the top and come up with fresh ideas? It seems these political leaders view the parties as their own property, which they refuse to hand over.
Politicians are using clan lineage to mobilize support; as a result certain clans support only the party led by somebody from their lineage. This is not democracy, but clan politics. It is worse than the Somali tribalism of previous years, where nepotism was common and violence prevailed. For example Somaliland elders were most times able to solve the tribal conflicts under the shade of a tree while the current clan politics pays little attention to this wise practice of Somaliland elders.
The people of Somaliland are suffering, due to drought, food shortages and lack of education and health services. (See: www.medeshi.com/2009/10/sanaagland-neglected-by-its-people.html).

Meanwhile, Hargeisa-based political parties waste time on power struggle. The ruling party uses the excuse of the non-functioning voter registration server and the opposition parties accuse the government of prolonging the voter registration process to buy more time.
The background of the leaders of the three main political parties in Somaliland raises questions about whether Somalilanders are in need of new blood. It seems that these party leaders simply are not willing to give up power and allow others a chance to lead the nation. Somaliland should be saved from leaders that are putting their interests before those of their country. Tribalism and clan rivalry should be set aside at this critical stage. Somaliland needs and deserves political leaders with fresh new visions of the future.
Written by M. Ali with editing of Sarah Howard.
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ethiopian army crosses into Somalia: residents


(M e d e s h i)
Ethiopian army crosses into Somalia: residents
(AFP)
MOGADISHU — Several hundred Ethiopian soldiers crossed into neighbouring Somalia at the weekend, arresting dozens of villagers linked to hardline Islamists, elders and residents told AFP on Sunday.
The Ethiopian forces, accompanied by Somali pro-government clan-based militias, entered three villages west of Beledweyn, some 300 kilometres (186 miles) north of Mogadishu, on Saturday afternoon.
"I saw dozens of armed vehicles belonging to the Ethiopian army with some Somali militias, they entered Wagada village and detained several people before getting out of the village this morning," Husein Farah Gomey, an elder near Beledweyn told AFP by phone.
Mohamed Nur Adan, another elder in a nearby village also said that his cousin was among dozens detained for questioning by the Ethiopian forces.
"Hundreds of them entered the area late Saturday, they detained 13 people including my cousin but they later released him after questioning him for several hours," he said.
The residents said that while the Ethiopians let some of their detainees go, they took others with them.
Local Islamist officials in the region also confirmed the cross-border raid by the Ethiopian forces.
"It is not the first time they have carried out such raids inside Somalia taking innocent civilians with them, but we tell them that such provocation will only breed bloodshed," Sheik Abdurahman Sheik Mohamoud, a senior Hezb al Islam commander said.
Some of the residents told AFP the Ethiopian forces crossed from the border town of Ferfer tracing members from the Ogaden rebel group that fighting the Ethiopian government.
Ethiopian troops have entered the Beledweyn area on several occasions, with the most-recently reported raid being the end of August when they and Somali government troops drove Islamist rebels from the town.
Ethiopia ended an ill-fated two-year invasion of Somalia in January which had been aimed at uprooting Islamic extremists and consolidating the transitional government.

Removal of Eritrean government would end border row - Ethiopia’s Zenawi


(M e d e s h i)
Removal of Eritrean government would end border row - Ethiopia’s Zenawi
Sunday 11 October 2009.
By Tesfa-alem Tekle
October 10, 2009 (ADDIS ABABA) — Ethiopian Prime minister Meles Zenawi today said that, with the current unbending position the Eritrean government runs , border demarcation is unlikely.
Zenawi on Saturday reiterated before the parliament, the firm stance of his government to resolve the dispute with Eritrea peacefully.
However, he pointed out that since Asmara government refuses a peaceful solution there are two solutions to end this situation: the first is to force Eritrean government to change its stance and the second is to get rid of this government. But he was quick to add that that Eritrean people only can decide on these options.
“Ethiopia has long showed its readiness to engage in a peace dialogue but Eritrea has repeatedly given nothing but Deaf ears to it" The premier told the House of People’s Representatives adding "to proceed full border demarcation with Eritrea, the options are two- either the regime changes its existing ill-ideologies or must be ousted."
The 1998-2000 Border war between the two countries has cost lives of 70,000 people. It has shut down the economic link between the two poorest countries, crippled their economy leaving behind unprecedented domestic challenges.
With tensions still remaining high, there are fears that war might be renewed unless both parties are put together in to a new peace dialogue, using an intensive diplomatic approach supported by new directions.
Eritrea has insisted to see concrete progress on demarcation of the border before engaged to any dialogue with Ethiopia. Demarcation is practically impossible in the absence of Ethiopian consent, which means a degree of flexibility is needed from Asmara on dialogue.
The Ethiopian prime minister accused the Eritrean government of being a major destabilizing factor not only in Ethiopia and Somalia but also to the region as a whole.
"Over the week, Eritrean forces have controlled some territories of Djibouti by forcefully invading the neighbor country” Meles said.
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s remarks were made Earlier on the day, while responding to the amendment motions raised by opposition parliamentarians on government’s outlined prior agendas for the current year.
Despite, the number of amendment motions raised by opposition MPs, the house after wide discussion and explanation from Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, today endorsed the yearly government plans presented by the president without any amendment and with majority vote.
The motions raised for amendment, among others include issue of inflation, drought, global warming, the question of salary to government employees, power shortage, border demarcation, and unemployment and law system.
(ST)
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