Mogadishu (UM) – Interviews by UM with a wide ranging cross section of the Somali public reveals that they are angry with Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire for visiting the UAE at a time when the two countries diplomatic relations was so bad.
Most interviewed felt that Prime Minister Khaire had no real reason to go to the UAE especially as the small Arab state has been working hard to undermine his Government.
” There are stupid mistakes in politics and this visit was one of them for the Prime Minister,” said Mohamed Jama, a pharmacist in Mogadishu.
“I don’t even think the Prime Minister got an official invitation because he left so quickly and without giving much information to the us,” added a cafe owner who did not want to be named. “My customers have been discussing this issue all week and the majority opinion is that the whole visit was wrong and the Prime Minister deserved to be embarrassed like he is.”
Many of the interviewees agreed that the whole meeting took place under suspicious circumstances and there was too much secrecy.
“We all know how the UAE and Ethiopia are disrespecting our country and the visit should have been an opportunity to stand up to them but the PM did not do this and we were embarrassed by the Berbera deal when the Prime Minister returned.”
All the interviewees disagreed with the Berbera agreement between DP World, Ethiopia and Somaliland. They supported the Government’s position that it was illegal and unconstitutional. However, all stated that the PM shamed himself and the government by going to the UAE to begin with.
“Why would he be so ill- advised? His visit just made him look guilty and poorly advised,” said a student who did not want to be named.
Most interviewed argued that the press conference held by Prime Minister following the Berbera agreement made him look amateurish.
“The UAE who hosted the Prime Minister few hours before the press conference must have been laughing at him,” observed Elmi Ali, a NGO worker in Mogadishu.
“UAE visit was a failing of judgement and ut will hurt the PMs credibility,” said a former Somali diplomat who did not want to be named.
From all the interviews it was clear that most felt the entire UAE visit was wrong and Prime Minister Khaire was shamed as a result of rushing to embrace a nation that is actively hurting Somalia politically and economically. Most agreed that the only way to deal with the UAE and Ethiopia over the Berbera deal is to lower diplomatic ties to show Somalia’s anger. This is a decision they want the “shamed” Prime Minister and his “soft UN trained ” Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad to consider.