Mogadishu (UM) – The vote by the majority of MPs today to nullify the Berbera deal between DP World, Somaliland and Ethiopia is the best sign of a government and legislature making a common stand in the national interest. This is the first time since the case of the maritime case against Kenya that Somalis have united on the matter of national territorial integrity.
Where critics were worried that MPs were preparing to destabilise national politics upon their return from recess, they surprised all by prioritising and addressing the illegal Berbera deal. The outcome of the Parliamentary vote must now be followed through and DP World must be expelled from all Somali territories for its absolute irresponsibility and its arrogant CEOs meddling in internal Somali affairs.
All foreign investors must follow the law and deal with the Federal government which manages and is responsible for all natural resources, assets and their utilisation. If they do this, they ought to be welcomed with a red carpet.
DP World’s action is unacceptable and its CEOs response to it unforgivable. Both should never be allowed back into Somalia. On the other hand, the Somali federal government must expedite the resource sharing discussions and the constitutional review to reassure federal member states that there will be a fair formula for resource sharing and distribution in the future. The upcoming Baidoa conference at the end of this month offers all stakeholders a great opportunity to reach an agreement on the way forward on resource sharing.
On Somaliland, there have been some criticism from Hargeisa but the federal government should ignore this and continue to encourage dialogue. Somalia is one and in the end, the people of Somalia wherever they live within the country will need to unite to benefit from the abundance of resources that exist while facing common challenges together. Whatever the visible public politics, the majority of the Somali people remain connected in every way, everywhere.
Ethiopia, the third partner in the deal with 19% stake, has so far been silent on the Berbera deal. However, it must be warned by the Somali government to not meddle in domestic Somali affairs. Ethiopia should understand that a stable and united Somalia is crucial for their very own existence given the ethnic tensions they are dealing with today and will be embroiled in for the foreseeable future.
Ethiopia’s reasons for joining DP World in the Berbera deal may have arguably been more economical but there should be no concern on their side regarding Somalia’s commitment to providing transport services for their peoples’ needs. Somali ports need Ethiopian business as much as Ethiopians need Somali ports. This is the positive cooperation that both governments should focus on to truly protect themselves from predatory corporate spoilers like DP World who which to destabilise the whole region through illegal investments.
Today’s Parliamentary vote inspires new confidence in the process of rebuilding Somalia’s key governance institutions and their ability to put the national interests first. This vote for the protection of Somalia’s interests by its public representatives sends the clearest message to rogue investors: stay out or respect Somalia’s sovereignty.