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Is Somaliland Teetering Towards Failure? - Part II
What can be done to avoid it?
Now that due to racism, the West has intentionally snubbed Somaliland simply because it (Somaliland) is neither a Christian nation nor it is one of its kin or kind; now that the Arab World intentionally ignores Somaliland simply because it is of no interest to her and now that ignorant AU does not or cannot interpret even to itself what its charter preaches or promulgates… “To keep Africa’s colonial boundaries in tact”, which Somaliland secession, which should it happen, will not violate. It is, therefore, a requirement that all Somaliland people, both inside the country and elsewhere, take the torch of hope for their country and save it from the seemingly impending catastrophes that are looming on the horizon.
For instance, most of the people of Somaliland live on less than one dollar a day and even those who could cross the poverty line by making business with the international community are isolated internationally for the last seventeen years. And secondly, Somaliland intellectuals in general and Somaliland diaspora in particular refuse to play a positive role and help their nation to move forward. Consequently, today, life of the masses is increasingly becoming harder and in fact deteriorating. This may eventually cause problems that have the potential to cause a social implosion.
How could Somalilanders save Somaliland?
First, while many people usually mention only the negatives of tribalism, it is a fact that tribalism as a whole is not bad and Somalis survived on it for centuries. Used right, tribalism can play the role of people’s insurance and social security. It is only when used wrongly that tribalism becomes ugly and leads to social ills and national failure. In short, like they say, money is not evil; it is money lovers who are evil. So, tribalism is not evil; it is tribalism lovers or exploiters who are evil.
Consequently, if Somaliland people use tribalism right, it could and would create positive results that could save Somaliland. This is because every village, town or region would be developed by the collective support of its people even though every region is virtually inhabited by one tribe or shared by two due to Somaliland’s traditional tribal habitats.
It is, therefore, incumbent on us to find ways to generate revenues. And one way to do this should be the establishment of a comprehensive local taxation and citizen registration system. Issuing an ID card to every citizen could also be the first step towards the formation of a permanent national voting database. ID cards must be cheap for those who cannot afford them, for instance an issuance charge of US$5 per card and a yearly maintenance of US$2. This is because the era of getting something for nothing should cease forever! And any one, who refuses to register or fails to participate in this new national belt-tightening program, must be prohibited from receiving any privileges. But those who participate in it should qualify for district, regional or national employment and social services programs etc.
Likewise, overseas Somalilanders must be registered and those who do not contribute directly to the nation’s GDP and are mostly better off financially should be charged US$ 50 for new IDs and $10 as annual maintenance fees. Those holding foreign passports like me should also continue paying US$20 charges at the national ports of entry, while the US$10 charge at the time of exit should be waived.
However, overseas Somalilanders who fail or refuse to register should be considered as aliens and must be treated as such, meaning that they will have to pay current port of entry visa charges during every visit of Somaliland and additional charges for any stay longer than a fixed period unless they bring investment business to the country in which case they should be issued a business residence visa.
How would generated revenues be distributed?
First, all generated revenues should be considered as a national resource. But 50% of the revenues generated in the campaign should go directly to the contributors’ District, 20% should go to their region and 30% should go directly to the Central government. But it should still be the responsibility of the Central government to provide major services like education, health care services etc. to all regions as it should be the only entity that owns all national major income generating institutions like: ports, airports, export fees as well as international financial support provisions.
It is through this campaign, national database and revenue generation campaign, that tribal institutions can and should play a major role because only through tribal chiefs and elected members of the parliament, both of which in our case come through tribal institutions, can this be enforced to establish accurate registration of every community member.
Another sacrifice needed to save Somaliland is that all overseas community members should contribute toward the rebuilding of their country by investing in their villages, towns, cities or farms so that their people find employment. In fact, it is time to borrow and abide by America’s John F. Kennedy’s great slogan: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
Finally, revenues generated through the national database establishment should be used to help each District qualify in the District Classifications proposed below. Based on revenue generation and population numbers, districts must be classified into:
Class A District: Will be any district whose total vote based on the averages of the last three elections, produced 20,000 votes or more and whose local revenue covers at least 80% of its Necessary Social Services Needs (Necessary Social Services Needs” must be predefined and established by a national decree). That means District A must not be eligible or claim more than 20% of its Necessary Social Services Needs from the Central Government.
Class B District: Will be one whose total vote based on the averages of the last three elections, produced between 10,000 and 19,999 votes and whose local revenue covers at least 70% of its Necessary Social Services Needs. That means District B must not be eligible or claim more than 30% of its Necessary Social Services Needs from the Central Government.
Class C District: Will be one whose total vote based on the averages of the last three elections produced between 6000 and 9,999 votes and whose local revenue covers at least 60% of its Necessary Social Services Needs. That means District C must not claim and is not eligible to claim more than 40% of its Necessary Social Services Needs from the Central Government
Class D District: Will be one whose total vote based on the averages of the last three elections produced between 3000 and 5,999 votes and whose local revenue covers at least 50% of its Necessary Social Services Needs. This means District D must not be eligible or claim more than 50% of its Necessary Social Services Needs from the Central Government.
However, any entity whose total vote, based on the averages of the last three elections, produced less than 3000 votes should be removed from eligibility for claiming District status and any other privileges that goes with it. Any documents issued to them to date to that end must be revoked or considered null and void.
And finally, representation through elected members should not be solely based on Regional criterion but on District Classification as well where District A for instance, receives higher quota of the elected members (parliamentarians) than District B; District B higher members (parliamentarians) than District C etc. And certainly strongly but patriotically participating in the campaign above would be one of the dividends of the citizens’ contribution towards their respective Districts’ future political voice.