In an exclusive interview with Geeska Afrika, former Somaliland Vice President Ahmed Yusuf Yasin who served for eight years under in government of ex-President Dahir Rayale Kahin discusses various national issues including the first foreign visit by incumbent President Musa Behi, Airspace Control saga with Somalia and the UAE military base proposed for establishment in Berbera among others
Below verbatim excerpts of the interview translated by Somalilandsun
“Marka Madaxweynuhu Dhoofayo Ama Soo Degayo
Wixii Is Barbar Yaacayey Ee Badnaa Oo Badankoodu
Istusnimo U Badnaa, Meesha Way Ka Baxeen”
Geeska Afrika- The first foreign visit by Musa Behi Abdi in his capacity as president of Somaliland was to Djibouti, why so?
VP Ahmed Yusuf Yasin -Comsideromg the diverse relations existing between Djibouti and our country which includes diplomatic, trade, political and security , making the neighbouring country his maiden destination abroad is not only commendable but worthy too.
Hopefully a number of snugs like cross border movement between our brotherly citizens and goods was ironed out too
Q- Absent during the president’s departure and return from Djibouti was the regular masses of people escorting and receiving such at the airport Plus the retinue of armed security, what is your take on this different protocol?
A- While it is the prerogative of the president to invite escort and reception services from clapping and praising singing citizens , apparent is the fact that President Musa Behi has decided to do away with this etiquette which is a blessing too.
Q- What of the administration’s lean composition which is a far cry from the bloated one President Behi replaced?
A- The lean council of ministers established is much welcomed and hopefully it shall serve aptly. Also the size eliminates huge sums of money from the central coffers that went to the pay of not only none productive but useless large retinue of ministers.
Q- What is your take on the suspended UAE Military Base contract awarded by the immediate past administration of President Silanyo?
A- Fortunately President Musa Behi has a Military background thence the best person to determine the benefits and ills of awarding a foreign power base facilities in our country.
That said let me reminisce Fofty years back to the era of Soviet military base in Berbera . They paid $50 Million annually to the govenenrt in addition to training the armed forces as well as whipping it even to shedding them with boots.
So my advise is the president who as said is more experienced in Military issues should make a decision based on the national interest as pertains to which power should be awarded a base facility in our country.
Q- Do you think President Behi will revisit the contract awarded Emirati firm DP World to manage Berbera port?
A- I will not speak for the president but suffice is to say that the monopoly given DP World is not apt. They have a 30years tenure plus 10 more to be discussed while chipping in only $10m annually. This is unimaginable, why the monopoly while things might change or other more lucrative forms might be interested in future, in a nutshell this contract needs a rethink.
Q- What is your take on Somalia assuming control of Somaliland Airspace?
A- Personally I believe this is national treachery considering that for the last couple of years the Silanyo administration told us that agreement has been reached to the Contrary as part of talks with Somalia. That said while Somalia assuming control of our Airspace is an abomination it is up to the government of President Behi to rectify matters
Q-Can we attribute this Airspace Control disaster to poor negotiations by the administration of President Silanyo?
A- In a nutshell Yes, so let’s review all negotiations entered by the immediate past administration for it is not only the Airspace Control which is suspicious but almost all of them, more DP World Berbera port contract as well as the UAE Military Base as well.
Q- What of Somalia government ministers visiting our country at will and illegally at that?
A- The presence of Somalia’s planning minister in parts our eastern regions was wrong and unlawful , also provocative as well. Most important it was geared towards establishing the groundwork for the visit of President Farmajo. Fortunately this never happened for our government was quick on its feet.
Q-Was this provocation from Somalia related to the recent skirmishes between Somaliland and Puntland forces in Sool region?
A- Definitely, and if it wasn’t for the quick action by our gallant Tripp’s which curtailed the planned president Farmajo visit, then things would have turned ugly.
Q- what of the talks between Somalia and Somaliland undertaken by our past government , What would your advise to incumbent President Be?
A- Though the Administration that instigated then is gone the talks have to continue but it is imperative for President Behi resume them on the condition that impartial mediators are present to ensure that agreements reached are actually implemented Contrary to those of the past.
Q- While Presidential were held successfully late last year we are now eyeing those of the legislature and local councils, but the issue of proportional seats allotment for regions remains unsolved, What is your take On?
A- To hold these elections successfully in the planned timeframe which is slightly more than a year from now let’s embark on the process of constitutional review and amendments being the sole route open to resolving the now dispute legislature seats Allotment
Q- 26 years later we still don’t have legal parameters guiding Guurti elections, What next?
A- The Guurti which is our upper chamber of parliament, was established without constitutional stipulations for its elections. So my proposal is let’s deal with matters related to forthcoming parliamentary and local council elections then deal with that of the Guurti
Q- It is almost a tradition to postpone elections in Somaliland , how can we reverse this trend?
A- While polls have been postponed for various reasons in the past the only thing that can lead to such is constitutional review which takes a long time, so to ensure that parliamentary and local council elections are held timely this time let’s start the review now.