There are nearly six hundred thousand residents in Hargeysa (which counts as half of its population of 1.2 million) who have not had running water for the past eighteen years. Administration came and went promising during the campaign addressing this issue and dealing with it as their first priority, but nothing has been done thus far. Instead of taking steps to eliminate the pain and suffering of this population, government introduced new taxes targeting water trucks that were life lane of these residents.

Consequently, people lost their patience and peacefully protested in Hargeysa this week. As expected, authority confronts protesters with machine guns and live ammunitions killing two and wounding eleven of them. To make this matter worse, government officials give out distorted account of the incident.

To deny the rights of these fellow citizens who have been peacefully protesting against water shortage in the city the authority accused the victims as being traitors who were organized by a foreign element and are politically motivated.

According to the sources in Hargeysa Hospital, one of the victims who took a bullet into his neck still has that bullet sitting there because doctors have refused to operate until the boy’s family pays three hundred dollars US ($300).

Surprisingly, the young and inexperienced mayor who inherited the position took authorities advice and dismissed Hargeysa’s water shortage; and, the City water supply director was shocked to hear this news. Clearly, this shows the incompetence of these individuals and the neglectful behavior of the central government about the plight of Hargeysa residents who are slowly dying because of unsanitary conditions and water bound diseases for many years.

This is not the first time that Hargeysa resident could not control their frustrations about the water shortage and took to the streets. Similar and spontaneous riots had happen six years ago after water drilling rig which had been drilling water wells South East direction of the city suddenly transferred by the authority to the western part of the country. Five people died and fifteen wounded in that demonstration. The total number of Hargeysa citizens who died due to the violence during protests so far is seven and twenty six wounded, six critically.

To be fair, it was known fact that previous government secured some investment for this cause and start drilling water wells in Dararweyne area. According to a source, more than fourteen water wells has been drilled, inter connected and ready to be pumped into the Eastern part of the city.

However, time and time again people in Hargeysa get conflicting information about the progress of project and cannot comprehend why it is taking so long. Also, they cannot digest why the current water supply of Hargeysa is not distributed equally to all citizens of the city.

Eighteen years of waiting for the authority to provide basic drinking water to the people of Hargeysa took its toll. People lost trust of their leaders and had doubts whatever information was publicized about this issue.

In addition, to control the people who are demanding their basic rights, government uses police brutality and indiscriminate killing. Shooting and killing angry children throwing stones cannot be justified in any circumstance. It is cold blooded murder and it is the responsibility of the government to answer to the public.

Whatever the case maybe, it is clear, Hargeysa water shortage and the plight of its resident is not included in the current government’s list of priorities. The government is in the mood to campaign, and is busy with securing votes and supporters, while ignoring and neglecting its basic responsibility of their citizens in Hargeysa. The slogan of this campaign is the road to Erigavo city. One asks how on earth any sound politician can dismiss 600,000 people which made up to 17.1% of 3.5 million of Somaliland population and still wants to govern, but everything is possible in Africa.

Nevertheless, it is time Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Siraanyo), the president of Somaliland to do paradigm reshuffle by reorganizing his priority list. Having clean running water is basic human rights and it has been recognized as such in the United Nations Charter of Human Rights.

Building roads improves movement of goods, people and economy in general, but, does not negate the right to have running water. In fact, other social services such as health, education and security come before the roads. The Hargeysa water issue had been one of your campaign promises and people have been waiting for you patiently to this day.

Also, it is the time for elected of officials such as Parliament, House of Elders, opposition parties and any responsible citizen who has some dignity left in his soul speak up and bring government leaders in to account by asking relevant questions regarding this matter. “If it’s not in my house it is not my problem” mentality will not serve any purpose and does not lead a destitute nation out of misery. Remember history will not hide any official who mismanages public funds, ignore calls for his tax payers and abuses his personal authority while he is in office.

Ali Jama (Toronto)

Political Analyst


  1. I am one of the residents in Hargeisa, Its really wonderful that Somali-land government don't respect people's complainant. I believe that pressuring is a indicator of ignorance which may lead internal conflict and community crisis.

  2. We have achieved so much in Somaliland during the past two decades, and cities like Hargeisa and Burao have risen like Phoenix's from the ashes, but the water situation across the country needs serious attention. It is obvious that neither the government nor the local council leadership in Hargeisa is up to the task. If and when the water situation is resolved like the electricity, telephone and other essentials services, then we can say a notable achievement has been attained. Perhaps it is time to privatize the water services in Somaliland?

  3. Somaliland people as always, should find a solution to water crisis just like they have with other things. rioting and stone throwing, does not solve problems but make it worse.

    May Allah bless the people of Somaliland. Amen!

  4. Hope government listens its people and sort it out water issue. It is easy to miss priority. No more civilian killings!.

  5. Fortunate is the countray which has leaders who listen to what the public says and learn lessons from the past and apply new ideas to the pressing issues that the people encounter on daily basis. As peace is a tree that gives its shade to all people, without distinction and discrimination, so is water. No water no life. The existing government has to make a fresh plan for how the public will have water. We know well that water projects are among the projects that need resources and time, but the spirit to exert energy on this is highly urgent and immediate. The administration must be responsive. There is noom for an idle and arrogant administration.