Permanent roadblocks and its damage to the livelihood

Somali people had been suffering hardship situations closely for the last three decades including conflicts, abject poverty, frequented droughts, famine and many others due to lack of functioning authority.

With all these difficulties, the people are still resilient when it comes to surviving and struggling their life. For instant, if we compare the other societies across the globe majority of them rely on a support from the government, either they are public servants or they utilize one way or another the developmental projects backed by the government and publically financed.  

Here in Somalia, we have experienced drastically different things, the majority of the citizens depend one for their own self either creating a small business or working with private sectors, only a few number of people are public servant and there is no literally developmental projects backed by the government as well as no service delivery which is the first duty of any government.

The current government which elected February 2017 had the highest support from the civilians at the beginning and one of its campaign programs were, that they listen and give full consideration the public demand, so if we observe the last month of Ramadan all the important roads of Mogadishu were and are closed which causes limited movement of the civilians and deterred business continuation.

In addition, there is still a degree of recklessness from the government officials towards respecting the fundamental rights of the citizens such as freedom of movement which is entitled the indigenous people all international conventions and the national laws as well.

Let me share with you a painful story which most of the media platforms has been covered!

A Somali mom with pregnant uses to have a small business especially vegetables in Hamarweyne market, “I have a small business in the market, daily I buy a vegetables as a wholesale and sell in to retail and I benefits everyday one hundred 100 Somali Shillings which I cover daily I and my children’s life,  during last month of Ramadan which I was expecting to keep up my business and get much more profit as longest the Ramadan month the purchasing power increases,I encountered the worst deficit due to the roadblocks.

Because as a small business owners notably vegetables , we receive daily the vegetables from Afgoye district through Elasha residence , but unfortunately the main entrance checkpoint of Mogadishu Ex-control is blocked by the government’s armed forces particularly the whole Ramadan month which affected negatively my business continuation. My situation became so hard; because I can’t stay and remain my house as longest there is no one is caring my children’s life.

I reside in XOOSH under Dharkenley district; I come on foot my business center in Hamarweyne market my situation is getting harder and harder day after day” she says

Another painful story is , a friend of mine who is a businessman specially vegetables said to me  “when I take from the vegetables in Afgoye so as to disperse to my clients in Mogadishu, the government forces reject to enter the Ex-control checkpoint and they order us aggressively to go back where we came from , and you know the lifespan of the vegetables is less than the other business products, so we request them to allow us to distribute where we are currently and call our client to come here, and the troops also refuse and reluctant to respect our request , so we face daily that kind of humiliation and disrespect, and currently we are on the verge to take the weapons” he notes.

Government’s justification towards roadblocks

  • Preventing massive explosions: during the Ramadan month, there was no any explosion happened in Mogadishu which is very good and we appreciate that good work and we say to the government thank you and keep up the good work. But in the mean time, so many organized assassinations happened during that month which was targeted many people at different social classes
  • Protection of the civilians: which is the primary responsibility of the government  

 

Potential negative reactions from the Public!

 

  • Mass outrage and public backlash against the government’s actions
  • Spreading Hatred and mistrust among the government and its people
  • Demonstration towards reacting the government’s policy related to the roadblocks
  • Decreasing the devotion of the civilians towards the government, because if you deeply and profoundly observe the mainstream you can understand that there is a public angry against the government

 

Damages from the roadblocks during Ramadan month

 

  • Decrease of purchasing power which led to immense loss of moneys towards the business especially the clothes and shoes, because it was expecting to receive many consumers in order to sell much during Eid days
  • Delays of working places and schools for sack of roadblocks, because roadblocks become part of government’s daily business
  • Limited civilian movement. Usually during Eid days many people go to their relatives for salutation and Eid festival, but last Eid days most of people didn’t

 

Way forward

  • The people should abide the law but in the mean time should write a petition expressing their sentiments towards any complain and human rights violations.
  • The government should come up with a set up and holistic approach towards handling the security measures and at the same time allowing the freedom of movement and business continuation.
  • The government should listen the public concern and accept flexibility for its pathway towards the security. When the head of state H.E president Farmaajo was expressing his feelings towards the roadblocks and says “I am ordering the security officials to facilitate the people their freedom of movement” he acted so meek and mild, because the security forces took that order at the beginning and insisted to keep roadblocks afterwards.

 

Anwar Abdifatah Bashir
Freelance Journalist and Researcher
Email: anwarcade100@gmail.com