The ghost UAE envoy: the lie that did not pass

Finally, Kulmiye is too clever for their own detriment.  For the last eight years this party has bet on the gullibility of the public to shamelesly lie to their face, telling them what the people wish to hear. For instance, on their visits to Somaliland, western ambassadors to Somalia are casualy introduced to the public as the representative of the country in Somaliland and Somalia.

But this time, they have gone too far. Today, one thing is obvious and that is the government is lying about the nature of supposedly UAE delegation the president has received yesterday.

The government’s narrative is that a high level delegation consisting of 12 persons met the president and apologized for remarks made by UAE minister last week. Allegedly, the delegation also promised to lift ban on Somaliland livestock exports, train and equip Somaliland forces and facilitate free movement of people and goods between the two countries.

All this is good news, but many citizen are not having any of it.  That is mainly due to the secrecy surrounding the identity and the ranks of the delegation. Apart from being twelve persons and of high-level, the government failed to release any more details. There were no joint press conference after the meeting. Journalists were not provided photographs of the delegation along with the press release.

All we know about the envoy comes from the spokesperson of the president in a video posted on his facebook page. The ministry of foreign affairs reiterated spokesperson remarks today.

This is remarkably different than how usually Somaliland receives dignitaries and how they are presented. Normaly, journalists are invited to the reception or photos of the event are posted online.

There is also the matter of inconsistency in the press releases of the president’s spokesperson and the press release of ministry of foreign affairs. While the presidency mentions the establishment of kidney hospital, and public servants  training provided by UAE, Ministry of Foreign Affais does not.

On top of that disgusting cherry, the UAE side is yet to make statement regarding the alleged delegation.

The final blow then came from an online tabloid newspaper, Qarannews, which reported that the delegation is not political at all, but consists of junior officials in DP World and the Djiboutian businessman Abdirahman Boore.

At this juncture, one might wonder, what would compel the government to so blatanly lie to its people. A little background information explains it all. Last week, the UAE state foreign minister told BBC Arabic that Berbera military base and port deals came to being thanks to understanding with the Federal Government of Somalia, and that UAE did not have any communication with Somaliland. This embarrassed the Kulmiye who for long played the card of patriotism against the opposition. Suddenly, Kulmiye became a suspect of relinquishing the sovereignity of the country.

Uncharacteristically, Waddani party has not let the chance go by. Abdirahman Irro called for the resignation of Muse Bihi and the trial of ex president Ahmed Silanyo  for high treason immediately after the revelation.

That must have thrown the government of tracks. In a desperate attempt to safe face Muse Bihi have grossly underestimated the intelligence of the people and orchesterated this sham. This time, I am glad to say, people know better. People are  mocking the ill prepared and executed sham on social media.  There are jokes and buns about the invisibility of the delegation, stolen photographs of the event that mirrors the theft of the constitution of Somalia that was revealed recently. Some people are even wondering the existence of a ghost country which is also called UAE that sent a ghost envoy to Somaliland.

This time the lie did not pass. I am happy for that, but what is keeping me awake tonight is the question of what else, of higher consequences, is this government lying about? I can’t be the only one wondering that.

Abdillahi Hassan Jama

Journalist based in Hargeisa, Somaliland