Garowe, March 23, 2021
An Arab observer of violence in camel rustling in Somalia once said, “all problems lead to a camel”. That problem has now given birth to land speculation in all urban centres of Somalia with daily loss of lives and suffering of families as bread winners get killed in urban violence and land disputes.
In Puntland, Galkayo and Garowe lead the list, not only in violent land disputes and litigations in courts and clan councils, but also in real estate price speculation. Plots of land are acquired in whatever means, earmarked for personal properties and ownership, and then speculated to property seekers on unreal and exaggerated prices in fashions tatamount to an organized tribal crime, in the cases of Galkayo and Garowe. In terms of prices, buying a property in Garowe is now the same as buying one in Toronto or New York City.
Reports said that there were even meetings held by sub-clans of Garowe on how to grab land in order to extract money and wealth from would-be new residents of Puntland Capital City, and that there were locations in Garowe exclusively marked for the ownership of specific sub-clans that others were not allowed to have access to them.
Government oversight and control to reign over land misuse don’t exist at all. Residents don’t foresee the imminent civil conflict soon to explode as the City grows and expands. Here, people are poor planners. They deal problems at ad hoc fashion and after the facts.
It is time for the City to get prepared and plan for peaceful growth, expansion and inclusiveness in order to avoid tribal enclosures and enclaves, if Garowe wants to remain the Capital City of the State of Puntland.