Published On: Sun, Sep 26th, 2010

Road Accidents in Somaliland: Causes & Solutions

In Somaliland, many people die in a traffic accidents on the road each year, with hundreds of people injured, vehicles damaged and properties lost in these accidents. During the last week alone, at least four accidents were reported and the local newspapers and websites covered the accidents which left behind tragedy and sorrow to many families and to us all. We are accustomed of hearing such news day after day, little actions are taken and the main issue remains unsolved. A problem well defined is a problem half solved, so the causes are at least well known to everyone, but let me remind you the likely causes of those accidents: road conditions, driver errors or negligence and problems related with road design, maintenance and repairing. The most common form is clearly poor road conditions.

Most of the highways and roads in Somaliland are built long before Somaliland regained its independence in 1991 and are regarded as old fashioned and sometimes dangerous. Those roads were designed for using not more than ten or twenty years. Now, they are almost in bad conditions and pose a great danger to drivers ,passengers and cars.
Although the government has repaired some roads and built new ones, yet the main roads and highways are at their worst conditions. Poor road conditions such as potholes and debris are the cause of serious car accidents. The highways and public roads lack concerning road signs, good maintenance and repairs, good drainage and road markings. They are too narrow to be used by two cars in the same way; and passing the next car is almost difficult.

If you ever traveled by a car to Berbera from Hargeisa or the vise versa, you will observe the bad conditions of this highway. During the night, the light of the cars nearby make the movement difficult; while the roads are too narrow the light from the coming cars get directed to the drivers eye, such that he/she will be in a difficult position of moving the car straight.

Roads are the bases of development,connecting the regions and serve the passage of goods and commodities easily and quickly from one city or village to another. It is one of the most important infrastructure and a network for communication. On the other hand, we are concerned by the safety and well being of our citizens, therefore we urge the government to address this issue and act wisely and immediately in regard to this unsolved problem. Both the municipalities and the central government must make reasonable efforts to provide safe road ways and must be concerned of the safety of their citizens.

In addition to that, it is important to note that drivers have the responsibility to drive safely, be more careful and report their challenges to the concerned agencies. The new roads to be built , should also be well designed and considerations given to the fact that our nation is growing and many people tend to have their own cars, adding a burden to the poorly conditioned roads. In the meantime, the municipality and the government should maintain the old roads and make all possible repairing. At least, the road signs and markings should be made, so that the driver knows when and where to slow down, and becomes aware of the dangerous twists and turns. Many drivers even don’t know the speed they have to use because roads don’t have the signs telling that.

The government had always let this problem unsolved, giving cheap excuses and blindly diverting our eyes to a bigger issues, such as the recognition. As a new government took power, we urge them to double their efforts and set up an strategy for the betterment of our roads and highways. We believe we can do. The change we needed begins from here. Actions are stronger than promises. Let your promises and policies functioning and achieved.

Ahmed Mohamoud Elmi –Shawky
A journalist and social activist.

Displaying 21 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. mohamed says:

    Absolutely so..we need articles tackling what developing infrastructures
    are required which is key to modern peace and prosperity is all about.
    Hopefully all the Kulmiye Regime Cabinet will do superb jobs without
    corruptions. Let's pray and hope that Almighty God will bless the
    new Republic with the Hub developments the Gulf Countries GCC wereblessed with.

  2. Abdulrahman M. Omar says:

    Dear friends we have a problem we blaming our newly born government for any problem raised up, we don't have to, we suppose to write our proposals how to solve such a problems, not just to plaim them saying the government didn't did this and this. We aware of this kind of problems, 85 % of Somaliland vehicles run out of brake, because the brake shoes is very expensive, were his minor benefits can't cover feeding his family and the maintenance of his vehicle. You know one day I was walking along the main road of Hargeisa infront of the National Bank one vehicle driving by a very old man almost hit me, I have noticed that either he is not a driver or somthing is wrong with the vehicle, I just took a quick back step to put my self in a save side, then the driver stop the vehicle by gear one and hand brake togather at once, then came to me, he apologised saying I am very sorry freind, the vehicle doesn't have brakes, you suppose not to drive it is risky, you might kill some or even commit an accident if you drive in that way, he smiled and said I know freind but how can i survive? Cheers.

  3. ali says:

    BS, Somalilanders are bad drivers in general because they don't have a driver license or any driving skills.

  4. Highway Man says:

    As a Highway Design of over 10 years with experience in all parts of the world I always enjoy to read the view and percepion of road-users. I understand Hargeisa in particluar has major problems with cars(left / right driven), standard of roads, driver behaviour, etc etc. But imagine if all of these pavements were repaired with associated increase in speed and mobility in the city? Yes I know, it would have great benefits but the Hergeisa I know is better off with broken pavement to force reduction of speed, with fewer SERIOUS accidents. This is the major problem in every part of the world, speed, and despite substantial control measures in the form of legislations and physical changes to the streetscape, the problem still persist.

    • Kayse says:

      I understand where your coming from and you make sense. I also agree with you. Somaliland needs proper road authority as well as driving schools, signs and marks on the roads. There should also be some sort of patrol in areas with high accidents.

  5. ali says:

    Another problem facing somaliland is the issue with pedestrants crossing the roads when there is a car coming, most of the people of Somaliland don't even a driver license and that is really sad, and plus they don't wear seatbealts the motorists in Somaliland.

  6. ali says:

    The Government of Somliland Should a 3 step driver license just like canada, especially the province of Ontario. Like they should have a graduated licensing system, they should have a written test or knowledge test in Ontario it is called G1, and the second step should be a road test to determine the driving skills of the driver which in Ontario is called G2, and the Highway road test where drivers are examined to drive on the highway which is a G license which is a fully licensed driver. the government should put speed limits on roads and traffic lights and also traffic signs aswell, and also to put more competent traffic officers on the road and dismiss the current traffic officer because they are lazy, the only harass good driver not the bad drivers.

  7. Gobaad says:

    We all heard that the new Administration inherited a deficit from the previous Administration and currently operating on deficit. We also heard that public employees’ salaries have not been paid for months. If I am not mistaken, the government was seeking loan from the local business people. Let us not blame the new government. They were only in power for couple of months now. It is not time for checks and balance yet. The former government was in power for 8 years with little or no tangible progress. Let us give the current government a chance to do their do work, at least for couple of years. We all know that in real world, governments are built by its citizens, paying taxes, strengthening the manpower by volunteering in all fields, and fund-raising. It is an African mentality to expect everything from the government.

  8. Gobaad says:

    An estimate of 1million to 1.5million Somalilanders live overseas. We need to help our government to rebuild the country. Imagine, if every Somalilanders overseas pays a one time, one $100 donation to help rebuild the infrastructure and then make a frequent fund-raising contributions after that to help other projects in education, health etc, as need arises. If I am not mistaken, it will mount to $100million to $150million and it will not break the banks. I believe that it is doable, one region at a time.

    Good job, Shawky, it is an awareness article. Keep it up.

  9. Shawky says:

    Thank you Gobad. Infact your comment is very appealing to everyone. Your suggestions and proposals are also indeed recommendable. If I ever mentioned any goverment in my article, I meant the previous one, but on the other hand I had in mind that the current government will learn from past mistakes. I appreiciate the level of discussion and debate shown and without you nothing could have been possible. Keep up the good work guys and thanks for your comments.

  10. ali says:

    Lets talk about the driver license issue in somaliland please. the issue i was speaking about.

    • Geedi says:

      Sorry Ali but before license, Somaliland Tragic Police department needs capacity to handle all the transport vehicles, light vehicles, in terms of management and control and next is the road maintenance. The former government was not doing anything about this section and still we do not see any change or new policy toward such accident prevention from the newly elected government.
      I hope the elected government will take soon action this traffic department with the collaboration of ministry of public works,and the local governments


  11. ali says:

    Very good article Shawky, also talk the issue facing that situation in Somaliland which i was talking about earlier.

  12. shawky says:

    Dear Ali, the issue you addressed is indeed on the ground. What I can tell is that almost all of our drivers doesn't have liscence. All sorts of people- girls, boys, adults and the likes can drive as long as they have a car and a petrol. Few learnt driving courses, and those have driver lisence. Anyway, I think the problem is within the ministry of transport or rather the department of vehicles. They should make rules and regualtions in regard to this issue. Some may think whenever we point our fingers to the government that we know only how to critisize it, but my argument is straight forward and it is that the government is the facilitator, a catalyst and motivator in the issue. Anything can't be done without its involvement.

  13. mohamed says:

    I see otherwise. The Sl populace are small numbers. The country is so
    overwhelmingly blessed with enormous riches from A to Z. All it needs
    is a good governance and dedicated good planning, teaching the Nation
    to trust loving and living in their country, hardworking with less corruptions
    and so forth. This by itself can produce sustainable progress within a
    short time spin.Cheers.

  14. Ali Dheere says:

    You are very right Mohamed of what you said, and agree with you. But all you wrote is theory, where is the practice?

    Democratic Republic of Congo, is supposed to be Democratic and very rich in minerals. Nigeria is blessed with whatever mineral you may think of. Alas, their citizens live in &^*t.

    What we need in SL is nationals, patriots and dedicated leaders. We are trying, but we are not there yet.


  15. the driving schools in our area are quite good in giving basic driving lessons."'

  16. Asha says:

    Salams everyone
    Can someone please let me know who the current Minster of transportation and highways is for Somaliland?
    its urgently needed..

  17. I truly enjoy reading through on this site, it has superb blog posts. “Those who complain most are most to be complained of.” by Matthew Henry.

  18. Ricky says:

    Some very cool progression here, great post.

  19. bafana says:

    my idea is caused traffic why some traffic police are isn't writing and reading secondly when trading traffic decrease the accident is the higher & the road some times is damage

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