Due to mounting financial strain brought on by the worldwide pandemic, Ethiopia’s ongoing civil war, and the US military presence in Djibouti, which its lease is set to expire in a few years, President Ismail Omar Guelleh changed his political approach to Somalia.
President Guelleh expended both resources and political capital to depose former President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. According to reliable sources, he paid several million dollars to get Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud elected. He also advocated for President Hassan in the regional powers.
Given all of the challenges that Djibouti faces, it needs a new strategy to deal with the impact of Berbera Port taking a chunk of its business away from Ethiopia, regional geopolitical dynamics with an eye toward managing its soaring debt.
To accomplish all of this, a concrete strategic plan must be developed, which includes acquiring Somalia’s emerging ports, markets, and overall influence over Somalia’s geopolitical outlook.
The several seaports that are developing in Somalia were among the economic resources he was considering seizing. He views the ports as an economic base that can aid in resolving the economic issues that Djibouti is currently experiencing.
He plans to invest in a number of ports, including Hobyo ports. He made direct contact with the top officials of the Galmudug regional government through the Federal Government and its agents in order to make this happen.
In early September 2020, President Ismail Omar Guelleh extended a high-level invitation to the leader of the state of Galmudug, President Qoor Qoor. Members of the president’s administration, businesspeople, and traditional leaders made up the invited delegation that accompanied the Qoor Qoor.
At that meeting, it was agreed that the Djibouti government would invest in and manage the Port of Hobyo for the next thirty years.
On September 11, 2020, a week after the Djibouti meeting, President Ismail dispatched a large delegation led by Mohamed Adan Waberi, Senior Advisor of Djibouti Port Authority and Free Zone. The delegations paid a joint visit to Hobyo and its port.
The delegation spoke with the locals about the layout of Hobyo’s natural port and potential investments from the Djibouti government. Mr. Waberi also met in Mogadishu with some of the elders from Saleman sub- clan and intellectuals, who were then led by General Sadaq John.
In order to achieve his goal, President Guelleh married his daughter Haybado Ismail to General Sadaq John who hails from Saleban sub-clan of Habargideir. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud was also invited to attend in the wedding.
President Guelleh convened a secret meeting in December of last year at the presidential palace of Djibouti, attended by President Mohamoud, President Qoor Qoor, and General Sadaq John, and it was decided that the Djibouti government would be in charge of managing and building Hobyo port.
The Saleman sub-clan in the Hobyo area has made arrangements for the acquisition of the Hobyo port as such they cultivated a blood bond with the Djibouti president.
According to a credible source. Hobyo port will reportedly be named after President Ismail’s daughter; The port will be called “Haybado-Hobyo Port.”
The current dispute over ownership of the Hobyo port between the two sub-clans of Sa’ad and Saleman is based on the Djibouti government’s general plan in the Hobyo port.