“BREAKING Ethiopia & Somalia sign a trade agreement that would see Mogadishu export fish to Addis . Ethiopia in return will import Khat. Somalia’s Minister of Fisheries Bidhan & Addis envoy Abdifatah Hassan signed the deal on Sunday” (Dalsan TV, 20.06.2021).
The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) have secured a deal to trade fish, which seems like a good deal. However, it falls flat when it gets Khat in return. If you don’t know what Khat is, I will take a paragraph from the U.S. Department of Justice – National Drug Intelligence Center, which describes it as:
“Khat (Catha edulis) is a flowering shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The term khat refers to the leaves and young shoots of Catha edulis. The plant has been widely used since the thirteenth century as a recreational drug by the indigenous people of East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Middle East. Individuals chew khat leaves because of their stimulant and euphoric effects, which are similar to, but less intense than, those resulting from the abuse of cocaine or methamphetamine” (U.S. Department of Justice – Khat – Fast Fact, 01.01.2011).
Should we be worried? That this will ensure the continued usage and destroy people’s lives? That they get sedated and gets the side-effects of its usage. This shows the priorities of the state. As they value the ability to trade and buy khat. Than do other things the state should do.
They are importing a substance, which is harmful and dangerous. Yes, it has been used in the region historically. Still, the state is directly supporting it. They are letting the Ethiopian traders earn fortunes on fish in Ethiopia. While selling narcotic leaves. That says a lot. Both governments are legitimizing this trade.
This trade has been going on for years. There been informal trading between Somali merchants and Ethiopian and Kenyan counterparts. This is making it formal and legalizing it. They are trading fish for khat. Which in itself is a trade-off and an exchange of goods. However, that doesn’t make it look good for the administration in Mogadishu.
Mogadishu is accepting and is willing to buy khat for its public. They are willing to sell and contribute to the usage of it. That should worry people. Because, of the side-effects and the dangers of the usage. That’s what the Ministry of Health and the addiction of it.
We should worry about the youths and older generations who is chewing khat. They will be used and become damaged by this. The state is clearly wanting this effect and they are promoting it.
So, now the government is fishing for khat. That says it all about their priorities and what they are willing to do. They are no issues and does this for cheap popularity. Nevertheless, the state should worry about the long-term effects and how this can destroy livelihoods. As people will get addicted to it and hurt communities. That is clearly what this government will do.
They save the fishermen to make people addicted to khat. That is such a fairytale of doom. Peace.