Dr. Mohamud M. Uluso
In the last three years, propaganda, misinformation, and cunning have infested the Somali politics and discourse. Therefore, for many, it became less exciting to read the daily commentaries of the Somali situation. But the piece of Abdi Mohamud, titled “Is WardheerNews.Com Assault on Farmajo Justified?” published by WardheerNews.Com on March 18, 2020, attracted my attention for two reasons.
First, the level of tolerance and respect of freedom of opinion shown by WardheerNews.Com editor for publishing a propaganda piece attacking the Website itself for evilness, obsession with Farmajo, and meanness. Second, the piece elevates the propaganda, misinformation, and erosion of democratic governance to a higher level. I couldn’t rationalize Abdi’s audacity of attacking WardheerNews.Com for telling the truth about the indisputable reality of the profound disappointment of the Somali people in President Farmajo’s leadership. I don’t know Abdi’s affiliation or independence, but it appears he is engaged in propaganda campaign rather than presenting facts and arguments to the contrary.
The piece cites two WardheerNews editorials assessing the performance of president Farmajo in the first and third year of his term in office and two articles by independent authors accusing president Farmajo of authoritarian behavior and illegal use of foreign and domestic forces like National Intelligence Service Agency (NISA). All cited articles are based on specific facts, events, and failures that took place.The assessments justified the conclusions.
Abdi either didn’t read the four articles or most probably decided to look the other way and make up his own conclusions. He didn’t dispute any fact mentioned in all articles like the extraordinary attack of the executive branch of the federal government in removing the speaker of the House of the People from office, the corruption, the political patronage and abuses of power, use of foreign forces, and the continuing destabilization of the federal member states. Those actions have stalled the state and nation building efforts of Somalia as testified by the Political Coordination of the US Mission to the United Nations and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Somalia James Swan in their remarks to the UN Security Council on February 24, 2020.
Abdi disputes the attribution of a satire video of Oday Abdulle described in the article of Aqbal Aabi, The Mandela Effect: Farmajo’s obsession with Power, to President Farmajo. He suggests that the satire could have been aimed at Prime Minister Hassan Kheire or Mayor of Mogadishu Omar Mohamed Finish who are serving President Farmajo. He disputes that President Farmajo didn’t reach the level of ruthless authoritarian because Oday Abdulle and others still enjoy freedom of expression.
The deliberate misuse of the word “Assault” in the title of Abdi’s piece predicates on the view that President Farmajo is Supreme Ruler beyond accountability, scrutiny, and reproach, a status not provided in the democratic system of government enshrined in the provisional constitution. Indeed, WardheerNews has the role and responsibility to investigate and criticize all public officials on behalf of the Somali people. President Farmajo is accused of being bad leader not bad guy.
I don’t think Abdi had time to read and digest the constitution, or followed the three month reports of the UN Secretary General on the Situation in Somalia, or the independent assessments of the international organizations, or strived to discover the multifaceted state and nation building work in progress, agreements, partnerships, and projects handed over to president Farmajo in 2017. The sentence in his piece which says “Said Deni, president of Puntland, and his counterpart in Jubbaland, [President] Ahmed Madobe, are the ones who are determined to undermine and weaken the nation building efforts, strategies, and plan adopted by Farmajo and his government,” is clear evidence of a misrepresentation and deliberate attempt to fool some distracted or uninformed readers. President Farmajo is not allowed to adopt strategy, policies, and plan in conflict with the provisional constitution or without the consent of many national and international stakeholders. He is vested to work within Collaborative Arrangement described in the provisional constitution and in international partnership agreements.
The culture of personal rule ended in 1991. The duty of the Somali citizen is to defend the rule of law and democratic system of governance and not President Farmajo who has lobbyists, lawyers, state media, resources, security forces for protection, and political supporters. The defenders of the rule of law are the educated citizens who understand their patriotic duty.
Before President Farmajo’s election, four successive presidents have played role in laying the foundation for statebuilding for 16 years. For example, the administrative process of the debt relief granted in 1996 started in 2012 with the ending of the transitional period and the forming of a permanent government based on provisional constitution that works with International Financial Institutions. After concluding the first article IV consultations in 2015, the IMF approved the first Staff Monitoring Program (SMP) in April 2016. Today, the debt relief process is in jeopardy for the ongoing political crisis. The reform of national security and justice started in 2009 and renewed in 2013 and 2017. The economic rebuilding started in 2013.
President Farmajo missed the opportunity to promote and perfect effectively the ambitious plans and policies he inherited and to prepare the country for free and fair one person and vote election before 2020. The situation in Somalia remains as described by WardheerNews.Com, “Alas, starting his last year of a four year term, Farmajo is presiding over a tattered and divided Somalia that has lost grounds in its journey to recap what Somalis called “geedisocodka yegleelka Dowlad Soomaaliyeed” the Journey to re-institute a working Somalia.” In solidarity with millions of Somalis who have concluded that the last three years are by far a lost opportunity, WardheerNews chooses president Farmajo as the most disappointing man in a long run line of post-civil war presidents.”
The UN Security Council and European Union are calling President Farmajo to stop the civil war that has created humanitarian crisis in Jubbaland and Galmudug states and to reconcile and work with the leaders of the federal member states for addressing urgent problems of national interest.
Dr. Mohamud M Uluso
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