By Abdi Mohamud
It is fair to say that WardheerNews.com (WDN) is mounting a sustained and relentless assault on President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. This assault has been going on since Farmajo’s ascension to the presidency. The website has written screeching editorials on Farmajo, of which this is an example “Somalia: How Farmajo Fragmented his Fragile State”, and had him chosen as the person of the year in 2019 in a demeaning and degrading way. A great deal of blogs posted on the site are always about Farmajo.
If you visit WardheerNews today you will see that 80% of the contents are on Farmajo. The title of one blog reads “The ‘Farmajo Doctrine:’ A Prelude to a Renewed Conflict”, while another misleadingly goes, “The Mandela Effect : Farmajo’s Obsession with Power”. The list goes on and on and on. To make sense of the site’s obsession with Farmajo, please go and visit. It is one piece after another, and all have the same tone and convey the same message: Farmajo is a bad guy. There is not much substance in these blogs, nor anything that can be appreciated intellectually. What presented to the readers are either half-truths or totally fabricated lies meant to misinform and mislead the Somali public.
To shed light on this, let us examine closely the piece written by one Aqbal Aabi. This individual quoted and included a short video by the well known Somali comedian named Oday Abdulle. In the video, Oday Abdulle is acting as a facilitator of a meeting in which he yells at, ridicules and looks down at the attendees. He invites them to have their say in the meeting, yet he silences them quickly and boots one after another out of the room.
The comedian is making a political point here, but we do not know whom he is aiming at. He makes no reference to anyone. Some people claim that he is hitting at the Mayor of Mogadishu while others suggest that Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire is the target. The fact remains that no one knows who the comedian is poking fun at. He gives no hint of the person that he is mocking. However, Aabi is attempting to present his assumptions as facts by claiming that the comedian is satirizing Farmajo to expose his dictatorial behavior.. Aabi’s misrepresentation of facts is highly problematic. Aabi wants us to believe that Farmajo is a dictator, likening him Sayid Barre. If Farmajo was a dictator, Oday Abdulle would hardly think of putting such a video out. The comedian is regularly invited to entertain many events at which Farmajo is the key figure.
This video, released just three weeks ago, in which Oday Abdulle is satirizing Farmajo, contradicts Aabi’s assertion. Abdulle freely speaks at those events by expressing his views and satirizing Farmajo and other dignitaries in attendance. He fears nothing whatsoever. It may be fair to argue that Aabi confuses maintenance of law and order with dictatorship. There are always constraints, limitations and restrictions applied in order to keep public order and uphold the rule of law. And the fact, that Somalis have been accustomed to unfettered freedom for so long,, lends credence to this argument. The absence of government and rule of law has considerably changed the attitude of many people towards authority. As a result, many of us have difficulty in respecting norms, rules and regulations.
WardheerNews prides itself on being a credible media organization that adheres to the highest standards of journalism. If that is the case, WardheerNews would have challenged Aabi to back up his claims with facts. Unfortunately, WardheerNews looked at the other way and allowed these fabricated lies by Aabi to end up in the public sphere. It is no secret that WardheerNews is critical with Farmajo and his government. Why so? Is Farmajo failing the nation or is WardheerNews unrealistic by expecting Farmajo to perform miracles and find solutions for Somalia’s myriad ills overnight?
WardheerNews claims that fairness and truth are the basis of its journalistic practice, however, WardheerNews compromises, ignores or totally tosses those principles into the dustbin when covering Farmajo. WardheerNews is reluctant to recognize and appreciate the difficult circumstances in which Farmajo is working. Those difficulties are many and multi-layered, and as such there is no quick fix. WardheerNews is also unwilling, or perhaps unable for reasons unknown to us, to report about the true culprits responsible for Somalia’s current conflicts.
Said Abdullahi Deni, President of Puntland and his counterpart in Jubaland, Ahmed Islam Madobe, are the ones who are determined to undermine and weaken the nation building efforts, strategies and plans adopted by Farmajo and his government. They think that animosity, disagreement and misunderstanding is the only way forward. Their sole intention is to perpetuate, complicate and prolong Somalia’s murky and grim situation. They disregard the rule of law, disrespect the national institutions and mistreat their own people. They do not tolerate dissenting voices in their states and throw in jail anyone that challenges or opposes their transgressions. We all know the harsh treatment Deni accorded to the elders and businesspeople in Bosaso who have tried to object to his, unrealistic and damaging policies. Their arrogance is at full display when they demand federal agencies in their jurisdictions to pack up and leave.
President Deni has recently issued an order in which he had demanded the National Election Commission to stop operating in Puntland. Madobe has also taken similar actions in desperation. If their grievances were legitimate, they would have sought remedy within the law. They would not have led foreign adversaries to invade and destabilize our country. Deni and Madobe act and behave as if they are in charge of independent states. They travel to wherever they desire, enter agreements with whomever they like and decide who is welcome or not in their states. Foreign investment, military cooperation and all things of that nature are outside the constitutional power of Deni and Madobe, yet they do all those undertakings and more. They violate the law of the land by venturing into federal matters that they are not competent enough to deal with. Deni and Madobe frustrate and ignore the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) to weaken the national unity and safeguard their personal interest. These men are responsible for many ills plaguing in the country today. They lack vision, patriotism and goodwill and many, many other good qualities of effective leadership.
WardheerNews is well aware that Deni and Madobe are constantly sabotaging, and derailing all efforts to bring the Somali people together. They block any initiative to foster national cohesion and unity. So one may wonder why WardheerNews never reports about these things. Why does WardheerNews never write about many matters of national importance such as poverty, insecurity, tribalism, rampant unemployment, social justice, and unscrupulous business people selling expired drugs and foodstuff to the unsuspecting, innocent Somalis. Why WardheerNews is not highlighting the achievements by the Somalis at home and abroad or the challenges they are faced with. Is Farmajo the only that deserves attention? And if that is the case why not report on many good things he has done for his people?
Farmajo has made gains in some areas and the evidence of that is everywhere. His assertiveness to restore the dignity of the Somali state and its people has sent a clear message to many including the neighboring countries, aid agencies and so on. A junior minister is not sent to receive Farmajo at the airport in Nairobi and Addis Ababa, and he worries not about facing the humiliation subjected to his predecessors anymore. Farmajo is accorded honourable and dignified reception, and all treatments entitled with a visiting head of state. President Farmajo is committed to reorganizing the Somali state. His government has managed to deal with thousands of ghost workers who have dried up the state coffers. Today only those who work are on the government payroll. Government departments are audited for the first time in decades. Things may not be seamless but the government is taking one step at a time with the hope that gradual improvements will be attained within a reasonable time.
Major accomplishments by President Farmajo’s government are the increased revenue, debt forgiveness, as well as support in cash and kind by many friendly governments. All these things are clear indications that Farmajo has earned the trust and confidence of many. The former deputy speaker of Kenyan parliament has recently stressed in a video interview that the current Somali leadership does not only do business differently, but has put the Somali state on equal footing with its peers. Farmajo also deserves credit for running a government free from infighting, bickering and malfunction. These things had crippled the previous governments. Farmajo is shrewd enough to avoid repeating those mistakes.
In conclusion, I wish to point out a couple of things. Firstly, there are lots of good things happening in Somalia despite the obvious many challenges. It is not all doom and gloom as WardheerNews would like to suggest. Constant negation and negativity may serve no purpose. It may damage WardheerNews’ credibility and erode the confidence of the Somali public in this organization. Secondly, the narrative is led by those who see the cup half empty. We need those with a different perspective to be heard. We need to see that the cup is half full. Optimism is an important element in life and half full cup signifies hope, possibility and that we are okay. We need to commend, give credit and defend our government and public institutions when we believe they are doing a good job. In a nutshell, we need to hold to account when they neglect their responsibilities, and support and defend when they are doing things right. That is a common sense.
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