By Dr Aweys Omar Mohamoud
A statement by the Governor of Benadir region, who is also the Mayor of Mogadishu, Cumar Maxamuud Maxamad (Cumar Filish) captured on video yesterday afternoon in Mogadishu, must be condemned in the strongest terms possible by all political, civic and religious leaders in our country. I would even go further to say that this gentleman must be sacked from his job as he has clearly violated the professional ethics and principles of neutrality that public servants are required to adhere to by our laws and the Constitution.
A Video Statement by the Governor of Benadir Region And Mayor of Mogadishu Mr. Cumar Maxamuud Maxamad (Cumar Filish) 26 November 2020.
Below is the English language versions of his statement as per the video I’ve watched.
Gov/Mayor Cumar Filish
Is it correct that we are threatened with guns today, today by people claiming to be Hawiye?
Is Mohamed Hussein Roble not Hawiye?
Is he not the Prime Minister?
I am the regional governor. The responsibility of the region, including its security, is upon me.
Can they unsettle the stability for which, you know, how many young men have sacrificed their lives for? Do they dare?
Observe this: they also know that they don’t dare. They’re just showcasing for those who sent them?
That is the truth.
If they try to cause trouble, Allah SWT told us and has pointed for us the step that we would take.
What did Allah Say in Surah Al-Ahzab, verses 60 and 61. The Mayor has then read these two verses of the Holy Qur’an.
This is Allah’s Qur’an. The verses are from Surah Al-Ahzab. It is not me Omar who said this; and it is not a poet who said it. Allah said them. Let me interpret now: Verse 60: If the hypocrites, and those with sickness in their hearts, and rumour-mongers in Medina do not desist, We will certainly incite you ˹O Prophet˺ against them, and then they will not be your neighbours there any longer. Verse 61: ˹They deserve to be˺ condemned. ˹If they were to persist,˺ they would get themselves seized and killed relentlessly wherever they are found! The translation I have used comes from Dr. Mustafa Khattab, the Clear Quran. I can confirm here that the mayor rendered the verses into Somali in a way that was not dissimilar to Dr. Mustafa Khattab’s translation in the Clear Quran.
The statement is apparently aimed at members of the Union of Presidential Candidates who have recently concluded their Consultative Conference at the Jazeera Hotel in Mogadishu.
The Governor-cum-Mayor’s statement is not only a political incitement, but it is also an incitement to violence. What is even more disturbing is his laissez-faire attitude to the use of Holy Qur’an verses as an incitement to violence against his government’s political opponents. How many of our compatriots have been killed in the senseless violence that is still ongoing in our country whereby extremists of al-Shabaab and similar groups have taken Holy Qur’an verses out of context to justify their killings of those innocent people. Thus it was indeed very unwise of Cumar Filish to utilize verses from the Holy Qur’an in a similar fashion.
Our religion is fundamentally opposed to the killing of innocent individuals on account of their peaceful political opposition to the regime of President Farmaajo. The aim of our religion is to guide humankind to a spiritual level on which all human problems and difficulties are eventually solved through man’s faith in and reliance upon the eternal wisdom of Allah, our Creator.
More broadly, the statement demonstrates the Governor-cum-Mayor’s lack of understanding of the notion of the will of the people as expressed by free and fair elections; that the electoral process requires fairness at all levels including equal campaigning opportunities; that it must be free from significant barriers to political organization; that it is multiparty based, including opposition groups; that the public ought to be engaged in the political life of the country; that there must be opportunity for the effective rotation of power among a range of different political groups/parties representing competing interests and policy options; that the people’s choices must be free from domination by the specific interests of power groups, be they clan or something else; and that both our upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections must be judged free and fair by both the Somali people and the international community.
The Governor-cum-Mayor clearly did not have the sound judgment and sensitivity necessary to speak to the issue he chose to speak about yesterday, on behalf of the government. He has not only treated unfairly the members of the Presidential Candidates Union that he ruthlessly attacked but he has, in the process, also trampled upon the rights and freedoms of all those who want to see a peaceful transformative election in our country.
He does not seem to recognize the special responsibilities placed upon him by the politically appointed office that he holds. He doesn’t seem to have any obligation, whatsoever, to exercise critical self-discipline and good judgment when he made those statements yesterday. He has also shown that he has no respect at all for the individuals who were at the receiving end of his venomous attack or their opinions. These individuals included former Presidents, Prime Ministers, former and serving Parliamentary leaders, Ministers, MPs, senior dignitaries, civil society groups, and upstanding citizens (both men and women) of the Somali people.
Like his President, Mr. Farmaajo, The Governor-cum-Mayor does not see dissent and opposition as legitimate political activities. He must be sacked forthwith to warn others in similar positions in public bodies, and to prevent such occurrences in the future.
Dr Aweys Omar Mohamoud
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