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|Anti-Patriotism And Moral Corruption; A Troubling Trend In Somaliland|
By Ahmed Hassan Ali
I am deeply troubled by the growing tendency to smear the character of any loyal citizen, who dares speak out about our leader's failures, as "qaran-dumis" anti-Somaliland. It has become a common practice for this government these days to use against some of the most patriotic Somalilanders I have ever come across, those words that are only reserved for our most hated enemies who are bent on destroying our very existence. This is a great injustice and dishonor to the high offices, our country and our people. I believe it should be made a punishable crime if any official ever uses such words against any citizen other than our most hated sworn enemies. It should be a crime because the reason behind the unwarranted use of such words against the public by the president and certain government officials is meant to corrupt the morality of the people and their ability to make a distinction between what it means to be "a patriotic Somalilander" and "a sworn enemy of the country". By allowing this moral degradation to creep in, will the public ever feel indebted to those who lost their lives for our freedom? In contrast will they ever know what to make of those amidst us who fought alongside Siad Barre in the darkest moments of our history in order to prolong the genocide, oppression and their suffering? Will we ever be able to choose incorruptible honest leaders with clean track-record?
It appears the difference between the two camps of "patriotism, heroism and honesty" against "anti-patriotism, moral corruption and dishonesty" was already so successfully blurred that many in the public are easily duped into thinking that the heroes who have either fallen or put their lives in danger in the past for the freedom that we have today, are being labeled as belonging to the latter camp. And clearly we all know who is going to benefit.
A core group of top public officials are behind this offensive with the full knowledge and blessing of Rayale who undoubtedly encouraged this trend in at least one of his past interviews. Furthermore, they are determined to use the government offices and national resources to fund this dirty, illegal and concerted campaign, the motive of which is to also divert attention from the real issues and their inability to answer for their failures and incompetence, instead they resort to take the easy exit of labeling anyone who speaks on behalf of the public interest as being "un-patriotic" or "detriment to our recognition". One such recent article published by one government affiliated website attacking the personality of honorable citizen Ali Gulaid, is clear example of what I am talking about. The gentleman who unofficially spoke on behalf of the government, tried to equate Ali Gulaid to the self styled sworn-enemy of Somaliland, Abdi Samatar.
It is not only the government used websites disguised as independent, or the nation's official media outlets that are being misused for these unlawful purposes, but even the nation's courts have been recruited for this drive. Who is footing the bill of the unpopular, unnecessary and the prolonged trial of Buurmadow and why is the government dragging its feet, making a mockery of the country's judiciary in the process? Are we being led to believe that this is in our interest, even though the court itself failed to find any loop-holes to use article 208 "conspiracy to endanger national security while the nation is at war"? Ask yourself why is this case being paraded for so long? The answer is to educate the people to the fact that the president and the senior government officials all enjoy unparalleled immunity no matter what crimes they commit, at the same time the law is always on their side and only used to suppress the general civilian population. This prolonged circus trial is also meant to set as an example of the fate that awaits those who have any guts to ever publicly question the president's policies, however immoral they may be.
Some people may be forgiven for falling for the shallow assertion that Somaliland is about to be recognized and it is not the time to criticize our government or write about any issues on behalf of the public.
My fellow citizens, our peace-loving people are and have been fully elegible for recognition for so long, but the stumbling block has always been government's lack or inability to establish accountable institutions and officials that have respect for the rule of law. Recognition is conditional to accountability, transparency, the respect of human rights, fair judiciary, respect for the rule of law, curbing corruption, downsizing the large cabinet that is fast dwindling the meager resources and finally the implementation of full democratic institutions and these have always been the president's responsibilities. It is no longer worth wasting our time discussing how many times, how far ago, or how recent it was, when a date was set for the parliamentary elections. The government's feet-dragging on the issue is indeed deliberately designed to give ample time to consolidate its authoritarian single-party state ambitions.
Without an elected multiparty parliament we don't have a democracy. A parliament that is accountable to the people does not exist, and in turn the government itself remains unaccountable. And without a government that is accountable, democracy in Somaliland is just a name. These are the real obstacles that are eroding any chances of recognition for our country and are clearly the result of the president's unwillingness to even acknowledge these obligations. It is therefore baseless and preposterous to claim that a citizen who tries to establish the facts and, in the absence of parliamentary democracy, demands for an accountability from his government, is responsible for the lack of international recognition.
In conclusion, I would urge all patriotic citizens of Somaliland to focus on the bigger picture, to work hard and to never allow to be swayed from their ultimate goal of establishing just government institutions with the capable quality leadership that is answerable to the people and not vice-versa.