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|Are the Pro Unionists Rightless?|
Abdifatah Ismail Dahir
The detention and subsequent deportation of Jama Yare comes amid a growing concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in Somaliland. He and some other Somaliland born politicians are accused and known to be against the statehood of Somaliland. As a result the deportation seems to be a well-rehearsed government policy as to send all the pro union politicians to an exile till they quit their political stand. This is morally and rationally questionable.
As evident in the recent self determination referendum in which more than 97% of the population voted in favor of statehood where as a small percentage numbering about 3% voted against it, the people of Somaliland expressed their will democratically and the government conducted the polling fairly without infringing on the rights of those who believe in united Somalia. In fact the government did not criminalize at the time the pro union notion as reflected in the very holding of the referendum.
In the light of this, it is surprising why the government would selectively apply its justice system on its citizens by criminalizing the personal opinion and political stands of some of its subjects and not others e.g. those who voted for united Somali republic at the referendum. Therefore, if the deportation is not an extra judicial act, then the same legal provision should also equally be applied on those who voted against the statehood of Somaliland at the referendum!
As we all know, there are even several districts whose inhabitants are remarkably pro-union. Would all those people also be put in jails or deported like Jama? The answer to this may provide quintessence, which may nurse the unjustifiable humiliation that Jama Yare suffered.
Apart from the insignificance of political influence, if any, of the likes of Jama Yare’s visit to Somaliland represent in the overall political situation of the country (given the people’s determination to seeing an independent Somaliland), he is a citizen of Somaliland as much as President Riyale is. As well, he is entitled to his political opinion as any other citizen of our dear republic.
The draconian act passed by the parliament during the Somali Reconciliation Conference in Arta paved the way for the misuse of power by those in office. Moreover, since other similar legislative acts are said to be in the making and especially a one designed to shut up the free press, I suppose the press would be lucky if they too are not subjected to deportation for publishing anti government views.
If a pro-union stand is a crime to the writing in Somaliland, then it should as well be punishable by the law through a judicial proceeding rather than backdoor deportations. This would negate the unfavorable procedure of eliminating opponents unlawfully through a kitchen cabinet formulated policy. After all Somalilanders, be they anti/pro Somaliland or anti/pro Rayales, are all entitled to their individual or organizational ideologies.
Of late those who defend the government’s undemocratic actions invoke ‘recognition’ as a political excuse for exonerating the government of the rightfully deserved accusations of human rights violations, misuse of power and the rampant corruption in the system. But let no one be mistaken about that tolerance for these vices, will cost us more than the recognition we so much care about at the expense of all our other rights for which thousands of dear sons were maimed or lost their lives.
We have no doubt about Jama Yare and Othman Jama’s political stand. They bravely declared that Somaliland is too small a political playground for them. Thus we know that they are not for the majority’s cause. But the more lethal enemy is the one who conceals in the mist by saying that he/she is for Somaliland while he/she is against it. Such people are prevalent in our political establishments. Indeed they are an invisible enemy who work behind the curtain. And perhaps because of them, Somaliland could not get recognized; who knows.
Much has already being said about President Riyale and his deputy’s academic under-qualifications and needless to mention their non-existent struggle background. But even worse is their reasoning ability, which tells us much about their poor state of political consciousness. I suppose a wise leader would not deport a citizen from his motherland for merely opposing a certain commonly held ideology e.g. the statehood of Somaliland. This is tantamount to creating a political vacuum indeed.
Besides, some pro government people tend to brand any one who oppose the government’s policy as an anti Somaliland. I wonder since when did Somalilanders become so intolerant for one another’s opinions. The Somalilanders I knew 16 years ago were quite more liberal and politically conscious than what I see now. The other Somalis used to term us, as articulate (as we rightfully were) people who reason themselves rather than empty-argumentation. Where is that now? Are we not ought to preserve the good name our fathers had sacrificed much in its making?
Nevertheless if Riyale and his cronies do indeed care about Somaliland’s existence, they should go not beyond the limit of the internationally acceptable norms of democracy. Amongst these is the protection of the citizens’ rights in all aspects. Even pro unionists should have inalienable rights. We are ought to live together peacefully and proudly in our republic regardless of our ideological, clan and cultural differences. This is the only way we can become a promising, democratic and prosperous nation. And Riyale needs to understand this before the public understands him.
Abdifatah Ismail Dahir
University of Western Cape