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THE WEAKEST LINK

Issue 286
Front Page
Index
Headlines

US Forces Meddle In Berbera Port Traffic

Police Prevent ‘Qaran Party’ Meeting In Gebiley

Does Somaliland’s national TV belong to the nation or UDUB?

Give Somaliland a chance

Somalia oil deal for China

Islamists vow to attack Somalia peace meeting

Written answers

Somaliland Warns Getting Impatient With Hypocrisy Over Recognition

The 'arms smuggler', the murdered judge, and a scandal threatening to engulf Chirac

Former SFDA chief executed for corruption

Regional Affairs

SONYO Trains 21 Youths From Six Regions

Ethiopian president in talks with mayors of Addis, Hargeysa

Editorial
Special Report

International News

USA-Russia: Hitting the Same Gate, or Playing One and the Same Game?

Investigators search home of Chirac's Africa adviser

Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and the "Politics of Naming"

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

UNISA's College of Human Sciences in the limelight

The new Seven Wonders of the World

Police plea on genital mutilation

The Somali Community in the Port of London

ETHIOPIA

Food for thought

Opinions

Testing Times for Somalia

THE WEAKEST LINK

Comments on today's BBC news

UDUB, UCID, and KULMIYE: Are There Any Differences?

Democracy Requires An Informed Citizenry

The Mayor Of Hargeysa—The New Mohammed Dheere Of Somaliland

 

By Abdi Haji

Imagine a soccer match with no referees, or worst yet imagine if the referee is siding with one of the teams. What are the chances of the other team winning with constant off sides, yellow cards, red cards and penalty kicks called against them? Wouldn’t you say the outcome of such a game is very much decided before the game even started? This scenario takes place in Somaliland today with the stakes much hire than a mere game. A constitutional democracy system of governess needs a strong and impartial Supreme Court to interpret the constitution, preserve the separation of powers and protect the rights and liberties of the individual. Instead, the Somaliland high court, packed with incompetent and self serving justices became a tool used by the executive branch to trample on the laws of the nation. It also made the newly elected parliament impotent as the court constantly rules against them in favor of the president. Why bother passing laws which will be ignored by the administration? Thus far the President refused to sign into law any law passed by the recently elected house. The latest law passed by both houses was designed to curb corruption, the President, as usual sent it back and pronounced it, not to his liking. A practice that the President vowed to continue as long as the house is controlled by the opposition parties.

The seven stooges who are sitting on the highest court of the land do not comprehend that their rulings will have far reaching consequences. The course that they chart today must be based on the rule of law in order to set precedents that will be followed for years to come. This court as an institution is clueless about their responsibilities and the impact that their blunders will have on the future of the nation.

A good illustration of this is the extension of the Guurti term, which the court approved before the case even reached the court. Any court with integrity would have thrown out the President or anyone else who approached them to lobby on his behalf. The court should never comment or give advice to anyone about a case that may come before it. Their duty is to rule on the constitutionality of the cases that reach the court without prejudicing the cases by giving elicit advance approval. If the president needs legal advice he can get that from his lawyers. Another example is the way they handled the press law passed by the house, the court just ignored it in favor of 1960 law, simply because this gives the lower court a way to impose a harsher sentence on the Hatuf reporters who wrote damaging articles about corrupt practices by the president and his family.

As recently as last month the court rejected to hear a case brought against the so called “security committee” who have a lot of citizens incarcerated with out due process. No where in the constitution is there a mention of the role of this committee and the parliament already passed a law for them to be disbanded, yet they are still fully operational and the highest court in the land refused to even hear the case and rule on their constitutionality.

A lot of hoopla is made about the election commission, but it should be obvious to every one that the high court is the one that needs a lot more scrutiny. It is the most important and unfortunately the weakest branch of the government. The current chief justice, a Sudanese trained “Xeerka Qoyska” judge, used to be a Qaadi in Burao, the capital of Togdher region, it’s been said that no couple who went to his court, ever came out reconciled. His predecessor was sacked after non other than the president classified him as a certified nut case who is not fit to serve, only a month after he sought and got his support for the illegal extension of the Guurti term. If those are the chief justices who are supposed to be the cream of the crop, I hate to take a look at the other associate justices; I have no stomach for what horrors I may encounter.

I have conducted my own poll and yet have to come across anyone who can name who the seven justices are. The public have to know who their decision makers are, but this court functions under the radar, no one knows their method of deliberating on cases. Their rulings are always unanimous which is very unusual for seven justices to agree on all the cases all the time. No one sees their rulings written in a coherent and legal opinion. They usually release their rulings in a press release without publishing the whole opinion along with any dissents or concur. There is no system on how they choose which cases to hear, some important cases are rejected out of hand, other trivial cases are chosen to be hear; but the general pattern is that they avoid hearing any case that the executive branch may loose.

This court can’t be repaired, it needs a complete over haul and this is too important to be trusted with the current administration whose judgments, thus far leave a lot to be desired. This is a national issue and should be approached as such.

On the positive side there certainly are plenty of people who can do the job, all that is needed is the vision and the will to put the right people in the right places. Any one who is reading this piece can come up with seven qualified people who can do a lot better than the current punch warmers.

Here is my wish list, what is yours?

  • Raqia Oomar: A brilliant legal mind and a renowned human rights advocate who can bring credibility and respectability to the court.
  • Hassan Essa Jama: a lawyer by profession and former Somaliland Vice President. Mr. jama is a man with deep convictions and one of the few politicians who are willing to serve Somaliland to the determent of their self interest and that of their family. As one of the founders of the SNM, this is a man who abhors injustice and has the courage to fight against it.
  • Ibrahim Hashi Jama: Currently practicing law in UK. Mr. Hashi is also chairman of the Constitution Committee of Somaliland Forum. Mr. Hashi keeps a close eye on the Somaliland legal system and maintains Somalilandlaw.com a comprehensive website designed to be used as reference by lawyers, judges and law students alike. Mr. Hashi, who is not aligned with any of the entrenched political camps in Somaliland, can certainly see the trees from the forest.
  • Dr. Mahamoud Tani: Always rational and articulate, Dr. Tani have personally experienced the damage a Kangaroo court can do to the psychic of a nation and the havoc it can cause to the lives of families and individuals. Somaliland will be well served if those people who have shown their courage and commitment to justice are in position to serve.
  • Hon. Abdulqadir Jirde: Currently a member of the house, one of the architects of the constitution, Mr. Jirde is well versed on the challenges that face Somaliland. He has been a leader in the house and an advisor to the president, you can bet that he will stick to the letter of the law and won’t bend it for a friend or a foe.
  • Mohamed Said Gees: Former Somaliland Interior & foreign minister and current director of Academy for Peace. Mr. Gees worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation; he is consensus builder who unites people. Somaliland needs more people like him.
  • Sh. Mustafa H. Ismail: A highly intelligent and trusted religious leader who has the temperament, patience, wisdom and the ability to sort out complex issues. Sh. Mustafa has an open mind and tolerance for opposing views which is in short supply in today’s world filled by religious and political zealots.

Abdi Haji

Inagaaxmaal@yahoo.com


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