Garowe, 18 December 2012. It is very sad what is happening in Puntland nowadays. I did not for once thought that Faroole and his kids can stoop so low as to put in jail Mr Abdi Kafi M Hassan, a respectable executive of Puntland Social Welfare Agency who came from his comfortable life in UK to help his people in Puntland .
What drove Mr Hassan to serve the most vulnerable in Puntland society is deeply personal to him. He is himself a disabled blind person that knows too well how disability can be difficult in a country like Somalia.
Why then President Faroole and his kids felt the need to incarcerate someone like Mr Hassan that had nothing but a strong conviction for his people? It is widely known in Garowe that outside of his work, Mr Hassan had his personal views about the political transition in Puntland. Specifically Mr Hassan is of the view that the election in Puntland must happen as the mandate of the current administration expiries on January the 8th 2013. It is a view many in Puntland share and express freely either publicly on the media or privately on peoples’ favourite gatherings.
Abdi Kafi must have made his views known with his friends and in his gatherings because we did not hear or saw any public political statements by Abdi Kafi. But Faroole’s Puntland has become a police state (that is a police state sub paragraph Sarecen) where people are not free to say what they think or think what they believe. Abdi Kafi has become the latest victim of this system as he was jailed for speaking his mind. He was kept behind bars for more than 48 hours without any access to legal representation or recourse to the justice system. This is a blatant violation of Somalia/Puntland constitution.
In addition Puntland authorities violated several articles within the Human Rights Law and the Conventions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities given the state of Justice Administration and prison services in Puntland. But more importantly, Faroole’s Puntland violated the civil liberty of Mr Hassan to persecute him for speaking his mind.
That is what Mr Hassan’s boss Mr Ismail Dirie told the media when he talked about Mr Hassan’s detention.
Although Mr Hassan is now released, what followed subsequently could only be described as madness by Faroole’s Puntland. They sacked Mr Hassan for speaking his mind and suspended Mr Dirie for standing up for his colleague.
It is even laughable that Authorities are making up accusations on a daily basis. Two days ago they accused Mr Hassan, a blind disabled man, of causing instability in Puntland. Yesterday they came up with another accusation of corruption
against Mr Hassan and started politically motivated audit against the Agency.
I am sure tomorrow the accusations will change yet again once they discover the Puntland Agency for Social Welfare has just passed (few weeks ago), both internal (By Puntland Authority) and external (by International Agencies) audits with flying colours. It was a voluntary exercise put forward by the leadership of the Agency (both Mr Dirie and Mr Hassan) in order to strengthen the culture of transparency in Puntland.
It is understandable that political transitions have its fair share of uncertainty and instability with any administration that is on its last leg. More than anyone perhaps in Somalia, the people of Punland have put up with such uncertainties before. The real question now is how far the people of Puntland could put up with such schizophrenic control by Faroole and his kids?
Where will end? Will it be the end Puntland as we knew it? I hope not.
I also hope the authorities in Puntland (officials within the civil service) will realise that they are there to serve all the people of Puntland. Faroole and his kids will not be there forever.
It is important that they do because it was politicians, who suffered under Faroole and his kids first, then it was traditional leaders, intellectuals and business community and now as it seems they have started to spray their venom on the civil service. We should all collectively say enough is enough.
Abdirisaq Aw Abdi
A Concerned Puntlander