By Jimale Madar, Somalilander
It is win-win for all around to cement our national unity, ward off fragmenting intrusions, foster peaceful coexistence, establish cordial relations with one another, foster partnerships with useful entities, uphold the norms and values in democracy that wholly mould into our culture and faith, and to maintain all of the above till death do us apart.
The Republic of Somaliland is on the side of democracy, freedom of the press and the protection of the basic tenets of the rights of the individual. There is plenty of proof for this assertion: the existence and support of multi-party system, the financial and administrational assistance accorded to the Somaliland electoral system and related bodies, the conduct of freely run municipal council elections, the proliferation and respect of independent media outlets in Somaliland, the constant upgrade of Somaliland judicial organs, human rights bodies, living conditions of prison inmates, and the remarkable achievements in almost all spheres crucial to the socio-economic development of the people of Somaliland.
There are plenty of instances in which the Constitution of the Republic of Somaliland establishes the weight it places on the protection of the rights of the individual, peaceful co-existence, freedom of expression and association within the realms of the national and international laws and the inviolability of the dignity and personal reputation of the individual.
The Constitution of the Republic of Somaliland, guarantees that the political system of the Republic of Somaliland shall be based on peace, co-operation, democracy and plurality of political parties. The Constitution also affirms that at no time should the Republic of Somaliland turn its back to the universal declaration of human rights (1948) or the United Nations Charter – although we are not a member of this august body at present.
The law respects its subjects equally no matter the political and socio-economic status of the concerned party. It does not respect one side and turn its back on the other. One is guilty only when proven so beyond a reasonable doubt by a competent court of law.
It is the responsibility of state security apparatii that they do not only hunt out and put criminal elements in society behind bars, but, similarly, to protect us from one another before anything damaging or untoward happens. They are fully mandated to look for and douse out any underworld fires, look out for criminal activities in the offing or that this or that has the makings of one or incendiary in nature and enough to ignite events and actions that can result in bodily or material damage to others. Put in another way, the security forces can preempt crimes before they happen same as they contain them afterwards.
Preemptive measures are useful and welcome in that they: (a) limit extra-judicial indictment and damage to the reputation and dignity of targeted individuals; (b) protect the perpetrator from possible retaliation acts from the families and friends of persecuted individuals; (c) encourage parties involved to revert to the courts of law; and (d) discourage further disrespect for law and order in order to reassure citizens that taking the law into one’s hands is never a viable option in disputes.
It is now become something of a vogue in Somaliland that we deliberately misinterpret the freedoms that the Somaliland Constitution granted us: the freedom to form associations of mutual interest, to speak up one’s mind, to practice religion, to form partnerships, to do business, and son and so forth.
Some of us so conveniently forget that we can do none of the above if there was collateral damage to the rest of us. That is what protecting us from one another means. The Constitution is on the side of good deeds, good intentions and healthy outlook and practice in life.
That is what Article 24, paragraph 3, in the Constitution underlines in bold double-stroke: Every person shall have the right to have his dignity, reputation and private life respected.
In regard to above, it is a gross dereliction of duty if the state permitted the systematic, consistent, persistent, greed-driven, highly damaging persecution of citizens in the hands of other citizens posing as ‘independent’ reporters, law-abiding, free-to-associate citizens, and the like – when, in practice, they are anything but that. Not to mistake a wolf for a lamb – and vice versa.
The recent Haatuf issue – an apt illustration of the central argument in article – was, if anything, a case of overstated ambitions and misguided intentions, on the one hand, and, on the other, a simmering iron rod let to cool in the open too longer than necessary to outlast its usefulness.
Finally, it should be reiterated here that the government and people of Somaliland are truly bound by law to remain impartial and objective to each other and to national objectives in strict adherence to the Constitution of Somaliland and their oft stated goal.