Home News in English La repubblica newspaper writes for Somalia: press freedom in elections is dangerous

La repubblica newspaper writes for Somalia: press freedom in elections is dangerous

Somalia has been entering the last year of the four-year term of the President of the Federal Republic Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmajo, who has already said that he intends to apply for a second position.

Farmajo said that the general elections will take place by universal suffrage and no longer, as in the past, through the designation by the sages of the various ethnic components of Somalia, but he still has not explained how this reform should be implemented, since they seem to be missing all of them the conditions of both security and control of the territory and a registry useful for identifying the electoral body.

To date, however, this seems like a detail that will be revealed in the near future.

In truth, the election as President of Farmajo – beloved by the people after his first experience as Prime Minister between 2010 and 2011 – was greeted with great enthusiasm in 2017, but his mandate did not achieve the results expected . An insufficiency of success that, according to supporters, does not manifest Farmajo’s inability to govern as much as, rather, the exceptional difficulty of ascending from the abyss in which Somalia collapsed when, in January 1991, the civil war broke out . For detractors, however, the presidency was plagued by too many conjugal nepotisms, too many yieldings compared to meritocracy to favor now this now that allowing the formation of a court at Villa Somalia more interested in conquering spaces of power than to administer in the interest in the people.

In a country of just 15.4 million inhabitants spread over an area almost 638,000 km², that is more than double the size of Italy, the economy stands up thanks to the 410 million dollars of foreign investment. During the Farmajo presidency, GDP grew from 1.3 points, equal to 4.5 billion dollars in 2017, to almost 3 points with about 5 billion dollars in 2019. And the forecasts for the current 2020 – but before Covid pandemic 19 – were growing at 3.2 points with $ 5.210 billion. The Horn of Africa Agreement with Abiy Ahmed Ali and Isaias Afewerki was highly appreciated. In addition, these days the International Monetary Fund has approved an agreement that could allow Somalia to pay off some of its debts, allowing for an increase in foreign investments.

If the best successes have been achieved by Farmajo on an international level, the biggest problems have occurred inside where, on the one hand, the drought has hit and continues to affect more than 2 million inhabitants, on the other hand, the invasion of the locusts has wreaked havoc on immense wooded territories and, on the other hand, central power is unable to govern the entire Somali territory because the central-southern area remains under the foot of the Al Shabab, the Islamist organization that has remained faithful to Al Qaeda, while in the north the presence of militias belonging to ISIS was manifested.

To humanitarian and security problems were added those of relations with the governors of the federated states in Somalia. At times very difficult relationships such as those currently facing Farmajo against Ahmed Mohamed Islam, known as Madobe, who was elected for the third time to head the southern state of Jubaland in violation of the Statute but with the support of neighboring Kenya: a conflict that led Farmajo to send 700 national soldiers to counter the election of Madobe, which he called a farce, with the risk of reigniting a new civil war and a conflict with Kenya, infuriating the international community.

But this is not the only sign of great nervousness at the top of Somali politics in the face of the approaching national elections.

In fact, the intolerance for freedom of expression has increased with the arrest of several journalists guilty of criticizing the government.

Somali Prime Minister Hassan Khaire

Mohamed Abdiwahab Abuja, a journalist for Radio Higsi, has been detained since 27.02.2020 for alleged connivance with Al Shabab, without the right to communicate with his family or lawyers.

Goobjoog media editor Abdiaziz Ahmed Gurbiye spent three days in central Mogadishu prison for articles criticizing the way the government was handling the Covid-19 epidemic that will be discussed shortly.

According to somalidispatch.com, Muse Moalim, President of the Benadir Regional Court, the region in which the capital Mogadishu is located, was relieved of his duties for having ordered the release on bail of the journalist Abdiaziz Gurbiye against the will of the government.

Another case is that of Voice Of America journalist Mukhtar Mohamed Atosh, arrested in Baidoa for spreading the news that soldiers of the national army had ambushed a bus

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