EDITORIAL: Why the media will not stop scrutinizing government appointments.
EDITORIAL: Garowe Online, like other media outlets in Somalia, has often been attacked, trolled, and lampooned by social media users who think we are not objective enough. The case in point is when we point out potential nepotism in government appointments.
This week, we would like to say that criticism of our work is welcome, for it can help us improve. However, to be attacked for pointing out possible illegalities in government appointments will be fought back, if not resisted.
Somalia’s media scene is one of the most dangerous with journalists attacked or threatened for doing their work. It is often politicians and al-Shabaab alike who victimize journalists. This is why we have not been surprised when those uncomfortable with us pointing out government errors come back at us.
The government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and by extension the choices of his Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre are an important issue. When he was elected in May, he promised to be better, and run a country based on law and order.
Every step he takes, therefore, will be measured against his word, including the pledge to bring peace to ourselves and to the world.
We agree that politicians, in seeking to unite the country, may often reach out to the opposition to work together. It is also a fact that the public offices of Villa Somalia and the office of the Prime Minister are open to everyone. But when we point out that some of the appointees' government officials and their surrogates online must not attack the messenger.
Somalia’s fragile democracy, political structure, and security apparatus mean that while authorities need institutional memory, and make compromises to govern, it must not come at the cost of glossing over past misdeeds. We must build a culture where political operatives who turn their local fiefdoms into their personal businesses are punished for not serving the people, injuring their souls, or simply bidding for past regimes.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his Prime Minister must know that reappointing members of the past regime into their administration will have risks, even when they may argue that they are reaching out.
First, it will arouse a sense of mistrust: Can they stand by their word of being better? Secondly, it could provide a loophole for the past regime to regenerate and make his own administration unable to govern. And for a man who has been President before, voted out and blamed for insecurity, it suits him to be better.
In the meantime, Garowe Online and the entire community of Somali media will continue to point out anomalies because we will all be in a better place when the country runs on a rule of law.