No Justice, No Peace! – UM

Benadir Regional Court

Mogadishu ( UM) – Justice has been extravagantly defined by legal and philosophical scholars over the centuries, but it is such an innate thing, so crucial to human existence, that even without these definitions any person would know and feel it when they experience it.

The case of the former Minister and Presidential candidate Abdirahman Abdishakur is both a tale of Justice and injustice. It is a story of Justice because in the end, the lack of evidence determined his freedom. It was a tragedy of injustice because a Somali citizen was attacked in his home violently by the security forces, claiming to act on the instructions of the Government for a crime for which he was yesterday exonerated.

Justice is the thread that runs through Good governance. Good governance is more important than ever before because the achievement of the Somali Federal Government’s key priorities, including Security, economic development and public services depend on it. Without fairness, equality and a sense of national ownership of common progress, none of these priorities are worth the paper they are written on. And President Farmaajo knows this because he himself prioritised Justice in his campaign. Prime Minister Khaire does not leave out “Caddaalad” in any of his rambling speeches.

There are too many versions of the events surrounding the arrest and trial of Abdirahman Abdishakur to assess and in the end, only the security services know what really happened. However, from the apology provided by the Minister of Internal Security, Duale, it is clear that NISA initiated the attack with the knowledge of key senior Government officials which have yet to be confirmed. This was preceded by the amateurish legal reasoning of the Attorney General whose argument of treason was destroyed in Court yesterday.

A greater tragedy is that people lost their lives in this unnecessary violent saga.

The claim that these were hurriedly buried in one hole by the Benadir Regional Administration also inflamed tensions. The lack of clarification and response points to a continuing communication failure on the part of the Government.

The Government of President Farmaajo has still enjoys strong public support but this is starting to wane thanks to disproportionate actions on the part of Government institutions like this and Qalbi-Dhagax.  Both concerned the abuse of the legal process and a lack of Justice and both have proven to be damaging to the pursuit of Nabad and Nolol.

The Right to Freedom of Speech, Assembly, Fair Trial and Liberty are a key constitutional right which no institution can interfere with. It was injustice and State abuse of powers that ignited the ruinous Somali civil war, scattered the Somali people across the world as refugees and destroyed the hopes of at least one generation of the Somali people and nation. Yesterday, had the Court not had the courage to strike down the abuse of civil liberties of Abdirahman Abdishakur, Somalia could have easily reverted to the clan violence of 1991.

Under International law, the state alone has the right to use or authorize the use of physical force. In return, this force must be exercised with the utmost care and responsibility. The State has a duty to both protect citizens from violence and to only take life in the most exceptional circumstances when acting in the public interest. In both respect, the Government has failed.

The Somali Federal Government must be commended on its recent efforts to collect all weapons in private hands. However, this positive intention will now be questioned publicly given the political nature of the violence, arrest and trial of Abdirahman Abdishakur.

Politicising the security services is dangerous. It was this, again, that destroyed Somalia and kicked it off the cliff to war, destruction and the poverty the country and its people find themselves in. Professionalising the legal and armed services will overcome the chronic ego driven actions that undermine their operations and the legitimacy of the Government. Appointing unqualified, inexperienced, 4.5 worshipping public servants is a recipe for failure and counterproductive to raising the public confidence necessary to legitimise Government after over 20 years of lawlessness. Friends and bootlickers cannot uphold justice, only real nationalists who truly understand the public interest can.

Abdirahman Abdishakur, is an opposition figure. This is a fact that the Government must deal with through policy. With all opposition, the best way to defeat them is in Parliament and in the hearts and minds of the people through public service delivery. The irony of this situation is that the once accused and exonerated, a failed Presidential aspirant, has now united the opposition through victimhood and fear of further inappropriate and illegal Government actions.

To return public confidence to the Justice system, the Somali Federal Government must initiate an independent inquiry into the matter. The roles of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Internal Security and other senior figures must be made clear. Where their failings and politicising of Justice and Security is made evident, they must all be sacked. This is the way to sustain the peace and strengthen justice. There can never be peace without Justice.