The deadly midnight raid and subsequent arrest of former minister and 2016 presidential candidate Abdishakur Warsame last week signaled the path to the dark past when those in power deployed state machinery to not only silence critics but also stifle free thought.
The raid which had all the hallmarks of state terror on a private citizen also resulted in the deaths of four security guards attached to Warsame and subjected him bodily injury.
State apparatchiks issued unmitigated orders causing unnecessary tensions in the city followed by threats to media outlets and this came barely 12 hours after the Attorney General Ahmed Dahir accused two legislators of high treason. The connection between the two incidents is very clear.
The State is however proffering claims of subversion and even treason as reasons for the arrest of the former presidential candidate. It is no doubt Warsame has openly spoken out his mind on a number of national issues and brought into question the current administration’s handling of such matters. He has cast aspersions on the leadership qualities of President Mohamed Farmajo and PM Hassan Khaire. And that is within his constitutional rights as an opposition figure and more so as a citizen of this country.
Whether these claims are backed by concrete evidence remain immaterial.
The proof of burden is on the author. To accuse a politician of ties with foreign governments is as a flimsy an excuse for repression as taking issue with the President’s relations with foreign governments.
It is common knowledge among almost every Somali and non Somali that the Farmajo administration has very close political ties with Qatari authorities much to a point the neutrality stance in the Gulf Crisis remained questionable.
The soul of any democracy is anchored on fidelity to free thought, expression of ideas and criticism, some which, and in most cases not going down well with those in power.
Holding accountable those whom we bestow State power and authority on our behalf is a civic role we must all embrace and consistently do to ensure the leadership of the day lives up to our expectations, its oath of allegiance and the dictates of our constitution.
While not holding brief for Warsame and any of the other lawmakers, it is incumbent that adherence to the rule of law by state apparatus is upheld. The government leadership must exercise tolerance and restraint in responding to that which it feels not pleasant to its ears.
We should learn and embrace the culture of political opposition as an integral part of our democracy.
As the great Greek philosopher Socrates notes “think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults.”