Somali Football Federation (SFF) president Abdiqani Sai’d Arab Thursday said the Federation was bound to abide by an illegal order by Sports Minister Khadijo Diriye banning Goobjoog Media Group from covering or attending any sports activity in the country.
Without citing an iota of evidence or reasons for the ban in tandem with the Minister’s reasoning, Arab said the Federation would implement the order to the latter.
“As Somali Football Federation, it is important to affirm the previous order by the Sports Ministry banning Goobjoog Media Group from covering any sports activities and accessing all stadia,” Arab said.
In effect, any of the Goobjoog Media Group outlets including its premier sports channel Gool FM and all its journalists remain prohibited from covering sports or accessing any stadia in the country.
Political motivation and self interest:
Minister Khadijo, whose vendetta against Goobjoog Media Group (GMG) remains unknown, at least publicly, ordered on August 8, 2019 that GMG and its journalists shall not be allowed to cover any sporting activities in the country. The Minister did not cite any reasons for the ban thus the order can only be construed to be politically motivated and self-serving.
The Minister’s order is unilateral, oppressive and without any legal basis. The Minister has not shared any reasons for the ban with GMG and it is our conviction that no government institution is privy to the Minister’s reasons.
GMG has also le arnt that the Minister has pressured staff within her Ministry and sports organisations against engaging with GMG threatening loss of jobs and cooperation.
Abuse of office:
GMG holds that the Minister’s order and subsequent enforcement by SFF (which we believe is under duress) amounts to gross violation of our freedom of expression, an attempt to oppress independent media and an orchestrated agenda to hurt GMG as a business entity.
The Minister is blatantly misusing the powers of her office which are donated to it by the People of Somalia to advance personal and political interests.
It is noteworthy that the Minister’s agenda to hurt GMG and frustrate its operations is not new. The following dates and occasions attest to the Minister’s commitment to hurt GMG:
- June 16, 2019: For the first time, Minister Khadijo Dirie wrote that Gool of Goobjoog Media Group cannot go to the stadiums and take part in sports activities in the country.
- August 8, 2019: The Minister issues a unilateral ban against GMG to cover or attend any sports activity
- September 12, 2019: GMG is barred from attending and covering the Banaadir Regional Inter-District football tournament
- December 18, 2019: GMG is barred from attending and covering a football tournament involving Somali youth from Scandinavian countries in Mogadishu
- April 9, 2020: SFF affirms it will abide by the Minister’s ban order.
GMG is therefore urging the Minister to provide evidence and reasons for the unilateral ban against GMG to allow it adequately respond and defend itself or unconditionally lift the ban. Whereas it is the duty and responsibility of public officers to promote and enforce the rule of law through appropriate legal mechanisms, use of public offices and resources to stifle private business is not only illegal but also grossly unbecoming.