Rashid Abdi of ICG grossly violates core principles of Journalism: A reflection of his recently released article on SW election

The vision of the International Crises Group (ICG) is working to prevent wars and shape policies that will build a more peaceful world. Robert Malley, the ICG president believes his organization supports for good governance that enable society to flourish. After reading this article you are free to judge if the recent commentary on Southwest election prevents war and enable societies in the Southwest State flourish and prosper.

Let me begin with my comment on the ICG article “Somalis Southwest State: a new president installed, a crises inflamed” by Rashid Abdi, the Horn of Africa director. It seems as biased and inflammatory; in addition, the piece is full of speculations and vague arguments.

First, ICG consciously panegyrizes a former high ranking official of Al-Shabaab, Mukhtar Robow, who explicitly took part the mayhem of living conditions of hundreds of innocent people including school children, since then he has neither categorically apologized nor distanced himself from the terrorist group and repudiated Alshabaab (Washington Post: January, 2019) publically who are still audacious vampires in this country.

It is fact that Robow has defected from Al-Shabab but the Somali Government has never officially screened him or completed reintegration programme. In the first place on 4 October in the past year the Ministry for Internal Security of Somalia issued a press release clearly indicating that Mukhtar Robow was not allowed to compete as Southwest presidential candidate; because he did not meet all requirement for lifting all imposed sanctions on him. Prior to this, the Federal Government has sent a high-level delegation to Baidoa to persuade him that to run for the highest office in the state at this point of time is very much premature given his personal status in the society; but instead, the government provided him lots of other opportunities that he can contribute on based on his wealthy experience in Somali politics generally and more specifically to the regions he belongs to. Unfortunately he reportedly declined all possible negotiations and therefore opted to run for a presidential seat. Rolling over to the right-wing side of the politics from far-off the other corner right after you are out from the bush was something many spectators questioned much and consequently influenced government’s ultimate decision.   In fact, the Federal Government was keen on Mukhtar Robow and didn’t want him to alienate in the politics, instead genuinely wanted him to remain in the political process, as he is indispensable in peace making process as well as combatting terrorism. Because he is regarded as a man of war can be a man of peace as once Winston Churchil said too. For this cause, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo himself made a phone call to Robow, justified his government’s stance on his candidacy and cordially invited him to negotiation. However, all these efforts were in vein as Mukhtar rejected them and refused to change his mind.

Perhaps Robow’s decision was influenced by people who were unrealistic and unfamiliar to the facts on the ground and their decisions were solely guided by obsessions of acquiring power, which prevented them to consider government’s suggestions and concerns pertaining the matter. In consequence, their stubbornness culminated the arrest of Mukhtar Robow, unfortunately.

It’s worth mentioning that Rashid Abdi, despite of his knowledge of these facts, he deliberately omitted from his biased article.

On the other hand, Rashid’s article somehow advocates for Mukhtar Robow and labels him as a simple Salafi technocrat who deserves to rule millions of people some of whom their beloved ones are massacred by a regime he helped establish its foundation ideologically and pragmatically. He also argues many individuals from Salafi religious sect are part of the Federal government.  Salafi is a reform revivalist movement within Sunni Islam that advocate a return to the traditions of the Salaf, the first three generations of Muslims, which include the generations of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad and his companions. Every religious sect, be Salafi, Sufi, and even Shia can have moderate and fundamentalist ideologies. Therefore the author has either low opinion about Somali Islamists or he deliberately conceals genuine facts about individuals like Mukhtar Robow.

We are again differ from the author that the arrest of Robow would mean sky will fall. No matter the mishaps that Robow and his group caused, Somali leadership has never stopped offering amnesty to Al-Shabaab militants. Many of them accepted amnesty and received training, employment and education, and I hope this will continue.

Finally, Rashid seems encouraging Robow like minders to take up arms, go on fugitively and gather arms rebellion against the resilient, peace loving society of Southwesters. One may be doubtful enough then, if in fact ICG is in tact in its principal for protecting crisis on horizon but this one actually seems creating a crisis just to perpetuate the cause ICG stands for. I am sure, ICG leadership may not share the contents of this ill fating article of Rashid but they just approved it go since Rashid personally invented its content and then published it by signing off under his name.

Mohamed I. Nur

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