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Somalia: Puntland ex-Minister calls on Govt to reopen Radio Daljir

Puntland

GAROWE, Somalia-Former Puntland Education Minister Abdi Farah Saed (Juha) has called for Radio Daljir be allowed to resume broadcasting on its FM stations on Monday, Garowe Online reports. 

Juha said, recent “threats of bullets” made by Information Minister Mohamud Hassan So’addeamounted to a “vitriolic degeneration” after years of political maturity, referring to 18 years into Puntland statehood.  

The former minister lamented closure that continues into its third day following a government directive that ordered Radio Daljir to shut down on June 24.

“It is really unfortunate for Puntland to lurch backward after 18 years of governance. [Closure] was something we didn’t expect from Abdiweli’s government and of course any other one in place today. I hope the government will be more sensible to this disturbing move, and ban on [Daljir] programs will be lifted immediately,” said Juha during a Monday interview.  

He added that the government needs to offer a space and avoid censoring voices willing to raise questions over pressing political issues, ailing economy and security at this critical time. 

Asked about the violation of 22nd article of the regional constitution that stipulates the press is free and independent, Juha responded as follows: “To be very frank, I don’t have a justification for such a muzzling. Simply, I can say the government has let its authority slip, and failed to rise to responsibilities to which parliament entrusted.” 

--‘Is parliament effective?’ 

Continuing, former Puntland Education Minister called parliament effectiveness into question: “Another matter that begs a question is the effectiveness of parliament which is tasked with ensuring an accountable government. 

The autonomy of parliament seems to have been undermined.” “The real interlocutors when it comes to debates pertaining to the constitution are [MPs]. Media should write to parliament and pose their questions to them so that whether the minister’s remarks were constitutional or not could be clear,” he said.  

“Parliament has legislative powers but so far, I see no signs that those powers are exercised,” noted Juha, stressing that parliament is the organ that holds the executive to account.  

On Thursday, Information Ministry closed down the independent radio station for interviewing former Bari Governor Abdisamad Mohamed Galan. 

The U.S. Mission to Somalia said the following day, it was alarmed by the closure that contradicts the right of free expression.

GAROWEONLINE 

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