Haatuf and its owner, Gabobe, went beyond all boundaries of decent and fair reporting. The paper once more assumed its true tabloid nature.  The Somaliland authorities temporarily closed the premises of the paper based on a court warrant after charges were filed against the paper by ministers against which he carried a vilification campaign solely meant to irreversibly damage their personal and professional integrities.

“It is all because of a sealed envelope that did not appear and a permit for an oil block that was rejected after the brokers, Gabobe and his brother-in-law, failed to bring the principals to Somaliland,” one of the bystanders witnessing the police closure involuntarily uttered.

That was not an exception. The general public that Mr. Gabobe forced himself and his warped ideas on day in, day out without the least shred of evidence heaved a sigh of relief.

The letter

The sustained defamation campaign that Mr. Gabobe carried against the honorable ministers of Mining and  Interior were designed to exert pressure on the government to grant the Editor-in-chief’s brother in law a concession on one of Somaliland’s many oil blocks, as it sought silencing cash from the victims, too. Since December 2013, following their failure to convince the owner of Boule Mining Group to personally tender his letter of interest to the Somaliland government and its public, Mr. Gabobe embarked on a vendetta to compromise the oil exploration initiatives of the whole country. His philosophy is simple “give me my slice, or else…”.

The letter they submitted to the government bears no merit for consideration (see copy below) for many reasons. For one, it represents a mining company, not an oil exploration company. It was written not by the owner or a high executive of the company but by a personal secretary. The bearer has no prior history of involvement in oil matters.

The right tack would have been to work on Boule Mining Group principals and bring them here to Somaliland to open a direct dialogue with the government. It is certain that Boule had the mechanisms, the negotiation power and the background to assess its degree of interest and involvement in their area of interest. To grant a concession through a proxy or an unqualified broker without the personal presence of the owner/owners and the highest executives of the said company would have been criminal and a blatant violation of the responsibility that the public entrusted on the government.

Mr. Yussuf Gabobe and his in law, instead, went on a personal vendetta against prominent personalities in government and outside of it in order to satisfy their personal ambitions. Yussuf should not pretend that he is a journalist when he is nothing but a hatchet-man loyal only to what falls on his greasy palms.

The case

The government has a case. Gabobe is not above the law. None of us is. He has accused everybody but himself that they “swindled”, “embezzled”, “brokered” and stashed away public funds. Let him prove that in court. Or is he against that, too?

The man has damaged the impeccable reputation of Somaliland and left no stone unturned to stop the development initiatives of the country. He has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the figures he had been quoting in his publications are, in fact, as he put them. Or else he has to take the consequences and be punished for treachery against the Republic of Somaliland and its good standing in the eyes of the international community.

That he answers to the name of journalist does not give him the right to feed damaging lies and defamatory material to the public for personal gains. The officers he targeted have their constitutional rights, too. They have a right to demand retribution and seek justice from false, extra-judicial persecution, extortion, blackmail and unfounded finger-pointing in the hands of ruthless elements such as Mr. Gabobe.

There is no law – secular or otherwise – that condones violation of one’s integrity, honor and privacy. On the same token, there is no law that can protect the violator from his just desserts.

Let us remind ourselves that the Somaliland government, the Somaliland public and all its publics are on the same rug, and not on different, separable units.

Avv. Abdi Aziz Ma’allin Abdi

Djibouti

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