The Somaliland Minister For Information and Culture, Abdirahman Abdullahi Farah ‘Guri-Barwaaqo’, made patronizing wisecracks in responses he made to the press, Sunday, on why the local Somaliland National TV station and Radio Hargeisa short-wave had gone off the air.
“It is not a car, something that we have manufactured ourselves. It was made in China. It is not a spare part that we can pull off a shelf here. The parts are in China. We have to make an order and the order takes time to be met,” he quipped, responding to a question on the TV.
Without justifying why the ministry was not adequately prepared for such an eventuality, and showing neither remorse nor the proper feeling such a dereliction of duty entails, the ministry said they were waiting for delivery of ordered parts, without – again – specifying time.
On the off-the-air short wave section of Radio Hargeisa, the Voice of the Republic of Somaliland – in other words the national radio which went beyond local FM stations, the Minister, again, said “it is an antenna that ha malfunctioned and we have ordered it from China”.
Both stations have been off the air for several months, specially the radio.
Minister Guri-Barwaaqo was fielding questions gunned him by the press at the conclusion of a meeting which the Standing Committee of the House of Representatives, of the Somaliland Parliament held with him on the failure of the TV station and the Radio.
The Secretary General of the Somaliland opposition party of Waddani, Khadar Looge, accused the government led by His Excellency Musa Bihi of unjustifiably piling millions of dollars in budgetary allocations to the Information Ministry to the detriment of other key ministries which it sidelined.
“Can you believe that the Ministry of Information, alone has been allotted a budget that is equal – if not more – of the combined budgets of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Labor?” the Secretary General rhetorically asked.
The Secretary-General believed that the purpose behind that kind of charade was to pave the way for massive misappropriation of public funds.
The Ministry has often been criticized for dismally failing to fill the critical role it held for the nation as the official mouthpiece of the government, dissemination of information, educator and promoter of national norms, values and causes – political or otherwise.