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Government Led “Coup D'état” against Shuro Net
Hargeysa, Somaliland, October 27, 2007 (SL Times) – An extraordinary annual general meeting (AGM) held in Ambassador hotel by the local human rights umbrella group “Human Rights Organizations Network” (SHURO-net) was said to have elected a new chairman, vice-chairwoman and secretary general as the group’s board of directors.
The meeting was opened by the government minister of Family Affairs, Fatuma Sudi Hassan and was addressed and attended by government ministers and various departmental ministry heads and officials from the State National Human Rights Commission. The main government and independent media organizations were also present to cover the meeting.
Shuro-net is the biggest human rights organization in the country, an umbrella group made up of 70 local NGOs working/involved in human rights issues in all parts of Somaliland’s six regions. An organization of this size and magnitude holding an extraordinary AGM is bound to attract the attention and interest of the government, civil society and the local media. What was unusual in this meeting was that the group’s board of directors and executive committee were not present. Moreover, the group’s 70 member-organizations were not present in Wednesday’s extraordinary AGM in Ambassador Hotel.
The meeting was even made more bizarre by the fact that it was chaired by the vice-chair of the national state-government Human Rights Commission, Mrs. Lul Hassan who is not a member of the umbrella group of members. Furthermore, the so-called newly elected chair of the new board of directors is Mr. Abdillahi A Omar (Wayab), a current employee of the ministry of information and heads the Somaliland National News Agency which falls under the ministry of information’s authority. Mr. Omar Wayab is not a member of Shuro-net. He took part in the meeting as representing ‘Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA)’, an organization belonging to one of the group’s lists of member organizations. Despite the fact that SOLJA has refuted Mr. Omar’s claim in the media and said that he ‘did not represent the organization’, nonetheless, he was elected to the board chairmanship in the name of SOLJA.
The heavy presence of local police contingents in and around the Ambassador Hotel’s grounds during Wednesday’s extraordinary AGM added to the unreal and puzzling aspects of the meeting.
The government’s involvement in organizing Wednesday’s meeting was obvious and it shows the extent to which the government will go in silencing organizations critical of its policies and conduct.
The government, particularly the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Family Affairs and the national Human Rights Commission all played a part in organizing Wednesday’s (Shuro-net) extraordinary AGM and orchestrated the entire event in order to get rid of the present Shuro-net board of directors and its executives.
On Thursday, Shuro-net board of directors and its executive committee members held a press conference in the organization’s headquarters in Hargeysa to prove the fake nature of Wednesday’s Ambassador Hotel meeting. Shuro-net board of directors and executive officers that were present at the press conference were: Mrs. SamSam Abdi (Shuro-net’s chair of the board of directors), Mr. Mubarik Ibrahim Aar (Executive Director), Mr. Muhamad Abdalla (Executive Committee Member), and Mr. Ibrahim H. Muse (Executive Coordinator).
The board and executive members of Shuro-net said that at first they had their suspicions that the government was behind the recent fake documents that were circulated to the organization’s members during the past fortnight informing them of Wednesday’s extraordinary AGM.
“All our member-organizations called us to find out the cause and purpose behind the sudden scheduled extraordinary AGM and were perturbed when we informed them that we were not aware of this extraordinary AGM notices, and that emails and letters purporting to be from Shuro-net’s officers from the group’s headquarters in Hargeysa are forgeries,” said Muhamad Abdalla, a member of the executive committee.
Shuro-net officials in charge of the organization said that they received copies of the emails and letter documents distributed to their member organizations. They explained that they were shocked to find the group’s logos, letter-heading and official seal stamps used in the documents and emails sent to the groups’ members informing them of the extraordinary AGM.
“The unfortunate thing in all this is that the government has forged persons and stationary logos and official stamp seals belonging to the organization, so as to create a clone in the image of the umbrella group and destroy the authentic Shuro-net organization. What worries me the most, is not just the ruin of Shuro-net, but what this holds for the future of existing companies and civil societies that registered with the government in the belief that their companies and organizations names, symbols and logos are safe from abuse by fraudsters and impersonators,” stressed the coordinator of Shuro-net executive committee, Mr. Ibrahim H Muse in Thursday’s press conference held at Shuro-net headquarters. Mr Muse urged parliament to investigate this serious case involving the government.
Organizations belonging to the group who were present in the press conference held by Shuro-net executives on Thursday were: Nagaad, Havayoco, Sonyo, Samatalis and Solja. All issued statements in support of the current Shuro-net board of directors and executive committee members and declared Wednesday’s extraordinary AGM held in Ambassador Hotel as ‘not belonging to the Shuro-net umbrella group”.
Meanwhile, SL Times has received unconfirmed reports that the government has made preparations to break into the Shuro-net offices and headquarters in Hargeysa, on Saturday, to install the board of directors who were elected on Wednesday at Ambassador Hotel.
Source: Somaliland Times