Faisal Roble has a chequered history as once the erstwhile Editor of WardheerNews, a responsibility that should have instilled in him respect for objectivity, truth, and shunning the temptation of casting himself as both judge and jury in deference to the adage that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. He seems to have taken leave of these media ethos when he commits some of the worst journalistic cardinal sins of engaging in unsubstantiated character assassinations, this time writing once again in WardheerNews.
In his article, titled “Rush to Judgment and the Distortion of Facts: Reading the Monitoring Groups’ Report”, Roble castigates the media for what he considers their hasty condemnations of those accused of corruption in the report when he, in his own rush to judgment, ironically does the very same thing against others, like former Minister Abdulkareem Jama, not even implicated in the report. He conveniently cites “Unconfirmed reports suggest that a second companion report distributed to donor countries and to the US State Department calls for the indictment of three Somalis who refused to cooperate with the investigation. These three individuals reportedly include the sitting President, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Khadija Osoble, a lady whose name appears in various similar reports since 2006, and the former Minister for information, Mr. Abdikarim Jama, a known leader of the Ala Shiek sect, who served former Prime Minister Mohamed Farmajo. Both Ms. Osoble and Mr. Jama enjoy close relationship with the sitting president, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and seem to have a long wrap sheet of corruption accusations"
What is striking and revealing about Mr Roble's article is how much it is driven not by the defense of what is right or wrong but by his empathy or antipathy to personalities: defending those who were in his view wrongly accused in the report, while gratuitously incriminating and slandering others who do not even feature in the accusation list. The author targets Mr. Jama in this way. Having failed to produce any evidence against Abdulkareem, he resorts disingenuously to making references to some anonymous unspecified “Unconfirmed reports” and defames him for “seeming to have a long wrap sheet (I assume he meant rap sheet) of corruption accusations.” Reliable sources that have seen the report assured us that they found no trace of the alleged unseen report referenced by Mr. Roble!
For the benefit of the readers, let me stress that Mr. Jama’s name appears in two places in the Monitoring Group's report and neither one is for corruption (1) (paragraphs 10 & 40):
In the statement in paragraph 10 above, the author starts his statement that “allegedly …” without stating even who alleged it. Also, the statement is factually incorrect in that in May 2011, Abdulkareem Jama was not the Chief of Staff of President Sharif as he joined the Farmajo Government as Minister of Information and Telecommunications on November 2010, a post he remained until July 2011.
The only other entry with the name of Abdulkareem Jama in the Monitoring Group report is as follows:
In this case, the sources cited in the report that Mr. Jama went to Istanbul in a Turkish Airlines flight! It’s not clear as to the significance of this plane ride for the deliberations of the United Nations Security Country!
Mr. Roble is quick to point out to the weaknesses in the way the Monitoring Group prepared their report and states that “…the organization of the report and some of the references it utilizes to reach multiple indicting conclusions are at times trivial and hearsay. For example, in one of only two entries that concerns the sitting Prime Minister, the report maintains that its information regarding the expenditure of about $120,700 at the Prime Minister’s office came from an unidentified “TFG official". Quoting unidentified source is also promoted in the methodology section of the report as a major tool to gather information. That is utterly nonsense!” But then again, he turns around and relies on the same hearsay and not even quoting anyone to smear Mr. Jama’s good name!
Abdulkareem lived in the Virginia suburb of Washington, DC. In the US since January 1982, gainfully employed and pulling in a six-figure salary while at the same time working as an adjunct professor of information technology at a local University when he was called to serve in the homeland. He left his family and job and has built the administration of the Somali State House as well as the Ministry of Information reviving among other things the Somali National Television after being off the air for 20+ years. He is recognized in Somalia as one of the most effective Ministers of the much praised Farmajo Administration.
Whenever I go to Mr. Jama’s Facebook page, the picture to the left captures my attention (a vulture preying upon a withered South Sudanese toddler near the village of Ayod waiting for it to die before it can feast on its frail Caracas). This always reminds me of the analogous situation that the children of our country are in today. That is why probably Abdulkareem chose this picture for his Facebook page and perhaps that is also the motive of why he chose to leave the comfort of his home, family and job to help change this situation. He deserves our support, praise and admiration, not our taunts and insults in the absence of any evidence to justify it. On the first day of the Holy month of Ramadan, it is wise for every one of us to practice fairness, justice and truthfulness in our dealings with each other. Mr. Roble, you owe Mr. Jama an apology. So be a good Muslim and do the right thing.
Abdiwahab Yusuf is a political activist who lives in Minneapolis. He can be reached at E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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