Somalilamdsun- “Whatever antics the administration of president Muse Bihi does to muzzle freedom of expression I shall not relent in my pursuit of telling the truth”
This was stated by Hasan Dahir Ismail a Somaliland based poet popularly known as Weedhsame during a press conference in Hargeisa
The sentiments by the visible irate poet was in reaction to the forceful halting of a cultural meet he was to participate at, in the coastal city by police/
“Although we had a license to hold the meet issued by the relevant authorities the police came in the eleventh hour and disrupted our function” said Poet Weedhsame adding that police informed that they were acting through orders from above, literally translated meaning the presidency in capital Hargeisa.
The much awaited cultural fete where poets, composers and other traditional luminaries came to an abrupt end after heavily armed police dispersed invited guests and participants citing some yet to be explained irregularities.
According to the poet the only reason was the administration’s determination to muzzle freedom of expression in the country as exemplified by the arrests of many local journalists and ordinary citizens since Muse Bihi assumed office two years ago.
Said he, while it is not new for journalists to be arrested in Somaliland or elsewhere in the world what is new is the arrest of ordinary citizens because of their social media comments”
Since Muse Bihi ascended to the Somaliland presidency in November 2017 a large number of people have been invited as state guests in various police stations more in Hargeisa simply for commenting negatively about the administration in social media platforms,
Contrary to precedents set by his predecessors “President Bihi is very obsessed with Facebook Comments” said Poet Weedhsame as he wondered on the amount of time the head of state and his assistants spend browsing Facebook comments Vis-à-vis his mandate of running national affairs.
Despite the fact that this administration is engaged in arbitrary arrests and detention of innocent persons poet Weedhsame said he was agitated by the manner in which his cultural meet was brought to an inconclusive end, owing to the fact that he had a license not to mention constitutional dictates on procedures for such.
Said he, “According to Somaliland laws a five member body is mandated with cancelling licenses issued by government if planned activities are deemed illegal”
Adding that it was then unconstitutional thence illegal for the president to order police clamp down on their cultural meet in Berbera,
Despite the fact that president Muse Bihi and his immediate staff are obsessed with comments posted on Facebook thus regular arrests “I shall not be intimidated thus continue to comment publicly through poetry or in social media on issues of national interest as I have always done”
In conclusion Poet Hasan Dahir Ismail aka Weedhsame told Somalilanders to be calm if he is arrested for he shall not cease his poetry activities.