Tuesday, January 10, 2017
By RAMADHAN RAJAB
Original photo of Somali PM Omar Sharmake with Ugandan ambassador in Mogadishu; top right corner depicts image of Waddani party's Abdirahman lifted from another photo, and placed in the final faked photo is Abdirahman and Somali PM together. /COURTESY
The Waddani party, Somaliland’s main opposition party, has hotly denied that it is seeking to reunite with Somalia ahead of this year’s elections.
Somaliland has been independent since 1991 and the collapse of the Siad Barre regime.
On December 23, the Star published a story headlined ‘Somaliland pushing for reunion with Somalia after 25 years of division’. The story appeared as a paid-for advert in the newspaper.
The story claimed that Waddani chairman Abdirahman Mohammed Abdullahi, Speaker of the House of Representatives for the past 11 years, had reached out to Somali Prime Minister Omar Sharmake at a meeting at the Serena Hotel before Christmas.
However, it is now clear that the story was fabricated by political rivals of the Waddani party and that a photograph of Abdirahman with Sharmake was photoshopped from three different photos.
Elections to be held in March in Somaliland are expected to be hotly contested.
“I reiterate, neither I nor anyone of my delegation have met the Prime Minister of Somalia. The delegation, or anyone of them, including me, have made no “hint” or indication of reunion” with Somalia. The Waddani party stands for Somaliland, its existence and independence,” Abdirahman said in a statement delivered to the Star.
“Somaliland’s withdrawal from the 1960 arrangement is the decision of the Somaliland people and is enshrined in the Constitution of Somaliland which the Waddani Party fully upholds,” he stressed.
“We believe the article was an ill-fated, inflammatory and seditious act aimed at undermining Somaliland’s cause for self-determination. We believe it was insinuated by somebody who is an eminent enemy to my people’s aspirations and rightful self-determination,” Abdirahman said.
“In addition to being an unashamed distortion of Waddani’s recent successful mission in Nairobi, it was indeed a deliberate attack on Somaliland’s hard-won peace which makes it a beacon of stability in the region.
Charles Kerich, Editor of the Star, yesterday said, “We have strict policies on separating editorial content from advertising. This process was circumvented in an underhand manner by an unknown outsider. Action has now been taken to make certain that such an incident does not recur.”