ADDIS ABABA, (Somalilandpress) — Reporters from Somaliland have been invited to the African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital who have been discussing a range of issues from security and conflict to development.
A total of four reporters from both government and independent media houses joined the 14th ordinary session of the Assembly of the African Union which opened on Sunday built around the theme of ‘information and communication technologies’ in Addis Ababa.
Mohamed Hussein Jama of Geeska Afrika (independent), Abdiweli Farah Jambir, Ogaal news (independent), Abdullahi Ali Sudi, Somaliland National Television ‘TV Qaran’ (government) and Moha Farah Jirde from TV Qaran joined the the 53-member body’s annual meeting with another 528 journalists from around Africa and abroad.
Moha is also the president of Journalists for African Renaissance (JAR), an African Union agency founded by members from Somaliland, Kenya, Botswana, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, with the help of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, a non-profit German political foundation.
The often flamboyant reporter and regular presenter in the state-owned Qaran TV, Moha Farah, who played an important role in convincing African heads of state to invite journalists from Somaliland to the conference thanked the Ethiopian government for their hospitality on behave of all African journalists. Ms Moha also thanked the AU leaders for “allowing the media free access.” She praised Ethiopia’s positive attitude towards free press and urged the international press to refrain from misleading the public via falsely depicted information about Ethiopia’s press freedom.
She has over the years built up a considerable stable of contacts in Addis Ababa, which she says is home to thousands of diplomats, intellectuals and politicians. She emphasised the need for reporters from Somaliland in such gatherings by African leaders, who invited reporters from other continents.
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During the summit, Somaliland reporters met with various leaders from Africa including the leaders of Zambia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Botswana, Namibia and Ethiopia as well as the current Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-moon.
Ban Ki-moon joined the African summit at a time when the Senegalese head of state, Abdoulaye Wade was proposing relocating the people of Haiti to Africa based on their African roots and for carrying the “flame of liberation and freedom for the black people.”
Ban Ki-moon on his part thanked the AU leaders for their support for Haiti and briefly touched on their African links.
The earthquake which struck Haiti on 12 January has killed an estimated 170,000 and made over a million people homeless. The emergency relief has attracted an international response including a number of Christian charities in the United States, where at least ten of them have been accused of illegally smuggling out Haiti children out off the country.
This is the first time press from Somaliland have been invited to an African Union summit.
In a related development, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader is said to have been angered by a number of African head of states who secretly discussed the issue of Somaliland recognition with him. According to Geeska Afrika, Col. Qaddafi told the African leaders he was opposed to dividing Somalia, who he said was a “small state and a member of the African Union and Arab League” and that “the world is changing into 7 or 10 countries”, and Africa is trending in the opposite direction. He argued if Somaliland is recognized, others in Africa will follow such as regions in Sudan (referring to South Sudan) and Congo.
According to an early interview by Geeska Afrika, AU leaders are awaiting a report on Somaliland to be brought in front of the Assembly according to the Namibian Foreign Minister, Mr. Marco Mukoso Hausiku.
Col. El-Qaddafi was both surprised and angered by his sudden replacement by President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi and many political analysts believe El-Qaddafi never really believed in the so called “African United States” but was his way of denying the self-determination of people like Somaliland.
Somaliland journalists were invited as ‘Somaliland journalists’ and not as ‘Somalia’s’, they rubbed shoulders with the political elites of Africa and beyond bringing home another milestone in Somaliland’s self-determination as the journalists are the gateway to information.
Somalilandpress, 2 February 2010