A Tweet that touched a raw Somali political nerve

By O. D. Hassan

Gadfly: Mohamoud Gaildon does not place Somali politicians on a high pedestal.

Mogadishu (Commentary) — When Mohamoud Gaildon used a laughing hyena to poke fun at a photo of three Somali political leaders, a deluge of virtue signalling engulfed the medical physicist’s space in Twitter.

“Hyena, when do you laugh?” reads a caption of a photo next to the photo of the Prime Minister Roble, former Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Puntland State President Said Abdullahi Deni at a meeting in Mogadishu. Roble, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Deni congratulated MPs elected in El Wak in violation of the electoral model.

Gaildon has no a habit of kowtowing to Somali politicians. He argues that they exemplify our collective failure. Supporters of the three political leaders took offence at the hyena being lumped with national leaders. They contend Gaildon likens the leaders’ characteristics with that of the hyena. It is unfair to compare our leaders to a hyena because you can’t tame or trust it, they seem to be saying in their tweets. Gaildon highlighted in subsequent tweets electoral misdemeanours that both Puntland and Jubaland have committed — stealing parliamentary seats, to use but one example.

Supporters of Deni, Roble and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud made Gaildon’s tweet the most politically hard-hitting message to have unnerved many “opposition” Somali Twitteratis.

“Dear brother Geeldoon with utmost respect this is not you. I wasn’t expecting this from someone I admire, respect and follow his footsteps” tweeted Abdisalam Aato, a Somali filmmaker. “Whether we have similar views or not, I see a private citizen taking a jab at public figures. There’s nothing holy about politicians… why do we feel so obligated to defend them but fail to hold them accountable. This is not a big deal. Just political meme. We are so outraged” responded Hassan Warsame.

Gaildon is the least partisan of Somali political commentators. He never puts politicians on a high pedestal. His independent-mindedness should not be interpreted as a plot to toady to corrupt politicians.

O.D. Hassan