Response to Monitoring Group Allegations

The July 2013 UN Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (UNSEMG) report contains false and damaging allegations against the Heritage Institute for Policy Studies (HIPS), and its director, Abdi Aynte. The allegations are made without evidence. At no point was HIPS contacted by the UNSEMG to comment on the allegations. Such false allegations undermine the validity of the report and the UN’s commitment to transparency, accountability, and integrity.

This response addresses each of the false allegations aimed at HIPS and its director, Abdi Aynte.

Allegation 1: The report alleges that Mr. Aynte was one of two “important carriers of cash donations from Qatar” to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud during his election campaign.

This is categorically untrue. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Mr. Aynte was a journalist with Al Jazeera English in Doha, Qatar. He was neither involved in any political activity nor supported any of the presidential candidates. Mr. Aynte was not present in Somalia throughout the campaign.

Allegation 2: The report alleges that Aynte is a “prominent member of Ala Sheikh political and business association of former TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed”.

Mr. Aynte has no affiliation with “Ala Sheikh” or any other political or religious group in Somalia. This allegation is not only unsubstantiated, but also contradicts Allegation 1 suggesting Mr. Aynte provided support to TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed’s opponent, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud . Such a contradiction is counterintuitive, fails a basic argumentation test and makes no sense to any right thinking person.

Allegation 3: The report alleges that HIPS was “established with financing from Qatar”.

HIPS has received no funding from Qatar. Nor would it attempt to hide this information if it had. HIPS is actively seeking funding and would welcome funding from Qatar. HIPS is accountable to a Board of Advisors and is independently audited. HIPS’ financial statements will be publicly available on its website in its annual reports.

Allegation 4: The report alleges that a person by the name of “Fahad Yasin”, another former Al Jazeera journalist, is a “senior figure” and an “associate” of HIPS.

The names of the staff and policy fellows at HIPS are published on the organization’s website. Mr. Yasin is not and has never been affiliated with HIPS.

Allegation 5: The report alleges that HIPS is “aligned” with the Federal Government of Somalia.

HIPS was established as an independent, non-profit, non-partisan think tank in Somalia. This allegation is refuted by HIPS’ publication record over the past six months. HIPS has not shied away from making critical observations on the performance of the Somali government’s policies and actions. Neither has it refrained from giving credit to the government where credit is due. The objective of HIPS as an independent think tank is to provide constructive feedback to the Federal Government of Somalia and other authorities in the interest of reconciliation, peace, and development.



The consequences of false allegations against individuals and institutions are serious, but more alarming is the impact this has on the reputation of the United Nations in Somalia. The Somali people are entitled to expect the United Nations to abide by the same standards of accountability and transparency that it expects from them.

The allegations in the report bear a striking resemblance to an article that appeared on “Africa Intelligence” in February 2013 – a source widely known in Somalia to circulate false rumors. The report also makes claims that, while untrue, do not imply illegality or wrong-doing on behalf of HIPS or its director. It is not illegal to receive funding from Qatar, to be affiliated with a political, religious, or business group, or to support the Federal Government of Somalia. The approach taken in the report demonstrates a lack of due diligence and reliance on rumor mills. The Monitoring Group’s willful disregard for facts is worsened by the use of “guilt by association” techniques.

The unsubstantiated allegations against HIPS and its director are an attempt to discredit Somalia’s first independent, non-profit, non-partisan, think tank, which promotes evidence-based research and analysis, and actively advocates for transparency and accountability in Somalia. That a report of this importance, and sponsored by the United Nations, apparently ignores the principles of evidence, transparency, and accountability is deeply unsettling.

We call on the Somalia and Eritrea Sanctions Committee to carefully review our response to the report’s false allegations, publicly acknowledge its mistakes to limit the damage already caused to HIPS and its director, and expunge these baseless accusations about HIPS and its director from the report. Having received no communication thus far, despite filing a formal complaint, HIPS would welcome the opportunity to discuss the allegations with the Monitoring Group.

In the meantime, HIPS will continue to offer organic solutions to local problems, providing an independent, non-partisan Somali narrative, from Somalia.


The Heritage Institute for Policy Studies

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  1. Posted July 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    It is very unfortunate that the UN Monitoring Group has come up with a baseless allegation against HIPS and its director Mr.Abdi Aynte, Somalia and the rest of the international community will not buy that argument because it has only been recently when HIPS was praised for producing evidence-informed research and analysis and organic solutions in Somalia.
    HIPS has been able to make this big difference on the ground for relatively short time because of its presence in Mogadishu-Somalia, having knowledge of the local culture and most important its understanding of the political culture and state structure of Somalia, therefore, All Somalis respect and recognize the good work that HIPS is doing in Somalia, especially, the Somali federal government, private sector, NGOS and the Somali diaspora across the globe rely on the research production of HIPS for it represents Somali version of what is what and who is who in Somalia in which it supports with facts and figures. As Somalis we are tired of outsider version of our situation in Somalia. We condemn these groundless and ridiculous accusations with strongest possible terms and we will not tolerate with this kind of smear campaign against HIPS anymore, we call on the UN Monitoring Group to reverse and sincerely apologize for its grave institutional mistake before it is too late.

  2. Avatar Deqa
    Posted July 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Dear UN motoring Group as aSomali citizen and as the wife of the HIPS’s director Abdi Aynte I demand an apology on your ill allegations on HIPS and its director Mr Aynte. In short amount of time, HIPS has been able to make positive difference in the ground on our Somali situation, it’s been welcomed by Somalis everywhere, from the top government officials, the Somali business Community, to the civil Society, as an independent, non partisan institution. Abdi and I as a family serif iced a lot to stand and part take the rebuilding of our country, and will not waiver despite your false allegations. I urge you to reserve your report and apologize to us, to the HIPS team and to Somalis everywhere.

  3. Avatar
    Posted July 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I would tell the so called experts who draft this malicious report accusing the very people who give up their established career in diaspora in order to serve their country to come up with concrete evidance to support their claim. Other wise, they will be no different of spoilers they were supposed to name. On the other hand, it’s human nature to find faults for everyone who try to make things better. So far, HIPS has proved to be not partisan policy forum for everyone involving in somali politics whether it’s the stake holders and beyond. Such kind of baseless accusation should not alter to achieve the goals of the institute.

  4. Avatar Ahmed
    Posted July 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    This so-called monitoring group’s creation-i am afraid-was to undermine any possibility of Somalia getting up back on its feet.Seemingly,these allegations are intended to silence Somali driven initiatives that can produce reliable research contarary to desk based ones by foreign ”experts”.I urge you to continue the work you have for your country and let not these rumours prevent you from doing your obligations to your people.

  5. Avatar Sayyid J Madar
    Posted July 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Whilst the first four allegations appear baseless, I would refute HIPS response for the allegation five which implies HIPS institute aligns with the Federal Government of Somalia. That does appear true.

    Recently HIPS deputy director Abdirashid Hashi tweeted:
    “In 1960, #Somaliland sought UNITY & let the South have Capital, Presidency, PM, Speaker, #Somalis have to reciprocate if they want unity now.”

    This statement surprised myself and many other Somalilanders who felt Abdirashid completely disregarding the aspirations, self-determination and most importantly the democratically elected Gov. which we currently have in Somaliland. When refuted whether Mr Hashi genuinely believed if a referendum is recalled, whether the majority would vote for Unity, he replied:

    ” The future of #Somalia &#Somaliland should be decided in an environment free of recrimination, anger &politicking”

    Whilst I respect his cavalier approach to this question, he still fails to acknowledge that Somaliland reinstated it’s independence and with the backing of the majority in several free & fair elections with a Constitution which reasserts it’s Independence from the failed voluntary union it joined in 1960. I can confirm that Mr. Hashi did eventually acknowledge that a referendum would be fair, but failed to inform his followers that the decision for Somaliland to enter in a reunion can only be through a referendum due to the constitution which the current Gov. in Somaliland must uphold.

    In that regard, I request HIPs & Mr. Aynte to clarify HIPs view of Somaliland and whether it would remain impartial, independent of their own & SFG agendas to reunify and respect the wishes of the citizens of Somaliland who overwhelmingly voted in favour of Independence. I would also like HIPs to officially clarify it’s claim to be the “first” ThinkTank in Somalia (which I agree with since Somaliland is not apart of Somalia in reality) whilst organisations such as: Academy of Peace & Development exist.

    Whilst it’s not illegal to support the SFG, it does undermine and question your organisations impartiality & fairness, especially when dealing with sensitive issues to your supporters like the undeniable existence of Somaliland as an Independent state and their continuous struggle for recognition. I do sympathize with the first four allegations which seem baseless, however you cannot escape allegation five.

  6. Avatar kolomey
    Posted July 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    i’m very unhappy to hear such false allegation against an individual who gives his time to work for voiceless people in somalia and help their voice to be heard and their long routed problems to be solved, i will urge you brother, ayante to continue ur life-saving job. I wish hips for better life, i’m sure these poor allegations will never stop. Yusuf @dadaab refugees

  7. Avatar Mohamed
    Posted July 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    UNSEMG is useless and an obstacle to Somalia’s stability and progress! They always have allegation against non-political actors in Somalia and Eritrea! When we all known that Ethiopia and Kenya are the one’s that host, support, finance and train all the different groups who undermine Somalia’s stability and peace! They had never condemned Kenya’s support for the different groups and warlords in Kismayo or Ethiopia’s role in Somalia’s two decades of conflict by supporting armed opposition groups, warlords, or regional states like Puntland, Somaliland, and GalMugud who take part in undermining the role of the federal government in bring back law and order to Somalia. Ethiopian troops abuse and threaten Somali citizen’s daily in the provinces of Bay, Bakool, Gedo, Hiiraan, etc as documented in all the human rights reports and yet this so called monitoring group has the audacity to attack great organizations like the Heritage Institute and other non-political actors in Somalia’s conflict while they turn a blind eye on the people and countries who undermine Somalia’s stability and peace!

  8. Avatar Hassan
    Posted July 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    If you want to be left alone, go on offense and unveil the wrongs of the Monitoring Group. Qaniinyaa qaniinyo kaa fujiso!

  9. Avatar Khalif Ahmed
    Posted July 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    I welcome Mr. Aynte’s refuting the self-appointed “head” of the UN Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (UNSEMG) report. This fellow “head” has no credibility, and has a trail of nonsensical repots about Somalia/Somaliland which lack merit but he leverages his networking contacts in the UN halls of power. it is suffice to say this a “head” of UNSEMG is malicious and colonial minded and lacks merit. The detailed problem statement and solution of the Somali Nations problem belongs to the Somalis.
    I welcome the comments of Mr. S.J. Maddar’s comments and that dialogue from one Somali to another must be initiated, shared, and encouraged. The ownership of our issues, discussions right or wrong, substantiating with or without facts should be by Somalis for Somalis and among Somalis; then and only then we will see that the a “head” of a UNSEMG has no value added to our moving forward with our problem resolution.

  10. Avatar Ahmedey
    Posted July 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Glad the United nation report and the walls are falling to all corrupted members of organization whether self appointed or Tribal organized groups who bark and later double cross there country , it looks there is no honest Member at all in every sector and it is a shame to be part of . God Help Somali and bring someone who cares.

  11. Avatar Zakaria Sharif
    Posted July 2013 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    I would agree alongside with everyone else, that the allegations I read on this article is counterintuitive and not to mention contradicting. As somalis who took initiative to provide an independent, nonpartisan somali narrative to the somali people. HIPS approach to analyzing, researching, and presenting concrete evidence in regards to somali policy was something that somali govt. and politics needed for a long time, and I applaud the individuals who put their lives and careers at stake in order to help somalia and somali people go forward. With that being said, you will always find those who are against progress; unfortunately in this case it happened to be a huge powerful organization like the UN. I conclude by telling the HIPS organization and its fellow members to keep up the good work and that the UN did not undermine your legitimacy but in fact, they undermined their legitimacy for producing untruthful, illegitimate, and baseless allegation.

  12. Avatar Rashid
    Posted July 2013 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Guys don’t you know the man owns another so called think tank SAHAN. He has to kill the competitor’s name. Don’t worry about It we live in a world where the liars are true tellers!

  13. Avatar Abdi Gelle
    Posted July 2013 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    Where have you been when UNSEMG and it’former leader Matt Brydan made Puntland the home of piracy, robbery and human trafficking. While Puntland was trying to build a police and maritime coastguard to protect the Somali ocaen and our natural resources. Puntland was not doing anything wrong and HIPS is exactly some stage on that time, I can say keep that great job you doing now. And don’t give up. Don’t be a partisan think tank and go open a new offices in Garowe and Hargiesa.

  14. Avatar Osman
    Posted July 2013 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Most of the responses here clearly don’t like the UNSEMG report so their response is to shoot the messenger. As for me, I don’t have enough data to reach a conclusion so I’ll just sit on the fence.

  15. Avatar Omar Nor
    Posted July 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    UN Monitoring Group Allegations are to undermine Somalia’s stability and peace!

  16. Posted July 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    i am here express great regret to read false allegations against individual who has been lost their valuable time to help their people . the UN MONITORING GROUP are fearing somalia to stand their legs , i think the report of UNSEMG states harm and the team need to learn the un concept of DON’T HARM . sorry i apologized our valuable somali organisation the un thinking allegations

  17. Avatar Abdullahi
    Posted July 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    UN monitoring group should know that Somalia is waking up from coma gradually and will no longer to tolerate any wrong doing and defamations against its reputed institutions and citizens who are struggling to cure the country’s long time illness. HIPS has shown a remarkable progress in its initiatives. They successfully created an atmosphere where every Somali citizen has a chance to contribute his or her impression in best ways of getting collective salutations of the contemporary Social problems since the solution lays in the hands of Somalis.

    I would encourage HIPS team not to be discouraged such meaningless allegations. Why UN feel bad when they see Somali intellectuals using their positive brains to rebuild their country? Do they want us to be dependent for them ever! I can say this is the first attempt to discourage HIPS positive progressions?

    We call upon United Nations to think twice the credibility of their reports before they publish. UN reports are expected to be like an essay wrote by school boy

  18. Avatar Rasack Yousof
    Posted July 2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I am pleased by the organised and well-formulated response that HIPS has made to this groundless and rumor report by the monitoring group. Monitoring Group has made a staining report that only nullifies its creditability and damages its future existence as a group. MONITORING GROUP should know that people of Somalia are tired of senseless and baseless reports by outsider organisations fed with information by valueless people among the plighted people of Somalia.
    This will neither hinder nor reduce the progress that the Somali government, Somali people and HIPS have being making recently and the progress they are aiming at.

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