HISTORICAL LESSONS LEARNED FROM PUNTLAND ELECTIONS

Garowe, April 9, 2019 – The five Parliament and presidential selections/elections held in the course of the twenty-year history of PUNTLAND had produced a track record of historical significance.There are consistency and constants in the final outcome. One would note that there were permanent factors affecting these sorts of elections/selections in Puntland/Somalia, namely:

  1. Steady increase in tensions and sub-clan rivalries throughout the constituent regions of Puntland.
  2. Steady increase of vote buying and electoral corruption with rates reaching upto US$150,000 per New Member of Puntland House of Representatives, who himself/herself won the constituent regional seat on massive bribery, run-away corruption and influence peddling. The corrupt MPs keep approaching every presidential election to extract and extort more cash, earning hundreds of thousands of US dollars within one or two nights in a row per MP.
  3. PUNTLAND/SOMALIA MPs selection process had been steadily destroying irreversibly the traditional leadership values and time-tested mechanisms for conflict resolution.
  4. Newly selected PUNTLAND MPs always get it right to elect the most suitable candidate among the two worst finalists after the 2nd Round of voting, despite the shameless bribery, vote selling and vote buying, without legal consequence on wrong-doing whatsoever, and political and security intimidations in Garowe in the run-up to the election Election day every five years.
  5. Non-MS (Mohamud Saleman) Puntland MPs are not yet ready to trust the reigns of Puntland power in none other than a MS presidential candidate.
  6. Votes of MPs from Dhulbahante and Warsengeli clan constituencies are particularly for sale to the highest bidder in Puntland Presidential elections. They also have big impact on presidential election outcomes. The issue is now of tremendous concern among Puntland political elite.
  7. Despite the increasingly religious activism and rising radicalization in Somalia, people of Puntland, and to a greater extent, of Somalia, aren’t yet ready to establish a government on the basis of Sharia Laws only. That is why religious sheikhs did badly in all Somalia’s presidential elections, save the election of Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, which was itself imposed by the International Community in Djibouti at the time in order to dethrone or depose the Late TFG President, Abdullahi Yusuf.
  8. In political campaigning in Puntland, the earlier you start, the more resources you put in, the better campaign team you have, the better chance you would have in winning.

    In the light of the above historical perspective, Puntland State as a self-governing federal state of Somalia has no future with the continuation of existing sub-clan power sharing arrangements. It has to hold free and fair elections sooner to survive.

By Ismail H. Warsame
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