By Ismail Warsame

These days Garowe City of Puntland State resembles USA Ohio City in election primaries. On the eve of Somali elections, Garowe draws in huge visitors, not only from other urban cities of Puntland, but also a considerable number of public office seekers around the world among the diaspora of Puntland origin. Playing well by producing qualified and able politicians as members of parliament, the State of Puntland could have swaying influence in Somalia’s future governance. The State, however, shouldn’t leave its Federal MPs and senators to their own devices, but support and guide them along its political and legislative objectives.

Influence-peddlers, political pundits and election compaigners for Federal Presidential candidates are also visible in public places here. This is the time Puntland clan elders turn again overnight into shakers and movers of Puntland candidates for Upper and Lower Houses of Somalia’s Federal Parliament. Elders are taking advantage of their unique and privileged positions of selecting sub-clan delegates, who would choose members of parliament from among the clan-sponsored representatives, under the existing Somalia’s controversial 4.5 Clan Power-sharing Formula.

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The difference between Garowe and Ohio, in terms of election campaigning, is that here in Garowe everybody, who happens to play a role in Somalia’s future destiny is almost ignorant, hungry, if not destitute. Unfortunately, campaign funds go to private pockets to alleviate the pain of poverty among electors. Think of electors, who cannot support their livelihoods while staying at locations of election polling stations. Imagine the financial burden and stress they cause to public office seekers. Think of low qualities of candidates, who finally emerge successfully by outbidding other political rivalries or opponents. This is the tragedy of Somali politics.

Unless the democratic principle of One-person-One-vote (1p1v) gets real track in Somali political debate and implemented, drop your hope for successful Somalia, not to mention about the bitter struggle required for attaining good governance.

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