A review of last night’s political debate called for by President Said Abdullahi for a chit-chat at Presidency ensued today between participants over a teatable conversation at a hotel lobby. Since some of us weren’t privy to the substance of the overnight’s debate, we were good listeners to those who wanted to compare notes among themselves and didn’t mind our presence at table. The issue was Puntland democratization and how to better manage traditional tribal mechanism. That event at Presidency is one of President Deni’s rarest occasions he was improvising lately, after many trials and errors in governing Puntland from the perspective of one man show, as other state institutions are weakened almost beyond repair.
Some of us, who casually had happened to be around at that hotel table, tried to contribute to the interesting discussion. We were looked at as outsiders since we weren’t privy to the last night’s prestigious auspice granted by the President to a selected group of Puntland VIPs not considered out of favor from the Presidency. Some of the participants in last night’s get-together with the President came from Somali Diaspora communities. Although they were in deep learning curve on Puntland governance and history of the young Federal Member State, they were eager to offer new ideas to the debate on Puntland socio-economic developments, we learned.
As our round hotel table discussion developed further, we came to debate on the notion of democratization of Puntland system of governance and how to manage the disadvantages of tribal system in the State and Somalia, in general. The issue is management of clans in a democratic society or a tribal society desirous of establishing a modern democratic society as in the case of Puntland. One of us asked the question: “In a country of laws, who is sovereign or supreme, traditional leadership or the rule of law by the state’s institutions?” This fundamental inquiry sparked off fierce debate at table. Although there was no common understanding reached here, the consensus was that successive Puntland administrations were to blame on the state of affairs of Puntland governance. Political leaders had failed Puntland, a situation that led to stagnation of the state in all sctors.