President Said Abdullahi Deni had decreed last night a mini-reshuffle of his already unusually large cabinet. Among noticeable changes include the replacement of the minister of Finance, Hassan Shire Abdi (Abgaal), a long time member of the so-called Aaran Jaan Group (Devil’s kids), a small group of political lobbyists based in Garowe, Nugaal Region. Hassan Shire has been replaced by a Deni loyalist, Abdirahman Dhabancad, who has been moved from the ministry of Interior and Federal Affairs. Dhabancad will not bring constituency representation to President Deni’s Administration. Also important in this Cabinet reshuffle is the appointment of Mr Abdi Farah Juxa, who now becomes the minister for Interior and Federal Affairs. Mr Juxa brings to the Administration vast experiences, having served before this appointment as Federal Government Minister of Interior and Federal Affairs in Farmaajo Administration, and earlier, as minister of education in Puntland Government during President Abdirahman Faroole’s Administration. The rest of the new minister-designates will not contribute any added values or experiences to the Cabinet. Public reactions to the Cabinet reshuffle is somehow muted, some saying it didn’t go far enough.

WDM takeaway of this mini-cabinet reshuffle is that the President’s move could help a bit rather than hinder government policy towards completing planned elections of Puntland District Councils. The time frame for these elections is, however, tight, and government is required to expedite this process. Given a potential window of opportunity, even Puntland House of Representatives could be elected by One Person One Vote in their respective regional constituencies, using data to be collected from districts’ elections and election experiences so acquired.

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