Anti-democratic extensions of mandate is becoming fashionable in most Federal Member State (FMS) in Somalia. The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) is reticent about the new political shenanigans by the heads of FMS. Silence on the illegal power grab could be interpreted as conniving with the power abuses in the FMS. Somaliland, which had never re-elected its Upper House in more than three decades and only twice in the Lower House, constitutes the most undemocratic entity and leads the pack of power grabbers in Somalia, followed by Jubaland, Galmudugh, Southwest and Hirshabelle. In the case of Somaliland, the Upper House (Guurti) has just extended its legislative mandate to yet another five-year term, thus becoming a parliament for life, and Somaliland, the mother of all mandate extensions. The President has extracted two-year term extension for himself by creating artificial constitutional crisis in Somaliland. Other FMS have opted for constitutional manipulations to prolong their stints and lives of misrule.

In Puntland State, public debates are raging in towns between supporters and opponents of democratic transition. Here at least the government isn’t talking about mandate extension. There are people among the debaters, though, who say cynically or in good faith that the idea behind One Person One Vote planned in Puntland State, is to seek extension of current administration’s term to finish up the process. They say the taste of pudding is in the eating. Until that happens, let us keep the faith to see these elections through.

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