May resignation speech in full. Take a listen:
Puntland State of Somalia suspends its planned and ill-prepared multi-party elections, following local political violence where scores of people lost their lives and many others got hurt. The ruling political elite, who initially half-heartedly embraced the idea of pluralism on “My way or the highway” approach by using the instruments of political coercion, intimidation of public servants and use of public resources in a desperate attempt to stay in power or extend their term in power, has to fall back on the State’s political founding formula of sub-clan power-sharing through traditional selection process of members of Parliament along sub-clan lines, a scenario appropriate then at height of the Somalia’s Civil War, but no longer valid after nearly two decades of local self-government, a political stagnation and paralysis of vicious circle that Puntland State is unable to grow out of it.
The multi-party experiment, or they call it, Democratization Process, was meant to fail as it was hastily ill-prepared for an already pre-determined election outcome in favor of the ruling group, thus creating the seeds of political confrontations and violent reactions to the government political maneuvering. Fragile, poorly-prepared and ill-equipped new political parties and the masses rightly noticed that there could be no fair play in the process as they also saw and predicted the danger of destabilization and threats to peace in Puntland.
The local Parliament, another institution always bent on self-preservation rather than deliberating on and legislating genuine bills to move the country forward, has to quickly endorse political clannism in an Annex to the constitution. For the Puntland Parliament, it is business as usual as its members see the institution as permanent job for retirement without ever worrying about the obligations of public accountability, a dangerous source of political corruption and bad governance leading to facilitation of poor executive leadership in the State.
Some elements among the so-called opposition are yesterday’s men whose capabilities, ideas and visions are even far below than that now in power in the State. They have been already tested when they had had their once in a life-time accidental opportunity and a shot at positions of leadership. One would wonder if those are still able to marshal at least animal instincts to search for a new generation of leadership and talents to take over next and lead the country. They are better advised to go quietly and retire for the good of their people, family and country.
The time-tested traditional leadership of the various regions of Puntland now seems in disarray as the old generation gets aged and senile or passed away. The new generation of the traditional leaders are either inexperienced, pushed aside by or accommodated by the regime for its own agenda. The loss of Las Anod in Sool Region, the passing away of Islaan Mohamed Islaan Muse, Boqor Mohamud, Beldaaje Haji Farah, Garad Abdiqani Garad Jama and Ugaas Yassin is the greatest loss of PuntlandState since its foundation in August 1998 and the main causes of poor and unaccountable governance in the country. PuntlandState of Somalia was originally founded on the principle of over-whelming grass-root support led by the traditional leadership with the skills and art of modern statecraft equipped with all the three branches of government independent of each other with all checks and balance of power in place. Puntland State had had in its history incidents where a sitting President was removed by the Supreme Court, a Vice President impeached by Parliament and Ministers brought before Parliament for accountability and on Question Period on a Vote of Confidence. Unfortunately, that is no longer applicable to Puntland State of today. They got a serious governance problem. There is a lack of able, mature, wise men and women of vision, integrity and selfless commitment to efficient management of public affairs.
The Role of International and Donor Community
The International Donor Community acts in a wishy-washy fashion in Puntland Governance and Democratization Process. They tend to persuade their client leaders in the State for their poor Ad Hoc assessed positions on the agenda without a plan (B) to fall upon amid changing fluid situations. They have to re-assert the fact that there is no true democracy without the principle of one man (woman) one vote. There will be resistance to that principle by people who endured lawlessness for so long and there will be price to be paid by implementing it. By nature, people resist and ridicule anything new. If they are genuine in helping Puntland, in particular, and Somalia, in general, they have to be bold enough to push the Democratization Process forward and support the State contain the political violence that surely would occur. This should not be a trial and error exercise on their part. They must deliver for the sake of contributing to world peace and security at least.
The Way Forward
For Puntland State of Somalia, staying permanently in a vicious circle and political stagnation is not an option. Keeping multi-party democracy hostage to sub-clan patronage system for ever is not the solution to the current Puntland governance problems. Using public institutions and resources by the ruling elite for their own interests and advantage is to go alla Somalia Style of Siyad Barre. That would definitely lead to a total ruin of Puntland again.
What is required now in Puntland is a genuine debate about not only to avoid political destabilization, but ways and means of how to lift Puntland out of its chronic political paralysis and bring it out of the woods on the road to good governance based on:
The wishes and aspirations of its people demonstrated through fairly prepared elections.
- The equitable distribution and fair management of public resources
- Free market economy with no place for cronyism and despotism
- Political pluralism in a plane field to compete without violence and political intimidation, a fair game to produce quality result and sound popular leaders and talented statesmen.
To achieve the above, Puntland state of Somalia has to renew itself by addressing its fatal problem of intellectual bankruptcy. There is no shortage of learned Puntlanders. They are all over the world and inside Puntland. There is a total brain-freeze though among these talented intellectuals. Their problem: they only see the bigger picture of Somalia, ignoring Puntland altogether. By the way, this is the problem of successive Puntland leaders as well-never concentrating on Puntland development as the first historic and founding pillar of Federal Somalia, for someone’s perspective, one of the first Mandates of the creation of Puntland State.
The way forward for Puntland State of Somalia is not easy, but is worth doing it for the sake of present and future generations. Doing it is a great honor to those who sacrificed a lot in the foundation of State, in the first place, in order to re-instate and achieve a united, strong and prosperous Federal Republic of Somalia owned by free people of Somalia.
Puntland State suspends scheduled local elections. It is a serious setback for all concerned and bad news for democratization process. I hope it is a tactical retreat and not shutting the doors to democracy. The so-called opposition leaders want to maintain the status quo for years to come. They don’t know anything better. That explains their resistance to multi-party political competitions.
The Government too approaches and conducts multi-party system under suspicious manners, acting and running like a one-party fashion, compelling all officials under its influence to adhere and be loyal to the Ruling Party. This plays counter to democratic principles and freedom of choice. The Government handling of the process is full of conflicts of interest. This is one of the main reasons as to why the process hit a dead-end and loss of lives. They were not listening to those, who have enough experience on the political reality on the ground in Puntland State of Somalia. Absence of dialogue is never conducive to democratic space. This is core of the problem. My way or the highway position will not fly in Puntland. One should share ideas, solicit for ideas and consult with sincere patriots and time-tested traditional leadership.
Now it is time for the Government to start restoring trust among key players and have ample time for dialogue to build consensus, moving the political process forward. Massive media information, education on the importance of democracy, citizens’ rights and obligations, freedom of individual choice and community awareness are required. To make the right individual election choices, citizens must be informed beyond the sub-clan interests.
At moment, both sides of the debate are trying, in their own excuses and pretext, to stifle democracy. They may succeed for a short period of time, but cannot arrest the political trend in the country and expectation of world community, if Puntland was to survive as a federate State of a Federal Somalia.
Posted On : April 20th, 2013 | Updated On : April 20th, 2013
18 April 2013
Good morning ladies and gentleman,
It is a great pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn on his first official visit to Europe.
I also know this is the first official visit that he pays outside of Africa after his election, and I thank you for that. I think this is a signal of the commitment of Ethiopia to the good relationship with the European Union.
Let me also stress on behalf of the European Union our interest to further deepen our political and economic relations, and to tackle wider regional security challenges.
Today we had a very open and friendly discussion on a number of issues related to our bilateral relations.
I have congratulated Ethiopia on its continued significant and broad based economic performance as well on its impressive progress in poverty reduction and Millenium Development Goals’ achievements.
But Ethiopia still has potential do more and better. I have heard the Prime-Minister’s plans for the next stages of development of the country. I had the opportunity to recall that this ambitious agenda also requires the widest possible participation and support throughout society.
Ultimately economic growth can only be sustained if it is achieved in an open society respectful of fundamental rights and also freedom, from freedom of expression to freedom of the press.
We want to be a partner of Ethiopia in this process. And if I may quote the Prime Minister, indeed we are a partner and we are proud of our contribution to Ethiopia’s growth and development. We have been a very active partner in terms of cooperation, development and investment, with our companies there, and we want to remain a very important partner, in the interest of Ethiopia, in the interest of the region, in the interest of our overall relations with Africa and also in the interest of the European Union. Our relationship with Ethiopia is today a more mature relationship, it’s not just of course development assistance, it’s much more than that. It’s also political cooperation, it’s also what we can do together to tackle some common challenges.
We have already substantial and diversified economic and trade relations. The European Union is the most important trade partner for Ethiopia, with over 40% of Ethiopia’s exports coming to Europe. This reflects our broader openness and commercial commitment to Ethiopia and our African friends.
And we stand ready to support the Government in its long-term vision leading to growth and increased investment and, at this respect, we fully support Ethiopia’s efforts to join the World Trade Organisation.
Our development cooperation is also part of our commitment to Ethiopia’s prosperity. Good results have been achieved in our cooperation on food security and on basic service delivery throughout the country. We look forward to continuing this good cooperation throughout the next European Development Fund, the 11th European Development Fund, which will apply as of next year, with an even stronger focus on health issues. It is my pleasure to announce today that the European Union has already now agreed to an additional allocation of € 30 million for maternal health. The Prime Minister has explained to me how Ethiopia intends to reach on time all the Millenium Development Goals and this is our additional contribution for that purpose. Once again I’m congratulating Ethiopia for the achievements so far.
Finally, I also commended Prime Minister Dessalegn for Ethiopia’s important and positive role on a number of regional issues and crisis situations in the Horn of Africa and beyond. I am referring specifically to Ethiopia’s political and security efforts in Sudan, its engagement in Somalia and within regional organisations. As chair of the African Union, Ethiopia will represent Africa at the G20 summit and during the climate negotiations, key issues for the European Union where we share a strong agenda with our African partners.
So we also discussed some regional issues, and the broader priority of the African Union-European Union relationship. Next week I will be in Addis Ababa, precisely chairing, on the European side, the meeting between the African Union Commission and the European Commission. We are precisely now preparing what it can be a very successful Summit, the 2014 European Union-African Union Summit. And I’m sure that Ethiopia, under the leadership of Prime Minister Dessalegn, will give a very important contribution for that success.
You can be assured that the European Union will continue to support Ethiopia on its path towards further economic and social development, in our mutual interest.
And once again thank you for your visit to Brussels.