A two-day consultative meeting organized and conducted by officials of Puntland Ministry of Interior, Federal Affairs and Democratization at Rugsan Hall has ended successfully today in Garowe. The meeting was well attended by the members of Puntland Technical Committee for Federal Negotiations, TCFN, Director-Generals of Puntland various ministries, Head of UNDP Area Office as a guest speaker, PUNSAA, individual organizations representing Puntland civil societies, university representatives and other prominent personalities in town.
In the course of the two-day event, major presentations on governance, Somali Federalism, constitution-making, strained working relationships between Puntland and Federal governments, in particular, and between Federal Member States and Federal Government, in general, were conducted. Debates on issues that followed presentations were lively and substantive.
Of particular interest were the critical roles played by members of the TCFN in articulating subject matter issues in the expansive agenda of the meeting, covering all aspects of the federal power-sharing, fiscal federalism, with special emphasis on areas of conflict and tension in federal institutional structures.
Some prominent participants of the meeting, while acknowledging these difficult relations with the current administration of FGS, and noting the historical nature of these working relations between successive Puntland governments and FGS, have recommended and called for talks on establishing clear New Working Protocols between FGS and FMS as the only way to untangle the current political stalemate. Others argued that the disputes are based on constitutional grounds which FGS kept ignoring or violating them, and until FGS returns to work within the framework of the Provisional Federal Constitution, there is little flexibility or interest from Puntland Government to talk about talks with the Central Government. Many, however, acknowledged that the current gridlocks will sooner or later end up in negotiations. Puntland administration should be prepared to set out its conditions and priorities now.
DHAWEEYE or Uber Taxi Service is a very strange phenomenon to Garaad Abdullahi Ali Eed, one of the most respected Tradional Leaders in Puntland. Garaad Eed who is staying in Garowe these days shared his experience With the new services the other day.
The Garaad wanted to go somewhere in the city in a hurry. He couldn’t wait any longer for his chauffeur- driven vehicle. He decided to take a taxi. His young helper recommended and volunteered to call an Uber service instead. The Garaad couldn’t understand the young lad’s advice, but gave him the go ahead anyways with the call.
Within minutes drove in a nice and luxury medium-sized Salon to pick up the Garaad. A clean and nice looking young man was sitting behind the wheel.
Seeing how young the driver was and conscious of and concerned about his own safety and security, the Garaad had reluctantly boarded the car together with his helper.
Upfront and immediately before he drove off, the Dhaweeye kindly offered a fresh and cold bottle of camel’s milk to the Garaad. Surprised at this unexpected courtsey gesture from the strange driver, the Garaad politely declined the generous offer. The Garaad, however, felt safe and comfortable during his short journey with the new service of DHAWEEYE.
Dhaweeye or Uber service is a very convenient taxi service widely available in all major Puntland cities. There is even DhaweeyeApp downloadable on the Internet. On average, one way ride in Garowe costs $1.5. Waiting time is normally less than 2 minutes.
The Somali word “Dhaweeye” literally means a destination reducer.
Many people thought that PUNTLAND is too hard a nut to crack against the use of the left-overs of Qadari Riyals from Mogadishu. Successful transfer of money laundered through N&N activists under the cover of various development projects in several Puntland cities is slowly taking hold.
The quick pace of this FGS money laundering is too fast for President Deni Administration to catch up. It is just reacting to the events, while badly failing to warn Xawilaadaha (Money Transfer Bureaus) about the crime and penalties of FGS money laundering operations in Puntland.
Money could be a tool of war, and in the FGS case, it is a destabilizing campaign. At moment, Galkayo and Bosaso, the most heavily populated towns of Puntland are FGS targets in an attempt to shake up the foundations of Puntland. Will that work out?
That depends on how the Deni Government would be able to win the hearts and minds of the youth of Puntland, the 70% of the population. It would require Puntland President to often come out of the fence of Villa Puntland and talk to the people, for if he doesn’t do that, someone else would do it for him, and it will not be humorous in the end.
In the light of the recent FGS flagrant meddling in the internal affairs of State’s jurisdictions under the Federal Constitution, the entire political, cultural and security machineries of Puntland should get into high gear to confront any destabilizing factors, including the chronic absence of youth guidance and orientation.
Let us be clear of what Puntland State stands for, where it came from, at what costs and why?
Puntland President, Said Abdullahi Deni, has finally started his first baby steps in governing PUNTLAND State of Somalia, after disappointing several months in office since he got elected in January 2019.
It is was a stiff learning curve for him to understand the extent of mess left by his predecessor and to figure out the complexity of Puntland sub-clan political culture that has been pulling down the State since its establishment in 1998.
To start this journey, he, after a while, had paid a working visit to two important PUNTLAND cities, Port City of Bosaso, the backbone of PUNTLAND economy, and Galkayo, the security bulwark of the State. Now, it was time to address an annoying matter in Puntland, the Dubai P&O – Bosaso Port contract. He had paid a quick private visit to the UAE to takle with the issue. This secret business contract is still surrounded by suspicion and doubt about its contents and contractual conditions. President Deni still has to clear that cloud of mistrust in this deal.
Among the pressing issues of PUNTLAND includes infrastructure, new ports and road network. PUNTLAND is not land-locked as it is blessed with the longest coastline in Africa, being washed by waters of both the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. But, the State of Puntland has become air-locked with no reliable air-transport available despite modernization of its nternational airports in Garowe and Bosaso. That is because Puntland business community lacks behind all the rest of Somalia in their business outlook, entrepreneurship and collective pulling of finance to initiate and move major projects.
President Deni went on a quick travel, perhaps unprepared private visit, to Chinese firms in Peking. The visit and symbolic signing ceremonies were ill-advised to advertise, for the Federal Government and opponents of Puntland got noticed of DENI’S move in China, and according to informed source, they are trying to kill it. Nowadays, everything has to go through Mogadishu in the same way the world financial transactions go via New York City banking Swift codes. Welcome to Farmaajo-Khayre one city-state solution to all Somalia’s problems. Enroute to China via Addis Addis, President Deni managed to secure Fly Ethiopian Airlines deal to relieve Puntland passengers of the burden of driving all the way to and from Hargeisa of Somaliland. People see this here as one big baby step by President Deni. It is a welcome first step move.
Now, President Deni starts other baby steps like appointment of several regional and security officials. But, Puntland public is waiting for real reforms of government bureaucracy, fanance and security sectors, in particular, and creation of independent anti-corruption watch-dogs and legal instruments, and immediate movement towards democratization and multiparty elections. And, by the way, Deni re-election is only possible through multiparty election, if he does a good job in this Puntland Mandate.
Come to rain, for down beneath you, there is an earth-scorching drought, goes the Somali saying.
The news on rainfall is still sketchy, however, there was a heavy downpour over Garowe City, and Qardho town in Karkaar Region of Puntland last night. This is more than good news as life and livelihoods in this country depend on rain water. This happens only by the divine intervention, exclusivity and generosity of the Almighty.
Nevertheless, it has been said over and over again that Allah helps those who help themselves. There is a chronic and primitive way of life in the Somalia’s nomadic mode of production and thought. They keep living in ways of the first man on earth, never minding that their world is constant changing with soil and plants degradation, increasing shortages of underground water because of continual decline of rainfall, resulting in life-threatening droughts and fast-paced land desertification. The world is running out of fresh water and climate change is a scientific fact, despite the denial of President Trump of USA and his clowns of morons.
Somali Nomads had never been caused of evaluating the consequences of their own actions on nature: They foolishly cut trees, burn them for charcoal and never, never plant trees. Still they wait in earnest for Almighty to help them with rain, and on time. They are accustomed to having both ways: Destroying their habitat and begging mercy from Almighty. Perhaps, this is the root cause of certain Somali bad spirits. Let us study the phenomenon with the intention of trying to find lasting solutions to the current Somalia’s predicaments.
People of PUNTLAND are wondering about as they are also dismayed by lack of true political representatives in Mogadishu and Hargeisa.
The SSC Regions don’t express much regrets as they didn’t choose those who are either self-appointed or hand-picked by Hargeisa with a specific purpose to harm the very cause and interests of SSC Regions. That is self-explanatory to most people in the Regions. Tradionally, residents of the SSC Regions had no history of self-government, and had historically always supported the strongman among Darood leadership in Somalia, starting with Sayyid Mohamed Abdullah Hassan of Derwish Movement. Now they are tempted to support Farmaajo, but their delemma is that they don’t see him as a strong leader to bet on.
In the case of Puntland State, we aren’t too sure whether the people of PUNTLAND are aware of the fact that they have neither genuine political representation nor competent spokespersons for the vital interests of Puntland in Mogadishu at all. Some observers said that Puntland had zero influence in Mogadishu, and that is why the obvious and well documented partial and partisan politics of Farmaajo-Khayre Administration has free hand in its systamatic campaigns to purge persons of Puntland origin from the public service of the Federal Government – forget all about power-sharing and taking Puntland into any account in regional balance on power and resources sharing. This political campaign to marginalize Puntland specifically by President Farmaajo to the pleasure of Prime Minister Khayre, is happening under the watch of those presumably was elected to represent the interests of the people of the State of Puntland in conjunction with Somalia’s national objectives. We have authentic reports that some Federal Cabinet Ministers of Puntland origin were even complaining about the presence of some junior civil servants from Puntland federal constituency in various departments of the FGS in Mogadishu. Think about the extent of that failure and irresponsibility. One may not be aware of the fact that the so-called Puntland representives in Mogadishu are locked in Mogadishu hotels, and they are in line, waiting for a call from either Khayre or Farmaajo to settle hotel bills. Federal dipomatic corps, judiciary and finance postings have been made “no go” for persons of Puntland origin. What representation people of Puntland expect from poor hostages in a gangland under the name of Somalia’s Capital City.
Still under these severe conditions, failed Puntland’s representatives operate in petty partisan factions, some acting as if they represent their own parties in sub-clan riddled politics of Puntland of late; some representing the old school when MOD was in power in the heydays of Barre Regime, while others are confused as to where they belong to, still others are there to go along the highest bidder for vote-buying in anti-government parliament motion-prone Mogadishu. Nobody trusts a politician without a principle and one nobody knows what he or she stands for. It is unfortunate situation in politics one may find himself/herself. Hence, the name of political prostitution in political science. These pseudo representatives of Puntland in Mogadishu couldn’t even dare to challenge Federal Minister, Godax Barre, whom everybody knew that he was a minister only by name with no influence over one class-room in Mogadishu, let alone Somalia’s Education Sector, and who still doesn’t understand that the Federal Member States hav exclusive jurisdiction over Education Departments of the states.
It is quite ironic that Somaliland Authorities, who arrest youth and children clad in T-shirts painted in Somali flag, have more staying power, influence over Mogadishu Regime through its unofficial representatives in Mogadishu than Puntland, who considers itself as the main pillar in the re-instatement and reconstruction of the failed state of Somalia.
Political observers had noted that in the case of Puntland representation in Mogadishu, the problem had its roots in the actions of former opportunist ruler and petty despot that had sold out everything dear of Puntland values, leaving behind a mess and a society that had lost hope and vision for the future. That is the challenge the current leaders of Puntland have to meet and fix ASAP.
Puntland’s unlucky representatives within Mogadishu ruling bodies don’t even have the awareness of powerful lobby works by representatives of Northwest Somalia (Somaliland), Southwest State, even Galmudugh.
In the light of the above dire political situation, we recommend that all failed Puntland political representatives in Mogadishu have to tender their resignations enmase and return their Puntland Mandate to the people for another chance to select competent and patriotic persons of higher moral and political standing. Cut the crab and resign all.
Yes, an imperative reform in Puntland Administration is obvious to all and urgently needed. But, where do we start?
The sectors that had become the Achilles Heels of the State of Puntland are:
Fix the two sectors, and Puntland would leap foward fast. These two sectors constitute half of Puntland’s entire problems.
Take first, Puntland Ministry of Finance where the management and personnel are on the same jobs for twenty years with 19th century rudimentary knowledge of financial management and that compoundedly streghtened by their chronic resistance to change, upgrading and reform. It is not an exaggeration – I worked with them as Puntland Chief of Staff at State Presidency during the first three years of Puntland foundation. How did they stay that long each one on the same job? That is their most guarded secret. What is it? The Ministry’s Top Management Team had developed and fine-tuned special skills to make sure that every incoming Puntland President and the new Minister of Finance are happy by providing them with unchecked and unaccounted for access to personal funds. But, if that is an open secret, why didn’t Puntland successive regimes do something about it? Good question! Have you heard the Somali word “Madax-ka-nool referring to Puntland governance?” Yes, you guessed – the President is everything in Puntland. He is the country’s minister of finance and cashier-general at same time. He can buy everybody, including the members of the House of Representatives (the Parliament). Then who would check the powers of the President? You tell me. With the financial muscle of the Ministry of Finance he owns the country and its people. You would say that is an exaggeration. You are free to carry out your own enquiries and independent investigations. But, don’t forget to share your findings with me.
But, that is not all. The top management of Puntland Ministry of Finance is the main obstacle and reason why international agencies and world financial institutions are unable to assist Puntland due to Ministry’s lack of transparency and financial accountability. The Ministry keeps secret even Puntland real revenue and expenses. This has created a situation where world community doesn’t know not only how to help Puntland in development projects, budget supplements and personnel capacity-building, but also how to work with the authorities. Puntland books are closed and they are Ministry’s Top Secrets.
Reform immediately that Ministry, and people of Puntland are half free.
Take Security Sector second, and you would discover the hard facts that nobody knows, even approximately, the number of men and women working in or attached to that sector, forget about their training, quality, incapacitation, mortality or even whether the names in ghost lists exist, or ever existed. How do you allocate resources, wages, pay etc? How do organizations in the security sector could assist Puntland improve its security needs? Yes, it is easy to blame others for your failures? But abive all, how do you defend your country when your lists of forces are ghost soldiers? That is why you hear calls for clan militia support whenever Puntland security is threatened.
These are the two critical sectors that require an urgent and radical reform, but the problems described above extend to other sectors and state departments as well.
Diplomatic relations between states are reciprocal. Those relationships could be passive and cold. They could be warm and cordial. They could be friendly and brotherly. They could be strained, contraversial and frictious as they are happening now between Somalia and Kenya.
These relationships are based on mutual interests for the good of respective citizens. Sometimes, the leaders of one party may happen to be short-sighted and take unilateral hostile actions as Kenyans are doing now on the basis of emotions, leaders’ echo and wrong perceptions on the work and motives of other party. The other is compelled to retaliate promptly and make things even worse.
We would therefore advise the leaders of the Federal Government of Somalia to exercise restraints and weigh reciprocal retaliation in the interests of Somali people, refugees in Kenya, large Somali expatriates and business community in Kenya, Kenya’s AMISOM participation, employees of Kenyan origin in Somalia.
In our opinion, breaking diplomatic relations with Kenya is not advisable at this stage yet. There would be reciprocal retaliation, though, equal to the actions Kenyan Authorities have taken against Somalia’s interests, “nothing more and nothing less”
In the meantime, the Somali Government, Somali international partners and diplomatic community accredited to Somalia must plan alternative business and diplomatic hubs now. Uganda, Ethiopia and Djibouti are possible venues to do business with the IC, whenever it is necessary to do so out of Somalia, but preferably conduct nation’s business inside Somalia.
Perhaps other urban centres of Puntland are suffering from the same conditions in the absence of town drainage and sewage system.
GAROWE, the Capital City of the State of Puntland, which boasts of being the best city in town planning in entire Somalia, is now a keeper of ponds or semi-lakes along the streets, making difficult for the pedestrians to move or walk around, following heavy GU rainfall in the past several weeks.
Now that the Governments of Puntland and City of GAROWE are witnesses to what is happening in the streets, and annoying splashes of muddy street water on people trying to dodge the inconsiderate speeding habits of some drivers, it is high time to do some work to handle the situation. Garowe streets are unwalkable during rainy seasons.
Unacceptable proposition is that some of the best hotels in town are flooded too when it rains because of poor construction of lobby pavements. Civil engineers should take note of this professional fault
Italian Colonial Administration then called Galkayo “Rocca Littorio” or the fortress of Littorio, after the name of Italian battle ship, Littorio, in honor of city history for producing brave fighters and being the avant-garde of resistance for liberation and independence, a bedrock of SYL Great Somalia and SSDF, the first Somalia’s opposition (1978-1991) to the dictatorship of the Military Junta led by General Siyad Barre. It had known liberal values that raised and gave equal opportunities to those historically considered in Somalia as the untouchables like the families of Samaters, Salhaans, Bootaans, Ayah Dhowres and others, and where a woman thrives as the head and master of the household – a unique characteristics of the City that made it stand out in entire Somalia.
The City of Galkayo, and Mudugh Region in general, is home and origin of almost all prominent politicians, top military brass, generals and historical figures of Somalia.
To avoid some readers raising their eyebrows, I leave that for you to count the names in the list of prominent Somali political and military figures from Mudugh. Take it as homework, but don’t forget to share the list with me later.
Galkayo was home of reknown first class neurosurgeons, gynecologists and orthopedics, receiving patients from the sub-region as whole. It was the forefront in telecommunications even before the foundation of Puntland. One would recall Radio Galkayo, Radio Daljir, Galcom and first Internet service in Northeastern Regions. Galkayo used to be the Centre of Education for the entire former Northeastern Regions of Somalia for high school students. Galkayo ranked first in export of huge livestock and fresh meat to the Gulf States.
Galkayo used to get its notoriety in ideas, adventure and anocdodal excentricity. Yet, the City has been abysmally failing lately and had its residents in disarray and divided. It is no longer the historical City of Rocca Littorio.
Galkayo is now a town looking at Garowe, Mogadishu and Hargeisa for role model. It is a city where her best had left town or contemplating to do so. It is now a town that had lost its sense of community and collective purpose; a city where its prominent residents were and are now targets for murder and assassination without any consequences for justice served; a city that had failed to send its best political representatives to the ruling bodies of Puntland and Somalia. It is now a city where its traditional leadership doesn’t take cue and wisdom from its predecessors.
Galkayo is now a town where Somali leaders occasionally visit when there is a sensless community problem, no longer go for ideas, business or leisure because of the incurable divisions, bickering and severe sub-clan rivalry.
Even Puntland leaders shy away from visiting Galkayo due to senseless commotions, inherent lack of purpose, social cohesion and community leadership. Who wants losers and individual brokers looking for personal interests only?
By the way, the current self-introductory visit by Puntland President, Said Abdullahi Deni, to Mudugh Region, is a small opening for Galkayo residents to show-case unity and collaborative spirit on the ashes of decades of decay and political decadence.
Galkayo is now the infamous town of “Little Asha Elyas” gang-rape and murder.
Despite the President’s continuous travels and repeated tours in some parts of the country, while intentionally avoiding some, including those regions considered as his political power-base, and he is highly visible at receptions at Villa Garowe with Somalia’s International Partners, President Gas is politically isolated within a short time into his mandate as he has lost touch with reality in both Puntland and larger Somalia.
This self-imposed political isolation and complacency take place due to the following mistakes of his making:
1. The President chose to surround himself at State House with young novices as his key advisers, who neither have the political skills, education, nor the experience of working in any parts of Somalia, not to mention about having slightest field works in Puntland State of Somalia.
2. The President is incapable of gauging the mood and feeling of ordinary man and women towards his leadership performance in terms of the economy, public order and personal safety.
3. State employees, including security forces are not paid months after months, often triggering off threatening periodical mutiny of forces, ensuing dangerous security situation, and creating an atmosphere of growing popular deep discontents. The President does not treat this precarious situation as a national emergency and priority number one for the very survival and unity of Puntland.
4. The President feels that he knows what is he doing better than anybody else-a superficial Ivory Tower Attitude devoid of any real and on-the-ground political context and smart understanding of current dismal economic and geo-political situation of Puntland.
5. The President clearly enjoys hosting high-level delegations, who continually jet in and out of Puntland with no benefits to deliver to the State, even a small budgetary support for the security sector engaged daily with extremists and militants-the very forces that enabled the so-called “international Partners” to have trouble-free discussions with Puntland authorities inside the country to show-case their engagements with Somalia, and thus diffuse the concerns of their generous Donor countries. Rather than demanding reciprocity and playing ball, the President is enticed with diplomatic niceties, empty, and meaningless receptions in his Office. It is disturbing to see even junior NGOs officers being to driven to the State House rather letting them mind their own business with government departments concerned. One critical fact Abdiweli has to learn about these international organizations is that they are not accountable to anyone. As they are faceless, their promises and statements to their interlocutors mean nothing as they would never honour or deliver on their promises- a black hole Puntland fell into recently. The President often gets busy himself with departmental tasks and mandates- an award tendency to a one-man show exercises.
6. Under the fledgling leadership of President Abdiweli Hassan Ali (Gas), Puntland State has abandoned the on-going Somali National Debate on the re-institution and re-construction of the Somali Republic along the Vision the State of Puntland has been fighting for nearly two decades.
7. Worse of all, it seems that President Gas has no a vague idea of the Mission and Founding Objectives of Puntland State of Somalia. Probably, in his Ivory Tower vanity, he did not bother to browse that Historic Document even briefly. Let us Paraphrase some highlights of these Guiding Principles for his benefit:
1. After many trials and failures of the National Reconciliation Conferences, it became obvious that Somalia could not be re-instated and re-constructed from the “Top-down”. It must be re-instated from “Bottom-up” by the formation of “Building Blocks” (Federal States) producing legitimate and representative leadership to discuss the future governance of Somalia.
2. Puntland State of Somalia is founded with a vision to create an orderly, peaceful and democratic society with the marriage of traditional societal leadership with a modern and efficient administration of statecraft capable of delivering public services, working towards economic self-sufficiency and safe-guarding the security and unity of the State. Puntland State of Somalia is an integral part of Somalia, and would not entertain unilateral secession or independence as an option. Governance system and public institutions would continue to evolve and grow leading to further democratization process, population census, population disarmament, and building strong, credible and lasting public institutions.
3. Puntland State was committed to taking the leadership role required to help credible and representative community leaders from various parts of Somalia engage in constructive dialogue in building constituent regions to form regional states on free will and voluntary basis. The people of Western Galgaduud Region of Central Somalia were invited and had free option to join Puntland State whenever they were ready. In this regard, Puntland would spear-head a National Reconciliation Process leading to the resolution of the legacy of the Civil War, deepening peace and restoring public trust again in a shared government and institutions.
4. Puntland State of Somalia would promote peace and good neighbourliness among the peoples of East Africa, and with Somali neighbour states, in particular.
Based on the narrative above and serious issues raised therein, how does the “scoreboard” of Dr Gas look like? If you live in Puntland State, or closely follow its “state of the union” today, you have every reason to worry about where the country is heading to. Besides the economic calamities besetting the people of Puntland, there is strong lack of political leadership and direction. President Abdiweli Hassan Ali (Gas) is now in a political trap designed by the President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud’s faction in Mogadishu, to politically isolate Puntland, on the one hand, and destabilize it in the Central Somalia front, while welcoming and approaching Somaliland encouragingly, on the other hand. That is on the top of the political Puntland headache on threats to its unity and Sool and Sanaag issue.
It takes leadership to acknowledge one’s mistakes, ask for advice, and listen to the concerns of one’s own constituency attentively. Would he?
It has become an intoxication fashion for Puntland successive administration leaders to indulge in prohibitively expensive state receptions and send-off of the head of the Government when-ever he steps out of the Capital or returns to it. Even a short working visit from a region requires mobilization of the entire residents of Garowe for a Welcome Party either to receive the President or to send him off. This entails huge security operations every time there is such an event. All Government and economic activities of the City come to a standstill for a whole working day. Public Schools are closed for the day for students to take part in the huge party at airport. People are required to line up in tightly cramped setting along the narrow sidelines that has no even sidewalks of the only highway passing through Garowe. The single transport road linking up the country from West to East is blocked to movement of goods, services and people for many hours each time the President leaves or come to town. Enormous traffic jumps pile up. Serious auto-accidents often occur. Economic and labour productivities are lost for the entire day. The meagre public funds of Puntland are squandered and wasted. Somali Diaspora websites compete for presence and best angles for media coverage of these frequent “State Parties” and splash on their pages the smiling reception figures with colorful bouquet of flower rings hanging down on their necks. As a result of this thoughtless and never-ending officially sanctioned exercises, Puntland State not only suffers economically, but the misplaced and fashionable enterprise implicitly turns the people of Puntland into serving the President instead of him serving the people. This continuous “State Parties” have to stop immediately. It is unsophisticated, thoughtless and a total waste of public resources and time. It serves only the echo of an insensitive and self-serving leader and the pleasure of sycophants and flatterers in Government circles. When I was there, my team had never entertained the idea of such not only wasteful, but extremely monotonous continuity and tasteless display of governance, or mis-governance, if you would. A minimum number of Government officials, some of the Presidential Staff and security detail, and where and when possible, some foreign delegations to the country, are sufficiently and economically enough to receive or send off the President during some of his many travels. Historically, this abuse of public resources in self-serving public display of Presidential receptions was initiated and widely expanded by Former President Abdirahman Mohamud Faroole. Instead of discontinuing this harmful imposition on the people and cultivation of personality cult, President Abdiweli Ali Gas is now exceeding even the expectation of Faroole. Separation of power into the executive, legislative and judiciary branches are extremely problematic in Somalia. One feels uncomfortable and uneasy when one sees the Speaker of Parliament welcoming or seeing off the President at airports like his Junior Minister. This is an unacceptable and deeply embarrassing to the people of Somalia, to Puntland in particular. Under this circumstance, accountability of Government to the people through the Parliament is irretrievably lost, Parliaments becomes rubber stamp. Checks and balance of power disappear. Corruption and abuses of power become rampant and unchecked. Puntland Parliament should immediately avoid melting and diffusing itself to the Executive Branch. This is a very grave issue(Please see the article “Somalis have to blame only themselves for creating their own dictators”, WDN, Feb. 25, 2013) we all have to watch out and get ready to speak out and do something about it) The above Presidential malpractices lead us to worry about the fate and the future of the democratization and multi-party process in Puntland, in particular, and Somalia’s general elections 2016, in general. I see no sense of urgency within the leadership to re-start the process and correct it where it was bent and failed in the previous administration of President Faroole. The New Administration of President Abdiweli was required, and it pledged to commit itself to it in Day One of taking Office. What one wonders what was happening with regards to the issue of future governance of Puntland? Will it be again on the brink of total collapse or disintegration on the eve of the next Presidential and Parliament Elections as the old founding clan selection process finally stopped to function, satisfy and resolve the tremendous challenges of clan contradictions and stringent demands for modern governance, regionalism and globalization? Puntland State is expected to do better than that. People of Puntland deserve better than that. Finally, the school of thought on Federalism in Somalia’s future governance has been conclusively won now. Proponents and promoters of Federalism have been vindicated after a long and hard-fought political struggle. It seems to me that the Administration of President Abdiweli Ali Gas is not paying the serious attention required by Puntland State to see that a fair and adequately balanced constitutional framework come out of the National Constitutional Review Process by failing to appoint and attach a team of Puntland Constitutional experts to that process. It is not too late yet to do just that. In conclusion, and now in my capacity as a keen observer of Puntland news, I have noted that the New Vice President of the State was not sure of his role in Government and constitutional mandate as the most Senior Advisor of President and that he had no independent opinion apart from that of his own President. The Office of the President is one, not two, and everything the Vice does or says publicly must have the sanction of his Boss and within the mandate of the Constitution. There can be room for confusion in running Government affairs. I guess learning statecraft and adhering to the letter and spirit of the law is hard to swallow in a traditionally nomadic culture. Public statements involving Puntland unity and its policies towards the rest of Somalia, including Somaliland, must be officially formulated and standardized to avoid uncoördinated signals and policy mis-statements at various levels and officials. Ramadan Karim to all! Ismail H. Warsame E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @ismailwarsame
Puntland State of Somalia is one of the few achievements I happen to be proud of. Other Puntlanders, stakeholders and supporters in Somalia and beyond, within the Diaspora and external players today can pause for moment to imagine their social, political status and relationships with Somalia without the existence of Puntland State. While people always give the visible leader the credit for it, I had the chance to know full well that there were a few of us that made the difference in initiating its creation and playing the critical role in making it a functioning reality that changed the political landscape of Somalia for ever. This is my moral authority and basis on which I pen this short article.
Once again, Puntland State is at cross-roads and it was unfortunate that the democratization process failed abysmally. That was a great setback for the people of Puntland. Nevertheless, the State is relatively safe and has high hopes for a better future. But, to survive and progress, Puntland requires an urgent political change that the current administration cannot deliver. Faroole is a spent force and is running out of ideas, on the top of his poor domestic policies. He becomes a divisive figure and liability for Puntland despite his foreign contacts drama and superficial Diaspora perception that he is the man who can challenge the ill-advised and naïve Damul Jadid Clique in Mogadishu. To refresh up the memory of the readers of this article, Faroole was against the foundation of PuntlandState from the onset to consist of Sool, Sanaag Bari (now Haylaan), Nuguaal, Bari, Mudugh and the District of Buuhoodle (now Cayn). He was among the proponents of creating only Northeastern Regional Administration ( not even a regional state) composed of only Mudugh, Nugaal and Bari ( Karkar Region was part of Bari then). He fled to Australia in early July 1998 before the creation of Puntland State and in the last days of the Puntland Constitutional Conference to found the State when he and his colleagues failed resoundingly in their attempt to exclude Sool, Sanaag and Buuhoodle in the process. He came back later to Somalia in early 2000s to oppose Puntland State every step of the way. For a long time he was frequenting anti-Puntland conferences and lobbies in Djbouti, Mogadishu and elsewhere. As he left the Conference, I vividly recall his departing words, on the mike, to the Late Islaan Mohamed Islaan Muse, then the Chairperson of the Constitutional congress and I quote, “Shirku waa afduubanyahay”, unquote ( The Congress is being held hostage). Following Puntland State constitutional crisis involving Supreme Court President, Yusuf Haji Nur, Jama Ali Jama and Late Abdullahi Yusuf, and as gesture for Puntland internal reconciliation, I personally persuaded the later to include Faroole in the New Puntland Cabinet as a counter-weight to the defection of Hassan Abshir Farah, then the Puntland Interior Minister, to Arta’s produced TNG of President AbdulQasim Salad Hassan. Despite his background, he was appointed Puntland Finance Minister. He became President of Puntland State due to the unpopularity of then the incumbent Puntland President, General Mohamud Hersi Muse (Boqor), bribery, intimidation of non-Majertaine MPs in Garowe and absence of capable Presidential candidates on the scene at the time. This can happen again if Puntland communities do not do their due diligence in searching and finding better alternative candidates.
The People of Puntland State are now ready for change. To effectively take part in that on-going political need and imperative for change, Traditional Elders, business community, intellectuals and any person at grass-root level has to help in selecting truly representative and worthy members of Puntland State Parliament. People who hail from Khatumo areas have the moral obligations and legitimacy too as founders of Puntland State to help in the current efforts for political change. All Puntlanders have every right and owe to their country to select and promote capable and honest patriots as presidential candidates on merit: personal integrity, character, leadership talent, experience and vision. They have to do their due diligence to get it right this time around, and peacefully. We must insure that if such a candidate wins the election, he/she must not use Puntland State as stepping stone or leverage for a national position in the Federal Government of Somalia, but willing instead to concentrate and focus on the unity, peace and socio-economic development of Puntland as his/her priority No. 1.
I know a good number of Presidential candidates have put their names forward. My assessment is that while many of the declared candidates have something to contribute, they don’t pass the test of leadership requirements needed in Puntland at this crucial moment. Puntland State deeply suffers from political stagnation, has serious governance and security problems. The country is politically polarized and unity is at stake. Economy has collapsed because of lack of sound fiscal management and absence of competition in a free market, leaders’ destructive interference in the market, nepotism and cronyism of the administration. No one among the known Presidential candidates can meet the challenges now Puntland faces.
Current political perception within Puntland Diaspora and supporters of Puntland is that there are two front runners among these candidates: They claim to be Abdiweli Hassan Ali (Gas) and incumbent President, Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Faroole). I take an exception to this artificial and cosmetic assessment of reality in Puntland. My take on them is based on my Puntland experience and reading of the prevailing political situation at home now.
Let me call a spade a spade. Dr Abdiweli’s chance in that race is extremely limited. I also suspect that Dr. Abdiweli (Gas) has other personal national goals and ambitions and Puntland is not his priority. Based on his short political life as Prime Minister of Somalia, he did little or nothing for Puntland interests, although I acknowledge that he had had a bad working relationship with Faroole that made doing business with Puntland difficult. In fact, tampering of the Provisional Federal Constitution was done under Abdiweli’s watch. He and his team ( including his right-hand Constitutional Minister, Abdi Hosh) failed to deposit the constitutional version agreed upon in Garowe I and Garowe II to Congress delegates that provisionally approved the Federal Constitution. Instead, a print-out of completely another version was distributed to the 800 Congress Delegates, including the Traditional leaders that gathered and finally approved it in Mogadishu. That was a long time before President Hassan Sh. Mohamud got elected. To sum it up, the Road Map Dr Abdiweli seems to be proud of today is faulty and had done considerable damage to Somalia’s future governance as it was detrimental to Puntland vital national interest: Federalism as safeguard against Central Dictatorship and return to a One-City Republic Status. In terms of team work and selection of aides and political advisors, he is considered the worst Prime Minister that the successive Somali Transitional Governments had ever had.
The Roadmap received help and new boost from the most unexpected source: Jubaland, a non-existent entity during the Roadmap process. The appearance of JubalandState (which, of course, PuntlandState has been working tirelessly for throughout its existence) saved the day to re-enforce the Puntland State Vision on future governance system for Somalia. This de facto establishment of Jubaland Administration, in turn, led to the overwhelming acceptance of federalism by the international community as the only viable option for Somalia’s governance. Abdiweli also did nothing to contribute to the noble cause of creating JubalandState. He was not even visible during those tough political and military fights for Jubaland. One may recall that he was a tourist and traveling guest among the Puntland Diaspora in every corner of the world on a mission without an objective beyond his personal interests. Therefore, Puntland does need a man with that profile. It is too risky to take a chance!
I strongly believe that Puntland State communities have yet to produce the right Presidential Candidates to choose and elect from, and that is a heavy responsibility for all concerned. Let us debate on it and get this done. Take a note that time is of the essence in this regard.
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
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.
As a Chairman of London Somali Youth Forum I would like to take the opportunity to encourage the Home Secretary, Theresa May to continue with her plans to ban Khat in the United Kingdom. Over the past five years as a youth activists and a Local Government civil servant, I have witnessed the direct and unintended consequences of Khat use in the United Kingdom.
In a recent article, Professor David Nutt, chair of the Independent Scientific Commitee on Drugs has commented on the banning of Khat and has accepted the relative harms associated with Khat use, following investigation from expert advisors.
Although I respect the views of scientist, I would like to bring their attention to the fact that any drug that is associated with low/high level of harm has devastating consequence for our Somali community and youths. It may be low level harm to the scientist, however, the community, welfare departments, health agencies and the third sector have to pick up the pieces and respond to impacts of Khat use on family life, economy and wellbeing of our citizens.
I would like to encourage the Home Secretary and the Coalition Government not to bow down to any pressure from, what Cyril Connolly (renown reformist) once called The Enemies of Promise. For our community, youths and Somali Professionals, this is issue is fight against outdated cultural ideology, ignorance, poverty of aspirations, a struggle to unlock the potential opportunities of over community so that they can take their rightful position in our economy as citizens.
I make my conclusion from our direct involvement and experience with our communities/youths and we feel the Coalition Government should continue with its plans to ban Khat on the following grounds:
Impact on family life:
It is widely accepted that the issue of Khat has indirectly caused family breakdowns in Somali families and this historical lack of stable home coupled with absence fathers (leadership) means that a young Somali youth growing up in London is becoming ever harder, forcing a majority to turn to khat use as a tool for escapism, inevitability impacting on their life chances to compete and progress in life. As a Forum, we genuinely subscribe to the aims and notion or policies of Every Child Matters. As a result, we would fully support a ban on the use and availability of Khat, which is destroying the life chances of our children, cementing their place in a life of misery and wasted human capital for generations.
I would like to take the opportunity to underline the impact Khat use is having on Somali youths in London. It is arguable that the issue was just isolated to older Somali men who regularly chewed the substance. However, that trend has now changed where young Somali now form a growing and alarming number of Khat users, affecting their prospects, health and stability at home. As a youth activist and a strong campaigner for the progress of our youths, I find it astonishing that the issue is now trickling down to our first/second generation Somali youths, some languishing in mental health institutions and others wasted on the wilderness of benefit dependency with no aspiration for progress. As I pass through outside Khat stations in around London, and I speak to young people, I am witnessing the collective deteriation of our youths, which will ultimately result in a lost generation.
Community Integration/cohesion and Economic Empowerment
As we strive to promote tolerance, integration and progress for our youths, we, as a Forum, feel the issue of Khat availability and use is hampering our efforts to work for a common good so that our youths that have been affected by the issue take appropriate steps to be part of our society as productive citizens. However, previous subsequent delays, debates and lack of political will to tackle this issue effectively mean our work is even harder. The issue further defeats the objectives of recent Government Welfare Reforms. For example, the Work Programme from Department for Work and Pensions require people on benefits to make serious steps and efforts in finding work and employment training. However, the experience I have seen show that the readily availability of khat is having the opposite effect on the success of such programmes because the intended target group are not in a position to wake up for such employment training/work due to the heavy use of Khat the nights before.
In many ways, I sense this is an already transformative Coalition Government that is bold and I would like to inform the Government that Somali youths, community/mothers and professionals are fully behind such ban, because this about unlocking their potential as citizens, removing barriers to progress. The Community and the Nation expects.
Mohamed Ibrahim: Chair of London Somali Youth Forum
Puntland Government Position on Natural Resources in Somalia
It has come to the attention of the Puntland Petroleum and Minerals Agency (PPMA) that over the past few months the international media has been covering matters concerning hydrocarbon issues in Somalia.
Many of these reports have contained misleading information about the nature of the Somali Federal Constitution and the constitutional rights of Federated States. This press release seeks to correct and clarify the legal issues and rights and responsibilities surrounding hydrocarbon issues in Somalia.
Puntland State of Somalia is a Federated State within the Federal Republic of Somalia, with an adopted State Constitution. The people of Puntland are proud to have contributed significantly to rebuilding Somalia through their efforts to ensure peace, security, governance, and economic development, and will continue to do so.
On August 1, 2012, the Somali National Constituent Assembly – of which Puntland had delegates – adopted the Provisional Federal Constitution (PFC) in Mogadishu, under which the country’s current Lower House of Federal Parliament and new President were established.
Provisional Federal Constitution
Under Article 55 of the PFC, the Somali Federal Government (SFG) has the following four delegated powers: (a) Foreign Affairs; (b) National Defense; (c) Citizenship and Immigration; and (d) Monetary Policy. These powers, as the Constitution states, are the only “powers and responsibilities of the Federal Government” until all the Federated States of Somalia are completely established and reach a comprehensive negotiated settlement with the Federal Government, concerning the final constitutional allocation of power and resources between the Federal Government and the Federated States. The powers endowed to the SFG in Article 55 are also are subject to other constitutional provisions that guarantee the States’ rights of consultation with the SFG over federal matters and national security arrangements.
In addition, all matters specifically concerning natural resources are dealt with in Article 45 of the PFC. This Article states that the “the allocation of the natural resources of the Federal Republic of Somalia shall be negotiated by, and agreed upon, by the Federal Government and the FederatedStates in accordance with this Constitution”. The SFG and the Federated States, once completely established, shall agree upon in a negotiated settlement a system of management and revenue sharing from natural resources, to be incorporated into the finalized Federal Constitution.2 of 2 Article 45 operates parallel to Article 208 of the PFC, which stipulates: “(1) Until such time that all the Federated States of Somalia are established and the Federated State Constitutions are harmonized with the Somali Federal Constitution, the Federated States existing prior to this Provisional Constitution shall retain and exercise powers endowed by their own State Constitution. (2) Existing Federated States must be consulted in the decision-making process regarding the federal system and national security arrangements”.
Following on from these Articles in the PFC, Article 54 of the PuntlandState Constitution stipulates that PuntlandState owns, administers and receives all the revenues from natural resources in Puntland. Under the provisions of the current PFC, Puntland shall retain its constitutional rights – enshrined in the Puntland State Constitution and in harmony with the PFC.
Puntland Petroleum and Minerals Agency
The Puntland Petroleum and Minerals Agency (PPMA) is the competent authority charged with the management, oversight and regulation of Puntland Government’s hydrocarbon and minerals policies and operations.
Any entity, either from the Somali Federal Government, or any individual(s) purporting to be a consultant to, or having a role in advising the Somali Federal Government or Puntland Government, whether they are foreign or Somali nationals, are not responsible for, nor have the authority to discuss, negotiate or represent Puntland Government in hydrocarbon and/or minerals operations in any part of Puntland territory, onshore or offshore, to any Somali or foreign company.
Confirmation of Support for Current PSAs in Puntland
Petroleum and Minerals Agency PPMA reaffirms that the people and Government of Puntland shall honor, respect, and uphold the current PSAs with our partners. These contracts were signed in 2007 and are legally valid agreements.
Further inquires, please contact:
Mr. Issa M. Farah, the Director General of Puntland Petroleum and Agency at
Garowe, Puntland-Following the disagreements between the Puntland Government and the Transitional Electoral Commissions on one side and political associations on the other, on holding planned local elections in Puntland in a fair and transparent manner, or if you would, setting up a consensus platform for the rules of the road, resulting in the announcement of election boycott by UDAD, Midnimo and PDP parties, the Donor Community providing funds and technical expertise on Puntland elections, gets worried and started re-engaging parties to move the democratization process forward, according to reliable local and international sources. This is good news for Puntland and its voters to participate actively in a rare democratic process that will see inhabitants deciding the destiny of their country and an opportunity to install the government of their own making and accountable only to them. It is extremely the most important political development in the short history of Puntland and must be hailed as such.
If elections are held as planned in June of this year, based on the provisions of the Puntland Democratization Roadmap, Puntland State is set to come out of the woods and political stagnation it has been stuck throughout its existence. The Donor Community is doing a remarkable job to prevent political chaos and misuse of Donor funds, state power and resources to influence the elections’ outcome.
It is extremely important for all parties, including Puntland authorities and political associations to work with the Donor Community in this regard, for if this process fails, it will have a dramatic impact on the viability of Puntland as a Federated State in a now Federal Somalia. Fair and transparent elections are critically required to preserve the unity, peace and continuation of Puntland as the first pillar and champion of federalism in Somalia. Failure to set the example right will definitely have crucial negative influence at national level, raising renewed questions on suitability of Somalia for Federal system of governance. All Puntland stakeholders of the planned elections must be warned, advised and be very careful in moving the Democratization fairly and honestly forward.
The current differences on the democratization process between Puntland authorities and opposition parties could escalate into destabilization of Puntland and gave opportunities to militants and extremists including Al-shabab now in hiding. Puntland Traditional Leadership and donor community should immediately intervene before it becomes too late to bridge the gap and mistrust between Puntland leadership and opposition political associations.
Democratization was never meant to jeopardize peace and stability in the State, but enhance people’s confidence in the process and add harmony and understanding among inhabitants. Ignored and unaddressed, this simmering political confrontation now could serve as time bomb that can explode anytime as popular protest against real or perceived Government manipulations of electoral process grow louder in the coming weeks and months. It is now about the time to intervene and mediate sides.
Already, some members of the opposition like UDAD (PPP), Midnimo, PDP and others have declared that they will be boycotting the upcoming local elections. This is a bad omen for Puntland stability and must be avoided at any cost.
These new political parties sent out letters to all local and international bodies, party to the electoral process recently and issued press releases, complaining about Government sponsorship and support for amendments, omissions by local Parliament of critical articles in the multiparty electoral laws .
A compromise arrangement has to be made to bring parties together for an agreement acceptable to all. It is in the best interests of all parties concerned to prevent hostilities and political violence.
Any Somali would-be Leader must acknowledge, as a first step, the gross violations of human rights and heinous done against innocent Somalis in order to have any credibility and moral authority to govern. He or she must commit themselves publicly to address these issues and start now ways and means to address the outstanding popular grievances.
Those who held positions of authority in Somalia‘s Military Government of Siyad Barre must apologize too to the Somali people and acknowledge their responsibilities for the grave violations of human rights and abuse of power. They cannot be silent in conscience to justify the barbaric abuses done to fellow human beings during the Post Siyad Barre era. Every while I come across former prisoners of Labaantan Jirow and Laan Buur maximum security prisons as if they are graduates of the “institution of unlawful imprisonment and political detention“. Former authorities cannot be allowed to be a cheap excuse for the criminals of the Somalia’s Civil War.
Among all the business that was left undone when the Western “donor”-powers/U.N. rammed through the “transition” to the Somali Federal Government (S.F.G.) in the late summer of 2012 was that of the form that a permanent Somali state would take.
In particular, although it specified that Somalia would be a federal state, the interim constitution did not decide the issue of whether the form of federalism would be centralized or decentralized, paving the way for a political struggle that is now underway between interests favoring an arrangement in which the central government would dominate regional states and those favoring one in which the regional states would have substantial autonomy in relation to the central government. The two focal points of the conflict over decentralized and centralized federalism are, respectively, Puntland, the only established regional state in Somalia, and the S.F.G., the recognized central government. The territories in which the conflict is playing out are the regions of south-central Somalia, in which regional states have not yet been formed. The S.F.G. has been attempting to set up regional administrations in south-central Somalia that are loyal to it, whereas Puntland is encouraging the formation of regional states that are independently organized. With forces in favor of both arrangements in each of the south-central regions, the conflict has become a test of power region by region.
Of all the regions in south-central Somalia, those in the deep south – Lower Jubba, Middle Jubba, and Gedo – have become the test case for whether Somalia will adopt centralized or decentralized federalism. Even before the inception of the S.F.G., a process had begun to unite the deep-southern regions in a regional state that was undertaken by local politicians and clan leaders independently of any central authority. By early November, 2012, that process to create a “Jubbaland” state modeled on Puntland had matured to the point that negotiations among the participants moved from Kenya to the capital of Lower Jubba, Kismayo, and preparations for a convention to inaugurate Jubbaland were underway. Faced with the imminent prospect of a regional state in south-central Somalia that was formed without the S.F.G.’s guidance, the S.F.G.’s president, Hassan Sh. Mohamud, asserted that any regional state in the deep south should be formed under the direction of the central government. In response, the technical committee overseeing the preparations for the Jubbaland convention dispatched a delegation to Somalia’s capital Mogadishu to attempt to persuade Hassan to back the Jubbaland process. Hassan countered that the administrations of the deep-southern regions should be appointed by the S.F.G. The initial face-off had ended in a deadlock.
From mid-November, 2012 through late February, 2013, the conflict remained frozen as both sides attempted to mobilize support, and preparations for the Jubbaland convention proceeded. The struggle reignited in late February, on the eve of the convention’s opening and has gone on since then.
The Show-Down Begins
Slated to start on February 23, the Jubbaland convention was delayed when armed clashes broke out between Ogaden-Darod and Marehan-Darod militias in Kismayo, and some of the delegates to the convention from Gedo had not yet arrived in the city.
On February 24, as reported by Hiiraan Online, the S.F.G. attempted to pre-empt the convention, with S.F.G. interior minister, Abdikarim Hass Guled announcing that the S.F.G. had not been involved in the preparations for the Jubbaland convention and would hold a “more inclusive” convention of its own for the deep-southern regions. “We are inviting all parties to attend this conference including the interim local rulers [who are key figures in the Jubbaland process] and all the local stakeholders,” said Guled.
The counter-convention turned out to be a bargaining chip for Guled when he arrived in Kismayo on February 25 with an S.F.G. ministerial delegation and met with local officials involved in the Jubbaland convention. As reported by Garowe Online, Guled suggested that the convention be held in Mogadishu, whereas his interlocutors insisted that its venue remain in Kismayo. According to Moallim Mohamed Ibrahim, speaking for the convention’s organizing committee, the Jubbaland leadership had repeated to Guled the invitation that they had “always extended” to the S.F.G. to participate in the convention, to which, he said, the S.F.G. had not replied. Having had their counter-offer of a Mogadishu convention rejected, the S.F.G. delegation returned to Mogadishu, saying that they would consult with Hassan on the possibility that the S.F.G. would participate in the Jubbaland convention.
On February 27, more convention delegates from Gedo arrived in Kismayo. It came to light that the absence of the Gedo delegates had been due to some Gedo politicians’ opposition to the convention. Sh. Mohamud Daud Odweyne, spokesman for the Ahlu Sunna Wal-Jamaa (A.S.W.J.) movement, a Sufi-associated militia that is prominent in Gedo, and a member of the Jubbaland technical committee, told Garowe Online that he had met with the opposition politicians in Gedo’s capital Garbaharay and had convinced them that they should attend the convention. On the same day, Guled sent a tweet warning that “no clan or armed group” could create an administration in Kismayo. Guled was making a veiled reference to the Ogaden-Darod and the leader of the Raskamboni movement, which is dominated by that sub-clan, Sh. Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Madobe), who chairs Kismayo’s interim administration. The opposition Gedo politicians were Marehan-Darod.
The Jubbaland convention opened on February 28 with a speech by Madobe in which he urged the S.F.G. to attend. The delegates, who numbered more than 400, then began discussions on a schedule for mapping out a Jubbaland regional state. The S.F.G. had failed in its first attempt to derail or redirect the Jubbaland process.
The S.F.G. made its next move on March 2, when the office of S.F.G. prime minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon, issued a statement declaring the Jubbaland convention to be “unconstitutional:” “The government’s constitutional mandate is to establish a federal state as the end goal.” In fulfilling its mandate, said Shirdon, “the government will only be a facilitator.” The statement ended by warning that in its unilateral action, “the Kismayo convention will jeopardize the efforts of reconciliation, peace building and state-building, create tribal divisions and also undermines the fight against extremism in the region.”
In a statement issued on February 26, the Puntland government had already accused the S.F.G. of “violating the country’s [Somalia’s] Provisional Federal Constitution “ by “actively interfering with the formation of emerging Federated States, such as Jubbaland in southern Somalia.
Rekeying a political conflict as a legal dispute is a syndrome that became chronic during the tenure of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government, which preceded the S.F.G. Such a move can undoubtedly produce peaceful and orderly dispute resolution when there is an established body of law, legitimate institutions of adjudication, and acceptance of the decisions of those institutions by disputants. In the absence of the fulfillment of those requisites, however, as is the case in Somalia today, legal argumentation tends to replicate political conflict and to distort it by diverting attention from substantive issues. That pattern of distorted replication becomes particularly acute when the document in which the argument is rekeyed is incomplete and poorly drafter, which is the case with the interim Somali constitution. Whether the lacunae and ambiguities are the result of the constitution’s having been rushed, including unresolved compromises, or being incompetently drafter (one wonders about the role of the Western experts who were hired to prevent such problems), the provisional constitution is an invitation to endless legal contretemps.
In the present case, the arguments turn on Article 49, which addresses “The Number and Boundaries of the FederalMemberStates and Districts.” The S.F.G. and its supporters base their case on the first section of Article 49, which says: “The number and boundaries of the Federal Member States shall be determined by the House of the People of the Federal Parliament.” From the S.F.G.’s viewpoint, no regional state can be formed independently of parliamentary decision, from which the S.F.G. draws the conclusion that it has been tasked with forming interim administrations where there are no existing regional states, pending parliamentary decision. In contrast, Puntland and the supporters of the Jubbaland process cite the sixth section of Article 49, which says: ”Based on a voluntary decision, two or more regions may merge to form a FederalMemberState.”
The ambiguity is further muddied by the second and third sections of Article 49, which require parliament to nominate a national commission to “study the issue” and report to the lower house of parliament, and that parliament enact a law defining the commission’s responsibilities and powers, the “parameters and conditions it shall use for the establishment of the Federal Member States,” and the number of commissioners and their requirements. The commission, of course, has not yet been established and the lower house has not yet defined “the parameters and conditions” for a regional state, which could be based either on a process overseen by the central government or one initiated locally and ratified by parliament.
[The fourth and fifth sections of Article 49 address the number and boundaries of districts within regional states and are not at issue here, since they assume that regional states have already been established.]
It is clear that neither the S.F.G. nor the supporters of the Jubbaland process has a knock-down constitutional case, since the requirements for a regional state have not yet been defined. The opponents have been throwing sections one and six of Article 49 against each other, while ignoring section 3(b), which shows how the issue is supposed to be resolved constitutionally, when and if parliament gets down to defining the “parameters and conditions” of and for a regional state. Meanwhile their dispute is doomed to revolve in a constitutional void. The lower house of parliament has begun the process of revising the constitution; it might also start fulfilling its requirements under it.
The Story Resumes
With the drafters of the provisional federal constitution having dumped the question of how to define a regional state into the lap of parliament, which shows no sign of resolving it, the political show-down over Jubbaland continued.
The conflict took on a military aspect on March 6, when S.F.G. forces based in Gedo crossed into Lower Jubba and set up camp at Berhani, about twenty-five miles from Kismayo. As reported by Garowe Online, the provisional administration in Lower Jubba headed by Madobe prepared to send his forces to Berhani to push back the S.F.G. contingent, but was prevented from doing so by Kenyan forces in the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which attempted without success to persuade the S.F.G. to pull back. The provisional governor of Gedo, Mohamed Abdi Kalil, who opposes the Jubbaland process, said that the S.F.G. forces were in Berhani to “safeguard peace.”
Alarmed by the prospect of armed conflict between the S.F.G. and supporters of the Jubbaland convention, Kenya and the sub-regional Horn of Africa organization, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (I.G.A.D.), which has backed the Jubbaland process, called Madobe and S.F.G. military officials to Nairobi to resolve the dispute. The Jubbaland convention was suspended in Madobe’s absence. On March 23, Madobe returned to Kismayo and announced that both sides had reached agreement on “all the issues” and that the Jubbaland convention would continue without disturbance.
As more delegates to the convention arrived in Kismayo from Gedo, and the convention’s technical committee announced progress on drafting a three-year interim constitution for the Jubbaland state, S.F.G. Prime Minister Shirdon announced on March 24 that he would visit Kismayo as part of his “listening tour” of Somalia’s regions.
Shirdon arrived in Kismayo on March 26 and immediately met with leaders of the Jubbaland convention. Garowe Online reported that Shirdon repeated the S.F.G.’s position that it should appoint regional administrations for Lower Jubba, Middle Jubba, and Gedo. According to the Mareeg website, leaders of the Raskamboni movement countered Shirdon by saying that the S.F.G. would not be allowed to participate in the Jubbaland convention and could only attend as “visitors.”
Talks continued on March 27 and a joint committee was appointed by the two sides to hammer out a “cooperation agreement,” but the committee deadlocked over the S.F.G.’s demands that Kismayo’s airport and seaport by handed over to its control, that S.F.G. forces from Mogadishu be stationed in Kismayo, that the S.F.G. appoint an administration for Lower Jubba, and that the Jubbaland convention be disbanded. Madobe refused to accept any of those demands, and, on March 29, as reported by Hiiraan Online, S.F.G. Interior Minister Guled announced that the talks had “collapsed” on account of the Jubbanland leaders’ “unconstitutional demands.”
Having failed twice to thwart the Jubbaland convention by sending high-level delegations to Kismayo, including the prime minister the second time, the S.F.G. officials returned to Mogadishu. In commenting to the press on his visit, Shirdon appeared at the outset to hold out an olive branch to his Jubbaland rivals, saying that he was “content with the current administration” in Kismayo and praising the communities in the deep south for organizing the Jubbaland convention. Then, however, he reversed field, noting that the Jubbaland process did not conform to the way the S.F.G. expected “state administrations in Somalia to be established.” In particular, Shirdon claimed that the Jubbaland process was flawed because in its inception it did not include the S.F.G. in a leadership role, which would have insured that “all communities” in the deep-southern regions were represented in the process. As reported on the Mareeg website, Shirdon noted that “the people of the Jubba region were divided on the convention and that the S.F.G. was needed to “reconcile the Jubba clans.” Appealing to the fourth section of Article 49, Shirdon claimed that no regional states could be formed before a national commission on regional states had released a report. The prime minister omitted mentioning that the constitution does not mandate the central government to prohibit local processes to initiate regional states in the absence of parliament’s fulfillment of the fourth section of Article 49. Both sides continued to act in a constitutional void.
With both sides claiming constitutional sanction and neither of them clearly having it, the conflict moved back to a political power struggle. In the S.F.G.’s next move, Shirdon resumed his listening tour, visiting Gedo, where he appointed the S.F.G.’ ally Kalil as interim governor and made an agreement with A.S.W.J. to merge its forces with the Somali National Army. Meanwhile the Jubbaland convention unanimously ratified a transitional constitution for the new regional state on April 2, with more than 870 members voting, as reported by the Sabahi website.
On April 3, a split surfaced in the federal parliament when forty-four M.P.’s, most of them from the Jubba regions, traveled to Kismayo to show their support for the Jubbaland convention. As reported by RBC Radio, the M.P.’s visit “came a day after tense debate” in the federal parliament, in which the “bulk of the house’s members” opposed it.
Countering the S.F.G.’s moves to undermine the Jubbaland process, Puntland sent a ministerial delegation to the convention to show its support and to make it clear that Puntland would not acquiesce in the S.F.G.’s interpretation of its role. Puntland’s minister of public works, Dahir Haji Khalif, said that the delegation was “ready to contribute our advice in the establishment of Jubbaland state administration.” Former T.F.G. prime minister, Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, also arrived at the convention as an observer, urging the S.F.G. to “fully respect the interest and legal rights of people in Jubbaland.”
The face-off in November, 2012 had become a full-fledged show-down.
Assessment of the Show-Down
There is little interpretation that an analyst can add to a narrative of the first phases of the show-down over Jubbaland between the interests in favor of centralized federalism and those advocating decentralized federalism. As the conflict proceeds, it increasingly takes on a clan character centered on the Marehan-Darod, who are divided among those who support the Jubbaland process and those who
believe that their-sub-clan is under-represented in it. The S.F.G. has moved to gain a foothold by bolstering the disaffected Marehan (what else could it do but play the divide-and-rule game?); whereas Puntland has responded by showing overt support for the Jubbaland process (would one expect it to acquiesce in the S.F.G.’s moves?). That should be obvious from the narrative.
It would be easy for this analyst to describe the clan politics at work in the deep-southern regions and beyond, but to do so would be poisonous and fruitless. He can only say that at its root the breakdown and degeneration can be traced to the vicious naivete, malign neglect, narrow self-interest, and incredible hypocrisy of the “donor”-powers/U.N., but it is too late to do anything about that. The provisional constitution is a “$60 million ‘panacea’” as Abukar Arman puts it perfectly, with bitter irony, in an analysis posted on April 5.
Only Somalis will be able to pull themselves out of the pit into which they are falling. It is obvious that nobody else will help them, at least politically, and nobody ever did since the fall of Siad Barre.
Report Drafted By: Dr. Michael A. Weinstein, Professor of Political Science, Purdue University in Chicago email@example.com
I wonder why some Somalis are upset by the formation of Jubaland State. Is Jubland State for the unity of Somalia? yes! Do they recognize the Somali Federal Government? Yes! Are they against Al-Shabab? Yes! Are they inclusive and want every stakeholder to be part of the process? Yes! Are they more than one region to meet the constitutional requirements of Somalia to form a regional federal state? Yes! Are they seeking the support of Somalia’s federal leadership? Yes! Are members of the Federal Parliament from Gedo, Middle and Lower Jubaland support the formation of Jubaland State? Yes, mostly! Do they want to restore law and order there? Yes! Are they committed to protecting the rights of minorities in the state? Yes! Are they economically viable and sustainable entity? Yes? Are inhabitants of the area sick and tired of the violence, warlordism, extremism and environmental predators? Yes! Then what and why is the fuss? why, we Somalis, don’t appreciate God‘s blessings and pray for more?
The latest political announcements (press statements) by Puntland political parties and their petition to Puntland State President, the Electoral Commission and to some members of the international community under the heading: Resolving Local Municipality Elections Stalemate, issued in Garowe, March 21, 25, 2013, indicate either the non-existence of mutual dialogue or break-down of political discourse within the State on the best way forward for holding local government elections. A number of political parties including UDAD, Midnimo, PDP and Wadajir seem to have forged an association to challenge the Government on its latest reform proposals and planned changes in Voter IDs registration. Among other things, these new political parties demand the immediate delay of Municipal Elections in Puntland until adequate preparations are done to insure fair public participation and a new independent Electoral commission installed.
As a neutral person on the current disagreements, “stalemate” as they put it, I think it is not appropriate for me to comment on these specific documents and respective political statements surrounding these issues, despite repeated requests by members of the Puntland public to do so.
Discussing democratization process in Puntland State, however, gives me a great deal of pleasure. But, it is long overdue. It is unfortunate that Puntland State has not come out of age yet and still in the woods. In other words, Puntland has been heavily suffering far too long from political stagnation since its foundation in August 1998. Democratization in the State has never been in the good books of its successive leaders as it was never contemplated as political imperative or priority for the continued survival and sustainability of the regional administration against all imaginable upheavals of Somali clan politics and rocky relationships with the rest of Somalia.
It is extremely important to note here that rushing things of such importance and magnitude is not wise for it creates more problems and serious fatal errors in hasty fashion to feel and look good in the eyes of foreign donor community. The fate of the State hangs on it and nobody has the right to gamble at the expense of nation’s existence, public safety and regional political stability. It requires tremendous efforts, resources, thorough preparatory work and ample time to build political consensus and legal framework for the final implementation of the electoral process in fair and transparent manners.
They said commonly, “A thousand-step journey starts with first one”. Leaders of Puntland State (authority and opposition) task and obligation to their people is to make sure that ‘One First Step” towards democratization must be moved straight forward towards the right direction. The alternative spells danger and political suicide for all concerned.
Said Faadi’s recent open letter to Somalia’s incumbent President, H.E. Hassan Sh Mohamud, in WardheerNews was quite articulate, relatively fair and consistent with current political developments in Somalia and its nascent, renewed foreign relations. I, however, take some critical exceptions to the credit Mr. Faadi has accorded to the President regarding the latter’s recent foreign trips and high profile symbolic receptions he received in Washington, Brussels and London. One would also argue that a dignitary, who could not pull himself, organize and adhere to the basics of protocol requirements in his meetings with his foreign counterparts, and thus suddenly finding himself alone knocking the doors of 10 Dawning Street, has the diplomatic skills, leadership, efficient political machinery and think-tank in place to claim this credit within a few months after his election.
Am I being mean to the President? Not at all. Am I happy and pleased with the President’s successful foreign missions? Absolutely, yes! Then, one would ask logically, what was my problem for not giving the President the credit he might have deserved in securing meetings with President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron.
Well, here is my problem. Leaders of Western countries judge leaders of developing countries in black and white approach: Either they have created and own these leaders or they don’t regardless of the leadership qualities and vital national interests of developing countries (a euphemism for third grade and poor nations). To demonstrate this point in Somalia’s context, a few years ago I was Nairobi, Kenya, as the New Somali National Authorizing Officer (NAO) Designate with the European Union. At the time, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) was trying to re-claim that position as a member of ACP (African-Caribbean-Pacific) countries through the Lome, Cotonou treaties with the EU. The NAO position was taken over by the European Commission as the Somalia’s Central Government collapsed in 1991. But, in the absence of a government in Somalia, there was no European Commission Delegation to Somalia. Strangely enough, the EU had created a “Somali Operating Unit” within the European Commission Delegation to Kenya, and acting arrogantly and disrespectfully of Somalis as the Official National Authorizing Officer for Somalia, representing the interests of the country within the world community, while at same time solely managing or mismanaging hundreds of millions of US dollars contributed and collected in the name of Somalia for relief and humanitarian assistance. Nairobi European Resident Officers working for the infamous “Somali Operating Unit” seemed to be trained in hatred and demeaning attitude towards the Somali person and especially, to any Somalia’s authorities, always bent to undermine Somalia’s credibility and abilities to function as sovereign.
While still in Nairobi, trying desperately to re-establish the Office of the National Authorizing Officer for Somalia to reconnect the TFG with the ACP establishment and world community, in general, I received a phone call from the Head of the “Operating Unit” during that period of time, informing me of planned visit to Nairobi by the European Commissioner for Development and humanitarian Assistance, Luis Michelle, to discuss on Somalia’s issues. The Unit Officer told me in that phone conversation that the Commissioner would not would like to meet with the Somalia’s TFG Prime Minister, Ali Mohamed Ghedi. I thought this was not only disrespectful, but also absurd and irrational. Prime Minister Ghedi, who was in town at the time, did meet with the Commissioner against the best wishes of that Officer.
To further demonstrate Western leaders hypocrisy in their dealings with and standards for poor and weak nations, when the Former President of the Transitional Federal Government, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, was making his first trip to New York a few months after the establishment of the TFG 2004, to attend the UN Annual General Assembly Meeting, the same United States Government of the day issued him a restricted diplomatic visa that he wouldn’t be allowed to travel beyond the perimeters of the City of New York. This was the Leader, who is genuinely the father of the 2nd Republic of Somalia; a man who laid the solid foundations for Somalia’s recovery, operating from his offices in villa Somalia, Mogadishu, after a long vacancy, and made possible for Mr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to get elected President of the Somalia. The AMISOM, the National Security and Stabilization Plan and IGAD commitments to get involved in Somalia’s recovery are the selfless efforts, achievements and the historic works of the man. Would Somalis recognize and remember him? A government with zero revenue couldn’t function indefinitely. Western leaders through their surrogate organizations in Nairobi sabotaged the TFG, and finally when they feared that the Somali militants were fast becoming a threat to their own national security interests, they had to pick up the pieces again. However, they needed a new face since they messed up and lost credibility with Yusuf’s Government. They found that in former President Sheikh Sharif for only temporary use.
The question is: Why was TFG President Yusuf treated that way by Western leaders, Ethiopia? It is simple and pure; he was a nationalist and his own man. He was willing to pay any price in the best interests of his own country.
Finally, Prime Minister Shirdoon’s most recent statement in the media outlets on the formation of Jubaland Administration sounds like the proverbial boy whose mother was praying for God’s help to enable him speak , and when the son spoke up finally with obscene words addressed to his own parent, prayed again for his silence for good.
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