Somalia: Puntland Leader Receives Opposition’s Firm Rejection of Election Postponement


In Garowe, the capital of Puntland, the opposition team has criticized the recent constitutional changes made by the regional assembly, stating that they are illegal and against the rule of law. They argue that the proper procedures were not followed, rendering the changes null and void.
The opposition team believes that President Said Abdullahi Deni should not be allowed to extend his term, which is set to expire in January 2024. They warn that if this happens, it could lead to anarchy and intolerance, similar to the events that occurred in 2001 when the state was only three years old.
Deni, who is accused of dishonesty and questionable integrity, is accused of manipulating election laws to his advantage. Critics argue that he is attempting to prolong his time in power by implementing constitutional changes approved by his administration.
The president’s leadership has been weakening due to ongoing military mutinies, regional militia conflicts, political infighting, and differences. Furthermore, he has severed ties with the federal government, making it difficult for the people of Puntland to receive essential government services.
The opposition leaders state that the upcoming elections will involve the selection of new local legislators by traditional elders, as the current parliament’s tenure is also coming to an end. According to the law, 66 MPs will be selected before the president is elected.
Despite efforts to implement universal suffrage polls, the opposition alleges that the government has been registering underage children as voters, compromising the integrity and transparency of the electoral process. They previously rejected direct local government elections due to suspicions of voter register manipulation.
If the government fails to facilitate the election process, the opposition team calls on Puntland’s traditional elders to expedite the selection of Parliament. They declare that if necessary, they will take matters into their own hands and initiate the process themselves.
The opposition team commends the local leadership in the SSC-Khatumo regions of Sool, Sanag, and Ayn for their efforts to defend their rights against aggression from the federal state of Somaliland, which claims to have seceded from Somalia. SSC-Khatumo forces have been engaged in a conflict with Somaliland, advocating for the region to be governed from Mogadishu.
The opposition team also expresses support for the ongoing fight against Al-Shabaab in central and southern regions, considering the progress to be remarkable and patriotic. They highlight that thousands of Al-Shabaab militants have been eliminated since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared a “total war” against the group.
The Puntland Opposition Council announces the formation of an umbrella opposition group, comprised of various political associations including the Puntland Political Forum, Political Council for Salvation, Supreme Council of the Law, and Puntland Rescue Forum. Additionally, there are the Youth Political Association, Mideeya Political Association, Horseed Political Association, and Union of Presidential Candidates. While the group is expected to field a selected presidential candidate to challenge Deni, their overall strategy has not been revealed yet.
Source: AXADLE