The Prime Minister’s Bombshell: A Menace to Puntland’s Electoral Process and Progress


Upon assuming the prestigious office of the presidency of Somalia last year, Hassan Sheikh made a grand declaration of his desire to achieve the much-needed peace within the country and with the international community. However, it didn’t take long for his mismanagement tactics to surface, which unfortunately would not lead to a peaceful Somalia. Specifically, he focused more on his political party, neglecting the presidential candidates who aided him in securing his victory. Adding salt to the injury was the conflict that ensued between President Said Abdulahi Deni and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud due to constitutional differences, with some accusing the latter of backing out on a deal made during the presidential elections.

The conflict between the two presidents then took a sharp turn after President Hassan delivered a perplexing speech from the Villa Somalia Masjid warning President Deni that Puntland would cease to exist after 24 days if he failed to pay heed to the people’s wishes; a suggestion he implied only he knew about. He also tried to separate the people of Puntland from their leaders by stating the issue was not with them, but the leadership, thus alienating supporters of President Deni. President Hassan predicted President Deni’s plan to extend his rule would not succeed.

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The speech was viewed as President Hassan’s interference in the internal affairs of Puntland by many Puntlanders while supporters of President Deni interpreted it as a threat. Despite a constitutional dispute between President Deni and the opposition, he failed to address the accusations, leaving Puntlanders in the dark about his intentions. The impasse between the two presidents called for the intervention of Prime Minister Hamza Ali Barre, who had a golden opportunity to end the conflict as he had no animosity with President Deni. As the executive of the Somali Government, it was in his best interest to get Puntland on the table for discussion.

However, the Prime Minister held a similar perplexing view like that of President Hassan regarding the Puntland issue, further fueling the flame. He stated that the Puntland people did not deserve their leaders and that the Somali government would not let one person destroy Puntland, negatively affecting the progress of resolving Somali’s debt relief. Although the Prime Minister considered Puntland to be of importance, his sentiment only rectified the situation.

The Prime Minister’s primary concern was to ensure that Puntland made progress in its upcoming election and that Somalia’s debt debt was relieved. His choice of words only backed Puntland into a corner, further delaying Somali’s debt relief, an initiative that he considered crucial for both Somalia’s and Puntland’s growth. If anything were to happen during the forthcoming election, the Prime Minister and President would be held accountable.

If peace and stability were to be achieved in Somalia, the Federal Government would need to hold a meaningful discussion with Puntland. The Prime Minister’s recent remarks only complicated the already complex situation and stalled the prospect of resolving the issue. By prioritizing peace and stability, all parties involved should cease communicating through social media and instead use channels that will not interfere with Puntland’s internal affairs.

The Federal Government should address Puntland’s concerns that its actions are not based on the Federal Constitution rather than engage in finger-pointing. To achieve peace and stability, it’s essential for the Federal Government to hold a productive dialogue with Puntland.

By: Mohamed Abdiqafar Haji Hussein
Atlanta, Georgia

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