Listening to the on-going debates on DEMOCRATIZATION process in Puntland, one finds misunderstanding and confusion among debaters. There is a mixed-up between holding municipal elections to establish local district councils, and general election for representatives of the House of Parliament and subsequent election of Puntland President. Whose responsibility is it to clear the confusion?
It is the responsibility of the government to campaign for and send out clear message that the job descriptions of TPEC (Temporary Puntland Election Commission) are limited to holding elections of District Councils only. The electoral data or registrations so produced in local elections could be used for the next parliament and presidential elections, given available time and necessary constitutional reforms done. Local elections are also designed to make room and democratic space for viable political parties based on their popular support to compete in subsequent elections.
Direct Parliament and Presidential elections may require certain revisions of Puntland Constitution. But holding local elections are overdue. It is Puntland Government which is sitting on the issue and creating obstacles and confusion in the way of moving the process forward. The administration is projecting fake public image that they are committed to holding the elections. Some observers believe that the authorities have hidden agenda in prolonging the debate with the intention of attempting to seek extension of its five-year mandate, a dangerous proposition based on the history of the State.
President Said Abdullahi Deni and his administration must come out clean on Puntland DEMOCRATIZATION process. They should send unequivocal message that they are serious on the issue and take all the necessary measures, actions and commit all resources by mobilising local and international assistance to complete the remaining elections of the local councils.