FIND CONSENSUS ON PUNTLAND DEMOCRATIZATION PROCESS
There are reports, press statements and counter-press statements by Puntland political associations and NGOs on the timely holding of pilot (test) elections in some Puntland towns. The question is: Can Puntland hold both the Federal and provincial elections back-to-back (at same time)? If that can be done demonstratively, then why don’t we go ahead with these pilot elections in Eyl, Uffayn and Qardho?
Based on historical experience, this planned local election experiment will surely remain only on paper without Puntland Government pushing it. If current Puntland leader, Deni, were to get elected as President of Somalia in this forthcoming presidential election, there would be no guarantees that the next Puntland President would be in favor of multiparty democracy. This is a one-man show exercise, not a popular movement or political trend in the State as Puntland/Somalia population hadn’t been prepared for the process for many decades.
It is also important to note here that the recipients of donors’ funds like PRDC, PUNSAA, TPEC, among other non-state actors involved in the stalled democratization programs in Puntland State, are partial entities and have vested financial interests in the process and debate on the matter. The new political associations of Puntland are taking their lack of election experiences and low capacities to multi-task into account. It is a legitimate concerns.
We recommend to all parties to come together to reach at consensus on the way forward and inform Puntland Government and donor community accordingly.