Somalia:President Farole's speech at Puntland Constitutional Convention 19 Apr 19, 2012 - 7:34:17 AM
Puntland State of Somalia
Puntland Constitutional Convention
Garowe, Puntland State of Somalia 15 – 18 April 2012
Opening Statement by the President of Puntland State of SomaliaH.E. Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Farole)
**English transcript of the President’s speech delivered in Somali language
It is a great pleasure and delight to attend this historic convention for the people of Puntland State of Somalia. Today, the dream of the Puntland people has become true. We are here to reaffirm our unity and our shared commitment towards establishing a role model state for the emerging Federal Republic of Somalia. Puntland will have its own State Constitution, and will play its role in the finalization of the Somali Federal Constitution. Under the federal system, power and resource will be distributed between the Federal Government and the States, such as Puntland. In accordance with the Garowe Principles, the Somali Federal Constitution will be harmonized with the Puntland State Constitution in political negotiations between federal-level and state-level representatives.
As Puntland people, our goal is self-development that engenders peace, security, stability, governance, and socio-economic development in to the 21st century. Let me emphasize again that Puntland State is part of the Federal Republic of Somalia; Puntland is committed to preserving the sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Somalia.
Today, I would like to talk briefly about four issues: the Puntland Constituent Assembly; our democratization process; government accomplishments; and a political community under transformation in Puntland State.
Puntland Constituent Assembly
As you can all testify, all the Convention delegates have been selected in an open and transparent manner. The delegates represent all the regions and social groups of Puntland State. You are all today representative of the Puntland people. Our people are hopeful and anxious, and so you are obliged to discharge your duties with integrity and efficiency.
I will remind you all that the Constituent Assembly is permitted by our Constitution, as stated in Article 141, Clause 1. The process of adopting a constitution by way of a Constituent Assembly is not new to the world. For example, an Assembly adopted the U.S. Constitution on 17 September 1787 and an Assembly adopted the Indian Constitution on 24 January 1950. Similar to today’s undertaking, a National Constituent Assembly is scheduled to adopt the Somali Federal Constitution soon.
After nearly 14 years, Puntland State must end its transition and adopt a State Constitution prior to the end of the Somali transition, in August 2012. The Constitution is the basis of government. While an amendment in accordance with constitutional requirements is permitted, it is nonetheless important to adopt the State Constitution in order to solidify our government and to realize the dream of the Puntland people.
Democratization process in Puntland
Supporting the democratization process in Puntland was among my election promises during the 2008 election campaign. I strongly believe that a democratic system, which incorporates our Islamic and traditional values, will play a pivotal role in strengthening our stability and leading to growth and investment opportunities.
Allow me to highlight major steps in the democratization process since 2009:
Nominating a State Minister of the Presidency for Democratization and Federal Affairs;
Finalizing the Draft Constitution submitted to Puntland Parliament in 2008 by the previous Administration, which the Puntland Parliament ratified on 15 June 2009;
Passing relevant legislations in democratization process milestones, including Electoral Commission Law, Political Associations Law, and Referendum Law;
Swearing-in of Puntland Electoral Commission on 17 July 2011;
Engaging in public dissemination of the Puntland Constitution through media, public gatherings with civil society, and town meetings in rural districts;
My administration’s steps in advancing the democratization process required vision, direction and commitment of Puntland people and leadership. I wish to express my appreciation to the people of Puntland for demonstrating an understanding of the way forward. The Puntland people are known to be patient, kind, and courageous.
Even while we are engaged with security, institution-building, and federal affairs, we remain committed to advance the democratization process. We expect an equal sacrifice by the people in order to protect the State.
The future of Puntland is a multiparty political system. I believe that political parties will play a constructive role in encouraging social integration and interaction, and provide a platform to gradually transform the State into a modern political system. While respecting our traditional systems, we shall ensure that the new generation gets the opportunity to join or vote for political parties. A selection process cannot limit the potential of our people – our people will vote bdirectly to elect their leaders. Our people will be able to hold their leaders to account.
I am confident that we share and value this common vision for Puntland State. Puntland laws value our traditions and our culture of tolerance and respect, whilst incorporating universal standards of human rights. Puntland State utilizes three systems of law that function in parallel fashion: Customary Law, Administrative Law, and Islamic Shari’ah Law.
It is Shari’ah Law that is the basis of our State Constitution. Any law that contradicts Islamic law is null and void in Puntland State of Somalia.
Security continues to be our number one task since coming to office in 2009. It can be said that Puntland security forces were disorganized and demoralized.
However, since coming to office, my administration has made significant achievements in improving security throughout Puntland State. I can briefly cite the following:
Re-organizing, training and regularly paying the security forces;
Reforming our intelligence agencies;
Fighting to remove Al Shabaab terrorists from Galgala mountains;
Engaging in counter-piracy campaign and establishing the Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF);
Resolving and preventing clan conflicts in rural areas;
Improving police capacity in investigations and crime prevention;
Providing capacity building and equipment for police, courts and prisons;
Puntland State is not immune from the chronic and contagious violence that has raged in southern Somalia since 1991. Puntland has experienced a spillover effect of terrorism. Many Puntland people have been killed in terror attacks, including public servants, soldiers, professionals, religious scholars, and young people.
The aim of this wave of terrorism is to terrify our people into surrender. Puntland will never surrender to people who threaten our way of life. Puntland is welcome to any person who plays a constructive role in society, but those who threaten our peace and security will face the full extent of the law.
Secondly, the political enemies of Puntland State have been working tirelessly to discredit the State and its proud accomplishments. Puntland people remain united in self-development and in helping fellow Somalis recover from war. For this action of humanity, Puntland should be commended not criticized.
Other accomplishments include:
The Government’s efficient response during 2010 – 2011 drought by delivering water and other humanitarian aid to rural areas and repairing of boreholes for rural communities in a timely manner;
Decentralization of power to district-level, with many District Councils established or being established;
Recruiting education and healthcare workers, establishing unified school curriculum and exams, and renovating or construction new schools;
Health centers built or renovated, and expanded vaccination campaigns in urban and rural areas, and increasing TB and HIV public awareness;
Puntland engagement raised as a political partner in Somali national stabilization and recovery initiatives, to advance political reconciliation in partnership with TFG and other Somali stakeholders;
Puntland hosted Somali national conferences (Garowe I and Garowe II) aiming to advance national reconciliation and peace building.
Political community under transformation
The political community in Puntland State is undergoing transformation. This is normal and expected over a period of time. As Puntland moves towards amultiparty political system, some elements may view the new system as a threat to their perceived privileges.
I want to reassure everybody that any qualified person has an opportunity to participate in this transformation. If one loses a privilege in a particular area, he might gain a new privilege in a different area, in the new world. Everything requires patience and tolerance as we move towards a system founded on consultation and equality. Everyone is welcome to join political parties and to contribute constructively to make a difference.
The political community in Puntland is one that adheres to the values of peace, tolerance, and good relations with neighbors, and pursues socio-economic development for the State. Puntland has no ambition to seize the land of other Somali communities, but Puntland is committed to self-defense against external aggressions. I want to emphasize to our people, to other Somali communities, and to the world at large that Puntland will continue to pursue a policy of selfdevelopment and will seek conflict resolution through dialogue. We are confident that our development is a benefit for Puntland, for Somalia as a whole, and for the wider world, as Puntland constitutes a key regional security pillar.
I want to express my thanks and appreciations to:
Puntland security forces who work long hours in difficult circumstances and also the Convention organizers;
Members of the Puntland Electoral Commission and its Chairman, Mr. Mohamed Hassan Barre;
State Minister of the Presidency for Democratization and Federal Affairs Dr. Abdi Hassan Jimale;
Other members of Puntland Government institutions particularly parliamentarians who have contributed towards the democratizationprocess;
Puntland traditional and religious leaders and other civil society members;
Interpeace agency that has invested time and resource since 2007 in the finalization of Puntland Constitution;
Member countries of the Democratization Steering Committee (DSC);
The wider international community that has assisted the democratization process in Puntland State;
And I wish to thank all the Convention delegates and distinguished guests.
I encourage all Delegates to engage in constructive discussions and debate. And I pray to Almighty God for a safe and successful Convention.
Thank you all and God bless.
The Puntland Presidency
Puntland State of Somalia