Somalia: Puntland President speech at Launching of the Puntland State Constitution 10 Feb 10, 2012 - 7:12:19 AM
Puntland State of Somalia Garowe
Event: Launching of the Puntland State Constitution
Garowe, Puntland State of Somalia
8 February 2012
Speech: President of Puntland State of Somalia
H.E. Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Farole)
**English transcript of the President’s speech delivered in Somali language
Government leaders of Puntland, traditional elders, dignitaries from foreign governments and international organizations, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you for attending this historic event marking the launching of Puntland State Constitution.
I also want to express my thanks to the representatives from Puntland regions and districts, both men and women. Special thanks to Puntland Developmen and Research Center (PDRC) which is hosting this well-organized convention, and is the only agency that records all developments in Puntland since the state’s formation in 1998 and this is something for Puntland to be proud of.
Thanks also to all the other attendees who have joined us for this occasion. This demonstrates the value given to the launching of Puntland’s constitution, which will go into effect after being ratified by the constituent assembly, God willing.
The democratization process was among my election campaign promise in late 2008, when I returned to Puntland, and it was this platform that in 2009 the Vice President [H.E. Gen. Abdisamad Ali Shire] and I were elected.
This was not the only election promise. We made a number of promises and we have made many achievements, but other tasks remain and we intend to finish the remaining tasks before the end of our term in office, God willing.
We want and we promised and we pray to God that even the nomads are given the opportunity to elect their leaders. We succeeded in reviewing the draft constitution left behind by the previous Puntland administration, and afterwards the Council of Ministers and the Puntland Parliament passed the constitution. The Puntland constitution will be ratified by a convention to be held at the end of March 2012. Limited financial means, time constraints, and the nature of Puntland’s physical geography makes it impossible to reach every citizen at his/her home.
Advancing the democratization process
We have also succeeded to submit the Puntland Electoral Commission Law and as you saw earlier, the Chairman of the Puntland Electoral Commission addressed this gathering. We succeeded in submitting to Parliament the Constitution Ratification Law and the Political Association Law, which will go into effect after the constitution is ratified.
We are on the path to forming political parties, who will develop political programs to lead the State and allow our citizens to elect the best candidate to lead the country, so that we can be free from doomsayers who give a bad interpretation for every good action. After more than 40 years, that government rule has not been in the hands of citizens, either because of a military dictatorship or because of the warlords, or currently our situation in Puntland which was established based on our traditions but the citizens remained unable to cast their votes directly. Our aim is to move away from the process of representation through clans and areas, and move forward to citizens’ direct vote to elect their representatives and leaders.
We are gathered here today to launch the constitution in order to restore power back into the hands of the people and to realize the dream of Puntland that Somalia has separate constitutions – with a federal constitution and state constitutions. Our constitution in Puntland will be the model for the federal system in Somalia and the emerging Somali Federal Constitution will be harmonized with the Puntland state constitution.
Public dissemination of the constitution
This is an undeniable fact. And still, the democratization process has a long way to go and will continue to advance. What remains and which is currently in the process is to ensure that the constitution reaches the public – that our citizens understand: What is a constitution? What is an administration? What is a political party? How do people participate in the political process?
Many citizens do not fully understand the process. Groups who abuse our holy religion and preach religious extremism mislead many citizens. Being told that the current system of clan representation is the best system misleads others. They are told that their individual liberties will be taken away under the new system. But the truth is that every citizen will have human rights guaranteed under laws of the land. Our citizens will directly elect their representatives and leaders and this will ensure that power is rightfully restored in the hands of the people and that their human rights and political
rights are protected.
What is remaining is continuation of the dissemination process to educate our public and this is not an easy task. It requires much funding and my administration invests in the democratization process. We also wish to thank international organizations that have supported the process. I can cite the Democratization Steering Committee (DSC) consisting of a number of donor countries, and Interpeace agency, which supports the Puntland Electoral Commission to complete the democratization process.
Condemnation of Somaliland aggressions and massacres
Somaliland administration launched a naked attack against Buhodle on January 15 and we are now hearing reports that Somaliland has attacked Buhodle again today (Wednesday 8 Feb 2012) and Somaliland troops have forcefully seized wells and boreholes of nomadic communities in that area.
This is a terrible development and it is unfortunate that as the world attempts to stabilize Somalia that an administration, which states it supports peace, is now attacking peaceful areas and is committing massacres and seizing the wells and boreholes of nomadic communities.
We strongly condemn Somaliland’s violent aggressions and we demand Somaliland withdraw its troops back to positions prior to Jan. 15, 2012. This is a very unfortunate situation and we warn Somaliland to not bring a reason for the eruption of a new civil war in the area.
Those who seek power opportunities in empty spaces or those who move a different direction each time and who seek to join the Somali political process by spilling the blood of people, they were there in Buhodle when the fighting erupted but they fled to Ethiopia immediately afterwards. We tell them that the current approach will not lead you to find what you are seeking and some among you have already failed in Somali politics. The people are not excited about you anymore.
The Ethiopian Government loves peace in Somalia, particularly Ethiopia works to prevent war between Puntland and Somaliland and Ethiopia has invited the parties to the negotiation table, in order that the citizens of Sool [Las Anod] and Ayn [Buhodle] regions are granted self-determination to choose their future. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo [Somaliland President] is currently in Ethiopia and we call upon the Ethiopian leaders to tell him [Silanyo] the truth, and no one should pay attention to the spoilers because
they do not represent anyone.
In the world today, every person has a right to choose his future. Las Anod is under Somaliland occupation because so-called politicians want to benefit from the political instability in order to remain in power, while the citizens of Las Anod are forced to flee their homes.
We demand Somaliland immediately withdraw all its military forces from Las Anod and not to attend the London Conference [on 23 February 2012] before withdrawing all Somaliland forces from Las Anod.
Message to Somali people and London Conference
We encourage the London Conference organizers to invite the Somali groups who love peace, but not to invite or listen to the groups who are presently engaged in inciting new conflicts in Somalia.
We call upon all Somalis to live in peace, to forget the grievances of the past. I think that the people of Puntland suffered the most in Somalia, starting from the military dictatorship and during the clan wars, and still we in Puntland are calling other Somalis to join the peace, to forget the past, and we should collectively expel from our country the few groups mostly based in southern Somalia who are actively involved in fomenting violence and instability.
Finally, I call upon the people of Puntland to uphold their unity and protect the stability, in order that Puntland leads Somalia towards lasting peace as seen in Garowe city that has hosted Somali national conventions and that history recognizes Puntland as advancing peace in Somalia and that God Almighty assists those working for peace.
Thank you all for listening and God bless.
______________ Communications Office The Puntland Presidency Puntland State of Somalia E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.puntland-gov.net