Puntland skips NCC meeting as Somalia's future thrown into limbo

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - Endless political wrangles in Somalia loom, following a National Consultative Council (NCC) meeting in Mogadishu, which saw Puntland state missing, having raised fundamental concerns over the commitments of the federal government.

For months, Puntland leadership under Said Abdullahi Deni has questioned Mogadishu's policies on federalism, cutting ties over a 'persistent lack of consultations' by the government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who is serving the second term.

On Friday, Ali Gudlawe Hussein (Hirshabelle), Abdiaziz Lafta-Gareen (Southwest), Ahmed Madobe (Jubaland), Ahmed Abdi Kariye alias Qoorqoor (Galmudug) and the Mayor of Mogadishu held a meeting with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

During the meeting, Somalia’s federal and regional leaders endorsed amendments made to the first four chapters of the constitution and urged the parliament to accelerate work on approving the remaining chapters of the constitution in consideration of past agreements reached by the National Consultative Council.

The agreement quashes rumours the leaders of Jubaland, Southwest, Galmudug, and Hirshabelle were unhappy with the ongoing constitutional review process. The reviews have unsettled Puntland, which accuses Hassan Sheikh of bulldozing changes without consultations.

The NCC reviewed various national matters, emphasizing anti-terrorism efforts, interim constitution completion, democratization, and the impact of recent rains. The first four chapters approved by parliament would see the country shift from indirect polls to direct elections.

For decades, Somalia has been picking leaders through either consensus or the intervention of elders, a norm President Hassan Sheikh is determined to change. The new changes would also domicile more powers in the presidency, with the premiership losing grip.

Puntland insists it shall operate as an independent state until the federal leadership embraces 'genuine and dissenting voices on critical issues' on social-economic and political partnership. The international community has called for dialogue to iron out outstanding issues.

GAROWE ONLINE

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