Puntland turns 23 as it demonstrates a shining example of Somalia's federalism


GAROWE, Puntland - Puntland, the oldest Federal-State in Somalia is celebrating its 23rd-anniversary of establishment, which comes at the time the Horn of Africa is in the electioneering period.

In 1998, the Puntland State of Somalia was born, paving way for federalism, after years of turmoil which was triggered by the ouster of a military regime in 1991 by clan warlords. Successive governments failed to cure Somalia's problems, paving way for federalism.

Puntland has notable founding fathers - Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who served as the fledgling state's founding president between 1998-2004, and Abdirahman Farole praised for leading by example from 2009 to 2014.

The Federal State had undergone major changes coupled with development progress and strong federalism under Farole's leadership, including getting a constitution, a flag, and establishing functioning security agencies just like PMPF.

In addition, the Farole administration had played a role in the preparation of the current provisional constitution of Somalia by hosting in Garowe two Constitutional Consultative Conferences in 2012 that led to the ending of the transition.

For all these years, Puntland has been pushing for strong federalism in Somalia, often triggering tough differences between Mogadishu and Garowe. Federalism was picked as the only model that could end cut-throat competition for state power in Somalia.

With six regional presidents so far, Puntland has showcased high-profile self-reliance in terms of resource mobilization and distribution, thus setting a strong foundation that can be used as a typical model.

For 23 years, Puntland has recorded major achievements including but not limited to completing key development projects, announcing new ones, and the efforts it made for Somalia's rebuilding. It had a role in Somalia's current constitution draft.

The state has strong institutions which are key in the democratization process. This October, the state is set to hold universal suffrage elections, the first of its kind in Somalia. Already, several areas have registered voters, who are set to contest in this process.

Across Somalia, key political leadership positions have always been defined through the clan-based model, which is a source of conflict. Besides Somaliland, it's only Puntland that has kickstarted this important exercise of voter registration.

In April, Puntland came out in full force opposing outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo's term. The outgoing president had mobilized parliament for unconstitutional term extension, leading to crisis talks that paved way for a clear election calendar.

Deni and his Jubaland counterpart Ahmed Islam Mohamed Madobe were on record for opposing term extension, arguing that it would create a recipe for chaos and anarchy in the country. They called for international partners' intervention.

Further, Puntland has minimized the infiltration of Al-Shabaab and IS-Somalia militants, through the use of Puntland Security Forces [PSF]. The regional government does not rely on the national army and AMISOM for crushing the militants.


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