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Somalia: Puntland Consultative Conference sparks off governance row


GALKAYO, Somalia, August 29, 2015 (Garowe Online)-Amidst curious optimism, a consultative conference said to be letting participants look back at what went right and wrong with the northeastern state of Puntland spawned debate over the region's governance credentials.

Ahmed Abdi Habsade, former Somaliland Public Works and Housing Minister whose political leverage is as fragmented as ever has blasted Puntland for failing to retain unity and better governance image since its formation in 1998.

Habsade is serving in Puntland government for the second time after his defection to Somaliland in 2007 when the separatist administration militarily seized Lasanod.

“Apart from the political structure, Puntland people have nothing else to boast of today,” he said of Puntland, sparking off a rowdy atmosphere in the conference hall.

A female delegate furiously reacted to Habsade comments according to a footage posted on You Tube.

Continuing, he went on: “Puntland is devoid of strong army, today if [Somaliland forces] move in, they will easily overrun the capital, Garowe”.

Habsade further pointed out that the northeastern state still lacks ingredients key to functioning governance such as constitutional court and auditing body in action.

On its third day, the conference focused more on the differences between local communities. Delegates debated disputes arising from resource sharing, pasture and clan revenge attacks, with each group writing its views on a slip.

Bile Qabowsade who worked with President Mohamud Musse Hirsi (Gen. Adde)’s administration drew another ire from social media users after he tarnished Puntland’s reputations for the last decade.

Waning clout

Some politicians shared their views with Garowe Online, arguing that the convention is aimed at nixing the failures surrounding President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali.

A few days after his narrow victory in early 2014, Al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab militants broke the dormancy, igniting a chasm of violence, mainly in the Gulf of Aden port city of Bossaso.

Militants traversed with more violent acts than never before and killed many government officials including Galgala units and Bari regional police commanders.

In economic front, Ali who campaigned on economic platform left the state’s economy ailing and even went one step further by striking illicit deals with businessmen to allay complaints by disgruntled civil servants and security forces.

President Ali’s first year in office marked waning influence at federal and international levels. “Puntland’s support and stature have dented. If failed policies continue to permeate political outfit, surely it [Puntland] will emerge pariah “Nairobi-based political analyst said on condition of anonymity.

Now, with the public cheesed off with chickens coming home to roost, Puntland leadership needs to realize that they are a short learning curve in a year and half. 


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