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Somalia: Puntland says central Govt sidestepping role of Federal States

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

GAROWE, Puntland - The president of Somalia's northeastern Puntland State, Said Abdullahi Deni has this week wrapped up his first overseas visit to the United Arab Emirates [UAE] and Kenya, Garowe Online reports.

Speaking at a press conference in Garowe following his return from abroad, president Deni launched a scathing attack on the country's Federal Government for the first time since his election last January.

He blamed Mogadishu-based Government for lack of better cooperation with the Federal Member States as Somalia is now facing numerous challenges on the political, economic and security fronts.

Continuing, Deni added that the political system in the country seems to be becoming "centralizing power" since the Federal Government is sidestepping role of regional states in the decisions about Somalia's future.

- Puntland's concern over the country's situation -

Puntland is increasingly concerned at the lack of political and security progress in the Horn of Africa nation, which has resulted in the absence of cooperation between the Government and Federal states.

Last September, the states suspended relations with Mogadishu, cited lack of tangible progress in the constitutional making process, saying Mogadishu has done little to ensure that the country holds a one-person-one-vote election in 2020/21.

During Deni's abroad trip, Senators representing Puntland in the Upper House of the Somali Federal Parliament arrived in the state capital, Garowe for urgent consultations over the situation in the country.

Former Puntland president, Abdirahman Mohamed Farole who is currently a member of Somalia's Senate was among the senatorial delegation which held a meeting with president after he returned home.

"I and the Vice President met with the Senators representing Puntland in the Senate and discussed situation in the country and where is heading to and our stance," said Deni during the press conference.

The president said the Mogadishu failed to implement political deals in the constitutional review process, leading the International partners to "get confused" about provides vital support to Somalia.

In addition, Deni added that the National Security Council became "unproductive" after failing the main objectives it has been formed in mid-2017 in Mogadishu by the Federal Government and regional states.

The council did not succeed to create an effective national security roadmap as well as the major issues, including an inclusive political roadmap for 2020/21 polls and equitable sharing of the national resources.

"The National Security Council faced giant shortcoming due to lack of cooperation on the security sector which is key to address major security challenges in the Federal States and Mogadishu," said Puntland leader.

- The constitution -

President Deni said the government "sidestepped" deal agreed upon the finalization of the constitutional review process in 2012, which risks the country gets a new Constitution head of the elections scheduled for 2020/21.

Somalia is currently governed by a Provisional Constitution, adopted on August 1, 2012, after more than twenty years of bloody conflict broke out following the toppling of the former military regime in 1991 by clan warlords.

"To complete the draft constitution, we agreed to form a joint committee made up of five members appointed by the Federal Government and representatives from the regional states. To date, this has not yet been done," Deni added.

In addition, Puntland state President said that the Federal Government has apparently blocked the regional states' from having representation, making the process "unconstitutional" and less inclusive.

He pointed out that the central government has convinced the International community that it alone has the authority and is going to be done with a national development plan, ignoring the Federal states.

"Puntland has a list of grievances against the share of foreign aid to Somalia. Mogadishu confiscated everything and created government roadmaps. This has led large sums of money gone missing," he said.

- The Central Bank of Somalia -

Meanwhile, Puntland state president Said Abdullahi Deni expressed opposition to the appointment of Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, a senior economic policy adviser to the PM as Central Bank governor.

Abdullahi's appointment said to be contrary to the clan-based 4.5 power-sharing system in Somalia as the post is allocated to Puntland. The new head hails from Somaliland breakaway region which holds supreme court chief.

There was no immediate response from the central government about the allegations made by the president of Puntland state of Somalia. 

Somalia began its high profile search for a central bank governor last August. The federal government took out an expensive advertisement - sources say up to $26,000 - in The Economist, a move that raised eyebrows as it implied that every nationality was invited to apply.

Sources say that the government was keen on hiring Nigel Roberts, a U.K national, to head the bank. However, he was not committed to spending most of his time in Mogadishu.

Finally, Puntland president called for a wide consultative forum between the stakeholders in Garowe on the 2nd May, whose outcome should aim at facilitating a fair and inclusive political process in Somalia.


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