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Somalia’s Puntland suspends MPs, ministers from opening regional political offices

By Abuga Makori in Nairobi , Garowe Online

GAROWE, Puntland - In what could deliver a huge blow to the officials in Mogadishu, Somalia's northeast Puntland state has suspended opening of political offices in its areas, Garowe Online reports.

A statement from Puntland’s Ministry of Interior on Saturday said the ban holds until the Federal Government and the Regional States reach a comprehensive agreement on the electoral modality.

The directive will affect Ministers and MPs intending to open regional political offices in Puntland.

Interestingly, the government's directive comes a day after Somalia's Minister for Planning Gamal Hassan announced the opening of a constituency office in at his Dhahar town, Eastern Sanaag region.

According to the former Somalia ambassador to Kenya and current member of the Somali parliament, the office would allow him to directly engage the people on matters progress and development.

The letter directed security agencies in the Puntland ministry not allow the term-ending Federal officials and political parties to have offices in the state and close up the already existing ones.

This comes as the four-year tenure of the current Federal Government of Somalia [FGS] led by President Farmajo expires next year and the nation set to go the polls despite security and political challenges.

Already, Senator Mohamud Mashruuc who was elected from Puntland opposed the directive barring MPs and Ministers from opening offices, asking the State to respect Somali's provisional constitution.

Puntland is one of the most stable states in the war-torn Horn of Africa country.

Politicians are positioning themselves ahead of 2020/2021 parliamentary and presidential polls, a move that has seen former heads of state against current President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

Some of the Somali regional states resolved to suspend relations with the central government, citing a lack of tangible progress in the constitutional making process, political and security issues in the country.

Some analysts say they are concerned that the deepening rift between the federal government and the states may plunge the country back into a political crisis with Al-Shabab trying to prevent Somalia from holding a one-person-one-vote election in 2020/2021.

GAROWE ONLINE editorial team has contributed to this report.

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