EDITORIAL: In recent times, Puntland has embarked on an arduous path to greater democracy, an endeavour that holds promise not just for its own residents but also offers a beacon for other regions in Somalia. A quick survey of developments affirms this trajectory.
President Said Abdullahi Deni’s stance has been unequivocally clear. He has, on numerous occasions, committed to holding direct elections. Such consistent affirmation from the highest office in the state not only underscores the administration’s intent but also offers a roadmap for a democratic Puntland.
It is imperative to understand the gravity of what transpired on 25 July. The Puntland parliament, in what we can only describe as a landmark move, approved constitutional amendments. This wasn’t merely an administrative decision but a watershed moment that marked the ushering in of a new era of democracy in Puntland, as a thorough analysis in the Somali Digest detailed. Such bold steps are a testament to Puntland’s resolve to bolster democratic principles at its foundational level.
Furthermore, this wasn’t an insular move. A mere couple of weeks prior to this, on 12 July, former Somali leaders converged in Garowe and, at the culmination of their negotiations, endorsed Puntland’s ambitious democratic reforms. The details of this significant endorsement described another our article here. This collective nod from seasoned statesmen adds a layer of credibility and broad-based acceptance to Puntland’s democratic march.
Testament to the state’s potential
The momentum that these events generated found its epitome when the Puntland elections held on 25 May received commendations for being both democratic and fair. Such observations were not limited to regional commentary but also found resonance in national platforms like Marqaati.
However, it is in this climate of progression that we find the shadows of retrogression lurking. There is a perceptible effort, albeit by a minority, to revert to indirect elections. Such endeavours stand in stark contrast to the democratic strides that Puntland has achieved. They challenge the very essence of a democratic ethos that the state has been nurturing painstakingly and diligently.
It is, thus, not just a matter of continuing a journey but preserving the sanctity of the path already trodden. The advancements Puntland made in the democratic process are not merely milestones but a testament to the state’s potential. A reversion to old ways is not just regressive but threatens to undermine the very foundations that promise a robust democratic future for Puntland.
Long journey to democracy
The journey to democracy is long, winding, and fraught with challenges. Yet, Puntland has shown commendable resilience and unwavering commitment to its democratic aspirations. The achievements thus far are not merely procedural but represent the dreams and aspirations of the Puntland populace. Every step backwards, every retreat into older systems, risks not just the gains made but the hopes of generations to come.
It is imperative, for the sake of Puntland’s future and the sanctity of the democratic process, that the course remains steadfastly forward. The voice of progress, echoing the will of the people, must always drown out any murmurs of regression. The democratic torch that Puntland holds aloft today should illuminate its path tomorrow and for many days to come.