Garowe, Puntland, Somalia –
The former President of Puntland, Abduweli Ali Gaas, and former Prime Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmake, arrived in Garowe yesterday to engage in negotiations aimed at promoting peace and stability in the region.
The visit follows recent clashes between Puntland’s security forces and the Aran Jaan militia in Garowe, the capital of Puntland. The security forces successfully defended the local parliament, pushing the militia back and compelling their withdrawal from the city. The militia’s retreat extended as far as Salahley, a location approximately 17 kilometres south of the capital.
In response to the incident, the Aran Jaan group began rallying traditional elders and politicians to support their cause, urging them to prevent any constitutional amendments that could reverse the ongoing democratisation process. Their aim was to maintain control over the election process, limiting people’s ability to freely choose their preferred political party and president.
Many observers have expressed the view that the reforms introduced by the Puntland government should have been implemented long ago.
The two prominent politicians clarified that their visit was intended to address the current impasse resulting from a chaotic local election in May. However, it should be noted that these former high-ranking officials have been advocating for an indirect electoral system, seeking to roll back the progress made in the democratisation process. They have argued that there is insufficient time to adequately prepare for elections and that conducting them could potentially spark further conflicts within the city.
“One person, one vote”
It is important to underscore that the general public in Puntland strongly supports the implementation of a “one person, one vote” system, emphasising the significance of individual enfranchisement in the democratic process.
The constitutional amendment, approved on 20 June, will allow for the transformation of Puntland’s governmental system into a multi-party structure. The change is expected to provide constituents with a more diverse range of choices during elections and carry substantial implications for the region’s political landscape ahead.