Garowe, PUNTLAND — In an address that signaled Puntland’s unwavering commitment to democratic reform, Abdi Farah Juha, the Minister of Internal Affairs, proclaimed the irreversible forward momentum of the region’s journey toward democratization. This declaration followed the successful completion of the first phase of Puntland’s election process, a landmark initiative involving district council elections characterized by a multi-party system and, notably, the direct participation of the public in voting—a first in the region’s history.
The initial phase, encompassing 33 districts, was not only noteworthy for its wide reach but also for its smooth execution, free of any significant complications. This phase, endearingly termed Geddi-Caano Leh, represents a fundamental shift from previous practices, ushering in a new era of governance and public engagement. Minister Juha’s bold statement, “If anyone claims they can reverse it, they are a person who has not yet been born,” encapsulates the irreversible nature of Puntland’s democratic strides.
Puntland Elections: No Reversal Only Advancement
Minister Juha further reinforced the sentiment that the election process would proceed uninterrupted, with subsequent phases already unfolding. This ongoing effort stands as a testament to Puntland’s determination to shed any remnants of opaque governance—a past marred by nepotism and corruption, colloquially referred to as the “dark room” where underhanded deals were the norm. Juha’s assertion leaves no room for doubt: the people of Puntland have embraced transparency and accountability, eschewing any suggestion of reverting to undemocratic practices.
Inclusive Participation: Paving the Way for 2024
In alignment with these advancements, Puntland is actively engaging all societal stakeholders to foster an inclusive environment for its democratization process. With the presidential election looming in February 2024, Puntland is set to experience a pivotal moment in its political evolution. For the first time, the electorate will have the direct power to choose not only the President and Vice President but also their representatives in the House. This upcoming election is not just a procedural milestone but a reflection of a deep-seated aspiration for self-determination and an affirmation of the democratic values that Puntland aspires to institutionalize.
Minister Juha’s address does more than chronicle the progress made; it underscores a collective determination to continue forging a path of democratic integrity. This resolve is not just about changing systems but about transforming the ethos of governance in Puntland—a commitment to ensure that democracy is more than a process; it is the bedrock of the region’s aspirations for its present and its future.