GAROWE, PUNTLAND — The Puntland Government of Somalia has issued a comprehensive proposal outlining solutions to the challenges surrounding the state-building process in the country, expressing concerns over the Federal Government’s lack of political will and systematic delays in reaching negotiated political settlements.
Puntland, located in the northeastern region of Somalia, acknowledged the progress made in the Somali Statebuilding process since the inception of the federal mechanism in 2004. However, the government stressed its concerns over Mogadishu’s failure to implement previous political and legal agreements, accusing it of consistently circumventing its constitutional mandates and limiting the roles of Federal Member States (FMS).
The Puntland Government stated that it would now engage in bilateral negotiations with the Federal Government, citing failures of the National Consultative Council (NCC) to address national contentious issues effectively.
The proposal outlines ten key challenges facing the state-building process, and proposes solutions for each:
- Reviewing and Finalizing the Provisional Federal Constitution: The Puntland Government recommends harmonizing the Federal and Puntland Constitutions and finalizing the Provisional Constitution through a public referendum.
- Delineation of Governmental Powers (Power-sharing formula): Puntland suggests a separate agreement with the Federal Government on the division of powers at the federal and state levels. It argues that powers not expressly assigned to the Federal Government should fall under the jurisdictions of the Federal Member States.
- Distribution of National Resources and International Development Aid: Puntland insists on its right to exploit its natural resources and calls for direct engagement between international donors and Puntland.
- Administration of Revenue and National Fiscal Policy: Puntland proposes that each member state of the Federal Government is responsible for the development, management, and utilization of economic infrastructures and the collection and management of revenues.
- The issue of North West Regions of Somalia (Somaliland): Puntland Government welcomes dialogue to address the concerns of the people and the administration of the North West Regions and underscores its involvement in the dialogue process.
- Status of Capital City of Somalia: Puntland recommends reaching a consensus agreement on the status of Somalia’s capital city to complete the Provisional Constitution.
- Introduction and Implementation of Federal Government Regulations: Puntland states that it will not recognize or implement any regulations passed by the Federal Government agencies until renegotiated and agreed upon.
- Implementation of Democratic Elections: Puntland emphasizes its right to conduct its elections in accordance with the Federal Provisional Constitution and its respective member state constitutions.
- Building National Security Forces: Puntland proposes a review of the 2017 National Security Architecture Agreement and calls for a fair distribution of military support from the international community.
- Conflict in Laascaanood: Puntland condemns the recent actions of the Somaliland administration in Laascaanood and commits to continue providing humanitarian assistance to the victims of the conflict.
The Puntland Government’s comprehensive proposal is a critical testament to its commitment towards facilitating a stronger state-building process in Somalia. It sheds light on the federal system’s existing inadequacies and highlights the role of shared power, appropriate resource distribution, democratic processes, and the preservation of human rights. Puntland’s assertion for bilateral negotiations, instead of relying on the National Consultative Council, underscores its quest for a more immediate and direct approach to solving the nation’s issues.
However, the proposal’s success hinges on the Federal Government’s willingness to engage, acknowledge, and action the outlined recommendations. The call for bilateral negotiations signifies a shift in Puntland’s strategic approach, which could set a precedent for other member states. Furthermore, the emphasis on the Federal Government’s responsibilities may fuel additional political debates. In a broader context, this proposal could significantly impact Somalia’s state-building process, reshaping power structures, and driving the nation towards a more harmonized and democratic federal system. Its potential influence extends beyond Puntland, making it a document of national importance, likely to spark substantial discourse in Somalia’s political landscape