Garowe, Puntland, Somalia –
On the eve of Puntland’s 25th anniversary, the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission (TPEC) officially approved eight political organisations recognised as political parties for the upcoming election. Following this significant democratic milestone, Gen. Jimale’s militia announced the end of the unilateral ceasefire. The ceasefire was initiated in late June when Puntland security forces clashed with opposition paramilitary units in Garowe.
Amid the eight parties’ approval, TPEC stated that it would soon issue recognition certificates in line with the recently approved amendments to the Puntland constitution. The change paves the way for the public to directly elect the President, vice president, and parliament members.
The adjustment expands the scope of democratic participation within the region and allows political associations to participate in the upcoming elections, effectively broadening the political landscape. It is a crucial step towards democratisation, symbolically occurring on the eve of Puntland’s 25th-anniversary celebrations.
Jimale militia’s response
Not everyone is happy, though. General Jimale, the former commander of Puntland’s Danab force, issued a threatening statement. Quoting “Danab” Puntland’s command, the statement announced the end of the unilateral ceasefire that lasted for over a month following clashes in Garowe. It also warned that “Danab” (Jimale’s militia) will respond to any move made by President Said Abdullahi Deni, whose time in office is supposed to end in January 2024. Jimale is accusing him of preparing to extend his term.
It should be noted that the President repeatedly stated that he does not intend to extend his tenure. Last night during the 25th-anniversary celebrations, Mr Deni reemphasised that Puntland is leading the way in advancing democracy in Somalia. “We will not extend our term. We are committed to holding the presidential elections on time.”
General Jimale commands a militia loyal to Aran Jaan political group in Puntland. President Deni fired him from his position as Danab force commander after Jimale attempted to stage a mutiny in Garowe. Therefore, his statement, apparently issued by “Danab command,” is false and misleading.