Garowe, PUNTLAND – After the SSC-Khatumo elders and political leaders declared their non-participation in the upcoming Puntland elections, including not appointing the 17 members of Parliament and forbidding individuals from their regions from running for the position of Vice President of Puntland, indications have emerged suggesting that the decoupling of the two administrations would be challenging due to constitutional and technical reasons.
Despite this public declaration, sources in Puntland and among parliamentary candidates reveal a different narrative. Elders from SSC-Khatumo, including some who were part of the initial statement, have reportedly signed petitions endorsing parliamentary candidates for the Puntland parliament. This contradictory behavior indicates a complex interplay of political interests and strategies within SSC-Khatumo’s leadership.
The Somali Digest has learned from sources that dozens of candidates from SSC-Khatumo have submitted their signed endorsements to the Puntland parliament’s Vetting Committee. This development suggests an underlying tension between the public stance of SSC-Khatumo’s leaders and the private actions of its members, reflecting the intricate nature of political allegiances in the region.
Puntland’s Constitutional Constraints and Elders’ Views
While some Puntland elders have advocated for respecting SSC-Khatumo’s wishes, potentially reducing the number of Puntland MPs to 49 this year, the Puntland constitution remains unchanged. According to the current constitutional framework, the inclusion of the 17 MPs from SSC-Khatumo is mandatory for the next Puntland Parliament. This situation underscores the challenges of aligning political aspirations with constitutional mandates and legal frameworks.
A critical question arises regarding the hundreds of people from SSC-Khatumo who hold positions at every level of the Puntland government. The implications of SSC-Khatumo’s political decision on these individuals’ employment status are unclear. Will they be dismissed, and if so, how and why? This dilemma highlights the complexities involved in decoupling states or regions, especially when done abruptly without amending the governing constitution.