SOMALIA: A Discussion on the Democratization Program in Puntland

This week, a meeting organized by the Transitional Election Commission of Puntland was held in Galkayo, capital of the Mudug region. In this meeting, the Democratization Process was presented with the blueprint that the Commission will follow in this transitional period from September 2012 to January 2013.

This well prepared meeting was attended by 100 citizens from all walks of life, and by 6 members of the Council of Ministers and Puntland Police Command. They exchanged many questions and answers regarding this transition phase.

The Commission vice-chairman, Mr Mohamud Sofe Hassan, opened the presentation with a film reciting the different stages of the democratization process and the different opinions held by the public. The Minister of Justice and Religious Affairs, Mr. Abdikhalif Sheikh Hassan (Ajaayo), spoke on behalf of the Government, and he emphasized that the government was determined to implement this new system as promised in 2009.

Mr. Abdirizak Ahmed Shole, a Commission member, briefed those in attendance about all the work that the Commission has done so far and all that still needs to be accomplished until the 8th of January 2014 (see link).

Afterwards, those who were present gave their free opinion about this new process. Dr. Mohamed Ali Yusuf (Gaagaab) spoke at the event, and he offered the opinion that the public is not against multi-party system or the democratic process, but the time frame for the roadmap is not sufficient and the citizens were not given enough time to organize political parties. He asserted that the government is at fault for the failure to give ample time to implement such process.

Here are some of the important questions that the participating public asked the members of the Commission and ministers:

1. How much time is left of the term of the present administration?
2. Who has the right to extend the term?
3. What happens, if no other Party comes forward except for the Party of the government?
4. Does the Parliament have the right to extend its term?
5. What would the government do, in case it is unable to hold elections in January 2014?
6. Is it legal the Constitutional Addendum created by the Parliament?
7. How much time that this new process require?
8. Why weren’t improved and upheld the important tenets of democracy like the freedom of the press, freedom of thought and similar?
9. What is the government’s plan-B, if this new plan does not take effect?
10. Who can give any guaranty that this government will not extend its term again?

Horseed Media
Galkaio News Desk