Puntland’s newly elected President Dr Abdiweli Mohamed Ali (Gaas) has been inaugurated together with his Vice-president Mr Abdihakim Amay in a well organised ceremony held today in the state’s capital, Garowe.
The Inauguration was attended by dignitaries from the International Community led by the UN Envoy to Somalia Nicklas Kay, and was accompanied by ambassadors from neighbouring countries such as Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. Among the attendants were also representatives from AU, U.S, IGAD and Turkish Ambassador to Somalia.
In his inaugural address, President Abdiweli gave a brief explanation about the 15-year old history of Puntland since its emergence and widely outlined the main factors his Government will work on during his tenure, mentioning that they will transform Puntland to ‘’Social contract form’’.
‘’The main element of creating a thriving economic environment is; peace and tranquility, an atmosphere that’s conducive for investment. Rehabilitation of roads, expansion of ports and involvement of airports are the gateway to attract capital and direct investment. This will be the administration that supports and encourages entrepreneurship and business development’’, stressed President Gaas, adding that Water, health and free education are his priorities.
He revealed that a reconciliation meeting will be held for all the Puntland’s founders to bring back the ‘spirit’ of 1998 (When Puntland was formed) and unity.
Besides that, Mr Ali also spoke about the constrained relations between Puntland and the Federal Government of Somalia. The Previous administration cut off the relations, accusing it of adopting a “defective” constitution.
‘’Puntland has never rejected the idea of Somali unity and stood for those principles since 1991. We have to develop a framework of mutual respect between Puntland and Federal Government’’, he said, adding that Puntland ‘’deserves respect and should be consulted on the country’s situation’’.
President Abdiweli concluded; ‘’My promise to the People of Puntland is that January 2019, the citizens will elect the president directly; one- person one- vote electoral system’’.
UN Envoy Nicklas Kay while delivering his speech said that: ‘’ You have been elected by the Puntland Parliament to lead the state towards a democratic election in 2019. That is not an easy task. Unity, integrity and reconciliation are needed as well as delivering basic services such as health, education, jobs and building the economy”.
Puntland, a region in northeastern Somalia, declared itself to be semi-autonomous from Somalia in 1998 as fighting raged through most of the country. Since then the region of about 2.5 million people has had four presidents, all selected by MPs who were in turn selected by clan elders.