Garowe (PP Editorial) — President Said Abdullahi Deni of Puntland State believes the role of Somalia’s partners (aka the International Community) is less constructive. He faulted the International Community for falsely claiming to provide Somalia with security assistance. He particularly took issue with what he views as a policy of the International Community that runs counter to bottom-up approach to building state institutions.

Puntland feels left out in dynamic political changes at the level of Federal Member States.  It is no longer the only administration that can harangue the Federal Government or the International Community for “retrogressive policies”. Its views are offset by the views of other Federal Member States particularly those not aligned with Garowe politically. In this context is it fair to label Puntland State the odd one out in Somali politics?

In a recent policy statement from the Federal Education Ministry Puntland State declined to endorse the policy that entitles the Federal Government to prepare secondary school leaving examinations. Puntland advocates genuine federalism but it is a centralised Federal Member State.

Some Puntlanders argue Puntland is reeling from a host of decisions that straitjacket its economic potential. They cite the thirty-year concession to run Bosaso Port awarded to DP World, the Dubai-based global port operator, as a development that diminishes Bari’s economic potential. If Federal Member States can sign infrastructural deals without the oversight of the Federal Government of Somalia, Puntland will have the right to sign oil prospecting deals with foreign companies. The Draft Constitution emphases the role of the Federal Government to exercise its sovereign rights when signing an infrastructural or oil exploration deals. The Federal Government is duty bound to honour agreements signed with legacy companies.

Puntland Security reform initiated by President Said Abdullahi Deni is laudable. Puntland State attempted to reform the security sector in 2015. Top security officers mutinied and successfully nipped security reforms in the bud. President Deni describes the security reform as self-funded. In 2018 a Somali Army Integration Committee delegation arrived in Garowe to lay groundwork for intergration of Puntland forces into the Somali National Army as a part of the Security Architecture unveiled in London in May 2017.  Puntland Adminstration has withdrawn from the integration initiative, depriving its forces of  remuneration and capacity building to fight ISIS and Al-shabaab.

The accusation that the International Community has left Puntland in the lurch is far-fetched. Puntland State leadership owes it to Puntlanders  to mend relations with the International Community.

© Puntland Post, 2020