January 9, 2020
I watched and listened to President Deni’s State of Union Speech on his First Year in office last night. While the efforts of his administration are commendable in many aspects, I felt that there is a long way for him to go to address root causes as to why Puntland State is falling behind in many fronts, including, first and foremost, democratization process, public service, judiciary and public security reforms.
But, what is clearly noticeable and overarching problem of Puntland is the absence of strategic policy planning on:
1. Puntland policy objectives towards poverty reduction, youth unemployment, the crisis of health sector, whereby there is no a single quality hospital in State after 21 years of statehood.
2. Economic benchmarks to strive for in the next five years, at least.
3. Education goals, where Puntland State has fallen behind Somaliland and Banadir Region, especially in quality of its higher learning.
4. Think Tank and academic research centres.
5. Competent State advisory boards and professional associations tackling with issues of state and national interests on daily basis.
6. Provision of proactive policy and strategy in dealing with the fledgling Federal Government in the making of a “New Somalia”. Puntland should cause things to happen, not to wait for things to happen to her and reacts to events. It should take the lead in national political developments. It should make noises and alerts of its dissatisfaction to Somalia’s International Partners and all stakeholders.
7. Unlike the rest of Somalia, Puntland has immense human and natural resources to exploit effectively. It has a huge diaspora population. It has rich cultural heritage and a long history of self-government. In the past, it had played critical and leading roles in Somalia’s statecraft and statehood. These are historical achievements it couldn’t abandon to be quite visible and proactive. It has to re-assert itself, reset and reboot.
8. Finally, Puntland should proclaim policy guidelines on fighting maladministration, cronyism, nepotism and abuses of public office. There must be developed and known standards for handling issues of malpractice in both public and private sectors.
9. In conclusion, the Head of the Administration must launch a policy of public accountability and must do away the notion of ‘Madax-Ka-Nool’, whether it is perceived or real. This will be a break from the past mistakes or abuses of power. All branches of government must operate in the accordance with the Constitution. That is what people of Puntland deserve after long and historic struggle for a better life. This will also set the record for Somalia’s governance, and act as another Puntland contribution to Somalia’s continued nation-state.
It is my sincere hope that President Deni’s Administration would wake up and wise up to meet the challenges of the time.
© Ismail Haji Warsame, 2020