Garowe (PP News Desk) — Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission published its 2020 annual report. The report details milestones achieved and shortcomings encountered. The report highlights successful registration of ten political associations, raising citizen awareness about pilot local elections and putting in place a biometric system to register voters as three foundations of the Puntland democratisation process.
TPEC cites lack of funds to conduct crucial activities that could push the democratisation process forward despite physical and virtual meetings Guled Salah, the TPEC Chairman, had with donor organisations. Covid-19 and the federal electoral cycle conspired to cause postponement of local elections that would have been held in 2020.
Controversial Pilot Local Elections
TPEC will oversee pilot local elections in two pre-1991 districs, Qardho and Eyl, and Ufayn, a village in Bari. Some political associations doubt the outcome of pilot local elections that leave out Galka’yo, Garowe, Bosaso, Burtinle, Goldogob, Caluula, Baargaal, Iskushuban and Badhan. Less than 10% of Puntland people live in the three “districts” that TPEC designated as venues for pilot local elections.
In 2020 three political associations merged to form Mustaqbal. Democratisation process in Puntland faces legitimacy problems if more than 80% of eligible voters are denied the right to vote in the pilot local elections described by TPEC as the first one person, one vote elections in Puntland.
“Stakeholders have not agreed modalities for pilot local elections in Puntland. Donor fatigue and meagre resources had had a role in the electoral plan” says Saeed Musse, an independent researcher specialising in post-conflict democratisation processes.
Last year Mohamed Ismail Mohamed (Siibad) the Chairman of Mustaqbal, a political association, voiced concerns about anomalies in Puntland electoral law. He argued that the decision to conduct pilot elections only in three districts “violates Puntland Constitution”.
Decentralisation, a concept at the core of the democratisation process in Puntland, will be affected if the three political associations that will graduate to political parties usher Puntland in an era of multiparty politics. Some political associations such as Mideeye and Mustaqbal boast a large following in metropolitan districts. Registered political associations have political programmes reflecting ideological diversity that can be tapped to modernise Puntland politics.
© Puntland Post, 2021.