AN OPEN LETTER
Puntland Diaspora Forum
The people of Puntland are convinced beyond doubt that the President and Prime Minister Hassan Kheyre are conspiring to destabilize Puntland State of Somalia. In an autocratic approach that has echoes of a bygone era, the president and prime minister were engaged in activities that are detrimental to Puntland State and its security and social cohesion. The legislative branch of the state is effectively rendered inefficient as the majority of the cabinet are drawn from the parliament, which allows the President and Prime Minister to control the federal Parliament and use it as a rubberstamping facility that gives their actions a semblance of legitimacy, however unconstitutional.
The election of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo in February 2017 was welcomed with optimism and was seen as the right person to move the country to the peace and prosperity. Instead of upholding the constitution and working towards strengthening the institutions of government, he and his Prime Minister marginalised these institutions and worked towards changing the federal system into a centralised one with all the power concentrated in his hands, and render the federal members States into mere regions run by governors and district commissioners appointed by the President. Unlike some of the other States, Puntland State proved difficult to be pushed around. This became very clear for all when Puntland closed its borders to visitors during the presidential election early this year. As a result. the Federal Government resorted to underhand and unethical tactics to destabilise Puntland from within.
The President and Prime Minister used corrupt methods to create discord between the government and people, which could be tantamount to incitement and potential rebellion. In a recent well publicised incident in Galkayo, PM Hassan Kheyre bypassed the Puntland government’s welcoming officials and instead liaised with private citizens to make arrangements for him, thus painting the impression of parallel authorities in the city, thus creating the illusion that Puntland State is no longer in control of Galkayo. As if that wasn’t enough, the Prime Minister “donated” a large sum of money to a group of young men for the purpose of renovating a football stadium. The donation, welcome as it was, should have been made through the proper official channels. But, Kheyre, who was crossing into the city from the southern Galmudug quarter of the city, wanted to show the people of Puntland that the government in Garowe has no presence in Galkayo.
The FG’s destabilization program is not limited to Puntland State. It has previously dealt severe blows to Hiirshabeelle and SouthWest States. The FG used financial and bullying tactics to bring both Member States under its control. In the past three months there was a conspicuous effort by the FG to change the current leader of Galmudug to one who is more amenable to its scheme. The PM spent considerable time shuttling between the various cities and towns of Galmudug and other clan centres in the State to be mandated to have a hand in the selection of the next leader of the State. There is a genuine concern in Puntland that changing the status quo in Galmudug could have a serious repercussion in Puntland. It seems that the Hassan Kheyre is succeeding in overthrowing the current government in Galmudug and replacing it with one of his making. The presence of regular soldiers or armed militias along the border between Puntland and Galmusug could be a cause for concern.
Similarly, the FG has put strenuous effort on Jubaland where it is trying to replace the current leader with one of its choice. The consequence of these underhand activities by the FG could make the federal system effectively obsolete, unless it is countered by the collective effort of the member states. The leader of Jubaland is fighting the FG’s destructive behaviour and seems to be winning. The federal government failed to thwart the parliamentary and presidential elections of 22 August 2019 or its outcome: Ahmed Mohamed Islaan was elected president of the State again. When Farmaajo failed to stop Ahmed Islaan’s election, he tried to sabotage the whole election by conspiring to create parallel presidents of the State, so that the whole process would be declared invalid. Fortunately, the attempted political destabilisation of Jubaland has failed – yet again.
The FG’s hostility towards Puntland is also reflected in its relationship with Somaliland. The FG is responsible for the maintenance of the integrity of the territory of the Federal Republic of Somalia. Somaliland, a de facto one-clan based secessionist entity claims jurisdiction of the regions of Sool, Sanaag and Eyn, which are part of Puntland. Following the collapse of the Somali State in 1991, and the displacement of the people in many parts of Somalia to their respective clan territories, the regions of the erstwhile Somali Republic were demarcated on clan lines. The regions of Sool, Sanaag and Eyn joined Puntland in 1998 when the latter was formed. The current and previous FG initiated dialogue with Somaliland on a number of occasions without consideration of the position of the Puntland State or the people of the aforementioned regions in clear contravention of the Federal Constitution, which requires the FG to consult the member State in any negotiation that can have detrimental effect on the member State’s interests.
Clearly, the absolute unchecked power that President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and his Prime Minister Hassan Kheyre wield in parts of Mogadishu has clouded their judgement and made them forget that they are public officials that were entrusted with managing the FG affairs. Instead they have embarked in an illegal enterprise to destroy the federal system of governance in Somalia and return the country to the centralised system that was run from Mogadishu.
It is irresponsible of the leaders of the FG to undermine the constitution instead of upholding it as they were sworn to do. The use of the much-needed meagre resources at their disposal to destroy the peace that prevailed in Puntland for three decades is really is not only irresponsible but also clearly illegal.
PDF strongly condemns the FG’s illegal and irresponsible destabilising activities that are directed at the federal member states, particularly Puntland. It is clear to all that President Farmaajo and Prime Minister Kheyre are violating the constitution and trying to dismantle the federal system in order to recreate the defunct unitary system that was overthrown nearly thirty years ago. PDF calls upon the people of Puntland and other member states not to be used as a tool for the destruction of their State, and by extension the Federal Republic of Somalia. PDF also calls upon the federal government should not collude with foreign government to dismember Somalia, while pursuing other interests that could be facilitate by these foreign governments. Puntland should be involved in any negotiation on the future of Somaliland state, as required by the Constitution as some of the regions claimed by Somaliland are part of Puntland State of Somalia. Failing to do that and ignoring the will of the people of Sool, Sanaag, and Ayn, could be a recipe for future conflicts and further destabilisation.
It is regrettable that Farmaajo and his supporters would not give up until they realise their pet dream of reverting Somalia to a centralised political system that is run from Mogadishu. It is time to consider the impeachment of President Farmaajo for treason and his removal from office. Somalia deserves a better leadership than President Farmaajo and Prime Minister Kheyre.