Open Letter – All Stake-holders in SomaliaSeptember 13, 2012 // News in English, Warar Somaali
Fourteen years after its establishment, the Puntland State of Somalis at a critical stage that requires immediate attention in the form of intervention from all the stake holders who formed it in the first place. Here below, we summarise the main factors that have made our state in danger of disintegrating into small tribal and clannish towns and villages that are at each other’s throats:
- There are no law enforcement agencies and system worthy of mention in Puntland today with all the judges, state prosecutors and senior police investigators either dead in mysterious circumstances or sacked because they dared assert their independence to do their job professionally and fairly. The few that remain are demoralised and realise that in the current environment, there is no possibility of providing any sort of justice to the people of Puntland.
- The dire situation described above is compounded by the fact that although in the Charter of Puntland, the Document that the State Puntland is supposedly governed, explicitly described that the Judiciary should independent and that the executive shouldn’t interfere, since he came to power the current president never respected and honoured not only that clause but the whole Document itself. As a result, the judges and courts could interpret and implement the law. This made them vulnerable and puts in no position to be assertive in their work. Most of them take their orders directly from the President or his son, who most Puntlanders assert that he is the real power in the State. Of even bigger concern is the fact that the new Constitution signed in April doesn’t mention the independence of the Judiciary, as the new Document reflects the person on whose instructions it was amended to suit his wishes. The Constitution completed at the end of Administration that preceded him, the Document was gathering dust on Mr. Faroole’s t Desk until early this year, when commissioned its amendment.
- Since the current administration in Puntland has taken the reins of power, there has been a dramatic rise of insecurity and lawlessness. The death of civilians, judges, parliamentarians, clan elders, religious leaders and Government officials, who question the government or seek answers, has become common occurrence. This raises many questions about the government’s role in these assassinations as no efforts to investigate or bring the perpetrators to justice never materialised over the whole length of this administration’s term. Only the pro-government media outlets close to the administration always point to the Al-Shabab Movement, however, nobody in Puntland takes that claim seriously as most believe otherwise.
- Economic and political corruption is rampant; mismanagement and plunder of the state resources have impoverished the state and raised the unemployment in Puntland to an extremely high level, where practically there are no jobs. Royalties from oil companies to the tune of $20,000,000, which were regularly deposited in foreign bank accounts and the State revenues over the past 4 years, are missing. No government official or parliamentarian, except the president, his sons and few close his friends know anything about the where the revenue raised in the form of taxes, which has gone over the roof, goes.
- In his election campaign, the President promised to clean and improve the government administration and State Institutions. That has never materialised and it’s now clear that he staunchly opposed any reform or any form of institutional development, as these go against his dictatorial and despotic tendency of control and intimidation, and his goals of enriching himself and his son who practically terrorised the State with his private militia, financed through the large amounts of State funds accumulating in foreign accounts.
- In his first speech, he weakened and marginalised the authority clan elders and chiefs without which the Puntland would never have been established. Over the next four years, the cohesion and the social fabric of the people in Puntland have disintegrated so much so that clan conflicts and violent clashes became the norm. Today, in the hitherto peaceful State that has not experienced much of the violence and destruction common in the Southern Somalia, each tribe or clan is armed to the teeth and most of them are at each other’s throats. Over the past 2 years more than 100 people died as a result of senseless inter-clan fighting in Puntland and the Government has not shown any interest in stopping that trend or reversing it. Most of Puntland’s citizens, who are privileged enough to make sense of where Puntland has been going over the past 4 odd years, conclude that playing the inter-clan conflicts and hostilities – the classic divide and rule – has been the objective of president Faroole’s and his side-kick son’s, to remain in Power as long as possible, while the inhabitants of the State fight and slaughter each other.
- Basic human rights and independent media in Puntland, which was the pride of Somalia, are completely lacking in President Faroole administration. Politicians, parliamentarians and media members who dare raise questions are harassed and intimidated. Those who get in their skin are or look bad because of their stupidity are ubjected to arbitrary arrest, detention and torture. Bile Qabowsade, a former parliament member and a respected journalist, to name just one, is languishing in prison for close to one year without any charge of wrong doing and rumours are circulating that he has experienced torture sessions in the hands of President Faroole’s son or on his orders.
In the light of all the above facts that exist in Puntland today, which makes holding free and fair elections in three months, for people, most of whom have no previous experience/cultural understanding of what voting systems and election entail, we submit to you the following immensely important recommendations to salvage the peaceful existence of our people:
Financial assistance to be made available, entrusted in the hands of Puntland citizens who are completely independent from and not appointed by Mr Faroole, whose mandate runs out in January, to undertake the preparatory work to make the State of Puntland a viable one on the basis good governance and fairness and justice for every Somali citizen the in the State.
Hold a set of meetings for all the stake holders in Puntland, who were responsible for its formation in the first place to re-organise and set in place all the missing components to make the State agencies and Institutions, including the office of the Head of the Adminstration, to be governed in an accountable and transparent manner.
Mark the newly signed Constitution for amendment as soon as practically possible, so that all the important clauses deliberately left out by Mr Faroole to suit his satanic way of ruling as his family’s personal fiefdom, particularly those explicitly defining the “Separation of Powers” of the Government of Puntland, as well as enshrining the concepts of transparency and accountability, so that the current abuses of power where a young man, who is not accountable to anybody, is running and terrorising the whole community of Puntland just because he happens to be the President’s son.
Most important of all, we recommend that you shouldn’t hand anymore funds to the tyrannical dictator currently ruling the State Puntland, so that might get further capacity to prepare for the day his mandate comes to an end – 8 January – when he will, in the opinion nearly every Puntland citizen, defy reason and try to hold on to power in every possible rouse or tricky grand projects that he is in the midst of introducing elections and fairness in Puntland. In the event that you disregard this last submission and provide further finances to Mr Faroole, let’s make clear to you that the people of Puntland will never forgive for that. We firmly believe in and are committed to the democratic ideals that guarantee fairness and justice for the citizens of our State. We are also fully aware that free and fair elections, which gives every one of us a voice to have his say is the cornerstone of democracy. However, we also are also quite clear in that it should be a process rather than the snap decision of tyrannical dictator, as Mr. Faroole’s current plans and success. of setting in plans all the requirements for political parties and elections in in three months indicate, if elections and voting are to lead to peace, harmony
We, the undersigned citizens of Puntland, appreciate your co-operation and assistance and anticipate your constructive discussion in fulfilling the recommendations and conclusion we submitted.
Puntland Concern Group