The good and the ugly – UM

Mogadishu (UM) – The good news is that the newly elected President of South West State of Somalia Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed, Lafta Gareen, appears to have taken UM editorials advise and started the process of Uniting South West state with his tour of the region. Lafta Gareen has wisely stayed away from Mogadishu since his election and is focusing on connecting himself and his administration to the people of South West State who are still clearly suspicious of him. Never the less, President Lafta Gareen must not give up and lose heart; all leaders have a challenge of introducing themselves to their constituents when they first start.

President Lafta Gareen’s visit to Hudur the capital of Bakol region today is significant because it is closely associated with Mukhtar Robow, his more popular competitor in this month’s regional presidential election who was arrested before he could oppose him. The people of Hudur did welcome Lafta Gareen but it was also clear that they still need convincing to trust their new regional leader. If Lafta Gareen keeps going and visits the entire region he governs, it will reassure both the people and his enemies that he is capable and was the right man.

The unacceptably ugly

The Puntland State of Somalia appears to have officially declared itself independent by breaking federal immigration and security laws and procedures with its latest declaration.

In a letter released by the Commission of Security and Elections of Puntland, it was announced that those working for the Federal Government have been banned from visiting Puntland and all planes must submit a manifest of their passengers before they fly. On top of this, no one is allowed to bring any money until Puntland’ s presidential race is over. Moreover, no political meeting can take place without the knowledge of the Puntland authorities. These new rules, which in a federal structure anywhere else in the world Puntland will not be allowed to make including America where President Abdiwali Gaas is from, are unlawful and simply ridiculous.

Refusing Somali citizens entry into their own land, limiting what they can do and who they can meet, restricting federal government officials movement in their own territory and breaching the privacy of passengers for the sake of ill conceived and exaggerated security concerns, is unacceptable. The Puntland election must be free, fair and transparent but President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas should have just insisted on both Somali and international observers presence and not attempt to create a new republic within an already confused governance structure. Puntland is the mother of the Somali federalism system but with this pathetic illegal statement, the mother is threatening the very survival of her children. What mother does this?

The federal government response to the letter from Puntland should be to ignore it. It is unconstitutional and morally indefensible. Somalia territories belong to all Somalis and not just a few seeking re-election under the guise of a clan champion who is deeply unpopular and divisive for his past failures.

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