Garowe(Mogadishu24)-Opposition politicians in Puntland State held a forum on Tuesday to voice their concerns about the upcoming presidential elections in the state in Garowe, the administrative capital.

The opposition, which includes former politicians, ministers, and presidential candidates, called on community elders and the current administration to prioritize the implementation of the election laws to ensure that transparent elections are held on January 8, 2024, as scheduled.

Hassan Shire Abdi, a former finance minister of Puntland State who is running for the presidential seat, accused the parliament of political interference and favouritism toward President Said Deni.

“We have repeatedly requested that the parliament approve the budget for a three-month transition period, but they have declined. Now, they want to engage in debates about election issues, which indicates their involvement in the elections and biasness toward President Said Deni,” said Hassan Shire, a presidential candidate.

He urged community elders to prevent any challenges that may hinder the smooth process of the upcoming elections.

“Community elders are essential figures, and their roles are enshrined in our constitution. No one should bypass them in decision-making. We urge them to take all necessary measures to ensure a smooth electoral process and prevent any conflicts or challenges that may affect the election process,” he added.

Ahmed Awad Issa, a former Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs and a presidential candidate, reiterated the opposition forum’s commitment to the upcoming elections, emphasizing their readiness for a transparent electoral process.

“We are fully prepared for the elections on January 8, and we support the community elders in their efforts to ensure a successful and transparent electoral process. The community elders have the mandate to resolve this issue, and the president should not bypass them and try to postponed the election. We want a transparent and fair election,” said Ahmed Issa, a presidential candidate.

“We must avoid any actions that could lead to conflicts in Puntland, and this is achievable if the president is willing to hold the elections,” he added.

Electoral issues in Puntland have been surrounded by controversies over the past three months, with the opposition, community elders, and the administration at odds over electoral amendments.

Last month, the Puntland State parliament approved the disputed amendments, despite ongoing consultations between the opposition and community elders seeking a resolution to the dsiputed, which has led to armed conflicts in Garowe city.

Opposition politicians have alleged that corruption influenced the parliament’s decision, claiming that members of parliament received money to approve the amendments within the parliamentary premises.

The electoral disputes have resulted in armed conflicts in Garowe city, leading to the loss of at least 30 lives.

Previously, former Somali Prime Ministers Omar Abdirashid Sharmaarke and Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas made several attempts to find solutions to the recent conflicts in the region.

Puntland State is gearing up for its presidential election on January 8, 2024. This election holds huge importance as the state tries to hold its first-ever democratic elections under the “one person, one vote” approach.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *