The talk of hope, development and prosperity paused for four years is once again playing. The seasonal politicians are here with placards, billboards, caps and t-shirts. In common, they have the Puntland flag colours and two-word slogans promising us to the dreamland..
Puntland is once again selecting new lawmakers, president and the vice president with a system meant to serve only three-year transition period from 1998–2001. Twenty years later, the youth are waiting to see the dreamland and their forefathers passed away while waiting to see the dreamland promise.
I ask myself is this the Puntland that its youthful population meant to live? and when will the youth see the dream land? Four years ago, a new man with PhD come to power. He promised a reform, democracy and fair and free elections come to 2019. Many hoped that this was the beginning of Puntland with reform and development. He promised to build new roads, help resilience of the community by building water reserves and boreholes — his tenure close to one million people faced the prospect of famine due to droughts that dried up water points and the pasture.
Abdulwali Ali Gas, after a fierce competition with his rival and then incumbent president of Puntland Abdirahman Farole won the election in 2014. Come to January 2019, the same conference hall dozens of presidential candidates will read out their 2019–24 agenda before the parliament. No doubt one of their promises is to reach free and fair elections in 2024.
Why promises become lies?
Five presidents had failed to reach free and fair elections in Puntland. With only Farole’s administration becoming the first administration to attempt to reach the goal but it was only just a year before the end of his administration. The move was seen by many as an attempt to extend his term. His predecessor didn’t even try to keep his promise while the current president trail to achieve the goal was either hindered by the lack of financial support from the international community or the lack of desire from the Puntlanders — at least as his narrative of the story goes.
During the launch of the Puntland Multiparty conference, the president called the need of political desire within Puntland to reach the quest of multi-party elections. He said: “The government does not have any malicious interest in the Multi-party democracy system in Puntland, and political desire from the citizens and politicians will be key to the success of the multi-party elections,’’
But with little or no interest from the politicians and kingmakers on the multi-party system, coupled by slow-moving process from the electoral commission and the government, once again Puntlanders will turn to the clan leaders who are out of touch with the reality of 21st century to select house representatives who will gather to select president in January 2019.
Another five years without the dreamland promise, and why?
The selection process of clan representatives in parliament is the dream killer. There are no criteria for selection, there is no desire for development and there is no vision for prosperity. You only give out dollars that you get back once you’re selected to the parliament house.
Another dream killers are the youth who are often tacking their shirts in the form of showing their intelligence and seniority within the clans. They describe themselves as the savours of the clan and call themselves the guardians — they’re sent from the main towns to perpetuate division within the clan. You meet them in tea stalls praising men who doomed Puntland and the dreamland promise and they believe their relatives are a threat to them let alone about other fellow Puntland citizens. they’re puppets of dream killers.
I met one of these youths and asked why he is so keen to be part of the selection of his clan and what selection criteria do they have to select a representative to Puntland. He was annoyed by the intrusive question. Simply to him, I was “intervening his clan’s affairs.’’
And the third, shiekhs in the mosques who play Friday sermons read out during the prophet Mohammed. These men perhaps do not understand what Friday sermons are meant or perhaps they believe it is a platform for an issue like marriage, Female Cutting, fasting and haj. the last time I heard shiekhs addressing the development opportunities missed due
to unfit and unqualified politicians was long ago or we have never had the opportunity.
Summing up my argument, we missed the dreamland promise so many years because of people who are unaware of the consequence of their actions. But today, we have the opportunity to catch our dream by selecting the right people and rejecting the unfit politicians, youths and sheikhs.