Event: Constituent Assembly to Adopt Puntland State Constitution Garowe, Puntland State of Somalia 10 March 2012
Speech: President of Puntland State of Somalia H.E. Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Farole)
English transcript of the President’s speech delivered in Somali language All praise and thanks are due to Almighty God. Purpose of event I commend the people of Puntland who have engaged in establishing an administration in August 1998 that provides services to the people. We have gathered here this evening to declare the day of holding the Puntland Constituent Assembly to adopt the Puntland State Constitution.
As you know, our election promise in front of God and the people was to restore to the Somali people of Puntland the legal authority to vote and to elect their own leaders using the multiparty political system. This was among other election promises; many [promises] that we cannot count have already been accomplished.
480 Delegates from among Puntland society selected in an open and transparent way will convene on 15 April 2012 to formally adopt the Puntland State Constitution. The Constituent Assembly is permitted by our Constitution, as stated in Article 141, Clause 1. Similarly, the two Somali National Constitutional Conferences held in Garowe concluded that 1,000 Somali delegates shall convene to adopt the Somali Federal Constitution once finalized. Logically, delegates at the Puntland Constituent Assembly will be less than 1,000 persons in light of our population and circumstances, such as hall space, funding and security considerations.
As you all know, the Puntland State Constitution is in draft stage, beginning with the 1998 Provisional Charter, a review was conducted in 2008, approved by the Council of Ministers, and submitted to the Puntland Parliament before the 2009 election took place. Since we promised multiparty elections, we [the new administration] were inclined to review the State Constitution, especially the articles and clauses regarding the democratization process. The articles we reviewed and amended are well known, and the original articles approved by the Council of Ministers in 2008 [before the 2009 election] are also well known.
Government Term and Constituent Assembly Among articles approved by the Council of Ministers and submitted to Puntland Parliament in 2008 is a constitutional article which stipulated that the term of the Puntland Presidency elected in January 2009 is five-years. The new Council of Ministers approved and submitted to Puntland Parliament amended articles, but did not touch the five-year mandate article [approved and submitted to Parliament in 2008 by the Council of Ministers under former Puntland President H.E. Mohamud (Adde) Muse Hersi] and this should be clear to all people of Puntland and Somalia.
The process of adopting the Puntland State Constitution by a Constituent Assembly has occurred around the world in the past. For example, an Assembly adopted the U.S. Constitution on 17 September 1787 and an Assembly adopted the Indian Constitution on 24 January 1950. Similarly, assemblies will adopt the Puntland State and Somali Federal Constitutions.
Puntland economy You are all witnesses, in terms of good governance that in 2008 Puntland administration did not submit an annual budget to the Parliament. The Parliamentarians sitting in front of me cannot testify to this. The exchange rate was high: it was around 37,000 – 38,000 Somali Shillings per one U.S. dollar. Since we came to office in 2009, we stabilized the exchange rate. Many problems occur because of high inflation.
Today, I think the people are interested to hear about the Somali Shilling, which the Puntland Finance Minister [Farah Ali Jama] spoke to the media about yesterday [9 March 2012]. The exchange rate has changed again in recent days – the U.S. dollar became cheaper, the Somali Shilling rose. The reasons are clear: international humanitarian agencies have poured U.S. cash into Somalia, and also foreign investment in Puntland such as oil exploration and international organizations has injected U.S. cash into the Puntland economy.
At times like these, people known as “speculators” begin collecting the Somali Shilling, which becomes harder to find in the market. The “speculators” are people who benefit from the scarcity of a resource – in this case, Somali Shillings. From an Islamic perspective, this is called riba (interest) – which means someone who, taking advantage of economic circumstances, financially benefits himself at the expense of the common good. Yesterday, we announced that new Somali Shilling banknotes will come into the country to replace the old banknotes. That issue has not been finalized yet and we have been engaged in talks with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia since the Garowe Conference. Given that Puntland State provides the largest markets in Somalia to inject the new Somali Shilling banknotes, it is our responsibility as Puntland Government to ensure stable inflation and reach a consensus [with TFG] before the new currency is injected into the Puntland markets.
This is a clear issue – the Puntland Government is monitoring traders who refuse to bring the Somali Shilling to the market in order to benefit himself financially.
Security in Puntland My administration continues to undertake massive steps to improve security across Puntland. That enemy that desired to seize Puntland and planted itself in the Golis Mountains [straddling northern Somalia] and [that enemy] is responsible for killings in Puntland cities – many of them have been arrested, others were defeated in battle, but that danger will continue to linger as long as instability continues in other parts of Somalia. The Somali nation is a like a body and that enemy must be completely defeated in all parts of Somalia. God willing, Somalia will defeat that enemy.
Constituent Assembly selection Some people are not confident about our direction towards a multiparty political system. Some politicians are thinking: what if you lose your job? What if you can no longer manipulate your clan? What if you don’t get funding support? Any politician who lacks the confidence of our citizens should stop talking immediately. Our future is towards the people’s right to vote directly for their leaders and for political parties to compete. I appeal to the people: ask those politicians to compete in elections, to open political parties, to wait for the voting, and if you [politician] lack confidence, then leave now, and if you [politician] have confidence, then compete in elections.
Secondly, as the Puntland Parliament Speaker [Abdirashid Mohamed Hersi] stated earlier, it would have been better to hold the Puntland Constituent Assembly earlier than 15 April 2012, but there are some organizational delays. In order to reinforce its state government, Puntland must have a state constitution that is adopted prior to the adoption of the Somali Federal Constitution that we are part of in the coming months.
In federal systems, each state has a separate constitution and there is an agreed-upon national constitution [federal constitution] approved by the federal states and harmonized with existing state constitutions. I encourage every person in Puntland State to take the time to understand our state constitution, to support its adoption by Constituent Assembly, to engage in participation and selection of Constituent Assembly members who are qualified.
We do not need the selection of warlords, drug-users, those who commit treasonous acts, and those who are connected to criminals aimed at destroying Puntland; we do not need such persons. We need people who are committed to the oath they take, who
fully support the formation of Puntland in 1998, with its own state government, that has its rightful share in national representation, resource sharing, and a share in national decisions. This is the person who should support the Puntland Constituent Assembly and work towards ensuring its success.
It is the people’s responsibility to select such good citizens. It is also the people’s responsibility to exclude terrorists, religious extremists, pirates, those connected to crimes, and those with a dark history. This is the people’s responsibility and the Government shall not select members of the Puntland Constituent Assembly.4 Formation of federal states in Somalia Federal states are being developed in Somalia as a measure of good governance and in order to create a national balance. This is in order to avoid one city to have everything.
When I speak of balance, many people think I am talking about Mogadishu. I am not talking about Mogadishu. Even if Garowe became Somali capital, my position would not change. Somalia does not need one city-state where you must go for passports, for driver’s license, for education, for vaccination and medical care. Somalia does not need this. Somalia failed because when one city that
had everything failed [Mogadishu] the entire country of Somalia failed.
Historically, I am telling you, not a single child was ever vaccinated in Puntland before the civil war of 1991. The older people can testify to this fact. I have stated many times at conferences before – it happened to me. I went to Mogadishu for sixth grade and today universities in Puntland offer Master’s Degree, there are many universities in Puntland, and tomorrow we expect them to offer Ph.D. programs. The new generation should take advantage of their land. Recently, I spoke in London and I said: ‘Mogadishu should be rebuilt, its citizens should return, may Almighty God restore peace in Mogadishu. But Bossaso, Galkayo, Garowe, and Hargeisa – no city will be moved. The nation will be balanced. There will be a national balance of population and economy.’
As you know, something occurred in Somalia called a ‘demographic shift’. In recent decades, people have been northward [to northern Somalia] and previously for a period of 200 years, people were moving southward [to southern Somalia]. It is possible a period of 200 years people will be moving northward, depending on what northern Somalia has to offer. During my recent trip abroad, people I met in London and Djibouti, every Somali speaker says: ‘You [President Farole] said the oil wealth will reach all Somalis. Are you telling the truth?’ I responded, ‘Yes this is true. We Somalis go to the Middle East for jobs. So why would our fellow Somalis not benefit from our oil wealth?’ God willing, oil will be found and it will be a success.
The foundation for all of this is a constitution: a constitution that identifies your people, your government, your direction, whereby others respect you and communicate to you, and protects you against violations. This is the constitution that we declare this evening to be adopted by a Puntland Constituent Assembly here in Garowe on 15 April 2012, God willing.
Liberated areas in south-central Somalia The Somali nation-state is still disintegrated. Many regions are under control of Al Shabaab terrorists. There are African Union peacekeepers helping TFG forces in Mogadishu. Somalia’s neighbors [Kenya and Ethiopia] who have been impacted by the insecurity have also deployed troops to support local forces and TFG troops to liberate key regions of Somalia such as Beledweyne and Baidoa from Al Shabaab terrorist group. Similarly, Gedo region and Lower Jubba region in southern Somalia will be liberated.
You all know about the curse of the bloodthirsty terrorist group [Al Shabaab] its organization controlled by foreign fighters and its ranks full of foreigners. You heard traditional elders in liberated areas. I heard an elder in Baidoa [on radio] say that for over three years we lived under colonialism unseen in the world’ the elder said. Today, the Al Shabaab terrorists are fleeing southern Somalia and we in Puntland must be vigilant to prevent their arrival in Puntland. As the Government, we are committed to security and to protecting our citizens against all threats. Once the terrorists leave, new federal states will emerge in southern Somalia. However, the current trajectory of chaos, that two men go on the Internet and say ‘we are a federal state’ or travel to a village and bother the women and children, this will not work.
A federal state can emerge only after the people of the land reach a consensus, design a governance system [for the federal state], prepare a state constitution, and elect their own leaders. These are the conditions. Who will safeguard these conditions? The 2004 Transitional Federal Charter states that the voluntary merger of two or more of Somalia’s 18 regions constitutes a federal state. Because of the arbitrarily formed ‘new regions’ [in post-1991 period], we are inclined to follow the provincial boundaries of the last effective national government for Somalia before the state collapse of 1991. We warn against the plethora of selfappointed ‘presidents’ – sometimes you will find ten self-appointed ‘presidents’ in one district or region. State governments must come from the people.
Somalia must overcome and recover from 21 years of dictatorship followed by another 21 years of civil war. We hope respite and prosperity will follow after so much suffering. Our commitment as the older generation in Puntland is to leave a legacy and to transfer power to good people. It is our hope that other parts of Somalia will follow this example.
Proposed dialogue between TFG and Somaliland Recognition of emerging states that will become part of Federal Somalia is not the
exclusive right of the current TFG of Somalia. There are agreements: the Roadmap, Garowe I and Garowe II Principles, and there are more agreements expected. There are Somali stakeholders who share in national decisions. When an emerging federal state applies, it should be brought to the table, to be discussed, to ensure if it is a genuine qualified state or a self-proclaimed state. A paper written and signed by a few elders shall not qualify as a federal state.
On 8 March 2012, the TFG President announced that he will appoint a Committee to guide proposed dialogue with Somaliland. This dialogue is something that could be welcomed. Regardless of whose fault it is, Somaliland separatism has gone too far. Somaliland shares unity and nation-hood with the whole of Somalia. However, there is a particular group of Somalis that Somaliland shares more closely. This is the people whom Somaliland attacked their regions, seized their some of their communal lands, that Somaliland is presently involved in more military aggressions, such as Kalshale and Buhodle areas, the occupation of Las Anod. Somaliland cannot impose its will on the people. This imposition did not work in the past. The powerful colonial governments failed in rejecting peoples right to self-determination.
One group of Somalis cannot impose their will on another group of Somalis. If we are avoiding more bloodshed among Somalis, that we are always appealing for peace, this should not be taken as a weakness. No group should attempt to take advantage of our desire for peace.
Every dialogue with Somaliland that excludes Puntland, where Puntland is able to discuss Somaliland’s occupation of Las Anod, the current military aggressions by Somaliland, and the immediate withdrawal of Somaliland forces from Las Anod, such dialogue is illegitimate, unacceptable, and will not work in Somalia. Puntland is a stakeholder and Puntland today is a federal state waiting for the
formation of other federal states in Somalia. We welcome peaceful dialogue and every man and group has a right to self-determination. Concluding remarks The public awareness campaign will begin soon where the Puntland Electoral Commission will travel to all regions of Puntland to inform and educate the public.
The media will play a role – it is unfortunate that some radio stations have broadcasted terrorist propaganda of killing Puntland soldiers. It is unfortunate that some people are lying about our holy Islamic religion. I believe that I am a Muslim
and every man and woman must worship rightfully and peacefully to please Almighty God. As Puntland leaders, we have decided to do our best, as Muslims, as Somalis and as elected leaders of Puntland to do the best we can for our people.
I hope that our people will help us, will defend the country, and I pray for victory, for forgiveness, and pray to Almighty God to stop our enemies, and that Almighty God gives us His Mercy, and that Almighty God gives us provision to overcome poverty and drought, that Almighty God show us one day a peaceful and united Somalia. Thank you for listening and God bless.
Published by; Puntlandpost.com
Sources: Puntland Goverment