The current differences on the democratization process between Puntland authorities and opposition parties could escalate into destabilization of Puntland and gave opportunities to militants and extremists including Al-shabab now in hiding. Puntland Traditional Leadership and donor community should immediately intervene before it becomes too late to bridge the gap and mistrust between Puntland leadership and opposition political associations.
Democratization was never meant to jeopardize peace and stability in the State, but enhance people’s confidence in the process and add harmony and understanding among inhabitants. Ignored and unaddressed, this simmering political confrontation now could serve as time bomb that can explode anytime as popular protest against real or perceived Government manipulations of electoral process grow louder in the coming weeks and months. It is now about the time to intervene and mediate sides.
Already, some members of the opposition like UDAD (PPP), Midnimo, PDP and others have declared that they will be boycotting the upcoming local elections. This is a bad omen for Puntland stability and must be avoided at any cost.
These new political parties sent out letters to all local and international bodies, party to the electoral process recently and issued press releases, complaining about Government sponsorship and support for amendments, omissions by local Parliament of critical articles in the multiparty electoral laws .
A compromise arrangement has to be made to bring parties together for an agreement acceptable to all. It is in the best interests of all parties concerned to prevent hostilities and political violence.