Puntland opposition groups have leveled serious allegations against regional President Said Abdullahi Deni, accusing him of inadequately guiding the state towards a stable consensus governance system.
The politicians assert that President Deni’s political ambitions have resulted in security and political uncertainty, pointing to the alleged unlawful amendment of the constitution and the parliament’s encroachment on the powers of the constitutional court.
These concerns have further deepened divisions within the community, fueled conflicts among political organizations, and sparked allegations of fraud, according to a statement released by the opposition on Monday.
The opposition’s statement highlights the divisive impact of local government elections and ongoing conflicts while underscoring persisting allegations of fraud.
It also accuses President Deni of diverting the salaries of the army and government employees for political campaigns, raising serious concerns about the overall security situation in Puntland.
The opposition groups call for an urgent meeting to address the current state of affairs, expressing their belief that President Deni has deviated from the democratization process.
In August, President Deni made a commitment that multi-party elections would take place on January 8, 2024, in Puntland, in response to threats from opposition politicians to unilaterally hold elections if a consensus election was not conducted earlier. However, in May of this year, the Puntland regional state conducted its first democratic local elections since 1967.
During the local elections, a total of 3,775 candidates representing seven political parties, including the ruling Kaah party, vied for 774 seats on May 25.
The three organizations that secured the most seats in the local council parliament were Kaah, Mideeye, and Sincad. Although more than 385,000 voters were registered, only 177,445 cast their votes, indicating a lower-than-expected turnout.
The opposition’s accusations against President Deni come at a time when he has been absent from Puntland for over a month. His most recent trip took him to the United Arab Emirates in mid-August.
This prolonged absence has raised questions about his engagement with the governance and political challenges facing Puntland.