Monday, September 24, 2012

Puntland President Threatens the Opposition and Media With Prosecution

SOMALIA: Puntland President threatens the opposition and media with prosecution

September 25, 2012 02:16

On Monday, the President of the autonomous region of Puntland, Abdirahman Mohamed Farole warned his opposition and the critical media with prosecution, after days of protests in the region against his plan to postpone the Puntland elections in January 2013.

Mr.Farole says he will not tolerate “ failed politicians” and some “media” to threaten his rule in Puntland, “…we allow the opposition if they join a political party, but we will not tolerate those failed politicians and so called websites and media who are supporting Puntland’s enemies including terrorists and Pirates….” Says President Farole in his speech during a cabinet meeting in Garowe, today.

Many people including journalists were surprised by these threatening comments made by the President of Puntland especially his linking between the media with terrorists and Pirates, this is seen as a pretext to use force against the independent media in Puntland, which is already facing daily harassments by the local authorities.

“….The regional and district authorities and the security services will take the appropriate measures against such people…” said the President who is now preparing to launch his own political party in Puntland State.

Gen.Abdullahi Sa’id Samater one of the candidates running for the Presidency called the President’s comments “weak threats which are unacceptable to the people of Puntland…”

In an interview with VOA Somali Service, Gen.Samater a former security minister, he reiterated that the President’s term in office is just four years and nothing more, he called for the president not to postpone the elections. He warned if that happens it will seriously jeopardize the unity and security of Puntland.

“…. It is not the time for the president to threaten the people who created Puntland itself, it is time for him to organize a national unity conference in order to safe what is left of Puntland..The President and his government should not lead us to the destruction of our state…we all remember what happened the last time the government tried to extend its term by force….” said Gen. Samater who called for the clan elders and Traditional leaders to intervene.

Clan Elder’s office in Bosaso Closed

On Saturday, a heavily armed Military police convoy a companied by officials from the office of the governor of Bari region, have closed-down the regional clan elder’s office in Bosaso, the commercial capital of Puntland state of Somalia.

According to the clan elders; the soldiers also took all the office equipments including, computers and furniture.

The decision to closedown the office comes just days after a joint press release published by five major clans in Bari region, who called on the President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole not to postpone the Presidential elections in January 2013.

Protests in Karkaar Region

On Friday, hundreds of protesters took to the street in the town of Gardo, the regional capital of Karkaar province. The riots began after the arrival of some members of the electoral commission who are currently touring the region. The people were demonstrating against the President’s plans to extend his term in office for another one year.

This comes just a month before the end of the term of the current Parliament of Puntland, 0n 30th of October. The presidential elections were also expected to be held on 8th of January 2013.

Democratization process

On 9 September, the electoral commission of Puntland has officially announced the start date of registering the political parties in Puntland, which it says will be concluded on February 2013.

Many people say the government is trying to take advantage of the democratization process by delaying the whole process in previous years and by launching the new campaign now to register political parties in Puntland just three months before the Presidential elections, in a move seen as another attempt at prolonging the President’s term in office.

President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole took office in January 2009 and his term of 4 years in office will end on 8th of January 2013.

In his campaing in 2008 President Farole promised that within his first year in office, he will impalement the democratization process by allowing multi party system, registering the citizens and holding a referendum on the new constitution. Now less than 4 months are remaining of his four years term in office.

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