Garowe — Puntland government in northern Somalia has accused domestic spoilers and anti-federalism elements of thwarting the state's first-ever democratic elections on Friday, Garowe Online reports.
An hour long debate moderated by BBC Somali Service brought together Puntland Information Minister Mohamud Aideed Dirir, former Somali presidential adviser Dahir Mire Jibril, and Dr. Sadik Enow, the chairman of Midnimo political association.
Minister Aideed accused some political figures in whom Mr. Dirir referred to as "spoilers being responsible" for the suspension of Puntland's Local Council elections, first direct elections in 45 years that was to be held on July 15.
He said that the spoilers include terrorists, pirates, anti-federalism elements based in Mogadishu and clan militias with a primary agenda of destroying Puntland state's unity and stability.
Continuing, Minister Aideed directly accused former Puntland president Gen. Mohamud Muse Hersi (Adde), saying: "Former Puntland President Gen. Adde Muse armed clan militia to seize one of the trucks carrying ballot boxes and generally to disrupt the whole election process."
On May 29, 2013, Minister Aideed went on the record and criticized the "destabilizing actions" of Gen. Adde Muse, who had been organized clan militia in Qardo leading up to the July 14th killings of Puntland soldiers and civilians by the clan militia.
He also blamed the Somali Federal Government for its involvement in "funding" armed confrontations which erupted between armed militia spearheaded by spoilers and the Puntland security forces, in Qardo town of Karkaar region.
On his side, Dr. Sadik Enow whose political association had boycotted the elections in June 2013, denied the Minister's allegations and insisted that "Puntland has no enemy" and claimed that "the public did not want to vote".
Dahir Mire Jibril, who is a veteran politician and worked with former Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf and former Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Gaas, supported the decision to suspend elections.
He said: "Many groups are interested in destabilizing Puntland but the Puntland people don't see the security and economic benefits they have but others [Somali communities] see those benefits, and Puntland has external and internal enemies including pirates, the defeated Al Shabaab militias hiding out in the Golis Mountains, some of the Somali Federal Government officials who oppose federalism and Sool and Sanaag security tensions by Somaliland."
Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole addressed the media on July 14 in his office at the State House in Garowe, saying that Puntland suspended elections due to security threats posed by "enemies of Puntland", according to the presidential statement.
President Farole's decision has earned widespread praise from different corners of Puntland, including from opposition politicians who hailed the President's decision as brave.