- [SW Country] Diakonias Proposal on
Peace, Reconciliation and Conflict Prevention in Puntland. (JAJ response)
:Posted on [30 Mar 02]
Wednesday, 27 March 2002
To: H.E. Kjell Harald Dalen
Ambassador of Norway
To: H.E. Ambassador Carlo Ungaro
Envoy for Somalia
To: PER LINDGARDE
Head of Mission
Embassy of Sweden
To: EU Somali Unit
To: UNDP Resident Representative
To: Resource Persons
Subject: Diakonias Proposal on
Peace, Reconciliation and Conflict Prevention in Puntland.
In reference with " Diakonias Proposal on a Peace, Reconciliation and
Conflict prevention in Puntland", Im pleased to appreciate the concern of
Diakonia regarding the recent conflict in Puntland. On behalf of the legitimate government
of Puntland and its people Im extending my genuine gratitude to the governments of
Sweden, USA, Italy and Norway for their determination to help our region morally and
materially in pursuit of peaceful approach for overcoming the political crisis. In
response to a letter from Diakonia Country Director, requesting me to express my consent
for a peace making initiative in Puntland which will be sponsored by Diakonia, I have
already clarified my principled approval for any international and/or local initiative
aimed to genuinely and appropriately facilitate peaceful management of the outstanding
conflict in Puntland. On the other hand, I have raised several points highlighting our
concerns in relation to the content of the final Project Document of Diakonia
Because of our trust on Diakonia, we expected that the project would be revised.
However, the working plan that have emerged from Nairobi workshop, resulted authentic
abridge of the main document. Knowing that the degree of transparency and its
participatory approach engaged are considered the basic ingredients for any conflict
resolution, we find difficult to understand why the Final Project Document, like a
classified material, had not been made Public. Our suspicions that the peace initiative
might had been manipulated by certain pursuing their own vested interests, is becoming
almost certain. It is peculiar that the final project document is not yet delivered to
concerned parts, and moreover, even that majority of RPT are not even aware of the
existence of such controversial document.
The initial activities of the project, on the ground, have already become a subject of
great controversy in Puntland. A team of Puntlanders, consisting of the participants of
Nairobi Workshop and called Resource Persons Team (RPT), according the project document,
have reached Bosaso on the 20th of March 02. The team is composed of personalities from
Diaspora, representatives of local NGOs, and individuals from Puntland regions selected by
workshop organisers. Based on official request from the "RPT" we received them
at the presidential official in Bosaso. Members of the council and the speaker of the
parliament of Puntland State of Somalia were present in the meeting. A group of 15 persons
come the venue of the meeting and delivered to me a letter addressed to Jama Ali Jama, in
disregard of the official status conferred to me and other state officials by the people.
Instead of opening exchange of information and consultation between the authority in place
and the peace mission, the group stated simply that they consist of peace emissaries and
"intend to meet with the politicians from the two parts and the elders before
embarking on mass mobilisation". We felt a sense of a new preoccupation, following
the intensive mobilisation in Bosaso by "RPT", without waiting our position in
regard to the initiative and its possible implications.
The conflicting opinions and the sequences of the events surrounding the
conception and start of the first phase of Diakonia sponsored peace initiative, convinced
as to provide extensive comments on the initial formulation of the project, the content of
project text and actual trend of its implementation.
The parts in conflict and broader peace constituents in Puntland have not been
consulted during the formulation of the project. Consequently, the perceptions of the
stakeholders about the conflict, without excluding or giving preference to any part, and
the complexity of the crises are not authentically reflected in the project document.
According the understanding of the authors of the project, the present crisis of Puntland
is defined as "Differences on Puntland constitutional issues between the traditional
elders and the government."
Such definition of the current crises in Puntland could be the source of radical
diversion of the peace initiative from its genuine purposes. In reality, the conflict is
not a disagreement between the government and traditional elders, as presumed by the
authors of the project document, but rather a manifested split between the state organs.
On the one hand, a minority of the former council of ministries consisting the former
president, vice-president and three ministries have deliberately violated the transitional
charter, following the deliberation of the extension of the mandate of council of
ministries and the parliament for another three years, beyond the expire date of 30 June
On the other hand, the former chief Justice, overtake the responsibility of the state
president beginning from st July 2001, basing the legitimacy of his decision on the
provision of the art.34.2 of the transitional charter of Puntland. The article is among
the un-amendable provisions in the charter and clearly states " if for any reason,
the government fails to prepare the constitution the council of ministers and the
parliament shall cease to exist, while the responsibility of the state president shall be
transferred to the chief Justice, which in his turn shall call a general congress in 30
days for the regions which have founded Puntland in order to reach final decision".
The legal and political move of the former chief justice has been supported by six
former ministries, out of eleven members of the council of ministries. The former
ministries of the public works and livestock endorsed the stand of the chief Justice and
were among the candidates for state president at the second constructional conference of
Puntland (26 August 14 November 2001), in Garowe. Similarly, the former minister of
Social services was among the aspirants for the vice presidency. Moreover the former
minister of interior has been overseeing the overall security of the conference, while the
minister of Justice made a press release denouncing the extension, as an unconstitutional
move. The former minister of planning and international cooperation has attended the
conference as official delegates. Finally current vice-president of PSS is the former
president of State Bank of Puntland In general, the attorney general and former commander
of the territorial police were the only high ranking state officials which have sided with
the former president of Puntland in his attempt to suppress the legitimate rights of the
people of Puntland.
The project recognises "the Traditional Elders, as the traditional, political and
constitutional custodians of the Puntland State during the transitional period", and
as such "will mainly focus on creating a positive environment for conference of the
elders of Puntland through lobbying and creating public opinions in favour of resolution
of the crises".
The extreme emphasis on the role of traditional elders is subtle stratagem to deny any
meaningful role to the principal real actors of the crisis, consisting deposed president
of Puntland on one hand, and the elected authority from the second constitutional
conference on the other hand. The recently established parliament is also important
actor in any peaceful settlement in Puntland, in their status as the legitimate
representatives of the people. Members of the Puntland parliament have been selected from
respective constituencies, like the former parliament, in conformity with the transitional
charter. The first session of the House of Representatives started its business from 14
February 02 and is still underway. In the course of this session, the parliament has
adopted the internal regulation and completed the election of its governing bodies i.e.
the chairmanship, standing committees and the secretariat.
By reducing the relevance of the two sides of the conflict the final aim is, probably,
to shift the decisive role of the conflict resolution to the RPT, which is the principal
actors of the initiative and the implementing agent of the project, according the project
text. Accordingly, RPT will draft options of Resolutions to the elders for their final
unilateral decision. The implementing strategy of Project is quick fix approach to
convene conference of the elders planed to take place in Garowe during the first week of
April 02. The planned conference of the elders could become a new forum mandating itself
to reach new resolution in disregard of the transitional Puntland Charter. To our
understanding, the initiative is in substance, a stratagem for a new third option, which
excludes the main actors of the conflict.
The transitional charter of Puntland recognises role of the titled elders, however, it
is difficult to recall past precedents whereby the elders had become initiators and
promoters of any political setting of their own. It is dangerous to use the elders as
rubber stamp for a pre-planed political agenda. In the event of such scenario, the
prestige of the titled elders, as authority of last resort, will be undermined. We fairly
suspect that, the options of resolutions to the elders are already in hand and will be
kept secret (like the final Project Document) until such an event whereby the conference
of the elders will be held and prepared to endorse the plan.
From our side, we are not denying the positive role, which the elders could play in
consolidating peace, healing legitimate grievances, promoting tolerance and confidence
building, and mending workable political compromise between the opposing sides. We also
feel the necessity to sort out existing differences between traditional elders.
Further more, Puntland administration recognised and promotes the right of the grass
root to mount pressure on all sides in the conflict to refrain from armed confrontation
and openness for dialogue. Consequently, we welcome some components of the program,
specifically those activities concerning peace campaigns and advancement of culture of
peace, which has to be conducted by Local NGOs, on condition that their activities are
totally disassociated from the current RPT core managing group of the program or by any
other political circle/s, pursuing their own vested political interests.
In order to clarify our position to our partners, we have decided to point out our
general remarks regarding the above discussed peace initiative:
the first place, the immediate arrangement of conference of elders (or mini-conference),
before attempting phased agenda of political settlement between the former president of
Puntland and the existing legitimate state institutions could be counterproductive. From
our side, we are kin to give high consideration as to any political mediation between
official delegations headed respectively by former and current presidents, in the context
of state constitutionality. Such approach needs appropriate groundwork and should be under
the sponsorship of friendly state or states. Constitutional arbitration, concurrently with
other approaches, with facilitation by international community in providing legal experts
could be also considered among the important yardsticks for understanding and solving the
crises. The former Chief justice, which was the main protagonist of the arrangement of the
second constitutional conference, shall face the former president, at least during the
first round of the arbitration. The facilitators of the legal arbitration could provide
the terms of reference of the arbitration to both sides and seek to express their
confidence on the mechanism and its executers.
authors of the final project document, in their analysis of the different positions of the
elders in relation to the reconciliation, signalled the existence of "An extremist
group that holds there is no need for dialogue and reconciliation an that the conference
outcome is legitimate; this group is thought to be closely allied with the TNG and
fundamentalists". It is paradoxical that several notions in the project
document, like the above excerpt, are synonymous with the baseless accusations of the
former president and his supporters against Puntland and its legitimate authority. Such
preposition in the project text is clear evidence that the initiative is far from being a
neutral ground of solving existing crises. Consequently, we hope that Puntland people and
our external partners will understand our justified lack of trust on such plan, in its
present form. We feel the moral obligation to extend our apology to Sweden government,
SIDA and Diakonia, in any case the genuine support to end the conflict in Puntland are
being used for opposite purposes.
persons are classically defined as people with proven high skill and expertise in dealing
with specific subject of concern. The sponsors of current conflict resolution program did
not give serious consideration to the above criteria in selecting the majority of RPT
members. Moreover, local Resource Persons in the team include well-known close associates
of the former president of Puntland.
To conclude, we suggest reviewing the peace initiative through inter-active
consultation with all stakeholders including grass root sectors of the society. If the
program advances further along its present from, we afraid that it might jeopardise the
existing fragile stability. Once again, we reaffirm our commitment to peacefully resolve
the political crises in Puntland.
With the assurance of my highest consideration;
Mr. Jama Ali Jama
President of Puntland State of Somalia
Peace, Reconciliation and conflict prevention in Puntland,
Diakonia Project Document; Nairobi, February 02, P5.
Transitional Charter, Puntland State of Somalia; 1998, Garowe
Diakonia project Document; P.20