Somalia: Puntland VP criticized for signing Somaliland letter
The vice president of Somalia’s Puntland government Abdihakim Abdullahi Amey has come under pressure in his home state after signing a Dec. 22 letter, alongside Somali politicians from the Somaliland region. Mr. Amey traveled to Mogadishu earlier this month.
Eleven politicians hailing from Somaliland, and the dispute Sool and Sanaag regions signed the controversial letter, including outgoing Somali Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arte and the Puntland vice president.
The letter consists of seven points, commencing with a background of the voluntary north-south union that formed the Somali Republic in 1960 and calling on Somaliland politicians and intellectuals to “promote Somali unity”.
The letter further states, that “all clans from the Northern Regions – Somaliland – have similar grievances” and that politicians from the said regions “agreed to jointly defend their [Somaliland] rights and political representation” within federal Somalia. The letter’s signatories also include former Somali federal government and Puntland ministers.
‘33% of Upper House’
The letter concludes with a call for the Somaliland regions to receive a share of no less than one-third (33%) of the Upper House seats of the Somali federal parliament.
Under the 54-seat distribution, Somaliland was granted 11 Upper House seats (20%). However, the National Leaders Forum agreed in a Dec. 25 communiqué to expand the Upper Housefrom 54 to 72 senators, granting each state three additional seats (Somaliland gets 14 out of 72 seats).
The letter also called upon Somalia’s next federal government to give “utmost priority” to dialogue with the Somaliland administration.
Independent reports say that Puntland House of Representatives is considering summoning Vice President Amey to addresss parliament about the letter, its intentions and the final outcome.
For his part, Vice President Amey has gone on the airwaves to hit back against political critics, essentially arguing that, since Puntland holds regular meetings with Galmudug leaders, “no one” can deny him to meet with Somalia’s deputy Prime Minister.