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Puntland presidential hopeful campaigns in Seattle

by Yusuf Mohamud
Sunday, Mar 16, 2008

SEATTLE, Washington March 16 (HOL): A Somali-American running to become the fourth president of the Somali region of Puntland held a campaign rally in Seattle, Washington, on Saturday, March 15, 2008.
Nearly 200 Somalis from the Greater Seattle area welcomed Abdiqani Mohamed Warsame (Shancad) to Sea-Tac Meeting Hall, where traditional food was served and singers sang live music.
Respected community members offered brief speeches about Mr. Abdiqani Shancad and the current situation in Somalia as a whole, and the Puntland region in particular.
Hussein Abdullahi 'Ateye,' a Somali army veteran, offered words of wisdom to the Puntland presidential candidate, saying: "The man who presents himself to lead at a time of crisis must be a just and capable ruler."
Other speakers included community activist Abdirahman Jama, buraambur lady Anab Ali Abdulle whose poetic words resonated through the room, and local elder Mohamud Huhule.
Abdihabib Yasin Warsame, Shancad' campaign manager, addressed the crowd as he described Mr. Shancad's background and political aspirations.
A former school principal, Shancad received his education at Lafole College of Education in Somalia and the University of Minnesota, where he completed his Master's degree in international studies.
At 10pm, Mr. Shancad got on the podium as the crowd cheered. He promised three things he would accomplish if elected to become the next president of Puntland State of Somalia: a population census, a constitutional review and opening the region to political parties.
Mr. Shancad was openly critical of the current Puntland government, led by President Adde Muse.
He said the "root cause" of the current problems in Puntland is the illegal printing of counterfeit Somali Shillings, which has devalued the dollar and led to hyperinflation throughout the region.
He accused unnamed Puntland government officials of being complicit in the counterfeit cash, kidnapping and piracy scandals: "Politicians are involved."


Mr. Shancad stated that he will focus on security, education and health if he is elected to lead Puntland.
He promised free education and improved healthcare facilities, aims he said he will reach by being financially accountable.
He stressed the importance of a capable education system and promised to stop the import of expired medical drugs, a common practice across Somalia.
Illiteracy rates would go down under a Shancad administration, the candidate promised.
Addressing Puntland's oil issues, Mr. Shancad said the current exploration agreement between Puntland and foreign companies "are illegal until Parliament ratifies the agreements."
But if the Puntland Parliament ratifies the deal, Shancad said the agreements then become legal contracts.
According to Shancad, the "Puntland government has the right and priority to sign exploration deals on its soil."

Puntland's presidential elections are scheduled to take place in January 2009. So far, 10 candidates have began campaigning both in Puntland and in the Diaspora.
Seattle locals said Mr. Shancad is the first presidential candidate to campaign in the city.

If you are a candidate for upcoming Puntland Elections, please send your profile together with your Pictures to : [email protected]

Yusuf Mohamud, Hiiraan Online
Seattle, WA (USA)
[email protected]