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Deputy Finance Minister: Resentment over PM snub fuels President Deni's rift with Mogadishu


Saturday May 13, 2023

Mogadishu (HOL) -  Somalia's Deputy Finance Minister, Abdiqafar Hassan Hange, claims that President Deni's opposition to the federal government stems from his failure to become Prime Minister.

Hange, who also represents Puntland as a Member of Parliament, made these comments during a recent TV interview in Mogadishu. He traced the roots of Deni's resentment back to when Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud overlooked him for the Prime Minister's post.

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Last year, Deni publicly backed Mohamud during the climactic final round of the national presidential elections, which resulted in Mohamud defeating the incumbent President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo. At the time, political pundits widely anticipated that Mohamud would choose Deni or one of his close associates for the Prime Minister's position, but this expectation never materialized.

Hange explained, "After the Presidential election, Deni made no secret of his desire for the Prime Minister's seat. The day he didn't get it, he began sowing seeds of discord between Puntland and the central government."

The Deputy Finance Minister emphasized that Deni has made it clear to international bodies and Somalia's debt relief agencies that there's no cooperation agreement in place with the central government, adding that the people of Puntland view Deni's conflict with the central government as a personal issue, not a federal dispute.

Last week, Prime Minister Hamze Abdi Barre preemptively placed the blame for any potential hiccups in Somalia's debt relief program squarely on President Deni. He warned the federal government wouldn't tolerate failures in the crucial debt forgiveness process. Barre also appealed to Deni to stop politicizing the matter and to address Puntland's issues forthrightly.

In a related event, former Puntland Finance Minister Hassan Shire Abgaal urged President Deni to either amend the Constitution before postponing the 2024 presidential election. Speaking at a press conference in Garowe on Friday, Hassan Shire Abgaal, who was once a close ally of Deni, warned that President Deni would face repercussions that could jeopardize the election slated for January 8, 2024.

Abgaal added that while opposition politicians aren't against Puntland's recent local government elections, they oppose any constitutional changes or extensions to Deni's term.

During last week's Friday sermon at the Villa Somalia Mosque, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud chided President Deni, urging Puntland's leadership to refrain from actions that could destabilize the region.

Puntland is set to conduct statewide direct local elections on May 24, following a pilot election in December. However, prominent politicians, including former Puntland Presidents Abdirahman Faroole and Abduwali Gaas, are boycotting the polls, alleging mismanagement.



 





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