Somalia: Power struggle emerges in Puntland as Deni differs with deputy
GAROWE, Puntland - Cracks have emerged in the Puntland presidency following sharp divisions pitting president Said Abdullahi Deni and his deputy Ahmed Karaash, who now insists on assuming full presidential powers in the state.
Deni, who has been leading the Federal State since 2019, is currently in Mogadishu where he's campaigning for the upcoming Somali presidential election, which is scheduled for the coming months this year. He's competing against incumbent Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.
In a statement, Deni issued a presidential decree on Monday invalidating appointments made by Karaash, who had appointed a number of district and regional governors while relieving others' duties without express authority from his current boss.
"I hereby declare that any decree issued by the Vice President Puntland while I am in the country Somalia shall not apply," Deni, a critic of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, said in a statement.
"Therefore, I urge all government agencies to carry out their duties and not comply with any decree inconsistent with the Constitution and other regulations of the Government Puntland as stated in Article 138, paragraph 2 of the Puntland Constitution."
Last week, Karaash said he had assumed the presidency to prevent a "constitutional vacuum" which may have resulted from the absence of Deni. He insisted that he was guided by the law of the state, adding that he respects the constitution.
On Monday, Karash appointed Faysal Sheikh Ali Mohamed as the governor of the Mudug region, replacing the former governor of the Mudug region, Abdulaziz Musa Nur alias Sanyare who became a federal lawmaker. The latter was elected to the federal parliament in the just concluded elections.
The push and pull come at the time the country is engulfed in serious power tussles between Farmajo and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble. While Roble is pushing for the conclusion of elections, Farmajo is understood to be "buying time".
Somalia is also struggling to contain violent extremism, with Al-Shabaab heightening attacks during this electioneering period. Puntland is considered the most stable state within the federal republic of Somalia with minimal internal political wrangles.