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Puntland’s military chief breaks with tradition, declares candidature for presidency

Storyline:National News

A sitting head of Puntland’s military has declared his candidature for the upcoming state presidential elections breaking ranks with tradition which bars men and women in uniform from engaging in active politics while in service.

General Sai’d Mohamed Hersi who heads the state para-military unit (darawish) declared Sunday that he would be seeking to replace his boss, President Abdiweli Gaas in the January elections.

The top officer said he had been advised by many people among them elders and professionals in Puntland to join the race during the January 2019 poll adding his decision is informed by the need to address challenges the easterly state is facing.

“When I see the economic, security and social situation and having seen that the enemy of Puntland is coming from the suburbs and even the clashes between clan, I have realized that Puntland needs a leader who can bring unity, justice and equality,” Gen. Hersi told journalists.

Gen. Hersi said Puntland could benefit from his many years of experience noting he was among the founding members of Puntland in 1998.

“I want to put forth my 40 years of experience of serving the Somali nation and Puntland in particular and I am one of the few remaining founders of Puntland state.”

In many jurisdictions world over, members of the disciplined forces are required to remain apolitical and can only change course upon leaving office.

The Puntland presidential race has so far attracted over ten candidates with Gaas expected to defend his seat.