By Jacob Kubeka –
Puntland leader Said Abdullahi Deni on Saturday confirmed what had been rumoured for months, that he will be contesting for the federal presidency in the upcoming polls.
Mr Deni who heads the oldest federal state in Somalia is entering an already crowded race for the presidency of Somalia, but his bid could now roil waters for several contenders including those who share his clan, or natives of Puntland.
He spoke at a dinner he held in Garowe town, the capital of Puntland, some 1,000 km northeast of Mogadishu, in honour of the members of Somalia’s bicameral parliament elected in Puntland.
The grapevine on Deni’s intention has been around for almost a year, but the closest hint that he was aiming for Somalia’s top office was announced by Jubbaland State’s President Ahmed Mohamed Islam Madobe while visiting in Garowe town in November last year.
At a special meeting with Puntland’s Vice President, members of the cabinet and the members of the local legislative assembly, attended by Madobe and Deni, the former informed the audience about Deni’s intention to run for Somalia’s presidential palace in Mogadishu.
Madobe stated, “My brother Said Abdullahi Deni is going to run for the post of the federal president and needs the support of all of us.”
“This is the reason I came to Garowe town and called for this meeting, realising that Deni needs all of us to prop up his ambition,” added Madobe as reported by individuals in the meeting.
On Saturday, Deni made clear and beyond doubt that he is not only a candidate but also a challenger to incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.
“In this evening, I am here to inform you that I am going to run for the President of Somalia,” Deni stated.
“I urge all the other (opposition) candidates to unite to drive out the president whose term in office lapsed, Farmaajo,” he added, proposing that such cooperation should be priority number one to fashion a change.