EDITORIAL | Somalia’s Galmudug state at the end of Friday whether they have a new Speaker of the local parliament taking the next step in electing a federal state president who will succeed Ahmed Duale Gelle.
When 89 new lawmakers gather in Dhusamareb, the state capital, it could mark the end of a chaotic year in which the federal government and local factions played a se-saw to control the region.
Either that or it could open a new chapter of war that strikes a blow at plans to bring all regions to a political side in a country preparing for elections later this year.
“The situation is very fragile due to the local clan-based policy. You can not really predict who the MPs will vote for. They belong to clans and have different loyalties, ”said Mohamed Abdirahman, senior security adviser to Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni.
“It could create enmity between the federal government and local politicians,” he warned.
So what’s the problem? Based on an earlier political calendar, Galmudug should have held elections in July 2019. But political factions disagreed on when an existing four-year leadership began.
The outgoing Galmudug president Ahmed Dualle Gelle Haaf, who was once thrown out with a faction of MPs loyal to him, insisted that polls be held in December 2021 because in December 2017 he signed an IGAD-mediated power-sharing scheme with the moderate Sufi militia group Ahlu Sunna Wal-Jama’a (ASWJ), essentially started a new term of office.
Galmudug is one of the five federal states of Somalia. Others are Jubbaland, Hirshabelle, South-West and Puntland, some of whom are currently in conflict with FGS on issues including resource sharing, constitutional review process and modality in the next election.
Politically and demographically cosmopolitan, Galmudug has people with different backgrounds, making it almost difficult to win without coming together between the 11 clans. It is known locally as the heart of opposition to then-Somali leader Siad Barre, whose expulsion plunged Somalia into the current incessant conflict 30 years ago.
Despite this credentials, Galmudug has been a trophy sought by both the opposition and the federal government under President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and his Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire.
Since March last year, the region was technically led by the federal government and weakened incumbent leader Haaf, whose opponents claim he has already run past his term. The election, which started early this week with the vote of MPs, is the result of negotiations and a reconciliation process led by Khaire, leading to an agreement with ASWJ, which means they would get 20 seats in the new parliament.
The 89-seat regional assembly voted on Friday for elected Villa Somalia-backed candidate Mohamed Nur Ga’al as the House’s new speaker after winning 54 votes against his close candidate, Abdinasir Aden, who received 34 votes in the first round of the vote. .
Mostly accepted by stakeholders, his critics criticize that he did so with his interest in mind, so that only his clans are in a contest for the presidency today.
Among the candidates fighting for Galmudug state president is Ahmed Abdi Kaariye [Qoorqoor], a former prime minister of public works receiving impressive support from FGS, Abdirahman Odowaa, a former interior minister and current member of the political party led by former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
Others include Kamal Gutale of the Wadajir party led by former planning minister Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, and Abdullahi Wehliye is said to be backed by the ASWJ. They are all from the Habargidir clan.
From the start, all candidates now have to get votes from other clans, which means they have to reach a coalition of some sort, especially with those fighting for the vice presidency. But Galmudug is very similar to Somalia’s entire policy: money, clan, personal interest and other factors come into play.
President Ahmed Dualle Geelle Haaf has rejected the election plan, for example, seeing it as a trick to stamp out the influence of the Mogadishu-based government on the state instead of giving it the autonomy it deserves.
“For anyone to understand the enigmatic (sic) geopolitics of Somalia, it is very important to first understand Galmudug’s intricate policies. It took the federal government a long time to arrive at an interruption and an electoral process that literally brings any entity on board, argued Abdimalik Abdullahi, commentator on Somali and African Horn affairs in geopolitics, peacebuilding and governance, on his Twitter page in this week.
Traditionally, clans went to each other’s necks in politics, land ownership, and any other resource. They mainly lamented the clans Marehan, Dir, Habargadir, some of the largest clans here.
These violent episodes have recently died, especially after an agreement between Haaf and the ASWJ brought most people on board, and the federal government became interested in controlling yet another federal state after Hirshabelle and the Southwest.
However, the threat of instability, Abdullahi claimed, is not over.
“Just this week, tribal militias in the northern part of Galgadud fought, Galmudug,” he later told Garowe Online, referring to one of the regions whose name gave the portmanteau Galmudug the name of the state.
“Such incidents and the likelihood of it happening again and again mean that no one can assure us that it is a done deal. This tribal enmity requires real reconciliation from the grassroots roots. ”
A call for reconciliation means that Galmudug resembles Somalia itself. Ahead of the vote, the question of whether federal states will move as one with the federal government has stuck out like an evil thumb. Critics believe that both sides are moving at a pace that suits them.
“Today, Somalia is more politically divided compared to three years ago before President Farmaajo took over (in 2017). As we move towards elections, we have more polarization, and Farmaajo is taking advantage of these divisions, “said Idd Bedel Mohamed, a former diplomat who says he will run in the next Somali presidential election, Axadlesaid.
Mohamed claimed that Farmaajo had chosen Hirshabelle, Southwest and now Galmudug for control so that he could isolate Puntland and Jubbaland (under Ahmed Madobe); who denied federal government directives on local elections and continued with their programs.
On Thursday, President Ahmed Madobe arrived in Bossaso, Puntland for a meeting with Puntland and Galmudug leaders, although the latter state held elections.
“We are facing a toxic political climate and a relaxing opportunity for armed conflict when the country faces elections in 2020.”
Officially, the federal government has argued for unity and work under federal law, even with autonomy, to defend its actions in states. But within the federal government itself, there could be a split between Farmaajo and Khaire, where each e.g. Had favorite candidates in Galmudug.
“One can learn that it takes a lot of effort, subsequent compromises, blood and sweat to carry out a simple local election in a complex context like Somalia,” Abdimalik told Garowe Online.
“The other important lesson that can be learned from the Galmudug reconciliation and election process is that every Somali problem requires a Somali solution. And the federal government in Somalia should not only take the lead, but also be impartial and accommodating in its efforts. ”