Somalia: Galmudug's Slippery Path to Stability

Galmudug State in Somalia's central was formed in 2015 by post-transitional government led by former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud but since then the state has been in grips of full-blown political crisis leading the region to remain undeveloped.

Stability in Galmudug is seen to be vital for the whole Somalia regarding to its geographical and political position.

The moderate islamist group, known as Ahlu-Sunna Waljama in central Somalia took arms against al-Shabaab in 2018 following allegations that al-Shabaab terror destroyed their religious shrines. Engaging deadly gun battles with al-Shabaab, Ahluna-Sunna fighters seized large swath territories from al-Shabaab in Dhusameb, Mataban and Guriel towns. Following their successful efforts to establish in their areas, Ahlu-Sunna transformed itself as political wing.

The federal of government negotiate with group and agreements had been reached but Ahlu-Sunna was several times accused of breaching the deal by federal government.

To shade light on how Ahlu-Sunna became obstacle to formation of Galmudug State, during the preparation of the state formation in 2015, the group opposed participate conference held for the formation the state.

Thus, the government led by Hassan Sheikh had no other alternative but to continue getting administration for Galmudug. Dhusameeb which was under the control of Ahlu-Sunna was designated be the capital of the regional State but turned down to host the new Galmudug government, thus Galmudug government used Adado town as interim capital.

On the other hand, Ahlu-Sunna declared to have its own government and parliament in Dhusameeb town.

After Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo's election, his government started broker talks between Galmudug State and Ahlu-Sunna group. In late 2017, the leaders from Galmudug and Ahlu-Sunna, Ahmed Duale Haf and Sheikh Mohamed Shakir agreed to emerge the two parliaments forming one of bloated parliament in the country.

Months later, the sides ones again disagreed and broke into two parts, one in Dhusameeb and other Adado town.

including merging the group with Galmudug government led by Ahmed Duale Gualle Haf. On their side, the group agreed to lay down weapons and hand over their fighters to federal government for rehabilitation and reintegration.

Efforts by federal government

Somali government had started efforts to convinced to form new government after the term of the previous Galmudug government lapsed but they (Ahlu-Sunna and Galmudug leaders) tried to extend their terms by arguing that that their term in office started from when Ahlu-Sunna and Galmudug inked the power sharing deal and merging of the two assemblies.

With sides engaged in long hours of discussion, finally they accepted to hold elections thanks to the federal government's commitment to realize the dream of Galmudug people to get democratically elected government.

On the hand, the federal government carried out efforts to national cohesive in Galmudug State. Following close to two months discussion, Somali prime minister had succeeded to convince the armed Ahlu-Sunna Waljama to merge their forces with Somali National Army.

The group also accepted to hand over the security of Dhusameeb to troops from the national government. After visiting several other towns in Galgaduud region, the government succeeded to several clans in the region hand over the militiamen to the government for rehabilitation and reintegration.

Likewise, president of Galmudug State, Ahmed Duale Haf accepted the interior minister to led the process to hold election for the state.

The ministry convened dignitaries, elders, intellectuals and clerics drawn from all towns of Galmudug to take part in reconciliation conference held in Dhusameeb town. After the conclusion of the conference, in cooperation with politicians, elders and intellectuals, the interior ministry kicked the electoral process with elders from Galmudug being assigned to select the lawmakers.

Ahlu-Sunna is antagonist

Since the formation of the transitional federal government in 2004, Somalia has been using the 4.5 formula, a power-sharing system among the country's four major clans and their smaller counterparts.

In Galmudug, Ahlu-Sunna tabled in condition on which they want to be allocated certain number of seats while the clans in state also expect the selection of lawmaker to be based on 4.5 clan power sharing as usual.

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Despite rejection by the clan elders, twenty parliamentary seats were allocated for group to appease Ahlu-Sunna.

But all efforts taken to iron out the political crisis in Galmudug and form inclusive government ended in vain as the group is obstacle to attempt towards state formation.

Before the newly selected lawmakers elect their leadership, the parliament was once again engulfed by crisis caused the group as they demanded for the leadership of the parliament without participating elections for the post. After parliament held the leadership election, the group decided to pull their members out of the House and boycott the parliament sessions.

In an interview, the leader of Ahlu-Sunna, Sheikh Mohamed Shakir clearly noted that they to higher posts in Galmudug therefore it seems that the group realized that they could not materialize their hidden agenda if they fail secure the top positions.

It remarkable that the group demanded to get the chairperson of the parliamentary committee for presidential election but the parliament selected another person who was not their candidate, Ahlu-Sunna opposed the whole process.

Finally, the group formed Pseudo parliament which later elected Sheikh Mohamed Shakir as president.

Some analysts believe that the problems caused by Ahlu-Sunna will not end unless legal military action is taken against them while some elder and delegates call on the government to blend in the group with public.

The respect by International community for Ahlu-Sunna now seems to be fade out as the group transforms to be troublemakers.

Candidates with cheap excuses

The electoral committee has several times delayed the presidential poll following requests by Some Presidential candidates.

As the elections is the around, Some of Galmudug presidential candidates vowed to withdraw from the race, saying " the federal government is has denied them to meet with the newly selected parliamentarians.

But actually, there was no single MP who officially stated that he/she was barred from meeting with the candidates therefore this shows how the claims by candidates are not reliable.

While some other candidates claimed that they would not participate an election which Ahluna-Sunna is not part of it. The lawmakers representing Ahlu-Sunna had not been block from the house but they the process and decided to boycott the elections, therefore even without them quorum will be complete as the committee's standing order requires 2/3 of the parliament to participate the election.

On other hand, all the candidates have no doubt about the legitimacy of the current Galmudug parliament and they even welcomed the election of assembly leadership.

The candidates who plans to boycott the election have two choices

- To drop the bid and recognize the outcome of the election.

- Or to participate the election and try their luck.

Meanwhile, former president of Galmudug whose term lapsed on 4th August 2019, has recent declared that he descended his decision to allow the interior carry out the election process.

Haf has also claimed to start new process to form government for Galmudug.

Sources privy to Haf's plan claim that he decided to oppose the process after he failed to secure personal interests from the federal government.

Despite all these crises which discouraged people of Galmudug, yet there are hope that there would be legitimate leadership which would be elected tomorrow (2nd of February).

However, it is that the new leader of Galmudug will have full plate to resolve the political crisis.

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