In recent days, there have been growing complaints from political stakeholders of Somalia’s Galmudug regional state over the formation of a new administration for the state. The outgoing president, Ahmed Duale Gelle Haaf, has sworn in a parliament in Galkayo. Haaf argues that he has withdrawn his permission for the federal government to lead the process of forming a new administration, accusing it of abusing his trust.
Although Haaf’s argument is legitimate, the true basis of his criticism is the fact that the government implemented none of the promises made to him. Haaf is a president whose term of office is over and who should hand over power. Instead, he is now busy forming his own administration in Galkayo.
Ahlu Sunnah wal Jama’ah, one of the most influential stakeholders in the region, today again accused the federal government of hijacking the electoral process and warned that the dispute may yet turn violent should the government attempt to forcefully install its favoured candidate as president.
Ahlu Sunnah also says that 69 members of the Galmudug parliament approved by the government-formed electoral commission were selected against the wishes of traditional elders in the region. Like Haaf’s, Ahlu Sunnah’s argument too is legitimate. But like him, the group’s opposition is also motivated by the fact that it realised it will have little power in the state.
The Speaker of the Dusomareb-based parliament, Mohamed Nur Ga’al, and his two deputies are all supporters of the federal government. Ga’al made this clear in a recent interview with VOA, in which he backed the government’s position and warned that the electoral process will not remain stalled because of the boycott of the four presidential candidates. He said there will be other candidates. What he meant was that the federal-government will sponsor puppet candidates to ensure its handpicked man emerges victorious.
Ahlu Sunnah is worried that in addition to that, the positions of the president and his deputy will also be taken by the government, leaving the group with nothing.
Independent presidential candidates
The Galmudug independent presidential candidates, too, have become part of the political stakeholders. Their influence has increased since they decided to unite and harmonise their stance towards the election process. They have complained that they could not easily meet regional MPs, and that all the candidates do not have equal opportunities to do so.
Several federal MPs, senators and other government civil servants, who were members of the Technical Committee for Galmudug State Formation, which formed the Dusomareb-based parliament, are part of the campaign of the government-backed candidate Ahmed Qorqor.
Candidates argue that once selected, each MP was forced to bring a government-staff member to act as a guarantor. Now, they are being blackmailed that if any MP meets, campaigns for or votes for any of the independent candidates, his/her guarantor will be sacked.
The General Council of Habargidir Leadership
The General Council led by Professor Shirwa has also issued a statement criticising the electoral process in Galmudug. It called on the government to halt electoral activities in the region until the stakeholders’ complaints are resolved.
It is clear that should the government insists on forming an administration supported only by it and its favoured candidate, there will be three administrations in Galmudug: Galkayo-based administration, Ahlu Sunnah administration and Kheyre administration.
The only chance of forming an inclusive Galmudug administration is for Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre to halt the electoral process and negotiate with the formidable stakeholders of the region. The current attitude of zero-sum politics is unlikely to benefit Galmudug and will make it harder to govern and forge the consensus required to stabilise the region’s politics and that of the national level.
The Galmudug dispute directly affects the politics of Mogadishu because all the political stakeholders in the state are from there. The ball, now, is on the government’s, and Prime Minister Kheyre’s, court.