Galmudug: A model for Somalia’s Unity or A Quagmire on Its Own

It was last week on Friday when Galmudug state elected the speaker of parliament in a divided house between the opposition and pro-government supporters. The election of the speaker was a litmus test for the Federal Government and the backing it has from the people of Galmudug. Though there were reports of bribery and voters buying during election this was a win for the government. The speaker was elected with a huge margin against his opponent who was considered pro opposition. Immediately after the election both opposition presidential aspirant and pro-government factions welcomed the election results and congratulated the new speaker of the house.

As the elections were ongoing in Dhusamareb former Galmudug president Xaaf started fresh recruitment of the 2nd parliament in Galkacyo. Xaaf who delegated his powers to the Minister of Interior of the Federal Government later changed his position and boycotted the elections in Dhusamareb and called it a sideshow process where the local were not fully consulted.

On the 21st of January, Galmudug speaker held his first parliamentary session but the house was divided into 2 camps. ASWJ supporters disregarded the session and rejected the committee formulated to conduct the election of the president and his deputy. They accused the speaker of partisanship and having dictatorial tendencies.

Prior to the election, there were rumors that ASWJ were to support the Government’s candidate for the speaker and in turn they were to receive the backing for the deputy speaker’s position, however government allied MPs voted against the ASWJ candidate and that resulted in renewed dispute between the FGS and ASWJ.

On the 21st of January ASWJ issued a statement concerning the selection process of the 69 Members of Parliament who were not part of their block (ASWJ has 20 MPs) and accused the government of mishandling the selection process.

Considering the fact that the process was marred by manipulation, favoritism and fraud. It may lead many to question the legitimacy of the entire process and resulting to more challenges in an already problem riddled state. Galmudug is one the most complex administration in terms of security, social integration and economic development.

Going forward the best option for Galmudug is to reinstate the democratic institutions and kick start a fresh process led by the elected Galmudug administration and traditional elders. The federal government should play its oversight role without necessarily trying to meddle in the election process partially or entirely. ASWJ should reevaluate its position of whether they are part of the Galmudug administration or an armed offshoot. The traditional elders, civil society and elected leaders should all play a role in the successful transition of Galmudug into fully-fledged Federal Member State.

In the mean time a care- taker administration should be put in place with a mandate of ensuring that due process is followed. The federal government should support all people driven solution rather than undermining them with a goal of keeping Member states “in line”.

Author:  Mohamed Hassan

Email: mhassan@hacof.com