The past few days we have witnessed increasing political temperature in Galmudug State. This is after the incumbent president fell out with the key backers in his administration; this led to a split within the state.

Galmudug has been facing a myriad of challenges since its inception as a federal member state due various reasons including lack of harmonious political agreement among the communities in the region.

In the beginning, Galmudug started in a way that key stakeholders were not involved in the state’s formation and drafting of a power sharing agreement that fostered peace, stability and unity were not agreed upon, thereby creating a setback for the new administration.

Before the abrupt resignation of president Guled who didn’t further his jurisdiction beyond Adado (the interim capital) and its environs, a faction of MPs that felt left out formed a rival parliament that ousted him from power and subsequently elected Xaaf as his successor. President Xaaf open diplomatic channels with Ahlu Sunna Waljameca (which is an armed group that controls large parts of Galmudug ) to negotiate an end to the long standing difference and reach an amicable solution that culminated into president Xaaf moving the capital to Dhusamereb.

They also agreed to share the parliamentary seats and the leader of ASWA was designated the chief minister of Galmudug, this move made other leaders to feel disenfranchised specifically the deputy president and speaker of the parliament who were based in Adado.

The federal government squabbles with all federal member states also exasperated the situation and fueled the conflict further, considering that both President and the Prime Minister of the federal Government were from the region.

Recently in Dhusamereb tensions escalated between the President of Galmudug and the leaders of ASWA, resulting in Xaaf being expelled from Dhusamareb. Xaaf was seeking an extension of his term, stating that his tenure was four years and not only the remainder of the term of his predecessor. The Federal Government disputed that and wanted elections to be conducted on 4th of July 2019. This was the focal point of the dispute between the Leader of Galmudug State and the Federal Government.

ASWA negotiated with the Federal government and agreed to hold elections on date without prior consultation and common understanding with their President of Galmudug; they also sent an invitation to FGS to visit Dhusamareb to kick start the process of the elections.

President Xaaf who had fled to Adado, reluctantly agreed to FGS’ position due to pressure and called upon the government to support the election process. Galmudug is in turmoil and uncertainty due to complex and brazen FGS interference in the Member States internal affairs which sets a negative precedence for the future of federalism.

In meantime all parties seem to adhere and accept the election process but the “Big question is where the elections will be held at and who will lead the election process”? Galmudug is very important for the federal government since the most active politicians hail from that region and its election is a very high stake to determine the 2020/21 parliamentarian and presidential election.

In hindsight, the lesson learnt from this FGS ‘intervention’ should be curtailed and any discord within Federal Member States should be referred to relevant institutions, because it will lead the FGS to meddle in states which are deemed to be weaker and ignore Member states which consider themselves to be Quasi-Independent.

For Federalism to prosper in the country I suggest FGS to respect autonomy of the member states and support their election process rather than use coercion and corruption to force their agenda. Our previous experience in Somalia’s election, we have seen and witnessed huge bribery, widespread corruption and voter intimidation to hijack the will of the people. I urge Galmudug leaders to set an example of good governance, accountability and democracy instead of choosing personal gain likely to result in conflict and disunity among the community in the region.

The Galmudug community should also learn lesson of what happened in Baidoa and must disregard any election that may lead to disarray and imposition of puppet candidates that will not have any vision for the region.

Author: Mr. Mohamed Hassan
Researcher & Political Analyst in the Horn of Africa Region.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect’s editorial stance.