Sunday October 7, 2018
The political stalemate in Somalia is likely to continue despite the state of Hirshabelle announcing that it will co-operate with the central government.The outcome will determine whether the remaining four federal states will maintain their non-cooperation stance with the centre as per their September 8 resolution or cave in.
Puntland, Galmudug, Southwest State and Jubbaland remain defiant.
The President of Hirshabelle, Mohamed Abdi Ware, announced the move, which analysts say was forced, because, apart from the push for a no-confidence motion against him, he is not in control of the state.
However, experts say the litmus test will come in November when the Southwest State, led by Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, goes to the elections.
“The four regions have now developed a wait-and-see approach. If Mr Aden wins, then it is likely to undermine the authority of the centre, but if he loses, it is likely to jolt them into co-operation because they could face the same fate,” said Abdilatif Maalim, a strategic communication specialist based in Mogadishu.
Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas (Puntland), Ahmed Duale Gelle (Galmudug) and Sheikh Ahmed Madobe of Jubaland are waiting to see if President Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo” deploys his machinery to ensure that they are not re-elected.
The Southwest State elections are a major test because President Farmajo will be trying to oust a veteran politician and a powerful former speaker of the National Assembly.
Mr Aden influenced the ousting of the immediate former president Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and was also a major opponent of former president Sheikh Shariff Ahmed.
Mr Aden joined politics in 2004 when he was elected Speaker of parliament at a reconciliation conference held in Nairobi. He held the post until 2007.
After the Hirshabelle elections next month, Puntland will follow in January 2019, then Jubbaland and Galmudug.
According to Nur Elmi Halane, the publisher of Warsan magazine in Mogadishu, President Farmajo should wait until after the elections to sort out the dispute.
“The demand by the five regional presidents for a third-party mediator over the political stalemate is unpopular with the masses and has made them lose some ground. It is one of the issues President Farmajo should use to paint them as unpatriotic,” said Mr Halane.
The five regional leaders made a resolution in Kismayu early last month to suspend co-operation with the centre because of President Farmajo’s inability to fight Al Shabaab and his continued interference in the internal affairs of the federal states.
All five leaders boycotted a National Security Council meeting that was called by President Farmajo on September 17, demanding a third party intermediary between the federal states and the centre.
The political stalemate means that there will be a slowing down of the fight against Al Shabaab, the preparations for the one-person-one vote in 2020 and the constitutional review process.
The African Union Mission in Somalia is also feeling the effects of the 20 per cent funding cut by the EU two years ago.