Saturday, July 25, 2020
For the last two years, the Galmudug State of Somalia has endured a divisive and tumultuous political period with disparate groups, often based on untenable and weak artificial alliances, vying for power and supremacy. This has arrested the development of the nascent regional government's economic, political, and institutional foundations.
With the election of Ahmed Abdi Karie Qoorqoor last May, the political climate of Galmudug has been transformed from one of constant agitation, rancor, and turmoil to one of remarkable stability, cohesion, and purpose. This has been a surprise to all political observers of the region. In short order, Mr. Qoorqoor proved himself to be an adept politician. He has deftly managed to bring former adversaries, warring parties, and key political actors together so that Galmudug can finally stand on its own two feet and act as one political entity—an element that had been stubbornly missing since its founding in 2015.
President Qoorqoor has assembled a remarkably balanced cabinet in which major clans, communities, and former adversaries alike are fairly represented. The cabinet was, indeed, well-received and appreciated across the board despite including politicians with outsized and ambitious personalities who openly opposed Mr. Qoorqoor and boycotted the election process in its totality. Having won high marks for his initial cabinet makeup and armed with the good graces of his people, President Qoorqoor and his team embarked on a peace and reconciliation crusade, traversing a vast region. They met with elders, mobilized funds, and listened to the grievances as well as priorities of the local grassroots communities. Most importantly, President Qoorqoor and his team mediated and ushered in peace among warring clans; unfortunately, the region has been known for conflict over the years.
This new Galmudug leadership model is based on consensus-building values and principles, reaching out to the different political camps and communities. Somalia is in dire need of this type of leadership and constructive politics during this critical juncture of the country's history. Galmudug and President Qoorqoor have shown the way—the only way forward to peace and stability for the whole country. It would be wise for the still unstable regional governments such as Jubbaland, Hirshabelle, and South West to note the new Galmudug leadership model.
The commendable way that the new Galmudug administration managed its domestic issues has won kudos across the country, where the federal government and some regional governments are often at loggerheads with little or no communication between or among them as a result. President Qoorqoor and his popular Galmudug administration were, thus, entrusted with undertaking mediation efforts between the federal government and its regional member states. Galmudug and its president ably hosted the first meeting in over two years between the federal government and the member states. Galmudug held itself, and rightly so, as the torchbearer for consensus- and trust-building among constituents with diverse interests and needs. Though the recently concluded meeting understandably fell short of its lofty expectations, Galmudug will again—to the surprise of no one—play host to the next meeting scheduled for mid-August. Mahatma Gandhi famously said, "I suppose the leadership at one time meant muscles, but today, it means getting along with people." Now, President Qoorqoor is getting along with everybody.
Fagaaraha Forum applauds the new Galmudug administration for crafting this new but potentially beneficial course. We also welcome the role of Galmudug in the talks between the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the Federal Member States (FMS) as the host and critical player seeking to bridge the political divide. Fagaaraha further calls upon other member states and the FGS to emulate the new Galmudug administration regarding grassroots reconciliation, the accommodation of the political divide, and inclusiveness.
Myriad challenges to overcome and opportunities to capitalize on await President Qoorqoor. In no particular order, they include, but not limited to:
1. Liberating districts and areas that are still under Al Shabab's control. The strategic town of Xarardheere, Ceeldheer, and Ceelbuur must be cleansed of Al Shabab, who still pose an imminent security threat. This should be the administration's number one priority.
2. Building capable institutions for Galmudug. Most ministries, the parliament, and other state government agencies have no permanent and well-equipped offices. This should be sorted out to improve the delivery of services to the people of Galmudug.
3. Maintaining its good relationship with the Federal Government of Somalia. Development-centered cooperation should be the norm.
4. Investing in the development of its economic and financial resources. The construction and renovation of the Hobyo port is an essential building block for sustainable infrastructure. It will be a primary source of revenue for the administration and a foundation for significant job creation.
5. Sustaining, nurturing, and nourishing the current reconciliation and pacification efforts among the different, but brotherly communities of Galmudug. This should remain broad-based and decentralized up to the local grassroots communities. The various clans living in Galmudug should be accommodated in the states' day-to-day activities, especially in development projects and resource sharing.
6. Establishing well-trained and equipped security forces to tackle the immense Galmudug security troubles. The ongoing efforts of mobilizing security forces along with the reintegration of militias are worth applauding.
7. Maintaining a good-brother relationship with its neighboring regional state of Puntland. To his credit, the former president of Galmudug, Ahmed Du’ale Gelle Xaaf, cultivated Puntland's excellent relations. President Qoorqoor should maintain and build on the foundation laid by his predecessor. Gaalkacyo, a shared city by the two states, should be accorded and treated with the most appropriate attention and priority; any potential conflict should be squashed and avoided at all costs. Peace and stability are the goals of both regional states.
8. Continuing peace and reconciliation talks with Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a and its leader, Moalim Mohamud. Even though the group is out of the limelight, ASWJ is still a relevant party for the region's peace and stability. It would be remiss not to mention the pivotal role ASWJ played in the war against Al-Shabab. Mr. Qoorqoor shall double his efforts in bringing ASWJ fully onboard to become part and parcel of the new Galmudug.
9. Prioritizing the fight against the scrooge that is corruption. A credible independent anti-graft agency with fully trained, equipped, and empowered personnel shall be established. A separate and independent state auditor is a must for transparent governance; hence, it must also be established.
10. Informing and educating the public about the dangers of the coronavirus that is currently ravaging the world. It should evangelize the widely accepted guidelines to decelerate this global pandemic; social distancing and covering the face using a mask are among the most important measures. We understand that handshaking and hugging are part of the culture, but the public must still be educated on this global health challenge.
The people of Galmudug have high hopes that President Qoorqoor will triumph.
Fagaaraha Forum is a non-profit, nonpartisan 501(c) (3) organization based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, whose mission is to increase public awareness of the issues important to the Somali people. As a leading intellectual forum that promotes peace, and conducts researches in the issues of good governance, elections, conflict resolution, rule of law, justice and human rights. The forum and have been inviting and bringing together speakers and experts to discuss past, current, and future for Somalia since 2012.
For more information, please visit our website at www.fagaaraha.org or email us at [email protected]. You can also follow us on Twitter @fagaarahaforum or directly tweet our director Farah Mohamed Ali (Blue) at @farahblue.