Wednesday, June 10, 2020
By Dahir Salad Mohamed (Rahajel)
Galmudug state is a federal member state within the greater Federal Republic of Somalia, as defined by the provisional constitution of Somalia. Its capital city is Dhusamareeb, and it shares borders with Puntland state on the north side, the Somali region in Ethiopia to the west, Hirshabelle state to the south, and to the east side by the Somali Sea. The state consists of the Galgaduud and the Mudug regions; the unique name of Galmudug is derived from a merging of the names of the two regions.
Although many people are celebrating the birth of the new state of Galmudug, its primary mission has not yet been accomplished. When you look back on the period from 1990 until today, Galmudug has been struggling to overcome its main problems, such as insecurity, lack of development, and reconciliation between tribes to form one state whose citizens work together to meet all the challenges they have faced and continue to face, both in times past and in the present. The vast majority of Somali people believe that if Galmudug state becomes stable the rest of the country will follow, in goodwill.
It is inevitable that a huge sacrifice must be made in order to re-shape geopolitics, security, and infrastructure development programmes for Galmudug state. In the last thirty years, we have seen tit-for-tat tribal wars which have destroyed the vast majority of local services, including commercial spaces, old government offices, army camps, prison services, and motorways.
In light of the catastrophic wars and instability of the state, and the subsequent devastating consequences and lawlessness over the past thirty years it might take a long time to resolve these issues. You can see this devastation when you travel by land from the Dhusamareeb to Galkayo, yet no road infrastructure programme has been initiated for this mainland motorway in Galmudug state. Currently, one of the main obstacles in the state is safety – it is impossible to travel alone without bodyguards.
The first question comes to mind is: who will address this security issue and how long will it take them to resolve the problem? As far as I am aware, it will take quite some time to understand and tackle the security issues, to establish public safety as a first priority, and to set up a special task force to identify and address all of the problems contributing to insecurity and instability in the state.
The security issues are the biggest challenge that Galmudug state must overcome and resolve in order to start developing infrastructure and rebuilding their statehood from the grassroots level up, such as building a new port, establishing a police academy, a paramilitary academy, a judiciary system, education services, an inland revenue, and government services from the local to the federal state level.
The security minister (Ahmed Moallin Fiqi) and his team have a new assignment, to come up with some sustainable security development goals. The first step to creating a more satisfactory basis for managing the interrelationships between security and sustainable development is to broaden their primary goal. It is never too late to overcome security problems. I can vividly remember two critical milestones: first, in 2015, when General Abdi Hassan Awale handed over the Galmudug state drawish and police over to a newly elected interim administration led by President Abdikarim Guled; and then when the Himan and Heeb administration handed over control of the army to the Galmudug state. Other tribes sent armed militia to Adado city, where efforts for the reunification of Galmudug state were based at the time, and all militia were united to form one local state army.
In general, Galmudug has been marked by decades of warfare and political uncertainty following the overthrow of Siad Barre’s dictatorship in 1991. As a result of this overthrowing of the central government, the state inherited a dire security situation that led to multiple humanitarian crises including forced displacement, lack of economic development, civil war and the deaths of thousands of our people. At the centre of the conflict are rivalries over resources, including clan-based disputes and further aggravated by the presence of armed groups such as tribal militia loyal to the commander, and other criminals such as pirate networks which have acquired millions of dollars over the period of warfare period and instability. However, the time is now right to establish a trusted army, police force, and a society that can rebuild its cities, towns and villages with dignity.
The Galmudug state has suffered enough hardships during wartime and we have now reached a stage where we can rebuild trust and faith in our people in order to govern our local state institution justly to fulfil our overriding goal, which is for all our people to live in peace and harmony. We deserve peace, justice, reconciliation and well-prepared settlement for any ongoing conflict so that we can move on to the next stage, which is to completely regenerate the entire state to create business hubs that will help to overcome poverty, economic shortfalls, and the catastrophic conditions that the state has inherited as a result of endless warfare. I am optimistic that it is possible to overcome all security issues; I am confident that Galmudug’s security minster will have an excellent plan for creating a task force system that will round up all the militia currently present in the state and reunify them to maintain security for the foreseeable future. I believe now is the time to tackle the security challenges and, hopefully, local people will support this move to re-establish a prosperous, stable and calm environment for each one of us.
I was very pleased to see that Galmudug’s security minister acted swiftly and responsibly to tackle the recent clashes between the tribal militia and special troopers danab who clashed in the Galkayo city last week. It was an absolutely fantastic move to tackle this as soon as possible and reunify all the militia involved in this clash into the Galmudug drawish, put them in training camps and retrain them for the official local drawish. It is entirely up to the Galmudug security team how they carry out the phase one test and also how they establish sustainable local security goals.
Finally, the outstanding key issue that Galmudug must tackle is security. The timing of the security pact and the underlying local security architecture agreement reflects a growing need to establish local security institutions that can prevent any security issues and support the local population.
The newly selected security minister should provide tactical training to the local police, empowering tribal militia by incorporating them into the police and paramilitary of the current administration and building one single mighty force with the credibility and authority to deal with any kind of security issue that may arise and to bring an end to the chronic wars that have been taking place for the past thirty years. I believe finally resolving the security problem will lead Galmudug into a prosperous future and allow the state to establish a powerful administration.
After resolving the security issues, Galmudug state must start reforming its local government institutions and create rehabilitation and repatriation centres for the tribal militia. Another important step that should be taken is to employ a technocratic team, Islamic clerks, tribal elders, and tribal chiefs who have experience in dealing and resolving grievances and tit-for-tat conflicts between tribes. Creating a powerful local committee that can support these actors in resolving outstanding vendettas by giving blood money to those who have lost loved ones, settling outstanding cases, and empowering all tribal elders, chiefs, Islamic scholars, and civil society will also play a major role in supporting a peaceful and prosperous future for the state.
Galmudug is living through a critical time; transitioning from warfare to stabilisation and reform. This transition and the nomination of a new president is mainly seen as a positive sign, which could create opportunities for potential future developments, such as social justice, a more stable state, and economic prosperity. In this era, a new state policy framework has been created in recent months, but this needs local state support as well as federal government support for further development of these institutions. Galmudug state has suffered from piracy problems for a long time, and this remains a significant security issue in addition to organised tribal warfare, which requires swift action to address the many criminal activities that are occurring. Overall, sustainable security goals, justice, and the rebuilding of institutions will not be possible unless all of Galmudug state-society sticks together as one state, forgets the past and comes up with viable solutions for a prosperous and peaceful future.
Dahir Salad Mohamed (Rahajel).
Holder of Master of Science in Medical and Molecular Microbiology from the University of Manchester. Current position: Medical Scientist, at Cambridge University Hospital, Public Health of England, United Kingdom.
He can be contacted via: [email protected]