I have been closely following up the recent political stalemate between the federal government and Jubaland state that has led the reelection of Mr. Ahmed for a third term while another two presidents have also claimed to have been elected for the top position in Jubaland. The establishment of government in Galmudug is also witnessing political volatility and the ultimate outcome may be similar to that of Jubaland; elections that is not in compliance with the electoral directives issued by the Federal Government, and a president that challenges the Federal government, if all goes well and the tensions between the concerned groups in Galmudug including Ahlu-Sunna is managed peacefully.
The results of the elections in Puntland in the beginning of this year was not different from the recent elections in Jubaland, although the former incumbent, who had his own differences with the federal government, has lost his position to the current president, Mr. Said Abdullahi Deni. However, both men share the same hostile views against the federal government. This is also supported by the current constitution of Puntland which clearly states that Puntland will operate as an independent government up until the constitution of Somalia is finalized and meets the approval of the people of Puntland.
Somaliland seems to be a hard target at the moment as far as there is a fragility in the federal system in the Southern parts of Somalia and the federal government’s oversight role is limited. At least three regional states out of the five existing federal regional states do not see the current federal leaders as flexible enough to cooperate with. Even though Hirshabele and Southwest regional states are relatively overseen by the federal government, but the stability in these regions is unpredictable and much needs to be done in improving both the politics and security. Both presidents in these two regional states are cooperating with the federal government, which is offering peaceful state of mind to the federal government of Somalia. Maintaining a good work relationship with Jubaland, Puntland and Galmudug proved to be difficult for the federal government due to the different political views heads of states and the federal leaders have.
There is a growing opposition group, in all over regions of Somalia, with the majority based in Mogadishu. These opposition groups were formed in different circumstances; some have the ambition of filling the highest position in Villa Somalia, some are feeling disappointed after serving the current administration, but were relieved from their positions while some others are feeling threatened in a way or another. All in all, these opposition groups with the conflicting interests seem to be joining forces to topple the current administration and had arranged a motion earlier this year that ended up in vain. Despite the fact that they were enemies yesterday, they are united today to oppose the current administration till its last breathe.
Kenya, UAE and Saudi Arabia are also on the motion to support the opposition groups for a reason or another. Kenya are in dispute with Somalia over the sea border, while UAE and Saudi Arabia are upset with the neutral decision that has been taken by the federal government towards the Gulf crises and the isolation of Qatar. UAE, through DP world, has signed agreements with Somaliland, Puntland and Jubaland on developing ports in these respective areas, a move that has been snubbed by the federal government of Somalia.
Despite these challenges, the federal government of Somalia is doing its best at several fronts and progressing towards the better. It has given the international diplomacy a facelift, reformed the public financial management, and improved the security in some areas. The current government has also contributed to the improvement of the education system, health services, and good governance, building on the previous efforts made by the previous administrations. All these commendable and remarkable efforts should not be nullified by the struggle with the federal states. It is indeed tiring and can cost the current administration its reputation. The tribal-based federal states regard themselves representatives of their people, even if the reality on the ground might be different. Bringing them 100% under the federal government in its legality might prove it difficult to achieve at this time, and therefore would be better if they are moderately overseen, and the bigger challenges are focused on.
It would have been better if our leaders at the federal government calm down the situation in Jubaland, avoid its escalation, and reach a mutual understanding with Mr. Ahmed Madobe, for the sake of stabilizing the region. The mutual understanding should clearly state the power of the president in Jubaland and the level of the oversight the federal government should exercise in overseeing the region as part of the federal system. The issues are far bigger than Ahmed Madobe himself. On one hand, Kenya is craving to take over part of the sea of Somalia, and on the other hand, antagonists would be willing to take advantage of the disagreement between the federal government and Jubaland state should the situation worsens and the region carves up to pieces. One thing that the federal government should implement is the replacement of the Kenyan peacekeeping forces with another country’s forces, preferably Eritrea, Djibouti or even Ugandans. The peacekeeping forces would be deployed along the border and in all over major cities and military paces in Jubaland continuing with their mission.
The wisdom would be warning foreign countries to refrain from interference with the federal states and reaching any kind of agreements with its leaders without the consent and knowledge of the federal government. We have to first practically gain our sovereignty and win the battle of the foreign activities. The federal government should, on the other hand, empower the heads of federal states in fully exercising their power internally without interference so that they don’t feel threatened. After all, they are part of the federal system and are aspiring to contribute to one strong Somalia. Their achievements would the achievements of the federal government.
With the oversight role of the federal government being exercised, it would also have been better to let the people elect whoever they see fit for the top seat in Galmudug and lead the region towards the better. Save the funds for the needy people that would otherwise be used to bring someone loyal to the top seat. Whoever comes should be welcomed with open hands and made feel treasured. The federal government to show good faith in the election process and welcome the outcomes without prejudice. At the end, the federal government should eye on gaining further reputation and avoiding civil obedience like the case in Jubaland.
Puntland claims to be the mother of the federal system in Somalia and always reiterates that it is part of the federal system in Somalia. The current president might be affiliated with the strong opposition groups based in Mogadishu, but would be obliged to work with the federal government should it show some flexibility in giving up some internal oversight role. However, any agreement with foreign bodies and governments should be approved by the central government, and this is something that should not be relinquished in any case.
I would conclude this piece of writing, that the federal government should now concentrate on finalizing the constitution and building the justice system to its fullest capacity. Make the lawmakers in both houses busy as well as the federal sates. Win the battle of the sea border dispute with Kenya and bring back the good picture of the great Somali again. Protect the federal states from the naked intervention being exercised by the foreign countries and finally contribute to the effective development of “one man one vote” elections. Let us try the peaceful and flexibility methods of managing the country without giving up the oversight roles. I am sure, if the above recommendations are bought, this administration will be remembered forever as the best administration to have ever managed the country with all the challenges that exist.
God bless Somalia.
By Ahmed Fiqi