The long anticipated election in Galmudug which dominated the political discourse for the past few months, is about to be concluded today.
On January 17th, Mohamed Nuur Ga’al became the second elected Speaker of the nascent Federal Member State, after receiving 54 votes from the newly selected Member of Parliament while his opponent, Abdinasir Aden Osman received 34 votes and one vote was declared invalid.
Ga’al is the FGS candidate for this post as he is from the same clan as the Prime Minister and have been working as a senior adviser to PM Khaiyre.
Since both PM Khaiyre and President Farmajo hail from Galmudug and due to the ongoing FMS-FGS contestation, the stakes are high for the current FGS leaders and if their presidential candidate, Mr. Qoor-Qoor fails to win the presidential election in Galmudug, winning the national 2020-2021 elections will become a difficult task if not impossible for the current FGS leaders.
For this reason, the FGS is not leaving anything to chance and have successfully pushed back AWJS from Dhusamareb by covertly increasing the presence of FGS forces in the city forcing the ASWJ Sufi leaders to become guests in their own home town.
Other leaders such as the current President of Galmudug Mr. Haaf and others, have ‘decided’ to operate from Kalkayo town or outside Dhusamareb.
On January 19th, President Haaf announced from Kalkayo what he called the new Members of Parliament of Galmudug, a total number of 69 MPs including members from PM Khaiyre and President Farmajo clans. He is expected to appoint new cabinet very soon.
On January 29th, Chief minister of Galmudug, Sheekh Shaakir of ASWJ was elected by the Sufi group as the new president of Galmudug. With the anticipated election in Dhusamareb today, Galmudug will have three competing governments, each having its own president, cabinet and parliament.
Compared to where Galmudug was few months ago in terms of political stability and governance, this is a major setback and a sign that despite PM Khaiyre efforts, the Galmudug project have failed from the point of view of Galmudug residents. Nevertheless, from the perspective of Villa Somalia, a victory could be declared and the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner could be on display if the FGS candidate, Mr. Qoor-Qoor is elected today. This scenario is far from what Villa Somalia hoped for, as political analyst predict that if Qoor-Qoor is elected by monetizing the election process and by suppressing MPs and other presidential candidates, the newly elected Galmudug president will have the lowest legitimacy score in Somalia, even lower than that of South West State president who came to power in similar circumstances.
Qoor-Qoor presidency is the mostly like outcome of the ongoing Galmudug Electoral Process and many insiders are preparing for this scenario.
The FNP issued a communique yesterday, expressing concerns on how the Galmudug election is being managed by the FGS, outside of the State and Federal constitution.
The four Galmudug presidential candidates (Abdirahman Odawaa, Abdullahi Wehliye, Kamaal Gutaale iyo Abdi Dheere) withdraw from the race pointing out that basic conditions for fair elections are not met and complained about FGS dominance and suppression of MPs as one of the MPs was put under house arrest for three days and was airlifted to Mogadishu by FGS handlers.
This forced the FGS candidate to convince a member of his political campaign group (Mr. Ahmed Shire Mahamed Falagle) to register as a contender, as an attempt to avoid embarrassing situations in which he will be the only candidate on the podium.
The US Ambassador Yamamoto joined the increasing number of actors expressing concerns and commenting on the ongoing Electoral Process in Galmudug by tweeting that the US is closely watching the process in Galmudug.
Amb Yamamoto & @US2Somalia are closely watching the process in #Galmudug. We call for everyone to refrain threats of violence & continue to participate in peaceful dialogue. #Somalia
— U.S. Embassy Mogadishu, Somalia (@US2SOMALIA) February 1, 2020
One of the scenarios one can hope for at this moment in time, is that, if Qoor-Qoor is elected, that he will take the initiative to reach out to all Galmudug relevant actors and try to accommodate the competing actors and unite Galmudug. Unfortunately, this is very unlikely to happen because of Qoor-Qoor militia background and as some of the clans in Galmudug accuse Qoor-Qoor of being personally involved and anticipated in armed clan conflicts and that these grievances are never addressed. The newly elected Speaker is in similar position. Political advisers who have worked with him in the Office of the Prime Minister describe him as someone who is incapable of creating win-win-situation and lacks the skills to lead junior staff in the office and tends to prefer the use of force in all situations.
In case Villa Somalia succeeds in getting their candidate to be sworn in as the new president of Galmudug, this will come with so many challenges. The FGS is unlikely to succeed to keep the status qua in Galmudug and bridge the remaining 10-13 months for the national elections in end 2020, early 2021. Unlike South West State, the price for keeping a leader in Galmudug without the support of the all the clans, is very high if not too high.
The best scenario one can hope for is that after the election, a broad and highly inclusive Political Reconciliation / Power sharing Conference is held for Galmudug and the concept of Chief Minister is reintroduced to accommodate as many actors as possible. This will ideally result into an acceptable outcome, allowing the FGS to maintain a degree of power over Galmudug affairs and members of the opposition to secure their Federal seats and the genuine clan elders who were replaced and displaced by the FGS, to be rehabilitated.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 2, 13:30
Speaker Ga’al announced that Ahmed Abdi Kaariye Qoor-Qoor won the presidential election in Galmudug in the first round as he received 66 votes while the second best candidate received only 9 votes.
The race for the he position of Vice President of Galmudug was won by Abdi Dahid Eid, with 46 votes. His competitor, Mr. Abdiqani Sheekh Ali Diini received 31 votes.
The US have endorsed the outcome of the presidential election in Galmudug as indicated in the below tweet.
Political process in #Galmudug is the start of broad-based reconciliation process. Amb Yamamoto calls on everyone to join peaceful dialogue & avoid violence. Congrats to newly elected Pres @QOORQOORG. Now we must focus on #1 priority of #Somalia=Security https://t.co/qK6ykc2SYo pic.twitter.com/RFgWWWLlsK
— U.S. Embassy Mogadishu, Somalia (@US2SOMALIA) February 2, 2020