Galmudug is making a historic turn in its road to peace and stability after decades of insecurity, profound form of political conflict and local tribal wars. Galmudug used to host assorted militia groups including Al-Shahab, Ahlusuna wal- Jamaica (ASWJ) and tribal militias but following Galmudug’s recent election, an unexpected change permeated the region. It attracted the minds of Somali intellectuals and the eyes of the International Community. During the preparation phase of establishing a nascent state, political pundits and civil societies held a pessimistic view about the Galmudug State election, where many people already held strong views in tribal politics without a genuine analysis of the issues in the ground, it was very easy to dismiss the Galmudug political process. Mainly, because the pessimistic views were based on the past experience with elections dominated by the federal government.
Grassroots Dialogue and Reconciliation Among The Galmudug Clans
Habar-Gidir elders committee who inspired the incredible change that has been manifesting in Galmudug state recently, were elected in a peace conference which was held in Hobyo by the clan elders, religious scholars and intellectuals. The conference commenced on 15 July 2018 and ended on 5 September 2019. That conference was in the works for close to two years and the main agendas centered on the reconciliation of inter-clan issues and neighboring clans who settled in the region. During the conference, the clan elected prof. Abdulkadir Mohamed Shirwa as chair of the formed committee. Additionally, 28 commissionaires were elected to work with him. At the end of the Hobyo Peace Conference, a four points communique were announced as the following:
1- Leading committee; the leading committee of Habargidir clan, is a committee united by the sub-clans of the Habargidir clan, and this committee will represent by the clan at the public events including cultures and politics and social developments
2- Inauguration ceremony of the committee will be held after sub-committees of the commission are established on 26 October 2019.
3- The committee will work towards the reconciliation between the clans of Galmudug state and also will work on the rebuilding of the functional member state of Galmudug.
4- Hobyo peace conference welcomes the efforts of federal government and the help of Somalia’s sisterly country of Qatar’s pledge to rebuild of the Hobyo port but we are requesting from the federal government of Somalia to share about the project transparently to Somalis at large especially to the people of Galmudug. This includes when the projects start date and if there is any requirement before the project commences.
Apart from the Habyo conference, there were numerous interclan reconciliation conferences were held in many parts of Galmudug such as Herale and Galdogob to reconcile among interclan and to resolve previous grievances.
The Preparation And Execution Of The Galmudug State Elections.
Clan compromise has been the biggest factor specially the agreement between former president of Galmudug Ahmed Duale Gelle “Haaf” and federal Somali government as well as the visit of Somalia’s prime-minister Hassan Ali Kheye to push the Galmudug reconciliation attracted the eyes of Somali people anund the International Community to Galmudug. Nonetheless, during the lead up of Galmudug’s election, the situation was shakily unpredictable as vast numbers of government troops were deployed in Galmudug’s biggest cities. Subsequetntly, the opposition parties vying for the Somali presidency raised critical concerns of the federal government’s involvement and hand in the election. ASJW also warned the government not to violate the signed agreement in Gur’el between the government and ASWJ.
The leaders of the federal government ignored consistently the warnings that were from the political parties which in the end resulted in the most influential candidates from Somalia’s political parties to withdraw their presidential candidacies alleging that the government’s misuse of power and accused of meddling in the election. All these conflicting issues had the potential to jeopardize the election of Galmudug and its future. A number of scholars and political analysts stated that the government’s involvement in Galmudug’s election process will negatively impact the election outcome.
On 2 February 2020 in Dhusamareb, the capital of Galmudug, 89 parliament elected Ahmed kariye Qorqoor as the official president of Galmudug state. After the election, people worried that the already fragile security would deteriorate, and many Somalis believed opposition parties would reject the election results, however, on the contrary, they stayed silent. On 27 February 2020, a mere few days of Qoorqoor’s presidency, heavy clashes broke out between ASWJ militia and Galmudug State troops that lasted hours were Galmudug State troops seized ASWJ’s bases in the city and disarmed its militia. At that moment many thought Galmudug was on its way of instability as usual and no one was imagining that Galmudug’s turning point is not far and politically it will be stable but the elders and elected president political maturity saved the galmudug from the bad consequence.
Elder’s Role in Gulmudug’s Recent Political Stability
The elders role in the reconciliation between the clans throughout Galmudug State and the tireless efforts of the political committee towards resolving the complaints made by candidates who withdrew their candidacy after Villa Somalia’s apparent interference of the election played a critical role in peaceful election. These candidates included Abdurrahman Odawa and Kamal Guutale who were representing different opposition parties. Their compromise and the political stability of Galmudug spearheaded by the committee (elders) eased the political tension during the election process and resulted in forming an inclusive government which was included well known politicians in Somali politics who held variety positions from the preceding administrations and have been staunch critics to federal government.
Galmudug so far looks stable and functional since an important and a political compromise was achieved and that attracted international investors and NGOs. Kassim Gabow Duale, the head of Nordic International Support, tweeted a picture of him with President Ahmed Qorqor with the caption of “Discussing ongoing planned stabilization, social and economic development projects with Galmudug president funded by Norway in Somalia and European Union in Somalia.” The Galmudug state has suffered years of political squabbles and inerclan conflicts, but recently transitioned into a successful political process that created a new momentum for reconciliation, inclusive election and now Galmudug administration is aiming for economic development.
Role of Dhusamareb Conference
Dhusamareb hosted a high-level conference between the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member States, after a prolonged period of mistrust between some of the Federal Member States’ leaders and the President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullah Farmaajo.
Dhusamareb conference was proposed by the newly elected President of Galmudug State, Ahmed Kariye Qorqor, after a failed attempt by President Farmaajo to hold a conference in Mogadishu with the regional federal member states. Kariye played as a middle man between federal member states and the federal Somali government. He played a key role in facilitating the first phase of the Dhusamareb Conference. Following initial talks, federal member states’ presidents agreed to invite the President and the Prime Minister Khaire to discuss about the upcoming Somali election and its procedures. Later, president Farmao and prime minister Khaire joined the conference. This has been seen as a success story for Galmudug state for being a previously a broken state to becoming national political broker, which captured the attention of Somalis and international community and instilled a sense of hope for stable and successful political process. The President and the Member States’ Presidents held long meetings in the second phase of the Dhusamareb conference that ended successfully. Both the Somali Federal Government and the Member States agreed to come together in a third Dhuamareb conference within two weeks. Together, they formed a technical committee that will be working the logistics of the national 2020 election. Each member State nominates their delegates who will represent them in the next conference. This again proved the Galmudug state as an important political player in Somali politics.
Taking everything into account, there are many lessons that one could draw from Galmudug’s critical role in seeking consensus through reconciliation and peace. One that other member states can learn from Galmudug is the importance of clan elders in state building and reconciliation process. Puntland and Somaliland have already proved that stable institutions can only be reached through reconciliation spearheaded by clan elders. Moreover, politically fragile states can learn from Galmudug on how elders can foster stable politics and facilitate a political compromise. Finally I recommend Galmudug’s state leaders and its people to sustain the political stability and focus on developmental projects such as building ports, roads, schools, health centers, and to work together towards human development as the president Ahmed Kariye Qorqoor recently stated that “We as a Galmudug people have decided to turn our gun into a hoe and cultivate our land.” It goes without saying that President Ahmed Qorqoor is determined and dedicated to make a change in his state with the support of the people.
Dhaqane Roble Halane