Political Sands Shift in Central Somalia: Galmudug’s Political Crisis

This week, the Interim Galmudug Administration’s (IGA) parliament voted to oust regional president Abdikarim Guled from office, citing “incompetent leadership” in a no-confidence vote that had been looming for months.

Earlier in the week, Guled’s presidential guards reportedly blocked access to the parliamentary building to stop the vote. In response, a Galmudug parliamentary official requested AMISOM to intervene in the dispute, despite the fact that its primary mission is to fight al-Shabaab rather than to become involved in domestic political disputes.

Guled alleged that the no-confidence vote had occurred outside parliamentary protocols, making the outcome illegitimate. During his press conference in Mogadishu, he stated: 

“Several MPs who held a secret meeting at a cafe in Adado could not vote me out of the power, as the parliament sessions are not yet opened officially.”

He continued, “There is no doubt that parliament has powers. It has the constitutional power to remove the president from office, among other things. But I say it is inappropriate to file such a motion at this particular time. I do not think it is in the benefit of the Somali people. I want members of parliament to feel the inappropriateness of the motion at this time, considering the situation prevailing in the country.”

Guled issued a three-month “state of emergency” in an effort to delegitimize the vote. Interestingly, the order was dated one day before the parliamentary vote took place, probably to further counter its validity.


He also received support from his ally Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who issued a warning over potential unrest. According to one report:

President Mohamud sided with Mr. Guled, his longtime ally and former Interior Minister saying that the Galmudug Parliament was on leave and called the regional lawmakers to respect the current situation of the region.”

One observer pointed out that as long as Hassan Sheikh Mohamud won re-election this year, then Guled’s stint as IGA president would have been worth the effort. The logic follows: In return for Hassan Sheikh allegedly funding Guled’s campaign for IGA president in 2015, then Guled in turn could assist Hassan Sheikh’s allies in winning part of Galmudug’s allocation of seats in the new national parliament, which is scheduled to soon select the president.

Regional Political Developments

Amid the disruption in the Galmudug administration, a rival political-military organization made an announcement intended to enhance its appearance as a serious regional stakeholder.

Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a (ASWJ), an Ethiopia-supported Sufi militia, announced it had formed a 65-member regional parliament led by new speaker Sha’ir Sheekow Mohamed.

Photo Gallery: ASWJ parliament members inaugurated in Dhusamareeb

ASWJ has battled sporadically with Galmudug forces over control of towns in central Somalia and has refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the IGA because it was not substantially involved in its establishment.

Perceptions of non-inclusivity have been the driving factor of crises in Somalia’s federalism process, and multiple attempts to reconcile ASWJ and IGA have failed.

ASWJ currently controls the IGA capital of Dhusamareeb and has been implementing its own tax collection system.

The Comeback Kid

On Wednesday, Guled made a high-profile return from Mogadishu to Adado. Local forces were photographed at his arrival, suggesting some security elements still supported him.

AMISOM forces were also there to greet Guled, once again putting the peacekeepers in an interesting spot during a political dispute, especially considering how Galmudug’s parliament had asked AMISOM to act against Guled’s forces.

Watch this space.

Categories: galmudug

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