By T. Roble
IN THE RUN-UP to the South West elections last December, the Federal Government arm-twisted then-president Sharif Sheikh Adan into resigning and pulling out of the race. Subsequently, Villa Somalia mandarins in cahoots with Ethiopian forces forcefully arrested candidate Mukhtar Robow, flew him to Mogadishu and effectively ‘pulled him out’ of the presidential race.
First forward July 2018, the same fellows at Villa Somalia enlisted the services of the Ethiopians (who have for the longest possible played antagonistic politics in Somalia) to wrest control of Jubbaland in the then polls. But the battle proved no mean feat this time around as Madobe, supposedly with Kenyan support outwitted his rivals from Mogadishu and went ahead to retain his seat.
In both scenarios, the rules of the game were bent in favour of one party. Villa Somalia forced through Abdiaziz Mohamed Lafta Gareen while Madobe made his way through with apparent support from Nairobi. Looked at objectively, both Lafta Gareen and Madobe came into office through a process that fell short of electoral threshold.
The people of South West and Jubbaland through their respective representative mechanism were in one way or another denied the opportunity to select/elect their state governors. But either way, they now have a compromise president. It follows therefore that the Federal Government, just like the people of South West and Jubbaland has to contend with the product of the electoral process in both states.
The Federal Government lost the moral authority to question Madobe’s election when it engaged in mafia-style tactics in Baidoa in December. It is instructive to note that as a result of the forceful ‘withdrawal’ of Robow from the race, at least 15 people were killed in a flare-up of violence which even the UN put the blame squarely on the doors of Villa Somalia.
It is not therefore upon the Federal Government to recognize Madobe’s election; it is the people of Jubbaland. Same as it denied the people South West free choice, the Federal Government too waived upon itself the luxury of deciding Madobe’s fate.
Any restrictions on Jubbaland- economic sanctions and otherwise, are at the detriment of the people of Jubbaland. The recent air travel restrictions by the Somalia Civil Aviation Authority adversely affected livelihoods in Jubbaland including humanitarian flow. Both President Mohamed Farmaajo and Prime Minister Hassan Khaire need to bear in mind that they hold state resources in trust and are not therefore at liberty to utilize them for political ends. Such must also be resident in the mind of Madobe at all times.
As it emerged from the just concluded Somalia Partnership Forum, the squabbling between the two levels of government had significantly affected the realization of key milestones under the Mutual Accountability Framework (MAF) agreed to in Brussels on July 2018. UK Ambassador to Somalia Ben Fender summed up the frustrations not only of the international community but also Somalia- ‘show real leadership.’
Going forward, Madobe will soon be sworn into office and unless otherwise, becomes the president of Jubbaland just like his counterpart in South West is for the next four years. Both Madobe and Villa Somalia need each other not for their survival but for the common interest of the people of Somalia. Should Villa Somalia maintain its stance that it will not recognize Madobe, then the people of Jubbaland, and not necessarily Madobe will continue to suffer in isolation.
The only legitimate way to remove Madobe out of office now is through a legal means which apparently is not in place. There is no proper legal framework including competent courts to challenge the election of a state president neither is there a Constitutional Court to give an interpretation of constitutional issues arising out of such cases.
As is common knowledge, subsequent governments since the adoption of the Provisional Constitution in 2012 have deliberately ensured a weak and dependent judiciary.
Both Madobe and Villa Somalia are a necessary evil to each other and must, therefore, realise that and work together for the good of the people of Somalia.