By Mohamud A. Dersi

Kismayo ( PPM) —  In 2009 when Al-shabaab captured Kismayo, Ahmed Mohamed Islam (aka Ahmed Madobe), then a senior Hizbul Islam officer,  called on the extremist organisation to make peace with Hizbul Islam.

Hizbul Islam had dissolved when its founder, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, joined Al-shabaab. Ahmed Madobe fled to Afmadow where he helped  Raskamboni brigade to regroup as a formidable enemy of Al-shabaab.  Ahmed Madobe  allied himself with Kenya Defence Forces that invaded Somalia in 2011 to counter the threat of Al-shabaab forces in Gedo.  In 2011 and 2012 Raskamboni launched  hit and run attacks against Al-shabaab but was hardly able to retake territory from Al-shabaab. Azania project headed by  Dr Mohamed Abdi Gandi, a rival of Ahmed Madobe’s,  boosted the latter’s chances to lead a Federal Member State that was in the pipeline. The former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton told Somali stakeholders she had met in Nairobi in 2012 that plans to dislodge Al-shabaab from Kismaayo were afoot.

In September 2012 Kenya Defence Forces captured Kismayo in conjunction of Raskamboni brigade. Ahmed Madobe emerged as the potential leader of a federal member state in the making. Clashes between Raskamboni brigade  and forces of former Defence Minister Barre Hirale preceded the 2013 election won by Ahmed Madobe as the President of Jubaland Interim Administration. In 2015 he won the Jubaland Presidency to lead a fully recognised federal member state. His 2019 candidacy for a third term ran into trouble   after the Federal Government formulated a policy to oversee electoral processes of federal member states formed after 2004, the year Somalia adopted a federal system. With the exception of Puntland State,  the Federal Government has had input in the formation of the other four federal member states. New guidelines published the Federal Ministry of Interior and Federal Affairs vested in the Federal Government powers to prepare criteria for selecting MPs, who elect  Jubaland President.  The agreement signed in Nairobi by Jubaland leader and three rivals who questioned his legitimacy after 2019 elections removed one hurdle in the path to making Jubaland an inclusive administration. UNSOM has welcomed the agreement as a steppingstone to getting other stakeholders involved the political process. “Somalis, like others, deserve to choose their leaders via free, fair and legal elections.  Last August’s process was deeply flawed.  It’s good to see old rivals reconcile but truly inclusive politics – local and national – requires more” tweeted Ben Fender, the British Ambassador to Somalia.

“Four  men have thrashed out their differences in Nairobi. Jubaland is a multi-clan federal member state. The deal deepens the crisis of legitimacy facing President Ahmed Madobe” says Dahir Abdi,  a former traditional leader in Jamaame.  The Council of Inter-State Cooperation founded in Kismayo in 2018 folded after Hirshabelle, Galmudug and South West allied themselves with the Federal Government of Somalia.  Close relations with Kenya at the expense of cooperation with Federal Government further eroded the legitimacy of Jubaland leader.  Like Mukhtar Robow, Ahmed Madobe has joined mainstream politics as a reformed extremist. Somalia’s International Partners urge Ahmed Madobe to cooperate with the Federal Government to make Jubaland Administration more inclusive. Following that  bit of advice could politically stand Ahmed Madobe in good stead.                                              

© Puntland Post Monthly,  2020

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