Galaydh is Waiting for “a Squirrel’s Water Caravan”

Hargeisa (PP Commentary) — The leader of Khatumo Movement Dr Ali Khalif Galaydh seems to have been let down by the President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who was unable to answer a question about how MPs and Senators from Disputed Territories could be selected for 2021 elections?.

The Federal Government under President Farmaajo promotes a North-South dialogue. That might explain his reticence about a contentious question. Neither the Federal Government nor Somaliland Government recognises the Disputed Territories designation. Only aid agencies use the label to remind aid workers of risks involved when working or visiting territories claimed by Puntland and Somaliland. Most of the territories are under the control of Somaliland Administration.

Galaydh (left) failed to cash on the informal recognition from Puntland under President Abdirahman Farole.

Dr Galaydh said he had been let down by the former Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud who did not give Khatumo the institutional support its leaders expected of the Federal Government. Khatumo came on the scene in 2012 — twenty years after Somaliland unilaterally seceded from Somalia, and eleven years after Puntland was founded. In 2012 Khatumo negotiated a partial federal representation privileges to select five of the eight MPs Puntland would have nominated. That deal was rescinded in 2016, when former Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and former Federal Government Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid A. Sharmarke had signed an agreement to co-opt Puntland into an electoral model based on 4.5 system that Puntland intially objected to. The deal forced Galaydh to sign an agreement with Somaliland Government from a position of ‘representation’ weakness when Somaliland presidential elections were in full swing in constituencies Khatumo claims to represent. Dr Galaydh missed the chance to cash on the informal recognition he received from Puntland President Abdirahman Farole who believed that the clan-based political institutions of Puntland had a limited shelf life.

Puntland under Farole facilitated the termination of the Transitional Federal Government in the hope that the federal system would become irreversibly institutionalised. His plan to introduce political parties in Puntland faced stiff opposition from politicians committed to maintaining centralism in Puntland despite sentimental attachment to a federal system seen by Mogadishu elites as lethal imposition from Garowe. The Chairman of Mustaqbal, a political association, Mohamed Ismail (Siibad) recently argued, “Puntland cannot promote a federal system when it feels alienated from the federal institutions”.

In 2016 Puntland signed up to Vision 2016 on the condition that the 4.5 system will not be a basis for future federal elections. Although Dr Galaydh does not share with Puntland leaders the view that it is incumbent on Mogadishu to protect the 1998 Charter that bind disputed territories to Puntland clan wise, he asserted that the Federal Government left Khatumo out in the federal statemaking processes through which Galmudug and Hirshabelle had come into existence. “Galaydh is waiting for a squirrel’s water caravan — [meaning he mistakes mirage for water]” says Mohamud Ali, a political journalist in Buhodle, where Galaydh was once based before making Hargeisa his political foxhole.

If the electoral commission defends the legality of 2016 agreement Puntland will once again claim to represent disputed territories federally. That will be a much-needed, but short-term, political capital for the Mother of the Somali federal system.

© Puntland Post, 2020