Despite opposition, Galmudug strikes deal with ASWJ
The new president of Galmudug administration in central Somalia, Abdikarim Hussein Guled, has inked a power-sharing agreement with leaders of the Sufi militia group Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamee’a (ASWJ), aiming to integrate the latter into Galmudug administration.
The four-point deal was witnessed by Federal Government officials and signed on Aug. 27th in Adado, Galgadud region, after weeks of closed-door discussions and negotiations. If implemented, the deal could bring communities in Somalia’s central regions closer to realizing a unified governance structure and lasting peace.
ASWJ is a political and military faction fighting against Al Shabaab insurgents mainly in Galgadud region since 2008. The group experienced years of internal friction and strained relations with the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS).
Under the new agreement, ASWJ forces would be integrated into the Galmudug administration. But already political tensions are high, as another ASWJ leader, Sheikh Mohamed Shakir in Dhusamareb, Galmudug’s designated state capital, has dismissed the agreement as “a deal between Galmudug and individuals who used to be ASWJ officers”.
The deal recognizes previous agreements between the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and ASWJ, signed on March 15, 2010, March 6, 2013, and March 6, 2015, as well as the July 30, 2014, agreement signed in Mogadishu that paved the way for establishment of Galmudug administration.
ASWJ initially signed the 2014 agreement, but later disagreed with the Federal Government’s “interference” of the Adado Conference (April 15 – July 4, 2015), which led to the eventual formation of Galmudug administration.
Somali government-allied local fighters clashed with ASWJ forces in Dec. 2014 and Feb. 2015, with ASWJ forces seizing control of Dhusamareb and Guri’el, in Galgadud region.
Under the new agreement’s Article 1 (“The Objectives”), Clauses 2-4 stipulate that Galmudug and ASWJ are “to share this agreement with the people”, to “jointly fight against extremist groups”, and to “jointly fight against extremist ideology…and to empower Islamic culture by establishing the Islamic Consultation Council of Galmudug”.
Clause 5 states that, “based on this agreement and Galmudug Charter, ASWJ will, with immediate effect, integrate its administrative and security institutions with Galmudug”.
Under Article 2 (“Power-sharing”), the two parties agreed that ASWJ’s integration with Galmudug during two distinct phases. The parties agreed that, “Galmudug shall allocate to ASWJ 25% of State Parliament, 30% Council of Ministers and 25% of security commanders”.
President Guled signed the power-sharing agreement on behalf of Galmudug and Sheikh Ibrahim Sheikh Hassan Gureye signed on behalf of ASWJ, in his capacity as “Chairman of the ASWJ Councils”.
Guled pushes for consolidation
Guled, a close ally of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, was elected as Galmudug leader on July 4th and has been campaigning to consolidate political power in the central regions, and the agreement with ASWJ is part of this strategy.
President Hassan opened the Adado Conference and has been a vocal supporter of Galmudug’s new leadership. Galmudug’s leader recently supported President Hassan and cautioned Somali MPs against the impeachment motion introduced in Federal Parliament.
Both Hassan and Guled had called for postponing Jubaland’s presidential election, which occurred on Aug. 15th with parliamentarians re-electing Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Islam ‘Madobe’ as Jubaland president for a new four-year term.
The Somali leader is expected to support inclusion of Galmudug into the Somali Leadership Forum (SLF), comprising of the President of Somalia, and leaders of the regional states of Puntland, Jubaland and Southwest. The SLF has held meetings in Mogadishu (Feb. 6, 2015) and Garowe (May 1, 2015) and Guled’s inclusion into the next SLF meeting is seen to bolster President Hassan’s position in federal-state negotiations.