Somalia: Puntland businessman elected new Galkayo mayor

GALKAYO, Somalia Aug 27 (Garowe Online) - A relatively unknown businessman has won a peaceful mayor’s election in the city of Galkayo, defeating the incumbent mayor in an election monitored by Puntland State’s leadership, Radio Garowe reports.

The mayor’s election took place Thursday in Galkayo, capital of Mudug region. Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed “Farole,” the president of Puntland, and Vice President Abdisamad Ali Shire were among attendees at the ceremony.

The 31-member Galkayo District Council, including five women, has been re-established in a community-based process involving the city’s important stakeholders, including the business community, traditional elders and Islamic clerics, Puntland officials said.

Col. Ahmed Ali Salad, Galkayo’s former mayor, competed against a local businessman named Abdirahman Mohamdu Haji. With 29 District Councilors present, Mr. Haji received 20 votes and was declared the winner by the election committee.

The former mayor offered a brief speech, saying that he welcomes the “democratic election” and pledged to work with the new mayor.

Mr. Haji, who is relatively unknown in local politics, vowed to bring major changes to Galkayo, a city still reeling from the assassination of Puntland Information Minister Warsame Abdi “Sefta Bananka” earlier this month.

He urged the local community, particularly traders, clan elders and Islamic scholars, to assist him as he endeavors on the task of instituting an effective municipal administration for Galkayo.

“I will work with government organs and aid agencies,” Galkayo’s new mayor said.

Separately, the Galkayo District Council elected the council’s new chairman. The old system in Puntland recognized the mayor and the district council chairman as the same person, but some changes were made to the selection criteria and the two offices were made separate of each other.

President Farole, who gave the keynote address, thanked the election committee, the mayor’s candidates and members of the district council.

“I will soon appoint public officials to key government posts in Mudug [region],” Puntland’s leader said, while specifically saying that he will appoint a new governor, a new security committee and a new police commander.

Galkayo is located in central Somalia, at the crossroads between the relatively stable Puntland regional government and south-central Somalia, where Islamist insurgents are battling to overthrow Somalia’s UN-backed Transitional Federal Government.

Puntland administers most of Galkayo, including the city’s small airport and key checkpoints to control the flow of traffic.

Source: Garowe Online

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