Why the Somali Government should encourage, even take part in, more ‘Mudolood forums.’
EDITORIAL | Another week elapsed without Somalia knowing when or how to conduct the upcoming general elections. Yet as time runs out, some individuals and local groups have come forth to try to find a solution.
On Thursday, the Mudulood clan, gathering in Mogadishu issued a communique, some kind of declaration, on a number of issues. Among them was the call for timely elections, which they warned will cause a serious political crisis if the polls were delayed or terms of incumbents extended arbitrarily.
The group called for an urgent determination of the status of Mogadishu, either as a state or federal district or whichever hybrid structure the country may come up with, as long as it is acceptable.
There were other points raised in the declaration, such as opposition to non-Amisom troops around this electioneering time as well as vocal support for initiated talks with Somaliland and the Dhusamareb round of negotiations on the electoral plan.
The Mudolood clan was obviously, first, fronting their interest. They occupy most of Mogadishu’s metropolitan area, including neighboring regions. So it was only sensible that they demand clarification on the status of the capital city.
The clan is one of the influential Hawiye sub-clans in Somalia, having produced three Presidents in the past, numerous diplomats, politicians, military chiefs, academicians, business people, and other influential people. Put simply, the clan has had its finger on the pulse of every Somali sector.
But on second thought, the gathering, dubbed ‘consultative forum’ was happening to fill a gap in Somalia. Such meetings happen with so much fanfare because the public has not seen similar programs fronted by the Federal government.
As we said before, nearly every stakeholder in Somalia could be blamed, one way or the other, for not ensuring the planned universal suffrage happened on time. But the federal government gets more stick for not holding as many stakeholder forums.
The federal government was well represented at the Dhusamareb meeting last month, but we reckon that the conference was actually the brainchild of federal-state presidents, tired of wrangling and in need of speaking as one voice.
That conference agreed to form a joint technical committee to oversee recommendations on electoral plans. But ever since the Dhusamareb meeting ended and leaders agreed to review recommendations of a committee they were to form, there have been only sideways discussions.
A country seeking a common solution should encourage as many consultative forums as possible. This is because these declarations they make can help the work of the joint committee.
At the Mudolood forum, we saw representations from the federal states. Of course, most participants were from this clan and most were critics of President Mohamed Farmaajo’s administration. But did the FGS give it the attention it deserved? Did it send an observer to see if any of the views discussed there add or subtract from what the country is building?
At this electioneering time, we believe the FGS should not be too consumed by riding against opponents; but it should be open-minded to help the country find a solution.
We acknowledge that the acting Prime Minister Mahdi Gulaid has already issued the terms of reference for the committee to begin work which will involve “to discuss and advise on the upcoming 2020/2021 elections.”
But his office is uncertain about whether it will be in charge of implementing those outcomes. As it is, he is acting Prime Minister who can be replaced anytime should President Farmaajo decide to nominate a new person. Yet the President hasn’t yet replaced Hassan Khaire, who was in the Dhusamareb meeting before he was ousted.
Perhaps the solution will be found on consultative forums and the FGS should encourage them.