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Somalia: Galmudug in turmoil as ASWJ boycotts new election conditions

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online
Sheikh Mohamed Shakir, Galmudug chief minister and powerful ASWJ leader

DHUSAMAREB, Somalia - The much anticipated Galmadug state polls have been thrown to a limbo following an unprecedented tussle between Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a and the elections technical committee, Garowe Online reports.

Newly unveiled electoral laws over the requirements for Members of Parliament are the center of controversy, something that would derail the polls.

According to the guidelines released, an age limit of 25 years for potential candidates, possession of high school certificate and certification of non-criminal records were among stringent requirements.

These, the committee argued, "would put the bar high for aspirants for the sake of quality and credibility for the leaders from the state".

However, the Sufi group rubbished the conditions noting it does not recognize the committee, a move that could further crumble plans for the polls.

“The committee named by the Federal Government does not have the authority over the choice of the 20 members by Ahlu Sunna,” the group said in a statement.

Galmadug administration, the group said, should honor the deal signed with it recently for the sake of smooth transition in the state.

Already, the group released its list of 20 MPs on Sunday has drawn from 12 sub-clans withing Galmudug state, further causing anxiety and confusion.

In a deal with the Federal Government early this month, ASWJ was allotted 20 seats in the 89-member state assembly for the life of the next parliament which lasts for four years.

The dispute over the new conditions by the polls body is likely to affect the elections timelines released by the committee last week.

The tentative timetable released by the committee indicated that the selection of MPs was set to commence from December 24 through December 30.

A new president for the state scheduled to be elected January 9 based in the electoral timelines.

The standoff comes barely a month after a number of opposition leaders within the Forum for National Parties accused President Mohamed Farmajo of interfering with the states' affairs.

In a statement, opposition leaders also alleged that a number of Ethiopian non-AMISOM troops had crossed over to the Galmadug state "for the interference of the polls".

The Ethiopian non-AMISOM troops were accused last year in December for allegedly influencing the outcome of Southwest polls.

During the crisis, Murkhar Robow, the former Al-Shabaab spokesman, was blocked from contesting for the presidency. He was arrested in skirmishes that led to the death of 11 people in Baidoa.


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