Somali MPs visit Jubaland amid fallout with Federal Government

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Members of the Somali Federal Parliament are visiting Kismayo to collect views on the election law bill ahead of 2020/21 polls, former Interior Security minister Abdirizak Mohamed confirmed.

The trip by the parliamentary election committee to Jubaland began on Saturday, October 26 is a great boost to embattled Jubaland State President Ahmed Madobe, who has been at loggerheads with the Federal Government of Somalia for more than two years.

Abdirizak Mohamed, former Minister of Internal Security of Somalia and now a member of parliament confirmed that the committee held a final consultation meeting with Jubaland cabinet, an indication that Madobe’s administration is gradually being recognized.

“The parliamentary committee on the electoral bill continues to engage and hold consultations with stakeholders. Today In Kismayo the committee is holding its final consultation meeting with Jubbalanad cabinet,” he said in a tweet.

Authorities in the port city say the visiting delegation is in Jubaland to review, exchange ideas, and, most importantly, get input and Jubaland’s position on the draft Somali electoral law.

Somali is expected to conduct national elections next year despite a dispute over the modality and the committee is currently collecting views on the format that should be adopted across all states to avert a possible crisis.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo rejected Madobe’s victory in August 2019, accusing Kenya of forcefully imposing him on the people of Jubaland. The federal government termed his reelection ‘illegitimate’.

For his part, President Ahmed Madobe has blamed Mogadishu for directly interfering with Jubaland’s internal affairs and warned of possible retaliation if the standoff persisted.

“We took dead bodies and wounds on our shoulders as we liberated Kismayo while he [Farmajo] was having coffee at Starbucks at the time,” Madobe said following his re-election.

In what was seen as indirect embargoes against Madobe’s administration, the government banned all direct flights to Kismayo, effectively delaying Madobe’s inauguration.

But during his inauguration a fortnight ago, Madobe called for reconciliation, adding that ‘dialogue and collaboration’ are essential in the administration of the Somalia government.

“Somalia needs positive engagement, dialogue, consultation, and collaboration which are benchmarks that can drive the Somali people to development,” he said in Kismayu.

“We face a collective responsibility to secure our country and we have to confront and wage an offensive against Al-Shabaab from their hideouts,” he added, referring to the militant group that controls parts of Jubbaland.

The visit by legislators from Mogadishu hints at a possible reconciliation between Madobe and Farmajo after years of a political standoff which led Kismayo to suspend cooperation with Mogadishu.

Kenya’s National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, who also attended Madobe’s inauguration, called for ‘tolerance’ between the two parties, adding that negotiations were important.

Farmajo and Ethiopian troops were keen to see Madobe evicted, but he enjoys full KDF protection given the role he plays in the fight against Al-Shabaab.

A day to elections in August, the Federal Government of Somalia [FGS] accused Madobe of working in cohorts with KDF – Kenya Defense Forces to block an Ethiopian plane from landing at Kismayo, a move that escalated the standoff.

Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said it has recognized Madobe’s election victory, leading to friction with Somalia. President Farmajo is yet to give any hint of reconciling with Madobe.