By Liban Ahmad
The sporadic war in the outskirts of Galkayo is yet another evidence that the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) is either unable to act impartially or is ineffectual at bringing two warring federal member states to the negotiating table to work out a durable solution.
Although it is not easy to pin the blame either on Puntland or Galmudug for starting the Galkayo confrontation, it is important to note that the FGS has airlifted wounded Galmudug soldiers to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment, but has denied wounded Puntland soldiers a similar medical facilitation. This federal government decision could lead to state-wide demonstrations in Puntland and possible derailing of the presidential elections to take place in November. If the latter scenario comes to pass, it might lead to extension of the FGS’s term in office.
There is little doubt that the federalism project in Somalia has hit a major snag if federal leaders turn out to be partial or lack legitimacy nationwide. It may sound far-fetched to blame a federal government with no national army for failing to contain the conflict in Mudug region. Its status as a permanent government formed in 2012 entitles it to be seen as the sole representative of Somalia in the international fora.
With this privilege comes higher expectations, despite the absence of governmental capacity and willingness to build consensus among political stakeholders in federal member states.