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Published On: Mon, Oct 10th, 2016

Somalia:Can Galkayo be under one district administration?

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somalia-map-10dec15-700x463The  clashes in Galkayo between Puntland and Galmudug forces have brought back questions about the indispensability of bringing the district under one administration. At Adaado,  Galmudug President Abdikarim Guled said his administration would like to see Galkayo under one administration to bring to an end the status of  the  “only  Somali district” jointly ruled by two federal states. 
Dual adminstration  status of Galkayo dates back to 1993 when General Mohamed Farah Aideed and Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed ( both deceased ) signed an agreement in Mogadishu. When Puntland was formed in 1998, the new administration  opted to operate in North Galkayo, with South Galkayo being  under a now defunct United  Somali Congress until 2006, the year Galmudug  adminstration, then consisting of South Galka’yo and Hobyo district,   had been formed. 
Clashes between  forces loyal to Puntland and Galmudug Federal States  were not as common as they have become since Guled was elected President of Galmudug State in 2015  to work in Adaado,  the interim administrative capital of Galmudug State comprising, in theory, South Galka’yo, two districts of Mudug and Galguduud region.
Initially, Puntland  opposed the recognition   of of Galmudug as a federal state under the pretext that   it did not meet the requirement  to consist of  two or more regions to qualify as a federal state. Galmudug was one of the administrations  that, along with Puntland,  phased out the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to pave the way for   the current Somali Federal Government .
Although pre-2015 Galmudug controlled  fewer districts,  it was not as embroiled in political crises as the new Galmudug State is.   Forces of the new Galmudug State   under Guled  clashed with Al-shabaab militias and Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a paramilitary forces in Dhusomareb.  The latter does not recognise Galmudug as a federal state. Those clashes had had impact on Galmudug’s ability to properly control South Galka’yo,  where the former Galmudug President, General Abdiqaybdid,  was almost assassinated by a suicide  bomber.
It was  disingenuous  of Puntland to blame Galmudug for being in cahoots with  Al-shabaab following clashes in Galkayo  in October just as it was inappropriate for  former Galmudug  leaders and a traditional leader in Mogadishu to blame Puntland for supporting a US attack that “killed Galmudug soldiers.” 
The ceasefire fire  signed by traditional leaders of South and North Galka’yo on Sunday signals commitment on the part of Galmudug and Puntland  States to peace in an administratively divided district. Is it possible to bring Galkayo under one administration? Galmudug State leadership believes Galkayo  security problems  would  be under control should Puntland leaders agree to the idea  of entrusting the district management with one administration. Firstly, for the idea to work people in South  and North Galkayo must transcend  linking loyalty to an administration with  clan identity. Not  long ago, before the collapse of the state in 1991, people of Galkayo lived under one administration  centrally appointed  in Mogadishu. The second prerequisite is to explore  areas of past cooperation in the institutional history of the two administrations . Since North Galkayo benefited, in commercial terms,  hugely from the 1993 peace agreement,   has Puntland ever earmarked budget for South Galkayo  to deliver  social services or  fund local schools? In a stage of recovery  from a civil war, a region doing comparatively  well after a conflict  has an obligation to support  struggling neighbouring districts. Such an assistance  will not only help Galmudug State deliver more services for people in South Galkayo but it would also strengthen ties of citizenship undermined by the civil war. There is more to coexisting peacefully in the same territory  after civil war than honouring peace agreements. 
Hypothetically,  if Galmudug agreed  to Puntland running Galkayo as a whole, people in South Galkayo will have same rights as people in any part of Puntland. Puntland’s wide experience  of running an autonomous administration will stand it in good stead despite falling short of making people of South Galkayo  feel belong to Puntland on the basis of Somali citizenship. Under such an arrangement  Galmudug  should not lose its federal state status. 
If Puntland agreed to Galmudug State becoming  the sole administration in Galkayo, Guled would be on the horns of dilemma  about working in  Adaado, the interim administrative  capital,  or relocating to Galmudug’s birthplace. Hybrid  administrative mechanisms  based on  running the district on  rota basis could be explored.
Before all those options are studied in depth, it would be wise to share with the public  information about what causes  clashes that affect the whole district, how  the two administrations in North and South Galkayo share information about  security  and how each district administration   responds  to security problems perceived to be  emanating from either South or North  Galkayo.
Liban Ahmad

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