Garowe, May 1, 2019 – In 2017, just one year after the inauguration of Farmaajo Presidency, it was clear to Villa Somalia that the Centre (Federal Government) and prepheries (Regional States) were not on the same page with regards to Somalia’s governance and the way forward. Cooperation stalled. Villa Somalia embarked on the road to regime change in constituent federal states, using huge unaccountable black-market cash from the tiny Gulf state of Qatar to bribe opportunistic local politicians and social activists, thus creating disharmony and disunity among residents of regional states. In self-defence, states launched a common self-preservation pact, the “Regional Cooperation Council” headed by equally political opportunist with a PhD in government and economics from USA Havard Kennedy school of Government, Dr. Abdiwelli Mohamed Ali Gaas of Puntland. The confrontation produced some results for Villa Somalia with the removal of Sharif Hassan, the president of Southwest State and Abdiwelli Gaas with the extension of financial support to his political opponents in Puntland Election in January 8, 2019. Although, there is a lull now in the tug-of-war between the Centre and prepheries, the fight is still on with wait and see attitude towards the New Puntland Administration of President Said Abdullahi Deni, but on track with regards to GalMudugh and Jubaland administrations.
During the inauguration of Puntland President Deni, attending Federal President, Farmaajo, and presidents of Regional States, tried to defuse the existing political tension between them with the understanding that they would meet again in one month time then in Garowe to deliberate further on the issue for closer cooperation. The exercise turned out to be a just face-saving gesture on the part of the Federal Government, who was reluctant to come back to Garowe on the weight of its national leadership echo and their disaffection with President Deni’s election victory. It added to Villa Somalia’s irritation when Deni paid a non-official visit to UAE in early April 2019 due to known pressing Puntland issues with the Emirates that couldn’t be put off any longer.
After UAE visit, President Deni of Puntland proceeded his overseas travel in late April 2019 to Nairobi, Kenya, to gauge and monitor diplomatic and political pulse of the diplomatic community there and international organizations working with Somalia.
Villa Somalia tried to reach out to President Deni in Nairobi with the intention to bring him in Mogadishu for talks, together with the rest of regional leaders, some of which were already meeting with Deni in Nairobi. These included Jubaland President, Ahmed Madoobe, and GalMudugh’s, Ahmed Duale Xaaf. Villa Somalia’s priority headache now to get relief is Ahmed Madoobe. The three regional leaders declined to come down to Mogadishu.
In the meanwhile, President Deni started to play a high stakes chess game with Farmaajo and Khayre by reminding them of the scheduled Garowe meeting agreed upon during Villa Garowe Inauguration after Puntland Election.
Farmaajo presidential term ends in two years and Villa Somalia cannot afford to engage in fresh political confrontation with President Deni, who is now starting his five-year mandate in Puntland. Villa Somalia doesn’t want to create a new Abdiwelli Gaas out of Deni, who too has the option of leading a New Coalition of Regional States opposing the fledgling regime in Mogadishu. President Farmaajo has no alternative, but to accept Deni invitation to come back to Garowe as a way to salvage a sense or appearance of unity and cooperation among the bickering Somalia’s politicians.
By Ismail Warsame