President Farmajo must turn Jubbaland elections into an opportunity and not a crisis – UM

Ahmed Mohamed Islam is sworni in as Jubbaland President for another term. Photo courtesy: Jubbaland state House.

Mogadishu (UM) – There is no secret that President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Prime Minister Khaire campaigned hard to defeat Ahmed Mohammed Islam ‘Madobe” in the Jubbaland elections by supporting his opposition but this did not happen today. Ahmed Madobe won by a large majority despite questions arising from the whole electoral process. The international community has kept a close eye on the electoral process and AMISOM troop contributing countries with private agendas, Ethiopia and Kenya, nearly opened fire on each other because of the toxic electoral process. On the surface Jubbaland is a landmark victory for Ahmed Madobe and a huge defeat for the Federal government but it does not need to be this way.

Questioning the legitimacy of Madobe’ s Presidency will not help either side because there is no way he will concede now having publicised his victory and been sworn in for lead Jubbaland for the next 4 years. The national opposition has formally Congratulated him and offered their full support. There is also no trustworthy court of Constitutional Affairs or even a functioning to constitution to decide and guide a re-election process. Whatever the Federal government does now, including the endorsing the parrallel election of Abdirashid Hidig can lead to violence and destabilization in Jubbaland. Al-Shabaab will also take advantage of this power struggle which will further divide Jubbaland and even the AMISOM troops from Ethiopia and Kenya. President Farmajo should act quickly to reconcile with Ahmed Madobe to stop this scenario from happening. The President must call Ahmed Madobe to congratulate him and then ask him to come to Mogadishu for talks or, better, go and visit him in person in Kismayo. If President Farmajo does not do this then Kenya would have surely gotten its way in Jubbaland.

The Central government must generally get its federal member states to work with it in achieving national security, political stability and economic reforms. Governing Mogadishu cannot be the goal of this government. For President Farmajo to lead a national government he must be the elder statesman, even when local election outcomes do not favour him or his agenda. If this government can finally complete the constitutional process it may then have a legal way to challenge future election outcomes they disagree with.