Somalia: Hundreds march in Kismayo to welcome  Jubbaland Presidential candidate

By Ahmed Abdi (Mareeg Media ) -Hundreds of supporters ofJubaland’s presidential candidate MP Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig marched in Kismayo on Wednesday as he announces to run for the presidency in August’s elections.

Security apparatus receiving orders from Ahmed Mohamed Islam (known, like all Somalis by a nickname – ‘Madobe’) blocked hundreds of Hidig’s supporters aimed to welcome him at the Kismayo International Airport. 

“Aren’t we citizenry from the Jubaland State of Somalia?”, said Sahra Ali Maah. “Why are the security forces are stopping us to welcome our candidate?” 

Candidate Abdirashid Hidig who marched 12 Kilometers between the airport and Kismayo city to join his supporters addressed a large crowd of people in Kismayo.

 “I am one of the candidates running for Jubaland presidency as candidates contest for the local elections,” he said as the crowd cheered. 

Hidig called on the army to stay at the frontlines while the election campaigns ongoing to keep the security of the Jubaland state.

As a member of Somalia’s federal states, Jubaland was formed in 2013 after Kenyan armed forces with the help of Raas-Kambooni militia wrested the strategic port city of Kismayo from al-Shabab

Abdinasir Serar, another candidate for the presidency denounced Ahmed Madobe’s attempted of banning candidates for the president and the authorities’ decree in which the state issued a statement in regards to the election process and the security. 

In the decree Jubaland authority said the candidates can’t have their own security personnel- the state will choose for them. 

The security forces in Kismayo tried to arrest Ahmed Aideed Dirie for covering the news for the security forces violently blocking supporters of Abdirashid Hidig. Dirie is a member of National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and the chairperson of the Jubbaland Independent Journalist Association – JIJA. 

In 2013, Jubaland elders selected Sheikh Madobe as president and first Jubaland MPs elected him 4-years term in 2015.  

Parliamentary elections will be held in Kismayo on 14 April and presidential elections will likely occur on August 15.  

Kenya-backed Sheikh Madobe has also the support of UAE and KSA for providing the Saudis and other Arab states of the Arabian peninsula with charcoal for their shisha pipes.

As deforestation continues in the middle and lower Juba provinces, the UN Monitoring Group for Somalia and Eritrea say Al-Shabaab and Ahmed Madobe benefit for the importing of Jubaland charcoal to the Gulf equally.  

Ahmed Madobe’s Jubaland was described in a major UN report as a “spoiler and one of the chief threats to Somalia’s stability and the wider Horn of Africa region’s stability”.

Mareeg senior news editor since 2001 and he can be reached at news@mareeg.com