By Liban Ahmad
The agreement Somalilandgovernment and Khatumoadministration signed in Ainabadistrict last month deprivedSomaliland of using “insecurity” in eastern parts of the country as an excuse for delaying elections or banking on securitisation model to control Sool. Dr Ali Khalif Galaydh,Khatumo administration leader, has chosen negotiation over hostility withSomaliland government. Pragmatism born of the refusal of people Galaydh views as his constituency to take up arms against Somaliland government pushed Khatumo leader to the negotiation table.
The exponential growth of the city ofLasanod owes to industriousness of people who fled Mogadishu in 1991 and the diaspora communities from the region, who invested in real estate and other businesses in Sool. It is this group of people who turned their backs on bankrolling political violence caused by turncoat politicians benefiting from Puntland-Somalilandstand-off. What Galaydhunrealistically proposed in December 2011 and in 2014, when he was elected Khatumo president, was a middle way that spurned bothSomaliland and Puntlandadministrations. Khatumo movement had brought Puntland and Somalilandcloser for fear that Galaydh was an agent of destabilisation for the Mogadishu-based Federal Government of Somalia.
Incoming Somaliland government must protect the legacy of President Silanyo
The Ainaba Agreement marks the tenth anniversary since Somalilandadministration captured Lasanod. For ten years Somailand has relied on local militias affiliated with the currentSomaliland Minister for Interior. The more Galaydh insisted on being the sole political leader of Sool people, the more Somaliland government strengthened its commitment to a partnership with local militias classified as Somaliland Army brigade. It is a situation that diverted the attention of Somalilandgovernment from addressing the disputed territory status of Sool.Somaliland government was happy to portray its presence in Sool as a response to security challenges in the region. This policy has alienated people, who have shown confidence inSomaliland institutions in Sool to prevent the region from slipping into anarchy.
The significance of Ainaba agreement lies in the commitment of the outgoing Somalailand government to implementing key articles in the agreement — integrating Khatumomilitias into Somaliland forces; revising Somaliland constitution to ensure genuine power-sharing, and to make Sool accessible to aid workers to address underdevelopment caused by the conflict and disputed territory status.
By signing the agreement withKhatumo leader, the Somalilandgovernment rewarded political vision over political loyalty. Last year when Dr Galaydh began talks withSomaliland government, a group of influential local leaders had organised a meeting in Awrboogays hamlet to cobble an alliance between the formerSomaliland Minster for Water, BasheAli Jama and the the Interior Minister,Yasin Haji Mohamud, to preempt agreement that could makeSomaliland a more inclusive polity.Somaliland did not support theAwrboogayns meeting , which was aimed to pave the way to an all-clan summit devoid of political vision.Somaliland government deniedAwrboogays group the opportunity to lay claim on political representation of Sool people. The lesson fromAwrboogays fiasco is that politicians from a constituency may not necessarily have interests of their people heart.
Although the agreement is intended to be a remarkable legacy of President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud, neither the ruling party’s presidential candidate, Muuse Bihi nor theWaddani party’s presidential candidate, Abdirahman MohamedAbdullahi, has expressed support for the landmark political agreement.
Bashi Ali Jama, whom Waddaniappointed as a senior member of the leadership committee of the party, supports Ainaba agreement. Only, UCID presidential candidate, Faisal Ali Warabe, who was involved inKhatumo-Somaliland talksunequivocally supports AinabaAgreement . Somaliland government and political parties have an opportunity to deescalate Soolpolitical conflict through demobilisation and follow-up talks forSool politicians particularly those allied with militias loyal to Somalilandgovernment. The ball is in Hargeisa’scourt. It has to show it has interests of all its citizens at heart.