The sporadic war on the outskirts of Galkayo is yet another evidence the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) is either unable to act impartially or ineffectual at bringing two warring federal states to the negotiating table to work our a durable solution.
Although it is not easy to pin the blame either on Puntland or Galmudug for starting the war, it is important to note that the federal government has airlifted wounded Galmudug soldiers to Saudi Arabia whereas it has denied wounded Puntland soldiers a similar medical facilitation.
This federal government decision could lead to state-wide demonstrations in Puntland and possible derailing of the presidential elections to take place in November. if the latter scenario comes to pass it will lead to extension of the FGS’s term in office.
There is little doubt that federalism project in Somalia has sit a major snag if federal leaders are partial and lack legitimacy nationwide.It may far fetched to blame a federal government with no a national army for failing to contain the conflict in Mudug region. Its status as a permanent government formed in 2012 entitles it to be seen as the sole representative of Somalia in the international fora.
With this privilege comes higher expectations in the absence of govermental capacity and willingness to build consensus among political stakeholders in the federal states.
Galkayo district enjoyed relative peace until Galmudg Interim Administration was formed. Puntland objected to the formation of Galmdug as federal state for not meeting the criteria. Another catalyst for the conflict is the federal government’s insistence that the Somali National Army is based in South Mudug under GalmudugInterim Administration.
This national defence policy is powder keg due to the contested nature of the Somali Army made up of clan militias with a single, nominal commander based in Mogadishu. The so-called Somali Army in Mudug can join the conflict on the side of Galmudug because no efforts has been made by the federal government to make the army inclusive. That is why the international community opted for the policy to strengthen the capacity of regional administration forces who are more capable of fighting Al-shabaab.
Galkayo war displaced thousands of people in a district already grappling with internally displaced people from other parts of Somalia. Neither the argument that federalism is the solution to Somalia’s persistence political problems nor purported ability of the Federal Government of Somalia to promote reconciliation has any merit in the face of Galkayo war.
A peace agreement signed in 1993 in Mogadishu by General Mohamed Farah Aideed and Colonel AbdullahiYusuf Ahmed ( both deceased ) became a springboard for peaceful co-existence of clans in Galkayo and a model to which other war-torn regions of Somalia looked up to.
After 23 years the agreement has come under intense political pressure that brings back traumatic experiences of 1991 wars in and around Galkayo. The Somalis general born in 1991 does not have enduring memories of 1990s civil war or what it means to live through internecine wars caused by state collapse and warring political elites. This generation is the least war-prone segment of the Somalis society and the pillar on which a future , prosperous Somalia depends. The Somali political leaders at national and federal state levels must be persuaded or pressured to return from the brink and avoid consuming the future of yet another general in the coals of a pointless civil war.