The sudden death of Jubaland regional member of Parliament (MP), Mohamed Yare Gacmeey has raised many eyebrows on the suspicious timing of his demise during a period in which disputes have rocked the Jubaland regional legislative body.
Local reports have suggested that Gacmeey was one of a number of MPs that opposed attempts by the Madobe transitional regime in Kismaayo to change the parliamentary voting procedure as the regional state prepares for the Upper House elections.
The Madobe regime has attempted to change the voting style of the regional parliament in a crucial election period. Madobe has been accused by many in Jubaland of attempting to hijack the Upper House elections to ensure candidates that favour his leadership and administration are representing him in the Federal Parliament of Somalia. This would ensure his influence in the Somali legislative body.
Madobe was elected in heavily disputed election which was categorically rejected by both the Federal Government of Somalia, the region of Gedo and members of the opposition in Jubaland whom accused Madobe of rigging the election to ensure his return. Unsurprisingly, his re-election was supported by the Kenyan government which put him in power in Kismaayo during the KDF invasion of Jubaland in 2011.
As a result, to ensure stability in the country, the FGS recognised Madobe regime as transitional, with an expiration in August 2021. Consequently, with merely a month left in office, it is unsurprising to see Madobe engage in activities that would strengthen his grip on power.
Will he leave office in August? It is highly unlikely as Somalia heads to the polls, the Federal government will be heavily pre-occupied with preparing for the vital and delayed elections for this year.
An opportunity for the former militia leader to consolidate his power.
Is Jubaland Safe?
Gacmeey is the third member of Parliament that died under mysterious circumstances. Earlier this year, Jubaland lawmaker Khalif Hashim was killed when a bomb attached to his vehicle detonated as he left his home. While condemned by Madobe and claimed by the terrorists, it simply highlights the dire security situation in Jubaland despite the presence of thousands of AMISOM soldiers coupled with Jubaland security forces.
Al-Shabaab still controls large swathes of Jubaland. Nevertheless, Danab Commandos of the Somali National Army have recently begun offensives in the Lower Jubba region to liberate the region from the terrorist group.
What is next for Jubaland?
Jubaland has been under the iron fist of Madobe for over a decade. Madobe’s Raskamboni Militia group supported the KDF forces which invaded Jubaland in 2011 to liberate the port city of Kismaayo from Al-Shabaab. Since then, the Kenyan-backed Madobe regime coupled with the KDF forces in the region have failed to push beyond the Kismaayo region. Al-Shabaab continues to dominate the much of Jubaland including the regional capital of Buaale.
This demonstrates the ineffectiveness of the Madobe leadership and the limited capacity and interest of AMISOM forces in the region to tackle the terrorist group and stabilise the region.
Aside from the security situation, there remains political disputes within Jubaland. The Gedo region has outright refused to recognise Madobe as the Jubaland president following his controversial re-election in 2019. This resulted in clashes in the region, ultimately leading to the Battle of Beled Xaawo in which a Janan-led militia trained and armed in Kenya attacked the Gedo region to re-establish control for Madobe and his Kenyan backers to no avail.
The reality is that Jubaland continues to be a buffer region for the Kenyan government. Kenya’s unwavering support for the former militia leader politically, militarily and financial despite his background, undemocratic and violent nature demonstrates just that.
Jubaland has beautiful agricultural lands, rivers and a long coast full of natural resources. Jubaland has a bright future. The removal of Madobe is the only key to unlocking and capitalising on Jubaland’s potential.