Connect with us

Politics

Somalia Crisis: A brief guide to who is opposing whom

The Frontier takes a look at the actors, both domestic and foreign, involved in the Somalia crisis and who they are siding with

Published

on

   

The three decades of conflict in Somalia are difficult and complex to understand because of the numerous parties involved. Rivals compete for power, resources and influence and, all competing factions are Sunni Muslims and all speak the same language, Somali.

Somalia has five state governments, created under the country’s federal system, each maintaining their own police and security forces which have a degree of autonomy over their affairs, but are subject to the authority of the federal government. But federal member states undermine the authority of the central government. Somalia faces both political and security crises.

Somalis have become familiar with foreign interference. Kenya, Ethiopia and the West, mainly the US, have been actively engaged in the country’s internal affairs, backing different armed militia groups and a weak central government.

Ethiopia, the single biggest foreign player in Somalia, is on friendly terms with Kenya on the status of the Somali central government based in Mogadishu. Kenya fully backs Jubbaland, a regional administration in the south of the country which it played a key role in creating; but Ethiopia does not back Jubbaland as it does other regional administrations. Addis Ababa suspects Jubbaland of supporting the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a rebel group in eastern Ethiopia fighting to secede from Ethiopia.

Although Ethiopia is part of the African Union mission (Amisom) helping the government defeat al Shabab, it also has non-Amisom n troops inside the country.

Both Ethiopia and Kenya support Puntland and Somaliland. Puntland is a semi-autonomous region in northeast Somalia while Somaliland is a break-away and self-declared republic in the northwest of the country.

Somaliland and Puntland are sworn enemies. They are engaged in a border dispute with sporadic fighting between the two. But they are on the same side against the central government based in Mogadishu. Puntland supports Jubbaland and they sometimes gang up against Mogadishu. Somaliland and Puntland both receive support from Ethiopia.

Somaliland supports the Galmudug administration in central Somalia because it fights Puntland.

Puntland hates the government in Mogadishu. It accuses Mogadishu of not sharing donor funds with it. It has cut ties with Mogadishu at least three times and banned the Somali government-owned Radio Mogadishu in its territory. But Mogadishu and Puntland are allies against Somaliland and are united against the Al-Shabab group. Ethiopia supports both Mogadishu and Somaliland.

There is a Sufi armed group controlling parts of central Somalia called Ahlu Sunnah wal Jama’a. For years, it has been fighting the Galmudug administration and has now transformed from a paramilitary group to an influential political force. Its leader has been appointed Gamudug’s chief minister. It has 20 members of parliament in the local Galmudug parliament.

Ahlu Sunnah is opposed to the radical al Shabab group and is a vital player in the war against the al Qaeda-linked militants. Both Galmudug and Ahlu Sunna are allies against Al-Shabab. Ahlu Sunnah sometimes fights the Mogadishu government but supports its fight against Al-Shabab.

The Somali government has the constitutional responsibility for foreign affairs and diplomacy, but regional administrations, which are like provincial or state governments, make their own foreign policy. Its leaders travel to other countries and meet foreign leaders, making deals.

When Saudi Arabia and three other Gulf countries and Egypt blockaded and cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in May 2017 for what they said was Doha’s “support for Iran and terrorism”, Somalia remained neutral and offered to mediate. Federal member states took advantage of Mogadishu’s weakness and sided with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt.

The function of foreign affairs falls under the federal government and the states have no role in it. It was a breach of the country’s constitution, according to the government in Mogadishu.

In December 2019, Somalia’s national security agency, NISA, said a foreign government without naming which nation ‘planned’ an attack that killed 80 people in Mogadishu on 28 December. Observers say the Somali government suspects a Middle Eastern country for aiding those who carried out the attack. Al Shabab, despite keeping mum for days, took credit for the attack.

All parties, foreign and domestic, are enemies of Al-Shabab.

With all these players involved, the conflict in Somalia is far from over.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Politics

Why Nairobi MCA are yet to be sworn-in

Published

on

   

Nairobi MCAs are divided over the unexpected delay to swear them in more than one month since they were elected. They claim Governor Johnson Sakaja’s silence on the matter is worrying yet elected members in other counties have been sworn in.

The leaders claim the delay is linked to intense lobbying by top leaders of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and Azimio coalition to marshal numbers to get the speaker slot once the House is convened.
Korogocho MCA Absalom Odhiambo said the swearing-in should not be delayed any longer since there is need to embark on serving the electorates.

“The voters don’t want to know whether we have been sworn in or not. All they want is to be served and promises we made during campaigns be fulfilled,” Odhiambo said yesterday. Odhiambo challenged Governor Sakaja to convene the first sitting by Thursday as it had been speculated.

His Gatina Ward counterpart Kennedy Swaka said some members were now operating from the streets and cyber cafes since they had not been sworn in.

“It’s shameful that other county assemblies have kicked off business yet here in Nairobi, we are being told to loiter in streets because the governor is trying to buy time,” Sakwa said.

However, Peter Imwatok, the outgoing Minority Whip argues that the MCA’s have no mandate to pressure Governor Sakaja before the constitutional timelines lapse.

Nomination list

Imwatok, who is serving his third time as Makongeni ward member, says the Constitution stipulates that the members must be sworn in before 30 days after the gazettement of nominated members.

Continue Reading

Politics

Having too many Twitter followers could slow down your US visa application

Published

on

   

Having a legion of followers on social media could slow down the processing of your  US visa application, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Amb Macharia Kamau warned MPs.

Kamau told MPs that due to the American legislation, individuals who are politically active are always on the government’s radar.

“Once you become a Member of Parliament and your Twitter handle has got one million followers, that is enough to trigger the fact that you are now a politically exposed personality. This will result in your Visa [application] being referred to Washington and once it goes into reference, it joins a long queue…sometimes it can take up to three or four months,” Macharia said during the induction of Members of Parliament (MPs) at Nairobi’s Safari Park hotel.

At the same time, the PS said that some Western nations were using the visa issue to safeguard their national interests.

“If they don’t like a certain MP when they come for visa application, they will  give all sorts of excuses such us; your visa has been referred, there is a backlog, etc. And before you know it, you have given up. Your intended reason for travel is crashed,” he said.

The Principal Secretary said the vigorous process is a result of  American foreign policy shift that began during President Barack Obama’s reign and identifies people who are politically active.

 

Continue Reading

Politics

Raila-backed candidate wins Kisumu Speaker race

Published

on

   

Mr Elisha Oraro who was being backed by the ODM leader Raila Odinga in the race for speaker of the Kisumu County Assembly narrowly carried the day after a spirited fight by his opponent Samuel Ong’ow.

He garnered 25 votes against Mr Ong’ow’s 22 in a duel decided in a second round of voting. The first round saw Mr Oraro get 24 votes against 23 votes cast for his opponent. The other contestants attracted no votes.

Mr Oraro was the speaker of the last assembly, a house that impeached his two predecessors. When nominations closed at noon on September 19, seven people had submitted their papers for the Speaker race.

They included Mr Oraro, Mr Ong’ow who is also a former majority in the same House, lawyer Kenneth Oduor Amondi, James Kounah Ochieng, Victor Otieno Odongo, Linda Ogweno Atieno and Nelson Lennoa Jalango Adul.

Of these, only four met the threshold required for the position. They were Mr Oraro, Mr Ong’ow, Mr Amondi and Mr Kounah. The other three were not proposed and seconded by any of the elected MCAs.

On Monday, almost half of the elected MCAs boycotted a meeting attended by Mr Odinga, a gathering whose agenda was to rally the lawmakers into voting for Mr Oraro.

It was the highest level of defiance so far to the opposition leader that has annoyed the rank and file of the ODM party.

For the position of deputy Speaker, only two candidates – Vincent Odhiambo Obuya and Nereah Akoth Okombo – had been cleared, leaving out Joachim Oketch, who held the seat when the last assembly dissolved.

More than a week ago, Mr Oraro got a major boost when ODM nominated him as its candidate for the seat for a second time.

Mr Oraro had a foot in as he sought to keep the seat he inherited after the previous assembly impeached Onyango Oloo over corruption claims.

In a September 8 letter, ODM secretary-general Edwin Sifuna notified assembly Clerk Owen Ojuok of the party’s notice about picking Mr Oraro as its preferred candidate.

Before the vote was cast, the Nation had it on good authority that the number of MCAs supporting Mr Oraro and Mr Ong’ow, the two main contenders, was a tight 23-24, and that the race could go either way. In the end, Mr Oraro carried the day.

Only 24 elected MCAs attended a dinner meeting held at the Grand Royal Swiss Hotel, as the others allied to Mr Ong’ow skipped it, the result of serious lobbying that could embarrass Mr Odinga if MCAs from his Kisumu backyard reject his candidate and elect someone else.

The Kisumu assembly has 47 MCAs – 35 elected and 12 nominated.

Continue Reading

Trending

About
The Frontier is for the people — not the politicians, lobbysts and the powerful. We provide indepth and thoughtful analysis of what is happening around your world. We tell exclusive stories that matter to our audience, so they make better decisions and understand what is real.
Privacy Policy
The Frontier is committed to putting its users first. We strive to be transparent about how we collect and use your data and information, to keep them secure and to provide you meaningful choices. This Privacy Policy is meant to help you understand what information we collect, why we collect it and what we do with it

Copyright © 2017-2021 The Frontiere. All Rights Reserved. Design by Rick Consult