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Somalia’s Galmudug, battered by political crisis, elects new leader

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Ahmed Abdi Kariye, a former state minister for public works, has been elected president of Somalia’s central state of Galmudug in an election that saw multiple delays and political wrangles.

Kariye, also known as Qorqor, who was backed by President Mohamed Farmajo and Prime Minster Hassan Kheyre, received 66 votes out of 77 votes cast by members of Galmudug State Assembly.

Kariye’s main rival, Abdirahman Odowaa – fronted by two former presidents – Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, withdrew from the contest and rejected the outcome, citing interference from the federal government in Mogadishu, which he said was planning to manipulate the election. Two other main contenders also withdrew from the race.
Galmudug parliament has 89 members, 20 of whom are drawn from Ahlu Sunnah wal Jama’a, a Sufi paramilitary group.

Galmudug’s election, which was to take place in July last year, has been postponed for months due to political wrangles among local political actors and the federal government and ‘technical challenges.’ The bone of contention was the composition of the local electoral commission, which the opposition parties including Ahlu Sunnah, said was handpicked by Mogadishu, a move they said was undermining democracy and could open the door for manipulation.

The election of Kariye indicates the seriousness of the Villa Somalia duo; President Farmajo and Premier Kheyre, of making sure their preferred candidates win in Somalia’s regional elections. Last week, another Villa Somalia-backed candidate won Galmudug parliamentary Speaker.

Somalia has five state governments, created under the country’s federal constitution, each maintain its own police and security forces, and have a degree of autonomy over their affairs, but are subject to the authority of the federal government.

The states and the federal governments have been engaged in disagreements, with the former announcing the suspension of ties with the government in Mogadishu.

In December 2018, Abdiazizi Mohamed, commonly known as Laftagaren, a former Water and Energy Minister, also backed by Villa Somalia, was elected leader of South West State after Mukhtar Robow Abu Manusr, a former al Shabab deputy leader and spokesman, seen as favourite to win was barred from running and later arrested. The government said Abu Mansur was a security threat and was subject to UN Security Council sanctions. Eleven people, including a parliamentarian, were killed in a protest violence that followed his arrest.

Kariye’s victory is seen as a boost for Farmajo and Kheyre who are seeking reelection in 2021. Three out of the country’s five state governments are seen as allies of Mogadishu.

In 2019, Villa Somalia failed to install or get its preferred candidates elected in Jubbaland, a southern state, and Puntland, in the northeast. In August 2019, Jubbaland state in southern Somalia reelected Ahmed Islam, popularly known as Ahmed Modobe as its leader, but the government in Mogadishu and the local opposition rejected the result, saying it was manipulated. Mogadishu was backing Madobe’s main rival who later withdrew from the contest.

The legitimacy of the new Galmudug administration is in serious jeopardy and a prolonged conflict is potentially high in Galmudug. The state already has two other opposing administrations, one led by Ahlu Sunnah, and another led by the region’s former leader Ahmed Gelle.

The election of Kariye could also lead to a political crisis and possibly violence by those opposed to the electoral process, including politicians and clan elders who wield immense influence. It could also result further disintegration of the state into fiefdoms run by sub-clans, who have engaged in armed conflict with one another for long. Galmudug has 11 main sub-clans, more than any other state. Galmudug is the home state of President Famajo, Prime Minister Kheyre, and the former immediate President Hassan Mohamud, and it is the defecto epicenter of Somalia’s politics. The state was established in 2015, but since then it had four presidents.

To avoid armed conflict and anew circle of political crisis, the new administration, with the backing of the federal government, should accommodate others and a power sharing deal could calm the situation, possibly the creation of a premier or chief minister.

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Geopolitics

Why is no one buying modern Chinese fighter jets?

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Not many countries are currently buying Chinese fighter jets because they want a sure thing when they go into combat. China has ambitions to become a major player in the military aviation market. With aircraft like the J-31 stealth fighter, China hopes to provide a lower-cost alternative to the popular US F-35 stealth fighter.

China has made incredible progress but has an uphill battle in challenging the F-35 with the J-31. The US has been designing, testing, manufacturing, and improving stealth fighters for over 40 years and has already built and flown a 6th generation fighter. China is the new kid on the block, and they are quickly overtaking Russia in aviation technology.

China lacks a significant combat and sales record for their aircraft. Although Chinese aircraft are less expensive than western fighters, their combat performance is a question mark and countries with money prefer to buy a fighter that has been mass produced, tested in multiple countries, and is combat tested. China may be the new kid on the block, but they are highly capable and on a fast pace to challenge competitors with advanced technology.

 

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Politics

Kenya presidential candidate promises to hang men who abuse wives

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Roots Party of Kenya presidential candidate George Wajackoyah says his government has ideal plans in place to end gender-based violence.

Should he win the presidency, Wajackoyah said he will introduce the death penalty for men who will be found guilty of abusing their wives.

While campaigning in Kirinyaga, the presidential hopeful said his government will hang men who slap their other halves. Apart from abusive men, the learned politician had initially said he would reintroduce capital punishment for corruption offenders through constitutional review.

During the Sunday, June 12 rally, Wajackoyah, whose campaign slogan is Tingiza Miti literally means to shake the trees, said he will also improve the lives of men in uniform. He noted that he was a policeman before and so he understands their predicament. Should he win the presidency, he promised to buy each policeman a car and house so that they do not solicit bribes from people. He also pledged to improve their salaries. The 61-year-old academician said his main aim will be to ensure people have money in their pockets and are happy.

 

 

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Politics

A weed-loving professor is seeking Kenya’s presidency

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Presidential aspirant George Luchiri Wajackoyah, 61, has kicked off his Campaigns on a ‘high’ note promising corrupt judicial officers that he will hang them.

Besides relocating the capital city from Nairobi to North Eastern region, the Roots Party aspirant said he will also suspend the constitution for six months so as to launch a conversation with Kenyans on how to entrench the death penalty in the laws of the land as well as legalise industrial marijuana.

“Judiciary is one of the biggest stumbling block in realising aspirations of a prosperous nation. I will adopt a style whereby if you suspect yourself to be corrupt, we encourage you to kill yourself or if we try you and you are convicted, you be killed,” he said.

He said the ideality of moving the capital to say, Isiolo will open up the northern frontiers as administrative capital, freeing Nairobi to be an industrial hub.

Saying “I am not all that stupid,” Wajackoyah dismissed the motion that he is a joker and a nuisance contestant, saying that “those discriminatory traits are so irking.”

He took issue with the Infotrak pollster results released on Wednesday showing his competitors– Raila Odinga and Dr William Ruto– as the only serious candidates, ignoring him and Mwaure Waihiga by according them no rating.

Wajackoyah, who was accompanied on Citizen TV by his 35 year old running mate–Justina Wangui Wamae said on July 2, they will be releasing their 12-point manifesto to drive their state house bid.

She said she does not smoke bhang “despite our ticket being widely accused of exhibiting signs of its users.”

Mr Wajackoyah says introducing industrial hemp will help pay off the debt.

In an interview on Wednesday night on Citizen TV, Mr Wajackoyah argued that if Kenyans are allowed to grow bhang for export, that would likely increase money circulation in the economy, claiming that a sack can be sold for $3.2 million.

“The solution is growing marijuana, which will enable this country to [pay its] outstanding debts. Have enough money, have enough money for all Kenyans. And if one sack of marijuana is $3.2 million, if you convert that into Kenyan currencies, it is a lot,” he said.

He said there should be no worries about finding a market for the marijuana.

“We are going to export it, not import it. We’re going to grow it and export it. I’m just back from the United States and Canada during my research and trust me, there are so many companies … telling me please we have the market ready here in Canada,” he said.

He said marijuana, which he claimed he has never smoked, remains the country’s gold that needs to be exploited to catalyse the nation’s economic growth.

Mr Wajackoyah also said farming snakes will help supply venom for the manufacture of medicines and for export.

“A lot of people are bitten by snakes in this country and we have to wait for snake doses from outside the country through pharmaceutical corporations,” he said, adding that one way of paying off the national debt “more so those of Chinese is by extracting snake venoms for them”.

e Kenyans free medical services. We are also going to create more employment opportunities,” she said.

Citing countries without written constitutions, Mr Wajackoyah took a jab at the Judiciary, saying that it is the biggest impediment in Kenya’s democratic growth.

“We have countries like Israel, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom which don’t have written constitutions. They welcome conventions,” he said.

 

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