Somalia: Jubaland leader reaches deal with Kenya on Garbaharey polls

Ahmed Madobe

NAIROBI (Somaliguardian) – Jubaland leader Ahmed Madobe struck a deal with the government of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on upcoming controversial elections for 16 parliamentary seats in the restive southern Somalia region of Gedo, Caasimada Online news website reported on Tuesday.

Madobe held talks with representatives of Somalia’s international partners in which he blamed the administration of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo for setbacks in the efforts to flush Al-Shabaab out of its strongholds in the south of the war-torn Horn of Africa nation as it wages a 15-year long insurgency aimed at toppling western-backed government in Mogadishu.

In a number of meetings held over the past days, Kenya’s authorities and Jubaland leader agreed to hold remaining 16 parliament seats, scheduled to be held in Garbaharey, in the town of Elwak under control of Kenyan troops. Nairobi also accepted to safeguard security in the area during elections.

Earlier, Somali Premier and Jubaland President had agreed that the votes could not be held in Garbaharey which is under control of troops allied with the incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo due to fear that his critics could be blocked from the contest. Madobe also garnered support from the international partners to relocate the voting site to Elwak, according to local media.

The move could trigger the ire of the incumbent President and his allies in Gedo region, though it is unclear if they are able to influence agreement between Ahmed Madobe and Kenyan authorities.

Jubaland leader is due to return to Kismayo on Tuesday, just over a week into a deadline for elections earlier set by the National Consultative Council. Authorities are needed to the complete the process before March 30, according to a controversial schedule issued by the election body.

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