By: Harun Salat
NAIROBI—Just three months after Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was re-elected on May 15, 2022, an uprising began in the country in which the people and the army joined forces to liberate the country from the grip of Al-Shabaab.
In the first phase of the onslaught, Al-Shabaab suffered major blows, losing key areas and town they had been controlling for more than a decade.
However, the efforts to sustain the war against the Al-Shaabab seem to have suffered a setback after Hiiraan regional governor Ali Jayte Osman and the Commander of the Somali National Army, General Odawaa Yusuf Raagge were sacked one after the other.
Ali Jayte was instrumental in the fight against Shabaab since he was commanding the Macawisley, the vigilante-like armed forces made up of civilian fighters.
On Saturday, President of the Hirshabelle State of Somalia, Ali Gudlawe Hussein issued a decree relieving the governor Ali Jeyte Osman of his duties.
In his statement, Gudlawe named Abdullahi Ahmed Maalin as his replacement in a new development that locals termed as surprising and highly unexpected.
On the other hand, Somalia’s Cabinet has today (Monday) appointed General Ibrahim Sheekh Muhyadin Adow as the new Commander of the Somali National Army, replacing General Odawaa Yusuf Raagge who held the position since 2019. He was appointed by the immediate former president, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.
The removal of Jayte and Odowaa comes amidst an ongoing offensive against Al-Shabab in the southern part of the country. As the situation fast develops, the move has elicited questions as to why sudden changes were effected now.
To make sense of the unfolding political and security situation, we will summarize the reactions by the leaders and what the locals think of the ouster of the two men who were leading the anti-Shabab campaign until yesterday.
We have reliable information that Al Shabaab is spending millions to have Governor Ali Jeyte replaced. Replacing Governor Jeyte at this time is giving aid and comfort to Shabaab. President @GudlaweHussein leave Governor Jeyte alone! pic.twitter.com/b0FzJjZm6I
— Mohamed Abdi Ware (@HShPrez2Ware) April 22, 2023
In a two separate statements by political figures from Hirshabelle, the impromptu change and timing is “suspicious.”
Mohamed Abduqadir, a member of the Somali People’s Assembly from Hiiraan region and the former president of Hir Shabelle Mohamed Abdi Waare—the special envoy of the president of Somalia in charge of stabilization and civil affairs in the areas liberated from Al-Shabaab—are both of the believe that the militant group had an influence in the changes.
“The most expensive document that came out in the 21st century and was bought as far as we know by 2 million dollars paid by the terrorists caused the removal of Governor Ali Jeyte Osman,” MP Abdukadir noted.
On the other hand, the former president of Hir Shabelle, Mohamed Abdi Waare, stated that Shabab paid a huge sum of money to effect the changes, particularly Ali Jayte.
“We have received reliable information that Al-Shabaab is paying millions to transfer Governor Ali Jayte,” said Waare
According to several sources privy to the matter intimated to Kulan Post that the two—Jayte and Odowaa—were becoming a stumbling block in the Federal Government’s efforts to mobilise support and permanently eradicate insurgency in Hirshabelle.
Ali Jeyte recently announced that the war plan is left to the top leaders of the country, as it has deviated from the system that brought victories in the first phase of the war. It is not clear if his recent statements and his dismissal are related in one way or the other.
As new faces take up from where their predecessors left, it is certain that the war against Al-Shabaab will suffer a setback as the nation now awaits the steps President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre will take as the timeline they set to free the country fast approaches.