By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARIRAD (Somalilandsun) – The election results dispute that refuses to go away in Selel region has taken a new dimension after clan militias result to armed clashes thus promoting massive police presence.
The national police commander Gen Iman Fadal who is leading a large anti-riot police unit has managed to restore order in the town of Harirad that was the centre of clashes by rival clan militias.
Following the arrival of Gen Fadal the second afternoon armed clashes between Isse and Gadabursi clan militias came to an end after the police reinforcements managed to flush out the Isse militias from Harirad town as well as arrest former Mayor Gesh Aden Bile who is reported to be leading the militias.
According to reports by Qarannews the skirmishes that ensued on the afternoon of 6th Feb were preceded by the abduction of senior Selel regional officials who were on their way to officiate at a swearing-in ceremony of a new mayor for Harirad local council.
Ensuing clashes skirmishes initiated by Isse militias against innocent residents resulted in the death of one person and injuries to scores others before police restored order.
The new mayor was appointed by the interior minister Hon Mohamed Duur Arale to replace former elected mayor Gesh Aden Bile who together with 9 others from Isse clan resigned their membership of local councils in the country’s westernmost region bordering Djibouti.
While it is not yet clear what prompted the armed skirmishes pundits believe that the contested local council elections by the Isse clan who have since conclusion of the 28th Nov 2012 elections contested the majority seats garnered by the Gadabursis in all the local councils in Selel region whose majority residents are Isse’s.
Despite the same release of the abducted officials namely Governor Abdilahi Qulujed, the regional Police commander Mohamed Omar and deputy mayor of Sayla Sa’ad Dahir all of Selel region the tension are high with clashes continuing after a short hiatus.
The turn from peaceful to armed negotiations on the disputed elections that the Isse claim were rigged in favour of the Gadabursi plus the subsequent though short lived abduction of the officials is a clear indication that things have gone from bad to worse thus urgent measures to deter unmanageable catastrophe.
Former Harirad mayor Gesh Aden Bile who is incidentally the spokesperson of the Isse clan claims that the recent resignation of 10 council members from his clan came about after negotiations between his clan, government and the Gadabursi clan came to naught.
The resignations that seem to have precipitated the Harirad clashes came after the disputed mayor of Sayla announced that 3 councilors have been struck from membership of his council after they travelled to the Ethiopian town of Dire-dawa without official permission. The three were all from the Isse clan while the mayor is from the Gadabursi clan.
Upon return of the three councilors now dubbed renegades and struck off from the Sayla local council records the other seven councilors of the Isse clan joined them in resignation. http://somalilandsun.com/index.php/politics/2365
The Sayla Mayorship controversy that had earlier on seen settlement by the minister of interior Hon Mohamed Duur Arale in whose docket local government falls, has been the most volatile considering that it ensued immediately after the elections and has engulfed other areas like neighboring Borama where a person died and others injured after they confronted the vice president who was enroute to Sayla for reconciliation.
Since after the local council elections of 28th Nov 2012 the lineage of the person to occupy the mayor’s office has been the bone of contention with the Isse clan who claim the area having won 7 seats as opposed to the Gadabursi considered as outsiders thus a minority clan garnering 10 seats.
The elevation of Councilor Hussein Idle Barkadle to the town’s Mayorship has been the bone of contention since he is from the minority with the, majority Isse’s claiming the elections were rigged in favour of the opposite clan.
With things the way they stand now it is not clear how and what steps the government is going to take since the election results dispute has now taken an armed confrontation dimension with the first salvos already claiming an innocent life.
The best practical way to once and for all do away with the Selel region election dispute that refuses to cease is for the government to scrap the elections and put an interim appointed team in place pending new by-elections in about a year when tempers and tensions would have cooled down.
Alternately and though undemocratic the Gadabursis should relinquish the mayor’s office in favour of an Isse as life and tranquility is worth much more than the Mayorship of Sayla.
For past articles posted by Somalilandsun on the areas election dispute saga visit the following links