Gorfayn Weekly Briefs, Thursday 20 July 2023

The Prime Minister chairs a meeting to discuss the reinstating of the Somali Shilling | Photo: OPM Facebook
The Prime Minister chairs a meeting to discuss the reinstating of the Somali Shilling | Photo: OPM Facebook

Executive Summary:
Key political developments this week include Somalia’s president condemning an al-Shabaab blockade of Baidoa town, worsening hunger and instability. The Prime Minister announced plans to reinstate the Somali Shilling currency to tackle inflation. Parliamentary speakers submitted the latest National Consultative Council agreement to the Constitution Committee for review. Somaliland’s election commission met political stakeholders and announced election dates. In security, the Somali cabinet approved an Arms Bill to regulate weapons flows and Galmudug state prepared operations against al-Shabaab. A deadly al-Shabaab attack in Mogadishu killed 5, and clashes broke out in Las Anod town between Somaliland and SSC forces. Kenya’s Minister of Defence vows to fight al-Shabaab to keep Kenya safe, acquiring modern weapons and equipment.

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Highlights of the week:
     1. Somali President condemns Baidoa blockade
Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has condemned the militant group al-Shabaab for imposing a blockade on the town of Baidoa, worsening hunger already caused by drought and insecurity. Al-Shabaab cut off transport to Baidoa ahead of a planned government offensive, affecting businesses and causing price hikes. The president’s chief of staff said the blockade shows al-Shabaab is at war with Somalis. Analysts say the blockade affirms al-Shabaab’s strength and could spur an earlier government offensive against the group in the region. Al-Shabaab aims to resist the offensive and show it can still control areas despite local and international efforts to defeat it. The UN warns Baidoa, home to 600,000 displaced people, is vulnerable to insecurity and drought.
     2. PM initiates plans to reinstate Somali Shilling to tackle inflation
Somalia’s Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre has announced plans to reintroduce the Somali Shilling to tackle inflation after years relying on foreign currencies like the US dollar. The move aims to better manage money supply, control inflation, and reduce reliance on foreign currencies. A committee briefed the PM on challenges and plans to reprint the Shilling and establish central bank branches. While welcomed by economists as a boost for economic growth and stability, concerns remain about infrastructure needs and security risks. Despite the challenges, the government says it is committed to restoring economic stability by reintroducing the national currency.
     3. Hirshabelle minister calls for intervention in resurgent clan conflict
Minister of the Interior for the Hirshabelle administration, Abdi Dahir Guure Karore, has urgently called upon the Federal Government of Somalia to intervene in a resurging clan conflict in the Middle Shabelle region, emphasizing the severe impact on local residents. The dispute, increasingly intense between the districts of Raagge Ceelle and Adale, involves two local clan militias. Karore stated that his administration had been actively mediating over the past few days to resolve the ongoing hostilities between the fraternal clans residing in Raage Elle and Adale. His attempts to bring peace have involved dialogue with the elders of the two communities. In a separate appeal, the Minister of Reconciliation for the Hirshabelle administration, Abdullahi Adde, called for an immediate and unconditional halt to the conflict. Speaking on his behalf regarding the renewed discord, he demanded that the Federal Government take action against the clan militias involved in the dispute.
     4. Parliamentary Speakers Submit NCC Agreement to Constitution Committee
Speakers of both chambers of the federal parliament submitted the latest National Consultative Council (NCC) agreement to the Constitution Review and Monitoring Committee. Speaker Abdi Hashi and Speaker Sheikh Adan Mohamed Nur (Madoobe) of the Senate (Upper House) and House of the People (Lower House) respectively submitted the report on Saturday. The latest NCC concluded on Thursday after two days of deliberations chaired by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Mogadishu. The constitution committee is now expected to transform the agreement into a bill that would then be presented to both houses for deliberations and subsequent passing into law.
     5. Somalia’s consumer prices decrease in June
Somalia’s National Bureau of Statistics has released its Consumer Price Index report for June 2023. Food and beverages prices decreased 1.52% monthly, however, housing rent and electricity rose 16.41% annually due to higher electricity, gas, and fuel costs. Communication, health, transport, and clothing/footwear costs also increased significantly. Despite the food price decrease, Somalis still face challenges accessing necessities amid conflicts and blockades. The report highlights the need for continued efforts to improve economic and social conditions. The government is working to promote growth, jobs, and investment while addressing poverty and inequality. But costs of key services continue rising for consumers.
     6. Somaliland’s polls body meets President and opposition leaders
Somaliland’s National Elections Committee (NEC) met with President Muse Bihi Abdi and opposition leaders. NEC officials met with the President and the other political leaders separately on Thursday. National parties whose leaders held discussions with NEC officials separately were UCID, Waddani, and Kulmiye. They mostly discussed the upcoming elections in Somaliland and all relevant preparations.
     7. Somaliland’s Electoral Commission announces dates for presidential and parliamentary elections
Somaliland’s Electoral Commission has announced parliamentary elections will be held 28 December 2023, while presidential elections will take place 13 November 2024. The Commission said the decision to hold parliamentary elections ahead of the presidential elections was based on consultations with various stakeholders. The Commission also confirmed that the presidential elections will be held at the end of 2024, as the term of the current President Muse Bihi Abdi was extended by two years by the House of Elders.
     8. Iranian, Pakistani fishermen appeal conviction for illegal fishing in Somalia
Somalia’s Banaadir Regional Court has reopened a case against 36 Iranian and Pakistani fishermen previously convicted of unlicensed fishing operations. The defendants were apprehended off Hobyo’s coast, in the Mudug region, and are currently appealing their convictions. Previously, the court fined each defendant USD 11,000 and ordered a collective payment of USD 30,000 to the Somali government for compensation of the illegally harvested fish. Salah Ali Mohamud, Chairman of the Banaadir Regional Court, said the case had been reviewed three times before a verdict was issued. Mohamud said the verdict reinforces Somalia’s government commitment to protect marine resources, fight against illegal fishing, and hold foreign fishermen accountable for violations.

Highlight of the Week:
     1. Somali Cabinet approves Arms Bill
The Cabinet approved the Arms Bill. The Cabinet approved the bill during their weekly meeting held on Thursday. Mako Mohamed Muse welcomed the decision by the cabinet. Muse is the Presidential Advisor on controlling the flow of illegal weapons in Somalia. She added that the bill would help authorities to regulate and reduce illegal weapons in the country.
     2. Galmudug administration prepares operations against al-Shabaab
Galmudug’s Minister of Information Abshir Abdi has announced that the Galmudug administration will commence the liberation of al-Shabaab-controlled areas. The minister added that Galmudug troops are ready in the upcoming offensive against the group and the Somali National Army forces have recently reinforced their presence in Galmudug, having already conducted two successful operations there.
     3. Al-Shabaab carries out deadly attack in Mogadishu
A deadly attack by al-Shabaab rocked Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Friday 14th of July, targeting a checkpoint near Deyniile district headquarters and resulting in heavy casualties. At least 5 soldiers and civilians were killed with others reportedly injured as militants engaged security forces in a firefight using various weapons. Witnesses state the attackers seized soldiers’ weapons and took control of the checkpoint. The incident came just hours after al-Shabaab assassinated a local official in another part of Mogadishu. Recently, the security in the capital has been improving due to heavy presence of security personnel in the streets, however, al-Shabaab remains a potent threat, undermining Somalia’s peace and stability.
     4. Heavy clashes in Las Anod
Heavy fighting broke out on Wednesday morning in the eastern part of Las Anod town, involving the Somaliland army and SSC-Khatuma forces. Preliminary reports indicate artillery fire hit the town, resulting in unknown casualties. The exact instigator of the conflict remains unclear; however, the opposing factions were close to each other for over four months. Local media reports indicate that there have been casualties on both sides. Earlier this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) condemned the latest attack on a health facility in the disputed city of Las Anod in Somalia’s Sool region, where dozens of people, including healthcare workers and patients, were killed and injured.
     5. Al-Shabaab shall not find safe haven in Kenya
Kenya’s Minister of Defence Aden Duale emphasized the military will deal with terror activities to keep Kenya safe, warning that al-Shabaab won’t find haven once flushed from Somalia. He pledged the ministry will keep enhancing KDF’s capabilities with modern weapons to combat evolving security threats. Duale commissioned a borehole drilled by KDF to reduce resource conflicts and build community goodwill in Wajir. After security meetings aimed at stability, he said the government won’t be intimidated by terrorists. Kenya’s northeast and coast have seen increased al-Shabaab attacks, deadly raids, beheadings, and IEDs. The government suspended Somalia border reopening over surging terrorism and will purchase advanced equipment to aid security forces against the militia.

With our keen focus on accurate, insightful, and comprehensive coverage, Gorfayn Weekly Briefs aims to keep you well-informed on the shifting dynamics of power, policy reform, security measures, and peacekeeping efforts, delivering a clear-eyed understanding of the complexities shaping the nation’s progress.

Copyright: Gorfayn (2023). This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC-BY-NC 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work’s authorship and initial publication in this publication.

The Gorfayn Team
The Gorfayn Teamhttp://gorfayn.org
Gorfayn is your home for fact-based analysis on Somali politics, public policy, and security.

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