Somalia’s Al-Shabaab has placed 18 lawmakers in the new Galmudug parliament

MOGADISHU, Somalia (HORN OBSERVER) – Members of the new Galmudug State Assembly will on Friday select the next Speaker of the regional House of Representatives in a highly contested election in one of the most divided regions in Somalia.

But few know about the background of the 89 regional lawmakers picked by clan elders who, after selecting their Speaker will pick the next regional president.18 of these freshly picked lawmakers have been identified as supporters and sympathizers of the Harakat al-Shabaab, it has been revealed.

According to a well placed intel sources, the militant group has aggressively lobbied for its “lawmakers” to be selected for the new Galmudug parliament.

“If we even knew, we could not stop them. The Federal Government cannot do anything at the moment due to the sensitivity of this election,” said the Somali intel source “Our objective is to make sure we have a loyalist leader in Galmudug- not to track down al-Shabaab members.”

“This has been a low profile and secret process. The clan elders have been notified that they should pick al-Shabaab men for their clan’s seats and ignore other contestants,” said one elder who picked his clan’s respective lawmaker to the regional parliament and was sworn-in last Saturday.

“Nobody can turn down al-Shabaab instructions. Al-Shabaab is everywhere. If you fail to obey them, next morning you will be shot,” this elder told Horn Observer in anonymity condition.

One of the new lawmakers of Galmudug has told Horn Observer reporter that he knew the Sufi group complained about the 18 al-Shabaab members coming into the Galmudug parliament but this has been ignored by everybody.

He said al-Shabaab is also working hard for supporting some of the presidential contestants.

“It is clear al-Shabaab has influence in the new parliament. They have also a say on the election,” the MP who requested anonymity told Horn Observer.

Al-Shabaab which has been fighting to topple the western-backed government in Somalia is seen to be changing its tactics. The group continues to infiltrate into the government institutions and into the society in unprecedented level.The group also held meeting for the elders who hand picked regional and federal level. Some of the elders who refused Shabab’s meetings were assassinated.

In December, al-Shabaab judges managed to resolve dispute on the leadership of Banadir Chamber of Commerce following three days meeting in Lower Shabelle region, according to an investigation carried by Voice of America Somali Service. On December 17, 2019 Ahmed Abdullahi Hassan, an al-Shabaab businessman who traveled from Harar-Dhere has been appointed as the new Chairman of the lucrative Banadir Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Hassan has previously helped the militant group in identifying key businesses and imposing taxes within Mogadishu’s Bakaro market and the Mogadishu Seaport.