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Galmudug president Ahmed Haaf ousted in a hotel room vote

Galmudug President Ahmed Du’alle Haaf faced the ax Tuesday in a no confidence motion. Photo: courtesy

Embattled Galmudug President Ahmed Geele Haaf has been hounded out of office barely four months into the job in a dramatic twist of events that saw a conspiracy of internal politics, claims of Federal Government interference and the ongoing Gulf Crisis consume the new leader in a majority vote Tuesday evening.

Determined to kick out Haaf who was elected May this year, lawmakers convened in a hotel reportedly owned by a Federal State Minister with 52 out of 55 members present affirming the vote while one abstained as only two haplessly sought to keep the president in office.

But Haaf who has been at loggerheads with the Federal Government has since dismissed the vote as illegal and inconsequential. Haaf, a former Federal Parliament lawmaker was elected in May 3 garnering 53 out of 89 votes in the second round beating his erstwhile opponent Ahmed Sharif

State Assembly speaker Ali Ga’al Asir who is reported to have been locked up in the presidential palace endorsed the vote. Addressing the media shortly after the vote, Asir declared ‘the vote was legal and Ahmed Geele Haaf is no longer the president of Galmudug’. The speaker’s office confirmed the same in a press statement released shortly.

The vote came barely few hours after the state cabinet approved the President’s move to side with Saudi Arabia-UAE in the Gulf Crisis breaking ranks with the Federal Government which has sought a neutral stand. It was not immediately clear if deputy president Mohamed Haashi Arabay changed his position in support of the president following his earlier argument in favour of the neutral position held by the Federal Government.

Haaf had convened his first meeting since arriving from Abu Dhabi this past week. He becomes the second state president to be kicked out in a span of less than two months. HirShabelle’s Abdullahi Ali Osoble who had lasted barely 11 months was shown the door mid August.

Sources told Goobjoog News Tuesday plans had been afoot to replace Haaf citing moves by elements close to the Federal Government to install a candidate who lost to Haaf in the May election. Haaf had demanded the candidate who is alleged to have pitched camp in the temporary capital Adado leaves for Mogadishu. Dhusamareb is the official capital of Galmudug state but is under control of the moderate islamist group Alhusun wal Jama’a which has been at odds with the Galmudug administrations since its formation in 2014.

The vote happened few hours after President Mohamed Farmaajo left for Riyadh in what sources intimated was aimed at seeking the Saudi intervention over what has been termed as ‘underhand dealings and dirty tricks’ by the United Arab Emirates in Somalia. A motion set to be debated this week in the Lower House rebukes the UAE ambassador in Somalia for what legislators said is his countries interference in Somalia.

Though Haaf’s exit cannot be wholly attributed to fall out over the Gulf Crisis, its spill over effects could have in a way claimed its first victim in the Horn of Africa country politics.

Haaf replaced former President Abdikarim Guled who resigned in April citing health reasons. Before his exit, Guled had also faced mounting pressure from legislators who were seeking to remove him from office.

Federal Parliament legislators from Galmudug are expected to head to Adado Wednesday to intervene in the matter.