Abdiaziz Abdilahi, Somali MP and Chairperson of the Pan African Parliament’s (PAP) Eastern Caucus. Mel Frykberg/ANA

Somalia has been battling a bloody insurgency against Al Shabaab militants which has threatened the country’s security and stability but the political divide between the central government and federal states is also undermining the East African country politically.

“The battle against Al Shabaab is going well and the government has projected that within the next two years they will be defeated. However, that remains to be seen as foreign influence is exacerbating the situation,” Abdiaziz Abdilahi, a Somali MP and Chairperson of the Pan African Parliament’s (PAP) Eastern Caucus, said on Wednesday.

“The political challenges facing Somalia centre around constitutional issues,” Abdilahi told the African News Agency (ANA) during a interview at the Fifth Ordinary Session of PAP’s Fourth Parliament at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand.

There is a lack of harmony between the central government and the federal states and there is no legislation in place to harmonise the responsibilities of the two sides which would be outlined in a constitution, Abdilahi explained.

However, before a constitution can be formulated the two sides would have to come together to reach a consensus and that is not happening due to the volatile situation.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo was sworn in, in February, marking the Horn of Africa’s first fully functioning central government in a quarter-century.

“But the problems between the central government and the federal states were exacerbated following the latest Gulf crisis between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and non-Gulf country Egypt on one side and Qatar on the other,” explained Abdilahi.

The federal states are siding with KSA and its allies while according to reports the central government is siding with Qatar even though it’s meant to be neutral.

KSA and its allies want to open military bases in Somalia for strategic purposes.

Somalia is situated near the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, which are close to Yemen, where the Riyadh is leading a coalition in support of the Yemeni government in a war with Houthi rebels.

Turning to the Somali military’s fight against Al Shabaab extremists, the Somali MP said there were rumours circulating that Kenyan troops, from the African Union Mission in Somalia, might be pulling out of Kumayo near the Kenyan border.

“This would leave all the fighting to fall on the shoulders of the Somali army. But the main issue would be a gap that Al Shabaab could exploit if the pullout is done without a timetable and coordination with Somalia which would need to reinforce the area militarily,” said Abdilahi.

- African News Agency (ANA)