Kenya Defense Forces most trusted ally in the war against Al-Shabaab Sheikh Ahmed Madobe could be steps from winning his Jubbaland Presidency.

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Sheikh Madobe, the commander of most feared Ras Kamboni Brigade, fought alongside KDF during the journey towards liberating Kismayo, a town that had been under Al-Shabaab siege.

United Nations representative to Somalia James Swan wrote to Jubbaland authorities on August 8 warning against a splinter electoral commission ahead of August 24 polls.

Sheikh Madobe's rivals had called for a splinter agency, claiming that the current one is compromised and that would rig the polls in favour of Madobe.

“We will continue to reiterate the need for a single, agreed process according to the Jubbaland constitution and consistent with the federal provisional constitution, and the need to avoid interference or intimidation of any kind,” the envoy wrote in an August 8 letter to Jubbaland Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Hamza Abdi Barre.

Swan said he was writing on behalf of Unsom, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (Igad), Kenya, African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), Austria, Belgium, Italy, Denmark, the European Union, the Netherlands, the UK and US — indicating the growing interest in the election.

Ugas Omar Hiirey, the spokesman of the Jubbaland Council of Elders, defended the list as genuine — refuting claims of the opposition group and the federal government in Mogadishu.

“These are the same elders who previously selected MPs for Jubbaland and the federal government of Somalia,” he said.

Those challenging Madobe are Mohamed Omar Gedi, Mohamed Abdille Magan, Anab Mohamed Dahir, Abdi Hiis Udan, Ahmed Abdi and Abdirahman Ahmed Rabi, according to the final list by the commission.

Abdinasir Seraar, a former ally of Madobe and Mohamed Dahir Marsheye who once worked with the UN were omitted since they failed to meet the poll conditions.

The letter is seen as a warning to Mogadishu following complaints by Madobe that President Mohammed Farmaajo is keen to have him kicked out in the polls.

Farmaajo has since renounced American citizenship as an indication of an impending cold war with Washington DC, which has been a partner in war against Al-Shabaab.