News / Africa

Leadership Dispute Threatens Stability, Peace in Jubaland

Ahmed Madobe, leader of the Ras Kamboni militia, speaks during a meeting for the creation of a State of Jubaland in Kismayo, Somalia, Feb. 28, 2013.Ahmed Madobe, leader of the Ras Kamboni militia, speaks during a meeting for the creation of a State of Jubaland in Kismayo, Somalia, Feb. 28, 2013.
x
Ahmed Madobe, leader of the Ras Kamboni militia, speaks during a meeting for the creation of a State of Jubaland in Kismayo, Somalia, Feb. 28, 2013.
Ahmed Madobe, leader of the Ras Kamboni militia, speaks during a meeting for the creation of a State of Jubaland in Kismayo, Somalia, Feb. 28, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
— The Somali port city of Kismayo is in political crisis as two former warlords are both claiming to be president of the newly created Jubaland region of southern Somalia. Fears are growing that the rivalry could lead to an outbreak of violence. The Somali government still maintains it doesn’t recognize the two leaders.

The political division in southern Somalia still continues after more than six months of negotiations to elect local authorities to govern the regions of Gedo, Middle and Lower Juba.

On Wednesday, 495 delegates meeting in Kismayo elected Ras Kamboni militia leader Ahmed Madobe as the president of Jubaland, over four other candidates.

But another former warlord, Barre Hirale, who controlled Kismayo for close to nine years, has said he was elected at a separate conference of elders.

“In a conference, which was going on for some time, I was elected as the president of Jubaland,” said Hirale. "In that conference 600 delegates attended and 500 voted for me. Because of that I have become the president of Jubaland.”

Returning warlord

Hirale was chased out of Kismayo by al-Shabab militants - when Ahmed Madobe was a top commander in the group. He returned to Kismayo last month by sea with dozens of loyal soldiers.

Abdi Mohamed Yarow is an elder with the Hawiye clan, which is in the minority in Kismayo. He was present at the swearing-in ceremony and told VOA the elders had appointed Hirale as their president.
 
 “Today we were at the swearing-in ceremony of the president of Jubaland state Barre Hirale,' Yarow said. "We have decided to make him [Madobe] our president and we have just done that, he is the president of Jubaland.”

Some sections of the Somali population have expressed concerns over the recent threats of violence in the city and its environs concerning this dispute over who should be president.

Seeking solutions

Ahmed Soliman, Horn of Africa researcher at Chatham House, a foreign policy institute in London, said to avoid a return of violence in the region, both militias from the two rival camps need to be integrated into the Somali national army.
 
“What we are talking about is eventually, militia being reintegrated into Somali national force. That’s a way of stemming potential conflict in the future, but it very much has to come off the back of political process and I do see political process is in complete and it would continue,” said Soliman.

He also said that after months of negotiations, people can’t be too impatient. Soliman noted the process will take time, and he said that expressing fears is not the right way forward.

“I think there is need to take time, and to asses and to negotiate properly with all the stakeholders. It does seem to me there are a lot of stakeholders involved, and that’s a good thing, and that means it takes longer to achieve consensus,” he said.

The government in Mogadishu has expressed concerns about the roles played in Jubaland by some stakeholders, particularly by the Kenyan government. Kenya has been accused of backing the Ras Kamboni leader, Ahmed Madobe, who helped Kenyan forces to liberate Kismayo last year.

The Somali federal government has refused to recognize any leadership appointments in Jubaland, deeming the process unconstitutional.

A sixteen-member committee appointed by the prime minister to look into the Jubaland issue arrived Thursday in Kismayo.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
May 16, 2013 10:24 PM
Somalis have proved over and over again that they are unable to negotiate peacefully among themselves and put aside their differences for the good of their own people. Barre Hirale and Ahmed Madobe are thuggish, murderers and vicious criminals.These gangsters ought to be stopped and punished by the world communities.
Poor Somalia will remain a perfect failed state for a long time to come.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid