News / Africa

In Somalia, Political Battle Over Newly Liberated Regions

Somali National Army soldiers and pro-government Ras Kamboni brigadiers walk along seaport quay, Kismayo, Nov. 2, 2012.
Somali National Army soldiers and pro-government Ras Kamboni brigadiers walk along seaport quay, Kismayo, Nov. 2, 2012.
NAIROBI—Somali and African Union troops have made steady progress ousting al-Shabab militants from strongholds in Gedo and Juba, but now a political battle for control of newly liberated regions is posing a challenge for the country's recently established central government.
 
Communities in southern Somalia are pushing to make the autonomous region known as Jubaland a semi-autonomous state that would function like semi-autonomous Puntland, or Puntland's neighboring breakaway republic of Somaliland.
 
While community and clan leaders have reached some agreement on how to divide and rule the territory, the bigger challenge is convincing central government officials to accept the plan.
 
"[We] would like to be frank with people about the talks and politics that is going on," said federal parliamentary member Mohamed Ismail Shuriye, who says Mogadishu officials and regional partners remain far from agreement.
 
With many Somalis and regional representatives favoring formation of semi-autonomous states, some believe the central government fears it will lose power to regional and local authorities, as has happened with Somaliland and Puntland.
 
"Currently there is so much political wrangling that is taking place, [I] hope the political issues will end well and there will be common understanding between the players," Shuriye added.
 
Somalia’s newly-elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has been walking a fine line on the subject, telling reporters on Wednesday that regions have the right to form new states, but that the central government must have a role in the process.
 
"Jubaland should not be different from other states in relation to the central government," said President Mohamud. "That doesn't mean that we will name regional representatives from Mogadishu, but the government is responsible for the way people from those regions want to form their own local authority."
 
Some experts say members of parliament and Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon's newly appointed ten-member cabinet will have different views on how to administer the proposed semi-autonomous state. They suggest there should be some kind of temporary arrangement to prevent war over the spoils of liberation.
 
Multiple sources say the central government is worried about foreign influence in the region, which shares a long porous border with Kenya, whose troops arrived in the area last year to combat al-Shabab militants.
 
Juba-based negotiator Farhan Abdi Afdoob says regional inhabitants don't view neighboring countries as enemies or occupying forces.
 
"Ethiopians and Kenyans who are present in our regions are not different, and there is not one of them we view as our enemy," he said, explaining that, as Somali nationals, none of his constituents would accept being taken over by a foreign power.
 
"We are people who cannot secede from the Somali people," he said. "We are people who are satisfied with the new constitution and want to be governed like other federal states. We want the freedom to build our own federal state and we don’t want interference from the government, separating us along ethnic lines and creating conflict between us."
 
Afdoob says his constituents are asking central government only to support their initiative and treat them like other federal states in the country.

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dahir from: Afmadow
November 18, 2012 3:15 AM
Although all tribes live in the jubba region as well as every region in Somalia but we all know Darood outnumber the rest and thats a fact and since you're claiming its a bantu state tell me which of these cities is a bantu city in the jubba region. Kismayo, Afmadow, Qooqaani, Dhoobleey and ect? Its in the history books when the british came to somalia who lived there so stop trying to blind urself. Let everyone get their share and live peacefully.

by: Adoonka
November 17, 2012 5:22 PM
I agree with anonymous. The Darood Clans in Somalia and Kenya have somehow managed to make their goal of dominating Jubaland a Kenya Government priority. Does the Kenyan Government know that it has been fighting to free southern Somalia of Al Shabaab only to have the Darood warlords unjustly control this region? The militarily and politically powerful Darood and Hawiye Clan warlords have fought over who controls and exploits southern Somalia's Juba River Valley and Kismayu for 20 years. This latest and ingenious push by the Darood is just another attempt to control and exploit the valuable land and labor in the south. Let the indigenous Bantu farmers, the coastal Bajuni, and the other Somalis now native to the south decide their own fate and govern themselves. If the Darood somehow take control of the Juba River Valley and Kismayu, then we can predict that the Bantu will not accept to be dominated like they have been for the past 20 years. The Kenyans should let the Somali Government work through its own process to decide who controls southern Somalia.

by: Anonymous
November 17, 2012 8:28 AM
This article is quite interesting. However, it does not explain why Puntland supports Jubaland. There is a tribal component here as Puntland and Jubaland leaders are both from the darood clan. I suggest VOA to have neutral take on this situation instead of blasting the central government. An article needs to take both side into consideration. I see only the darood view here nothing else. Jubaland is owned by the Bantu clan where the darood are attempting to take away land from a marginalized group. It maybe that VOA somali maybe dominated by certain groups. I am not supporting the federal government and in fact I am not even from Somalia, but I do need to point when an article is off base.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs