News / Africa

Jubaland Talks in Somalia Make Little Progress

Ahmed Mohamed 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 Mohamed 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.
Talks on the creation of the federal state of Jubaland in southern Somalia have made little progress despite months of negotiations. 

In the meantime, relations between the central government and local actors have become increasingly strained, evidenced by a power struggle over the port city of Kismayo. The tensions have thrown the country's new federal system into doubt.

Since the capture of Kismayo by Kenya Defense Forces in October of last year, politicians, elders and local militias have been engaged in talks organized by the eastern African organization IGAD.

Over the past month, a meeting of 800 delegates representing local communities from the regions of Gedo, Lower and Middle Juba approved a constitution for the new state. However, some participants have complained that the balance was stacked in favor of more powerful players in the discussions.

One of the delegates, who did not want to be named for security reasons, said the conference was heavily influenced by Ras Kamboni militia leader Ahmed Madobe, who helped Kenyan forces liberate Kismayo from al-Shabab.

“The conference was supposed to be neutral and every region is to express its views independently,” he said. “There were 870 delegates who approved the constitution, when there were supposed to be 500. Some of these delegates were Ras Kamboni militiamen who were in civilian clothes.”

Neither Madobe nor any representative of Ras Kamboni returned calls for comment.

x
Hassan Samantar, a politician and key player in establishing Galmudug state in central Somalia, said clan representation at the conference was also unbalanced.

“The problem now is the representation of the elders who will select the delegates based on the regions, so this is really a big headache," he said. "Some groups, they were protesting yesterday that they were not having a fair representation [and] that some clans, they were given for example 10 elders to represent them, others one or two , so there was no balance.”

The process of creating Jubaland has attracted the interests of Kenya, Ethiopia, IGAD and the Somali federal government, which is trying to define its relationship with the region of 1.3 million inhabitants.

The new Somali constitution ratified last year sets up a system of states around a central government, but some observers say there has been little progress in establishing the mechanisms to make federalism work.

Ahmed Soliman, Horn of Africa researcher at Chatham House, a foreign policy institute in London, said there are no clear rules for the founding of Jubaland, and that the uncertainty over the process could be dangerous.

“It does seem to me pressure to rush ahead with this, whether or not this means we will see potential conflict over Kismayo or Jubaland remains to be seen, but there is certainly a chance that could happen given the nature of how things are moving ahead,” Soliman said.

There are already indications of rising tension, as several sources in Kismayo confirmed that former warlord Barre Hirale, who once controlled the port city for close to nine years, arrived Thursday by sea along with dozens of loyal militia soldiers.

Soliman said Hirale’s presence could be a concern to the region and everyone involved in the process.

“That would be a concern for the region and it would be in concern whoever in Kismayo is able to uphold the peace because the peace has been relatively sure in making AMISOM coming into Kismayo so you wouldn't want a conflict to start right now, it won’t be good for the process,” said Soliman.

The central government has dismissed the Jubaland process as unconstitutional, saying it lacks legitimacy.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More