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 Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid