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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Official Pleased With Ebola Containment Measure

Official says three-day sensitization effort will help reduce infection rate of Ebola disease nationwide More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid