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

    Greenpeace Leak: US-EU Trade Deal Would Favor Corporations

    Activist group leaks classified documents to 'shine a light' on talks that could create the world's largest bilateral trade and investment pact

    Video Ethiopia's Drought Takes Toll on Children

    East African country’s crops failed in 2015, creating food shortages for 10 million – including 6 million children whose development may be compromised

    What Your First Name Reveals About Who You Vote For

    People named Chad are more likely to be Republicans and Jonathans are usually Democrats

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora