Mogadishu fights law on federal states

By m m muhumed

Mogadishu is unhappy with the Darod-led administration in Puntland in the northeast, so allowing the clan to dominate another regional state in the south will be a major setback.

Puntland was the first to congratulate Madobe and encouraged other communities in south-central Somalia “to establish States in a similar consultative and open process in order to compete the Federal Republic of Somalia.”

Puntland said: “Spoilers wish to keep Somalia embroiled in a vicious cycle of violence, lawlessness and political instability, and the Jubaland process has sent a clear signal of the Somali people’s true aspirations for peace, security, democracy, and unity in a Federal Republic.”

 “Puntland calls upon the Somali Federal Government, IGAD, and the wider international community to recognise and cooperate with Jubaland State,” said a statement from the Puntland authorities.

One official directly involved in the Jubaland process said: “Mogadishu is afraid of a Darod Crescent” in the south, west and northeast.” The official who sought anonymity, because of sensitivity of the matter, added that three clans Hawiye, Isaq and Isse -- best known as Irir -- planned to work together to shoot down any endeavour by the Darod to control Jubaland state.

 Somali officials from southern regions publicly express their mistrust of  President Mohamud, whom they say is being driven by clan interests. Mohamud has repeatedly said his government -- being the country’s supreme authority -- will take the lead in naming officials for all regions in the country, including Kismayo.

 “Our policy towards Jubas is similar to our policy towards Hiiraan, Bay and Bakol regions. There is no specific policy towards Jubas,” he said last December in Nairobi.

And tension has been building up in recent years between Nairobi and Mogadishu over the Jubaland state issue, with leaders in Mogadishu working hard against Kenya’s push to help set up administration in regions near its border to ward off any infiltration by Somali militants.

Openly clashed

Former President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in November 2011 asked Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to help stop Kenya from assisting a clan it believed Nairobi was anointing to take over Kismayo, sources said.

And Kenya’s decision to send troops to Somalia to battle Al Shabaab insurgents last year was initially objected by President Ahmed. He openly clashed with his Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, who supported Nairobi’s move to fight Al-Shabaab after a series of kidnappings.

Oguna, said election of a new leadership for Kismayo will help solve political problems in the region, as “the stability of Jubaland can’t be achieved through military solution alone.”

Somali lawmaker Mohamed Abdi Gandhi said the process to set up an administration for Gedo, lower Juba and middle Juba was the result of an agreement between Kenya and Mohamud’s predecessor, Ahmed. He said more than 247 meetings were held in the last four years to discuss the matter and that 38 sub-sub clans were identified as the rightful inhabitants of the regions. Despite a constitutional provision that allows for two and more regions to form their own state, Mogadishu has opposed this over fears that more regions will demand autonomy.

Somalia has so far two effective regional administrations in north-eastern and  north-western regions -- the semi-autonomous region of Puntland and the breakaway, but internationally unrecognised Republic of Somaliland. There are also more than a dozen mini-states across the countries that only exist on paper.

Mogadishu also suspects that Kenya wants to occupy the region and support one clan, Ogaden, at the expense of others, especially the Hawiye clan. Several Mogadishu-based radio stations, most notably Radio Shabelle, have supported the Somali government.

Advocates of the Jubbaland state, who don’t want to be named, said President Mohamud had been employing several tactics to thwart any efforts to fast-track the Jubaland state. In three visits to Mogadishu by the Jubaland’s technical committee, President Mohamud has shown little seriousness or interest in engaging with the committee, a source said.

Serar, the spokesman for the interim committee running Kismayo, said the most dramatic attempt by the Mogadishu-based government was when in last November the president sent a delegation to the city without prior notice. The delegation later returned to Mogadishu after Kismayo rulers refused to meet them.

Igad member states have given Kenya and Ethiopia the go-ahead to help Somalia’s government establish regional administrations.