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Somali government officials misread IGAD's recommendation on Jubaland conflict.

By By Mohamed A. Hussein | May 28th 2013

By Mohamed A. Hussein

Since Somali government opposed the result of the process in which Jubaland people elected the president and vice-president on May 15, 2013, Somali people interested peaceful solution of the impasse were waiting the recommendation by the IGAD technical committees who met both the government representatives in Mogadishu and Jubaland official and the opposition group in Kismayo. 

Immediately after IGAD committees presented their finding and recommendation in Adis Ababa meeting, Somali Federal Government spokesman, Eng. Abdirahman Omar Osman reported in press conference his own interpretation of the recommendation by IGAD committees.

Instead of presenting the facts on the recommendation statement, he restated the Somali Government’s position that the election of the president of Jubaland was not constitutional, inclusive and government officials did not participate and take its leadership role of forming regional administration as indicated in the provisional constitution.

As result, he added that IGAD foreign ministers agreed that IGAD would support Somali government to facilitate another reconciliation meeting in Mogadishu in which all Jubaland stakeholders were urged to participate in, implying that reconciliation process in which Jubaland people approved their constitution, elected their president and now in process of electing member of the parliament is void.  

Immediately after, press conference held by both minister of the foreign affair, Fowsiya Yusuf Haji in Adis Ababa and the Prime Minister Abdi Farah in Mogadishu repeated the same statement above that IGAD would support Somali government to take leadership role in formation of the regional administration based on provisional constitution. Prime minister added that the process in which they are calling on all Jubaland stakeholders to participate in Mogadishu conference will be constitutional, inclusive and government led the process.

However, the actual statement presented by EGAD technical committees in Adis Ababa meeting is much different from what is stated by the government officials and is based on the fact found by committees on the reality on the ground.

Before presented its final recommendation, IGAD fact finding committees met government officials in Mogadishu before meeting both Jubaland officials and opposition group in Kismayo.

 IGAD committees found out the government and opposition group in Kismayo reportedly sponsored by the government took same position in opposing the outcome of the reconciliation meeting in Kismayo  that among others, the process was neither constitutional, nor inclusive,  led by the government official while Jubaland officials insisted it was constitutional, inclusive and government did not participated even though they were invited and instead decided to finance individual self-sponsoring to be president elect.

After Committees listened both side and considered positions taken by both Mogadishu officials and opposition in Kismayo on one side and Jubaland administration on the other side, they concluded the following recommendation in each of the three underlining principles – Constitutionality, inclusiveness and government led process

First, in term constitutionality of the process in which Jubaland 500 elders elected president, committees found both groups’ claims were based on different interpretations of the constitution since the provisional constitution did not define properly how to go by forming regional states.

Committees did not find faulty in either claims by Government officials reasoning on why the process was not constitutional nor did they find incorrect in the reasoning by the Jubaland official of the constitutionality of their process since there were a lope holes in the provisional federal constitution of Somalia.

As result, committees urged both the government officials and parliament to clarify those articles relating to formation of the regional administration and the government’s role.

Second in term of inclusiveness in the process, the committee found that the major clans in Jubaland state participated in the process but some minority group were missing from the scene and urged the government to take a leadership role in reconciliation process to insure the process is inclusive.

However, Jubaland officials insisted the process was inclusive and is open to be included anyone willing to participate peacefully and will insure the minority group will be included to be members of both parliament and ministerial positions being elected in coming weeks.

Finally, in term of government taking leadership role in the process, IGAD committees found that the government did not participate in the process of forming regional administration even though they were invited several time and Jubaland official is still offering government to participate in the process and to take its role.

As result, IGAD committees recommended that since Jubaland officials acknowledged the need of the government's leadership role in the process, IGAD official is calling on all Jubaland stakeholders to participate reconciliation meeting being planned to be held in Mogadishu by Somali federal government to find final solution through dialogue.

It was reported that Jubaland officials accepted all the recommendation by the IGAD committees including participating conference in which Somali Federal Government is being planned to be held in Mogadishu to come up solution in which Government would take its leadership role.

IGAD government members and international communities are aware that after over 20 years in conflict in Somalia, the only solution forward to attaining lasting solution in Somalia is through dialogue among Somali stakeholders led by the government official based on the provisional constitution.

It hard to understand that why now President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud  and Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon, after obtaining recognition and financial aid by the international community, seem to want solve any issue through their own interpretation of the provisional constitution of Somalia.

A few days ago, President called on Somaliland that it is a time to come to Mogadishu and unite rest of Somalia seemingly forgetting the on-going negotiation between Somalia and Somaliland in order to reach final solution.

Somali people expect the government to implement provisional constitution and encourage any two or more regions trying to form regional administration.

 IGAD and Amisom troops are committed to support Somali government to implement national stabilization plan through serious dialogue among all stakeholders.

Since Jubaland officials accepted all the recommendation by the IGAD committees, Somali government officials should likewise accept all the recommendation as indicated in the statement presented in the Adis Ababa meeting.

As IGAD committees recommended that Government and parliament should work on provisional constitution to clarify certain articles relating the formation of the regional administration, government officials should take leadership role in any process of forming regional administration and they should insure that any process should be inclusive of all stakeholders in the region, among others.

-The writer is a political analyst in East African Affairs living in the USA

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