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Last Updated: Feb 11, 2014 - 5:11:05 AM
Somalia: Mogadishu cannot dictate to Jubaland [Editorial]

GAROWE ONLINE EDITORIAL | The issue is much bigger than meets the eye. Political spoilers in Mogadishu have been responsible for working hard to ensure the failure of successive interim and transitional governments in Somalia since 1991.

One reads with disgust the blatant lies, misleading analyses, and outright clan hatreds published on Somali websites regarding the issue of ‘Jubaland’ – the southernmost regions in Somalia. Kismayo and the surrounding Jubaland regions consisting of Lower Jubba, Middle Jubba, and Gedo regions, is prized for airport and port facilities and farming land. But there is a sinister plot at play: longtime political spoilers are amongst the most vocal groups opposing the formation of ‘Jubaland State of Somalia’ – in line with the country’s new Provisional Federal Constitution of Somalia.

The issue is much bigger than meets the eye. Political spoilers in Mogadishu have been responsible for working hard to ensure the failure of successive interim and transitional governments in Somalia since 1991 – leading to today’s Somali Federal Government, a new stage in post-transition Somalia. For example, take two indisputable facts in today’s Mogadishu: 1) the private properties looted in the early 1990s, at the onset of the country’s civil war, have not been returned to the legitimate owners nor is any such process under discussion with any level of serious commitment; and 2) the vast majority of local government personnel in Mogadishu’s 16 districts belong to a single clan, despite the oft-repeated nostalgic reminders that ‘Mogadishu is a capital city for all Somalis’. If mere words could breed truth, it would all end there.

So the true debate is not Kismayo, as the region’s local communities are known and are collaborating together in a genuine and constructive process to build Jubaland, but rather Mogadishu – a one-clan city, where illegally seized (looted) properties are homes and businesses for some of Mogadishu’s big people and companies; indeed, the spoilers have thrived in 22 years of mass displacement, warlord violence, terrorism, insurgency, and gun-trafficking. History has proven that people who thrive in political disorder and rampant insecurity abhor laws and taxation that come naturally with governance.

Secondly, the irrational obsession with Kenya’s role via AMISOM in liberating the Jubaland regions from the grip of Al Shabaab group aims to mislead the true facts in Somalia: that AMISOM is present in Mogadishu, Jowhar, Beledweyne, Baidoa, Merka, Barawe, and Kismayo, and that there is no difference between the AMISOM soldier from Uganda serving in Mogadishu or one from Kenya, serving in Kismayo. Indeed, if the spoilers’ real issue was that a Jubaland administration was being ‘engineered in Kenya’, then it is suffice to tell the detractors that Jubaland is being formed at an inclusive conference to be held soon in Kismayo, inside Somalia.

Moreover, the formation of Jubaland is indicative of the Somali people's aspiration to unite under a federal political system that distributes power and resource amongst the center and the states, in order to prevent the center’s abuse of power in a country recovering from a combined over 42 years of military dictatorship and civil war. Rebuilding Somalia requires local communities to work constructively with each other and state formation processes remains one of the most effective methods for local communities to work together to build a common state structure that augments the Somali Federal Government.

Jubaland is not the guest of Mogadishu and certainly Mogadishu cannot dictate to Jubaland, because it is unconstitutional for Mogadishu to appoint 'regional governors' in a Federal Republic of Somalia. That dream is long gone and those singing the nostalgic tunes should be wise to remember to seek true justice for the victims of Mogadishu's looted properties.

The inclusive process among Jubaland communities that began in Kenya has provided a good example for other Somali regions to follow towards the formation of emerging federated states. As a state government, Jubaland shall enjoy all the state rights endowed to states by the country’s Provisional Federal Constitution.

Indeed, the Somali people are no longer waiting for the train from Mogadishu to arrive.

Garowe Online Editorial
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