30 December 2012

Somalia: Federal Delegation's Visit to Kismayo Stirs Renewed Controversy

Kismayo — A delegation dispatched by the Somali federal government in Mogadishu to visit and assess the situation in the southern port city of Kismayo returned to Mogadishu on Saturday, Garowe Online reports.

The ministerial delegation, led by Interior Minister Abdikarim Hussein Guled, arrived in Kismayo on Dec. 27 and engaged in meetings with the local political leaders, military officers, and community elders.

One political insider in Kismayo, who spoke to Garowe Online on condition of anonymity, indicated that the discussions between the federal ministers and Kismayo local leaders "ended in stalemate" over the issue of Jubaland formation.

"There was a disagreement over Jubaland issue. The federal ministers proposed that Mogadishu appoint a three-month interim administration for Kismayo district," said the source, adding that Kismayo leaders "rejected" the proposal.

Continuing, the source said: "The Kismayo political group is actively pursuing the formation of Jubaland supported by local clans at a public convention."

Kismayo political leader Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Ahmed Madobe) said: "Somalia has adopted federalism...It has been agreed that Kismayo and the Jubaland regions will establish an administration supported by the local people and the local people will elect their leadership."

Potential political rift

The political source in Kismayo also tells Garowe Online that the federal ministers had told the Kismayo administration that the Somali federal parliament is planning to introduce a parliamentary motion "specifying" federal and state powers in the Federal Republic of Somalia.

Under the country's adopted federal constitution, four national issues have been deferred until a negotiated agreement is reached among the existing and emerging federated states of Somalia in the future, namely: distribution of power at state- and federal-levels, revenue-sharing, a federal capital city, and the issue of natural resources.

A political source in Puntland tells Garowe Online that Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is "pursuing centralized government where he can appoint governors to [the former] 18 regions of [1991] Somalia."

Continuing, source said: "If the federal parliament introduces such motion, it is unconstitutional and potentially a new political rift will emerge in Somalia."

The Somali federal government was established in August 2012, after the adoption of the provisional federal constitution of Somalia.

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