by Aden Hire
Friday, August 16, 2019
Senior representatives from African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the UN meeting with Ahmed M. Islam (Madobe), Kismayo, Jubaland
As outlined in my letter to the Somali President: Looming political Conflict in Jubbaland on December 26th 2018, today people of Jubbaland are in between two hard rocks and are in a race against time. The letter to the President that time put forward some major principles or guidelines that were necessary for peaceful and progressive Jubbaland. As many other observers shared with the same concern, the situation in Jubbaland is again alarming and very troubling. The two hard rocks are obviously Villa Somalia and Jubbaland administration who broke any known standard of affiliative and visionary leader. They failed to put aside their ego, and uphold their respective constitutions. They also failed to listen the needs and grievances of their people whom many of them can’t find sufficient food to survive on a daily basis.
The intention of this article is to outline the contested issues, what both constitutions say in regard to the matters and appeal to both President Farmajo and Regional President Madobe.
Let me begin by saying that the regime in Villa Somalia does not have any legal right to run or manage a regional election directly as per article 120 of the Federal Constitution unless a federal judge null and void a regional election as long as it is not done in accordance with regional and federal constitutions. Secondly Baidoba killings and the mess created by the regime is still alive so it does not have much political capital left to interfere Jubbaland selection/election.
Is Jubbaland’s selection/election done in accordance with Jubbaland’s Constitution? In my view, and many observers it is not done so.
The selection of three State Assembly for one seat while one of the candidates should be a current sitting State Assembly which the regime will pick one candidate of their choice is undemocratic, against Jubbaland’s Constitution and it interferes with voting choice of clan elders to select/elect one candidate of their choice. Article 67 (3) of Jubbaland Constitution says “It is unlawful to interfere with the voting choice of a person to elect a candidate of her or his choice. The case speaks by itself and Jubbaland Constitution is the reference.
The selection/election process in Jubbaland is far from being fair, transparent and free at least to the Somali standards. Article 67 (2) of Jubbaland Constitution says “the electoral process for State Assembly, Vice President and President is to be conducted in a fair, free and transparent”. Jubbaland is the only state in Somalia that never brought a presidential election box in front of the people. People of Jubbaland accepted two sham selections in 2013, 2015 and can not accept another one. In 2015 I advocated peace and asked many Jubbalanders to ignore the sham selection for peace and hope. Today it is impossible to accept another sham selection/election. As far as we know none of the candidates were allowed to canvass in Kismayo for the election. Candidates could not hold meetings in Kismayo to gather political support.
Jubbaland regime can legally nominate Election Committee but they must be neutral and uphold both constitutions. As you could be aware, it is not the task of Jubbaland Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission to run or manage regional presidential election. Their job is to facilitate with clan elders to select their candidates for the State Assembly. The new State Assembly shall nominate an election committee which will manage the presidential election. This is the norm across Somalia.
To the issue of clan elders, a number of prominent traditional elders were sidelined by Jubbaland regime including Ahmed Madobe’s Ugas, the first Vice President’s Ugas and the second Vice President’s Sultan. As I say sometimes clannism and politics don’t go in line.
The issue of seat allocation is contested strongly and will resurface soon. As you could be aware seat allocation is based on districts in the region commissioned before December 31, 1990. As per article 49 (5) of the Federal Constitution and article 6(2) of Jubbaland Constitution only districts commissioned before December 31, 1990 can only be considered a constituent. Each constituent in Jubbaland shall get four seats. Salagle village in Middle Jubba was commissioned by President Abdullahi Yusuf in 2007 and got four State Assembly seats, while Dajuma and Buurdhuubo in Middle Jubba and Gedo respectively were commissioned before December 31, 1990 and received no seats at all. Eelade in Gedo was commissioned by Abdullahi Yusuf in 2007 and got no seats. Turdho in Lower Jubba, the birth place of the second Vice President is believed to be commissioned by Sheikh Sharif but got no seats.
Kismayo received extra 5 seats on top of the regular four seats. Also, there are ten nominated seats which are contested strongly as they were not distributed fairly. These 10 seats were indirectly allocated to Kismayo, so in total Kismayo got 15 extra seats. These 10 nominated seats plus the five extra seats for Kismayo shall be eliminated at all as they are open to bias.
As a concerned citizen I am appealing to both leaders to think hard about the interest of your people. All maximum efforts shall be made to avert violence. I am especially appealing to President Madobe to leave a positive legacy in the region, listen the voices of Jubbalanders and change the course of the selection/election for the better.
Finally, People in Jubbaland deserve free, fair, transparent and peaceful selection/election.
Aden can be reached at [email protected]
Aden is a Senior Political Analyst and is writing this article under his personal capacity.