The hasty formation of South West State is a setback for Somalia’s peace process; The recently televised signing of the agreement on the
formation of federal state for Bay, bakool and Lower shabelle has created
unnecessary tensions among the Somali people who had already suffered from
protracted conflict. Since President Hassan Sheikh’s elections, the
anticipation for building democratic institutions that can carry the
aspirations of the people for peace and sustainable reconciliation was high in
Somalia and that the new government will finally do away with that all too
familiar top down policies that are based on group or foreign interests.
Unfortunately, there is a growing sense among the Somalia people that the newly
signed agreement would disenfranchise communities and create unnecessary
conflicts. Ignoring the concerns and grievance of the people proved to be a
tool for extremism and is not only dangerous to the stability of Somalia but to
the region and the whole world.




The ‘federalism’ issue is a very controversial to say the
least and there are supporters as well as oppositions of the whole concept.
Both sides are Somalis and deserve to be given space to deliberate. The role of
the government is that of creating a processes and debates among the people so
that they are comfortable with the concept and the formation of the
institutions that represent them. There is serious opposition to the formation
of the southwestern state.




Article 49, paragraph (1-6) clearly explains on the regions
and states are formed. Paragraph (6) states: “based on a voluntary decision,
two or more regions may merge to form a federal member state.” It is voluntary
and not an imposition by the government or any other foreign countries. Article
7, Paragraphs (1-11) further explains that the process of first establishing
districts and regions before a merger between two regions occurs. Ignoring such
an important process is a grave violation of the Somali constitution. The
participation of IGAD and other international representative including UN
representatives would not bring legitimacy without the consensus of the Somali
people. The TFG leaders need not be co-opted by group or foreign interests and
instead craft a policy and process that is based on fair participation of all
which can pave the way for sustainable reconciliation.




The current conflict between supporters of the six regions
and the three regions (Bay, Bakool and lower Shabelle) as well as the two
shabelle has to be addressed peaceful. Creating federal states that do not
enjoy the support of the majority of the population undermines the legitimacy
of these institutions and is a further setback for Somalia’s peace building
process. The top-down process has utterly failed in Somalia and I urge all the
international community to refrain from supporting an illegitimate process that
can further destabilize the country.




Hon: Abdulkadir Ossoble Ali

committee for foreign affairs

international cooperation