Middle Shabelle and Hiiraan state formation process has been dealt a further blow after elders from both regions unequivocally declared they were distancing themselves from the process, Goobjoog News can exclusively report.
In a statement seen by Goobjoog News addressed to the UN, the African Union, regional body IGAD, Russia, China, US and the European Union, the elders who met Monday in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle unanimously declared they were boycotting the process owing to interference from the Federal government.
The elders accused the government of unfair distribution of clan delegates and ‘ignoring the value and respect of both regional clan elders’.
“We the clan elders of Hiiraan and Middle Shabelle, have come together today, 7th March, 2016, and decided collectively to boycott the above mentioned conference,” read the statement in part.
Do not attend
The elders further called on their delegates not to attend any proceedings and that anyone attending will not be deemed to be representing any of the clans.
The statement by the eight elders representing eight major clans in Middle Shabelle and Hiiraan regions could effectively seal the fate of the state formation process as their endorsement is critical for the process to be effectively conducted.
Process on course
While responding to a question from Goobjoog News on the latest developments, Interior and Federalisation Minister Abdirahman Hussein noted the process was on going. “It is common knowledge the state formation process in going on in Jowhar,” said Hussein. The minister declined to respond on declaration by the leaders and investigations by Goobjoog News.
Goobjoog News correspondent in Jowhar has indicated some schools in the area are still closed and business is at bare minimum as residents have kept distance from the heavy security force which was to set to secure the conference venue.
“Shafi’i and Hassan Barsane schools in Buulo Makiinu area near the conference venue remain closed while almost half of the population who left the town have not come back for fear of Amisom troops deployed in the area,” noted Goobjoog News correspondent.
One of the elders, Osman Ali told Goobjoog News they had ruled out any attempts for negotiation. “There are no hopes for any negotiations on this issue. The possibility of reaching a common ground between the people of both regions and the government is very negligible,” said Osman.
The state formation conference has had many false starts since September last year when it was supposed to kick off. Elders from both sides agreed on setting the venue to be in Jowhar while the future state headquarters would in Buluburde.
The conference later started in December 20.
However the issue of representation of elders from both sides has been a hard nut to crack with accusations that the federal government has interfered in the selection and number of delegates for the conference.
Middle Shabelle and Hiiraan state was expected to be the newest federal state in Somalia after the formation of Galmudug state last year. The moderate Islamist group Alhu Sunna wal Jamaa distanced itself from the formation process and has since occupied the supposed headquarters of Galmudug, Adado forcing the regional president to operate from neighbouring Dhusamareb town.
A communiqué issued during the High Level Partnership Forum in Istanbul February underlined the need for completion of the Hiiraan/Middle Shabelle state formation process and agreement on the status of Mogadishu.