Agreement reached for ‘last regional state’ in Somalia federation

By Somali Review staff

The Federal Government of Somalia and regional leader signed a formal agreement on the formation of the country’s last regional state, government officials announced on August 8, 2015.

The 12-point agreement was announced at an event held in Mogadishu. The Federal Minister for Interior and Federal Affairs Abdirahman Mohamed Odowa, 11 Federal Cabinet members from the concerned regions, and the two governors – Hiran Governor Abdifatah Afrah and Middle Shabelle Governor Ali Abdullahi Gudlawe – jointly signed the agreement.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Prime Minister Omar Ali Sharmake, members of Federal Cabinet and Parliament, U.N. Special Envoy Nicholas Kay and other international representatives, witnessed the signing ceremony.

The agreement stipulates that the parties agreed to establish a new regional state comprising of Hiran and Middle Shabelle regions, to hold regional convention attended by all area clans, to nominate a 31-member Technical Committee within 14 days, to finalize the state formation within 60 days, and that the Federal Government will “facilitate” the hosting of the regional convention.

Furthermore, the agreement envisions that the future regional state “shall coordinate the fight against anti-peace elements [Al Shabaab], and ensure peace and stability in the regions [Hiran and Middle Shabelle regions]”, while emphasizing that “the manner of this agreement has no connection to the power-sharing model to be decided” at the regional convention, the agreement states.

President Hassan said: “The next step is to support the regional states. We [Federal Government] will encourage healthy competition for development, reconciliation and consultations, as this is the road to the progress we seek. We need to forget our recent past and to use our experiences to advance lasting reconciliation and peace”.

U.N. Special Envoy Nicholas Kay tweeted: “Agreement to form #Somalia administration of Hiran & Middle Shabelle signed today [Aug. 8] at Villa Somalia #Mogadishu”.

It is not clear what city in Hiran or Middle Shabelle region will host the regional convention, where local delegates are expected to select members of regional parliament, adopt a state constitution and flag, and chose a capital city.

After completion of this, out of Somalia’s former 18 regions, only Banadir region – where Mogadishu is located – stands alone without joining any regional state. Somalia adopted federalism in 2012 and three regional states were established since: Jubaland in May 2013, Southwest in Nov. 2014, and Galmudug in July 2015.

The only other existing state – Puntland – declared itself a regional state in 1998, years prior to the emergence of the Federal Government of Somalia. In northwestern Somalia, the separatist region of Somaliland rejects Mogadishu’s constitutional authority and seeks to be recognized as an independent country.

Source: Somali Review