Opinion: The Southwest Somali Federal State – “An exemplar of Somali Democratic Development”
Started in late 2012, the Baidoa peace and reconciliation conference was spearheaded by the genuine traditional elders who have contributed and established the Somali Federal Parliament (SFP). Elders convened this meeting with the consent of the Somali Federal Government (SFG) and invited all Somali ethnic groups living in the six regions namely Baay, Bakool, Gedo, Middle Jubba, Lower Jubba and Lower Shabelle regions to actively participate the conference.
Differently to other conferences like the Raskiamboni lead kismaio conference, the Baidoa conference has been fairly participated by all clans and indigenous ethnic groups living in the six regions with an overall delegation number of 1005 members because the process was led by the indigenous community where all Somali clans (Dighil Mirifle, Dir, Daarood, Hawiye , Bantu, Bajuuni, Brawaness and Banadiri) are fairly represented.
The conference was planned, sponsored and implemented by the traditional elders supported by all community segments such as religious leaders, politicians, educated people, busyness people, women and youth groups, farmers and all other community members whether inside or outside the country.
However, SFG has retreated from its previous commitment to the establishment of a constitutional federal state – the South West Somali Federal State (SWSFS) and tried to stop the establishment of the SWSFS using different step tactics.
The first step was the so called Jubba administration which in reality the SFG was against its proclamation but has been overwhelmed by external bargaining powers especially the neighbouring countries. When the SFG has sent an official delegation to Addis Ababa in mid August 2013 for the discussion regarding Jubba administration, the south west Somali traditional elders declared suspension of all relations with the SFG.
On 17th September 2013, the Speaker of the SFP and interim President Prof. Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawaareey went to Baidoa to reconcile between the traditional elders of South west Somali communities and the SFG. After four days of discussion, mutual understanding was reached on the bases that the traditional elders revoke their decision and support the SFG and they continue their conference. On 21 September 2013, His Excellency, Prof. Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawaareey has publicly announced that the second phase of Baidoa conference is open for all Somali south west communities. The conference went on until the Constitutive Assembly have democratically and openly elected Chair man and two vice chairmen on February 3rd 2014.
The second step to stop or at least disturb the Baidoa conference by the SFG was the creation of the fake so called conference putting few handpicked and corrupted individuals in a hotel and paying corrupted media for show off. The objective was to create confrontation between and among the south west communities hence insecurity situation in Baidoa paving the way for a pretext to reconcile the two conferences in the same city – Baidoa. But the wise
traditional elders understood the trick and kept quiet. Instead they have always tried to talk in peaceful and convincing way to attract their misled individuals.
The third step was to instruct Amisom troops to close the conference whole and disband the delegates from the conference but the south west communities strongly opposed this move and went in the conference by force and continued the conference until the President and the vice president were openly and democratically elected on March 3rd 2014.
The fourth step was the one day show conference of the two Shabelle. But in the same day, both Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle elders stated in different and independent press conferences in Mogadishu that this move is null and void.
And the last, yesterday 23rd of March both the SFG and International Community represented by Nickolas kay have sent spoilers to Baidoa to just disturb the SWSFS. But the South West Somali Communities strongly and furiously rejected spoilers to enter Badoa the capital City of SWSFS.
Self explanatory reaction of South west Somali communities-no place for spoilers
Worthy to mention is that on 15th March 2014 the leaders of the fake Baidoa conference have quitted the hotel and joined the SWSFS. Therefore all attempts to shake and disturb the genuine Baidoa conference and its outcome – the SWSFS ended into a vain.
My advice to the SFG is to recognize and support the legitimate administration formed by the community.
And my advice to the international community especially to his Excellency Mr. Nickolas kay – Secretary General’s representative for Somalia is to be neutral in Somali politics.
I would say Mr. Nickolas kay reconsider your stance regarding Baidoa conference and its outcome-the SWSFS. We read your reports to the secretary general stating that there are two parallel conferences in Baidoa; and there is a meeting for the two shabelle regions in the outskirts of Mogadishu. These are reports hardly telling the truth. With those reports you are trying to destroy and ban the rights of millions of southern Somalis who are just struggling for their existence while you are supporting warlords and land occupators. And with those misleading reports whether you are conscious or not you are hiding the will and suppressing the voice of millions of Somalis who are shouting for their rights.
I would advise you to open your eyes to see the people and open your ears to hear their voice-the voice of the South west Somali Federal State – the exemplar of Somali democratic development and unity because they are the ones who before more than half a century suggested that federal system of governance is the best way Somalis can coexist together peacefully and be united. In fact, the SWSFS is the only multiethnic state where all Somali clan families are fairly represented while other administrations are almost clan based.
Abdullahi Sheikh Mohamed