Shabelle State – Press release regarding the interior minister’s statement on the Baidoa Conference



Traditional leaders, politicians, intellectuals and all segments of the society from Lower and Middle Shabelle regions issue, this statement in response to both statements from the Minister of Interior and the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations, in relation to the Badioa conference.

There have been efforts and meetings from local people of both Lower and Middle Shabelle regions which is going very well and discussions with the Federal Government of Somalia to decide the formation of the Federal Units in Somalia in accordance with the Provisional Constitution and the existing laws in the country. After extensive consultations and meetings with key stakeholders in Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle, and in consultation with the Minister of Interior (which the committee presented their interest and their desire documents) is finalizing the process.

It is understood that Baidoa conference is aiming to form 6 regions administration which the Lower Shabelle is part of that and we know that some of the people in the region is also attending the Baidoa conference, nevertheless, we strongly believe that most of the people in Lower Shabelle are present in our talks to form a federal unit consist of Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle. The committee is also addressing this issue by engaging with those people in Badioa, so that they can participate in our talks and consultations to form a Federal unit in accordance with the Provisional Constitution and all laws in the country for Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle.

Therefore, we strongly object decisions from the Minister of Interior and the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for the following reasons:

1. The decision and the statement from the Minister of Interior is contrary to the Provisional constitution and the laws of the country, is not a decision where the cabinet has debated and discussed, and is not a decision where MPs and ministers from Lower Shabelle region discussed or consulted with local people. Any decision from the cabinet has to be one that is transparent, one that is discussed and consulted with key stakeholders, and one that goes due process in terms of reconciliation and consultation. Key stakeholders have the right to be consulted on key decisions that has implications to their lives.

2. The role of the Government is to facilitate dialogue, consultation and to inform local people on key decisions and to empower them to make an informed decision. Therefore, the ultimate goal and decisions on Lower Shabelle status lies with key stakeholder in the region. Key stakeholders are currently finalizing the process of forming a Federal Unit consist of Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle. The Government has no right to make a decision for the people that have no legal basis according to the constitution and all laws governing the country.

3. The Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN should avoid making decisions for the people, and his role is to facilitate and to encourage people to decide their future. It would have been wise to get the full facts surrounding this issue before making public statement in support of the statement of the Minister of Interior.

4. Lower Shabelle region has a long history, which was part of Ex-Banadir region in the past, these three regions share common culture, land and understanding which needs to be respected and to be encouraged to their current process.

5. Therefore, we would like to recommend the following important steps:

a) The President of Somalia to review the decision of the Minister of Interior and to call for a fact finding committee on this issue and the President has to hold accountable on each minister that makes decisions contrary to the Constitution.

b) Our committee is ready to sit with the Government in order to discuss the process of our plan to form a Federal unit consist of Lower Shaballe and Middle Shabelle, so that the Government can take its leading role which the local people is ready to assist with.

c) Our committee to continue consultation and dialogue with local people so that the final decision is one that is owned by the people in these regions, so that they can agree the modalities on power and resource sharing in a way that is fair and equitable.

d) Our Committee is ready to support the government plan in the implementation of Federal units in the country in accordance with the Provisional constitution and all laws in Somalia. The government should take a leading role in order to avoid dispute, conflict and chaos, which could be the obstacle to implement democratic process so that the people can make an informed decision on their future.

Finally, we call on all politicians and MPs from both Shabelle to support and lobby this initiative and to make their voice heard. We also call on all Somalis to work together so that we stabilize our country and bring democratic values, which translate the will of the people.