From August 20th to the 27th, the federal government of Somalia and the Jubba delegation met to negotiate in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. On August 27th, the final day of meeting, the agreement was signed by both parties and set political reform in motion.
Found in the southernmost region of Somalia, Jubaland is composed of three administrative regions, Gedo, Lower Juba and Middle Juba. The semi-autonomous region is just one of a number of dissenting regions that make up Somalia.
Now known as the Interim Jubba Administration (IJA), Jubaland will undergo a transitional process that will transition government powers, allow the federal government to manage the Kismayo airport and seaport, along with all other federal institutions and infrastructure, and integrate militia forces into the Somali National Army.
To transition the governmental aspects, an Executive Council will be formed including a leader and three deputies. Under the leader position, the President of Jubaland, Ahmed Mohamed Islam Madobe will head the Council.
The Executive Council will function as the executive organ of the IJA, while the Regional Assembly will work as an inclusive legislative body that represents all clans and constituents appropriately. After a two year existence, IJA will be established as a Federal Member State of Somalia.
A major factor in negotiations has been the recent dislodging of al Shabab, an al Qaeda affiliate, once secure in the Jubaland region by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). To preserve this removal of al Shabab, this agreement brings major security elements with it.
By signing the agreement, President Madobe has promised to integrate the RasKanboni Brigade, his anti-al Shabab militia, as well as all other security elements into the Somali National Army. Despite the future issues that may be created if loyalties are put into question, both the Somali National Army and the RasKanboni Brigade have collaborated together against al-Shabab in the past that may provide rapport between the groups.
Along with bolstering the Somali National Army, the agreement will give the IJA priority in the planned reintegration system that will allow low level al-Shabab combatants to disengage from the fight and reintegrate back into society.
But this agreement has come at a time when other regions of Somalia have refused to work with the federal government. With the release of an official statement, the semi-autonomous administration of Puntland, the northeast tip of the Horn of Africa, recently cut all ties with Mogadishu. Accusations from Puntland’s administration claim that Mogadishu failed to share power and foreign aid with their region.
Puntland’s cutting of ties may have had increased a sense of urgency in Mogadishu as some feared Jubaland would follow Puntland’s lead. Fortunately for Mogadishu, the opposite has happened and the central government will continue brokering efforts to gain legitimacy.