> East Africa: Museveni Discusses Somali
Fears With Kibaki
29 November 2011
New details have emerged that show that despite the display of diplomatic
niceties and pledges of co-operation between Kenya and the Transitional
Federal Government in Somalia, deep misgivings remain in Mogadishu that
Kenya's engagement is likely to shift the power balance in Somalia in favour
of the populous Ogaden clan.
Apparently, the inner circle in Mogadishu is uncomfortable with the
visibility and prominence in the Kenyan military operation of Kenyan ethnic
Somalis -- a good number of whom are members of the Ogaden clan.
A top Kenya government official involved in the negotiations told The
EastAfrican last week that the elite of the TFG were also still not agreed
on the appropriate level and extent of Kenya's engagement in the crisis.
(READ: 'A coalition should take over next phase of mission')
It is understood that when Somalia's President, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed visited
Kampala early this month to hold discussions with Uganda's President Yoweri
Museveni, the lead item on the agenda was the Ogaden factor and Mogadishu's
worry that the Kenyan operation had the potential of stoking parochial
nationalism, leading to agitation for a breakaway province bordering Kenya.
It was after the meeting in Kampala that Museveni agreed to organise a
meeting between Sheikh Sharif and President Mwai Kibaki. Earlier, Museveni
had also raised the issue with Prime Minister Raila Odinga when they met in
Tel Aviv where both were on an official visit. (READ: How war boosts Kenya's
regional, global clout)
Apart from the fact that Uganda has a big contingent in Amisom, the African
Union peacekeeping force in Somalia, Kampala's interests in the country --
whether economic or geostrategic -- remain limited in comparison with
Ethiopia and Kenya.
Ever the arbiter
But President Museveni would appear to be keen to play arbiter between Kenya
and Ethiopia on the one hand and the TFG on the other to shore up his
credentials as a key player in regional politics.
The Horn of Africa is characterised by permeable borders with ethnic groups
overlapping national boundaries and extensive flows of people, goods and
services -- whether legal or illegal -- between states.
The misgivings about Kenya grew when a group of Ogaden leaders met in
Nairobi to discuss the formation of a semi-autonomous Jubaland that will
comprise northern regions of Lower and Middle Juba and Gedo on the
The meeting had proposed Jubaland as the third semi-autonomous breakaway
region after Somaliland [northwestern Somalia] and Puntland [northeastern
A group of former Somali MPs told the Nairobi meeting that if created,
Jubaland would act as a buffer zone and frustrate incursions by Al Shabaab,
prevent entry of refugees, and smuggling of arms into Kenya.
Muhammad Gandhi, a former defence minister in Somalia who is co-ordinating
the plan, said it would bring stability in the region occupied by Al
Shabaab. "We are ready to liberate the three regions from Al Shabaab," he
The delegates adopted a regional constitution with 81 articles to help
govern the proposed state of Jubaland. They also elected Prof Gandhi as the
new president of Jubaland.
They said the new region would be fashioned on the model of the autonomous
Puntland and Somaliland in the north.
"We intend to conclude a plan of action that has been ongoing for the past
two years. We must restore nationhood and unity to the people of Somalia who
have suffered for the past 20 years," said Prof Gandhi.
The anxiety over clannism revives the issue of the 4.5 Clan formula that was
developed at the last peace conference in Nairobi in 2004, but which has
never been properly implemented.
The 4.5 formula was meant to give equal quotas for representation in
government to the four major clans, and a half-point to the fifth, the
cluster of minority clans.
Now, there are concerns that the planned annihilation of Al Shabaab could
leave a vacuum and lead to the re-emergence of clannism and warlords.
Soon after the collapse of the Siad Barre administration in 1991, the
country was carved up into clan enclaves led by warlords, who started
fighting among themselves.
In Kenya, the same clannism has characterised the relations among the Kenyan
Somali and to some extent does not allow intermarriage.
The Ogaden or Daarood are the majority among the Kenyan Somali and are the
ones who have held senior positions in government and military over the
years. The same inter-clan rivalry arguably led to the infamous Wagalla
massacre in 1984, when the military descended on Wajir purportedly to defuse
clan-related conflict between the Ajuuran and the Dogodia.
The Ogaden mainly live in in Wajir and Garissa districts. The Hawiye are
found in Mandera district, the Ajuuran are mainly found in Wajir, Marsabit
The Hawiye allies live in Moyale, Mandera and Wajir, while the Dogodia are
in Wajir, some in Mandera, a few in Garissa, Marsabit and Moyale.
The Daarood-Harti are concentrated in Nairobi, Mombasa and towns throughout
Kenya, including towns in North Eastern Province. The Isaaq (non-Daarood,
non-Hawiye) are found in Nairobi, Mombasa and other towns, and towns of
North Eastern.But even as clannism is ripe among the Kenyan Somali, the
post-election violence of 2007/8 has elevated the community in Kenya to the
status of neutral "peacemakers" where ethnic rivalry is at its highest. As a
result, Kenyan Somalis have been given key appointments because they are
seen as neutral and outside the PNU-ODM rivalry. The best example is the
chairman of the newly created Independent Electoral and Boundaries
Commission, Isaack Hassan, who is perceived as a neutral arbiter and who is
being looked to to help the country avoid the problems that beset the 2007
Even as the military operation in Somalia continues, Kenya is still on a
diplomatic offensive to get donor support to launch a major relief operation
in liberated areas.
A top government official told The EastAfrican that the plan was to build
IDP camps, schools and hospitals in liberated territories.
The thinking is that better infrastructure and relief operations will make
it easier for the TFG to establish a civilian administration in the
Nairobi is also counting on the new Amisom soldiers pledged by the African
Union (AU) member states to be gradually deployed in the liberated areas --
setting the stage for a gradual exit of Kenyan troops.
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Received on Tue Nov 29 2011 - 07:47:43 EST