The traffic in Jowhar was unblocked yesterday after local communities resolved the dispute over appointments in the district. On Sunday, Owbakar Gabane clan members blocked the traffic in Hirshabelle’s Jowhar district near the Kongo checkpoint, south of Jowhar, on the side towards Mogadishu. The traffic disruption stemmed from a dispute between Owbakar Gabane and the Hirshabelle administration regarding the formation of the Jowhar local council, which excluded Owbakar Gabane representatives from its composition.
Jowhar district, Hirshabelle, SOMALIA.
Of the 27 Jowhar local council members, the Abgal clan received ten seats, while Owbakar Gabane, an Abgal subclan, were left out of the allocation process. This exclusion prompted the Owbakar forces, primarily consisting of the Somali National Army (SNA) members, to block the road to Mogadishu.
The Hirshabelle administration’s decision to divide the local council members without consulting the Jowhar residents created a contentious situation. The exclusion of Owbakar Gabane has raised concerns about potential clashes and tensions within the region, which have already been high. Further conflict would be detrimental to both the administration and the people of Jowhar.
Owbakar Gabane wanted to receive one seat of the ten allocated for the Abgal clan members. This was why they, in protest, blocked the road between Jowhar and Mogadishu. Thankfully, on Tuesday, the movement of vehicles returned to normal after Owbakar Gabane received a promise to get a seat in the local council.
Importance of conflict resolution
Both sides made significant efforts to resolve the conflict. Eventually, constructive dialogue helped bridge the divide and paved the way for a more inclusive and representative local council.
The resolution is crucial for the Jowhar administration’s credibility and the well-being and prosperity of the people of Jowhar. Hopes are high that all stakeholders will prioritise peaceful negotiations even in future disputes. This is more necessary now than ever as the region copes with clan-based clashes, raising concerns about impending clan war.
Inclusivity and representation are essential for local governance structures to effectively serve their communities. The administration can foster harmony and prevent further escalations by involving all relevant parties in decision-making and ensuring fair representation.