The Khatumo State of Somalia was formed on 12 January 2012 in the historic town of Taleh where more than 400 delegates selected among the assembled 4,000 participants (including traditional leaders, clan elders, “ulima U diin”, academicians and professionals, and a broad cross section of civil society from all around SSC territories and the world gathered under an ancient fig tree known as ‘Berde Khatumo” to unanimously declare the formation of the autonomous Federal State of Khatumo. The Khatumo administration, constituted at this unprecedented in Somalia and historic gathering, is composed of the following three branches: The Council of Traditional Leaders (Golaha Dhaqanka); the Legislative Branch or Parliament; and the Executive Branch or government.
The Council of traditional leaders is the highest authority and is the only body that can ratify any agreements that can impact on the existential issues facing the people of the Khatumo State of Somalia including any agreement with Somaliland, Puntland or any other entity.
The Constitution of Khatumo also mandates that three state Commissions be formed to be responsible, respectively, for security, economic matters, and dialogue with any other political entities in Somalia and internationally. Other vital organs of the Khatumo community to ensure support for effective good governance include the Khatumo Advisory Panel known as the “Guurti” whose members were among the few instrumental in the founding of the Khatumo state of Somalia.
The Khatumo regions have suffered from neglect since the collapse of the Somali central government in 1991 and have been labeled as disputed territories by Somaliland and Puntland which led to the inability of international organizations to help these regions to develop and grow economically. Somaliland in particular used force to occupy the capital of the Khatumo State on 15 October 2007 and continues with this illegal occupation. This has led to armed conflict and unnecessary blood-shed and loss of lives on both sides, while Puntland continues to occupy some border towns where it collects taxes illegally without benefiting the areas it occupies by force.
Although one of the main reasons for the Khatumo State creation was to avoid conflict, Somaliland and Puntland destabilized the area with conflicting claims based on a shared clan of peoples by Puntland, and long-gone common colonial borders by Somaliland. Both claims are in conflict with the expressed wishes of the people of Khatumo to set up their own comparable state and would lead to continued instability and insecurity. This can only be overcome by an autonomous Khatumo Federal State that coexists peacefully with all its neighbors and other political entities in the country.
While the Khatumo “Guurti” welcomes any talks with neighboring administrations that will lead to conflict resolution and peaceful coexistence, such talks should not in any way damage or deter from the Khatumo state founding principles for free, stable and developed Khatumo state in charge of the destiny of its people and territories. The foundations of any talks with other entities was based on collective agreement among the organs of the state. Specifically, it should be blessed, supported and ratified by the Council of Traditional leaders and should take into consideration the following important issues:
- The people of Khatumo have declared, as is reflected in the Constitution of the Khatumo State of Somalia, their conviction to be self-governing, and commitment to remain an autonomous state of Federal Somalia and calls on the Federal government to support the wishes of the people in these regions to remain an integral part of the Federation.
- Any negotiations with Somaliland should be blessed by the Council of traditional leaders in a state-wide conference that is attended by a representative cross-section of the Khatumo community, and a qualified trustworthy team to be nominated and ratified by the conference.
- After being blessed by the Council of Traditional Leaders, any talks with Somaliland, which occupies Khatumo territories by force, should be held in a neutral location and should be monitored by international observers.
- Any future Somaliland talks should be preceded by tangible and verifiable progress on fundamental issues such as the withdrawal of Somaliland forces from all occupied Khatumo lands (to their locations outside SSC territories), and the creation of an atmosphere conducive to peaceful coexistence by the two peoples in the region.
Finally, the “Guurti” declares that the on-going transgression on Khatumo should be brought to an end, and that the inalienable rights of the people of Khatumo to live in peace and in charge of their destiny be supported and respected by all aspiring for tranquility and stability in the Horn of Africa.
Abshir Awil Abdi Deef
Chairman of the Guurti