Somali President promises to deliver new constitution before 2020 elections

Mogadishu, Somalia (PANA) – A three-day gathering on a new constitution for Somalia ended on Wednesday in Mogadishu with assurance from President Mohamed Abdullahi ‘Farmaajo’ that the Horn of Africa country will have a new constitution ahead of schedule – before the end of next year.

The President has promised to ensure Somalia holds the next elections under a new constitutional order.

“We are determined to put to an end the review and finalize Somalia’s constitution by the end of 2018,” the president said, in a message delivered on his behalf by the Speaker of the House of the People, Mohamed Mursal Abdirahman.

Somalia is currently governed by a Provisional Constitution and the promulgation of a new and permanent constitution is expected before the country holds a ‘one-person, one-vote election’ in 2020.

President Farmaajo noted that the search for a new constitution had taken too long since it was launched in Djibouti 2000, adding that the process must be speeded up.

The National Constitutional Convention, which drew more than 350 delegates from all sectors of Somali society, has kicked off a review process that will address a number of unresolved constitutional issues, including the future status of Mogadishu and the sharing of powers and resources between the Federal Government and the Federal Member States.

Though the review timetable expects the new document to be ready by the end of 2019, in his message, President Farmaajo said his government is determined to complete the process earlier, in line with an earlier promise to deliver a new constitution before the end of his four-year term. The president took office in 2017. He is currently on a state visit to Qatar.

Meanwhile, the Federal Minister of Constitutional Affairs, Abdirahman Hosh Jibril, told the convention that the team leading the review process had accepted to be accountable to the Somali people.

“We are all working to finalize the writing of this constitution and facilitate ‘one-person one-vote’,” Jibril said. “I’m one of the oldest people here but I’m embarrassed that I’ve never had the privilege to vote. As a citizen of Somalia, I want to get an opportunity to say that I voted.”

The Deputy Chairperson of the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission (ICRIC), Mohamed Abdalla Salah, presented a timetable that will guide the team deliver a new constitution for Somalia by the end of 2019.

“The national convention is calling for the following principles to be the basis for the review process; ownership of the process should be Somali-led and Somali-owned, the review process should be finalized by December 29, 2019,” Mr. Salah observed.

Also addressing the closing session, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Michael Keating, praised the Somali government for its efforts in developing a timetable for the new constitution.

“This is a major milestone for Somalia, and I cannot tell you how happy I am to see this day and how proud I am to be the representative of the international community congratulating you on what is happening,” Mr. Keating said.

The UN envoy added that a successful review process should be approached in the spirit of unity and reconciliation, adding that he would mobilize financial resources from the international community to add to the $3 million pledged earlier this week by the Federal Government of Somalia to help conclude the process.

“Politically, my colleagues in UN will do their best to provide technical advice and will also do our best to mobilize financial resources,” Mr. Keating said.

A former administrator, Abdikadir Mohamed Nur Sidii, praised the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for restoring peace in the country, saying it has enabled the convention to finally take place in the country.

“Without peace nobody can come here (to Somalia). But AMISOM has done a good job here in Somalia, they brought peace and stability,” Mr. Sidii noted.
-0- PANA AR 16May2018

16 مايو 2018 18:00:09

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