Mogadishu – Hundreds of representatives from Somali society are gathered today in the capital, Mogadishu, for the second day of a national constitutional convention, with the event marking the start of a review of Somalia’s federal constitution that will produce a new political charter for the Horn of Africa country by 2019.
Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire opened the three-day convention on Sunday. It has drawn more than 350 delegates, among them members of the federal Parliament, and representatives of Somalia’s Federal Member States, religious leaders, civil society representatives and international partners.
In his remarks, the Prime Minister said the government and the two houses of Parliament should finalize the review process and bequeath Somalia with a new constitution that reflects the aspirations of the entire nation.
“I hereby confirm that my government has pledged $3 million for the constitution process to be finalized. This pledge should produce a Somalia-owned document, Somali thinking, and a new Somali unity that rebuilds the Somali nation we lost,” he said.
Somalia is currently governed by a Provisional Constitution that was adopted in August 2012. The promulgation of a new and permanent constitution is expected before the country holds a ‘one-person, one-vote election’ in 2020. The review process will have to address a number of unresolved constitutional issues such as the future status of Mogadishu and the sharing of powers and resources between the federal government and the Federal Member States.
Mr. Khaire also called on the convention delegates and the Somali people to work together in a spirit of unity on a new constitution.
The federal Minister of Constitutional Affairs, Abdirahman Hosh Jibril, reminded the assembled delegates that Somalia’s quest for a new constitution began at a peace conference held in the Djiboutian city of Arta in 2000.
While the constitutional review process is scheduled to finish by the end of next year, Minister Hosh conveyed a plea from Federal President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ‘Farmaajo’ to expedite the process as much as possible.
In his remarks at the event on Sunday, the Speaker of the federal Parliament’s Upper House, Abdi Hashi Abdullahi, called for a clear definition of responsibilities and powers in the federal constitution.
“An inclusive constitution should be the foundation for rebuilding the government of Somalia,” the Speaker said. “And a federal constitution should clearly define the essential elements that are the pillars for rebuilding the country and implementing the federal system of government.”
The convention was also addressed by the Chairperson of the Somali National Women Association, Batulo Sheikh Ahmed Gaballe, who hailed the opening of the gathering as “a great day” that was needed to prepare for the future of the Somali nation and government