Round up of Somali Government Progress this week * somalia, World News and Opinion.
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Round up of Somali Government Progress this week– Mogadishu, 09 August 2014 – H.E. Mustafa Duhulow today addressed the media in Mogadishu, providing an update on the progress of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) over the last week. The Minister provided details on various issues including: new initiatives to empower young people; the progress of the Humanitarian Committee; the new Attorney General’s taking-over of office; Himin & Heeb becoming signatories in the formation of the Central Regions Administration; the draft law on illegal weapons; the capture of Hassan Hanafi (a senior al-Shabaab member); the progress of the stabilization process; and scholarships exams for Somali students.

The Minister of Information spoke on the importance of empowering young people: “On 4th August 2014 the President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, speaking in Washington DC, where he was attending the historic US-Africa Summit, announced several new initiatives aimed to empower Somali youth. The President said: “The Federal Government of Somalia will generate opportunities for young people that are positive alternatives to participating in violence and conflict. I am very proud to announce several key initiatives that we are seeking to implement rapidly, which include: empowering, job creation programs, a university accreditation system, the strengthening of youth representation in civil, government and political activities, the appointment of two Youth Advisers to the Office of the President, the lowering the age limit of elected political representation to 18 and many other initiatives that will follow. The Federal Government of Somalia is committed to providing an environment that is encouraging young people to exercise their rights and responsibilities. Young people are the future leaders of Somalia.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the urgent humanitarian appeal: “On 7th August the Minister of Agriculture, H.E. Abdi Ahmed Mohamed Baafo, who is the Chair of the Ministerial Committee on Humanitarian Issues, closed a 3-day seminar to discuss the best ways to provide humanitarian assistance to those who desperately in need. The Minister said humanitarian aid will be delivered within the next couple of days to areas affected by severe drought in the country. The Minister made a strong appeal to Somalis, as well as to donors, allies and friends of Somalia, to urgently provide the necessary humanitarian assistance in order to stop the looming humanitarian crisis in the country. The Committee will start providing water to rural areas that are most affected with an initial pledge of 500k from the Federal Government of Somalia. The Federal Government of Somalia will deal harshly with those who obstruct the delivery of the humanitarian assistance as well as those who try to attempt corrupt practices during the delivery of the humanitarian assistance to people. Those responsible for diversion, obstruction or corruption will be brought to court to face the severest punishment, as the government has zero tolerance on corruption”

The Minister of Information spoke on the progress of the reform of the justice system: “On 6th August 2014 the new Attorney General, Mr Ahmed Ali Dahir resumed his office and started work. This is huge progress towards the reform of the justice system in Somalia. The new Attorney General stated that he will prioritize the rule of law, the reform of the judicial service and fighting corruption. There is no-one above the law, he added. The Attorney General promised to open a new Consumer Protection Service Office in order to safeguard the public from human rights violations. Finally, the Attorney General plans to open offices in all the regions and districts of the country and will provide training to staff in order to enhance their skills and expertise.”

The Minister of Information praised Himin & Heeb leaders for the signing an agreement on the formation of the Central Regions Administration: “On 6th August the Federal Government completed the signing of the agreement to form the new Federal Unit in Central Regions of Somalia. Following a series of discussions and negotiations the Federal Government convinced Himin & Heeb Authority to sign the agreement that other regions had signed previously. The Acting President, the Speaker of the Parliament, Hon Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari, the Prime Minister, H.E. Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, ministers, MPs, and the SRSG Mr Nicholas Kay were present at the signing ceremony. The Acting President and the PM spoke at the event and praised the President of Himin & Heeb’s leadership in signing the agreement, which completes the signing by all parties in the agreement. The signing of the agreement to form a new Federal Unit within Somalia is a huge step towards the Federal Government’s plan to implement federalism in Somalia. The President of Himin & Heeb, Mr Abullahi Ali Mohamed (Baarleex) thanked the Federal Government and all those who made it possible for today’s important agreement for the region. The Federal government is committed to implementing Federalism in Somalia and this agreement demonstrates progress towards the realisation of Vision 2016.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the importance of the draft legislation on illegal weapons: “On 7th August the Cabinet discussed the draft legislation on illegal weapons. After discussion and debate the council of ministers unanimously approved the draft legislation that will be forwarded to the parliament in the coming days. The legislation provides details on all arms and weapons and the way they can be owned and used. This legislation prohibits people carrying illegal weapons and anyone found to be guilty of this by courts will face 5 years imprisonment and/or fines equivalent to the sentencing. This legislation also prohibits people importing, exporting, or selling of any arms or weapons that can kill people. The aim of this legislation is to minimize the use of weapons, which in turn helps the efforts to bring peace and stability in Somalia by the Federal Government of Somalia.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the capture of Hassan Hanafi, an al-Shabaab member: “On 7th August, the security apparatus provided an update to the cabinet in relation to the capture of a fugitive senior al-Shabaab member. As a result of surveillance by the Somali security apparatus the Kenyan security forces captured Hassan Hanafi Haji, wanted for the killing of a number of Somali journalists and other citizens. It is also alleged that he was also deeply involved in al-Shabaab’s propaganda machine. The Somali Military Court has officially asked the Kenyan Government to hand over Hassan Hanafi to them in order for him to face trial. The military court is pursuing for Hassan Hanafi in relation to complaints from the relatives of those he is alleged to have killed including prominent journalists and other people. Other charges include looting of public properties as well as making regular and on-going threats to journalists. It is alleged that Hassan Hanafi terrorised media owners, editors and journalists, forcing them to tell lies and propagate Al-Shabaab propaganda.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the security forces’ progress in the stabilization process: “The security forces have been conducting stop and search operations in Mogadishu for some time as part of the stabilization process. During last week, security forces closed down a terrorist cell operating in the Hereryale area and found arms and weapons intended to cause terror amongst people of Mogadishu. The security forces also captured 11 members of al-Shabaab, who are currently under investigation. Furthermore, security forces identified and captured two vehicles with arms and weapons. They also prevented terrorists detonating explosive devices at Liido beach. The Federal Government is intensifying security operations and the stabilization process with a view to eliminating all threats posed by terrorists groups.”

The Minister of Information finally spoke on the importance of scholarships for Somali students: “On 7th August, 354 students sat exams for scholarship grants from Yemen and Sudan. Yemen and Sudan offered 280 scholarships to Somali students. The Ministers of Education, Higher Education and Women & Human Rights were present during the exam in order to ensure that the system was fair and just. Ministers encouraged students to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them to study at universities abroad. The Minister of Higher Education stressed the importance of the exams and noted that the ministry had appointed an independent commission to administer all scholarships from abroad with a view to ensuring that all students have the right to apply. Based on a competence-based exam, the scholarships will be given to whoever scores the best marks. The Minister said the system is transparent and is open to all students across the country. Minister for Women stated that she was very pleased to see so many girls sitting the exam and she encouraged all girls to redouble their efforts in order to get the quality education that will guarantee them a good future.”
Ministry of Information, the Federal Government of Somalia

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