President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo has promised to ensure Somalia holds the next elections under a new constitutional order.
The President made assurance, yesterday, in a speech read on his behalf by the Speaker of the House of the People, Mohamed Mursal Abdirahman, at the end of a three-day national constitutional convention in Mogadishu.
He noted that the search for a new constitution had taken too long since it was launched in Djibouti, in the year 2000, adding that the process must be speeded up.
Though the review timetable expects the new document to be ready by the end of 2019, President Farmaajo’s administration is determined to complete the process ahead of schedule.
“We are determined to put an end the review and finalize Somalia’s constitution by end of 2018. The process of constitutional review has gone on for too long and this is the right time to put an end to it,” the President said.
He said the delivery of a new constitution was one of the three key promises that led to his election in February 2017, adding the document would foster unity, bring political stability and enable the country co-exist peacefully with its neighbours.
Somalia is governed by a Provisional Constitution agreed in 2012 and the promulgation of a new and permanent constitution is expected to address a number of unresolved constitutional issues including the ‘one-person one-vote’, the future status of Mogadishu and the sharing of powers and resources between the federal government and the federal member states.
The Federal Minister of Constitutional Affairs, Abdirahman Hosh Jibril, told the convention, attended by more than 350 delegates, among them, members of parliament, religious leaders and representatives from the federal member states and the civil society, 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’,” Minister Jibril said adding; “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. A civil society activist, Hoodo Hashi, said it was a great day for the constitutional review process, adding that the final document should be inclusive and agreed upon through consensus.
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.