Somalia launched the constitutional review process at a national convention held in Mogadishu and attended by Members of Parliament, religious leaders, civil society and international partners.
Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, who led the nation in launching the process, pledged financial and political support to the process to ensure the country gets a new Constitution by the end of next year.
Mr. Khaire said there was need to finalize the constitutional process to unify the country, promote economic growth and above all deliver a new document for posterity.
“I hereby confirm that my government has pledged $3million for the constitution process to be finalized. However, this pledge should produce a Somalia-owned document, Somali thinking, Somali economy, Somali advice and new Somali unity that rebuilds the Somali nation we lost,” Prime Minister added.
Somalia is currently governed by a Provisional Constitution, adopted on August 1, 2012, after years of conflict. The federal and state governments plan to have a new document ready ahead of the one-person one-vote elections scheduled for 2020.
Mr. Khaire said Somalia needs a new Constitution to accomplish the movement towards one-person one-vote to give the population an opportunity to pick leaders of their choice.
The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) and head of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Ambassador Francisco Madeira, commended the efforts of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and the Prime Minister Hassan for prioritizing the constitutional review process in accordance with Somalia’s Political Roadmap.
“As we implement the transition plan and handover more security responsibilities to you the Somalis, this consultation and the subsequent voicing of your opinions on how you, the Somalis, wish to be governed, is the beginning of Somalia taking charge of its responsibilities,” SRCC said.
He called for a wide consultative engagement, whose outcome should aim at facilitating a fair and inclusive political process in Somalia.
The Minister of Constitutional Affairs, Abdirahman Hosh Jibril, traced the history of the constitution making in Somalia, which began in 2000 in Djibouti and later moved to Nairobi, Kenya, before the eventual adoption of a Provisional Constitution in 2012 through a constituent Assembly.
“The agreement which we signed at the Office of the Prime minister last November made us become one united group without any divisions,” the minister said of the tripartite agreement signed by the Constitution Review Commission, the Parliamentary Oversight Committee and his ministry.
Jibril said through the tripartite agreement, the Constitution Review Commission is determined to give the people of Somalia a new document as soon as possible so that the next elections in 2020 are held under a new political dispensation.
The Speaker of the Upper House of Parliament Abdi Hashi Abdullahi, who also attended the convention, called for an inclusive process to enable the country produce a better document.
“An inclusive constitution should be the foundation of rebuilding the government of Somalia,” said the Speaker, adding; “a federal constitution should clearly define the essential elements that are pillars of the rebuilding the country and implementing the federal system of government.”
A women’s rights activist, Zahra Mohamed Ahmed, pleaded with the team reviewing the constitution to ensure the 30 percent quota for women was protected and the rights of the people with disabilities enhanced.
The three-day national convention is the beginning of a process to give Somalia a new constitution to replace the 2012 Provisional Constitution which was agreed upon by 825 delegates at the National Constituent Assembly.