So­ma­lia eyes De­cem­ber date for new con­sti­tu­tion

The East African - - OUTLOOK - By FRED OLUOCH Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

SO­MA­LIA PRES­I­DENT Mo­hamed Ab­dul­lahi Far­majo hopes to de­liver a new con­sti­tu­tion by the end of this year, but this could prove a ma­jor un­der­tak­ing.

Though the re­view timetable ex­pects the new doc­u­ment to be ready by the end of 2019, Pres­i­dent Far­majo’s’ who came to power in Fe­bru­ary 2017 with a new con­sti­tu­tion as one of his three key prom­ises, is de­ter­mined to com­plete the process ahead of sched­ule.

The coun­try re­cently con­vened the first con­sti­tu­tional re­view conference in Mo­gadishu since the process started in Dji­bouti in 2000 to set up a roadmap for the re­view process.

The con­sti­tu­tional re­view, into which the gov­ern­ment has pumped $3 mil­lion, should be com­pleted be­fore 2020 when the coun­try is ex­pected to hold its first elec­tions with uni­ver­sal suf­frage since the 1980s. The three-day na­tional con­sti­tu­tional con­ven­tion was at­tended by 350 del­e­gates, among them, MPS, re­li­gious lead­ers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from fed­eral mem­ber states and civil society.

The new con­sti­tu­tion is ex­pected to ad­dress a num­ber of un­re­solved con­sti­tu­tional is­sues such the fu­ture sta­tus of Mo­gadishu, the struc­ture of the Ex­ec­u­tive and the shar­ing of power and re­sources be­tween the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and the fed­eral mem­ber states.

The gov­ern­ment is ap­proach­ing the re­view with con­sid­er­able good­will from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity af­ter the UN Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for So­ma­lia, Michael Keat­ing, promised to mo­bilise ad­di­tional fi­nan­cial re­sources from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

So­ma­lia is gov­erned un­der the Pro­vi­sional Con­sti­tu­tion agreed upon in 2012 af­ter pres­sure from in­ter­na­tional donors to prop up the tran­si­tional Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment set up in 2000 which was not reg­is­ter­ing much progress in rec­on­cil­ing the coun­try.

While there is gen­eral con­sen­sus that So­ma­lia should re­main a fed­eral state with shared pow­ers be­tween the cen­tre and re­gional states, there have been sug­ges­tions that the ex­ec­u­tive be re­struc­tured to abol­ish the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter and con­sol­i­date it in the pres­i­dency as the head of state and gov­ern­ment.

This sug­ges­tion has been op­posed by those who be­lieve that the cur­rent sys­tem not only al­lows a power bal­ance be­tween the var­i­ous clans, but also al­lows de­vo­lu­tion of power to re­gional states be­cause the cen­tral­i­sa­tion of power is what led to the civil war that be­gan 1991.

Cur­rently, there are five re­gional states; Gal­mudug, Hir­sha­belle, Juba­land, Punt­land and South West State. The con­sti­tu­tional re­view will de­cide whether Mo­gadishu be­comes the sixth state, to be known as Be­nadiir or re­mains the cap­i­tal for all the re­gions.

Pic­ture: AFP

Pres­i­dent Mo­hamed Far­majo wants to de­liver new con­sti­tu­tion ahead of 2019.

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