A new Somalia: political transition
Somalia has ushered in a new political era, demonstrating the civil and political will of Somalis to transform their country into a nation known for peace, not conflict. The process has been years in preparation, but 2012 saw some of the most significant milestones towards peace and stability that the war-torn nation has witnessed in decades.
On 1 August 2012, the National Constituent Assembly, selected by a Council of Elders, approved the draft provisional constitution, bringing to an end to the eight-year transition period. This was followed by the selection and inauguration of a more streamlined new federal parliament, the election of a new Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Osman Jawari, and President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. A new Prime Minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon, and a leaner 10-member cabinet including two female ministers were also appointed.
With the provisional constitution as a foundation, Somalia is able to introduce governance that is more responsive, representative and accountable to its people. Fundamental issues such as human rights and women’s participation in the political arena are included in the provisional constitution.
The NCA delegates who voted on the provisional constitution were selected by a representative group of Elders and comprised of Somali clan elders, religious leaders, women and the diaspora. The delegates convened at the Police Training Academy in Mogadishu for nine days to deliberate, vote and ultimately adopt the new provisional constitution.
- 1st August 2012 – Somalia’s draft provisional constitution approved by the council of elders
- Somalia selects a more streamlined federal parliament
The Joint Constitution Unit, comprised of UNDP and the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), worked with the transitional federal institutions throughout the constitutional process to provide technical support on drafting the constitution and ensuring the Somali public was informed – and able to share their opinions – on the process.
UNDP also provided support to the Ministry of Interior on the security planning for the event and support to the Ministry of Constitution and the Technical Facilitation Committee on the convening of the Assembly. The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) also helped to provide security at the venue.
The provisional constitution will be the basis for further constitutional refinements, and once reviewed will ultimately be put to a referendum. It will also provide a legal framework that will support the new federal parliament, president and government to continue the much needed political and social stabilization in Somalia.