Minister of constitution: “Federal Government of Somalia is progressing in the constitutional making front”


The speech of H.E. Farah Sheikh Abdulkadir, the minister of justice and constitutional affairs in PSG1 kick off meeting today.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure and honor to speak to you here today as the government of Somalia is working diligently to advance the three core transitional tasks that are necessary for consolidating a culture and practice of democratic governance in Somalia. These three tasks collectively referred to now as Vision 2016, include defining and establishing federalism, completing the process of democratization, and finally the review and implementation of the Somali constitution.

While there is clear overlap between these three core transitional tasks, as Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, it is my responsibility to create the enabling conditions that allow the process of review and implementation of the constitution to move forward in a way that is both efficient AND inclusive of all somali perspectives and voices.

Efficiency — referring to the need to advance as quickly as possible with clear and transparent milestones of progress — is important because we recognize that our time frame is very limited now and the Somali people have high expectations and hopes that this process be concluded within the time period of this current administration. We urgently need a well-established constitution developed and owned by the Somali people.

Inclusion is of vital importance because we understand that a Constitution for Somalia is only valuable to the extent it is truly owned by the Somali people. A Constitution is not a product of the Government. It is not a product of the Parliament, it is a product, a societal agreement, developed BY the Somali people, FOR the Somali people. While it is the responsibility of the Ministry, the Parliament, the Oversight Committee and the Independent Commission to provide the leadership and process necessary for completing the Constitution, this will only be useful and effective to the extent that the Somali public feels they own the process and its outcomes which will depend upon the public being sufficiently informed and actively engaged throughout the process.

We are pleased to report significant progress that has been made in the last weeks and months. Through a process of consultation and outreach, we were successful at gathering a list of very good candidates for the Independent Review and Implementation Commission. From this list, the Council was able to choose five strong individuals who are recognized as outstanding citizens who we believe have the required expertise, moral legitimacy and integrity, and strong commitment to the common good of the Somali public. We expect this commission will be approved by Parliament and be installed with venue and necessary equipment to begin working by the end of the current month. As the ICRIC begins to work, we have organized a number of activities in June and July to ensure the right conditions for the Independent Commission to begin its work and strengthen the coordination among all institutions that will be necessary to ensure the process moves forward immediately. Some of these activities include:

1. Finding and establishing a venue with the necessary equipment and logistics to become the home for the ICRIC
2. Gathering all existing documents and materials related to the review process to deliver to the commission
3. Technical retreat, jointly convened by the MoJC and the Speaker, will be held in Mogadishu during second week of July for the technical advisors (focal points for Constitutional Review) from the MoJC, MoIF, Parliament and Presidency along with the five members of the ICRIC. The purpose of this retreat is to share information and create the conditions that will ensure legitimacy of the independent commission, clarify expectations regarding roles and responsibilities, and strengthen coordination across all institutions. The outcome of this retreat will be a jointly agreed upon Process Framework that establishes clear milestones as well as the mechanisms and procedures required to promote efficiency and inclusion as well as transparency and accountability. The Speaker and Minister believe that transparency and accountability are vital if the process is to be perceived as legitimate and credible by the Somali people.
4. Immediately following the retreat, this Process Framework will be presented to the corresponding political authorities (Ministers, PM, President, Speaker, Oversight Committee for feedback.
5. We hope to organize a space to present this Process Framework with a group of authorities from the different regions to inform them and receive any feedback they may have that can help strengthen the process.
6. The two Ministers will take the Process Framework to the Council of Ministers for endorsement. It will then be presented to Parliament for the purpose of ensuring Parliament is adequately briefed. This will occur before Parliament enters recess on July 20.
7. Once Parliament is briefed, an event will be planned to share the Process Framework with the Somali public and celebrate the launch of the Independent Commission.
8. A meeting will be convened that brings together the PSG1 working group as well as others from International Community (those positioned to offer resources and technical expertise). The purpose of this meeting is to share the Process Framework with the International Community and discuss together guidelines and principles that will build greater coordination and alignment and minimize the possibility of dispersion, redundancy, and contradiction that often results through uncoordinated and fragmented support.
9. During the month of August, activities are planned that will focus on strengthening capacities in the design and facilitation of public education, dialogue and consultation processes to ensure these processes are informed by state-of-the-art practices and tools. The review process will require bringing people together who come from different perspectives to discuss important and challenging issues. These conversations will require a high level of competency in the design and facilitation of these processes to ensure all voices are heard, all perspectives are considered.
While we celebrate these achievements and are confident things are moving forward positively, we recognize the journey is long and there is much to do and many challenges to face. We appreciate any support offered that helps bring together the Somali people and inspires and empowers them to engage actively in this process of working together to finalize a constitution that favors the common good and is truly owned by all the people of Somalia.

Thank you.

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