Somalia starts public consultations to review the country’s provisional Constitution.

Mogadishu – Over one hundred participants from Benadir Region joined today the inaugural consultative meeting on the constitutional review process, organized by the federal Ministry of Constitutional Affairs (MoCA). The three-day event is the first in a series of open and inclusive meetings that will enable citizens to share their views on contentious issues in the provisional Constitution.

In his opening remarks, the Minister of Constitutional Affairs, Salah Jama, explained that consultations aim at gathering all Somalis’ views on the Constitution, especially on topics such as the status of Mogadishu, natural resource sharing, the electoral model, and power-sharing.

“Our people live both inside and outside the country. We wish to use various means to publicise the campaign. Those with access to technology and the internet can access the campaign online, or on radio or television,” said Minister Jama.

The public outreach campaign will advance the country’s constitutional review process, a key milestone in the state-building process of Somalia.

During today’s meeting, Ismail Yasin Mohamed, Director of Elections at the National Independent Electoral Commission, assured participants that the electoral body is ready to conduct elections this year.

“Today, while we know the country’s situation, we also know locations where voters can register in Mogadishu or the federal states. We have identified these locations. As soon as the electoral law is passed, voting materials are delivered, and polling centres opened, we will be ready to hold the election,” he explained.

Zahra Ali Hassan, MoCA Senior Advisor, hailed the presence of numerous young people at the Mogadishu consultative meeting.

“Since the youth are tomorrow’s leaders, it was vital for them to attend and understand these issues. We advised them to read and understand the provisional Constitution since it’s about their life and future,” Ms. Hassan added.

Sharif Hussein Isse, a representative of the Somalia National Students Union, recognized the importance of the public consultation meetings.

“The reason we are here is to have our say, to ensure that the Constitution captures our needs and views. I thank the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs for facilitating this event, for inviting us and considering our views on the Constitution,” Mr. Isse remarked.

To advance the constitutional review and implementation process, MoCA works jointly with the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission and the Joint Parliamentary Oversight Committee.

Over the coming months, MoCA, with the support of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia, will hold similar consultations in the federal states of Puntland, Jubaland, Southwest, Hirshabelle, and Galmudug.

Source: UNSOM