News / Africa

Somali Leaders Agree on Draft Constitution

Left to right: UN Special Representative for Somalia Mahiga, Somali Parliament Speaker Aden, Somali President Ahmed, Somali PM Ali, Puntland President Farole in Nairobi, Kenya, June 22, 2012.
Left to right: UN Special Representative for Somalia Mahiga, Somali Parliament Speaker Aden, Somali President Ahmed, Somali PM Ali, Puntland President Farole in Nairobi, Kenya, June 22, 2012.
Gabe Joselow
NAIROBI, Kenya -The key stakeholders in Somalia's political transition process have agreed on a draft constitution, a significant step toward establishing a more permanent government.  The time for the transition is running out, with less than two months to go before a deadline to elect a parliament and a new president.

Somalia inched closer Friday to ending an eight-year long political transition, with the signing of several key measures on the so-called Roadmap.

The United Nations Special Representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, hailed the agreement on a new constitution as a significant milestone.

“This stage in Nairobi is probably the most critical because it ushers in the accomplishment of one of the major steps to end the transition, and that is the approval of a draft constitution,” he said.

The six signatories to the Roadmap, who are the heads of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government, leaders of Somali regional governments, and a representative of an influential militia, reached agreement Friday after more than two days of wrangling in the Kenyan capital.

Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohammed Ali said the debates centered around the size of the future parliament and the methods for selecting future lawmakers.

“It went through a difficult process, but with all the challenges that we faced, we finally delivered to the Somali people,” he said.

The draft constitution still must be approved by a National Constituent Assembly that will meet in Mogadishu next month. It will then only be a provisional charter until it is ratified through a national referendum.

The signatories at the Nairobi meeting decided to push back the Constituent Assembly meeting by two weeks.

That decision will leave only one month to elect a parliament and a new president before the agreed-upon August 20th deadline.

Prime Minister Ali acknowledged that the pressure is on.

"Hopefully, inshalla, we will deliver," he said. "We are in unison of purpose and we all have to reach that finishing line after 58 days."

A recent VOA survey of 3,000 Somalis from across the country and in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya showed 83 percent of respondents want a constitution with a strong central government. Eighty-seven percent say the constitution should be based in Sharia, or Islamic law.

The war-torn and drought-ravaged country has not had a stable central government since the fall of President Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid