News / Africa

Somalia Swears in New Parliament

Somali president Sharif Sheik Ahmed, center, Prime Minister, Abdiwali Mohamed Ali, right, and parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheik Adan, left, during constituent assembly opening in Mogadishu, July 25, 2012.
Somali president Sharif Sheik Ahmed, center, Prime Minister, Abdiwali Mohamed Ali, right, and parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheik Adan, left, during constituent assembly opening in Mogadishu, July 25, 2012.
Gabe Joselow
MOGADISHU – Members of Somalia's new parliament have been sworn in, bringing the country a step closer to completing an eight-year political transition.  The new parliament has a lot of work to do in the coming days, including the election of the next president.

Somalia's Chief Justice administered the oath of office to more than 200 members of the new parliament Monday, in a secure lot overlooking the sea near the Mogadishu airport.

As the sun set on the last day to end the country's Transitional Federal Government, the new lawmakers promised to uphold the law and work for the good of the people.

TFG Prime Minister Abdiwelli Mohammed Ali, one of the veteran lawmakers taking the oath of office, described how it felt to be a part of the historic moment.

“Ecstatic, excited that I will be a new member of parliament, a more quality parliament, a smaller, more efficient parliament, a parliament based on the constitution," said Ali.
But Ali, who is also running for president, told VOA he would not take his seat if he does not win that upcoming election.

“If I do not win then I will go back to my humble job," he said. "I was a professor of economics - 10 years an economic professor - I had a good life, good family, and I will go back to my job.”

The parliament also includes a number of women lawmakers, following a strong push from the international community and the passing of a provisional constitution that guarantees more political rights for women.

Incoming member Khalija Mohammed Diriye told VOA women will keep calling for more representation.

She says “People have seen for themselves in the last 20 years, most of the Somali population heavily depended on women.  I hope people realize this and to add more women until we reach 30 percent, as right now we have about 15 or 16 representatives.”

While the parliament will eventually seat 275 members, they have settled, for now, on only 225 - which is enough to convene the body.

The members were selected during the past few weeks by a group of Somali elders, working with members of a technical selection committee.  U.N. and international observers have expressed concern about reports of vote buying and influence peddling.

An official from the technical selection committee said the wrangling continued until the last minute Monday, as Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed lodged complaints about the process in what the official said was an attempt to gain influence.

A group of international diplomats met with Somali leaders and U.N. representatives Sunday in Mogadishu, to discuss the final stages of the political transition.

U.S. Envoy to Somalia, Ambassador James Swan, who attended the meeting, told VOA the United States welcomes the progress made by the Somali leaders, but will expect more accountability from the new government.

“We are also looking for these new institutions to play their role, to be more legitimate, to be more transparent, to be more accountable, and to truly represent the people so we can focus less on internal political competition and much more on building a better future for the country," said Swan.

The parliament is due to select a new speaker on August 26 and a new president sometime after.  The country's constitution minister says the current president and government will continue to serve in a care-taking capacity until then.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Joshua Eriezer Isabirye from: Jinja Town in Uganda
August 20, 2012 11:19 AM
We are hopeful the parliament will not sway by the incumbent's decision

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid