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 Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid