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 On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid