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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More