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Passage of Four Chapters of Provisional Constitution a Major Milestone in President Mohamud’s 2 Years in Office

Storyline:10th President

GOOBJOOG NEWS|MOGADISHU: The completion of the constitutional review process was one of the key agenda items in president Mohamud’s government when he took over office for the second term.

When he came into office on May 15, 2022, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud set the completion of the constitutional review process as among his foremost domestic agendas.

By the end of March this year, Parliament had made significant gains in delivering that presidential agenda. The Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament concluded the debate of the first four chapters of the Provisional Constitutional which were subsequently signed by the President.

The process began on February 12 when lawmakers received drafts of the proposed amendments from the Independent Constitutional Review Commission (ICRIC). The ICRIC is a creation of the Provisional Constitution, which is mandated to collect views from the public on any proposed changes and submit it to parliament through the Joint Constitutional Oversight Committee, which comprises members from the two chambers.

This article looks at the key provisions of each chapter and timelines.

Chapter 1:

Debate on Chapter 1 of the Provisional Constitution started on February 12, 2024. This chapter comprises 9 articles which focus on the status of the capital of Mogadishu, protection of Somali land, air and sea, Somali women’s rights (30%), the rule of law, the practice of Islam, the official language of the Federal Republic of Somalia and the nationality of citizens and non-citizens.

Chapter 2

On February 14, 2024, the 17th meeting of the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Somalia started discussions on the proposals to amend Chapter 2 of the Provisional Constitution. This chapter primarily deals with the fundamental rights and duties of citizens. It covers articles 10 to 20. Some of the contentious issues which arose include abortion and female genital mutilation. Lawmakers also debated articles touching on freedom of religion, belief, and equality, the fundamental rights and duties of Somali citizens, access to information, the right to protect personal information, fair administrative decisions, the right to sue and self-defense, the rights of the accused, and other points that included the restitution of the accused and the criminals and human rights violations.

Chapter 3

On March 6, 2024, the 22nd session of the 4th session of the two Houses of the Federal Parliament started debating Chapter 3 of the revision of the Constitution dealing with Land, Property and the environment, which are captured in articles 42 -47.

Chapter 4

On March 11, 2024, at the 24th meeting, lawmakers debated chapter 4 which comprises covers the General Principles of Representation of the People. This include electoral systems, political parties and administration of the country.

On May 30, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud signed the approved chapters into law ahead of a referendum.

The completion of the first four chapters marked a significant milestone in the long-running constitutional review process. Parliament first adopted the Provisional Constitution in 2012 following the formation of the first internationally recognised government in Somalia. However, the dream of a fully fledged constitution has remained a distant dream since several drafts were tabled in parliament during the terms of the subsequent administrations.

Parliament is expected to continue debate on the remaining 11 chapters before the changes are put out for a public vote.