PRESIDENT HASSAN Sheikh Mohamud has for the first time publicly weighed in on the maritime case with Kenya noting that his government was determined to protect the sovereignty and integrity of the country’s borders.
Speaking during the official opening of the 7th session of parliament today, the president said the legal team handling the case is working closely with parliament to ensure the case is disposed of appropriately.
“As you are aware, we have submitted a maritime case against our neighbor – Kenya. Our lawyers and the entire legal team dealing with the case have been updating and providing information to the House Committees in the Somali parliament. We assure the Somali public that the government will do whatever necessary to protect the sovereignty of Somalia and it is our belief that we will not lose the trust of the public,” said Mohamud.
The President’s remark comes days after Kenya submitted evidence of what it believes should determine its sea boundary dispute with Somalia to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. Kenya also challenged the case filed by Somalia last year two weeks ago at the International Court of Justice.
President Mohamud also praised his government’s record noting that for the first time in many years the UN had made positive remarks regarding the country, in reference to the recent UN Monitoring Report.
“The SEMG (Monitoring Group) has been doing its work for the past decade now – focusing mostly on Somalia. It has raised quite a number of allegations. But this is the first time it has actually reported development of several government agencies among them public finance and arms flow in the country,” added Mohamud.
The Monitoring Group however raised serious concerns regarding management of finances with particular reference to failure by some government ministries to utilise the Treasury Single Account in the Central Bank exposing public finances to possible misappropriation. The UN Security Council Friday unanimously voted to continue the arms embargo against Somalia and Eritrea.
The president called on parliament to expedite the process of formation of independent commissions particularly the Judicial Service Commission which is critical in the implementation and enforcement of the country’s laws.
Parliament has only established four independent commissions out of nine set out in the Provisional Constitution 2012. These are the National Independent Electoral Commission, Boundaries and Federation Commission and Constitution Review and Implementation Commission.
Mohamud also implored upon parliament to enact investment promotion bills to help develop the investment sector in the country noting that the country was losing millions of dollars as a result of lack of established investment legal regimes in the country.
This 7th session will be one of the most critical for parliament as it prepares the country for elections and subsequent transfer of power in August 2016. The fate of formation of Middle Shabelle/Hiiraan state remains unknown after it was put off in September. The constitutional review process will also dominate the agenda for this session as it is expected to receive the final document in March 2016 for adoption and subsequent promulgation.
Even though the speaker struck out the impeachment motion against the president last month, its fate still remains in the balance as the impeachment caucus seems focused on finding options to bring back the motion.